Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Transformers and Bitings…..

I took Demetrius to see Transformers 2 last night, and while it is action-packed, it is more than a bit too long.  Movies without strong plots should not be making the turn toward three hours.  However, I think Demetrius was more excited about the preview he saw for The Last Airbender. I have to admit, that’s two of us. Here it is:

I wonder what part the producers/directors spent more time on, transformer battle scenes, or photo-shopping out all the tats that Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox have?  We know they included his real life injury from his latest DUI.

One of the things that is truly getting harder for me, as the boy gets older, is separating out:
•    When the autism is taking its toll, and he is having a fit that is autism related
•    When he is having a fit because he’s tired, etc…like any nine-year-old
•    When he’s just being a brat

One of the issues of handling is how it ends up – regardless of the three bullets above, they all tend to end up the same way, with his screeching and screaming, and lately, a manifestation of wanting to bite himself (also the running away with his hand covering his bottom – that’s no different than any other 9 year old
The other night he was screaming at Kim as she was trying to get him to clean his room (surprisingly he has really taken to his room) and when I told him to stop or he was going to get in real trouble (Nintendo DS taken away), he starts to bite his arm.

I did the only two things I knew how to do (outside of the utter jaw drop I was doing internally watching him do this to himself).  I grabbed his arm while changing the tone of my voice from ‘in trouble’ to ‘lets talk’ and I told him that we do not bite ourselves.

We had a talk that first, yelling at Mommy when she tells you to clean up your room is unacceptable.  Every little boy and girl has to do it, whether they want to or not (he has always reacted to cleaning up a bit violently  – not physically, more or less acts out) and that biting one’s self is completely unacceptable.

I told him he’d get in more trouble from biting himself than anything else.  He can take time to calm down and then clean his room.

“You won’t take my DS from me?”

“Demetrius, if you yell at your Mom and not clean up, then yes, I’ll take your DS.”

We eye each other. I wasn’t angry, I didn’t yell, I just looked him right in the eye – sternly. He looked right back at me, clenched his jaw, and then tried to bite his foot (he does get ups for extreme flexibility).

We went through the exercise again about biting oneself, but man, this is not going to be fun if he follows through and leaves a serious mark….

Posted by Jerry in 13:47:16 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fun at Casa Grasso – 6:15am – 6:45am

So last night it stormed… loud clanging thunder, the kind that shakes the attic and makes you wait to see if the lights are gonna go out for a few seconds, or a few hours.

The kids have never really been through an extended thunderstorm like that. While Georgia can get intensely hot and rainy, it is not Texas, Kansas…or many other thunderclap prone state-like weather. And before Georgia, sunny-SoCal…so my kids are thunderstorm novices.

As Zeus roared, my kids…and Buddy…got nervous. First, Mommy is out in this (well, she was at the gym…and to little ones, we need to know where Mommy is during all crises) and the kids have….toys out in the mini-van, which may be struck by lightning!

So the kids race out to get their toys, we come back in, and settle into eating dinner, dessert, watching some TV, playing etc….but, something’s missing – where’s Buddy?

Oh no, is he out back? Nope

Oh no, did one of the children-z leave him in the basement?  Nope

Upstairs? Nope?

Well, he’s a scare-dy cat, so he wouldn’t wander off in a thunderstorm, nope, he’s not on the front step….where’s Buddy?

I again look for him, but he’s nowhere to be found, so as I go to shut the garage door, I see him in the minvan, panting, scared out of his coat.  When the kids got in the van to get their toys, he hopped in, when the kids got out, he didn’t. Poor guy.

So lets fast forward to 5am when I go to the gym.  Buddy is aching to go out, like every morning, but this morning, he’s got an upset tummy. Leaves me a present to clean up when I get back from the gym and taking him for a walk…right on Kim’s new rug. Lovely.

It’s 5:50am, so I take care of it, this isn’t my first pile of love I’ve cleaned up from a pet before. 

Afterwards, I chuckle to myself that Kim will never see it.  I did that good of a job….so I go and make coffee, putz around for another ten minutes or so, set the passwords on the television….and head up to get ready for the work day.

Kim sits up in bed, we chat, we talk about Buddy’s tummy and to be careful the rest of the day
(don’t leave him in the house for hours, etc…) and as I am getting in the shower I hear….
“Awwwwhhhhhh, Jerry!” I quickly am told that there was a second pile, and one that I didn’t see, that I stepped in…and that, well, I had been tracking through the house, you know, as I made coffee, went to the garage, into the family room, and ultimately, on to the new carpet we had laid down in the new house…exactly one week ago yesterday.

I played the get out of jail card that I had cleaned the other pile (and I had done it up to Kim’s exacting standards) and this pile was unseen in a dark room.  It worked, I wasn’t in…well….deep dog #*(!, but Kim was less than happy, if she got some coffee, I might just make it out of the house alive….

And I barely did, because was no longer focused just on me….

She was focused on the water dripping from our ceiling…yea, while she was cleaning the carpet of dog doo….she felt a splat of water from the ceiling underneath our bath tub….

Yea, good times.

Posted by Jerry in 20:09:50 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Darth D?

Mean or Scary? Nah….

Ever since we’ve been doing super heroes and the like, Demetrius has always been the good guy, and I’ve always been the bad guy (you know, cuz I’m pure evil).  And all of sudden….we are way into Star Wars.

We bought Episode One last week (Annikan as a kid is enticing to D) and watched it last night.  Now, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the 32nd time Demetrius has seen it since we bought it, but the first time Kim and I sat down with the kids to watch.  The race scene, the fight scene, good stuff for Demetrius.

The other day he was walking around being Obi Wan, but last night – Demetrius puts on his robe to go with his light saber…and pretends to be….Darth Maul?

I thought I was pure evil?

Why did Demetrius want to be Darth Maul?  Was it the double light saber?  Face paint?

Nope?  Demetrius got a Donald Duck ‘Darth Maul’ at that Star Wars day at Hollywood Disney a few weeks ago.  That’s why he likes Darth Maul. 

Whew. The dark side can’t be too dark then…but it makes you wonder…

What does Daisy think of all this?

Posted by Jerry in 11:00:16 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tricksey Maya

I fear Maya’s teenage years on many levels, for many reasons, but one that is emerging is her love of the cellphone.

She has well mastered how to dial Mommy’s phone when she’s not looking, and she’s always sweet talked when she’s done so, “Hi Daddy, I miss you, come home….” but now, at the tender age of almost eight, she’s taken to crank calling her Grandpa (my dad) on Kim’s phone. Only she’s not quite got the sequencing right. This is what makes it cute.

She dials Grandpa and he answers (of course, excited to receive a phone call from his granddaughter!):

“Hi Maya!”

“Hi Grandpa, yes, you’ve reached Maya’s voicemail.  Please leave her a voicemail message and she’ll call you back.  By Grandpa.”

She actually does hang up periodically.

She did this the other day, so proud of herself and her ‘tricksey’ mind. She told me that she thought that tricking Grandpa this way was pretty easy.

Of course, I think it is pretty darn cute.  I just hope she doesn’t start asking if the refrigerator is running….

Posted by Jerry in 22:00:23 | Permalink | Comments Off

Monday, June 22, 2009

Buddy The Rabbit Catching (Almost) She Dog

After doing moving stuff all weekend, my back, glutes and hammies were a bit sore, so I opted for a low impact workout at the gym and a brisk walk – with the jogging starting back up tomorrow.

It was still early enough that when I walked with Buddy, he could safely jaunt the neighborhood unleashed.

Cottontails be warned.

Now, as I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, there isn’t a rabbit or squirrel within 50 feet he won’t give a chase to…and this morning, man, I dunno what was in him, but he almost caught a few.  Almost. I mean, they may just be toying with him, but it looked close. Further, the thought did go through my head, “What if he caught one? Have we ever thought what happens next after he has it? How bad will that rabbit/squirrel kick his ass? And if he crushes it, how hard will it be to get it out of his mouth?”

Maybe next time, no payoff on this walk.

That said, at 5:45am, there are a few walkers out, and one was an older lady that Buddy sauntered right up to:

“What a pretty girl you are! You are such a pretty girl!”

I am guessing that with a pink collar and purple leash, that’s not an uncommon supposition to make.  As he was getting his neck scratched I thought, “C’mon Buddy, rollover for a belly rub and show her what you’ve got left!” No such luck.  She loved for a minute and then too-da-looed me and Buddy (no, really!).

We got home, he’s panting and happy, and Kim was up!  So I tell her about almost catching rabbits, and maybe he will (leaving out the pretty girl part), and she cuts me off, “Buddy! You have eye boogers!” and she gets a kleenex and starts cleaning his eyes, and then looks in his ears…and he just rolls over and takes it.

Hmmmmmm – now he gets considerably more loving than I do by letting Kim make him over like that, and part of the fun in life is the chasing of something….

And I do own a couple of pink shirts (pink is the new black of course)….

Nah, Buddy, you are on your own on this one. I am going to get you a new collar though…..
Posted by Jerry in 17:00:17 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Boxes, Boxes, And More Boxes

And duffel bags, and luggage – it seems to me since 11/30/08 – the date I moved to Lexington, that all I’ve been doing is folding clothes and carting from point A to point B.  As I packed again tonight (last week for Disney, the week before that to/from Alpharetta for the final move to Lexington)…I got to thinking about how many trips I’ve taken and how many times I’ve moved – more like a college guy moving from dorm, to frat house, to home for the summer – in the past six months.  Lots of puddle jumpers to Atlanta, lots of trips home to Atlanta while traveling on biz….lots of travel and bags and luggage.

It is amazing. I can fit almost all ‘my stuff’ (which is really, just my clothes) in a single trip in the beloved Volvo wagon from point A to point B.  Now, it took two trips in a full length moving van to move ‘our stuff’ from the storage facility to the new house.  Granted, ‘our stuff’ is bigger and more important than my stuff…but I sure am tired of feeling in transition.

In a week or two, when we’ve figured out where everything’s gone (drawers, cabinets, etc…) and are settling – I think I’ll take a long, not living in and out of bags, nap, on the couch, with Buddy.

That really doesn’t sound half bad.  I have to remember what bag we’ve packed him in…

Posted by Jerry in 03:14:59 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Few Observations From A Week’s Vacation

We’ve repeatedly asked the kids what their favorite rides were at the theme parks. The answers vary depending on where their minds are at.  If one is thinking of Magic Kingdom, “Small World!” may be yelled.  I suspect the farther we move away from the trip, and it is less vivid, the more the truth will emerge on the favorite as the days merge together.  That said, Maya tells me the best part of the trip had nothing to do with Disney.

“Daddy, the best part of the trip was having the room with doors to Nonni and Grandpa’s room. We could go see them whenever we want.”

So, I spent a couple grand on a week’s travel to/from/at Orlando’s vacation haunts, and I coulda just booked rooms at the local Embassy Suites with connecting rooms, and Maya and D would have been happy just swimming in the pool and talking to Grandpa through the bathroom door while he reads USA Today in the bathroom?  Wow.


Hollywood Disney sells these ‘somewhat’ soft, toy Indiana Jones whips. When you buy them, you think they are somewhat innocent.  Never ever ask your son to show you how the whip works.  It works.  It works just fine.  You then tell your son never to aim the whip at a person’s face.  However, my boy now never needs to worry that Mommy and Daddy will have a surprise brother or sister anytime soon. This is the result of telling him not to aim at my face.  Better instruction would have been not to aim at a person at all. 


Some of the best parts of any trip is the people watching.  At Hollywood Disney we saw a father/son/son combo who all had mohawks.  They, of course, had on Star Wars tee shirts (it was, after all, Star Wars weekend), as we watched them walk by – my brother-in-law had the comment for the day, “You gotta respect a family that commits to a mohawk.” Indeed.  Question? What had Mom committed to? She wasn’t to be found….Oh, I’m guessing she committed to not being seen in public with the males in her family.


It is fun to confuse your kids by saying, “how was DisneyWorld?” and then saying we went on vacation to Orlando.  Demetrius corrected me a number of times.  “We aren’t going to DisneyWorld in Orlando!” “We are going to DisneyWorld in Florida!”  In 95 degree heat and humidity, it just isn’t worth the explanation.


Why do all of these old people like to work at DisneyWorld? Really, when I’m 72 years old, I’m just going to bet I don’t want to dress like a candy striper in pale yellow with a tigger symbol on my shirt, while pointing to a parking spot for some angry 40 year old (Jerry, anyone?) to park his mini van RIGHT IN THIS SPOT, YOUNG MAN.  Only the old men smile.  Really, they are  happy to be doing this?  The old women really didn’t smile.  Why? Are they angry because their husbands are dressed like pale yellow dirty old men in Adventureland, while they are stuck dressed like a lollipop in Frontierland?  Are they thinking….damn that Bernie Madoff? I wouldn’t be dressing like this if my jackass husband had just opened up a Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund….now, we look like extras in the Donny and Marie show back up band!


And why pale yellow anyway?  I don’t think Disney and pale yellow…I think Disney and dollar bill green….oh, by the way, did I mention I just wrote a check to Uncle American Express to pay for this jaunt? Yea, again, the Embassy Suites with the connecting door might just have made me a happier dude, without getting ‘Indiana Jones Whip Racked”….

Posted by Jerry in 03:04:41 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, June 15, 2009

Final Day in Orlando (Universal Studios)

Aunt Francine and Maya on a Dr. Seuss ride

Captain America, Demetrius and Nonni at lunch

Maya and Aunt Francine at lunch

Me, Uncle Jimmy and Grandpa at lunch

D, The Big Sponge and Maya at Universal Studios

Me and Nonni at Genco Imports (owner – Vito Corleone)

Wet Maya, Grandpa and Demetrius enjoying a snack

Even when having fun, still autistic (see ears being covered)

Demetrius in jail

No, I’m not tired, not at all……

Daddy, Homer and Uncle Jimmy

Daddy, Maya, Kim, Demetrius, Nonni and Grandpa

The results of a great day!

Good bye Orlando….

Posted by Jerry in 12:36:05 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Something I’ve Noticed

Lots of different benefits with Demetrius’ new diet – more engaged, more willing to start a conversation, more willing to tell you how he feels and what he likes and dislikes (there may be positives and negatives with that!).

One other thing I’ve noticed is how his palate has expanded.  Food he would not otherwise have tried is now willing to be eaten, simply because the overall choices are so limited.  He can only have french fries periodically – so he will now eat rice and baked potatoes, he’s eating more and different types of veggies beyond peas and broccoli, and he’s had braised ribs and hamburgers (on a tapioca bun – gluten free at Disney!) which he would have never had touched before if he could have gotten his hands on chicken fingers.

He’s also turned into that lean, mean fighting machine he once was, and his energy is up.

Now, to chase him all over Universal Studios today…..

Posted by Jerry in 11:46:10 | Permalink | Comments Off

Disney Day Two

Maya and D at some 3-D show

Nonni and Grandpa at a restaurant at Disney

Mommy (Kim), Aunt Fran and Maya

Me and Maya in a pink tea cup

Maya and a popcicle

Maya trying to pull Excaliber from the stone….

Posted by Jerry in 02:16:03 | Permalink | Comments Off