Archive for category Silly Behaviors

Farmer Clay

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I stashed the 50 pound bags of organic topsoil in the side of the garage that Clay doesn’t typically visit. His swing is on the right side. I put the bags on the left and closed the door. It was a rainy Sunday morning. I wanted to keep them dry—and away from Mr. Busy Fingers—until I was ready to dump them in our vegetable garden.

Every couple of years we decide to plant a garden in our backyard, and this is one of those years. The thought of fresh tomatoes and peppers blocks out the memories of past painful experiences. Like the vision of holding a newborn in their arms helps women forget the pain of childbirth long enough for them to face it all over again. We are not as ambitious as we used to be—no more overripe corn, mammoth watermelons, pea-size strawberries, grape vines enveloped in a cloud of yellow jackets. We keep it simple. Tomatoes. Peppers. Maybe some herbs. With experience comes wisdom. Or exhaustion. Sometimes both.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Missing

frenchfriesAt the end of my wife’s monthly meeting with Clay’s teacher, he smiled and said, “Now I have to share a story about your son from a couple of weeks ago.”

My wife was all ears.

I should say before relating this story that Clay’s teacher is a great guy who has a real affection for the little fellow. I ran this entry past him to get the facts straight and make sure I wasn’t going to get him in any kind of trouble for sharing this. That is certainly not my intention.

So, here is the story: Read the rest of this entry »

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Polar Express

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It was the second day this week we wound up snowbound, so Clay shot toward the door Tuesday afternoon when I asked if he wanted to take a walk.

For me, it was a survival tactic. Boredom leads to compulsive behaviors. We already had barred entry to the upstairs bathroom and moved every paperback in the house out of reach. Preventive measures.

For the little guy, walking is what he was born to do.  He puts endless miles on his shoes every day. But trudging through the snow has its challenges. The great walker doesn’t like things on or near his head (hence the monthly haircut wars), so a hat to keep his ears warm is out of the question. He’s not a big fan of gloves, either. Boots he’ll tolerate. He’s used to wearing them for horseback riding. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Lessons Learned

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Clay turned 18 this summer, a pretty big milestone for any kid – and any parent. This one got me thinking about life with Clay over those years – the gradual road to a diagnosis, an emergency trip to Children’s Hospital in the middle of the night for a scary infection, surgery for swollen adenoids, the continuing search for therapists, the search for the right school situation, his connection with horses and other animals, the discovery of his inner world through typing. It has been quite a journey.

To celebrate the little guy’s birthday, I collected three lessons he has taught me in an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer, which appears this weekend. Click here to see it along with a couple of pictures of the wise one around town. Read the rest of this entry »

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Like Pulling Teeth

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For the past 10 days or so we have been playing a game called, “Guess what it is that is bothering Clay.” It is quite a stressful game. A little bit like Clue, except there is no Colonel Mustard and the stakes are real. I suppose it is not really a game at all – for Clay or us. Especially for Clay. But I find that it helps to look at it as a mystery to be solved rather than a glimpse into Dante’s 10th level of Hell – the one his publisher asked him to leave out to protect the squeamish.

Now, you can play along at home. Read the rest of this entry »

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“It don’t mean a thing …”

Here’s the question: Where do you hang a swing that is big enough to hold six kids at the same time?

I wrote earlier about the demise of Clay’s beloved swing set this past spring. Clay can be tough to buy presents for, but when his birthday came along in early July, it was a no brainer to find a replacement swing. My wife did some online research and found a tree swing that looked like it would do the job (for a lot less than the professional ones that most therapists use.) The large size seemed about right. His Grandpop Tony offered to buy it. All was set. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tight squeeze

Going for the loop-de-loop in sunnier times

When I heard my wife’s panicked voice calling me from the vicinity of our aging swing set Saturday afternoon, I had a pretty good idea what had happened.

I just didn’t know how serious it really was.

It all started earlier in the week. On Thursday I saw Clay by the swing set, talking quietly to himself, as I walked to the backdoor on my way home from work. He usually is at the gate—if he is in the backyard—when I pull in the driveway, but I didn’t think much of it. After getting changed, I headed out to fire up the barbecue for dinner. Clay was still over by the swings. It was unlike him to not be in and out of the kitchen when dinner was being prepared, making us a little suspicious. When I started cooking, and he was still over there, I got worried. He follows me like a lost puppy when I am barbecuing, closely monitoring the progress of his dinner, so something didn’t seem right. I jogged across the lawn to investigate. Read the rest of this entry »

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