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.


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


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


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.