Larry Blumenthal

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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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You is smart

Clay hasn’t had a lot to say at our every-other-week typing sessions over the last few visits. We’re not sure why. Sometimes its allergies. Sometimes he’s tired. Sometimes he just can’t get his body and head organized to share thoughts.

Then, sometimes, the words just come tumbling out. He sits right down, puts his arm out for support and doesn’t stop typing until his message is finished.

I don’t know if it was the two weeks off between school and camp. Or the beautiful, clear air. Or maybe the horseback ride that went so well that morning. All I know is that last Saturday, he had a lot to say. It was one of the good days. Read the rest of this entry »

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You have to see the baby

My wife was in our backyard with the dogs one morning last week, when one of the black vultures that have been living – rent free – in our garage popped into the window on the right.

Not that uncommon of an occurrence since our friends moved in last summer. But then something else caught my wife’s eye. Someone new peeking out of the window on the left. 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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Goots Salute

Clay and sitter Marissa, making the rounds

So, here is the dilemma.

Clay’s grandfather, aka Goots, was throwing a party for his 80th birthday. He reserved a room at a nearby restaurant.

On the one hand:

We know from experience that restaurant is a tad crowded and noisy for the little guy. The bathroom, which we would be visiting numerous times is, how shall we say, cramped. Not only does it contain a sink built for Lilliputians, but you will inevitably be smacked in the keister with the door while washing your hands. Try maneuvering two people into that space.

My wife’s whole family would be there, and she and I both wanted a chance to chat and mingle, a difficult task when Mr. Busy Hands is in a crowded restaurant.

Add in the fact that Clay has been in high manic mood for the past week or so – we think it is allergies – and you can see that it was a situation crying out for a sitter.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Top hat and tails

Off to the prom

Last year, when we took Clay to the prom held by a local autism group things went more smoothly then we ever would have dreamed – especially since he had been up almost the entire night before. This past Friday, he had a full night’s sleep, so we expected more of the same.

The night started, much like last year — getting the little guy dressed in his formal attire. An act that requires a magician’s timing (too soon and he will be completely undressed before we go, too late and we risk a meltdown from rushing), a race car driver’s reflexes (every try tying a tie on someone who is moving?) and the patience of a yogi (’nuff said). We have none of those, but managed nonetheless. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hop, Skip, Jump

Getting in the zone

Before this past Saturday afternoon, we had one experience with Special Olympics.

Clay was in middle school. The teacher told my wife to show up for the opening ceremonies at 9 a.m., not realizing that Clay’s event wouldn’t take place until the afternoon. A hot day at the local high school football stadium. Swarming crowds. A blaring marching band. General chaos. You can do the math.

My wife lasted about an hour (thanks to a nearby John Deere tractor that drew Clay like a magnet) before heading home, where the overwhelmed Olympian fled to the safety of his bed and fell asleep. Three years later the scars are still raw. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vote for Clay

Babble, an award-winning Web site for parents owned by Disney, is holding a contest for the 30 best autism blogs. Somehow, Life with Clay wound up being nominated. (OK, the nomination may have come from Clay’s number one fan.) That being said, if you care to cast a vote for this blog, it would be much appreciated. You can vote here or click on the Vote for Me box on your right. Then, find Life with Clay (currently on the second page of the list) and click “I like this” Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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Saddle sores

Ready and waiting

When we got to the stables for Clay’s regular Saturday morning horseback ride last week, we had no idea if he would get on the horse.

Lately, it has been about a 50/50 shot.

Horseback riding is one of the few activities that Clay seems to truly engage in, something we learned quickly when he climbed on a horse the first time we visited a stable. He connects with horses, pressing his forehead against them, petting them. He is all smiles at the stables. But, starting a few months back, it has been a struggle to get him up in the saddle. Read the rest of this entry »

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Still Here

Last spring, I reported that a family of black vultures had taken up residence in the loft above our garage.

We were initially nervous at the arrival of these Shamu-size predators, fearing in particular for the life of our wee basset hound. No need to worry, Clay said, “ … they are docile.”

As usual, the little fellow turned out to be right, and we coexisted peacefully with the vultures throughout the summer. They even taught us a lesson about not judging a book by its cover (a lesson we learn over and over with Clay). When it appeared they had moved on for the winter, we still found ourselves watching for them on the roof when we came up the driveway or hung out in the backyard.

Read the rest of this entry »

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