Friday, October 31, 2008

First Photos From Halloween

Skye Zana and Friend, our first trick or treaters tonight

A very happy Green Lantern

A very scary Barbie Witch

Scary Mommy, Green Lantern and Barbie Witch getting ready to head on out for candy and scares! (Mostly candy)

Posted by Jerry in 22:35:01 | Permalink | Comments Off

2nd Grader Musical

Last night Demetrius and the other kids in his class had what I’m calling an ‘Avatar, The Last Air Bender’ themed musical performance (the music instructor told us the kids picked it out…she may, or may not, have the same hunches I am having).  It was songs from around the world about air, water, earth and fire. It was only about an hour long, and Demetrius did great.  See the videos below (especially the one where he turns around backwards, he just gets bored so turns the wrong way as he plays with a Lego). 

And last night I also saw something that’s been a long time coming – his sister had what I’m calling ‘hero worship’ of Demetrius after the event.  Demetrius, as anyone paying attention to him could see, had an interest in the microphone. After the event, as the kids were exiting, the boy sneaks over to it and says, “Ummmm…hello there..uhhhhh” – he was about to go into TV talk, but the teachers got to him beforehand.  Yes, all the kids laughed at him, that’s Demetrius being Demetrius.  But he apparently tried this earlier in the day when Demetrius was performing for his sister’s class.  And she was watching him closely.

“DADDY, DEMETRIUS SPOKE INTO THE MICROPHONE!” She was roaring laughing.  She loved it!

On the way home from the school, she buddied up to him and talked to him about it (he was at that point in his bubble, the stress of the event had taken its toll, and he was hungry too…) but in her troublemaker little mind, he was the cat’s meow at that moment.

Good to see!

Demetrius’ Big Finale

Demetrius getting bored with all of this….

Happy Halloween ya’ll….more pics and videos to come I’m sure!

Posted by Jerry in 12:49:41 | Permalink | Comments Off

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Fit That Keeps On Giving…Stimming!

Harmless, right? Yea, right…..

Another one of those, sometimes we can’t win with this kid sometimes stories –

So one of the old computers we have is an clunker of a 2002 iBook (see above).  Still works great for the kids, along with their PC (especially if they both want to play on the computer at the same time!). 

Well, of course, Demetrius has figured out how to go to Cartoon Network’s Web site, and stim…

So we took that ‘opportunity’ away from him (he’s a terror after from all the stimming). Now, at 3:11pm on a beautiful Thursday, while I’m attempting to work, he is out front laying on the driveway crying and moaning, “Mommy won’t let me play on the computer…”


There is some good in this beyond stopping the stimming…

At least he’s not crying that Daddy won’t let him play on the computer!

Posted by Jerry in 19:01:10 | Permalink | Comments Off

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maya Working The Phones…

Funny how the kids are with the different grandparents. 

Maya had to call each set and ask for a donation for her school’s fun run (to raise money) and she really didn’t know how to ask…until she got on the phone.

With Poppy, who is Kim’s father, she flirted and used her soft and cute voice.  

With my dad, Grandpa, she opens with her most teasing troublemaker voice, “Hello, Grandpa, you are the biggest chicken butt in the world.”

Wonder who she’ll get more money out of….or, do you think at the sweet age of six, she’s already got it figured out what each one wants to hear?  Sweettalk and flirty six-year-old banter?


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Daniel Isn’t Talking

How many of you have read Marti Leimbach’s Daniel Isn’t Talking?  Well, it is a novel about a mother and her 3-yr-old autistic son (and relationships)…it is very much a chick book. And I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for guys/dads of autistic kids.  It’s really not for us.

But I can’t put it down.

It isn’t a new release (2006), but I picked it up as I was with the kids at a Barnes & Noble about a month ago.  

See, when I look back at all we have been through with Demetrius, I look back through my lens, not Kim’s.  But what I remember in the ‘gray years’ were a lot of tears from Kim (we still get em) and her constant anxiety about everything with Super D.  

Certainly, I had more than my fair share of issues also to work through, but it is/was incredibly hard to try to see anything from her point-of-view as I was dealing with it all too.

Some half baked variance of that thought process bubbled up as I saw the book laying there on a table, so I just perused a few pages – and I felt like I was reading Kim’s brain.

Now, I’m not the husband in this book, but I can relate to him, and wonder if this is how Kim saw me.  At times as we were struggling with the boy early on I wasn’t sure Kim wasn’t partly crazy. I’ve thought she’s needed counseling (some think I do, but I’m so incredibly grounded, that this just isn’t a need ☺), and we’ve battled about what we’ll pay for and what we won’t.  

And the constant reminder of what Thomas The Tank Engine means to autistic boys is simply more raw than I care to remember (the author does a fabulous job of describing how the boy attempts to play with his trains…which is exactly what I would have to do with Super D to get him to interact or such).

I’m not the most touchy feely guy in the world, but enough of one to write out how I cope publicly on a blog and maybe felt it was worth my while to try to understand a little bit what was going through Kim’s jumble of a brain during Demetrius’ early, non-therapy/diagnosed years…and then early therapries, etc…

And since it isn’t clinical, it is actually readable.  

So if you want to better understand your spouse, hubbies, you might want to pick this book up.  Yea, there is chick stuff in it you’ll have to choke back on (stuff about how the husband leaves for the old girlfriend, the mean mother-in-law, the understanding sister-in-law…the main character falling for the ABA therapist), but if you can get through that, and the differences between the American and British mindsets on what schooling and child rearing mean, then you might get a real good understanding of the desperation your significant other felt as she tried to find ‘answers’ for her little boy (or girl).

Posted by Jerry in 19:50:47 | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Photos And Videos From Yesterday’s Halloween Party At Casa Grasso!

Guys, this was all Kim, but those of you that know here, would you expect anything else?

Maya in her Witch Outfit (with pink Crocs!).  The outfit lasted about ten minutes, until she began jumping on the bounce house (not costume condusive)

Maya and Colleen icing some cookies out front (notice that the witch hair is now gone!)

Nicole Lynch and her ‘sister’ are supervising some of the boys as they make their masks

Mike Yeager, Kim and Mark Zana supervise the pumpkin decorating station

A couple of the ‘red’ guys at the party commented on our ‘scary sign’ in our front yard. :-)

Harrison Tew getting into the bounce house in the front yard

Janie and Jessie Siebold dressed up at the party

Suzanne Tew supervising boys playing Halloween Twister

Demetrius jumping in the bounce house in his Green Lantern costume

Trying to scope out all the ‘going ons’ at the party

Kids being kids……

Posted by Jerry in 15:14:16 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Number Four

We had pizza with some friends and all of our wee-ones and were talking about good dads and bad dads (we, of course, are good dads).  Basic point I always make about what it takes to be a good dad -

“The number four”

What does that mean? It means 1 (me) plus three (them), makes four.  Without them, I just one.  And one is the loneliest number, isn’t it?

Posted by Jerry in 13:51:48 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Friday, October 24, 2008

Social Media

So this blog is my thing. 

What I’ve learned over the course of the past few years, that one could really devote alot of time to one of these media (blogs, twitter, MySpace, Facebook, etc…) and make an impact, or do alot and not really say anything at all worthwhile.

So obviously, for me its ‘autistic dad’.

That’s not to say that I’m not in other places, I twitter some, and I have a FaceBook page, but I really don’t spend alot of time there.  I haven’t built them out, maybe, as I should – but I would rather spend telling you how Demetrius is climbing a wall, or railing against Jenny McCarthy.

The other day, I accept friend request on Facebook from a high school chum (through an existing contact) and when I logged onto personal email later in the day….51 new contacts….or 51 new old contacts – from high school.  It is amazing to reconnect with people who you’ve forgotten, and the flood of memories come back…it is also great to see who else is a bit ‘heftier’ than back in the day, who’s gray, who’s trying not to be, and who is bald.

More importantly, I’ve gotten alot of emails and such about Demetrius and this blog.  Why am I bringing it up?  Because what I’m getting is:

Friend: Jerry, I didn’t know your son is autistic.  And I love the blog, I have a friend who’s son…..

It is that ability to connect to people who are going through what we are, and weaving this blog and others like Marla or Maddie or Jessica’s, and providing resources for people that may or may not feel that they can be connected to people to answer questions.

So what I’m saying is, maybe it is worth all of us taking a few minutes to use those other social media tools to connect to friends and such, so we can become a resource if they have questions about autism personally, or one-off with a friend or distant relative.

Think about it.

Also think how good you may look versus the person in your junior lit class, it could be great for your ego. :-)

Posted by Jerry in 17:59:30 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Face Plant

Ouch, Maya fell going to the bus stop, and didn’t get her hands down.  I can’t explain the goofy face (I think she’s doing it for effect), but she skidded up her cheek, chin and lip pretty darn good:

Posted by Jerry in 00:20:01 | Permalink | Comments Off

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Literally Taken

We were excited to find out from one of Super D’s teachers that Laura Numeroff, children’s book author of titles like, “If you gave a moose a muffin” and “If you give a mouse a cookie” was going to be at our local Barnes & Noble for a reading of her new book, “If you give a cat a cupcake.”  As Demetrius has learned to read (and he seems to becoming a voracious reader, even if he is a bit behind) he gained much confidence from these titles, and Maya has begun to take interest in reading these cover to cover when he is willing to relinquish one to her.

Me being me, I showed up an hour early, bought copies for Laura to sign and was third in line.  Kim met me there a bit later with the kids and Maya’s good buddy, Kennedi. Demetrius in a bookstore is always a wildcard – there is too much to look at and he becomes anxious and fidgety when he sees so many titles of books he likes (16 different Captain Underpants titles and comic books galore….) and he can’t make decision on what he wants, or doesn’t want.  He almost gets hysterical.  More than once he has had to be dragged out of the store because he can’t make a choice on a book or two and gets too worked up.  This can happen at Target, but they don’t tend to have the scope of selection of movies/toys he wants, like Barnes & Noble does.

So the kids sit down for the reading, and Ms. Numeroff begins reading one of her titles, with silly little changes.  To most of the kids, they get it, she’s being silly. But to Demetrius, this isn’t right, she’s changing the words to a classic story. I watch the kids say, “NO!” in silly response to her when she changes a story, he furrows his brow.  He’s taking it literal, as an autistic child would.

About halfway through the story, he gets up and he and I wander into the children’s section.  

Daddy: Demetrius, don’t you want to listen to the story?

Demetrius: No, she’s not reading it right (along with all the stress of having to sit there with the other kids, and the changing the words, it was all too much for him).  
Daddy: Want to try it again sitting by Daddy or Mommy?

Demetrius: No, I just want to look at the Captain Underpants books now.  Please go away (again, wanting space with the stress).


All said, we did get her to autograph her new book for Maya. And Maya thought that was pretty neat. I do wish it would have worked out for Demetrius to have enjoyed the moment.

Posted by Jerry in 03:25:35 | Permalink | Comments (1) »