Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life’s Easy Button

Like any child, David has a way of pushing my buttons. If he is angry or upset and decides he wants to share that particular emotion with me, he knows exactly what to do to get a rise out of me. Lately, he has been working his magic, for the most part unintentionally. You see, he has been pushing my buttons by, well, pushing buttons.

David is fascinated by buttons of all shapes and sizes, especially if they beep or light up when pressed. Or, in the case of elevators, you have illuminated buttons and beeping with the added bonus of doors opening and closing—absolute heaven. But, since we do not have any elevators in our house, David has to get creative.

Earlier this week, David changed the setting on Michael's alarm clock from a.m. to p.m. We know that David plays with Michael's alarm clock, although he does not seem to have the same fascination with mine, for some reason. Each night before he falls asleep, Michael checks the alarm, but it never occurred to him that the little prankster would reset the alarm for p.m. and when Michael finally woke up a full hour late in the morning, he was not at all amused.

David also is fascinated with the buttons on the coffee maker. Actually, he is fascinated by the whole coffee making process, which he has adopted as one of his chores. I know it sounds strange, but the parents of kids with autism will understand why I let him help me each night. It is a multi-step process and he has to put the steps in sequence. He gets the coffee filter from the stack (a good fine motor skill), remembers to put three scoops of coffee in the basket, watches me add the water, closes all the doors (not quite as fascinating as an elevator because they are not automatic doors) and then knows which two buttons to push to turn off the grinder function and to set it to turn on automatically, hopefully the next morning assuming he hasn't also changed a.m. to p.m.

The problem with this whole task, however, is that David also really likes to watch the coffee drip out of the filter basket and into the pot, so if I am not keeping an eye on him he will start the coffee brewing right away. Or, he will come back later to start it, which on more than one occasion has forced me to have a cup of coffee after dinner so that the whole pot doesn't go to waste—not conducive to a good night's sleep.

And just this morning when I woke up, I thought I might be coming down with something because I was chilled. I then decided to check the thermostat when Andrew was also complaining of being cold. We have been keeping our fingers crossed all winter since our furnace is original to our house (and will continue to cross fingers all summer because our air conditioner is, as well). I am happy to report that there was nothing wrong with the furnace except that a six-year-old saboteur apparently pressed the temperature down button at least 23 times in quick succession because the heat was set at 45 degrees, which not surprisingly makes for a chilly house.

I sometimes do feel the need to follow David to see which buttons he will be pushing next. If only life did imitate art—or commercials—I would be first in line to buy one of those "easy" buttons.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sight Words

David and Andrew did not have school today. A teacher workday, combined with the Presidents' Day holiday made for a long weekend—a really long weekend. I did take the opportunity to try to work with David, so I pulled out some of the school supplies that he has not seen for a while including a small cookie sheet and magnetic letters. I thought we would work on sight words.

David was not really interested in reading the words that I spelled for him. Imagine that, David did not want to cooperate with me. He seemed more interested in searching for the letters himself. He would name a letter and I would help him dig through the box to find it. The first letter was "P" and I smiled. I knew what David was going to spell. He has started swimming lessons again and had another lesson yesterday. He is always so motivated to go to swimming that we have him perform several tasks in preparation, things that he usually does not like to do. He put on his own socks, picked up a few of his toys, folded a load of laundry (okay, maybe that one is a fantasy) and signed out by writing the word "pool" before he could get into the car. Of course he was looking for the letters P-O-O-L.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Life with David is rarely predictable. Here is what he spelled for me today.

Can you tell who received a copy of "Toy Story 3" from his aunt for Valentine's Day? He even made the "I" go hopping away like it does during the opening of the movie. Do you suppose "Pixar" appears anywhere on the list of top sight words for a Kindergartener?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Date Night

Michael and I have not had much of an opportunity to go out together since our babysitter left for college last September. So, when a local organization offered an evening program for kids with disabilities and their siblings, we jumped at the opportunity.

David was really excited about his "popcorn party" with Andrew. We had talked about it all day and, since he has just recently acquired the skill of answering yes/no questions, his answer each time I asked if he wanted to go the party was an unequivocal "YETZ."

I should have known the evening was about to unravel when we were accosted in the parking lot by a girl about David's age, wielding a huge stuffed rabbit. She apparently knows David because she called him by name, although I have no idea where they met; it seems David gets out more than I do.

When we finally convinced David that the enthusiastic girl and her furry friend no longer posed an imminent threat, we opened the door to building and were greeted by the strong odor of Pine Sol. I do not think I am exaggerating to say that clouds of the cleaning solution came billowing out. I have never liked the smell of Pine Sol—in fact I am still convinced that Michael used it for cleaning early in our marriage in the hope that I would not ask him to help clean any more. I do not know if David is extremely sensitive to smell like many kids with autism, but suffice it to say that it was not a pleasant fragrance as we entered the building.

When I saw that the evening of fun and frivolity was scheduled in a gymnasium, I knew we were doomed. No amount of the promised popcorn could convince David that he wanted to stay. In his mind, gyms hold basketball games and basketball games have buzzers and David hates buzzers. After the repeated chorus of "timetogohometimetogohometimetogohome" we decided that it was, not surprisingly, time to go home. We paid our $14 for not quite 14 minutes of respite care, which they did cheerfully try to refund to us. I say "cheerfully" because I think the organizers were just secretly delighted that we had decided not to bolt through the doors and sprint back to our car in the parking lot, leaving David for the remaining two hours and sixteen minutes. It wouldn't have worked, anyway, because I am confident that David would have beaten me back to the car.

Has anyone ever needed a respite from respite care because I really did feel like I needed a vacation, or a visit to the spa, or better yet a visit to the spa while on vacation? David must have felt like he needed a vacation, too, because when we arrived home he marched straight through the house, out the back door and proceeded to unwind by winding the swing up and watching it unwind—talk about taking things literally. I settled for a glass of wine and take-out Chinese food. It was not quite the evening we had envisioned, but I would guess it wasn't exactly what David had imagined, either.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Wipeout Zone

Round 4 wheel configuration on the U.S. versio...Image via Wikipedia
David doesn't really like to watch TV because he doesn't like to see a show for the first time. Sometimes you have to sit down and watch a movie with him the first few times before he feels comfortable watching it by himself. From David's perspective, how much fun can it be to watch something on television without having the dialog memorized, or knowing what is going to happen? What is the excitement in that? There are currently two exceptions to the multiple viewing rule. The first is "Wheel of Fortune" which he watches almost every night while testing his own luck against the wheel on his iPad version of the game.

The second show is "Winter Wipeout." Since it comes on immediately after Pat and Vanna and David keeps track of when the wheel is going to start spinning (reminiscent of Rainman and "12 minutes to Wapner"), there is no denying David his fix of thrills and spills. And when you think about it, he isn't really breaking his new show rule as these two shows are essentially the same every time, which would explain David's fascination.

David was watching another obnoxious cast of characters enter the "wipeout zone" last Thursday night when I noticed that he was jumping on the sofa, which is odd because we happen to have a trampoline as a regular fixture in our family room for that very purpose. And went I went to investigate, I discovered that David had rolled the trampoline down the basement stairs, essentially replicating the sweeper arm from the show. My own family room had become a wipeout zone.

So, I will batten down the hatches on Thursday nights until the seasons change and "Winter Wipeout" comes to a close. I am pleased to see that there is no spring season of this show, and I hope that David will have forgotten about by the time the summer season premieres…not likely, though.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011


I am a P-R-O-C-R-A-S-T-I-N-A-T-O-R. There, I said it. I have been told that the first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem.

Among the other things that have been on the "to-do list" for a while, I had been putting off getting David's name added to a waiting list. I finally started the process just before Christmas—great timing, huh? I made the initial phone call, completed the follow-up paperwork and releases, and got my signature witnessed. This morning, I had an appointment for the parent interview, which will be followed by an interview with David's teacher.

Actually, I have waited more than two years to start this process and it is not because I am a horrible parent. I usually reserve my stalling techniques for my own personal projects, not things that involve the boys. I had postponed this process, however, because the Community Supports Program, for which I have just made the application on David's behalf, will not provide services for him until he turns 21.

For those of you who are not regular readers or do not happen to be related to me, you may not know that David is six; I have just applied for programs that we cannot use for almost 15 years. Let me say that again. I applied for services for David 15 years in advance.

Of all the worries I have about David, I really did not want to contemplate whether or not he will someday be self-sufficient while I was trying to prepare for Christmas. I am not yet ready to associate words like "respite, modification, supports, and assistive" to David as an adult.

We had been advised to put David on the list for services because the wait is currently more than three years. Who knows how long it will by the time David is eligible? So, assuming he falls significantly below his "typically developing" peers in three of the seven categories, his name will be added to the ever-expanding list.

I know all about procrastination because I can be quite good at it myself, but as the parent of a child with autism, a parent facing the very real possibility that my child will need support as an adult, we as a society are going to need to address the fact that there are not enough services for the increasing number of kids with autism—or other developmental issues, for that matter. How much longer can we continue to procrastinate on this subject?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Truth in Advertising for the Autistic

This morning I was standing at the kitchen counter packing David's lunch before he left for school. One of his lunch staples is dry cereal, usually Quaker Oatmeal Squares, and I had poured them into a large bowl so that I could sort his cereal into a baggie. I take the extra step of sorting because cereal is expensive I have grown tired of wasting it.

Evidently, when cereal has a name like "Quaker Oatmeal Squares" David expects that the pieces will actually be, you guessed it, square. He will sift through the cereal, refusing the broken pieces, which, as you know, can be a large percentage of the box. Maybe if I told David we were trying a new cereal, something like "Shards of Oats" or "Quaker Oatmeal Rectangles" he might try it, but for now, David's discards get returned to the cereal box for Andrew's breakfast—sorry Andrew. Andrew must think those people at the cereal company are complete dolts because he rarely sees a square in his morning serving of oatmeal squares.

The same thing could be said of Lucky Charms. David must believe that his luck has run out each time we open a box because, while he does find the multi-colored marshmallow charms to be "magically delicious" he has little use for the frosted oats and most of them end up in a discard pile on our family room carpet. Ironically, the carpet happens to be from the Mohawk Carpet "toasted oats" color palate and I do not usually see the cast-off oats until after I feel the crunch underfoot as I walk through the family room.

So on Valentine's Day, my mother gave David a big red plastic heart filled with, the label promised, Gummi Savers, one of David's favorite candies. But, when we opened the heart, did we find the promised savers of the gummi variety? No, the heart was filled with Lifesavers Big Ring Gummies. They were like Gummi Savers on steroids—at least twice the size of the original candy and dipped in sugar. They are not the same things. You can ask any kid with autism. I opened one of the packages, handed it to David who, predictably, touched it briefly to his upper lip and wholeheartedly rejected it.

Maybe manufacturers will learn, as the large numbers of literal thinking kids with autism grow into literal thinking adults with autism, that they expect what is advertised on the outside of the box to actually be on the inside of the box.

Please note that no Gummi big rings were harmed during the writing of this post—unless you count the four that I consumed just to make sure they were not the promised Gummi Savers. I can call it research. Right?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Peter Pan

After the most recent session at school of Human Growth and Development—5th grade boy edition--there has been a lot of puberty talk at our house. I think that the session is over for the year, but I plan to be on vacation next year so Michael can field all the questions, plus drive Andrew and any friends home from their after school activities. I really tried not to listen as they discussed the topics of the day, but my CRV is not that big. I needed a limousine style privacy panel, so that I couldn't hear the discussion which ended with Andrew's friend proclaiming his recap of the class, "That was GROSS."

Andrew has told me in no uncertain terms that he does not want to grow up. He is quite content as a kid and would really rather move to Neverland to live with Peter Pan. Okay, so maybe he didn't say it quite that way, but he is certainly not too happy about the recent addition of deodorant to the morning routine. Who knew that it could take a 10-year-old so long to deodorize? Who knew that there is such a thing as "in" deodorant? Do you think the suggestion that maybe he should actually wash his face with some type of soap would push him over the edge?

Andrew's school day begins about an hour before David's, so I tiptoed into his room a few days ago to wake him up, only to find David cuddled up next to him in the bed, both wearing the matching pajamas they had received for Christmas. (Where is the camera when you need it?) It is not unusual for David to wake up in the middle of the night, but it was the first time that he did not call for Michael or me, did not come into our room and climb into our bed. Instead, he made a detour to Andrew's room, climbed the ladder to the top bunk and wedged himself next to his brother.

Add that to the time that Andrew had to translate for David because he was not making himself clear, except that the person having trouble understanding was me. Or the time that I saw Andrew stroking David's hair to comfort him, and David was firmly holding onto Andrew's wrist to make sure that he didn't stop. Or the visit to Pump It Up, where I had tried every trick in the book in an attempt to coax David to try one of the inflatables, but when Andrew came over, held out his hand and said, "C'mon, let's go" David hopped right off the bench where we had been sitting and followed Andrew down the slide.

It is not surprising that Andrew is growing up whether he likes it or not. Andrew knows too, that despite his protests, it is going to happen. The surprising part? It seems David was the first to notice.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be My Valentine

Flashback to 6th grade, Valentine's Day – It was the first time in my elementary school experience that we were not given a class list. There would be no compulsory distribution of valentines to every single member of the class—except, of course, for those kids whose religion made them morally opposed to commercial holidays popularized by florists and greeting card companies; they would be participating in an "alternate activity."

There would be no class party. No relay races run while balancing Sweethearts Conversation Hearts on a spoon—you know, the heart shapes candies bearing messages like "Be Mine" and "You're Sweet," the ones that no one actually likes to eat so you have to use them for things like relay races. Ours was to be an understated celebration of the holiday. I remember nothing else about the day except that one of my classmates, a BOY, handed a Valentine card to me. It was of the homemade variety, a big cut-out heart with a drawing of cupid, bow drawn about to release his arrow toward a heart. The caption read, "Your heart's hit in the right place."

Predictably, we both pretended that it hadn't happened and I don't think I showed it to anyone except my mother. I wasn't even sure what he had meant by the handwritten message except that he wanted me to be his Valentine, oh yes, and also Lisa T and Lisa B as I was later to discover that they had also received different versions of the same sentiment from Chris—talk about covering your bases.

On Friday, I was cleaning the papers out of David's backpack when I once again discovered a homemade Valentine. The message "To Mom" was pretty straightforward. When I showed it to David, he touched it and then smiled, but like Chris seemed to have very little more to say about it. This time, I don't need cupid's arrow to convince me of my love for all three of my boys, Michael included. Just please don't tell me if David also had Valentines for Lisa T or Lisa B.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Autism’s Playlist

Shortly after David was diagnosed my niece Katie, barely fifteen at the time, gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts that I have ever received. She was upgrading her iPod and, since I was probably the only person on earth who did not yet own one, she decided to give her old iPod to me.

Now, this gift would have been wonderful by itself, but knowing that I did not have either the time or the inclination to load it with music, she spent hours putting songs on it that she thought I would enjoy--even loading a few pictures of the boys, as well. Aside from the sometimes abrupt transitions, such as the leap from the Black Eyed Peas to Bach, she did a decent job of picking music that spans the generations.

But, if I had been choosing, what songs would have told the story? Not to make fun of what was a very trying time, but borrowing a few song titles from each of our iPods (Andrew's included) here are the months following David's diagnosis in a song (or ten).

At the time we received the diagnosis, we were certainly "Dazed and Confused" (Led Zeppelin). I tried to hold it together because "Big Girls Don't Cry" (Fergie), but I lost that battle. Of course, we would get David whatever help he needed, but I still believed that "Love Will Save the Day" (Des'ree) because "All You Need Is Love" (The Beatles).

Like so many autism Moms, I took the role of "The Warrior" (Scandal, featuring Patty Smyth) because, after all "I Am Woman" (Helen Reddy) and I was confident that we would "Whip It" (Devo). Many couples will tell you that men and women react very differently to this type of diagnosis, and while I could think of nothing but autism, for a time my husband shut it out of his mind, becoming "Comfortably Numb" (Pink Floyd).

I would like to think that Michael marveled at my handling of the situation, thinking "Isn't She Lovely" (Stevie Wonder), but if we are being perfectly honest he was probably thinking "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (The Temptations), offering "Have a Drink on Me" (AC/DC), still saddened to realize that he "(Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (Rolling Stones).

Well, you can only be "Under Pressure" (Queen) for so long before you feel like you are "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well" (Mike Doughty) making it "Harder to Breathe" (Maroon 5), but Michael encouraged me to "Keep Holding On" (Avril Lavigne) because we will "Beat It" (Michael Jackson). He gently reminded me to be "Thankful" (Kelly Clarkson) because "He's My Son" (Mark Schultz).

In retrospect, of course we were going to do everything we could for David, but we could have also tried to "Roll with the Changes" (REO Speedwagon). And David's advice to us probably would have been "Don't Worry, Be Happy" (Bobby McFerrin) and I am now ready to take that advice—well half of it, at least. These most certainly are "Better Days" (Goo Goo Dolls). And my message to David, what I can honestly tell him each and every day "I Love You Just the Way You Are" (Billy Joel).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Interview

Well, the extremely reticent interview subject, and just to be clear I mean the little one wearing red not his chunky counterpart, seems to be enjoying his new found small screen celebrity. He has watched the interview several times, and had to put the video tape (I know, but we don't have a DVR) in a special place before he left for school. We had talked about how some of the people at school saw it on their TV's too, because sometimes things like that can make him hesitant. So he marched to the bus, forward I might add, like he expected them to roll out the red carpet for him.

Here is the link if there is anyone who might want to see our interview, but isn't from our "viewing area."  Please be patient because it takes awhile to load.

Click here for the Interview

I have had several new visitors since the piece aired and if you are one of them, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail from the profile page. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but sometimes it is just nice to be in touch with someone who has asked the same questions.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Great Expectations

Someone asked me recently what I thought I would be doing as a forty-something. Interesting question and, to be honest, the answer is probably that I didn't have any idea. Well, that's not quite the truth. I did hope that I would be married and have children, but beyond that I must admit that I really hadn't developed a roadmap.

I attended a university that has an excellent medical school. The freshman joke was that you didn't ask someone what their major was, instead the question was, "Are you pre-med?" I used to answer that question with the cocky confidence of a college student. No, I was not pre-med, I was an English Literature major—wait it gets better—with a minor in the Humanities and Chinese language. Come back and talk with me after you've attempted Organic Chemistry, I would think to myself because I did not then have the confidence to say it out loud, and we will see what your major is NOW.

I also became accustomed to answering the inevitable question, "What are you going to do with that?" And my reply was always, "Anything I want." I did and still do believe that critical thinking skills and writing ability are important, no matter what career is chosen, but what could possibly have prepared me for this path my life has taken?

My Chinese professor once gave some important advice about life. "Just do SOMETHING," he told me, not wanting me to be complacent. Good advice that I think Nike later may have streamlined into the "Just Do It" ad campaign. I have tried to take that advice to heart, but is there a college degree that could have prepared me for the day David was diagnosed with autism? Is there anything that can prepare a parent for that day? (Rhetorical questions, people, the answer to which is NO.)

And as for my great expectations for my life--did I think that I might be a writer? Yes. Did I expect to be writing about the challenges, but also the surprising rewards of raising a special needs child? No. Did I think that life would be perfect? Maybe, but I have certainly realized that almost everyone has challenges to overcome. Do I still have great expectations? The answer, for David, for our older son, Andrew, and for our family as a whole, a definite YES.

Wordless Wednesday – The Quicker Picker-Upper

I sometimes wonder why we buy toys for David when he can find such amusement in ordinary items. A trip to Costco can yield a jackpot. Here is a picture that David took of one of his favorites.

The possibilities, of course, are endless and can stretch vertically

or horizontally.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Time Is It?

David is a clock watcher. Several times each hour, he will peer around the corner into the kitchen, scanning the clocks to see what time it is. Often he will prompt one of us to ask, "What time is it, David?"

We have an obscene number of clocks in the kitchen by the time you include the clock on the intercom, microwave, stove, CD player and then, of course, the clock that hangs above the sink which, for the moment, I am going to discount because it is not a digital clock and I do not think David can read it. And I say I do not think he can read it, because he often surprises me with new skills like yesterday, for instance, as we were driving home from school. I could hear him repeating a phrase under his breath, but it took me a moment to realize that he was saying, "One dollar equals four quarters, equals ten dimes, equals twenty nickels, equals one hundred pennies."

It probably really irritates David that our clocks never read the same time, especially since the clock on the intercom is always about seven minutes slow. And I think it is one of the mysteries of the universe that we can reset that clock, only to have it lose seven minutes almost immediately and then seem to be able to keep perfect time minus seven. Two of the clocks normally correspond with each other, however, so that is the time David relies on. He especially loves to announce the time on the hour, although instead of three o'clock he would say that it is "three year-o year-o."

So last night David rounds the corner to the kitchen, eyes gleaming and looks at the clock. "What time is it, David?" I asked as I glanced at the clock, confident the answer would be "seven year-o three." But this time his answer was different. "Time to go get ice cream," he announced, smiling. And if it hadn't been three degrees outside, we probably would have made a quick trip to the Dairy Queen.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Positive Reinforcement

One of the essential elements of ABA therapy, used in the treatment of autism, revolves around the "reinforcement" of desired behavior. It can be a challenge to find something that motives these kids, so food is often used as a reinforcer—even candy, cookies or chips broken into small pieces. David is not really motivated by food, however. It may seem contrary to any preconceived notion of an autistic child, but David is a cheap date and works the hardest for praise. He loves to be praised, plus a smile, tickle or high-five--once he finally learned how to high five.

Consequently, Michael and I are quick to praise David when he is working hard or practicing a desired behavior. It can be tiring, however, to be in perpetual cheerleader mode. Thankfully, I do not have the pom-poms or short skirt, but I often sport the fake smile and artificial enthusiasm. And instead of something along the lines of "Go Defense" my cheers consist more of "Good Talking…Nice Waiting…Good Job Standing…Nice Listening!"

Last week, Michael and I were waiting with Andrew at the front door for his carpool to arrive. David came to the door as Andrew was leaving and started to wave, again another learned behavior. Michael said in his most enthusiastic voice, but purely for my benefit, "David, nice non-verbal communication!"

David responded almost immediately and as if on cue, by emitting a different noise—what in David's vernacular is referred to as "yatz." It was like he had been thinking, "You want non-verbal communication? I can give you non-verbal communication." Michael and I both laughed, but I noticed that Michael did not offer the usual praise, "David, nice passing of gas" to reinforce that behavior.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Out of the Zone

Each day, I push David past his comfort zone. I would guess that almost everything he is asked to do in therapy, plus many of the tasks at school and at home make him uncomfortable. That is the point—to make him more tolerant of new situations and to be more adaptable. He works very hard to articulate his wants and needs, to greet and interact with people and to learn behaviors that we consider "appropriate" but that can be unnerving to him.

The part that has surprised me, however, is that having David also pushes me. As a child I was painfully shy, a fear which I have been able to overcome, but since David has come into my life, I have learned to be an advocate. I have to be assertive, to ask questions and to push for answers—traits which can be uncomfortable for me.

WOWT-TVImage via Wikipedia
So, on Wednesday I was asked if I would be willing to do an on-camera interview with the local NBC affiliate, WOWT Channel 6 about our experiences with David. Now, I may no longer be shy, but I am still not a fan of public speaking, which is my polite way of saying that I really loathe it because it makes me exceptionally nervous. I have been told that I am good at it, but I am only able to keep my nerves in check by rehearsing remarks numerous times. But how can you practice for questions that you have not yet heard?

Well, I agreed to do the interview because I really do believe in helping people to understand about autism and its challenges, even if helping them "understand" may sometimes mean racing into the Applebee's Restaurant red-faced and out of breath to explain--in perhaps too high pitched a tone of voice why, if you offer curbside take-out service, it is really important to actually come out to the car because when you have a child with autism who is not expecting to go into the restaurant and who then, in fact, does have to go into the restaurant that you should expect the Crocs to fly off of his feet in protest and some running up and down the wheelchair ramp. I am all about politely helping to teach people tolerance and understanding.

I also figured that the news crew would come to do the interview and get a few sound bites from me, but after they saw my smart and exceedingly charming son, most of my footage would end up on the cutting room floor. The teachers were even calling David "Hollywood" at school all day yesterday leading up to the interview. Well, they probably should have referred to David as "Diva" instead, because he did not choose to cooperate and alternated telling the reporter and camera man "Stop…Nope…Go Home…Goodbye!" He even signed each of the words for added emphasis.

The segment is not scheduled until next week, but I have had people calling all day. The promo has aired several times, although I have yet to see it. I guess I can give up the rationalization that no one will realize it is me.

So, once again, David has me out of the zone. Just call it therapy.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I always buy inexpensive coats and jackets because they do not have snap off handles—I mean hoods. Here Grandpa, known as Bitsie to David, has mastered the technique.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Acting Appropriately

On Sunday, Andrew and I went to see a performance of the St. Olaf Choir. My niece is a freshman at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and coincidentally happened to be home on break when the choir was scheduled to pass through town. My whole family went together except for David who stayed home.

As I sat listening, I wondered if we would ever be able to take David to this type of event, but for now I hadn't even considered buying him a ticket. There is no way that he would have been able to sit through the two hour performance. It would have been a waste of money and an exercise in frustration for both of us.

David loves all things musical and I know there were a few selections he would have especially enjoyed. But, would he have been able to act appropriately? Quite certainly the answer is no.

David would not have been able to sit quietly, listening to the performance. He would have wanted to dance in the aisles, waving his arms to the music and if he were especially fond of the song he would have joined in the singing. It wouldn't have mattered that he did not know the words; he would have inserted whatever word was running through his head and sung it over and over again.

No, David would not have acted appropriately, because he would have actually given an outward expression to the fact that he was enjoying the music, probably wondering why the rest of us didn't join him and preferred, instead, to wait until the end of the song to show any appreciation and quite reserved appreciation at that.

Honestly, David has some behaviors that I would really like to change and then occasionally I wonder if maybe his way isn't better.