Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Grown Up TV Sucks

I knew that I would have the TV to myself last night. I could tell Kim was tired and would crash with one of the kids.  So while she read to Maya and then snuggled in with her (lights out and Kim out!), I finished reading to Demetrius and he rolled over and told me to ‘leave’ because he’s ‘tired’, so I did. 

I went downstairs, turned on Masterpiece Theatre (yea, that’s right, and I still have my man card) and watched a piece called, My Boy Jack that was getting rave reviews.  It is also pledge drive on PBS, so of course there were cut-ins to pledge some cash, so with a run planned at 5am with Buddy, I flipped on the Weather Channel and swept the new hardwoods.  As I was in the kitchen and watching the ‘Locals on the 8s‘ and I hear from the living room, behind the French doors:

“I don’t like the weather! Turn something else on!”

I go around the corner and there is Demetrius, sitting on the floor, with a frustrated look on his face.  He looks at me, and without even blinking, or realizing that he is in trouble because he is supposed to be in bed, and points at the TV and says:

“Don’t turn it back to that other show!  Put on good TV!”

How long he was sitting there, I don’t know, watching the most adult boring shows in the history of American television…hoping that Dad would change it to anything better than those two shows.  No luck.  Therefore, we need to set Daddy straight….

And Daddy sent him straight back to bed.

He’s a hoot sometimes.  I would have thought bed and/or playing in his room if he didn’t want to sleep would be better than what I was watching…but the lure of that big blue box…..  

Posted by Jerry in 19:05:37 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, April 28, 2008

Doorbells

When we moved into the neighborhood in 2003, one of the things we liked best about it was all the scooters and bikes we saw in the yards and driveways of the sub-division.  We knew at least one thing going in – it was kid friendly, and we would just be adding to skinned knees and bike accidents.

We also knew this would be good for both kids, as Demetrius would have some built in support – other kids in the neighborhood (not all, never will be for anyone) would play with him because they would be going through school with him.
It really has played out that way, and both of (Kim and Jerry) couldn’t be happier. Though, we do still see some things that break our hearts, but that too, should have been anticipated and accepted.

The doorbell is really starting to ring on a semi-daily basis with kids wanting to play with Maya, but more in-depth, little girls wanting to play with Maya.  Periodically they also include Demetrius, and it is great to see him running down the street with a gaggle of kids (a couple literally hold his hand as they run, very cute!).  But as often as not, the doorbell rings for a ‘Maya only’ request.  Sometimes the girls just want to play with girls…

And that’s a fine line letting them play as a natural selection group, or sometimes forcing them to have to interact with the boy.  But one thing almost never happens, a doorbell ringing only for Demetrius.  It is a little like the birthday party scenario – it does once-every-blue-moon happen, but I wish it happened more.

Last night Maya played, rode bikes and ate pizza over at a girlfriend’s house – and Demetrius was desperate to play with them, but it was clear this was a ‘girl only’ event.  When they rode bikes down the street, it didn’t occur to me to send Demetrius out with them for that ‘segment’. Kim was out and asked why I didn’t, and I didn’t have a good answer outside of it didn’t occur to me.  I probably should have… but again, where’s that line? Would he have demanded to join them for pizza? I’m sure it would have been all right, but it wouldn’t have been a ‘Maya’ play event then.  Again, where is that fuzzy line?

I ended up getting my ass off the couch and going into the basement and playing some computer games with the boy.  He leaned on me and we had fun, but you think to yourself, even though aussies like to spend time by themselves (as we know, prefer it), I would rather another little boy be down here with you. I also kicked myself for not sending him out to ride bikes, but that’s just an honest mistake that we all beat ourselves up about as parents.

I know that doorbell will ring for him.  It’s gonna happen.

Posted by Jerry in 16:18:25 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Friday, April 25, 2008

Autism News

Here’s your week’s worth of hyperlinks:

This one is a bit funny. I think the Web site or news editor needs a bit of help with his or her English translation.

Great piece on is your kid ready for elementary school on About.com.

Nice guest editorial from a mother’s point of view dealing with autism in the Buffalo News.

A story about a Mom and her adopted autistic son and special Easter Seals School in Illinois (again, Illinois is in the autistic news cycle alot!).  Read the piece, I enjoyed the part where she discussed giving the boy the opportunity to change his middle name and he wanted it to be either ‘Mr. Freeze’ or ‘Batman’.  Who doesn’t?

Looks like autism numbers are higher than suspected in Ireland, and the services, obviously, don’t match the needs.

Hey look, a press release about us, the parents of autistic kids!

Hmmmmmmm

Posted by Jerry in 16:27:21 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Living Up To His Title – Older Brother

All of you who read this blog, and all of you that know us in ‘real life’ (vs. just cyber life) know that Maya is the ‘alpha dog’ kid in our family. Sure, some of the reason is that D’s autistic and she’s not…but just as much a reason is that Demetrius has a very sweet and shy personality, and Maya is all about ‘front running’. Last week, when my parents showed up, she was clear with them that Mommy and Daddy were her bosses, and not the grandparents. Oy.

And as you all know, right now we are camping out at our friends house as our hardwoods are being completed. When I get their from work last night, Maya runs into the room where I’m changing and is balling tears. Just crying up a storm. Now, clearly she’s tired. And clearly she’s wild eyed upset.

Jerry: What’s wrong? And for me to understand, you need to stop crying!

Maya: Demetrius took my purse and he put caterpillars in it! He thought it was funny. And now my purse is ruined.

We told Demetrius not to do that again, made him say he was story, and I held Maya to calm her down.

While giving a big Daddy hug, I was thinking to myself, “Atta boy Demetrius! Way to live up to expectations of an older brother!”

Posted by Jerry in 13:54:51 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Welp, an update

So, as you know, I’m getting my small consultancy biz up and running. It is going well on the biz end, but I’ve talked to three different insurance brokers, all with different angles/insights into the marketplace and all came back and told me that, from an individual plan standpoint, Demetrius is uninsurable.

And then this story just showed up in my inbox.  Timing is everything in life, ain’t it.

Alot of you have given me good advice on options to take, that might make it workable. Some of the solutions (when COBRA finally runs out):

  • Form a small business and thus a small group plan (have Kim come to work for me)
  • See if I can join a ‘group plan’ that is often offered through local chamber of commerces
  • See if Kim may want to go back to work to be able to get insurance through her employeer (other than working from me)

I’m not sweating this, really, on 4/23/08.  That said, it was disconcerting to be told no, so quickly by these three guys.  That’s a bit rough.  But that’s life, ain’t it?

Posted by Jerry in 14:38:12 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Guest Post From Nonni

Below are my Mom’s (Nonni Cheryl) views on the talk that Temple Grandin gave last week in Atlanta:

Last week my daughter-in-law Kim and a friend of Kim’s saw Dr. Temple Grandin at the CDC Center at Emory.  It was an evening that I can with honesty say impacted the audience and me on many more levels than expected.

Dr. Grandin spoke with integrity, insight and to my surprise much humor.

What did I truly garner from the evening?

That the world of a person afflicted with Autism is not filled with just complication and turmoil.  There is awareness, and the ability to analyze, and then adjustment to situations.  These may not occur as rapidly as the neuro-typical world responses but they occur!

That a support system around them, helps to teach the person on the spectrum that there is an arena for possibility, independence on different levels, and the chance to develop good relationships with people.

That the medical and educational communities are making strides with the understanding and needs of Autistic individuals everyday.

That there were many great contributors to our society who were Autistic.  These contributions changed the course of civilization, and the consequences of those changes were for the greater good.
 
However, Dr. Grandin herself was the best lesson of the night.  She was intelligent, humorous, curious and very Autistic.  She was enthralling!
 
I offer my gratitude to the CDC for giving this evening to the community and to the sponsors who paid to make this possible.  My love to my daughter-in-law for being kind enough to ask me to go to the lecture with them.  Now I have so much more hope.
 

Posted by Jerry in 18:20:12 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Temple Grandin and Hardwood Floors

I’ve heard from a lot of you that you want Kim to give a recap of the Temple Grandin speech. Both Kim and Nonni Cheryl will be providing guest posts in the near future, stay tuned.

We are getting our hardwood floors refinished in the house right now, which the kids love, since the furniture is all pushed into the living and family rooms, resembling a playground. Last night we could stay in the house (the contractors haven’t put the finish down yet) and all the rooms have plastic and are taped up…and the house echoes when you talk. So, of course, this means our kids scream to hear themselves at the maximum volume level.

Buddy also proved that, once again, he is not a protector…or for that fact, a Cocker Spaniel – he’ll neither bark defensively at the workers or pee on the floor in fear. As the contractors tore the moulding and baseboards off the floor, Buddy laid on the couch and slept. In between cracking noises and hammers banging, you could hear the dog snoring. As one of the contractors said, “I don’t think we are really bothering him over there on the couch.”

According to Kim, you know what would really accompany the new hardwood floors? New granite counter tops.

Posted by Jerry in 15:40:19 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, April 21, 2008

Kite Day At Abbotts Hill

Friday was kite day at Abbotts Hill Elementary School for the kindergartners. Here are some great pics (most of the great ones Nonni Cheryl took).


Me and Mackenzie’s mommy walking out to the playground (I’m carrying the Barbie kite)


Chaos begins once the kids come out. It was amazing to find out how many parents had never flown a kite before. This was their first time. You don’t get much wind in the Southeast, so it isn’t an experience that they do every spring.


Maya gets her kite up high in the air, as I look on…..


Letting out more rope to get the kite higher in the wind….


Grandpa taking over for Maya for awhile


Maya running with her kite


Maya’s friend Harrison.  You can only look at the sun so often….


My favorite picture of this set.  Jack is a friend of ours and friday was his birthday.  Check out his birthday hat, yellow shirt, plaid shorts and army fatigue wellies. Look to your lower left and see Maya trying to sneak into the photos. This is as classic a little boy photo as I’ve ever seen

Posted by Jerry in 14:46:23 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Cheesecake Factory

Kim and my mom last night went to hear Dr. Temple Grandin speak in Atlanta, so my dad and I were on kid duty.

We earned our keep.

When we went to pick Demetrius up from therapy he asked us where we wee going for dinner. Maya was jones-ing for Applebees (where did that come from?) but Demetrius would have none of that. We were going to the Cheesecake Factory.

Luckily, as everyone who has ever eaten there knows, they have what everyone wants to eat on the menu. But Maya was a super chatty kathy, talking to everyone who stopped by the table to pour water or give us bread, while Demetrius flipped through a new Teen Titans comic book.

Maya: Have you had the brownie sundae?

Waitress: Yes, it is good.

Maya: Last time I had it, it gave me green poop.

Waitress: Oh….. well, I guess you’ll be getting something else then?

Needless to say, this had Grandpa darn near in stitches. When they brought our dinner, Demetrius became a typical 8 year old boy. He said nothing, he ate an enormous amount of food (Grilled Cheese, french fries, broccoli), while Maya wiggled and talked and talked and ate three bites. We negotiated another three bites….if we wanted dessert….

Waitress: What would you like for dessert?

We negotiated a ‘shared’ dessert, the brownie sundae. I got carrot cake.

When it came Maya just looked at it. Demetrius emerged from the corner of the booth, where he was busily digesting a large ball of food in his stomach, and demanded hot fudge, brownie and ice cream on his own plate.

Maya said, in a very loud voice and with much conviction, “I don’t want green poop. I’ll eat the carrot cake. I know carrots don’t give me green poop.” Always nice to see the heads in the booth on the other side of the seat from Maya kind of turn and laugh.

Which of course meant that I shared my dessert – and their dessert. I don’t regularly eat much chocolate or dairy, so I ate around their sundae (seriously good brownie though) and watched Maya plow through the carrot cake. I gotta admit, she did a good job…but she had room, since she only ate five bites of her dinner!

As we drove home, we noticed Grandpa had lots of little crumbs and stains on his shirt. That’s what happens when you sit between two wiggly, greasy, buttery 8 and 6 year olds at dinner. He serves the purpose, along with being a Grandpa, as a human napkin.

About half way home -

Demetrius: Daddy, I have to go potty…I have to poop.

Maya: It will be green D from the brownie sundae

Demetrius: Daddy, Maya’s being mean, she says my poop will be green…

Grandpa is a lucky fella getting to spend time with us talking about green poop….

Posted by Jerry in 11:03:47 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Big Trouble For Demetrius On A Wednesday

Has it been a couple of months? Lets see, February…March…April… it has been! Time for a trip to GA from grandparents!

Yesterday Nonni and Grandpa flew from Texas (I need to be fair here, Grandpa has meetings in Atlanta) and I picked them up and we all hit Casa Grasso at about 7pm.

As we are getting ready for dinner, Kim tells me about the interesting afternoon D, Maya and Kim had at a friend’s house. Where Demetrius broke a VCR (putting the tape in backwards); went out into the friend’s mini-van and tried to watch movies and then was caught climbing on furniture trying to pull DVDs down from a cabinet.

Of course, he caught heck from Kim, they left early and then Daddy got the story when we got home later in the evening.

So while the adults ate dinner and the children ate dessert, Demetrius got TV and computer time taken away from him (and he didn’t argue, fuss, whine, or cry, so he got it and knew what he did was wrong) and got fussed at by Daddy (he’d taken it from Kim already).

But it was so hard to keep a straight face as he would look across the table at his grandparents for ‘help’ and watch them ‘look away’ and to see them ‘suffer’ as this child, who rarely does anything wrong (don’t all grandparents think that about grandchildren?), get what’s coming to him. Grandpa and Demetrius, after the ‘TV at Patrick and Shannon’s Affair’ ended, went into the basement… Nonni handled it better (hey, she did more of the day to day rearing of kids…she knows I was a little shit a touch better than my dad remembers). But man, was it fun to watch.

It shouldn’t be a practice to enjoy ‘giving the boy hell’, but watching him try to work his grandparents while catching it, and watching them try to manage it, was a hoot.

Posted by Jerry in 15:32:22 | Permalink | Comments (1) »