Thursday, December 10, 2015


I have come to the conclusion that it is no longer safe to clip the nails of Middle Son's pointer fingers.  And perhaps his thumbs.

He is generally resistant to having his finger nails clipped (for some reason toe nails are not a problem).  I clip them as part of his night-time grooming routine.  We floss, brush teeth, and shave with an electric razor.  Then on some nights we clip nails.  When I get the clippers out Middle immediately presents his pinkies and lets me clip them.  Ring fingers are usually not too difficult.  Sometimes the middle fingers are ok.  Usually they are a challenge.

The pointer fingers are hugely difficult.  I try to hold his hand steady, with my fingers under his pointer so that the nail is exposed.  He takes my other hand and holds it so that it blocks my line of sight.  He digs his nail into my hand so that I can't get the clipper under it.  Then he starts jerking around.

Last time I tried to clip the pointer, My Beloved Wife came in to help.  We wrestled with Middle for about 5 minutes.  Then I called a halt.  We weren't getting anywhere and Middle was becoming more and more agitated.  I was afraid he was going to jerk too hard and dislocate or break my fingers (or his).

He will let me use an emery board on his pointers and thumbs.  A few nights ago, after I spent some time filing his middle fingers I was able to use the nail clipper on them.  Still couldn't get the pointer.

I've told the ABA therapist that we are starting to work with that this is a high priority.  If I can't clip them safely, they will get very long.  That poses another sort of hazard that I'd rather not have to deal with.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Xbox One

I was talking with MomC the other day about Youngest Son's burning desire for Lego Dimensions. She told me that she is buying it for him, along with a Xbox One.  I told her that I've been considering  getting one too. I want Youngest to keep believing that Christmas wishes come true for a little longer. 

She told me that Oldest Son is very upset about it. He doesn't want to live in a house that has an Xbox One. He says he might go live with his aunt. 

My Beloved Wife bough an Xbox One for our household yesterday. We have an Xbox 360, but the drive doesn't work so you can only play games that have been bought by downloading. 

When I told MBW that Oldest is threatening to move out over the Xbox she was dumbfounded. Which is very much the appropriate reaction. 

There is a legitimate concern buried at the bottom of this. In the original launch plans for Xbox One there were serious concerns about privacy and ownership. Oldest worries a lot about digital privacy. Microsoft revamped things in response to outcry. 

But moving because of an Xbox is wildly unreasonable. 

This is emblematic of Oldest and the way his autism manifests itself. I suspect that he is going to have trouble learning how to compromise when his absolutist beliefs come into conflict with the realities of life. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Oldest Son is a senior in high school this year.  I've been talking with him about working and jobs.  The conversation is going very slowly.  He will only talk to me about it when we are alone (or with Middle Son, since Middle doesn't talk).

Sometimes he asks me what kind of job I think he should get, or what he'd be good at.  He reminds me of the Mother of My Children when he does that.  MomC used to ask me that.  I never did figure out how to respond.

With Oldest, I try and turn it back to him.  He is the one who is the best placed to decide that.  When we talked about it last week, he said he doesn't think having a job is for him.  He doesn't want to have a boss he is beholden to.  I told him that is going to be tough.  There are lots of self-employed people out there, but you have to have the drive and capability to carve out a niche.  His autism will make that harder.  He has trouble initiating contact.  He has trouble with organization and follow through.

I struggle with how hard to push Oldest on this (and other) issues.  As his dad, part of my job is help him move forward in life, to launch out into the world.  He gets stuck easily, and needs pushes to keep moving.  It's a real struggle to find the correct balance.  I worry that I am erring on the side of pushing to little.  But when I push to hard, he refuses to engage.  I worry that if I push too hard too often, he'll withdraw and stop engaging with me at all.  If life at my house is too uncomfortable for him, he could just stop coming and stay at MomC's all the time.

My Beloved Wife and I were talking about it last night.  Apparently Younger Stepdaughter recently asked Oldest when he was going to get a job.  He said he "doesn't think work is for him."  MBW said she thinks Oldest has a lot of hard knocks coming his way.

I'm pretty sure she is right.