Dad v. Waiting with the Bruiser

Autism, Aspergers, ASD, Little League Football

“The Bruiser”

For two years I’ve been trying to get a tackle out of my boy in practice-let alone in a game.  He spends most plays that he’s able to be out on the field for backpedaling.  No matter how much I talk to him.

Last season he pretty much only played on offense.  In fact, the coaches last year even set up a pass play for him.  I wrote about it too.   I videotaped it, put it in slow motion and highlighted the exact flight of the ball. If I’d had better tools, I’d have used a telestrator…but that’s not the point of this blog.

No, the point is that it’s very hard to get “The Bruiser” his plays on the field, let alone have him actually make a play when he’s out there.

Which brings me to this Saturday… I made a deal with “The Bruiser,” if he could make a tackle in the game, we’d go to GameStop and buy a used Wii game.  Like I said, for two years I’d been trying to get a tackle out of him…

So…you probably can see what’s going to happen here…

In the beginning of the second quarter of a tight, tight game (at the time) while the Cheerleader and I were turned around talking to his old coach…the announcer says “Barnsdale in on the tackle.”

“What?” I exclaimed and looked out at the field, not believing, my pricey camera that can take video sitting uselessly in my lap.  Now, the first thing that jumped into my head was, “Bruiser talked to somebody and got the announcer to say his name…”  I didn’t even really believe he was out there on the field at all.

But there he was, running off the field with a spring in his step.  The Cheerleader and I jumped up out of our seats, screaming at the top of our lungs, “Go Bruiser!” I felt this completely unexpected moment of pure elation.  He’d done it!

And neither of us had seen a second of it.

I guess you’ve always got to keep your eyes on the prize?

Afterward, I asked him, “What was it like?  Tell me what happened.”

He gave me a blank look.  “I don’t know.  I can’t really explain it.  I just got a tackle.  That’s all.”

So, now I’ve got to take him to GameStop…and I’ve got to find somebody with video of that play.

Categories: Aspergers, Autism, Dad, Little League football, parenting | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Dad v. The Fourteenth Birtday

About a month and a half ago now, the Goob turned fourteen.

pink, teenagers, teenage girl,

The Goob…not cheerleading.

I didn’t really want to dwell on it.  Just like I don’t like to dwell on the fact that she’s now a freshman in high school and talking about things like homecoming and prom and drama club and…well, everything.

It’s bad enough that she’s no longer cheerleading.  She’s now coaching her own J.V. team and it’s bad enough that I had to start giving her driving lessons this summer, but now she has pink hair and is taking the next big step to graduating and running away to be a genius somewhere…probably in the TARDIS with Dr. Who…for all I know.

The saddest thing, for the Goob anyway, is she’s all my daughter.  She is geek through and through from her technicolor hair to her toes.  Most times, she’d rather watch Dr. Who or read Harry Potter than run around at night with boys.  (I better knock on wood while I still can.)

And she’s enthusiastically diving into her science classes and math, which is really good, because she needs to go to college and she’s going to be doing most of it on scholarships.

She’s so different than the two boys.  Crazy different.  It shows up most when we have to go to school functions and every teacher will always rave about her.  They always shook their heads in disgust at us over the twenty one year old.  And Noah just gets, “he’s such a great little guy!”

So, she marches on.  Growing up…making me older every day.

Hopefully, she’ll find that Doctor someday soon.

Categories: Austism, Autism, BatGirl, Dr. Who, Education, focus, goob, Grades | Leave a comment

Dad v. That Dude on the sidelines

On the Chain Gang

That guy, right there!

Hey everybody.

I’ve been away for a while.  Just watching the boy play football and trying to figure out how to make money online.  I know it can be done…just trying to figure it all out.

What I’ve also been doing is fulfilling our Little League Football family commitments.  You know, those things that everybody dreads.  Like selling candy bars or candles or having to work in the concession stand or sell 50-50 tickets.

Yeah, that stuff.

Now I was fairly excited when I filled out the commitment sheet for us this year (I let the Cheerleader sleep in….heeheeehee.)  Why? Because I put myself down for doing the chain gang for every freshman home game, which pretty much puts a check mark off on all of our duties.

Now, you may be asking, “doesn’t the Cheerleader coach or something?” Yeah, she used to, but she’s officially in retirement.  And while that always amounted to all of the commitments we needed to make, it’s still awesome in my books because I don’t have to console any crying little girls or hear about how the music will never get done by competition or about how nobody cares….

And why the chain gang? Because I love football and you can’t get any closer to the game without refereeing or playing.  (I’d play if I could…I’d wipe the field with those 60 lbs kids…oops, did I say that out loud?) So, I’m stationed right there directly on the sideline, watching every play.

And my first week doing that was a lot of fun….it was a really sweet deal…until some crazy guy in the stands started screaming that I messed up a measurement.

“That guy pulled the chain!” I heard him scream from the stands…of an 8-9 year old football game.  “Yeah, the guy on the left!”

Now, I smiled, because I couldn’t help but think about all the crazy stories of parents simply losing their ever-loving minds at their children’s sporting events…and I didn’t pull the chain…

I never turned around and I never said anything…I was just glad we don’t server beer at the little league events…

What is amazing is to be right in the middle of the opposing team’s sideline.  To hear what they’re saying, how they’re organized and how they interact with their players.  It really gave me a heads up and an appreciation for how well our coaching staff keeps the kids in line and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

It also made it perfectly clear that these are all just little boys.  Boys trying to make their parents and their coaches proud…no matter what anybody is screaming from the crowd.

Categories: Apsergers, Aspergers, Athletics, Attitudes, Austism, Autism, Bad Parenting, Boy scouts, common sense, Competition, Little League football, Most Valuable Blogger, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dad v. Happy Birthday, Cheerleader…you’re almost 29….

Bonjour, ma belle femme!  Bonne Anniversaire!

Ain’t she a cutie?

You guys probably didn’t know I speak French, but I…kind of do… a little.  In fact, the Cheerleader and I were trying to teach ourselves to speak it because once, long ago, we really thought we were going to be able to plan a trip to Paris.  It was my idea.  I always wanted to go…and I got her really excited…and then it fell through….

Like pretty much all of my ideas….I get her excited and then the sky falls in and it all goes to hell. Time after time after time…

That’s my problem, I’m an idea guy…who never has the means to make things happen…and I’m no good at keeping those ideas to myself…so I get other people excited and I inevitably disappoint them in the long run..

This isn’t turning out to be a great “Happy Birthday” post for the Cheerleader…again…idea…poor execution…disappointment…my fault.

But what I really want to say is that this has been an inordinately tough year at the Burrow and my Cheerleader has been right beside me the whole time…not silently, mind you, but beside me none the less.  And I really appreciate that.  I love her dearly.

She is the cream in my coffee, the light to my fire and the bestestest friend I’ve ever had.  She takes care of us on a minutely basis, Noah and Goob and me–and the Twenty-One year old too, when he comes around.  She is the backbone of our family and the heart too…and she should probably be more of the brains too, cause I screw stuff up all the time.

Somehow she remembers everybody’s calendars and where every little thing is in the house.  Somehow she knows where the kids put stuff…even when she’s not around to see them do it…and I’m not paying attention… as usual.

She gets up before everyone and goes to bed after.  She is a wealth of energy and caring.  She tirelessly researches for the boy and champions his cause in the schools.  She’s always looking for a new way to help him…to help us.

And now, she’s a student again as she tries to finish out her degree.

She is amazing and beautiful and loving.

And she’s all mine.

She deserves the best day ever…so it turned gray and started to pour like nobody’s business….again…great idea, poor execution.

Love you to pieces, darling.  Happy Birthday.

Categories: 15 years, Anniversary, Birthdays, Budget, change, Cheerleader, Cheerleading, Dad v. Autism, Red Vines and Red Wine | 1 Comment

Dad v. “Drink Less, Work More.”

“Drink less! Work more!”

We live in a world where celebrities and those with incredibly massive bank accounts love to tell the rest of the world what everybody else is doing wrong.

And for some reason, we all jump at the chance to hear what they have to say…and when they say things that we don’t agree with, we love to get all in a ruffle.

So, recently, Mrs. Gina Rinehart, an Australian mining billionaire, who inherited her family company, and now may be the richest woman on the planet, has decided to come out and tell everyone in the middle and lower class to quit our bitching, quit drinking so much and just work more.

Personally, I find this insulting. Not because I work as hard as I can already and I like to drink a few after work…if you look at Ms. Rinehart’s pic above, you can tell that she probably is no stranger to excess in one form or another, but because I don’t like somebody who inherited all of their wealth having the gall to tell us to work harder for ours.

Mrs. Rinehart’s real gripe, of which the whole “Drink less, work more” is just a snippet is a complaint about taxes and class warfare. Her statement is that if she get’s taxed more, she won’t have more money to help start businesses, make more jobs, and get infinitely more richer.

Now, I am not an expert on finance, let alone Australian finance and economy, but I happen to be one of the people wearing the yoke here in the United States where similar complaints are happening. The middle and lower classes are calling for more taxation of the rich here too….perhaps you’ve heard them, they aren’t doing it in secret.

Personally, I think that taxation should simply be fair and equitable….ie a flat tax. Will the rich pay more under this system? Of course they will. Personally, I get nailed for about 28-30% of my income every year, which does seem like an awful lot.

But if it was a flat tax and every body paid…say 25%…of course someone who makes 5 billion dollars will pay a lot more than somebody who only makes say $50,000….but they’re both being taxed equally.

But of course that won’t ever happen, not in the United States, or even in Australia.

Categories: Dad, Economy, finance, flat tax, Gina Rinehart | Leave a comment

Dad v. Pay it Forward Friday – 8/31/2012

I am taking a cue from Heather Reese at My Husband Ate All My Ice Cream and Chris over at From the Bungalow and giving out some props to some fellow bloggers.

Our fellow bloggers present us with a lot of opportunities for furthering our blogs, and gaining followers.  Here is a way to Pay It Forward to them. When you have been bestowed with the honor of the Pay It Forward Award., insert this award at the top of a blog post along with these rules, and find ONE (I changed it for sanity’s sake) fellow blogger to bestow it upon. Thank the person who awarded you, mention them in your post, along with a link to your favorite post on their blog, and a short blurb about why you liked it. Next, comment on their blog to let them know you are bestowing the award on them, and that they should do the same. And remember: Good Bloggers Pay It Forward!

 This week I will be pimping out “The Dude of the House.”  The “Dude” is a mid-west transplant who has moved his wife and two year old son to sunny California.  Something that the Cheerleader and I did about thirteen years ago…but we couldn’t hack it so we moved back to where houses aren’t half a million each.

His latest blog is about his boy encountering a bully.  It provides a good dilemma and is good reading.

Give him a look and a like and tell him how cool and cute his kid is, OK?

Categories: Autism, Dad, Pay it Forward, The Dude | 1 Comment

Dad v. Getting back on the horse

Saddle up and ride, cowboy…


When I started writing “Dad v.” it was without any idea of getting tons of page hits or making any money or anything like that.  I was simply out to tell Noah’s story, and our family story.

I needed to tell the world about a little boy with high functioning autism and a dad who was doing his best to cope and to help.  Mine was a point of view that I hadn’t seen yet–the Dad’s eye view.

After a month or so, it started to take off.  People other than my immediate friends and family started to read it and thanks to incredible people like Nikki of “Mom’s who drink and swear”, it really kind of started to balloon.

People started nominating the site for random “Top [place number here]” lists and although I was never really at the top or won anything it was incredibly gratifying.  I was posting twice a day.  The site peaked with an Alexa ranking of 700,000 world wide and I was getting between three and four hundred hits a day.  (That was for the blogging geeks out there, for every body else, I was doing pretty good for a dude with next to zero blogging experience and wading into the mom-infested waters of parenting blogs.)

And then…I’m not sure what happened.  I kind of got distracted by life again.  That’s how it works, or maybe the site distracted me from life…I’m not sure.

And gradually, I wasn’t really looking at page counts or Alexa rankings or any of that stuff.  I was writing my book and working my job and for a few months getting paid to write about my football team, the Detroit Lions.  And all of those indicators fell off.

So all of my initial momentum has pretty much been lost and now, if I want this site to get back to where it was, or better yet, back in the direction it was going, I’ve got to redouble my efforts.

I’ve got to talk more about the Goob and about how the boy is doing in football and school.  I’ve got to let the world know how much I care about my family and all of their combined and individual successes, because the “regular stuff” is kind of what this site is built on.  There was a time I think I was striking a chord with people because I was giving them a window into another family a lot like their own.

Now, I’m going to get back into the nitty-gritty and keep y’all in the loop.  And I’m going to finish my book and maybe even that damned tree house.


Howdy.  Sorry, I’ve been dogging it so much lately.

PS.  If anything I wrote made you smile, laugh, or cry…or you just liked it.  Please share it out.

Categories: Alexa, Aspergers, Autism, Blogging, Dad, Ranking, SEO | Leave a comment

Dad v. The Posture Postulem

Does this man look angry to you?

Well, I don’t laugh all day long like an idiot, if that’s what you mean.

 –Wyatt Earp, Tombstone


It has come to my attention….namely by the Cheerleader and Goob and the boy that I always look mad.

Which may or may not be the case, because I’m never looking at myself.

But I’m not always mad.  Or disapproving.  Or annoyed.

In fact, I’m usually just really interested.

Sure there are times when I am mad or disapproving or annoyed.  There are times when the boy is not doing what he’s supposed to be doing or messing around with the other kids or not putting forth anywhere near the necessary effort or he’s just doing something wrong on the field that we’d already talked about.  There are those times….but it’s not ALL the time.

So, frankly, they made me self-conscious.  In fact, really started concentrating on how I was standing and I learned something.

My natural posture is standing with my arms crossed.  Doesn’t matter how I feel.  It’s just the most natural.  So I consciously tried not to cross my arms.  I tried putting my hands in my pockets, first the front pockets, then the back.  I tried leaving them hang at my sides and then I put my hands on my hips.

I probably looked like I was flailing, maybe trying to get a bee away from my belt or something.  Or maybe it looked like was just a really, really bad dancer…which I am.

I’m not sure, but I do know that nothing felt right.  There was no place to put my hands that didn’t make me feel self-conscious. The longer it went on, the more it looked like my mind had completely lost control of my arms and hands–like I was having a seizure or something.

But I went on trying, finally stashing them in my back pocket for the rest of practice or as long as I could.  Whatever I did, I didn’t go back to the arms folded…I even tried to smile.  Although, I didn’t really have a whole lot to smile about as I watched the boy sit on the sidelines waiting to get in to play.

But again, I tried, because I don’t want the boy to think I’m mad all the time.  It doesn’t matter if every time he comes off the field I tell him how good I think he did and he could also try to improve this or maybe run a little faster or watch the ball with a little more concentration…

Because that’s what I do…I’m a “you did great, but…” kind of person and I don’t want to be.  I don’t want to be the master of the backhanded compliment, especially to the boy.  It’s a fine line trying to get the most out of him and still tell him how great he’s doing.  It seems that it is a fine line that I am doing a very poor job of walking.

So for a day…I tried not to fold my arms.  I tried to smile, even though he wasn’t paying enough attention and could have put in a lot more effort.

And when he came off the field he smiled at me.  “I did great today, Dad.  Didn’t I?”

I smiled and bit my tongue.  “You sure did.”

And for today, there were no “but”s.

PS.  If anything I wrote made you smile, laugh, or cry…or you just liked it.  Please share it out.

Categories: appearances, Attitudes, Dad, posture | Leave a comment

Dad v. Back to Practice

The Reaper

In Batman Year Two, Mike Barr writes a great follow up to Frank Miller’s four part mini series called (wait for it…) Batman – Year One.  In year two, he fights “The Reaper.” A man dressed up in huge body armor that wants to avenge the death of his wife by killing all sorts of people who were involved in her murder.

It was a step up for Batman (in Frank Miller’s story), it was the first time he’d faced a “Super villain.”  Things got more difficult.  The stakes were raised.

Last year was a monumental task for Noah…playing football.  It went against all of his normal tendencies.  There was a lot of exercise and hitting and paying attention.

And he wanted to play.  I’m still unsure of how much of his eagerness had to do with a deep seeded need to please me or his own belief that this was something that was really going to help him make friends.

Because, although some kids on the spectrum are incredibly introverted and don’t seem to want human contact….Noah does….he’s just really, really awkward about it.

In fact, I think all kids, all people want to feel accepted by others on some level.

He worked through all the practices.  He got into better and better shape.  He got on the field during games as a kickoff and kick return coverage guy.  He was part of the team.  A team that made the Little League Playoffs and fell one minute short of the Championship game–the Peanut Bowl.

Now, it’s Year Two.

He’s been moved up to the Junior Varsity, because of his age.  He has new coaches and new responsibilities and more is expected of him.

The stakes have changed.

Last year

And he still wants to play.

Some of the new things that the boy has to learn to deal with–more so than last year–is actually learning some of the play book.  Learning what his assignments and responsibilities are and where he needs to line up on certain plays or defenses.  It is an awful lot for him to take in.

So I talked to the coaches the day after they handed out the playbooks.

I looked over the playbooks and I caught the new head coach on the way to practice, while he had a blocking dummy on his back and couldn’t run fast enough to get away from me.

I asked him if last year’s coach had told him anything about Noah?  He had.

“Then you know that he’s autistic and he has a hard time concentrating.”  I continued following him across the field.  “I think, and it’s completely up to you of course, but looking at your play book, I think the best position you could put Noah in, would be safety.”

“Well, we’ve got to see how the kids hit, what kind of speed they have.  It’s real early still, we’re not thinking about positions yet,” he replied.

This year

“Of course, Coach, I understand that, but what I’m saying is whatever you do with Noah, you’ve got to be consistent.  Put him in one position and leave him there.  He can learn the responsibilities of that position and he’ll respond and get better.”

“We’ll see how it works out,” he replied.

“And I saw that the safety in your defense, in every defense, lines up in the same spot and has pretty much the same responsibilities all the time.  Noah can work with that.”

I didn’t ask for him to be a starting anything.  He won’t be a starter.  Certainly not this year anyway.

So, over the next couple of days, I worked with Noah.  I saw that on offense, during hitting drills they kept lining him up at right guard.  I had him lift up his right arm…”What hole is that?”  “Four.”  His left, “Two.”

And I was perfectly happy with that…I just wanted him to have ONE position to really learn and concentrate on.

Of course, over the next two weeks, he started lining up everyday during scrimmages at safety…which makes sense, because he’s not much of a hitter.  And little league football is 95% run, which means that on 90% of the plays, it never even gets back to the safety.

Exciting things are going to happen!

But still,  just like I said, every day he’s getting better.

PS If anything I’ve written has made you think, laugh or smile, do me a favor and share it out.  Thanks bunches.

Categories: Aspergers, Autism, Batman, Dad, Frank Miller, Little League football, Year Two | 1 Comment

Dad v. The Rained Out Vacation

Our one good day, this summer.

It has been a rough year at the Burrow.  It just seems like we have never been able to catch a breath and relax…all year long.

Whether it’s been major car repairs, home repairs, astronomical utility bills, school fees, kid needs….everything….we’ve always been just below or at the break even mark.

So when our good friends and neighbors invited us to go up north for a couple days at a family cabin on a lake, we jumped at the opportunity.

We sold stuff to pay for gas and food.  We hid money in a jar.  We counted the days on the calendar.

Three days relaxing, swimming, and drinking on a pontoon boat under the sun.  Three days away from work and troubles and….everything.

We were excited.  I took the days off work.  I borrowed my mom’s car, because it gets better gas mileage and has more trunk room.  I dragged the kids out of bed at an ungodly hour and shoved them unceremoniously in between the suitcases and the large cooler.

And then we were off…

Three hours of driving, north on I-275 and US 23…away from the hustle and bustle and traffic and buildings…away from the cares and people….up toward forest and trees and water and unblemished sky.

We made the trip in record time, with only minimal complaining and griping from the boy and Goob.  We only stopped once…it was a good drive.

And we were there, in the lush green woods away from the cacophony of city sounds and in the peace and quiet.

I think we all exhaled for a minute.

Then we were off again, pulling luggage and the cooler into the house and then rushing down to the pontoon boat and heading out for our first swim and it was still only 1 pm.  It was going to be a great three days.  Pictures were taken.  Beer and wine was drank.  Kids got wet and laughed and played.

And then it started to rain.

And it never stopped.

We sat in the cabin watching the puddles form in the yard and the millions of little circles splash out on the lake…and we still drank a few and played Uno…but the underlying feeling of disappointment was palpable.

“Don’t worry, this is going to pass in twenty minutes…” the phrase was uttered a few hundred times without much hope…

But it never did stop and we cut the whole thing short a day, because the new weather forecast said that it was going to keep raining for three more days.

Much like everything else this year, we got a glimpse of good things ahead, but they just didn’t work out.

Now this is just griping…and I feel bad doing it.  It’s not the way I like to be.

So here’s what I’m going to say about it, in true “Pollyanna” style…Noah did awesome on this trip.  Even with getting stuffed into a cabin on the only rainy week in Michigan all year.  He did well playing with the other kids and he had an awesome time while we were able to enjoy the lake.  He did great on the drive, never complaining, even though we got him up so early.

Noah, whether he knew it or not, had an awesome vacation.

And now school starts in the next few weeks and time will speed up like it always does with school and football and pretty soon it’ll be Thanksgiving and Christmas and a New Year….and next year….is a whole new year and it’ll be better.   Best one yet, I figure.

PS If anything I’ve written has made you think, laugh or smile, do me a favor and share it out.  Thanks bunches. 

Categories: Autism, Dad, rain, summer, Summer Vacation, Up North, vacation | Leave a comment