Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, December 31, 2010


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Happy New Year to you and yours from Griffin, Abby, Dot, and me!

Since I don't have a social life and nobody to do respite for me I will let Griffin stay up with me and we will watch Sesame St. New Year's Eve together like we always do. What the heck it is only one night a year and we get to sleep in in the morning....YEAH!

One of the most significant events that happened in 2010 was the week that Griffin left me for the first time to go to camp in June. I was a wreck! I never thought that my heart could ache so badly but I made it through and I am glad that he went because he loved it. He was homesick in the beginning but he made it through too. I learned a lesson from that, to pay more attention to what I want and need and not rely on Griffin to fill up the spaces in my life. Even though a friend visited me while he was a camp I didn't fully enjoy the time like I should have and the days that my friend wasn't here I was lost! If he goes again next summer then believe me, I am going to enjoy myself completely!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful new year, that it is filled with joy and that you are always surrounded by those you love. May you find peace and happiness not to mention winning the lottery too! Thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing your comments with me, it means a lot to me that we have stuff in common and that you care enough to take the time to share. I have enjoyed getting to know you, my fellow bloggers, some of you I have known awhile and some of you I just met but that friendship is meaningful nonetheless.

Big hugs to all of you from the two of us!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finally Free

I haven't blogged for a few days because I have been reading this fascinating book by Desmond Morris called "Watching". He is a zoologist who has made great strides in the observation and documentation of animal and human behavior. By watching them he has made some major contributions to the study of mammals and other species. But his greatest contribution is that of humans through film and other mediums such as visual art. Desmond Morris a renowned artist and author of many books and he was the curator of the London Zoo for several years. He made an impression on the world of art with his chimpanzee "Congo" who painted some very sophisticated works of art. It is a 642 page book and I am on page 235 so I've a ways to go yet but making great headway.

Griffin and I have been out and about for a few days now and it has been such a huge relief to be able to leave the house. We have been playing cards and Legos now and then and lots of tickle time too! We will probably go swimming later on.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cabin Fever

After being snowed in since Christmas Griffin surely has a case of cabin fever as he has had several meltdowns today. He wanted to go to the store, probably just to get out of here for awhile, to get cookie dough even though we have homemade cookies here that the neighbor gave us. When I tried to explain to him that the roads are too icy for the car to go on he didn't understand and just kept telling me to go warm up the car.

I had been limiting his time on the computer which of course forced him to do other more constructive things like playing with his Legos or drawing, but I decided to let him spend more time on it since he was so out-of-sorts. We went outside to walk Abby but he didn't want to play in the snow of make a snowman so we weren't out that long. And it wasn't because we were cold  because we know how to bundle up since having lived in Alaska for so long in fact, we were on the verge of being hot out there in 20 degree temps. which is a heat wave in the winter in Alaska.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Griffin likes his new toys but got upset when he opened his Buzz Lightyear saying that I was supposed to get it at the store and not as a gift at Christmas. But he soon started playing with it and forgot about being upset. He was none too thrilled with the clothes that his secret Santa gave to him but he sure needs them.

We have snow today which is great for Griffin but not for me because I wanted to go to IHOP to eat a Christmas dinner (can't drive in the snow because of the hill at our complex, they don't treat the road or scrape it) since I am not cooking. I don't cook because it would only be for me since Griffin wouldn't eat any of it...what's the use? I am trying to lose more weight so it is just as well I suppose. I am not complaining since there are hungry and cold people without a home that is safe and warm. They don't have anything to eat or loved ones to share smiles with today. So I am grateful for all that I have, my home, the heat to warm my home, an abundance of food, and last but not least of all...Griffin my dear sweet child!
Isn't it true that young kids like the boxes as much as they do the gifts? At least it is for Griffin because he likes to use his imagination and hold "Dot" whenever he can, she is so tolerant of him because she doesn't like to be held.

Griffin wanted to make a YouTube video about his new toys that he got for Christmas so here it is: Big Woody & Buzz and little Woody & Buzz. I hope that you watch and enjoy his fine presentation!

Friday, December 24, 2010

He's Not Excited About Christmas

Buzz Lightyear's ClipartWhen I asked Griffin if he was excited about Christmas he replied, "I am boring for Christmas." which means that he is bored with Christmas and that he is not excited about it. He seems to think that he is not going to get the toys that he wants and therefore he doesn't care if it comes or not. He wants a Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and Rex but he is only going to get Buzz because that's all that I could afford so he might be a bit disappointed in what he finds. I don't expect him to be overjoyed because that is not how he reacts to things and he might just be pissed off that he didn't get all that he wanted, I know that he is going to be pissed that he is getting some clothes but that's okay. If I don't have expectations of him then I won't be disappointed in how he behaves. I don't know how other autistic children react to presents but my little guy is not one to get excited about gifts or anything for that matter. He will like his Buzz in the end and ultimately play with him plenty and that's all that matters.

Griffin and I were treated to a visit from his Nana (my mom) and his cousin Hayley! It didn't even occur to me to take a photo of them...damnit! It would have been nice to get a photo of them with Griffin for posterity but I guess that I was too eager to see them and to sit and talk to them. Griffin visited and goofed off with my mom and she got in some good tickle time in which he loved. I hadn't seen Hayley in quite some time so it was nice to talk with her, she is really getting to be quite the young lady (14 yrs. old).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meltdown in the Church

At one of the local churches they have a night once a month where children who are disabled can come and have dinner and a special service. It was our first visit and it turned out to be an interesting experience. It didn't start out too well because as we were waiting for the minister to say the blessing Griffin wanted something to eat so he grabbed a piece of chicken and then wanted some chocolate milk. Well the women kept telling him that he had to wait for the prayer which he didn't understand. I had the idea that it would be okay for him to wait because he has to wait at school for his meal but it wasn't okay and he proceeded to have a meltdown. So then I got him the milk after I got him calmed down and explained to him about how we sometimes have to wait for things when we don't want to. He seemed to understand but I think that next time I will just go ahead and get him the milk because it really wasn't a big deal for him to have it and not worth a meltdown and certainly they will understand next time and not insist that he has to wait. It was after all a special dinner for the disabled and they've got to get used to the idea that sometimes autistic children have difficulty with the concept of waiting for a blessing. It is abstract not concrete so I can understand why he didn't get it.

I think that sometimes it is good to teach Griffin under certain circumstances to wait because as he gets older he will have to have an understanding of patience and a tolerance for sitting and waiting or doing something else in the meantime. I think that maybe he was just hungry too which fueled the fire.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


This is small things Saturday blog hop and I would like to write about something that seems small but is actually a big deal, hugs. Griffin started about 3 months ago hitting at me sometimes for no apparent reason but almost always when he got angry with me. I spoke to his OT who said to do hand presses and that he would learn to do that instead but then he would just press my hands (straight out in front of my body) so hard that it nearly knocked me over, he is a strong 8 year old! But just in the past couple of weeks he has been hugging me instead of hitting me and the hitting seized completely, imagine how thrilled I have been! Now we hug literally ALL the time and it helps keep us from getting so angry with one another especially since mommy is such a grouch/disciplinarian.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I Want for Christmas

What I want for Christmas is for Griffin to enjoy himself and understand the concept of the holiday more than ever before and I want for us to be healthy, safe, and happy year round. And for me personally? There's nothing that I want for myself except for maybe some respite and a social life, guess Santa can't really bring that to me can he? I would just like to have some time to myself to be around other people and to have a life outside of being a mom all the time.

I miss the days when we lived in South Carolina near my parents and had the luxury of them watching Griffin for me while I did things for myself. But the schools down there were horrible and I had to get Griffin to North Carolina where he could have the attention and services that he so deserved. I guess that most everything comes at a cost and I had to sacrifice to get him what he needed and I am glad that I did.

I am just thankful that we are able to celebrate Christmas and that I am able to give Griffin gifts at all because there are others who don't even have food and shelter this winter. We have all we need really but it is going to be so nice to see Griffin's face when he gets his Toy Story figures for Christmas! I hope that my fellow blogging friends have a very happy holiday and that you get all that your heart desires.

This is my first time doing the Blog Hop so I hope that I did it right, I know that I enjoy reading Jean's blog, The Scenic Route, and look forward to reading the other blogs too!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gingerbread House

I helped Griffin make this lovely gingerbread house, he did most of it by himself though, isn't it great?

Finding words has been very difficult for me since taking a drug, Topomax, for weight loss. It worked like a charm in helping me lose weight but not without a price. The drug is really an anti-seizure medication with the side effect of weight loss but my doctor said that it was safe to take to lose weight. So I had been taking it for 5 months losing nearly 50 lbs. but my memory has suffered and I struggle to find the words to write when commenting on other blogs and to write in this blog. The real problem is when trying to do my school work especially when writing papers or having to do a lot of description. I used to have an extensive vocabulary but it is gone! Now that I have stopped taking the drug I hope that there will be an improvement so far there hasn't been but I haven't been off of it for that long.

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Snow

We got our first snow and it was about 5 inches but it wasn't that cold fortunately so we got to play outside for an extended period of time. I say that it wasn't that cold but for most it was, but since we used to live in Alaska it really wasn't that cold at all comparatively. The key is to wear layers, good snow boots, the right kind of hat and gloves then there's no problem staying warm. Of course I got snow pants for Griffin so that he could really roll around and play in the snow.

When we went to Wal-Mart to get gloves for Griffin he refused to wear the good kind of gloves, you know the waterproof vinyl kind because his fingers couldn't move freely. So now he wears two pair of knitted gloves and it works out pretty good.

Since we've been stuck inside most the time and not going anywhere there is that element of the urge to eat for both of us so I made sure to have lots of healthy foods on hand. I must confess though that I did buy ice cream and chips for Griffin so that the little guy would have something "fun" to eat other than what was just good for him. As for me, I have lost nearly 50 lbs. over the past 5 months and I am not about to sabotage my progress because I still have 20 lbs. to go. So it is healthy foods for me only!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Family Fun Day

Today we went to the Family Fun Day and Griffin was only moderately interested. In the beginning he just kind of wandered around aimlessly, or at least it seemed so maybe there was a method to what he was doing. After we ate he sat down and had his face painted and hair spray painted, then he went to see Santa.

Update on "Look of Surprise"

Griffin told me last night that the video of Santa scared him and that he doesn't want to see it again. I am totally confused now!

Also here is a link to an Autism Society page that has 12 helpful hints for the holidays for the families with autism individuals:

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Look of Surprise

Heather from the Scenic Route posted about the Portable North Pole where you can fill in all the information and a video is generated from Santa himself that is custom made for your child. This is the look on Griffin's face while watching it. Santa told Griffin that he needed to stop throwing those silly temper tantrums and he stated that Griffin had asked for a certain figurine (Toy Story toys).

Griffin said afterwards that Santa didn't show Rudolph (but he did show a different reindeer). When I asked him if he believes in Santa now he said "Yes". He is watching a special on TV about Santa Claus which is unusual I think that he has a new interest in him.

Griffin went to Speech today and I sat in on the session as usual and this time he didn't want to go but I had talked him into it which I regret now. He ended up hitting and kicking the Speech Path. not in a tantrum but just lashing out at her when he was frustrated. She talked to me about it afterwards and said that from her experience with kids like that they usually do this in cycles and that if you try to stop it then it comes out in other ways. She told me that he didn't want to be this way, that he was obviously uncomfortable with himself so I needed to find ways to get him to calm himself. I told her that he is pretty calm at home although he has been hitting and kicking me when he gets angry or frustrated. I've got to discuss it with his psychologist and see what we can come up with for a good solution to this problem.

Have any of you had this problem? If so, what did you do?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Santa Claus

My dear friend Melissa sent me an e-mail with a phone number of this place where a group of high school students were doing a project answering the phone as Mrs. Claus and Santa for the kids. Before we called I told Griffin that I had Santa's phone number and asked if he would like to call and he replied that he didn't know if Santa was real. I told him that it was up to him to decide that but that I think that we should call.

Griffin first spoke with Mrs. Claus and he asked her if Santa was real and she said, "Yes, of course he is real he is my husband Mr. Claus. I am going to pass you on to him right now." So Santa got on the phone and Griffin still wasn't sure and asked him if he was real and he said, "Why yes I am real I am talking to you now aren't I?" Griffin smiled. "What would you like for Christmas?" Santa asked. Griffin said something that I couldn't understand which is not unusual (since he had his tonsils out a few years ago) and Santa couldn't understand him either. I think that he was talking about how Santa was going to come to his house on Christmas because I did understand him saying that he would decide if Santa was real when he came to his house on Christmas. Hee Hee Hee! My friend Beverly said what a great scientist he was going to be (since he needed proof to believe something).

If I can afford it he will be getting a gift from Santa and I will not tell him that Santa is not real. If he wants to believe in Santa then that is up to him he is old enough to decide on his own. But there is still room in his precious heart for a little bit of magic if he is willing to let it in.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Out of School

Griffin is out of school today and was out yesterday as well due to black ice and snow in certain areas of the county and there is little to do. Maybe I am not creative enough or something but I have few ideas of what we can do in this cold weather that doesn't cost money. There's no snow to play in but Griffin and I did bundle up for awhile so that he could go out and ride his scooter. I tried to play cards with him but he got frustrated and threw the cards everywhere and I couldn't get him interested in playing much for that!

It has warmed up to 23 degrees at 1:40 p.m. and I think that I am going to take him outside to the swings just to break up the monotony of being indoors. Griffin actually does well being inside, he plays Legos, draws, plays on the computer, and watches his DVDs or Zoboomafoo on TV. Right now he is sifting through his "printers" which are characters that he has printed out on the computer, cut out, and saved.

I think that I am the one who gets bored even though there is housework that could be done but instead I find myself on Facebook or reading about rewards for Griffin in a book that is set up for charts and activities for positive parenting. At least part of what I am doing is productive, I will eventually get around to doing my chores.

Just got a call from the church and she told me that I could pick up Griffin's gifts on the 21st or 22nd. I am so glad that someone took his name and that they did a good deed because he needs those clothes so badly. I think that there is going to be a winter coat, shirts, pants, socks, and a gift card for a toy. I am so grateful for their generosity!

My friend Jen over at The King and Eye has a post of Blog Gems Air Your Archives #4 where you post one of your old posts, that makes you happy, and then add your url and link. Then you read and comment on the two blogs before you. It really a lot of fun! You should try it!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Visit With Nana and Papa

Griffin and I got to visit with my mom and dad for a little while Thursday because they came up here to go to a meeting where we also visited my aunt who is in a rest home because she had a major stroke. Griffin loves seeing his Nana and Papa especially because he doesn't get to see them very often since they live in South Carolina which is about an hour and a half from here. I am always happy to see them too and can't wait to see them around Christmas time when they come back up to visit again. I am hoping that we will be able to afford to go visit them while Griffin is out of school for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I went to see Griffin's psychologist yesterday and I brought up something that my sister and I had discussed on Thanksgiving...Griffin's self esteem. I had mentioned to her that Griffin generally doesn't like to be praised and she said that she thinks that it is because he has low self-esteem. I hadn't thought of it that way, I just thought that maybe it was the autism but I still praised him anyhow. He tells me to stop when I tell him "good job" or "way to go" so I just don't make a big deal out of it. So at the psychologist's office I tell him that I think that he may have low self-esteem and the doctor told me that if he does then all I can do is to make sure that I brag on him when he is around those he cares about so that it will sink in and that self-esteem had to come from inside Griffin. He said that if I wanted to get a second opinion from another doctor about it that I was welcome because there are so many different points of view on the subject.

What do you think? Do you think that it could be the autism or does he really have low self-esteem in your opinion? I worry that I am doing something wrong with him that is causing this and I don't know what to do.