Friday, November 22, 2013

Toilet Paper Safe

We signed a lease on a new, much larger house this week.  We get possession on December 15th.  It's 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths.

Wednesday evening we were sitting around the dinner table discussing how we want to set things up.  One of the ideas we came up with was putting a keypad lock on the kid's bathroom upstairs.  That way they will be able to leave shampoo, soap, toilet paper, etc. out rather than having to lock them up all the time to keep Middle Son out of them.  The downstairs power room will be left with a regular doorknob so that there is a bathroom that Middle can use whenever he needs it.

The question was raised, where are we going to keep the toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom?  Someone said we should get a safe.  I had to admit, that would keep the toilet paper secure.  Then someone said that the burglar who cracks that safe open is going to be very disappointed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Violins and Violas

Younger Daughter is playing the violin in her high school orchestra.  She's new to the instrument and is struggling a bit.  Tonight after dinner I heard her playing.  I went in and listened to her, and pointed out some areas she needed to work on.  Then I got my viola out and played along for a while.  She seemed very pleased.  It was fun.  My Beloved Wife watched us, her eyes bright and happy.

Later Beloved thanked me.  I told her that I was getting an emotional hit from it.  When Oldest Son was in Middle School he really wanted to play the viola in the school orchestra.  Just like I had.  Unfortunately, the social complexities of zero-hour orchestra were too much for him.  He wasn't able to focus and was acting out.

He was so sad.  He wanted me to teach him so he could play in the orchestra.  I said I couldn't do that--I couldn't teach him to be in the orchestra all by myself.

I remember feeling horrible.  He wanted so much to be like me (which was unusual, a rare treat for me), and I couldn't figure out how to give him the support that he needed.  That sadness and pain and sense of failure, of letting my child down, came flooding back into me.  And I felt guilty for supporting Younger where I hadn't been able to support Oldest.

Beloved pointed out to me that the situation is different.  Younger doesn't need as much from support as Oldest did.  What she needs is within my capability to give.  And that I was supporting one of the children in my household and making her happy.

Which is all true.  I am happy to be able to help Younger.  And I still feel sad about Oldest.

Embarassment

Last night a local pizza place did a fund-raiser for Oldest Son's school.  We had planned to have dinner there.  I called My Beloved Wife on the way home to tell her I was running late.  She told me that Oldest Son had stated categorically that he didn't want to go.  She didn't know why.

I had her put him on.  We talked a little.  He said he didn't want to see people from school at the restaurant.  I took that at face value.  In the past Oldest has been very uncomfortable with the idea of seeing people he knows from one context in a different context.  I assumed that was the issue here.  I said that we could get the pizza to go rather than eat there.  He seemed relieved.

When Beloved got back on the phone I told her what we were doing and why.  She disagreed with my decision.  I pointed out that Oldest has seemed very stressed this last week and that I didn't think this was the right time to push his envelop.  She reluctantly agreed.

Then I heard the nanny in the background.  She had been talking with Oldest and he had said that the reason he didn't want to go to the restaurant was that he was afraid kids from school would be there and see him with Middle Son.  I felt like a chump.  I told Beloved that if I'd realized that was the issue I would have been much less inclined to accommodate him.  And I didn't want to change what I had agreed to do.

As I drove to the restaurant to pick up the pizzas, I tried to decide how I would talk to Oldest.  First I was going to tell him that I was disappointed, that I expected better from him.  That didn't seem like it would get the desired result.  I remembered my conversation last week with Youngest Son about hitting Middle--how I got him to tell me he thought Middle was sad about being hit.  I thought about how sad I felt at hearing that Oldest was embarrassed to be seen with Middle.  And how sad I felt that Middle's behavior is so odd--it's easy to sympathize with Oldest's embarrassment.  And how sad I was that Oldest's Asperger's makes it even harder for him to rise above his embarrassment than it would be for a regular teen.  I started to cry.

When I got home we all sat down to eat.  I asked Oldest what kind of family he wanted to live in.  He didn't know how to answer the question.  I said I want to be a member of a family where we all love, support, and respect each other.  He said that sounded good.  Then I asked him how he would feel if Younger Daughter didn't want to go somewhere because she was embarrassed to be seen with him.  He said that would feel bad.  I said that would seem very disrespectful.  I told him I felt sad about him not wanting to be seen with Middle.  I told him all the ways I felt sad.

Later Beloved asked me how I felt about the conversation.  I told her that I had been pleased with Oldest's response.  I believed that my message had been heard.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Legos

As we were leaving the house this morning Youngest Son said to me, "I think I should have some Legos to play with at your house."

His birthday is this weekend, and I am planning to get him a big Lego set.  Glad to know I was on target.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homework

This week Oldest Son is having a lot more trouble with focus and homework.  Tuesday was the last day of the quarter.  Monday night we went through his binder looking for any completed assignments that hadn't been turned in.  Actually, he took papers out of his binder, and I looked through them.  He was unable to concentrate enough to do the task.  We found one geometry assignment and a whole bunch of biology assignments.

When he was finished I asked him to send an email to his organization skills teacher saying that he'd found a bunch of assignments and would need some help figuring out which ones could still be turned in.  He didn't want to.  I said if he didn't want to do it, that I would.  I expected him to object, but he said go ahead.

I got a response back from his teacher Tuesday morning.  She said that Oldest seems to be in a funk--not able to make progress on his assignments or even make decisions about which assignments to work on.  She wondered if I had any ideas what that might be about.

I said that the only clue I had is that he asked me if there would be anything happening this week that would effect him.  That sounds to me like he is worried about changes for some reason.

MomC chimed in that she heard him telling Youngest Son to do his homework so that someday he will be able to get into a good college.  Then he that he isn't good at doing homework and will probably not have good enough grades to get into a good college.  Which at the moment appears to be true--his best grade is a B at the moment, and he also has 1 D and 1 F.

He was really scattered and overwhelmed tonight.  He went to bed about 8:30, without having done any homework.

I'm not sure what's going on or what to do about it.

Soap Hunt

I sent Middle Son to the kitchen sink to wash his hands.  He spent a long time at the sink.  I saw him rubbing soap along both forearms.  Soap all the way to his elbows.  I didn't hear any water running.  He went into his room.  I followed.  I brought him back out to the sink to rinse off.

As I was rinsing his arms, I noticed something.  The soap was missing.  Not just the hand soap. The dish soap was also missing.  I asked My Beloved Wife if she knew where the soap was.  She said "it's right there on the sink."  I responded that it was not on the sink.  She said well it was just a minute ago.  I agreed, it was there a minute ago, but now it is not there.  Given how Middle likes to play with the soap, we need to find it.

Sooooo, we started looking.  We looked in Middle's room. On the bed, under the bed, in the dresser drawers, in the laundry hamper, in the dog's crate.  No soap.  We broadened the search to the living room.  We lookied on the couch, under the couch, under the couch cushions, in the coat closet, and in the broom closet.  Still no soap.  We looked in the shower, the linen closet, the washing machine, the dryer, the bathroom trash, the recycle bin.  Still no soap.

Finally, I asked Beloved if she had looked in the kitchen garbage.  She said she had, but went to look again.  As she pulled the trash can out from under the sink, she spied the soap.  It was in the cabinet, behind the trash can.

I wish Middle Son could communicate effectively, because I would love to know why he put the soap behind the trash can under the sink.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No Hitting

Last night, Youngest Son and Middle Son were playing in the living room after dinner.  I was putting dishes in the dishwasher when I heard My Beloved Wife telling Youngest to stop hitting Middle.  She was not happy with his response and asked me to come deal with it because she was too irritated with him.

I sat down on the couch with him and asked him how he feels when his brother hits him.  He got a serious look on his face.

Very quietly, he said "sad."

"How do you think your brother feels when you hit him?"

He looked away and whispered "sad."

"Do you want your brother to feel sad when he's with you?"

In a very small voice, with his face buried in the couch cushions, "No."

"So what do you think you should do?"

"Not hit him."

"Yes, that's right.  You shouldn't hit your brother."

With that established, we moved on to the particulars of the incident.  I asked why he had been hitting Middle.  He said because Middle wouldn't leave him alone.  I asked if hitting had helped, and he said no.  I asked what else he could do.  He hesitated.  I suggested that he could as me, or Beloved, or MomC, or Oldest Son to help.  I also pointed out that Middle is much bigger than him and very strong.  If he hits Middle enough times, Middle might get annoyed and hit him back, and that would hurt.

In that conversation, I felt like a very good parent.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Not Getting Up

In spite of being at our house, Oldest Son did not get up early.  In fact, he slept late.  As did I.  I ended up driving him to school considerably late.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Getting Up

Oldest Son told me after diner that he wanted to spend the night at my house.  Normally he goes to MomC's on Sunday nights.

Why I asked him why, he said that he needs to be at school early tomorrow, and he's more likely to get up and make it to school early if he's at my house than if he's at his mom's.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

More on Blocks

I was looking at photos on my computer.  I found some for Christmas of 2011 of Youngest Son playing with the blocks that I'd given him.  The same blocks he was playing with today.

Blocks

This afternoon Youngest Son wanted to use the computer. We told him not now, but he could have a turn later.  A few minutes later I heard from the living room "Where are my blocks?"

We now have little block towers are over the living room and hallway.  It's nice to see him still doing child activities, like playing with blocks. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Seizure

Middle Son had another seizure this afternoon, before I got home from work.  A short one.  He was pretty much konked out when I got home, and stayed that way until I went to bed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

For Want of a Shoe

I was trying to get the Middle Son and Youngest Son ready for school this morning.  Middle's bus picks him up at 7:45, then I drive Youngest to school.

Middle came out of his room wearing 1 shoe.  I told him to get the other one.  He goes in the bathroom and comes out with one shoe.  He goes into his room and comes out with one shoe.  He lies down on the couch.

I go in his room and look for his shoe.  Can't find it.  I look in the bathroom.  Can't find it.

The bus comes, still no shoe.  The bus leaves, no shoe.

FINALLY, after the second or third time I check his bed,  I snap the blanket extra hard.  The shoe falls out.

And I load both Middle and Youngest into the car and drive the to their respective school.

Chin

Last night Middle Son and Youngest Son were watching TV.  They were sitting on the couch.  Youngest was lying on top of Middle, which is not unusual.  He had his feet on Middle's chest.

As I watched, Middle took hold of Youngest's feet.  He started bumping his chin with Youngest's feet.  And Youngest didn't even seem to notice.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Still Qualifies

Middle Son's DDD caseworker came to my house this morning for his annual re-evaluation of eligibility.  We ran through the questions.

Some questions were about him.  How much assistance does he require for eating, dressing, bathing?  He requires some assistance with those tasks.  Can he handle money?  He has some practice with the process of buying something--take it up to the counter, give them money, get change back.  But he doesn't have any concept of how much change he should get, and he sometimes leaves the change on the counter.  Does he know what to do in an emergency?  No, he does not.  Does he engage in dangerous behaviors? Yes, he wanders off if given the opportunity.  Does he engage in inappropriate but not violent/dangerous behaviors?  Yes, sometimes he takes his clothes of in the middle of the living room.

Some questions were about me.  Does caring for him have an impact on my career and ability to work?  Yes it does.  Does caring for him impact my mental/emotional health?  Yes it does.  Does it impact my physical health?  Yes it does.  What is the financial impact of caring for him on your family?  I spent $45K a year on care-givers to keep him safe while I'm at work.

And finally, could you continue to do what you are doing now in order to care for him for the next two years?  Yes, I can, provided I maintain a sufficient level of income to pay for the caregivers.  If I have a big drop in income for some reason, all bets are off.

The final outcome was, unsurprisingly, that Middle still qualifies for DDD services.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

If I Were the Mom...

Normally on Thursday mornings, I drive Youngest Son to school in the morning.  Last Thursday I had a training seminar that started at 8:30 in the morning, in Seattle.  Since Youngest's school starts at 8:30, I wasn't able to drive him.  Fortunately, My Beloved Wife was able to take him.

When I got home she reported that, when she took a turn that Youngest thought was not on the best route, he said to her "if I were the mom I would've gone THAT way."

Friday, October 18, 2013

Talking and Listening

I'm taking a Leadership seminar this week.  Yesterday we where talking about language and the process of communication.  The seminar leader said that when you are trying to communicate with someone else it is very important to "listen to their listening."

It brought to mind an experience I had with Middle Son some years ago.  I was teaching him to put his clothes in the dresser.  We put all the shirts in the drawer, and the I told him to close it.  Middle looked at me in bafflement.  After a moment it occurred to me that he might be having trouble with "clothes" versus "close".  So I told him to shut the draw.  And he did.  By listening to his listening I learned to avoid homophones when communicating with Middle.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Boy Halloween

I was talking last night with MomC about Halloween.

She and Youngest Son had been discussing costumes.  Youngest wants to be Batman for Halloween.  Not a surprise, he dress like Batman several days a week already.  She said she had suggested to him that he dress as Peter Pan.

He said no, that's not a good costume for a boy.

He is the first of our children to be aware of gender roles and expectations at this age.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Middle at the Wedding

My Beloved Fiancee became My Beloved Wife last month.  We had about 60 people at our wedding in Seattle.

As he had at my aunt's Jubilee, Middle Son showed a desire to be part of the group during some of the high points.  During the toast Beloved and I were sitting at our table down front.  While everyone was listening to the toasts and watching us, Middle came and sat down in her lap and hugged her tightly.  We actually had to peel his hands off of her to get him to stand up.

During the dancing Middle came out on the floor.  I think he wanted to participate but wasn't sure what to do.  He ended up climbing on my back for a piggy-back ride.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Washing Hair and Showering

I discovered something interesting this week washing Middle's hair.

Normally he HATES having his head touch.  I pour some shampoo onto his head, and them he rubs it for a while, and then I wrestle with him to get it rinsed.

I got a new lofa for him for the shower.  He had a lot of shampoo on his head, so I wanted to get some of it onto the lofa.  And having the lofa touch his head seems to bother him considerably less.

And then I had him take the lofa to wash himself, rather than me scrubbing him down.  He really enjoyed washing himself.  He was squealing and giggling. I had to keep pointing to body parts to remind him what needed to be scrubbed, but he got himself really clean.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cooking

On Wednesday, Middle was up and moving around in the night.  The refrigerator was not locked tightly enough.  He got into it.  In the morning we found an empty tube of refrigerated cinnamon rolls on the counter.  We assumed the he had eaten them all.

When I got home from work, my Beloved Wife (!) showed me the pan that she had found in the oven when she started dinner.

Photo: Ok. So this morning the kitchen was a mess. Ethan had gotten into the fridge and I THOUGHT he had eaten a whole tube of Pilsbury Cinnamon rolls.  Well I just found this IN the oven. I am assuming that he tried them and then realized they needed cooking. 

Quite impressed with his deduction skills.

Middle decided to cook them.  Fortunately he didn't turn the gas on.  If I wasn't worried about him turning the gas on in the middle of the night and blowing up the house, I'd start teaching him to cook.

Part of the Group

I wrote this post in late July, while the boys and I were in St Louis for my Aunt's 50th Jubilee.

==========================================

Twice during our trip, Middle Son showed a strong interest in being part of the group.

On Saturday night, a second group of cousins arrived.  They filled up the guest house.  They were all drinking wine and talking loudly.  Middle made it clear that he wanted to go.

We went back to the hotel.  About 90 minutes later, Middle brought me his belt.  I asked if he wanted to go outside.  He signed yes.  I thought we would just go talk the dog for a short walk.  We got the dog and went outside.  Middle went straight to the car.  I asked if he wanted to go for a ride.  He signed yes.  I asked if he wanted to go back to the house.  Again, he signed yes.  So we drove back to the house.  By this time the second wave of cousins had all gone back to the hotel, so it was quiet again.

Middle seemed very happy.  We stayed for about 40 minutes, then went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

The second time was during the Jubilee Mass.  The church was very crowed, and it was going to be a long service.  My aunt had arranged seats for us at the very back of the church.  That way we had a little more space, and could easily get up and go outside if Middle got overwhelmed.

Shortly after the Mass started, Middle did get up.  We wandered down the hallway, then back into the church proper.  Then, to my surprise, he headed down the aisle towards the front of the church.  When we got to the pews where the rest of the family was sitting he stopped.  We leaned against the wall for a while.  Middle sat on the floor with Willow.  After 10 minutes or so he got up and returned to our seats in the back.  A little later he went back up with the rest of the family.

I was moved by his desire to be part of the group and involved with the rest of the family.  I had never seen him do that before.  I suppose part of that was because he's rarely in situations where there is a large group that he can move in and out of.  I will have to work on creating more of those opportunities for him.

Back to Blogging

After a long hiatus, I am back.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Communication

We got back from our trip last night.

Middle Son showed some significant new communications methods over the course of the trip.  When the situation at the retreat house overwhelmed him, he would bring me his belt (which I use to attach him to his service dog) to tell me that he wanted to leave.  Another time he communicated the same desire by taking hold of Willow's leash and bringing her to me.

After I got home from work tonight, he did something new.  He brought me over to the counter where I keep my keys, phone, work bag, etc.  He pointed to my lap-top bag.  I wasn't sure what he wanted.  I told him he could pick the bag up if he wanted to.  He picked it up and went into the living room. 

It occurred to me that during our trip, I had Middle put his backpack on every time we left the house.  His backpack wasn't available, so he was using my bag.  I asked him if he wanted to go somewhere, and he signed yes.

So we got in the car and went to the library.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Traveling

I wasn't able to get online last night after we arrived in St. Louis.  It was a moderately eventful day.

I had called ahead to the TSA, and they had arranged for an agent to meet us at the ticket counter.  That turned out to be very useful.  At the Southwest counter the ticket agent wanted us to go through the lengthy line.  I started to explain that that was going to be a big problem.  Then the agent stated that he was escorting us through.  The ticket agent's demeanor immediately changed and she waved us to the front of the line.

He escorted us through security.  We went around through the employee lane.  When we got to the detectors he stopped the people who were about to go through so we could go through.  So security was a breeze.  After we got through he comment on how were prepared I had been, which was nice.

Then after we had cleared security, I realized that I had left Youngest Son's booster seat back in the car.  So I made sure that Oldest Son had his boarding pass and sent him to go get it.  We still had plenty of time for him to get it and us to make the pre-boarding for our flight.  A while later, Oldest called me.  I forgot to give him the car keys.  We had just bought our lunch.  There was a TSA employee standing next to me.  I asked him if there was a way to get the keys to Oldest, and he said no, we'd have to go through security again.

So I went back to the gate.  I asked to speak to a Passenger Support Services officer.  They found one.  I explained the situation.  He said he would take the keys through.  So he headed off, and I told Oldest that he was coming.  Youngest, Middle, and I went to sit and eat our lunch.  Shortly, I saw Officer Picket walking around, apparently looking for me.  I ran over calling "Officer Pickett!"  But he didn't hear me.  However, Officer Cantu (I think that was his name), one of the supervisors, did hear me, and came to see what was going on.  Officer Cantu got on the radio with Office Picket while I was got the phone with Oldest.  Eventually they found each other.

We went to the gate so that we could make the early boarding.  Oldest got the car seat and came back through security.  We boarded.  In front of everyone but a guy with crutches who was taken down the ramp in a wheelchair.  We took one bulkhead row and he took the other.  Oldest eventually boarded, though quite a bit behind us.

Willow was very interested in all the people walking by as they boarded.  Sometimes she stood up.  I put my leg out so that she couldn't leave our row.  Middle got very agitated during the ascent.  I gave him a second dose of sedative.  He was fine during the flight.  Then he got agitated again during the descent.  I think the pressure change was bothering him.

I had a minor brain-slip after we deplaned.  We almost got on the shuttle to get our rental car without stopping to get our luggage.  I caught that just in time.

We got our car and drive an hour west of St Louis to our hotel.  After checkin I called my brother.  He and dad came out to get us and guide us to the guest house where the rest of the family was.  We had dinner and hung out.  Oldest and Youngest decided to stay at the retreat house rather than go back to the hotel.

Middle and I went back to the hotel.  I had booked two adjoining rooms, thinking all 4 of us might stay at the hotel.  I set Middle up in one room watching TV.  I walked through into the other room to use the bathroom.  As a passed the the adjoining doors, I saw that if the interior door to room A was closed, there would be no way to open it from room B.  I thought to myself "that is a potential problem."  While I was in the bathroom I heard a door slam.  I came running out.  I realized that the potential problem had become an actual problem.

I had set the burglar latch on both exterior doors, so I couldn't get in from that side.  I couldn't open the inner door either.  I called the front desk.  They seemed unsure what to do.  They said the manager wasn't available.  I said we have to figure something out.  I can't leave Middle in there alone.  If you can't figure out what do to I'll have to call the Fire Department.

They got a hold of the maintenance man.  He came with his toolbox and popped the burglar latch open some how.  I not sure Middle even realized that there had been a problem.  I brought my stuff into room B with Middle, closed the door to room A, and we both slept in room B.

Then in the morning I discovered that the burglar latch was set in room A, and now I couldn't get in that room.  So the maintenance man had to pop that door too.

We stopped this afternoon and bought some duct tape.  I'm going to tape the latches back on the inner doors.  Hopefully that will prevent a recurrence.

I may check out of the second room tomorrow.  If it's just me and Middle, I don't really need it.  Although it is still nice to have.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Getting Ready

The boys, Willow and I are heading off on a grand adventure.  Tomorrow we fly to St. Louis for 6 days.  Family reunions for both my mom and my dad's sides of the family.

I had originally intended to bring My Beloved, the Daughters, and my nanny along.  That didn't work out financially.  So just us guys plus Willow.

I called ahead and we have an appointment with TSA to go through screening.  Southwest knows that we are bringing a service dog.  Hotel knows.

I have sedatives for Middle (and myself).  I have 2 back-up leashes for Willow.  I have a portable water bowl and one day worth of food for her.  I have a tie-out cable so I can let her have a little room to roam outside.  I have a back-up vest for her.  I have a "Service Dog Handler" card on a lanyard with her picture and my name.  I have another one that says "I am watching Middle."  I have laminated card to pin on Middle's backpack that says "My name is Middle.  I have autism.  I don't talk.  If you find me, call my dad at 425-785-3841.

I think I am ready.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Bus

Middle started Extended School Year (a.k.a. summer school) this week.  I was told that the bus would be here at 7:10.  Instead, it showed up at 6:45.  Middle and I were still in bed.  My Beloved Fiance was up and about to leave for work.  I got up and talked briefly to the bus driver.  Apparently she had left a message at 6 a.m. telling me when she would arrive.  I didn't hear the phone ring.

So I drove him to school.

Later this morning, I got a call from the bus driver.  She, and the other bus driver who will be driving Middle, were unclear about what was supposed to happen.  I explained that on Mondays and Wednesdays, Middle gets picked up at MomC's (no school on Friday).  On Tuesdays and Thursdays he gets picked up at my house.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, he gets dropped off at my house after school.  On Tuesday, he goes to MomC's after school.  MomC and I are on different bus routes, so there are two drivers involved.  I was given the pick up/drop off times for MomC's, not for my house.  Oh, and we're going to be out of town the 11th-16th.

Apparently the drivers had not been informed of the reasoning behind the schedule--that he is split between two households.

The driver called back a few minutes later.  Her supervisor wanted us to give them a written calendar of when Middle is supposed to be where, including planned vacation days.  That way they will have it all written down in case there is a substitute driver.

I was telling My Beloved about it.  She was incredulous--it's not that complicated--she said she has very little tolerance for incompetence.

I, on the other hand, expect organizational incompetence as a matter of course.  I'm not pleased about it, but I am rarely surprised by it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shower

In a slightly new twist today, Middle Son had a seizure in the shower.  It was short, less than a minute.

I heard him fall and went in to check.  He was lying on the floor of the shower.  I went to help him up, and he didn't try to get up.  His right arm was limp and he didn't seem to be able to move it.  His eyes looked ok, so I didn't think he had a concussion.  For a second there I was afraid he had a spinal cord injury.  Then I noticed that his left arm and head were twitching.

It sounds strange to say, but I was very relieved to realize that he was only having a seizure.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Trash

Last night, just before I went to be, I took the trash out.  I did it because Middle was home.  Middle will sometimes get up in the night and get into the trash.

Another thing I didn't miss while Middle was at camp.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Pants

Middle came home from camp one day early.  There was a stomach bug going around camp, and he caught it.

Within a few hours of him returning home, I found myself standing in his bedroom door.  He was "entertaining" himself.  I had to remind him to either put his pants back on or close the door.

I hadn't realized until that moment how much I had enjoyed a whole week of not having to do that.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Nose

I was looking at Youngest tonight during dinner.  He had a mark of some sort on his nose.  I asked him what it was.

He said "rug burn."

I said "You have a rug burn on your nose?"

"I got it on the stairs."

"You got rug burn, on your nose, on the stairs?"

"Uh-huh.  I was playing with Gabe."

Apparently, he was at Grandma's playing with his friend Gabe.  They were sliding down the stairs on bean-bag chairs.  Youngest fell off, and got a rug burn on his nose.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Youngest

Middle is at camp, and Oldest decided to stay at MomC's tonight.  So it is just me and Youngest Son.  And Beloved Fiance.  And Older and Younger Daughters.  And Younger Daughter's friend who is spending the night. And the cat.  And both dogs.

But anyway.

Of my three sons, Youngest is the only one in the house tonight.  He and I played in the back yard, then took Willow for a walk to the park.  I really enjoyed being able to devote all my attention to Youngest without having to constantly look over my shoulder to make sure Middle isn't wandering off somewhere.  I almost never have Youngest without also having Middle.

On the way home, Youngest was climbing up on some rocks and then jumping down.  He said "Going on rocks is what is so great about being a 5 year old."

How cute is that?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Talking

No kids tonight.  Middle is at camp, and Oldest and Youngest are with MomC.

I was talking with someone today about communication, and how challenging it is to figure out what Middle wants and needs because his expressive communication is so limited.

We first got Middle his iPad about 3 years ago.  We installed some communications software on it and started trying to get him to use it.  It was tough going.  The major thing that Middle would use it for was asking for food.  That's always be the area in which he is most likely to communicate.

Youngest was very interested in the iPad, and caught on to the communications software quickly.  Even though he didn't need it.

I almost burst out laughing one day when Youngest, about 2 1/2, told me "Daddy, I need you to get me the iPad so I can tell you I want something to eat."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Camp

Middle Son is off at camp this week.  MomC took him there Sunday afternoon, and I will go and pick him up next Sunday morning.

It feels odd.  I almost never go more than 3 days without seeing Middle. 

I am reveling in the fact that for a whole week I don't have to worry about forgetting to lock up the refrigerator. Or the kitchen cabinets.  Or the bathroom cabinets.  Or the cleaning supplies.  Or the toilet paper.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Donuts

I agreed to watch the boys last night for MomC.  She had a bridal shower and then a concert to go to.

Much to my surprise, when she picked them up this morning, she brought us donuts.

Nice.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Surprise

As happens every so often, Middle Son surprised me with a new capability today.

He had been watching a movie, and it came to the end.  He wanted to watch a different movie.  I had put the first movie into the XBox.  Middle doesn't know how to work the XBox.  So he switched the TV from XBox to DVD player, and put the movie he wanted into the DVD player.

I hadn't realized that he knew how to do that either.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meeting Someone Where They Are

My Beloved Fiance and her daughters had a major meltdown last night.  The proximate cause was missing towels.  We were looking for kitchen and bath towels, and there were none to be found.  Beloved went into Daughters' room.  As usual, it was a mess.  It looked like a bomb had gone off inside of a Gap store.  She immediately spotted several bath and kitchen towels.

We got a couple of trash bags, the big outdoor kind, and scooped up two bags of clothes, shoes, and other misc. items off the floor.  Then we waited for the Daughters to come home.  There was a giant uproar when they got back.  Yelling, cursing, and crying ensued.  Daughters were chastised for taking things and not returning them.  Daughters were chastised for the lamentable state of their room.

Younger Daughter took it fairly well.  Older Daughter did not.  There was a long exchange between Beloved and Older.  They were both upset, angry and hurt.  From what I saw, they were talking (and yelling) past each other, not to each other.  At one point, when Older was declaiming how her life has been turned upside down by her mother's choice to move her household in with my household, I inserted myself.  I told Older that I was sorry she's having to deal with all these things.  Change is hard.  Living with Middle Son is very hard.  It's not what she wanted, it's not fair, she doesn't deserve it, but she's stuck with it, and that sucks.

Eventually everyone ran out of steam.  The Daughters retreated to their room.  I sat with Beloved.  We talked.  There was something I wanted to say, but I couldn't quite figure how to say it.  I told her that.  I went off to take care of Middle Son for a few minutes.

When I came back, I knew how to say it.  I told her that one of the hardest things in life is meeting someone else where they are, rather than where you want them to be, or where you expect them to be, or even where you need them to be.  In that moment neither Beloved nor Older were able to meet the other where they were.

In that gap lies pain and suffering.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Who's Upset?

Oldest Son struggled mightily this year with homework.  Over the last three months we had multiple meetings at school.  We spent a lot managing the mechanics of homework.  Oldest managed to get all his grades up to passing, though not by much.  Due to the zeros from missing homework, his Spanish and algebra grades were still D's.  Oldest has an accommodation in his IEP for reduced homework.  This makes it all the more frustrating.  At one of the meetings I said that if Oldest can demonstrate his mastery of the subject, he should get a good grade regardless of how much homework is missing.  Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.

Oldest got an A on his cumulative Spanish final.  That suggests that he has mastered the material.  But his grade is still a D.  MomC called and told me that if Oldest has to retake Spanish and algebra "she's going to be really upset."  That seemed like a strange comment to me.  Thinking about it, I realized why it bothered me.  She is making her feelings the star of the show.

That seems misplaced to me.  The focus should be on A) ensuring that Oldest's grades reflect what he has learned, and B) helping Oldest deal with his feelings.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Broke?

I was looking at my credit card statement yesterday and felt some distress.  I'm a lot closer to my credit limit than I had realized, I haven't paid for camp for Oldest Son yet, and wedding expenses are on the horizon.  I was feeling pretty pinched.

Then I got a text from MomC today.  She wants to get an Orca card (high-tech bus pass) for Oldest Son.  You can't get a Youth card online because they have to verify age.

She asked me if I would print out an application for him. Because she's out of printer ink and can't afford any this week.

I'm not broke after all.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Family?

At last night's Family Meeting, Younger Daughter made multiple proposals for us to all do things together.  She talked about how nice it was last weekend when we all spent some time cleaning the house after breakfast on Saturday morning.  She suggested that we have a meal where every cooks something, and that we have everyone work on the garden together, and that we all go to the beach this weekend.

All of the ideas got shot down by someone.  I pointed out that not everyone is interested in cooking.  My Beloved Fiance pointed out that not everyone is interested in trying to get a garden going.  Oldest Son said he regards walking to the beach as something he does on his own and he would be uncomfortable going there with everyone.  Younger got kind of angry about that.

Beloved and I were discussing it later.  She told me that Younger really wants us to be a family and all do things together as a family.  She refers to me as her step-father (which I knew) and to my three boys as her brothers (which I didn't know about).

Later in the evening I was talking with Younger.  I told her I'd noticed that she really wants to do things together as a family.  And that I think she is a little ahead of the pack in thinking of us as a family.  Oldest Son and Older Daughter clearly don't think of us as a family.

Which is making things hard for Younger Daughter.

More Visitors

We had a Family Meeting yesterday, the second one we've had since the merger of households.  As expected, it had its ups and downs.  A lot of the things that came up were things that I expected.

One was a major surprise.

We were discussing tensions in the household and how various people cope with it.  Younger Daughter said that it really helps her to have friends come over.  I pointed out that that isn't helpful for everyone.

Then came the surprise.  Oldest Son said that having people over is hard for him.  Then he asked that if the girls are going to have friends over, they have them over a lot so that he can get used to it.  After a couple of seconds to recover my surprise, I told Oldest I was very impressed with his willingness to work on something that he finds difficult.  And I complimented his willingness to accommodate this step-sister's wants/needs.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Anchor

When I went out to bring Middle in to get ready for bed.  I found Middle on one outside of the fence.  And Willow on the inside of the fence.  The leash was stretched tight over the fence.

Willow served her purpose as anchor, keeping Middle from wandering off.

As I brought him back in the house, I asked if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.  He didn't get the joke, but I was still amused.

Sweet Moment

Yesterday I was snuggling in bed with Middle Son and My Beloved Fiancee.  We've done this a few times recently.  Middle wraps himself in blankets and we lie on either side of him and tickle, hug, and squeeze him.  He likes to mush his face up against Beloved.  It's his version of a kiss.

We were doing this yesterday, and she started humming with her face mashed up against Middle's.  It was a sweet, beautiful moment.

I found myself with tears in my eyes.  I was hugely sad that in this beautiful moment I was not with the mother of my children.  Not that I actually want to be with my ex-wife, but when we married this is the kind of moment that I expected the two of us to have together over the years.

I remind myself to be grateful for the life that I have now.  I have a wonderful woman who loves me more than MomC ever did.  Who is capable of making deep, meaningful connections with Middle.  Who has the strength to carry the load alongside me.

And I'm still sad.

The Mouths of Babes

The boys were all at my house for a few hours yesterday for Fathers Day.  Mid-way through the visit, Youngest Son looked up and me and said "Daddy, I thought you and Mom were going to stay married forever."

I was more than a little surprised.  I told him "I thought so too.  But it turned out we didn't want to live the same way."  He asked my why.  I told him we just did.  He asked again.  I told him we just did, and that's all I can tell him right now.

Oldest has asked me many times.  I eventually told him that I hadn't wanted a divorce, that it was his mom who decided to do it.  Someday I will probably have the discussion with Youngest as well.  But not today.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fingernails


In a stunning turn of events, Middle Son now wants to trim his own fingernails.  Historically, this has been very challenging.  To the point of only doing it when he is asleep, and bringing nail clippers along when he has to have anesthesia at the dentist.

I remember MomC telling me a couple of weeks ago that he had wanted her to clip his nails.

Tonight, he took me to the cabinet where we have snacks, medications, and nail clippers.  All things that, our house, need to be kept locked up.  I opened the cabinet, and much to my surprise he wanted the nail clippers.

He led me into his room.  He lay down on his bed.  I had him take off his shoes and socks and clipped his toe nails.  Then he took the clippers from me.  He started trying to clip his fingernails.  They were short, so he wasn't able to line them up himself.  I helped him, and we clipped a couple of fingers.  Then he was done.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Unbelievable


The boys didn’t have school today. Oldest and Youngest Sons were at MomC’s, but Middle Son was at my house. My nanny came over at 8:30 to watch him so that I could go to work.

As I was leaving, I asked her to pick up a roll of duct tape today. I told her that the property manager was coming over, and “I’m not sure that we have enough duct tape to re-wrap the toilets.” The I began to laugh. She looked at my, and asked why I was laughing. She looked to see if Middle was doing something funny.

I said “Did you hear the words that just came out of my mouth?”

Unbelievable. I watch it happen, and I still have trouble believing it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Shower Door

In my next house, I want a shower with glass doors.  Middle Son took a shower tonight.  That's a practice I want to encourage.  He's heading into his teenage years and is starting to develop body odor.

He hops in and out of the shower a lot.  He doesn't always close the shower curtain when he gets back in.  I used multiple towels drying off the floor after he was done.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Rule

At long last, we have two functioning bathrooms again.  Yeah!!

Middle Son was using the restored hallway bathroom.  After a while, I decided that I should go and check on him.  I found that he had taken off all his clothes and dumped half a bottle of shampoo over his head.

I believe that is the 4th time in the last two weeks that I've found him with half a bottle of shampoo on his head.

Thus, we have a new house rule.  ALL shampoo, conditioners, etc. must be locked up when not in use.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pharmacy Fun

I went to fill a prescription this evening for my sinus infection. After doing the paperwork, the pharmacy tech (who I don't know) grabbed the pharmacist (who I do know) to advise me. The pharmacist said "It's a new one??" and looked really surprised. I laughed and said yes, I do occasionally get new prescriptions.

I guess that's what happens when A) you fill half-dozen maintenance prescriptions a month for various members of the family, and B) you usually come in with great big dog in a service vest, so that EVERYONE remembers you.

Miracle League

Saturday, Middle Son had his first Miracle League baseball game of the season.  Miracle League sets up baseball games for kids with disabilities.  It's like T-ball in some ways.  Every kid gets to bat every inning.  There are no outs.  Everyone gets to home base.  Usually when the batter gets a hit the pitcher tosses another half-dozen balls into the field so that all the fielders who are interested have a ball to chase after.

Middle didn't play last year, but he played the two previous years.  This year, I got him into the uniform shirt and found him a buddy to warm up with.  We brought Willow along, but I didn't strap her to his waist because I didn't intend to send her out onto the field with him.

He went out onto the field for a while, then wandered off.  I steered him back toward the field.  He didn't want to go back.  He DID want to hold Willow's leash.  That's the first time I've ever seen him want Willow when he didn't have her.  He often seems resigned to having her strapped to his waist, rather than eager to have her.

It was actually kind of exciting to see him wanted her in a relatively unfamiliar/stressful situation.  Perhaps the bond there is stronger than I had realized.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Toilet, Same Mess

The bathroom restoration continues.  A couple of days ago a new toilet was installed in the master bathroom.

Tonight, I found Middle Son in there, shredding toilet paper.  Some of it went into the tank.  It was mostly Scott Tissue, which according to the plumber dissolves better than most other brands of toilet paper.

I dearly hope that this toilet will continue to work correctly.  The tank is all duct-taped shut now.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More Games

Tonight, we had Oldest Son, Youngest Son, and Younger Daughter all playing Super Smash Brothers together.  Very sweet.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Video Games

Oldest Son was sitting looking bored.  So was Younger Daughter.

I asked Oldest what he wanted to do.  He didn't have any ideas.  I said "I bet Younger would play Mario Cart with you."  After a little conversation, they settled on Super Smash Brothers Brawl.

Monday, April 22, 2013

School

I had a fairly long conversation this evening with Oldest Son about school and homework.  He's struggling to implement the plan that we discussed before spring break.  It appears to me that the teachers aren't all doing what they are supposed to do.

I told him that I want to start visiting the school.  He REALLY didn't like that idea.  He said that he didn't think it would help.  I explained to him my reasons for believing that it would help.  When Oldest was having a lot of trouble at the end of sixth grade, we were able to get the district to pay for him to go to a private school for a year, and specifically for the school that we thought was the best choice.  At the IEP team meeting, the basically asked us what we wanted, and said "Ok."  I remember MomC being really surprised that we got what we wanted.  I wasn't surprised.  I'd been to the school to talk with the principal or the teachers at least a dozen times that year.  I had supported the things they were doing with Oldest and Middle Son.  I'd even brought some of my own dishware in for them to use with Middle.  That gives you tremendous credibility, and serves notice that you are paying close attention to what is going on.

A year later when the sign language teacher stopped coming to Middle's school, there was a similar chain of events.  The previous year I had been going to the school once a week to take part in the sign language lesson.  The sign language teacher was THRILLED to have a parent coming.  When the new year started I asked when the sign teacher would be there so I could arrange my schedule.  The said she wasn't coming to Middle's school any more.  I asked why.  They said she was only going to the new "center" schools.  I asked why Middle was no longer receiving the services he had been receiving the previous year (which is the thin wedge for a discussion of whether or not the district is obeying the law).  Lo and behold, the sign language teacher started coming to Middle's school again.  The principal later told me that Middle's school was the only one she returned to.  Left me wondering if any of the other parents understand how to play this game.

I was very pleased to see that after I laid out my evidence, Oldest did not continue to argue that it wouldn't help for me to come to the school.  That's one of the nice things about having a teenager with Aspergers.  They are more amenable to reason than typical teenagers.

Then we moved on to the next point--he doesn't want me to be seen in the classroom.  He said that while that might help him academically, it would be damaging to him socially.  I agreed with him that this is a legitimate concern.  We discussed some possibilities.  I agreed to try and find a time when I could visit that he wouldn't be in the room, and preferably when the teacher wouldn't have any students in the classroom.  I told him I wasn't sure what would be possible, but I would try and work something out.

Scalped

When I got home tonight and saw Middle Son's haircut, I felt bad.  It does not look good.  Very patchy, with some significant bald spots.  I hope as it grows in it will look better.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hair

MomC and I cut Middle Son's hair.  It is a Herculean task.  He hates having his head touched.  We gave him 5 mg of diazepam.  I got the pediatrician to prescribe it after it took 6 people to give him his tetanus booster.  We spent an hour or so tried to persuade him to cooperate.  Then we gave up on that approach.

We tried to get him to sit down so that we could hold him still.  That didn't work.  Eventually we put his mattress on the floor.  We had Oldest Son come help.  I lay down on top of Middle to hold him in place.  Oldest Son grabbed an arm and a leg.  MomC wielded the clippers.  Middle kept pushing himself up off the mattress, trying to get away from me.  At some point he got his toes hooked into the waistband of my sweatpants and shoved them down around my knees.

MomC managed to get the front of his head clipped.  But we couldn't get to the back.  So we took a break and she called for reinforcements.  Her niece came over with her fiancee.  He's a big burly guy.  He bear-hugged Middle, and I got his feet, and we laid him face down on the mattress.  With further assistance from Oldest, we managed to get the back of his head clipped as well.

As we got up, I said to MomC, I need a shower and a drink.  She said that she was meeting someone shortly.  Apparently during the break, she had gone on to Facebook and asked for prayers.  Someone said you're going to need a drink when this is finished.

She told them that was exactly what I had said.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Toenails

I got a text from MomC this afternoon.  Middle son came to her with the toenail clippers and wanted her to trim his nails.  This is slightly mind-boggling.  I usually wait until he falls asleep to cut his toenails, so I don't have to argue with him about it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Habits

My nanny kept Middle Son at her house again last night.  Once again, I am grateful to have found people who care enough about Middle to go *far* out of their way for his sake.  And for the financial resources to pay them.  Which isn't easy.  The IRS is asking for confirmation and documentation of my itemized deductions for 2011.  Given that my itemized deductions were about $85K, almost half my gross, I can't fault them for being skeptical.

My nanny and I were discussing the bathroom-related challenges we've seen with Middle in the last month or so.  I'm concerned that Middle may lock in to some decidedly undesirable habits if he can't return to his "typical" bathroom behavior.  He won't be able to return to his typical behavior until the hallway bathroom that he normally uses is restored to full working order.  Which isn't scheduled to happen until the end of next week.

We were discussing the challenges of Middle cleaning himself after a bowel movement.  If we leave paper out, as often as not he flushes the entire roll down the toilet.  He seems inclined to wipe himself with his hand and then clean his hand afterward.  We talked about leaving a stack of washcloths out for him to clean up with.  I worry that at some point he will decide to flush the washcloths down the toilet.

If we can find the space for it, I'm inclined to give him bath towels to clean up with.  That way, even if he wants to flush them, it won't work.

It just isn't possible, no matter how you try, to flush a bath towel down the toilet.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bus Talk

A special ed bus (a.k.a. the "short schoolbus", a phrase I do not care for) picks Middle Son up every morning. One of the kids who rides his bus is loud and obnoxious.  He's always yelling at someone about something.  This morning, one of the other kids was crying about something, and he was yelling "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" over and over at the top of his lungs.

Middle walked half way out to the bus.  He stopped.  He put his hands over his ears.  I felt bad as I told him he needed to get on the bugs.  And he got on.

Strange State Explained

A different drywaller arrived this morning.  He informed me that the man who was here yesterday had kidney stones.  An ambulance picked him up at our house and took him to the hospital.

That explains it all.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Strange State of Affairs

Today someone was supposed to do taping and mudding in the bathrooms to replace the drywall wall that had to be torn out.

I got home at 6:30.  Tools were out.  There was an open bag of drywall compound and an open box of screws.  There was an ipod and a sweater on the counter.

I emailed the property manager and told her that I was not happy about how things had been left.  Middle Son has odd ideas about what is and isn't edible.  He might eat drywall compound.  He likes to flush things down the toilet.  I suspect that flushing a bag of drywall compound down the toilet would end poorly.  I asked that she make sure everyone who comes to do work here is informed that we have a developmentally disabled child and that EVERYTHING needs to be secured before they leave.

I called My Beloved Fiancee.  She told me that someone showed up around 9 this morning.  She went back to sleep (she works 2 to midnight, so she sleeps late).  When she woke up around noon, he wasn't here.  The tools were out, so she assumed that he had gone to lunch.  I described the current state of the bathroom.  She said that's how it looked when she left at 1.

It appears that the workman never came back.  Which seems to me to be a very odd state of affairs.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Strange Place

Last night MomC agreed that Middle Son could stay at her house overnight because the bathrooms are torn up at my house and Middle is having trouble dealing with the situation.  However, she had a church event to go to.  Her sister had agreed to watch Youngest Son, but she's afraid to be left in charge of Middle (her Mom is also reluctant to be left in charge of Middle, though she will still do it).

I agreed to go over to MomC's and watch the boys.  I was there for a little over two hours.  My nanny, who had taken Middle to her house for the afternoon, brought Middle over to MomC's.  She said that Middle got upset when he saw that my car at MomC's house.  He settled down though and seemed fine while I was there.

I checked on Oldest to see how he was doing with his homework.  We looked at his Planner.  He's writing stuff down, but most of the teachers aren't initialing it.  At the meeting two weeks ago, we agreed that the teachers would initial his planner to verify that it was correct.  I have to email them about that.  He sat in the living room with me for a while, taking a break.  He said it was very strange to have me there in the house.  I agreed.  It's been 4 years, almost to the week, since I moved out.  I've come over a couple of times for birthday parties.  This was the first time I'd been there for any length of time without MomC present.

I talked to MomC this morning.  She said that after I left Middle came out wearing his coat and backpack.  He was upset that I had left and he had stayed.  He's not supposed to stay at her house on Monday nights, and he knows it.

Poor guy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bathroom Saga

Three weeks ago, we had a sewage back up that left about 1/2 inch of standing gray water in both bathrooms.  The landlord's insurance company decided that the flooring and lower 2 feet of wallboard in both bathrooms needed to be replaced because of potential fecal contamination.  I had them delay the work for one week so that they would be doing it while the three Sons were with MomC for the beginning of spring break.

Last week, when they ripped up the floor of the master bathroom, they found asbestos tile underneath the existing tile.  There was a lot of confusion about what was supposed to happen next.  The asbestos didn't get pulled out.  Nothing happened in the hallway bathroom.  The property manager was on vacation and very difficult to get a hold of.

Today the abatement team came in and took the asbestos tile out.  Then a plumber came in to reset the toilet and sink in that bathroom.  He called me shortly after he arrived and was kind of agitated.  Apparently the abatement crew ripped out the flange and he couldn't properly seat the toilet or the sink in the master bathroom.  He said he might be able to fix the toilet in the hall bathroom and the sink in the master.  He thought I was a contractor and got technical with me, and was asking about warranty and payment.  I clarified that I am the renter.  He said he would need to talk with the property manager, so I gave him her number.

I waited about 15 minutes, and then I called the property manager.  It went to voicemail.  I told her that the situation has reached the level of "health hazard/danger."  Middle Son is very agitated that he can't use the bathroom that he is supposed to use.  Yesterday I found him with shit smeared all over his clothes and face.  I asked her to call me and inform me what the plan is for getting both bathrooms working again.

I called my Beloved Fiancee.  She had actually spoken to both the plumber and the property manager.  The property manager was flustered and kept talking about how complicated it is and all the things that need to be done.  Beloved told her, "That's fine.  I understand that it is complex.  I need you to tell me what the plan is and when things will be working so that we can plan appropriately.  You are going to figure it all out, and call me before you go home.  Right?"

I call MomC, told her what is going on, and asked if she could keep Middle overnight.  Given what happened over the weekend, I want him out of the house as much as possible until his bathroom is fully restored.  I most definitely don't want him spending the night in the house.  She said ok, but she won't be home until 9.  Her sister was going to watch Youngest, and would probably be afraid to be in charge of Middle as well.  I offered to come over to her house and watch them both.

Then I called the nanny.  She said that the plumber had fixed the toilet in the master bathroom, but didn't get a sink going in either bathroom.  Apparently there is dry-rot in the hallway bathroom.  She offered to keep Middle overnight.  I told her that MomC is doing it tonight.  She also said that if things are still a mess on Wednesday, she would be willing to take Middle and Youngest (I have them both on Wednesday night's) overnight to her house.  Which would be wonderful.

I still don't know when this is all going to be fixed.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Disbelief

It was the kind of afternoon that, if I read about in a novel, I would be unable to maintain my suspension of disbelief.

I've been supervising Middle very closely in the bathroom this week.  After a bowel movement, I cleaned him up and then he wanted to take a shower.  So I started the shower and let him in for a while.  Eventually he came out and went into his room.

A little later he comes out of his room.  He has two big smears of poop on his shirt, and poop all over the left side of his face.  I pull him over to the sink, soap up a paper towel and start cleaning his face.  Middle doesn't like to have his face or head touched.  He starts pushing and trying to wiggle away from me.  I pin him against the kitchen counter.  He jerks loose and crashes into the back door.  He hit it hard enough to break the glass in the window.  So now there is broken glass all over the place.  My Beloved Fiancee comes running.  She and Younger Daughter start cleaning up the glass.  I keep the dogs and Youngest Son out of the kitchen.  And keep working to clean Middle Son's face.  He resists and resists.  I keep doing him that we are going to do this.  Eventually he takes the paper towel from me and cleans his own face.

I was mystified as to how he got poop on his shirt and face.  I know he was clean when he went in the room.   We went into his room to get some clean clothes.  While he was changing his pants, he reaches around and digs into his crack with his finger.  Aha.  Now I know how he got dirty.

What I don't know is how I'm going to stop him from wiping himself with his own hands.

Choosing Words

My fifteen year old future step-daughter, hereafter referred to as "Younger Daughter", said to My Beloved Fiancee this afternoon "Ma, what's for dinner?"

Beloved responded in an exasperated voice "Please, can't you give me a break?"

Younger Daughter replied "I wanna cook something for dinner!"

I interjected "You know, if you said 'Hey Ma, what should I cook for dinner?' you'd get a whole different reaction."

Sometimes choosing your words is almost the entire battle.

Long Night

As fall as I can tell, Middle Son was up all night last night.  He woke me up for food, to put on movies, and multiple times to use the bathroom.  One of my bathrooms is out of commission do to a main-line overflow recently.  The landlord's insurance is ripping out the flooring and lower portion of drywall.

The bathroom off my bedroom is the only one in the house the works.  Which means that every time anyone wants to use the bathroom, they have to go through my room.  Middle is having a hard time grasping this.  I keep finding him outside the hall bathroom.  I have it locked up, because Middle might not realize that the toilet that has been ripped up and is currently sitting in the bathtub isn't in working order and decide to take a dump in it.

So I had to get up, bring him into my bathroom, and watch him use it 3 times tonight.  If I don't watch him, he pulls the exposed insulation off the wall, dips it into the toilet bowl, and then waves it around.  Sometimes he is sticking his hand into the water in the bowl.  I don't know why.  I also don't know how to stop it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Changes in Appearance

On Wednesday, we had a meeting at Oldest Son's school.  I arrived a little after Oldest.  I saw him walking towards the counselor's office, so I followed.  When I got there, I saw a woman standing next to him.  She was turned away from me, and I didn't know who she was.  I was about to introduce myself when I realized it was MomC.  Between the professional attire she had for her new job, straightening and coloring her hair, and the 50+ pounds she's lost since our divorce, I didn't recognize her.

School Meeting

We had a meeting at Oldest Son's school on Wednesday, to talk about his problems getting homework turned in and what we could do about it.

All the teachers talked about what they see happening in their classes.  They all stated some variation of "Oldest understands the material, but he's not doing his homework".  We talked for a while, and the conversation converged around "Oldest needs to use a planner to keep track of his work."

The meeting started to wind down, and I realized that while there was a consensus that proper use of a planner would solve many problems, there was no clear set of actions.

So I said: I see we're winding down and before we end, I want to be clear about what is happening next.  We're all in agreement that if Oldest uses a planner properly, it will address most of the problems he's having.  However, we've made multiple attempts in the past to have Oldest use a planner, and it's never succeeded.  In fact, the only real successes we've had with Oldest and homework have happened when there was someone sitting next to him prompting him on every single step.  The teachers were surprised to hear that.  So I was extra glad to have mentioned it.

It will be great if the planner works, but we need to be prepared for the possibility that it won't work.  How are we going to tell if it works, and how long are we going to try it before deciding that it does or doesn't work?  We need to decide quickly, because if it doesn't work there isn't much time before school is out to find another solution.

After some conversation we agreed to try the planner for one week.  I asked what, exactly, was Oldest supposed to do, and what exactly were the teachers going to do.  We agreed that Oldest would show his planner to each teacher at the end of class, they would verify that he had correctly written down the work he needed to do, and that they would note in their gradebooks that they had reviewed his planner.

The whole process reminded me of things that I do at work.  When we are decided what piece of software we are going to write next, we decide on the acceptance criteria--how we will know if the work is actually done.  And who is going to do what to demonstrate the the criteria have been met.

Oldest is on spring break next week.  When classes start back up, I'm going to arrange to come into school once a week and see what is happening.  If you show up, the teachers and administrators take you much more seriously, and it is easier to get what you want from them.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

School

Oldest Son is once again having major problems with homework.  He has IEP accommodations  and I don't think they are all being met.  The special ed teacher doesn't seem very concerned.  I've formally requested an IEP team meeting.  Either his goals need to be changed, or the supports for achieving them need to be changed, because he's not meeting them.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Love

I was talking to MomC last night.  We were discussing all the issues we're running into the Middle Son and the bathroom.  If you leave toilet paper out, he flushes the entire roll down the toilet.  If you don't leave it out, he wipes his rear end with towels.  If there are no towels, he just uses his fingers.  I have a fingernail brush that I use on him several times a day to get poop out from under his nails.

As we were talking, MomC said "wow, your fiancee must REALLY love you if she's willing to come live in the midst of all this."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Taxes

I met with my accountant this morning.  In addition to my 2012 taxes, we had to go over 2011 materials again.  The IRS has asked me to "provide verification" of my medical and alimony expenses in 2011.  I spent a big chunk of my weekend getting all the papers together.

I had a stack about 5 inches tall that weighed 4.3 pounds.  Most of it was Explanation of Benefits forms.  I had itemized deductions in 2011 of about half my salary.  The bulk was medical expenses for Middle Son.  Most of the rest was alimony.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Catching My Breath

I was listening to the new Kelly Clarkson song "Catching My Breath", and was struck by the chorus:
Catching my breath, letting it go,
Turning my cheek for the sake of the show
Now that you know, this is my life,
I won't be told what's supposed to be right
It reminds me a bit of my relationship with MomC.  I spending a lot of time letting it go when I deal with her.

And I turn my cheek a lot, although for the sake of the boys rather than the sake of the show.
 
 


Friday, March 22, 2013

Doctor

I took Middle Son to the doctor this afternoon.  He's going to an Easter Seals weekend respite camp in a couple of weeks, and I needed to have a doctor fill out the medical form.  The examination wasn't too bad.  We didn't get a blood pressure, but we didn't try too hard.

He needed a tetanus booster.  That was hard.  The doctor went out, and came back with four nurses to help.  I managed to get Middle to lie down on the exam table.  But he rolled away from us, and with the struggle we couldn't get a clear line-up for the needle.  Then he got up.  We almost got him pinned up against the door.  Then we all took a break.  He sat down in a chair up against the wall.  I sat down on top of him and pinned him into the chair.  Then I got him in a headlock.  Two people held his arm, and the third nurse was able to give him the injection.

After that was all done, I asked for a prescription for Valium for the next time I cut his hair.  Last time, Middle, my helper, and I all had bruises and there was a hole in the wall by the time we were done.

When I asked the neurologist for that a couple of months ago, he refused.  The pediatrician gave me the prescription.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Metropolis

Youngest Son told me that he wants to move to Metropolis so that he might have a chance to meet a real Superhero.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stories

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned something about Middle Son in an email thread at work.  The thread revolved around a problem that had come up and taken longer to resolve than seemed appropriate/reasonable.  One of my colleagues come up with a timeline showing that we had multiple pieces of information pointing to the problem, but no one was actively monitoring them.  Someone responded with a Russian folk saying--"seven babysitters have a child with one eye."

I responded by telling them about a trip I took with Middle a couple of years ago.  He and I went to visit my relatives in Austin over Thanksgiving.  I was worried about him wandering off when the adults were talking among themselves.  I made up a badge that said "I'm watching Middle" in big black letters.  The entire time we were in Austin, someone was wearing that badge.  That way there was never any question about who was keeping track of him.

Several days latter, I was talking with my colleague again about the problem.  We had made some tweaks to the notification system so that these kinds of failures would be called out specifically to the people running the project.  My colleague said that he wanted to make sure that he was watching Middle.  I startled a bit.  He said that my story had really hit home for him.

I got a kick out of that.  I told him about the talk that I'd been to, and the woman who had said sharing our stories is an important part of coping with the demands of parenting special-needs children.  And now he was sharing my story.

Schedules

I got an email from MomC a couple of days ago.  She said that now that she is working full-time, she thinks she should have equal (free) time on the weekends.  The parenting plan says that on her weekend she keeps them overnight on Sunday, but on my weekend they go back to her house at 7 p.m. on Sunday.  When we wrote it, we put in provisions for some things to change after she started working full time (I know the spring break schedule is different).  But the weekend schedule isn't one of them.

After some consideration, I responded that I'm not willing to change the weekend schedule at this time.  There are a lot of changes going on in both households.  I think that is enough for the boys to deal with, we shouldn't put a schedule change on top of that.

I've been checking my email, waiting for a response.  I'm anticipating something hostile.  Maybe I'm wrong, and her response won't be hostile.  There have been times in the past when I expected a hostile response and didn't get it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moved In

My Beloved Fiancee, her two daughters, and their dog and cat are now officially residents of our household. They moved in on Saturday.

So far, things are going reasonably well.  Youngest Son is _very_ fond of their dog.  I had to pull him aside a couple of times and explain that Jack (the dog) needed a break so he was going to have to find something to do besides chasing the dog all over the house.

My Beloved asked at one point of Youngest is always this active.  I said "He's five.  This is what five year olds do."  She said "No it's not!"  So I amended my statement: "This is what five year old boys do."

Oldest Son seemed kind of agitated about Jack.  During meals Jack runs around under the table.  Oldest found this very distressing.  Willow doesn't run around under the table.  She can't--she's taller than the table.

The two girls are on their best behavior and acting like guests rather than residents.  I'm enjoying it for now and assuming that it won't last.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Trash

I was playing catch-ball-bounce-throw with Youngest Son, when I heard a suspicious noise from the front of the house.  It sounded like a cabinet door.  Lately Middle Son has been overly interested in the trash again, and I was afraid that was what I had heard.

I get to the kitchen and discover that I am correct.  Middle had taken the trash out from under the sink, dumped the contents into the sink, then put a new bag in the can.

It took a long time to get him to put all the trash back into the can.

Friday, March 15, 2013

No Shed

Oldest Son has now decided that he doesn't want to move out into the shed.  He wanted to know if that was ok with me.  I said it was fine.  And if he changes his mind later, that would be fine too.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Shed

This week Oldest Son and I have been talking a lot about the impending arrival of My Beloved Fiancee, her two daughters, dog, and cat in our household.

Last night he told me that he wants to move out into the shed in the back yard.  My first inclination was to dismiss the idea and tell him no, that's not going to happen.  Then I remembered the talk I was at on Monday and the woman he said her son lived in a tree house in the backyard for years.  She said she's convinced it's the only thing that enabled him to finish high school.

So I told him it is a possibility.  The shed is not insulated at all, so it's going to be cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

We went out and looked at it tonight.  There is a fair amount of stuff in it currently.  Lots of it is mine, but some belongs to the landlord.  It does have electricity.  There are two overhead lights and two electrical outlets.  He wants to try living in it.  I told him that getting it set up  for habitation is not going to be a top priority the next few weeks, but we can work on it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How Many Feet

In the car tonight, Youngest Son asked me "How many medium feet tall am I?"

I told him he is about three feet tall.  He responded that he is "four small feet tall, and 100 teeny feet tall."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ring the Bell

I was just looking at videos from the Ring the Bell campaign to stop violence against women.  Very powerful stuff.  I'm going to show them to Oldest Son so that we can discuss them.

Talk

I went to a talk tonight at Ryther, the organization that does the social skills groups that Oldest Son attends.  They had two different speakers.  One was focused on transitions for kids from high school to college or work.  The other was more focused on parents, the things we may run into during our children's transitions, and how we can cope with all the things that happen.

At many points I found myself thinking "that would make a good blog post."

I'm going to list a bunch of them now, so that I don't forget.

From the one who spoke about parents.
Survival kit for parents:

  • self-compassion
  • connection
  • practice gratitude
  • share your stories
  • humor
  • activism
I could probably do a post on each of these.

She talked about how parents are silenced, silenced in IEP meetings, doctors offices, and many other forums.  I have a couple of stories about that.

She mentioned a couple of books, including Far From the Tree, which I've been slowly working through.

She showed lists of strengths that she made for each of her three children, all of whom have learning differences.

From the one who spoke about kids and transitions:

Good social skills means being able to adapt when people don't behave the way you are expecting them to behave.  It does not mean being "nice" or polite in all circumstances.

Becoming a responsible adult means learning to be comfortable with discomfort.

The "polite" rules when teach younger kids in social skills need to be untaught as they get older.  Eye contact (which is often stressed with younger kids on the autism spectrum) can be creepy on a date.

They need to learn how to follow the thread of a conversation rather than trying to stick to the topic or stay on script.

She talked about kids she works with googling how to get a girlfriend or how to flirt with a guy and the iffy nature of what they find.  She referred to Sheldon on the Big Bang, which I got a kick out of.

She talked about the basics of independence, learning to:
  • get enough sleep
  • eat a reasonably nutritious diet
  • tend to personal hygiene
  • organize the things you need to do
  • do things you don't particularly want to do but need to be done
And once those are taken care of
  • learn new things
I talked a little to Oldest Son about that list tonight.  He agreed that it would be worth talking about and figuring out what areas he needs to work on from that list.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trash in the Sink

As I have noted in prior posts, Middle Son is very interested in the trash, and making sure it gets taken out.  Tonight, I watched him walk into the kitchen, take the trash can out, and up-end over the sink.  He shook it to make sure he got everything out.

I was perplexed.  This is a new wrinkle Middle's behavior.  I had him come back in the kitchen and put the trash back into the can.  My best guess as to what happened is that Middle wanted to take the trash out, but the door was locked so he couldn't.  Dumping it into the sink the was the next best option.

UPDATE: The front door was not locked, so that explanation doesn't hold up.  I have no idea what motivated this particular action.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Ball

Youngest Son is still very excited about his new room.  We were playing catch-ball-bounce-throw again.

My Beloved Fiancee called after dinner.  Youngest recognized her name while I was talking to her.  He asked if we were getting married because we love each other.  Which I thought was very sweet.  I said yes, we love each other and we want to be together for the rest of our lives.  That's why we are getting married.

Not About Information Exchange

I was listening in on a coaching class by Bob Dunham today, and heard something that struck a chord for me.
"Communication is not about exchange of information, it is about creating a shared future."
I was thinking about how this applies to Middle Son.  When we communicate, very little information passes from him to me--I have a really hard time figuring out what he is trying to tell me.  It looks like he has less trouble with that.  More often than not he seems to understand what I'm trying to tell him.  It works best when I am trying to get clear, concrete information to him.  I don't know how much abstract communication really makes sense to him.

When Middle communicates with me, it tends to be about a very near-term shared future that he wants to create.  A future in which he is eating a cookie.  A future in which I am tickling him.  A future in which the Muppet Show is playing in the DVD player.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Catch Ball Bounce Throw

As we prepare for My Beloved Fiancee and her daughters to move in, I got a loft bed for Youngest Son.  We got it fully assembled this weekend.  He loves it.

It also seemed to inspire him to want to play in his room.  We spent a good deal of time tossing a big ball around.  First we were both down on the floor.  He threw me the ball and said "Daddy, we're playing catch-ball-bounce-throw!"  Then a little later he started bouncing it off his head and we were playing head-ball-bounce-throw, then chin-ball-bounce-throw.

Then he climbed up on top of his bed.  Now, for some reason, it became a three word game, catch-bounce-throw, or catch-throw-bounce.  I asked if we were still playing catch-ball-bounce-throw and he said no, now it's a three thing game, not a four thing game.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Efficient vs. Brave

I was struck by a post I read to day from Seth Godin.
"It's possible that your next frontier isn't to get more efficient, it's to get more brave."
I've been thinking lately about efficiency.  A while back when I was doing laundry, I hit on the idea of having Middle Son fold the laundry and carry each garment individually to the bedroom to put it away, rather than stack them all in the laundry basket and carry them in one trip.

It doesn't seem efficient--we walk back and forth to the bedroom 30 or 40 times, and it takes 5 times longer for him to fold the laundry that it does for me to do it.  If I folded it and he carried the full laundry basket, he'd spend the other 20 minutes shredding toilet paper.  And I'd probably spend it screwing around on Facebook.

By doing it this way, I keep Middle engaged with me for 20 minutes.  Godin writes a lot about emotional labor and emotional courage.  I think when he says brave, he means engaging with the people around you, engaging with their fears, and engaging with your fears.

In a small way, that's what I'm doing when we put the laundry away.  I'm engaging with Middle, with his fears/challenges around tasks, and my fears of his future given his inability to care for himself and make his way in the world.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Toilet Paper

Middle Son has a weird fixation (actually, he has LOTS of weird fixations, but I'm going to write about one in particular) with toilet tanks.  He loves to shred paper or grass into the tank of the toilet.  I've had to replace two toilets in the past three years because of this.  The channels inside the porcelain get clogged and you can't clear them.

Grass is the killer.  Toilet paper sometimes causes a problem, and other times it doesn't.  The first time he did it he dumped handfuls of shredded grass into the toilets of both bathrooms.  By the end of the weekend, I couldn't flush either one without a bucket.  They both had to be replaced.  My landlord made me pay for it.  I couldn't argue.

One I had the new toilets, I needed to keep Middle out of them.  I can't afford to replace the toilets every two weeks.  My first attempt at keeping him was tying rope around the tank.  That was an abject failure, couldn't get it tight enough.  Within 30 seconds he had a big enough gap that he was able to slip some toilet paper inside.  The next was duct tape.  Many turns around the lid, then a couple around the tank.  That worked.

I followed him into the bathroom.  He looked at it, realized that he wouldn't be able to get it open, and he face sank.  He looked like someone had just run over his dog (or rather, like someone who really cares about their dog would look if their dog was run over).

My current house, which I moved into a little over a year ago, has two bathrooms, a master bath en suite and the main bathroom.  The toilet in the main bath has a cargo strap wrapped around the tank so that he can't get the lid off.  That's the third method I've used to keep him out.  It's worked, although occasionally I have to tighten it up.  It looks a little classier (or maybe a little less white-trash) than the duct tape.  I found a strap that matched the colors in the shower curtain.

Since the master bath is off my bedroom, I decided not to put a strap on it.  I keep the door to my room locked, so he can't get in.  Most of the time this works.  He's gotten in a couple of times and put some toilet paper in the tank.  It doesn't flush quite as well as it used to, but it still works.

Tonight, I caught Middle at the door to my room.  It wasn't locked.  When he saw me he quickly stepped back.  I thought that I'd caught him on his way in.  Later in the evening, I went into my bathroom, and discovered that I was wrong.  I'd caught him on the way out.  There was what looked like an entire roll of toilet paper in the tank.  So far the toilet still works.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Was Too Asleep

Youngest Son fell asleep in the living room tonight.  I woke him up to go to bed.  He tried to convince me that he hadn't really been asleep, so he didn't need to go to bed.  I was not convinced.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Help?

When I got home tonight the nanny was very excited.  She had taken Middle Son out, and when they got in the car to come home, Middle was having trouble with his seat belt.  He reached from the back seat and tapped her on the shoulder.  She asked if he needed help, and she said he said "hea" and signed yes.  She was startled that he was vocalizing, and asked again.  Again, he said "hea" again.

The first speech-like response Middle has given in a VERY long time.  Hopefully it's the start of a trend.

Not Asleep After All

Last night, about an hour after he went into his room to go to bed, Youngest Son came out.  He was sobbing and saying "come on."  It took me a while to realize what had happened.  I had told him to go to his room and I'd come and read him a story in a few minutes.  I got distracted dealing with Middle Son, and then it had been 15 minutes and he hadn't come out, so I assumed that he had fallen asleep.

I was wrong.  He was awake and waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  Once I figured out what had happened, I apologized profusely.  Daddy is very sorry to have kept you waiting--I thought you were asleep.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Middle Son at the Wedding

My Beloved Fiancee and I went today to look at a location we're considering for our wedding and reception.  As we were talking to the event co-ordinator, My Beloved started talking about Middle Son, how he might react, and how we might be able to set up an area for him that would be a little sheltered from the noise and commotion but still allow him to observe the festivities.  I discovered that My Beloved had already talked with the co-ordinator about Middle when she had set up the appointment.

I teared up a little.  I am accustomed to being the only one who is thinking about Middle's wants and needs and taking action, the only one truly tending to his future.  I don't for a moment question MomC's devotion to all of her children, but I rarely,see her engaging with Middle's challenges in the here-and-now, let alone in the future.

And here My Beloved was taking action about something I hadn't even thought about in Middle's future.  She tells me that she's always thinking about my boys and their future and needs, and especially about Middle.  And now I've seen the it in action.

I am in awe of my (and my children's) great fortune to have found such a wonderful woman.  (If you're reading this babe, I love you this <-------------------> big.)

Dinner and Snacks

Youngest Son asked to be excused from dinner tonight with eating much.  I told him he needed to eat some more food.  And he did.  So I excused him from the table.

About 10 minutes later he asked if he could have a snack.  I told him "no, if you are hungry now it is because you didn't eat enough dinner food, and you don't get a snack until bedtime."  He tried a couple more times, but I stuck to my line.

About 8:45 he said he was ready for his snack.  I had him turn the TV off and use the bathroom, and told him that after he ate he would go to bed.  So he ate.  Then he said "maybe I'm not ready to go to sleep yet."

I told him that he had just had his bedtime snack, so now he had to go in his room.  If he wasn't sleepy he didn't have to go to sleep, but he had to stay in his room.  He went in, and didn't come back out.  Apparently he was ready to go to sleep.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nighttime Feeding

There was lots of motion during the night last night.  Both Oldest Son and Middle Son were up moving around.  I woke around 4:30 to the sound of Middle Son flushing the toilet repeatedly and never got all the way back to sleep.

Oldest slept through his alarm and missed the bus today.

When I woke up Middle, in his bed a found the bag of bagels that I had left on the counter last night.  It had been a brand-new bag with six bagels in it.  Now there were only four.

If he'd eaten his food instead of throwing it at me, I bet he wouldn't have needed to eat two bagels in the middle of the night.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Temper and Food

Middle Son got up from the table in during dinner with his plate in his hand.  That usually means he's planning to dump his food into the trash.  Since he hadn't eaten much, I didn't want him to do that.  So I got up and went to stand in front of the sink, blocking his path.  When he saw me standing there, he flicked his plate so that all the food went flying off, towards me.

Pasta in alfredo sauce, corn, and sliced apples.  Big mess.  I cursed in front of my children for the first time in  a couple of years.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More Batman

More Batman paraphernalia arrived this weekend.  We have now Batman sheets and a Batman pillowcase.  Still waiting on the Batman comforter.

Friday, February 22, 2013

More on Executive Function

I had a very interesting conversation with a coworker of mine about executive function.

He has shared with me that he has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, just like Oldest Son.  I was describing the conversation that I had with Oldest about executive function, homework, and future careers.

He said that one of the things that he really struggles with is juggling multiple activities over long time spans.  If he is told in January that there are five projects that he needs to have done by May, he has a really hard time planning out the different tasks and managing them.  It's far easier for him to have only a single project at a time.  He contrasted that with his own manager, who has told him that he gets bored if he has to stick with a single task for too long, and much prefers to move between multiple tasks.

I want to share that with Oldest next week, when he is back at my house.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Going to the Car

My nanny was out today, so Middle Son went to MomC's house after school, and I picked him up after work.  When I got there he wasn't ready--didn't have his socks or shoes on.  While I was waiting for him to do that, I was talking with MomC, and Oldest and Youngest Son's.

We will still talking when Middle was ready, so I told him to go out to the car.  I wasn't sure that he would.  Sometimes he wanders around the yard, or if he has enough time, into someone else's yard.

When I went outside, he was sitting in the car.  He'd done just what I asked him to do.