Posted in Adult Day Programs for Special Needs, Autism, Down syndrome, Down Syndrome Awareness, Dual Diagnosis Down syndrome and autism

DS-ASD, Nick’s Spring Update

DS-ASD, Nick’s Spring Update

spring flowers

The trees and flowers are budding and blooming here in the Chicago area.  A long overdue, and highly anticipated spring has finally arrived.  Here is what my son, Nick has been up to this spring.  Nick is 24 years old and has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism.

Nick attends an adult day program which provides enrichment activities both in-house and out in the community.  The structured curriculum and schedule of this program serves Nick, and his fellow clients well.  Community trips to local parks, restaurants, shopping for the weekly cooking segment are integrated throughout the week.  They have also been doing gardening and working on craft projects that will be sold next week, at the Garden and Craft Sale.  Nick enjoys going to this program, and looks forward to going to it daily.

Outside of his adult day program, Nick likes to go to the movies, parks, library and out to eat with his personal support/respite caregivers.

It’s the middle of April and a jacket is still required……

nick swing neighborhood

Oh happy day 🙂

Nick taco bell outside

For the past couple of years, Nick and his respite caregiver Jodi, have joined up with Christopher and his caregiver for date night, each Thursday.  These two guys have a lot of laughs together at the library, and going out to eat afterwards.  His buddy is moving out-of-state, so it was a bittersweet final date night for the two of them…….

Nick and Christopher saying goodbye, it’s the end of an era…..

nick and christopher

March is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and 3/21 also being World Down Syndrome Day.  Nick and I spent this month doing advocacy and awareness about Down syndrome.  One campaign we were a part of was with Noah’s Dad, #provethemwrong which highlights the many awesome things that people with Down syndrome are doing in the world.  To follow Noah’s Dad and #provethemwrong click here for more information: http://noahsdad.com/prove-them-wrong-tee-shirt/

Nick Prove Them Wrong

Our family also supports The National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS) which is based in Chicago.  We are sponsors for the annual NADS Bowl-a-thon fundraiser.  Nick had a blast at the event :)……

Nick NADS bowlathon

Over the past weekend, we made a trip to Ohio to celebrate Nick’s cousin’s graduation from Bowling Green State University.  Nick is highly social, and loves spending time with his cousins, aunt, uncle, and grandparents.  Before the early 9am graduation ceremony began, in the crowded Stroh Center, Nick did his part to test a fire alarm cover.  The loud buzzer blared for a few seconds, before his Dad could close it back down.  It was a close call, but at least he didn’t pull the actual fire alarm.  He’s cheetah fast, and as I’ve said before, it’s Nick’s world, the rest of us are just trying to keep up.

Congratulations and elbow bumps to Nick’s cousin, Sam, well done!…….

Nick and Sam Graduation

Relaxing on the deck and enjoying a warm, spring day with his cousin, Anna….

Nick and Anna

Spring is a time of renewal, and taking in the beauty of nature coming back to life after a cold, harsh winter.  It feels so good to get outside and power walk again.  These walks are a time for me, to reflect on life’s blessings.  I feel very fortunate that my son is healthy, happy and enjoys his life as a young adult having Down syndrome and autism.  Yes, there are many challenges, and he certainly keeps us all on our toes.  But the joy and humor that Nick exudes, far outweighs the behavior challenges we incur daily.

It’s almost Mother’s Day, which is the official “green light” to plant flowers and vegetables here in the Chicago area.  I’m ready to fill up the clay pots with some color, on the empty pallet of the deck.  I can’t wait to put the tomato plants into the soil.  Gardening is my way of relaxing, and shaking off daily stress.  It’s so important to carve out time for yourself, and restore what can sometimes be taken away, by the demands of parenting a child with special needs.  Wishing all the moms on the front lines, a very Happy Mother’s Day.   My hope is that you make time to enjoy something on your own, that is fulfilling and relaxing each day.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.

Happy Spring everyone 🙂

~Teresa 

Follow Nick:

Facebook and Pinterest @Down Syndrome With A Slice of Autism

Instagram #nickdsautism

Twitter @tjunnerstall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Autism, Down syndrome

Blog #114~SETT in Motion

Blog #114~SETT in Motion

Last week, I wrote about the process of a SETT meeting.  Recently, we did a SETT meeting at Nick’s school to re-evaluate the device he uses to communicate with. This is called an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Device. Nick is 21 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  The SETT meeting allows for team members to provide their unique perspectives of Nick.  The members included:

*Support teacher/Case Manager

*Speech and Occupational therapists

*Teaching assistant

*Parent

*Private speech therapist

*School District AT Specialist/Facilitator

These team members did a brain storming session about Nick, including his abilities, needs and concerns.  Here is a re-cap of the meeting notes and will put a lens on what Nick is like:

Student: Nick U.

*Comedian

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*Likes to get reactions from people

*Wants to communicate

*Uses many modalities to communicate

*Has been talking more

*Holidays were stressful

*Old behaviors have resurfaced, but starting to

decrease again

*Thrives on routine

*Good at following directions

*Good worker

*Knows how to follow sequence of steps at jobs

Nick packaging door knobs_Habitat_4 (2)

*Wants to please

*Teases

*Visual schedule helps decrease his anxiety

*Gets frustrated when told “no”, if he’s not doing

something right, or if his AAC device is not

working

*Gets frustrated if he has difficulty manipulating

items

*Frustrated if he feels he isn’t being heard

*Changes in routine can be difficult

*Needs to understand why things are happening

*Goals at school include: requesting a break,

paying routine, cooking, grooming, commenting,

protesting

*Working on commenting about food and videos

with private SLP

*Loves cooking

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*Fake coughs on people and replicates sneezes to

get a reaction

*Trying to shape his sense of humor into more

appropriate behaviors

*Swipes things off the desk

*Prefers adult interactions

*Has some preferred peers

*Babies crying is a trigger for a meltdown – he

picks up on the emotion

*He’s a flirt – elbow bump

*Strong receptive language

*Likes to dance

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*Great at sorting

*Does chores at home – dishwasher

*Has an older brother

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* Loves community trips

*Taco Bell and movies with the respite worker

*Gets right out of bed on community days

*Very aware of his environments, especially fire

alarms

*Always scanning and scoping out the

environment

*Impulsive

*Likes loud buzzing noises (ex: lift buses,

microwave)

*Seeks sensory input – auditory input, likes to

watch things get poured

*Uses items to tap on his chin

*Loves music – big motivator

*Knows vocabulary on his talker when he’s

motivated

touch chat pic

*Used AAC device to order his meal, Sprite

This should give you a sense of Nick’s attributes.  Exploring a student’s abilities, needs and concerns is the first step in getting things in motion when looking at a communication device.

Next week, I will share the rest of the meeting notes which looks at his environment, tasks we want him to communicate, and what tools will be needed in a device that will be successful for Nick to use.  That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂 

~Teresa

 

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Education and Special Needs

Blog #101~Teaching Nick 101

Blog #101~ Teaching Nick 101

This week is a perspective written by one of Nick’s middle school teachers, Jessica Martin. She taught Nick during the throes of puberty when his meltdowns were at an all-time high. Nick has Down syndrome and autism and struggles with speech.  He gets frustrated trying to communicate and  understanding the concept of change.

Here’s what his middle school teacher, Jessica Martin had to say about big guy:

It’s hard to believe that the first time I met Nick the year was 2007.  It seems just like yesterday when he walked into my classroom.  When Nick first came to me, he had episodes of self injurious and aggressive behaviors.  He also didn’t like to work much.  I collaborated with his mom who gave me the okay to use pop as a reward for Nick. I started small and used a token board with three squares spelling out the word “pop”.  If he did a work, he got a letter. This process continued until he completed three works with appropriate behaviors and got all three squares which spelled POP!!!!!!!  And omg did he get excited! He would announce in a high pitched excited voice, mocking me, “Nick goooot popppppp!” He would take his little cup that was no bigger than a medicine cup and tip it back, chucking that single gulp as if he had gone days without a drink, slam it down and give us all thumbs up! By the end of the year, he tolerated longer work periods.  We doubled his work time to 6 squares on the token board and changed it from “Pop” to the word “Sprite”.

sprite can

His work refusal behavior was eliminated 🙂 Yipieeee!  There were still small, occasional outbursts here and there but with his mom’s help, we created some amazing social stories to alleviate his stressors. By 2008, Nick was extremely popular in our school. He worked as garbage duty through multiple wings of the school, was happy and was beginning to talk more. His abilities and growth made me so proud.

When Nick finished middle school, I became his respite worker. There are so many hilarious stories too. Oh my gosh, the Taco Bell story comes to mind.   I took Nick to the mall one day. We would go on the weekends to shop around and then get lunch. (Taco bell of course.)

taco bell

I got him to tolerate shopping at the mall for over an hour, (which included lots of shoe stores and Nick trying on display high heels).  As a reward, we headed over to get our tacos and bean burritos.   Proudly, Nick walked with me down the stairs to the food court, looking as if he were on a mission and walked towards the glorious Taco Bell stand.

taco bell dog

We turn the corner and my heart literally froze. The stand was walled up and under construction. Now, 5 years ago, this would have caused a huge scene. Nick stopped, dead in his tracks, looked at the construction sign, fingers curling into little fists and all of the sudden, he yelled as loud as he could, DAMNIT!!!!  He then stomped his foot and we walked away. He handled it so appropriately! Should he have sworn? Probably not, but, I was screaming it in my head so I didn’t correct it! We drove to the nearest taco bell and chowed down on processed beans! Phew!

He’s in the zone…….

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I have seen so much growth in Nick. He surprises me every day. I love him with all of my heart. My big guy! 🙂 ~Jessica Martin

Nick and Jess…..

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I love hearing the perspectives of others who have worked with or been around Nick. It gives me clarity to the fact that he does make progress in his learning and behavior. And he is loved and adored in the process. Special thanks to Jessica Martin for sharing her experiences with Nick.  That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂

~Teresa

Posted in Autism, Behavior/ ABA, Down syndrome, Fun Side of Nick

Blog #90~Autism Awareness Nick Style

Blog #90~Autism Awareness Nick Style

It’s April which is “Autism Awareness Month”. Believe me I am quite aware of autism. Nick never lets me forget, nor anyone else who is around him. Last week was spring break. My twenty year old son who has Down syndrome and autism was lighting up more than just blue. Here are the highlights…

Day one of spring break:

Nick is pushing every button he can find, microwave and bathroom fans, turning up the TV volume to 99 and finding the one button on the iPod home which blasts Hispanic radio music. It’s going to be a long week. The music is heavily laden with the sounds of trumpets, trombones and accordions. By the way, the radio station is WLEY-FM (107.9 FM La Ley) features a regional Mexican music format focusing on Ranchera.

la ley

Day two of spring break:

It started out with Nick popping up at 6:30am. He came in and pressed the iPod home button to 107.9FM next to my bed as he giggled and let out a big fart. He followed this up with an early screening of “Grown Ups” (volume level 99) and blasting the water faucets. Thankfully Lara, his respite worker took him to see the new Muppets movie and out to lunch. That afternoon, he crawled into bed with his DVD player wearing his blue sunglasses. The “Grown Ups” movie may get deep sixed before this week is over.

IMG02 (3)

Day three of spring break:

I got a 5:15am wakeup call from Nick, (mind you on any school day I have to throw a stick of dynamite in his bed to wake him up). I put him back to bed and managed to sleep in until 7:30am. Morning coffee time was drowned in you guessed it another showing of the movie, “Grown Ups”. All day long nothing but yelling, tennis ball can tapping, and microwave/ phone intercom button pushing. In between those antics, Nick would run upstairs to push the iPod to 107.9. Viva Nick! The noise can be mind numbing, not to mention the snot rockets he blows and wipes across the flat screen TV. Today is “World Autism Awareness Day”. Believe me I am well aware of it.

Day four of spring break:

It’s cold and rainy, but at least he slept in until 7:30am. Nick watched movies with his respite worker while I went in to teach stability ball and step classes. He was even sillier today, must be the cabin fever. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Silly guy 🙂 …..

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His favorite dumping spot, behind the flat screen TV.  Good news, I found my shoes….

IMG01

Poor Stuart Little…..

IMG01 (3)

Day five of spring break:

It’s my day off from teaching and thankfully Nick slept in until 9:00am so I was able to enjoy my first cup of coffee in peace.  He was pretty good today, with the exception of a few button pushes, blasting 107.9 and flicking the bathroom light on and off while I showered. It was cold and blustery so we bundled up and headed out to Taco Bell.

Nick loaded up with stims……

IMG03

He was so excited when we got there. Just one problem, the ice machine wasn’t working. Nick stood there pushing the ice button to no avail for several minutes. He wouldn’t budge. One thing about autism, any change in routine is a possible trigger to set him off.

IMG01 (2)

I finally got the attention of a worker who was able to fill up our cups with ice behind the counter. Meltdown, deflected….. whew!

Day six of spring break:

Hallelujah, Nick slept in until 10:00am! Thankfully he chose to watch a different movie…….

The other guys

I took him out to eat at Burger King. We usually go out later around 1:30pm to avoid the lunch crowds and curious stares. I couldn’t believe it, when we walked up to the drink station guess what? They were out of Sprite…. are you F’ing kidding me?

Nooooooooooooooo…….

IMG02 (2)

I asked Nick if he wanted Coke or Minute Maid Lemonade. He screamed and pinched his cheeks hard. We made it to the table but he wouldn’t eat.  He kept clutching and pulling at his cheeks.  Finally, he started to eat his fries but wouldn’t touch his drink. “Nick, want to drink your Coke?”   He let out a big yell. Another couple whipped their heads around staring at us. I smiled and said, “That’s autism, isn’t it nice?” After eating all his fries and chicken tenders he finally took a sip of his drink and let out a burp and a smile. Whew, meltdown avoided. This calls for some ice cream…..

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The sun came out and the temps were warming up close to 50 degrees, so we took a walk in the park.  It was a nice, peaceful ending to a long week.

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It’s not all noise, pranks and chaos with Nick. He does sugar coat things with his smile, hugs, kisses, snuggles and elbow bumps. I’ve come to appreciate his creativity and sense of humor that keeps me on my toes. Hope you enjoyed my installments of autism awareness, Nick style. That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Autism, Down syndrome

Blog #65~Tour De Nick

Blog #65~ Tour De Nick

Here’s how the scene sets up……Enter Nick into the Fox Valley Park District Recreation Center with bike helmet in hand walking appropriately down the corridor. He gives the queen wave (his signature hello to patrons passing by). Great start, yes! 🙂 We got there early, and waited in the viewing area.  Without warning, Nick suddenly hurled his helmet at the receptionist.  I threw my hand up trying to deflect it, but missed.  His helmet narrowly skims the side of her face.  This is shaping up to be a long week…. I Can Shine- Lose the Training Wheels Bike Camp… Hmmm, what the hell was I thinking?

I was thinking that after the success of his scuba experience that maybe I should try to expand his horizons.  Check the May 2013 archives to read about this in Blog #53~Scuba Diving, Really?   Click here and check it out:  https://nickspecialneeds.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/blog-53scuba-diving

Diveheart 2013 336 (2)

Had I been limiting my son’s potential due to his dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism?  It was time to try something new and bike camp seemed like a good plan to move him forward.

At the parent meeting the staff went explained of how the week would go. Approximately 80% of the individuals who participate in our iCan Bike programs ride a two-wheel bicycle independently by the end of our five-day programs. The remaining 20% of these individuals make tremendous progress towards this goal and leave our programs accompanied by parents and/or siblings trained as ‘spotters’ to pick up where we leave off!  The bikes used are lower so that the child’s feet can easily touch the ground upon stopping.  Roller wheels are put on the back to better aid in balance.  As the week progresses the wheels are changed out to wean the rider off and get them on two wheels.  For more information visit, http://icanshine.org.

Armed with a task strip of images we proceeded…..

photo (128)

Day 1:

Nick entered the venue along with 7 other kids who have special needs.  Some were hesitant to get on the bike right away.  The volunteers managed to get the helmet on him, then Nick proceeded to do a stop, drop and plop on the ground.  After some coaxing he finally got up and sat  on his designated bike with roller wheels on the back.  Getting started pedaling was tough and he is unable to balance.  He couldn’t steer at all.  The bike began to shift back and forth across the tennis court like a metal ball bouncing off the bumpers inside a pin ball machine in slow motion.   I cringed… A turtle could have beaten him easily down the court.  He stopped often and I could see him pinching his cheeks (a sign that he is frustrated.) Through the glass I could tell he was cursing too.  I took off to buy him a Sprite to use as a reward each time he made a lap around the courts.  75 minutes each day for 5 days, I wasn’t sure this was going to work out.

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Day 2:

I pulled into the parking lot and Nick began to clap.  Whew that’s a good sign. 🙂 Nick accepted the helmet much better.  He was able to handle more laps around the tennis court going a bit faster and seemed to pinch his cheeks less. It was great to see him ride the tandem bike and stay in sync with the staff member behind him. Reward for the day, Taco Bell!  I am going to put 5 pounds on easily this week, ugghhh

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Day 3:

The staff announced that this is the most exciting day of the week.  “Today is launch day.”  🙂  “Many of the kids will be taking off on two wheels!”  Parents were encouraged to come in and cheer, take pictures and celebrate.  I got a lump in my throat seeing these kids take off with success. Pride was written across the smiles on their faces.  Nick was making improvements but still had trouble pushing the pedals.  He worked on the trainer with a goal to pedal ten times in a row.  The staff reported that he was able to balance better and was starting to steer and turn more on his own.  However, he would be a failure to launch.

Day 4:

This was move in day for his older brother, Hank who attends Northern Illinois University.

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Nick’s respite worker, Lara said he was up on two wheels with the spotters close at hand.  He had a good day and enjoyed lunch at McDonalds afterwards.

Day 5:

Nick started out on the trainer to work on pedaling technique.  He road the roller wheel bike, tandem bike and the 2 wheeler bike with a handle on the back.  I took a video of him on the 2 wheeler bike. He was so slow that the footage looked like a still frame picture.  Nick was the last remaining cyclist to head outside and the only one who didn’t launch on two wheels. The iCan Ride staff recommended we put him on a 24 inch cruiser bike with a handle attached to the back.  She felt he made progress balancing and turning and encouraged him to come back next year. The  Fox Valley Special Recreation Association coordinator  gathered the kids together for a group picture.  Each child was rewarded a special license to ride.

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I am glad that Nick had this experience.  My goals for the week:

  1. Give him something to do that was structured and physical.
  2. See if he could pedal so we could possibly look into getting a tandem bike.
  3. Wear him out so he wouldn’t drive me bonkers while he is out of school. 🙂

Nick made improvements and endured more each day, plus he didn’t have any meltdowns. Did he enjoy it as much as the scuba experience? No, but at least he tried something new and it was not an epic fail.  Will we do it again?  That depends on whether he pulls those bike camp icons out of his picture communication book and requests it.  You never know until you try…That’s what is in my noggin this week.

~Teresa

Posted in Autism, Fun Side of Nick

Blog #13~Take 1, Take 2, Take 3…. oh just keep snapping!

Over the years, the process of getting a clean shot of Nick in a photo has never been easy.  Three things have to happen.  First you have to get him to look into the camera with eyes fixed and not flat.  Then, catch his smile.  Oh and while along try to keep his hands from flapping around his ears.  Nick when excited about something can do some serious flapping…..

Yes I can…

It’s my brother’s birthday I’m gonna flap if I want to… Happy Birthday Hank!

Most of the family photos appear angelic as we have our arms coiled around him lovingly.  Actually this is a desperate attempt to control the hands flapping!

Unnerstall Family photo….

I love getting the Christmas cards from our fellow dual diagnosis friends and their families.  It is always a mirror image of those wrapped arms that appear to be peaceful and in control. Oh wait there are more……….

Mom and I trying to get Nick to look at the camera for a Rodger’s Family photo…

Oh what a sweet picture of Jim and Theresa with the grandchildren… note the gentle holding of Nick’s hands while calmly looking into the camera….

Mount Diablo in Nothern California… Their faces say it all…

“I know that all my cousins are looking straight ahead at the camera, but  I am look away Nick!”….

Poor Hank, I can’t tell you how many pictures he and  our family have endured  patiently sitting and smiling while waiting for Nick to maybe look into the camera and smile.

Nick says…”Who needs Santa, this hand flap is way better.”   Gotta love Santa’s gaze at him.  

How many school pictures of Nick have been re takes?  Uh ya… all of them!

We call this one “Off-Centered Nick” but it’s a rather cute shot (2nd grade)

Which brings us to senior portrait time, oh my.  A lot has changed since my high school days back in La Porte, Texas.

Back then, they only offered two shots. (That sounded like an old person speaking didn’t it?)  I remember being bummed that we didn’t get to do the pose like Mom had.  Even the graduating classes two years before me did.  You know the one with the fluffy white feathers that hit just above the bare shoulders.  I couldn’t wait to see myself  like this….

Mom rocking the feathers…

My ’79 graduating class got stuck with the casual street clothes look,  fake green ficus creeping over the background  and a lame tree trunk covered with lichen. Not quite the same is it?

The second shot was the with the conservative gray background and traditional cap and gown.  These days it is a complete photo shoot with multiple backgrounds and wardrobe changes including props such as a band instrument or sporting equipment. Which leads this story to the present tense and Nick who had his senior portraits taken last Friday.

Several things need to happen to pull such a feat off.  First besides the top three items that I listed above is timing.   I made sure to block an hour shoot rather than 30 minutes to allow for Nick to transition and in case he needed a break.  With Nick’s hair that grows like Samson……  timing is everything. Oh and the stars need to be in alignment.

This would be too late…..

So, we arrive at the studio complete with my bag full of things to try to get Nick to look at the camera. And the task strip that had icon pictures of camera, smile, wait, smile, all done and then of course the big reward at the end…. ta da!

Double thumbs up.. yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I told the photographer that he had a limited number of money shots.  Just keep snapping… and he did. Between the photographer, Hank and I engaging in countless sound effects, silly toys like whoopie coushins, fake burps sounds, slap stick humor and yes…..two wardrobe changes and five different backdrops we might just have a few keepers.   We’ll see how the film rolls in a few weeks.  Funny how such a simple thing like having your photo taken can be such a process and wear on you and your whole family.  These things are never easy with Nick.  But somehow in the midst, there usually is a nugget you take with you.  It’s a tiny bit that stays in your memory bank that brings a snicker and smile…..

That’s what is in my noggin this week. Until next week may you find those little nuggets of happiness and say cheese…..  and don’t forget to flap your hands!

~Teresa

Posted in Autism, Behavior/ ABA, Fun Side of Nick

Blog # 10 Nano Second!

Last Friday, Nick and I celebrated the end of school with a trip his favorite eatery, Taco Bell.  I like the one off 75th street in Naperville because there are no fire alarms in site for him to grab.  Yes, Nick has an obsession with fire alarms.  Since 3rd grade he has pulled 25 of them total.  For the record he has only got me twice and it only took a nanosecond!  Nick is always looking for the opening, that one moment when you aren’t paying attention.  That is the instant when he will strike.  The first fire alarm pull on my watch happened as I was fumbling to get my keys out of my purse.  He lunged across my body and clawed at the alarm before I could even try to block him.  Yes he’s that fast!

The object of his envy…..

So back to Friday lunch, I was glancing at the menu board to find something remotely low calorie when Nick grabbed a set of keys that a man in front of us had set down on the counter next to his newspaper.  Just before he pushed the red panic button on the remote I scooped them up.  Mom 1, Nick 0!

If you are around Nick for any given period of time you develop razor sharp reflexes. Let me put a lens on this. Here is a series of encounters that happened just this week.  On Sunday, my husband Al left Nick inside while he rolled up the hose reel. In merely two minutes he came back into the kitchen where Nick had wildly ransacked the refrigerator leaving the door wide open.  He had pulled out several things including two bottles of salad dressing.  The ranch dressing rested on the island with the cap off and was only spared because it was nearly empty.  Clearly, that wasn’t satisfying enough. But the full bottle of Asian Sesame was wrapped between his hands, turned upside down while he stood there choking it like a chicken as the rose colored liquid drained onto the floor.  Nick 1, Al 0!

A few days later while rolling the garbage cans halfway down the driveway Nick thought it would be funny to push the garage door button (again with the buttons!)  I stopped short in my tracks sprinted back and ducked under with my heart pounding just before I got locked out of the house.  I won that round, barely!

On Thursday we had a nice visit with Rob, a former teacher/respite worker.  Incidentally, Rob carries the esteemed title of being #20 on the fire alarm pulls.  About halfway through our visit I began to hear the sound of running water from upstairs.  Moments later the pitter patter of Nick’s footsteps followed by what I can only describe as a dastardly laugh  as the vein popped out of his forehead.   Clearly he was delighted. Rob offered to go upstairs and see what was going on.  As he came around the corner back into the kitchen he stood there holding his flip flops which he had politely left by the front door. They were dripping wet!

Nick and Rob….

Oh and let me not fail to mention that Hank left his bathroom door unlocked. I had just mopped the floor…. Cue the sound of the glug, glug….glug of Crest Fluoride rinse spilling over the banister.

A few hours later… as I put the finishing touches on the master calendar…. I might have left my pen out while I put of load of clothes in the dryer….uh oh…Nick inserted his intents…

Which brings me to Saturday, what more can he possibly do?  Nick is crafty and as I mentioned before he is always looking to find your weak point.  On this particular morning I was trying to get ready to go teach a step aerobics class.  While upstairs getting ready, Nick was in the kitchen pushing the popcorn button on the microwave followed by the intercom button on the phone.  A few minutes later in the midst of putting on my lycra spandex he made a nice Jackson Pollack design using toothpaste which he squirted in a swirling and splattered pattern from the second floor….(yes, the usually dumping spot, I am thinking of putting a plastic baby pool down any day now.) Thinking that I was staying one step ahead of him I carried my coffee with me into the closet while I changed.  However I accidentally left the mug there as I went back into the bathroom and bam, that is when he emptied it out onto the collar of my warm up jacket.  Nick 4, Mom 0….

This is going to be a long summer!

Even with the cabinet door locks back on he still manages to find ways to dump.  His goal is always trying to get our goat (see blog # 3 for more of Nick’s shenanigans.) He is *nano second fast and he will get you. I would love to hear any fun stories you have of Nick pulling one on you.  Send me your experiences with Nick and I will write a follow piece with all of your perspectives. Please e-mail your encounters with Nick to tjunnerstall@comcast.net.

There are no lessons to be learned or wise words to offer this week, except to say that I know better. I should have found something for him to do while I was busy in my realm.  So this week I simply want to offer a slice into Nick’s world….the rest of us is just trying to keep up.  That’s what is in my noggin this week.  Until next Monday, may you be on point and razor sharp as you take on the week ahead.

~Teresa 🙂

* Nano Second according to Answers.com is One billionth of a second. Used to measure the speed of logic and memory chips, a nanosecond can be visualized by converting it to distance. In one nanosecond, electricity travels approximately a foot in a wire. Admiral Grace Hopper was famous for handing out strands of “telephone wire nanoseconds” to her audience whenever she lectured about technology. Holding the wire turns the unreal concept of a billionth of a second into reality.