Sunday, August 31, 2008

American Girl Lunch

Today we took Maya to lunch at the American Girl boutique and bistro…..


Maya shows Grandpa everything that she wants in the American Girl store. Which is everything in the American Girl store. He seems interested in hearing her out.  Nonni is taking a few pictures.


Demetrius was in pain having to spend time in the store.  He actually said it hurt him…being in this store of squealing girls and pink and purple….


Maya is in heaven (by the way – the doll in her hands is Marie – Maya’s American Girl doll)


Maya and Grandpa discuss a bed that is important to Marie’s collection….


Everything is pink and purple….and even ordering lunch, Demetrius still is not happy having to sit through this experience….


Grandpa is checking to see how much money he has left, you know, to buy outfits (Maya is looking at cards she pulled with the prices of things she likes as she sucks on lemonade)


Happy Labor day from the Grassos.  Demetrius is smiling (we are going to Target), Maya is giving a thumbs up from the trip to the store…she took it in!

Posted by Jerry in 22:31:41 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why Not Right Now?

At about 8pm tonight, Nonni Cheryl and Grandpa arrive to give hugs, kisses…and depending on who you are in the family in terms of placing importance on this….and presents!

As we were walking to the bus stop this morning, Demetrius turns to me and asks “Can you go and get Nonni Cheryl and Grandpa right now?”

Daddy: Demetrius, their plane comes in tonight, they won’t get off the plane in Georgia until it is almost dark outside (be specific Jerry…..).

Demetrius furrows his brow and responds, “Can you get them now? I know they have presents for me.”

Well now, the truth will set you free, won’t it?

Posted by Jerry in 16:49:13 | Permalink | Comments Off

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sharing the love

Okay, I’ve won the ‘Sharing The Love’ award thanks to Mommy Dearest!

So now, I’ve gotta pass onto other blogs I read…and ones that she hasn’t already listed.

I’m not Catholic, and I’m anything but religious, but Rob, here’s to you. This is an intense Catholic Web site, for intense Catholic people – but Rob likes chicken wings and beer, so he’s okay in my book. This dude is a good friend of mine out in California. He’s bald too, and has a red beard. Kind of looks like a pirate…but a good pirate….

I love Antique Mommy. She can really yarn a tale.

A new blog on the autism horizon, check out Bratmom!

The Sellers are family friends, and Ms. Heike is German and one of Maya’s most favorite mommies…by the way, Emily is ‘the Emily’ of all these postings over the past three years….

Micki’s new to the scene too – check her out

There you go, guys, if you haven’t hit these sites, do it!

Posted by Jerry in 18:40:49 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Grumps

We have an iron curtain in the house – Daddy and Demetrius are natural morning people…Kim and Maya are not.

Sometimes in the morning Maya is chatty, sometimes grumpy. I take it that she’ll be a morning Diet Coke/Coffee drinker in the future, while Demetrius and Daddy sip tea and orange juice. On those ‘leave me alone’ mornings, I tend not to get kisses and hugs too easily, nor do all of my questions deem responses.

This was one of those mornings.

Maya fussed and talked back when she was told to stay out of the Gatorades in the  garage fridge.  She got it from both of us and pouted.  When we went to brush our teeth, Maya needed help tying her sneakers, while Demetrius attempted to brush and sing a song at the same time.  As we unknotted her shoes, Super D wandered into her room, and in passing said, “Maya, are you going to still be mad at the bus?”

She just changed her mood, immediately.

It is good to see him noticing when other people express their emotions. We all know it is good for these kids in dealing with others, and in their ability to socialize.

But what is exciting to me is that Demetrius and Maya have that sibling bond, but in the very few times he actually plays the big brother role (in his own way) and she’ll fall in line with what he says (in her own way).  It is almost always the opposite due to the autism and her very type A personality. 

Noticing emotions and bossing his sister into a better frame of mind.  A very good start to the morning indeed!

Posted by Jerry in 14:26:35 | Permalink | Comments Off

Picture Day

Today was picture day, and it was cute at the bus stop on a number of levels.

We have two kindergartners (sp?), one boy, one girl.  The girl stood waiting for the bus very proper-like in her cute dress, not wanting to get dirty (it had rained all night, lots of puddles and was misting) and stay dry.  The little boy? Mom literally held his hand. If she let him go…puddles here he comes.

Maya had her hair in curlers for her photos (she loves this for some reason).  When she saw it was misting out as we were leaving the garage she turned and looked at me with concern, “My hair!” My gosh – she’s only six!

Mothers of the other boys kept trying to keep their hair parted, and the boys kept wiggling and losing their part.  One boy, who is a fifth grader, actually put so much hair spray on his hair (he’s at that age) that it seemed like the mist was being repelled by the hair spray.  I love the smell of Aqua-Net in the morning.

Kim telling Demetrius to not climb the tree, that he’d get dirty for his pictures. After I chased him from the tree he ran over to Kim and asked, “What pictures?”  Ahhhh – 8 year old boys…

Always interested to see what his end up looking like….is his shirt clean, is his hair combed…..but I guarantee that he’ll have a big smile on his face below the nose, and will be straining to make eye contact with the camera above the nose.

Posted by Jerry in 01:46:09 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Super Hero-Less

Oh did Demetrius have a bad day yesterday.  First, he went to a friends house, and when the Mommy said no TV – he threw a fit and had to come home.  Then he wouldn’t do his homework – this led to no dessert.  That’s real pain for him.  Finally, we caught him trying to climb into the ceiling of the basement again…after all the warnings and discussions.

So, along the ‘this will hurt me more than it will hurt you’ – he got a spanking.  Not really leading to tears – but when I took his super heroes away for a week too – oh, boy.

I think he may have gotten the message, now, finally.

I may be taking that posting back from last week re: first week of school fits. They just seem to be manifesting in different ways with him right now.

Posted by Jerry in 12:16:10 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Demetrius’ Knee – Post Basement Ceiling Accident


Bruised, swollen and cut up. You’d never know it by the way he’s been running around. These autistic kids and their pain thresholds…..
Posted by Jerry in 00:43:19 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Twice As Nice

Our friend Joseph has a birthday upcoming.  He like, me, is nearing 40, or he may be that age already. Don’t know (funny how the actual age matters less-and-less, year-after-year).  I tease him mercilessly when the right opportunity arises – he’s a Jets fan. 

So when we found out he had a get together upcoming here to celebrate, I thought it would be a great, fun gift to get him a ‘Favre #4′ Jets uniform/tee shirt.  So I called his wife Elaine to ask if he already had one.  As the phone was ringing, Kim walked in to the kitchen, and since I am her oldest child, she asked me who I was talking to.

Elaine answers, I tell Kim it’s Elaine, and I become the messenger between the two.  Finally, after I’ve finished playing oral courier, I ask Elaine if Joseph has one of these shirts.  At the same time this is how it is answered on both sides of the phone line:

Kim – Elaine will never let Joseph wear something like that, he’ll look silly
Elaine – No presents. He doesn’t want that

Sometimes, it is best just to give up and understand I’m what I’m up against. 

Posted by Jerry in 15:24:48 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad Timing Twice In 24 Hours

Last night I posted about inspiration, and the fact that just because someone is a special needs parent, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ‘inspiring’.  I forgot that this morning Kim was hosting a special needs mom coffee at the house…and I was working from home.  It isn’t that I got in trouble, but the interpretation of that statement got me some heated words.  I can take the heat, but I’m working from a coffee shop down the street from the house — just in case. Ha! 

Look, I’ll reiterate what I think is the key point of that statement which I made.  Just because you ARE a special needs parent, it doesn’t necessarily MEAN THAT YOU ARE INSPIRING.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t either.  It just means that it isn’t an automatic qualification.  I still say if you are a good parent, the nature of your child is irrelevant.  You are a good parent, and you should be.  But that doesn’t make you inspiring.  I tend to get in trouble here on this subject anyway.  People want to feel appreciated for their efforts – and to me, and my evaluation – that is very different than being inspirational.  I’m not dwelling on this anymore. Because I don’t think anyone is going to hurt me with all of these witnesses.

I went to a reunion last night from the previous company I worked for.  I still have to say that of all my jobs and companies, I enjoyed this one the most.  And I was reminded of it when I walked into the room – it was the people. It was a nice, loud, and energizing two hours.  Being that we were/are mostly marketers, the conversation was easy and flowing…and loud.

So loud that I missed a phone call from Kim.  And of course, as is the worst case scenario, you miss such a phone call and an-hour-and-a-half later, when pick up the messsage, you hear this voicemail: “Hey, its me, we are on the way to the hospital with Demetrius.  Call me.”

Shit.

When I returned the call Kim and the kids were home. Demetrius had tried to crawl into the crawlspace between the ceiling of the basement and the first floor and fell through.  He took with him part of the ceiling, some of the structuring, and destroyed a desk.  Amazing – he landed inches from the computer down there and he didn’t take it out.  When he hit the table he cut his knee pretty badly on one of the screws – and Kim took him to see if he needed stitches (It is smack in the middle of the knee), nope just a number of sutures.  When I got home he was in bed.  Kisses and hugs later, and Maya talking about how he didn’t stiches like she did (I think she’s proud that she has had more than he has)…we got them down.  We went and looked in the basement.

I just don’t think that this accident is an autistic issue.  He is an eight year old boy, and this is what they do best – break things by climbing and scaling and such.  We now just have to find a deterrent that will work.  I am almost of the mind that I wish he had a bit of broken wrist or a deep cut — because then he’d have a painful reminder for a period of time why I say things aren’t made to be climbed on or into…but who am I kidding, he’s a boy and autistic – that means he’d just forget or miss the point doubly fast. 

The bigger worry here is his sense of fear and this running off (before the hospital visit/crash there was a running away incident).  Kim is going to have a heart attack.  She wants to put up a fence. Makes sense – but I’ve seen him repeatedly scale the fences at other houses and out and about.  Unless it has a moat with alligators and speared wood, I think he’ll just figure out up-and-about…so why spend the money?

I’m not sure if I’m glad I wasn’t at home or not at this point.  And am I more worried about the boy killing himself (as all parents with boys this age worry) or of the moms all riled up at me at our house….

Hmmmmm…..

Posted by Jerry in 16:18:17 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Inspiring Folks

The PR agency I work with had the old TV running up front and the guy on Headline News said something to the effect that Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps were inspirations.  So we got into a discussion about this and I rolled my eyes.  Because I’m not into the Olympics, I got the attitude back with the question, “Well, who inspires you?”

Well, there was a time where this might have…an amazing athletic achievement, but that’s kids stuff now, this point in my life. 

But let me just qualify that I don’t think doing everything possible for your autistic or special needs kid is necessarily inspiring. Why?  Because wouldn’t you be doing everything you possibly could if the kid wasn’t? Aren’t you doing everything possible that you can for your ‘neuro-typical’ kid, too/also? This is just good parenting, under unique circumstances – though some of the stories I’ve heard and read are inspiring, but I don’t generalize this.

Here is a short list who is inspiring to me:
•    I blogged a few weeks ago about a blind woman out jogging with a helper.  She had a big old band-aid on her knee. She probably wipes out a lot.  It isn’t inspiring that she is out trying to live a normal life or do something she likes while being blind. It is inspiring that she likes to run, knows the risks, probably falls a lot or runs into things, and just keeps on going.  I bet she’s got bumps, scratches and bruises all over. But she keeps on doing what she likes and takes the risks and works through the consequences.  That’s inspiring, but we all should be approaching life that way?
•    Teachers pretty much inspire me. Why? Well, my sister and sister-in-law both are teachers, and they don’t make diddly compared to what I make being a corporate guy.  But they have more passion for what they do in their pinkies than I have in my whole body.  Whenever I turn into ‘corporate cold executive’, I try to remember how much they want their kids in class to succeed, and how they plug away really hard working in a job that is a labor of love. It helps dull my sharp cynicism about working for the man.
•    Millionaires working to make the world different doesn’t inspire me, but people who really have to pay a mortgage and put a kid through school, but step away from the grind to do something bigger than themselves, inspires me.
•    I’m not pro-war and I fundamentally believe we are in Iraq irresponsibly and can’t seem to find a way out. The war machine that is our military industrial complex scares me.  But when 18 year old boys sign up to defend our country, and every day he has to worry about snipers and roadside bombs, when he could have his life taken away or physically or mentally altered before they understand what life is about…well, these kids inspire me.  They grapple with fears and longings I will never, nor want, to know nor understand.  I worry about bad traffic driving from Alpharetta to Buckhead.  They worry if they will see the end of the day, each day, and they believe they are doing what is best for you, me and this country.  I am not inspired by the old men that sit in a room and Washington and postulate and try to justify this war.
•    I’m going to turn 40 years old next year.  But I’m still fool headed enough to think I know a lot about what I don’t, and pop off way too much (really Jerry – you like to talk and speak your mind – hmmm, we couldn’t tell from your DAILY BLOGGING). But only recently I’ve started asking myself, “how would my Dad react?” in both personal and professional situations.  I’m lucky to have a role model as a father like him.  I have a hot head, and he doesn’t, but I do my best to try be as steady a source in my family’s life as he’s been in mine.  (Mom is great too – but I can’t be a Mom, I can only try to be a great Dad…but Nonni Cheryl is still like a warm, favorite blanket when I get a hug from her – Mom is always a safe place for children…whether they are six-years-old or 39-years-old). I’m stopping there so they don’t get the big head, and use this against me next we argue. :-)
•    We have a friend with ALS.  She’s still all spunk, and I’m still tickled to be around her and she’s a fighter.  Her Herculean efforts to be a great Mom and wife with what she’s up against makes me just try a bit harder with Demetrius on his bad days…or mine.  When she reads this she’ll tell me I’m full of it and to move on. Thus, why I love hanging out with her.
•    Lets throw her husband in the mix and make this a twosome.  He’s up against a lot with two kids.  AND – his margaritas are inspiring in a whole different way. And he’s a Jets fan. That’s inspiring, because it just proves that there are people that are blindly loyal, which I could never be. :-)

Not one of these people is the fastest in the world, or the greatest swimmer in a pool or gives a great speech (though Dad has been known to give long winded lectures), but they inspire me.

Posted by Jerry in 22:38:18 | Permalink | Comments (3)