Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Family Fun Time at QuikTrip

I’m beginning to think that Target is being challenged in the minds of my children by QuikTrip as the greatest store in the Western World.  It’s surpassed Chick-fil-A, and if it hasn’t pulled in front of Target, then it is fast closing in on it.

Think about it from the young child perspective.  You walk in – there are seven different types of slushees and smoothies to choose from….a few freezer down there are at least 15 different ice cream treats to choose.   Go a bit farther down the candy aisle and you can grab a handful of Hershey bite sized for 5 cents each.  Not too mention they sell Krispy Kreme donuts, that you’ve had in the past, right there by the front door.

So you can see that soccer practice really is just a prelude to getting the greatest tastes in the world afterwards.

Last night, after Demetrius’ practice we went in, and I said no to the slushee, we hadn’t eaten dinner yet (they don’t remain slushees once melted or frozen completely), and told them to get an ice cream/popsicle treat to have after they ate.  

M&M Cookie ice cream sandwiches.  Superman Popsicles.  Drumsticks.  What to choose?  Well, if you are Demetrius – you choose one of each.

Daddy: Demetrius, you can only get one.

Demetrius: I want them all.

You go around and around…as the temperature climbs because the freezer door is being held open as your seven year old son evaluates and contemplates what treat to get.

Demetrius: NO!  I WANT THEM ALL! (He melts down…remember this is after soccer practice, which is a traumatic event in his life…so he was predisposed for this anyway).

So he is warned about the fit.  Brings it up a level looking me straight in the eye….I have a moment of clarity that this isn’t being autistic at all….this is just a kid wanting what a kid wants and is throwing a fit in public to try to get it.  Son-of-a-gun, I’m happy…and quite mad…that this is going on at this store.

Daddy: Pick one, and only one, or you’ll get….

Demetrius: I WANT THEM ALL!!!!!!!!

Daddy: Whack on the tushy! (Whack)


Daddy:  MAYA, I’VE GOT IT!

We make our way to the counter.  Tears from Demetrius.  Maya with her forehead knitted in anger at her brother….risking her popsicle melting and all…..

The winner? The Superman popsicle…

I swear to the good Lord here and now, the kid behind the counter? The almost twenty something that was ringing $2.34 in popsicles (Demetrius made a final grab for the Superman popsicle)….wouldn’t look up.  He was completely wigged out at this good old fashioned parenting episode by the ice cream freezer at his store.

I didn’t feel bad for making a scene, but I felt bad that this kid just didn’t know what to do.  So over in a bin by the cash register were bite sized Reeces Peanut Butter Cups.   

For the ride home, to stop the tears and anger….even though it is only, like 1/4 a mile (for a moment’s peace…) 

Daddy: I’ll take two of those also, for the drive home (Maya was watching and overheard)!


Demetrius: Daddy?

Daddy: Yes (as I wait for my change)?

Demetrius: I MISS MOMMY SO MUCH, AND I STILL LOVE YOU….(and in the classic autistic lack of social graces…) AND GIVE ME MY CANDY.

The kid behind the counter just looked at Demetrius and then me (as Demetrius sat down right there on the floor by the cash register and opened his peanut butter cup), handed me my change, big ol saucer cup eyes, and said:

Good luck tonight dude.  I don’t think I’m having kids. Ever.

How could I not say it?  So I did:

“What do you mean? This is just a normal night out with the family?”

Posted by Jerry in 16:58:11 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, September 17, 2007

What A Weekend

The weather has definitely turned – what a run we had on Saturday morning. 65 degrees and 8 miles later I still felt like I could go another few miles… but I knew we had a big day, so I didn’t want to push it.

I got home, and Maya scurries up to me – can we go get my cleats now? And we did: Black and Pink.

We played soccer out front last night. We also decided we run faster in our cleats (of course!) and ran as fast as we could in the backyard. I told Maya it was like a pink flash of light ran by…..we put our ball and cleats in a special bag (pink bag, of course) and hung it in the garage.

Demetrius got grey and red cleats, and he has his first practice today. We’ll see.

After we got the cleats, it was off to Costco…and Maya and Demetrius chowed on pizza, hot dogs and Cheetos:

The hot dog and pizza are each bigger than either child. Which is good, because it means I get to finish what they don’t…

Yesterday we played more soccer, went to a birthday party…and went to get a new computer mouse at Target. The Target we went to is not our ‘usual’, and they were renovating. So when we went by the toy aisle, it was no longer there. This upset Demetrius greatly. He walked up to a poor woman restocking some shampoo and said to her, “Hey, Lady! Where are the toys!” She chuckled. Demetrius and I had a quick little ‘whisper talk’ about appropriately speaking to adults. He listened, but was a bit upset and asked her nicely, “where are the toys?” She pointed us in the right direction. I knew we weren’t going to get out of there unless we were certain the toys were okay. So we went by the aisles. Whew. We got home from the party, and Maya played with her friend Morgan, while Demetrius rolled down the front lawn of Mogan’s house….

I’m always amazed when he does these things. He doesn’t get dizzy. Not at all. He stumbles a bit from the rolling, but he’s back to running full speed up the hill….and rolls down again. Me? I would have lost the lunch from Costco 30 hours before no doubt, but he did this at leat 10 times in a row without any side effects. He’s truly amazing.

We also had our friends the Gossages over for dinner on Saturday night. Harrison (I’ve mentioned before) is a bit smitten with Maya. Before he came over, he wanted to get his hair washed and blown dry, and put on a new shirt. I need to watch him a bit more closely. What’s his plan post Kindergarten for my daughter? These are the things that I need to know…..

Posted by Jerry in 14:13:52 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. We had the Grasso grandparents in town (Nonni and Grandpa) and Kim’s sister, Rachel, and her husband, Cam. Full house, full of fun.

Kim’s nephew, Garrett, was throwing the javelin in the NCAA national championship track and field tournament in Charlotte. Not bad for a freshman, eh? So Rachel, Cam and Kim all drove up to watch him toss the stick. Every time they talk about him throwing I think of Monty Python’s javelin catching skit. I know, I have the mind of a 12 year old.

Unfortunately, Garrett apparently got the jitters and did what freshmen do, freeze up a bit. But wow, to be 18 years old and throwing in the national championship, what a rush that had to have been for him. Next year he’ll be a sophomore, have all of this under his belt, and will, of course, win the whole shebang. Don’t know if it will be in Charlotte again for Aunt Kim to go and watch.

Here at Casa Grasso, we attempted to do what we do best – wear out Nonni and Grandpa. This was our Saturday routine:
• Jerry runs with running group
• Shower, give everyone baths, to see Shrek the Third at 10:30 am
• Buy three new pairs of shoes, sneakers for Demetrius, sandals/shoes for Maya
• To Target to buy more toys (grandparents = suckers)
• Lunch
• Home to play new computer games for one hour
• Walk Buddy
• Take kids to swimming pool for two hours
• Home to play more computer games
• Go get pizza for dinner
• Watch Spongebob and play more new computer games (the kids got, like, 7 I think)

Sunday was very much of the same – minus the shopping.

So what was great about this? Well, take away Demetrius’ OCD, “When are we going to Target?” “Now are we going to Target?” “After this are we going to Target?” He was extremely engaged.

And I saw something yesterday that just had me beaming.

At one point, before the kids went to show off for Grandpa how well they ride their bikes, Demetrius was sitting in the living room with some new toys (all Spider Man 3 action figures, of course), and he was doing some imaginative play. I would say watching him, it was more in line with what you would expect of an older toddler, 4 year old, in this respect (Maya’s already done this type of play and is onto more complicated tea parties with stuffed bears, having slumber parties for them, etc…) but he kept at for about 10 minutes. That is a long time for him to entertain himself, and he just sat there and played. I’d love to see more of that, but if you jump in, or start talking to him, he’ll stop and let you start to lead for him…which is absolutely not what I want him to do. Maybe we’ll see a lot more of this throughout the summer.

A couple of funnies from the weekend:
• The fam went out to Buca di Beppo for dinner. Lots of statues Maya noticed of men with their ‘weenies covered by leaves’. She also noted that this form of ‘clothing’ would be ‘itchy’
• Nonni opens the suitcases with toys, she pays for the new pair of shoes for Maya and pays for toys at Target. Demetrius mentioned that he wanted to go to Target again (why not? It’s here, Nonni and Grandpa are here…why not visit the store 3-4 times a trip?) and Maya told him to, “Ask Nonni, she has all the monies”
• You have to wear ‘expensive’ shoes to a wedding. Like you would get at Target or Kohls
• I started to get my stuff ready for work last night and Demetrius told me I couldn’t go to the office, “I don’t have school, you don’t have to go to the office!” Wouldn’t that be nice?

Finally, below is our family picture from the Autism Walk a few Saturdays ago. Again, thank you to everyone for participating. We are very, very grateful for your donations and support…with your help we raised about $3700.

Team Super D..with a little bit of Buddy in the photo….

Posted by Jerry in 15:21:57 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Target or Homework – Is she serious?

I was going to write this earlier in the week, but I just had too many photos to share. Tomorrow will probably be that way, since it is bring your child to work day here.

So after our very busy Saturday, and before our very busy Sunday, Kim scooted off to ‘early church’ and I had the brood. I had a few errands I wanted to get out of the way, so we got up and got going – which means, breakfast out! The kids wanted IHOP, I didn’t want to wait in line or have the clean up of syrup all over them as they wiggle-wormed around the booth. So instead I offered up pancakes and ‘French fries’ at McDonalds (they call the potato patties breakfast French fries), plus, they can play. Sold.

We then went to the ATM, gassed up the car, onto Home Depot for a new sprinkler….and then to Target. So at Target we got ‘summer PJs’ and were stoked! Supergirl! Batman! Can I have a toy! (No….) New Dr. Seuss toothpaste!….

So of course the PJs had to go in the washing machine as soon as we got home. Mommy returned not long thereafter – she listened to Maya and Demetrius relay the morning activities, and she turns to me:

Mommy: You are a sucker. Take them to breakfast and go buy them things.

Daddy: Maya and Demetrius were both telling me they were hot last night, they needed summer PJs!

Mommy: They didn’t ‘need’ summer PJs. You ‘wanted’ to buy them summer PJs. They are easier to manage if you keep them busy and occupied running around store-to-store. (This is her opinion…Demetrius has some PJs that are now so small they resemble tighty whities more than PJs..)

Daddy: Yea, so what?

Mommy: You could have stayed home and done homework or read to them.

WHAT? Was she serious? Of course she was, and it is practical. But I’m Dad, I’m the guy trying hard to get into Maya’s art drawings of the family! Let me see, have my kids happy, or have them fussy and whiny trying to read or do math on a Sunday morning…

Then you smile. This is one of those conversations you have with the spouse and then realize – we’ve completely, 100%, become parents.

Well, at least Kim has. As I was thinking about this, I was mowing the lawn, and lost this thought as a favorite song came on and I visualized myself as a guitar god.

Hey, I’m a guy, a semi-mature father, and a PJ buyer. What should she expect out of me?

Posted by Jerry in 16:27:02 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Green Goblin Should Come Hand-in-Hand with Venom

I forgot one other Demetrius thing this week…on top of the IEP…he has an appt. with a neurologist to go over some ‘anomalies’ found in his EEG from last year. If you remember, last summer (assuming you are a long time reader) the boy had a seizure and after a bevy of tests – these anomalies showed up. Well, we finally got booked with the neurologist – so we’ll see what he says.

What a week for this kid!

Of course, he’s mostly unaware. As long as he’s not getting a shot at the doctor, it ain’t too big of a deal for him.

Last night I got home from the trip and the kids eagerly ran up to me when I walked through the door. They feign love. I see right through them. The hugs and the ‘Daddy! You are home!’ statements are quickly followed up with, “Where’s our gifts?”

Maya was completely enthralled with the Tinker Bell toy I got her. Demetrius was completely psyched, he got a ‘Venom’ action figure from the upcoming Spider Man movie.

Happy with these, sure… But why not more?

Demetrius: Daddy?

Daddy: Yes, Demetrius?

Demetrius: You were supposed to get me Venom and the Green Goblin.

Daddy: Demetrius, how about a thank you for the gift. Be happy that you got one at all!

Demetrius: Daddy?

Daddy: Yes Demetrius (a bit more sternly this time)

Demetrius: Get in your car and go to Target to get me Green Goblin, please.

At least I got please.

Posted by Jerry in 15:19:56 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Billy Squier? Maybe

Personally, after two versions of the IEP, I’m juiced about what I’m seeing. I don’t think any of it is a reach for the boy next year.  Easily said at a desk in a hotel room in NYC, isn’t it?

For all of you parents that are my age (late-thirties) or older, I think…I stress I think…Billy Squier was at the table next to me at Steak Frites eating lunch.  A bit of a big fan in the 80s…..Of course, I was useless in this meeting because all I kept thinking was, “Is that Billy Squier?”  Anyway, I got nostalgic about the dude, read this story about what he’s doing with his life post rock-n-roll. You’ll be surprised. I don’t think there is a VH1 ‘Behind the Music’ in this story.

Usually on these trips I promise the kids a ‘gift’ if they are good for Mommy. The problem, as always, is the time to get them something. I got smart this time. I stopped at Target before I left and kept the gifts in the trunk of my car. This way, they get their gifts and I don’t stress.

Thank you God for Target!

Short post today, gots lots to do today in the City…

Posted by Jerry in 14:24:11 | Permalink | Comments (3)