Archive for category Silly Behaviors

In Search Of …

A Sunday afternoon near the end of summer, and we set off once again in search of the elusive petting zoo.

Clay’s love of farm animals—horses, goats, sheep—cropped up a few summers back and has led to us checking out the local Grange Fair, a nearby farm, horseback riding lessons. We are always on the look out for a chance for the little guy to interact with animals. Rumor had it they operate a petting zoo at one of the local nurseries, so we hopped into the bat mobile to investigate.

The big barn and extensive grounds seemed promising as we drove to the parking lot in the rear. While Clay and I went searching, my silly wife went inside to ask. Women. So, it turns out the petting zoo is more of a rental. The animals are shipped from a farm for special events at the nursery. No special events today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Musical Sofas

The Spoils of Victory

The excessive heat this summer has led to an unexpected armageddon at our house. A battle royale between man and beast. An epic drama rivaling the Cuban missile crisis and the standoff in the Middle East combined.

Am I overstating the situation? Decide for yourself.

I have to begin by explaining that we don’t have central air conditioning. One searing August after we first moved in and it seemed you could see the heat shimmer off our kitchen floor, we decided to get an estimate. When it arrived we fought off the nausea, politely said, “We’ll have to think about it” and bought three window units, instead. When my father-in-law’s aunt passed away several years back we inherited a fourth, an ancient monstrosity that sounds like a truck struggling up a steep incline and may have been built in Thomas Edison’s lab. I’m not sure who wired the electricity in our house but I don’t believe he had all of his vision or the use of both arms because it is a tad, how shall I say, unbalanced. I blew out an outlet in the upstairs bathroom once and found that the outside lights, the garbage disposal and a closet in the attic are on the same Rubik’s cube of a circuit. Read the rest of this entry »

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Where’s the Cheese?

Clay has been banned from our bedroom.

Well, not completely. Just during those times when we can’t be there to keep an eye on him. I’ve mentioned before that one of his favorite pastimes is to slam his body onto our bed. He already has broken the frame. (I’ve got it rigged with duct tape and basset hound saliva to hold together for now.) I may not have mentioned that he also strips off the bed covers, pulls clothes and shoes out of our closets, scatters night-stand books, yanks the not-so-precious gems out of my wife’s jewelry box and generally makes quite a mess.

There are times—a lot of times—when the room looks like a burglar came through the window followed maybe an hour later by a tornado. Then a swarm of rabid, underwear chewing wolverines stopped by. So, we said, “Enough. Wreak your havoc elsewhere, oh Lord of Chaos, oh King of Collateral Damage. The Dark Knight of the Achy Lower Back Shall Abide Thou Foul Knavery No More.”

Here’s the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sweet Mysteries

About two weeks ago, my wife began leaving the paper towel roll on the window sill in our kitchen, in clear view of Mr. Busy Hands. I have no idea what prompted this obviously insane action by a normally sane human being. But, through some miracle beyond explanation, the paper towel roll has remained there—untouched by the little fellow—ever since.

For many, this may seem like a minor occurrence. Trivial, even. A topic unworthy of a blog of this stature. For these two veteran autism parents, however, it represents a milestone comparable to men walking on the moon or the invention of gluten-free bagels that taste and feel like, well, bagels. Let me provide you with a short history. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two Bits

Last Sunday night, I gathered the equipment, let my wife know the time was at hand, and herded a shirtless Clay into the downstairs bathroom. The dog whimpered in the hallway as I locked the door.

Yep. It was time for Clay’s monthly haircut.

My son’s unruly crop of dark brown hair often looks like it was cut by a one-armed blind man riding in a bumper car at the carnival. No surprise since that is exactly how the experience feels when we attempt the monthly hair fest.

We’ve been through many scenarios. When Clay was younger, and a little more prone to sit still, we would brave the local barbershop. While his behind would stay planted in the chair, his head would bob and weave like a prize fighter. I’m sure some of the barbers took extra long with the person they were working on when it was clear that Clay’s turn was next, hoping they didn’t draw that number. We finally gave that up after a few years when one unlucky soul managed to cut his own finger during the mayhem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jumping Bean

With just a few minutes left in our recent visit to a nearby bounce emporium, Clay was showing no signs of slowing down and little interest in our warnings that we needed to leave soon.

A local group, the Autism Cares Foundation, has been funding a once-a-month session at a Bounce U, which is filled with huge sliding boards, mazes, moon walks, every kind of blow-up-bounce-on-me-type of equipment you can imagine. We joined them for the first time last week.

Clay was having the time of his life, jumping and flinging his body around on one piece after another. All 10 or 12 of the kids were doing the same. It’s amazing to watch kids with autism go at this sort of equipment. Clay is particularly insatiable, bouncing with abandon. Doesn’t matter whether you are supposed to be sliding or climbing, he finds a way to fit in some pinball action. A couple of times I had to shoo him out of the basketball area, where he was rolling around on the padded mats. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tight Spaces

One night about a week ago, Clay disappeared on me.

With my wife at a meeting, it was just us guys for the evening. I was attempting to work in my office in the finished attic—while our basset hound, Miles, nudged against my leg demanding to be petted—when the silence below forced my nose out of my laptop.

No one would ever refer to Clay as a quiet little bunny. He maintains a steady stream of talking, mixed with squeaks and squawks, pretty much from dawn to midnight. When we go food shopping, I always know where Clay and my wife are, even from three aisles away. As I am typing this I can hear him downstairs watching Shrek in his room, screeching and clapping. A ghostly quiet grabs your attention.

Downstairs I went, checking the little guy’s usual haunts—his room, the upstairs bathroom, our bedroom, the room above the kitchen where we set up a computer so he can listen to his favorite music. (The last few weeks he’s played a steady stream of Andrea Bocelli’s Romanza, Willie Nelson’s 16 Biggest Hits and Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around.) No sign of Clay. I headed down to the living room, family room and kitchen. Still no sweet sound of babble. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Gift

Mailman bearing giftsAs soon as I saw the return address on the package I had a pretty good idea what was inside.

The package, from a good friend in Colorado, was addressed to both of us, so I left it on the counter with the other mail for my wife to open.

What did I think it was? I mentioned in a blog post around Christmas that Clay had broken a couple of ornaments, including a fragile Grinch globe that we had been hanging on our tree for 20 years.  I know our friend in Colorado is a huge fan of Dr. Seuss, like Clay, and an avid reader of this blog. Putting two and two together, I figured it was a replacement ornament.

It turned out to be a much more generous gesture. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Journey

The following is based on a true story.

It’s three in the afternoon on a Saturday. I’m in the family room watching a movie, just getting that wonderful fuzzy feeling of drifting off to a nap, when I hear a muffled bang coming from upstairs. It’s just me and Clay at home, so no chance I can continue my entrenchment on the sofa listening for the footsteps that indicate my wife will take care of this. I need to investigate.

Up I stand with a groan, take the two steps into the kitchen and promptly slam my head on the cabinet door that Clay has left open. We give him free access to a cabinet above the oven, which we stock mostly with a variety of chips. He never closes the door. After bouncing my head off it dozens of times, you’d think I would be looking out for it. You would think wrong. It is natural to look down at the steps into the kitchen as you climb them, and since the cabinet door is just a foot inside the kitchen and at eye level, well, wham-bam. This doesn’t improve my already crabby mood. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ornament Tournament

Little boy and Christmas treeSunday night, we began the yearly battle known in our house as decorating the Christmas tree.

First, I hauled the artificial tree from the basement, along with our waterlogged box of ornaments and set up operations in a corner of the living room. Then, I pieced together the tree, which emerges from its storage box with fewer branches each year as it moves inevitably toward Charlie Brown status. Next I untangled a sad strip of white lights, an emergency, late night purchase from a pharmacy a few years back when the multicolored ones declared an untimely work stoppage.

Finally, we moved to the ornaments, the very center of the battlefield. The raw meat tossed to the lion. Read the rest of this entry »

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