Wednesday, July 17, 2013


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.