Working Through the Kinks
The Common Cold and Communication


Only in New York, right?

I figured you've probably seen enough photos of yellow-jacketed bike-riding Charlie so why not a few Manhattan streetscapes?

Jim and I went into the city yesterday to have lunch (Greek food!) with some friends and had a lovely time. Charlie a mostly good day, 'considering.'

Considering that, eager to get back to school after Friday's early departure from school for a neurologist appointment, he awoke at 4.50am.

As it was close enough to 5am, I got up too and made coffee. Charlie settled (happily, with a smile) into listening to music on his iPad and I decided to finish up some work (a recommendation letter for a student, an email or two). I sang along with a few of the songs (those Disney ones do stick in your head). Charlie also listened to his new musical interest). He turned down a walk and, a little after 6am, tromped up the stairs to his room. 

He was back down by 7am and got in the car (with the heat on, and Jim and me supervising), and I got ready and we were off by 7.30am. We were at his school by a bit after 8am and did some 'touring' round the neighborhoods. By 8.35am we pulled up to the front of the bus line at the Big Autism Center and Charlie went in with a pleased smile.

All was good until around 2pm when, fatigue no doubt setting in, Charlie started crying and his teacher was briefly concerned that he wouldn't be able to ride the bus home. But he was able to calm down after 20 minutes and ran off the little yellow bus just before 4pm.

Charlie and I headed out to do some errands. After a few minutes, I heard a cry, then cries, then had to stop the car as neurological storm mode set in upon Charlie. It lasted 40 (long) seconds and I hurriedly texted Jim, who was at the local library. He appeared swiftly, by which time Charlie was calm and smiled to see Jim.

We'd all like to have days, all days, that are 'incident-free.' But that's neither realistic nor, I think, the best goal to strive for. Rather, to Jim and me, it's all about learning to help Charlie through such difficult instances so that they are short, he and everyone are safe, and he experiences as little lag as possible afterwards.

The last point is very much dependent on how we--how those with Charlie---respond. Wwhat happens is not 'ordinary,' but it is important (for us) to respond in a very ordinary sort of way. If we get, ah, upset and hysterical, so does and will he. 

Texting is good as it doesn't involve me talking; when Charlie is upset, words, language, the human voice can really irk him. I happened, too, to have some grapes in my bag and after saying 'grapes' in a straightforward way, handed these to Charlie, one by one. Being able to bite on something seems to provide him with the deep pressure he needs when he is as upset as he was. (Yes, mental note: always carry grapes or apples or some such).

We went home and Charlie went straight to his room, iPad beside him (and I am not making this up---he had the photo of me you see in the left column on the screen). (Awwwww.)  He fell asleep for a few hours and woke around 9pm. No surprise that he couldn't go back to sleep for a long time. 

But, very good how he kept himself busy listening to music (especially these guys again, and the Beatles), sometimes moving around the house, sometimes at rest.

Just the daily scene around here.

And here's some scenes taken while Jim and I were talking around New York earlier in the day.

Jim walking in Manhattan

Jim walking in midtown Manhattan.

Just what it looks like

On a street corner in lower Manhattan, below Chambers Street. 

2 nitrogen tanks

 Two very large nitrogen tanks and (to the right over the crosswalk) a hose threaded through a manhole.

Stack 'em high

Not sure how speedy it is to get that top car down to street level.

Edward Hopperesque

Sighted by Jim: A photo shoot on a fire escape, of a woman clad in an orange 40-ish style swimsuit.

She and the photographer were only outside for a minute or two, then slipped back in.


Jim in lower Manhattan

Jim approaching the site of the WTC.

WTC site

There it is. The new construction has started.



Ho hum, I wrote a comment but failed to post it...

Attempt 2.

I always thought America was a bit weird, The photos confirm my suspicions.

All in all a good day it seems! 40seconds can seem like a long time in certain circumstances, but Charlie did so well, short duration and quick recovery (the texting is such a good idea)

Love that Charlie had your photo on screen, it really is sweet. Have you checked the new Pictella app? Heard it's good, think I might try it out for Dimitri.


Texting is the best thing ever; stealthy and silent. No need to have others hear an emotion-laden verbal missive. Ensures parental privacy.
Wow, in the heat of adolescence this boy is cool!


What you say about unrealistically wishing for an incident-free day is so true; note to self to jettison that notion. As with anyone, the important thing is to encourage/teach our kids to reasonably weather emotional storms. The idea of texting rather than speaking makes a lot of sense. I am continually struck by the intense beauty of your and Jim's very loving, tag-team, always-at-the-ready approach to working with Charlie. Also by how much you enjoy your "downtime," which is really important--Greek food, yum! You seem like an absolutely amazing couple.

Kristina Chew

I haven't checked Pictella, will shortly. Sometimes things just feel weirder and weirder here---crazy and terrible current events---it was a long 40 seconds but I was really impressed with Charlie.

And to think Jim at first said no to texting!

thank you so much for your too kind words--- I guess we could use a bit more 'downtime' with just the two of us.....still having the can't find a sitter issue. I could definitely use a Greek coffee right now!

Liz Ditz

How does Charlie feel about jerky?

Back in the day of ravenous children I made my own (sometimes beef and sometimes turkey) -- mostly to have a low-salt version. It's not really time consuming to make but there is a lot of elapsed time.

Kristina Chew

My parents brought him some Chinese jerky. Thinking of keeping it around for a time when chewing something might be a good sensory exercise?

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