Mornings With Merrimans

Silly SamFriday was one of those mornings at our house. Caroline couldn’t find shorts, Sam wanted me to play balloon-bounce with him, the dog was in the kitchen stealing bagels every time I left the room, and Scott and I just wanted caffeine. But school needed notes about the field trip (yes, we could drive; we were both coming; we could carry three including our own; and we would buy popcorn for all seventy five or so would-be bowlers so Sam would have a snack), we had to put a cooler out for the co-op, and Caroline snacked on half the things we meant to send in her lunch. Read the rest

Use your words

This is how the advice sounds when I’m exasperated. It’s not fair at all, because one of the things about Asperger’s for my kids is that it makes the path from idea to vocal cord very cumbersome indeed, and one of those concepts that I have to explain regularly is, “The words in your heart don’t reach my ears if you don’t use your mouth.” But it’s been a “Use your words” kind of weekend around here, and so I give you the advice I all but shouted to my children earlier today. (Parenting fail.)

Thanks for letting me vent, Trifecta.… Read the rest

Of speaking and silence

CarolineWithSky“Caroline, help Lisa with her seatbelt.” I handed my daughter her classmate’s buckle.

Lisa said, “I got it,” in her nasal, robotic voice.

Caroline tilted her head and moved her mouth, but nothing came out. Her words had gone away again.

I climbed in up front and scanned the permission slip. “Crap, Scott which thing are we going to?”

Scott finished clicking in Sam. “Which what? Yogurt shop?”

“Yeah.”

“I thought you knew.”

“Well, I don’t, and the paperwork doesn’t say.”

“I’ll go in and ask.”

“The teachers are right there. Ask them.”

A minute later, with the right destination in hand, we started out of the lot.… Read the rest

My Children Have Asperger’s

My kids’ Christmas party was yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve been to their school since the Sandy Hook tragedy. In the lobby, one mother asked if the front desk could have a panic button installed, just in case. The secretary, whose son also attends the school, agreed it would be a good idea. I’m not typically given to worry about the grand scheme. You want small scale frets? I have them in plenty. Conspiracy theories? I’m your woman. But the big stuff doesn’t usually bother me.

This does.

My kids were with me on Friday, December 14. It was my birthday, and the opening night of the Nutcracker, in which they both performed.… Read the rest

Learning Curve

When Caroline was three, she hated swings and couldn’t dangle from monkey bars. She knew her colors, but she couldn’t recite them reliably. She loved the slide at the local park, but if she didn’t walk to the top by exactly the same route every time, she sat down and cried. She adored other children, but if a group of them came too close, she put her hands over her ears and cowered. And ‘too close’ was typically about a car’s length away.

In the bathroom, she never washed her hands without a fight. The preschool director used to accompany her and talk her gently through the process multiple times a day.… Read the rest

First Day

“How was your day?” I buckled Sam’s seatbelt then climbed back in front while Caroline hooked her own.

Caroline said, “It was AWESOME! I get to be in classroom B, and I’m only with one of the Katies, but it doesn’t matter because I get to go up to C and D for reading and math and spelling, and language, and writing, and I have the best seat ever in all the classrooms, and I’m right next to my one Katie in homeroom…”

When she paused to inhale, I jumped in. “Sam, how about you?”

“I like my teacher.”

The barrage from his sister’s side resumed.… Read the rest

Celebrate CALM Part One

I attended a mini-conference last week, and because I am me, I’ve been mulling it over ever since. It was one of these parenting seminars destined to be either spectacular or spectacularly dumb. I should assert here that my inner skeptic was expecting the latter.

A little background. I do not approve of parenting via the fluffy-cloud method.  Scott and I once paid some $400 for a parenting course that was ALL 1970s schmaltz.  The class text even used the phrase “hang-up”. Does it get more 1970s than “hang-up”? And yet, I loved that syrupy thing. Every annoying idea that irked me actually had practical applications that were anything but stupid.… Read the rest

Notes From The Road: Caroline

I don’t want to make Caroline into something she isn’t.  But she’s a pretty amazing little girl, and she has this talent that’s hard to describe. I’ve blogged previously about how her Aperger’s Syndrome seems to drive her outward where it drives a lot of kids inward.  It’s more than that, though. Caroline is so loving that she draws others out, as well.

She can make friends with anybody, on or off the autism spectrum, with no concerns for age, race,  gender, or skill level. A trip to the zoo where she doesn’t either meet a new friend or bump into an old one is a tragic day indeed.… Read the rest

People who live in glass washers

Yesterday, our friends Linda and Robert, and their son, Kristopher, came over for dinner. We fed the kids first, while we grownups visited in the living room, and then the adults took over the table to eat. Our kitchen table is too small to seat seven, and it works better for us to eat in shifts anyway. If we feed the kids first, then their demands are easier to meet, and they aren’t interrupting the adults.

After everybody went home, Scott and I put the kids to bed, and Scott started a load of wash. As he was getting ready to roll it over to the dryer, I heard him say, “Jessie, dearest?” in a tone that meant bad things.… Read the rest

Caroline rides the wind

The first time Caroline rode her bike, she crashed, and thereafter felt as much terror about it as she did kite flying. Possibly more, because this involved her personal body. Part of the problem is that she’s just too big for conventional training wheels. Even her modest weight (I don’t think the child weighs 70 pounds) bends them up and out of shape when they’re attached to her 22” bike. (At eight, she’s skinny and tall.) Plus, a 22″ bike doesn’t balance well against those tiny training wheels. It’s too tall. They make training wheels for special needs kids, but they’re quite expensive, and the real solution is that she just has to learn how to ride the thing outright.… Read the rest