Archive for May, 2010

Let’s Talk

Sad We Cannot Talk

Clay has been fighting the keyboard this week. With the temperature hovering near 90 degrees the past few days, we figure some of that comes from allergies and the sluggishness we are all feeling.

My wife sat him down at our kitchen table the other night to see if he was ready for some conversation. The following exchange took place, as always in the robotic voice of the keyboard master:

“Is there anything you want to say?” Read the rest of this entry »




Shoeless Joe

Empty shoes and snackClay wears sneakers all day at school, but the moment he comes in our back door off they come. The picture to the left is the view one minute after Clay came home from school on Friday. A visit to the afternoon snacks and removal of the sneakers. It is not such a bad thing inside—although we have an old farmhouse with irregular wooden floors—because he keeps his socks on. The dilemma is outside.

In warm weather, trying to keeping Clay inside is like standing between a fat lady and an ice cream cone. Ultimately, you are going to wind up with an empty hand, counting to make sure you still have all 10 sticky fingers. Problem is that he is always on the move—inside, outside, inside, outside—and every time he comes in, flinging the door wide open, the shoes come off. Read the rest of this entry »


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Weekend Away

Family picnicFamily occasions create dilemmas for us.

This past weekend our niece (my brother’s middle child) graduated from college. My brother and his wife rented a house in a new subdivision near the campus and invited the family to spend the weekend, including me, my wife and our two sons. We had to make a decision.

We all wanted to be there to help celebrate a family milestone. On a selfish level, I usually fight to keep my small end of the family together on holidays and other big occasions. Seems like family members should be with each other at those times, and some inconvenience shouldn’t get in the way. Sometime reality wins out, though. And I have to admit I don’t fight as hard anymore. If we all went, it would mean a high-stress weekend for me, my wife and Clay—and the risk of putting stress on the rest of the family and getting in the way of my niece’s moment. Read the rest of this entry »



Into the Classroom

This morning, we met with Clay’s teacher and the support network that works with him at school to discuss goals for next year. (He attends an autistic support class at our local middle school, and is moving on to the high school in the fall.) While he didn’t attend the meeting, we decided to let Clay set the agenda.

He has been communicating his feelings about school lately, and his message has been consistent. Sunday night, was typical. He was crying. On the keyboard, he typed that he was upset about school. When we asked why, he typed that he was bored.

A little later, my wife asked him what we could do to make school better for him. Read the rest of this entry »


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Sticky Situation

pouring liquidI’ve mentioned before that Clay enjoys pouring things out. We’ve long since learned to keep shampoos, mouthwashes, liquid soap and other “pourables” behind locked doors, along with the paper towels and napkins (a topic for another day). Forget about hydrogen peroxide or witch hazel. We smuggle them into the house in unmarked bags like winos in a cheap hotel and still the bottles will be empty within hours. It is an obsession that is as puzzling as it is maddening.

The last few days Clay has been dumping juice. Read the rest of this entry »


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A Mother’s Day Message

I remember my wife’s first Mother’s Day vividly. Clay’s older brother, our first child, was about eight months old, and he had a fever. I stayed home with him, while my wife visited her mother. The little guy did not want to be put down, so I spent a long afternoon wandering the house carrying him, talking to him and feeding him liquid acetaminophen at appropriate intervals. When my wife came home around dinner time, she took him from me, and he promptly vomited all over her. Welcome to motherhood. That became the yardstick by which we have measured all subsequent Mother’s Days. (“At least no one threw up on me.”) Until this year. Read the rest of this entry »



The Dreaded Call

Every parent knows about the dreaded call. It is the sinking feeling that flows through your body when the phone rings during the day and the caller ID shows the name of your kid’s school. That call almost always signals the same thing. Your little one is not feeling well, and—like it or not—somebody’s work day is about to be ended prematurely.

Monday morning, my wife picked up her cell phone at work to receive the news that Clay had been acting agitated at school all morning. He had indicated he needed to go to the rest room eight times, but didn’t actually relieve himself in any of those visits. The school nurse suggested he might have a urinary problem that needed to be looked at, and requested we pick him up. Read the rest of this entry »



Old Man Allergy

It’s allergy season, which means there are days when Clay—like a lot of other people—is not in a mood to focus.

Last Thursday afternoon, Clay ran up the driveway from the bus, left his sneakers on the kitchen floor, his jacket on the counter and dropped a trail of pretzel sticks through the living room, up the stairs and into his bedroom, where I found him wrapped in his covers trying to burrow into the wall next to his bed. I could see it was going to be one of those “high energy” afternoons. Read the rest of this entry »


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