Thursday, August 16, 2007

Prepping for a trip

I have to go to NJ this weekend for work. I have a great job. I get to work at home most of the time- but twice a year, I have to go to NJ. I always worry when I go away. Its not that Allan can't take care of the kids, or anything like that, but I know Joey gets off-kilter. Even more, I miss my guys.

I do try my best to do some recharging in NJ. The food is usually pretty good, and I don't have to cook it. ;) Sometimes I get a single room, which is much nicer, but I usualy have a room-mate, which can really suck. :P I'm hoping to get my syllabi together. We'll see.

Bu there will me no boys to squish. No little diaper-free butts to pat. No lollipops to fetch. No goodnight kisses.

I hate traveling.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Forays into the unknown

Every once in a while- usually when Joey is not feeling tiptop- we have a meltdown for which Joey knows the reason, and is trying to tell us, and we just cannot make out what the hell is going on. He is looking for a specific object, but the words he is using to label the object make no sense. The game of 20 questions trying to discover what the object might be is rarely useful, because he does not answer questions accurately. Let's take this evening for an example.

"Can I have my keem?"

I have no idea what a "keem" is. Twenty Questions begins. What is it? A keem. You may have it; go get it. I want my keem. Where is it? It's there (accompanied by pointing in random directions). OK, show me. I want my keem!

So now we get off our butt and start looking for what this object might be. He was playing with some matchbox cars and Cars is playing on the tv. Maybe the object is a car. Is it "The King?"

I find The King, but this is not the object, and is rejected.

What color is it? It's green. He shakes his hand to sign green. OK, I am looking for a green object. I find a green car he was playing with earlier. This is not the object. It is immediately rejected.

Does it have wheels? No. Ok, not a car. What else could "keem" be?

Joey is now spiraling into tears because I'm an idiot who doesn't know what a "keem" is.

How about "game"? He's been perseverating on a little electronic thing that does math. Does he want his game? No. Green car.

So it's a car. Without wheels. That does not compute.

And unfortunately, though the game is "Twenty Questions", we've actually maxxed out on the number of questions he'll attempt to answer on the subject without complete meltdown. Any more inquiries are either ignored or meet the same response: a wail and gnashing of child, screaming "My KEEEEEEEEEEEEM!"

I give up and send him up to his bath. I may never find out what a keem is. I hope he will sleep without it, but one can never tell. This may re-blow-up after bathtime, or it could be transitioned and done. Only time will tell.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Today we ran up to my aunt and uncle's for a dip in the pool- Joey's request. Last night, that sweet little guy asked if he could "go swimming, go to beach, go swim with the cousins" meaning my cousin's twins and a trip to my aunt and uncle's to swim in their pool. I called them immediately to ask to come, and they were all for it. Yay, the part of the family that gets it!

A good time was had by all.

Then we got the usual signal that it was time to go. Joey began to perseverate.

We had been there all afternoon. The little guy was tired. His brother was exhausted. They were having fun. My aunt has one of those wooden German calendars on her wall, and one of the little wooden peices is, of course, a number 12. This is Joey's favorite number.

I am not sure why 12 is the number of choice. I could theorize on the subject, discuss the patterning and the sequential allure of the number 1 next to the number 2 to create the number 12, or a whole gambit of other associations possible, many of which would seem completely random to most people, and incomprensible to anyone not intimate with autism generally and Joey specifically. Whatever the reason, perseverating the number 12 means bedtime. Tired. Done. When he starts going on abotu the number 12, it's time to check for tiredness, exhaustion, or (if in the middle of the day for no apparent reason) fever. This is one of those ways Joey communicates that is hard to explain to people who expect other people to simply state what they need, or use words and language in direct ways. These are the kinds of little signals we've always picked up on with Joey.

12. {I'm tired.} I was 12. Give me 12. Look, a 12. I am 12. Where's the 12? 12. 12.

Fortunately, this is the part of the family that gets it, because they raised the daughter of another cousin, who was special needs (epilepsy and probable FAS). So when I suddenly announced it was time to go, and hustled everyone out the door and to the car, no offense was, I believe, taken. I think the sudden change in demeanor was a cue for them, too.

He's right now 12-ing on Allan's recliner. We don't have the heart to move such a 12 boy.