Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Friday, December 14, 2012

30 Blogs With Tips For Homework Help

I do not endorse nor support the website Nannypro because I have not had personal experience using its services but this link was sent to me by Sara Dawkins which I appreciate because I can pass this great information on to my readers.

This is a fantastic link to a site where you can find 30 blogs to help with homework from math to science to reading and English to organizational skills and even how to succeed with less frustration.

Friday, November 30, 2012

5 Books That Explain Cancer To Kids and I Am Feeling Better

I have to say that I am not familiar with Become A Nanny and do no endorse their services since I have no experience with them but since Martina Keyhell sent me this link I had to share it with you.

This is a wonderful resource for books about cancer and cancer happens to be all too familiar to me because my Aunt Patty has stage 4 lung cancer right now and I am praying for her but she is doing much better since several chemo treatments. We are optimistic. Please pray for her through her journey as it is still a long one.

Anyhow, I think that after reading this page about the books you will find at least one, if not two, books that will be helpful in your journey through cancer and all its struggles. Sometimes there is even joy to be found in all the pain behind all the clouds.

My anti-depressant is working well and I am feeling much better but still dealing with the 7 steps of coping with my child's autism and I know it sounds weird to everyone because Griffin is almost 11 years old and why didn't I do this when he was diagnosed? But I think that I didn't because I didn't feel safe enough, I didn't have a support system I just went straight to being his advocate and skipped all the other steps and didn't deal with all the other emotional stuff......I didn't know how to. I was afraid to and frankly I still am but I know that I have to. It is really hard going through this as a single parent and if only I would make myself go to Autism Society meetings and Family Support Network meetings I would probably feel better but I tend to isolate myself and make excuses. But maybe now that I am feeling better I will go and participate. I have got to start putting the oxygen mask on myself before I put it on Griffin, so to speak, by taking care of myself and doing things for myself so that I can take care of him. Everything has been all about Griffin for 11 years and nothing has ever been about Lora, and it is nobody's fault but my own. I was just noticing that I need a pedicure and I have the time to do it but I am not used to caring for myself like that. I need to pamper myself and when Griffin goes with his respite provider I need to do something special for myself and it doesn't even have to cost money.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

10 Storage Ideas For Saving Some of Your Child's Homework and Our Thanksgiving Day 2012

 I received this link to the article 10 Storage Ideas For Saving Some of Your Child's Homework from Maria Wells from her blog which seems to me to be an excellent blog indeed. I checked it out and is a great resource of useful information for all your housekeeping needs. I highly recommend that you read this article with the 10 ideas for storing the homework because now I am excited about getting the clutter taken care of that has haunted me for all these years. Step number one is to get rid of the clutter and to let go of some of it that is the hard part especially the artwork. But she does have other great ideas like putting it under the bed in a container and in a three ring binder but I will let you read the rest.......

Griffin has been sick with a bad cough over this Thanksgiving break, I have been giving him Musinex faithfully every 3 1/2 hours because if I give it every 4 like it says then his cough comes back with a vengeance. He won't stay still, he just keeps running around as if nothing is the matter so one might guess that he is not that sick but by the way that he is sleeping so much he seems sick.

We went to the church for Thanksgiving dinner and it went well, my friend Nina called me to wish me Happy Thanksgiving while I was standing in line and Griffin was walking around checking out the food table to see if there was anything that he could eat and he didn't find anything. As we were going to sit down he discovered the dessert table and I allowed him to have some since he had already eaten before we got there, I figured there would be no food there he would eat. He calmly sat there while I ate my food getting up from the table only once to get something to drink. I did have to go get him but he was socializing really well I was proud of him I think he did really well the entire time. We had to go home and he had to eat a real meal again always


I guess that I could have taken the time to get him to try new foods while at the church, it would have been a great opportunity but I thought that since he was sick and in an atmosphere that made him restless already I didn't think that he would have the patience to sit down long enough, even with coercion, and partly because he was sick too. I think that because there are always so many people there it is a sensory overload for him and that is why he always goes into the corner with his Doodle Pro and hides during the service. But I digress...... He made it through and I didn't make him try any new foods which made for a more pleasant experience.

Wednesday, his OT, Sarah, did however get him to try some foods but most of them he had already had before and I knew that he liked but she didn't know that when she got them. But he did try raw broccoli and liked it so that was good so now we have a new veggie that he will eat other than carrots....Bravo!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

10 Things I Wish You Knew (A note from a special kid to special Parents) by Sally Brown

10 Things I Wish You Knew
(A note from a special kid to special Parents)  by Sally Brown

1.     You are the perfect parents for me. I know that you did not sign up for a kid like me- I also know that you sometimes think you cannot face what it takes to raise me.  I want you to know that this is not true.  I believe that I chose you.  Whatever you need to learn, you will learn.  The strength you think you need will come from somewhere.  The people you need to meet will show up when you need them.

2.  This is the perfect life for me. My life is a very special one.  I believe that I will impact the world in a unique and wonderful way.  Remember this when your heart is breaking because you want a path for me that is so much easier than this one.

3.     I need you to find your own spiritual path. The road we are on is not an easy one- to make it successfully, you will need all the spiritual strength you can muster for the tough days- You will need to help me when my spiritual strength is out the window- Often, you will see signs of my determination and be amazed by it.  That is not enough- You will have to find your own answers- I am depending on you for it.

4.     However you feel about me is OK. Sometimes you will feel tired and helpless and like you cannot care for me one more day.  Sometimes you will be mad because there seems to be no escaping me.  That is OK- There is no way you could take care of me without having those days.
Sometimes you may watch people look at me and be a bit embarrassed that I am not doing better- that does not make you a bad parent… it just means you are human.
Know that when you have lots of these days in a row, it is time for you to get somebody else to take care of me, just long enough for you to regenerate yourself.  It is always important that you let people help you.  I am depending on you to do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.

5.     However I feel about my disability is OK. Some days you will be amazed at what a happy contented person I am and you will wonder how in the world I do it.  Treasure those days.  Some days I will be discouraged, some days I will be mad, some days I will even feel really sorry for myself.  Don’t panic, I will come back around again.  If you let me express these unattractive feelings, they have much less power.  Even typical folks feel sorry for themselves sometimes.

6.     Let me try things I want to try, even if you are sure I will fail. I know that you want to protect me- that is your job, I am your child.  But I need you to understand that my survival is always going to depend on my determination.  Part of my own process is to figure out what my limitations really are.  Sometimes I may want to try to do things that seem impossible to you. Please encourage me anyway.  It is the willingness to try that is important- success is a bonus.  Know that if I fail, I will get over it.  If you make me scared to try, I am really doomed.

7.     Don’t worry about my whole life today. Sometimes you will drive yourself crazy worrying about how my life will turn out.  You will lose hours of sleep trying to figure out how I will survive in the world after you are gone.  This is not helpful to me.  Just help me stay in today.  The more you can focus on whatever we have to face today, the more you will be helping me develop the skills I will need when it is time for me to get along without you.

8.     Sometimes people will be mean to me or scared of me.  I expect you to stick up for me, but, I do not expect you to change the world.There are lots of really wonderful people in the world.  You and I will meet many of them.  There are also some real jerks who will be afraid of me or not treat me fairly.  They will assume things about me that are not true.  They may even assume things about you that are not true.  You may want to blow their brains out.  I may want to do the same.  I expect you to speak up for me when you can.  But I also need for you to be able to let it go.  It will not help me if you are mad and defensive all the time.  If you are, there are people who may not want to help me just because it is too hard for them to deal with you.

9.     Finding good doctors and professionals is important but, you know me better than they do- I expect you to trust your own instincts about what is good for me. The doctors and therapists that work with me are going to be very important in the quality of my life.  Some of them will be amazing and some of them will be pretty crazy.  Often, it will be up to you to decide which is which.  Listen to them, and know that what they say is important but, also remember that you know me best.  If something they suggest does not feel right to you, listen to that small voice and speak up.

10.   I really hope we can laugh. I believe that laughing was probably God’s best idea- It will be the one thing that can bring joy to our lives the quickest-  If I get stuck in a mud puddle, it is probably funny.  If you are lifting me and we both fall on the floor in a heap, that is probably funny too.  A good joke is worth taking the time to laugh at- Help me not get so caught up in the serious problems we face every day to forget about laughing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Depression Again

I am having a hard time right depressed that all I do is basically lie on the couch and either read or watch TV. I do get the house work done, barely, but it does happen. I do feed Griffin but oftentimes he bugs me to feed him more often than I want to because it seems that all he wants to do is eat sometimes I think it is out of boredom. I know that I should take him out of the apartment more but my depression has such a grip on me that I just can't motivate myself to get out and take him to the park. Sometimes on the weekend we go to the lake or on Fridays after I pick him up from school I take him to the lake or to the park and we walk Abby. My camera is ruined now, it got wet so I can no longer go out and take great photos which was something that I truly enjoyed, so I am no longer motivated to go out and do that because I have no idea how long it will be before I can afford to go out and buy a new good camera again since I won't settle for a lousy one...if I did I might as well use the cell phone.

 This in not the kind of depression that I can just shake off, I am Bipolar and this is clinical depression the kind that is inside and out, I have been on medication for years for my mental illness. I am a rapid cycler which means that I can have mood swings more often than by most even by Bipolar standards so my doctor has his work cut out for him to keep me stable but he does very well. I have had this one for several years and he has kept me stable and treated me in the hospital with great compassion more than any other doctor I have ever had. I am so happy that I moved here and found him, what a blessing it has been to be here because Griffin has great teachers too.

I am trying to not sleep too much because I know that it contributes to depression so even though I am on the couch mostly I stay alert, I try to move back and forth to the computer too and write in the blog, on Facebook, and in the book. Then I have my daily journal and I also read my Discover magazine and I have a book from the library that I am reading called, "Beyond Religion Ethics for a Whole World" by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. I am excited about it because I think that it will take my mind off of what is going on yet help me focus on my spirituality which in turn could help me find an additional path to better get through this angst and abhorrence which it seems there is no end in sight. I have faith in my doctor, completely and implicitly but the way it feels is different because the anxiety is overwhelming and I am so hard on myself.

I need a lot of love from my friends and family but mostly from myself that matters the most. I need understanding and support in order to pull up out of this depression because just medication is not going to help me the doctor said as I wish it would...guess I have a lot of work ahead of me. It is going to take a lot of time to get through this.I am seeing my psychologist on a regular basis and also my psychiatrist.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Griffin's Progress Report 11/15/12

I had a meeting with Griffin's teachers this morning and it went very well, I really like them and think that they are doing a fantastic job with him. He has made a lot of progress since school began back in August in fact, they said that he was doing no work then and now he is doing his work without having meltdowns. Of course they have a system in place that is organized which used to drive him crazy to the brink of overload but now he is handling it and working with it just fine. Griffin is showing much more initiative than the beginning of the year in completing his tasks.

They said that I am doing my part by having a system at home of PECS for the morning that he uses to organize himself and take responsibility of getting himself ready independently and then in the afternoon we have a written schedule checklist that organizes activities not by time per se but by a list that shows that there's only so much time in the day for each activity and that he has to move on and transition to get through the day. They even mentioned how flexible Griffin is and how impressed they were by that because most autistic individuals aren't, he merely asks why something has changed and lets you know that there will or will not be enough time for an activity during the day.

I had been concerned that Griffin's activity level was too high because at home he is bouncing off the walls and cannot sit still no matter what he is doing, in fact, I had made an appointment with his doctor to look into starting his ADHD meds again but according to his teachers his is the exact opposite at school. He is so unresponsive, low energy, low activity, and unaware that it concerns them as far as Occupational Therapy goes. He is completely unresponsive at home such as when I call out to him he does not respond several times, he is unaware of his surroundings most the time I have noticed such as being zoned out and in his own world but to me that would be a typical autistic tendency.

 Griffin's speech teacher was present and we discussed his speech, which is really difficult to understand because he is lazy with his mouth/lips. He does not move them when he talks nor does he speak very loudly. He needs to be prompted all the time and she said that we must say that we do not understand him and that he needs to speak up, and to move his lips. Also she added that I need not let it go to keep at it with him because he will give up and become complacent and get into the habit of not using good speech. I need to let Paul, his LCSW, know and his OT, Sarah, know and everyone else who works with him to keep at it so that he will learn. Part of the problem that he has with his peers is that they don't understand him when he speaks so it alienates him. Heck, I don't even understand him myself....I have to get him to repeat himself several times and even then I give up sometimes because I just don't understand what he is saying and then I wonder if I miss out on important information that he has tried to share with me.

I asked how he was doing with his peers and they told me that he is blending well especially on field trips, they just had two, one to the symphony and one to The Health Adventure. Griffin was even pretending to be the weather man and being quite extroverted one teacher told me which thrilled me to no end. She told me that there is one girl in particular who is really gifted who has taken to Griffin and on the field trip she had sort of taken him under her wing and watched out for him. Apparently the symphony was really a lot of fun for them and it was just for the kids so they had a lot of fun activities.

Another problem that Griffin has been having is with math at home. His teacher has been giving him more because she said that she thought that he could handle more as the year has gone on but this has not been true, it has been too overwhelming for him. Last night he had a meltdown over it, I tried to get him to take a break and come back to it but I was unsuccessful. He kept telling me that he had done the problems before and he was already finished so I tried several times and finally gave up. I thought that maybe she had maybe made a mistake and copied the same problems on another sheet, he does have an incredible memory after all. So they told me that the point is for him to complete the task and if he needs to take a break in between then to try that first and give him a chance to work through his frustration, to calm down and then finish. If he can't finish it by then to write a note to his teacher and then he will have consequences at school for not finishing his work. They did add that if he is having a hard day or if I have errands to run or a doctor's appointment and it is going to be a short afternoon then to only highlight a few problems so as to not overwhelm him and expect too much from him. This is the recipe for success.

I was happy with the meeting and impressed with the teachers as I had mentioned and feel that Griffin is in good hands, more so than he has been in many years as a matter of fact I haven't felt this comfortable since he was in Anchorage in Kathleen's autism classroom way back in 2005. Thanks to the many teachers out there who take great care of our kids and make a great difference in their lives.
This is a photo of Griffin and his Godmother Vicky taken at the Shriner's circus last month which Griffin sat in for an hour and then he had enough.....that was a long time for him especially considering it was a boring circus.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Letter To Griffin

 Griffin was born January 31st 2002 so I wrote this a few months after he was born but before I knew he was autistic. I still believe in him that he can have virtues, in fact he has virtues in a deeper natural way than most people, he doesn't have to work at it. He is kind and loving and considerate of others. I still have high hopes for him as the day I wrote this letter.

My Dearest Griffin,  (Written Wednesday May 15th, 2002)

You are, beyond compare,, the most beautiful, fantastic, joyful, quintessential essence  of life....worth living. Each moment of every day I cherish, each breath you take fills my heart with joy. Your smile is more beautiful than the sun and far brighter.

My life thus far, full of experience for which I am glad; it has enriched my perspective, opened my heart and mind taught me patience, awareness, & understanding....all of which has made me the person that I am. With this wealth of knowledge & experience I have learned that time is sacred and not to be taken for granted. I look forward to all that you will teach me by helping me to see through your eyes and understand that being young is not easy, to remember that growing up is a daunting challenge full of obstacles and tough decisions for both of us. I wish for us to enjoy our time together on this earth and to fare adversity holding hands facing the wind with the sun behind us standing strong. To laugh through the hard time and remain strong holding tightly to your convictions and being and individual despite what others may press upon you.

Remember always to be kind to yourself so that you may be kind to others, be generous and give to yourself patience, forgiveness, and understanding. In order to share these virtues you must feel them first. Be virtuous Griffin and you will have dignity and strength that will get you through anything and set you apart from others.

As I nurish you and you reach out to me to embrace with your tiny arms, tears fill my eyes, and neither words nor feelings can come near what I am experiencing . It is a joy beyond description, beyond any other sensation. Thank you my sweet Griffin for coming into my existence and making it "LIFE"!
I love you my Precious "Sonshine"

Your Loving Mother

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Griffin's First Time On a Bike

Jim, Griffin's respite provider, helped him learn how to ride a bike yesterday however Griffin didn't like it very much the first time around. He tried it on the grass first just in case he fell off as I had asked him to but the darn seat was too small and hard for him and it hurt his bottom so then they moved to the sidewalk where he didn't complain and went much further. Jim is not going to be here for the next two Saturdays so in the meantime I will have the old bicycle seat from my bike put on Griffin's bike, which I should have done already anyhow but of course hindsight is 20/20 I didn't know that it would have hurt him so much, but then again I don't know if the weather will be nice enough by the time he returns to ride the bike nor do I know if Griffin will want to do it. But I will have the seat put on just in case, it will be worth the cost, I think that I am still a member at REI so maybe it won't even cost me to have it done.

I had Griffin fingerprinted on Friday at the police station by a police officer who was so very nice and Griffin really liked him. I have a Kidz ID sheet that has fingerprinting, photo, and dental records to have on hand just in case he goes missing.....God forbid!!!! But he does run off in the store and scare the hell out of me all the time, he goes out of sight and I have to call out to him loudly and sometimes he doesn't answer me. I am so afraid that he is going to be lured in by someone because he is so trusting of strangers. But I have already written about that I don't need to go there again. You get the picture.

Griffin is supposed to go on a field trip to the symphony on the 14th, I hope that it goes well and that he enjoys it, I hope that he sits still for it or that if he feels like dancing he does so quietly in the aisles without disturbing anyone else. I don't know if this is going to be just for the kids or if the symphony is playing for a full audience but the teachers have their work cut out for them with Griffin I think......hopefully I am wrong.

My friend Vicky, who is also Griffin's Godmother, talked to me about what I am going through emotionally and she was so supportive of me and so understanding like nobody else other than my friend Nina who was there for me too when I reached out to her. Vicky used the analogy that I walk in high heels no matter where I go, no matter what, snow, mud, rocks, and nobody has walked in those high heels like I have nobody has felt the pain of walking in those high heels every day. She said that even though I feel shame for the feelings I have that I should not because I am a good mother and even though I do not hear it enough that it doesn't mean that I am not. Nina told me that even though she doesn't have children now that when she does she wants to be a mother just like me.....that made me feel so good inside! I have known her since Griffin was born and we have been through a lot together so she knows me well.

I don't have but a few friends  and I don't talk to them often because I prefer to be alone but my friends are good people and I believe that they would do anything for me even though they don't call me very often. They don't read my blog but I guess they are just busy and it is not of interest to them but I understand and I do not judge them for it I love them all the same. Sometimes I feel lonely when they do not return my calls and do not seem to have time for me but I try to not take it personally.  I KNOW I AM WEIRD!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

OBAMA WON !!!!!!!!! and What About That "Regular" Kid?

Just as Griffin predicted and I had prayed for. Now I can feel more comforted that we will keep our Social Security checks and our Medicare and Medicaid especially since we live on such low income. I have to be concerned about Griffin's services, his present and his future as a disabled individual and I feel that Obama is the one who is going to look out for his needs....he is the man who cares about human rights. He cares about my rights as a woman too and I appreciate that.

It is funny though because the reason I say that Griffin predicted Obama is that one night we were snuggling and we were talking about election night and he said that Obama was going to win and I was so surprised because I had not directly discussed it with  him but he must have picked it up from me as I was watching TV and cheering him on or said something in passing I don't know. But it made me laugh because he said it with such conviction.

I saw Paul, Griffin's LCSW, yesterday and we discussed my feelings of  lamenting the loss of the child that I never had and the fact that it is 10 years late. Usually people do it when they get the diagnosis but for some reason I am doing it now and I don't know what the trigger is. I have been slack with Griffin because I have been having feelings of guilt because even though consciously I know I didn't cause his autism I still feel it and I blame myself so I have been trying to be extra nice to him and as Paul said that it will only do damage to Griffin because he needs structure and consistency and rules. I know that and I have known that but my feelings have gotten in the way. I love Griffin for who he is, I believe that he is perfect the way that he is but for those of you who don't know me he is my universe and I would never change him and I have accepted his diagnosis from the get go and that is the problem.....I never mourned for the "regular" kid that could have been like most families do, it is normal to do that, it is natural to go through that process. I never cried for that child now I cry at everything for the first time in my life.

It is so tough being a single mom more than anybody knows especially to an autistic son now I have this to cope with................guess I will keep my psychologist busy for awhile. Good thing that I have this computer to write with so that I can write in my book and blog that helps a lot too. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Griffin's Field Trip and Teaching Your Child About Peer Pressure

Griffin went on a field trip yesterday with his class, the first one this year, and his teacher sent home a not that he did a great job! That he was even the newscaster.....I am so thrilled with that because to me that sounds like a social event. I must e-mail her and ask her for details! Griffin and I were snuggling last night and talking about his trip and he told me about Bill the Science Guy Show and how they talked about solids, liquids, and gases. Then I asked him, "What was water?", he told me, "liquid", then I asked him,"What was the wall?", he told me, " solid", then I asked him," What was the air?" and he told me, "gas". I applauded for hm I told him how proud I was of him that he was a smart cookie and he said that I meant that he was a tough cookie. I said that he was that too! LOL!

We went trick or treating to two churches, it was pretty chilly outside so they held them inside thank goodness. Griffin didn't seem comfortable, he just wanted to get the candy and go I think there were too many people around for him.

Disclaimer: I do not endorse this company because I am not familiar with them. I have only been sent the article and have decided that I like it and agree that it is good material so I am publishing it. I hope that you find it helpful and worthwhile.

This is a really good article especially for parents of pre-teens and teenagers I believe because it is about how the parents support the kids and the kids learn self-esteem. Also it outlines how parents can help kids handle their friends when faced with issues such as watching R rated films and curfew problems.

It is an interesting article with food for thought.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Griffin had a class the other day on puberty but I am not too sure how much he picked up on it because he didn't want to discuss it with me. I am hoping that when we go to see Paul his LCSW on the 6th that he will open up about it and express some of what he has learned and feeling about it. Maybe he will feel more comfortable discussing it with a man I don't know.

I do know that I am feeling a bit anxious about it even though he has shown no signs of it so far I know that it is coming soon and I have to be ready for it like it or not. I have noticed that my attitude towards him has been changing and that I have been expecting him to do more for himself and I expect him to be more independent. I am guilty of not spending as much time with him as I feel that I should but then again when I try he tells me that he wants space so I am left to wonder why I even beat myself up over it in the first place. He is autistic and I can only bond with him so much, I have tried over the years and we have grown close because we are both so affectionate and snuggle at night but sometimes I think that there has to be a line drawn and I have to realize that this disorder keeps us at a distance to a certain degree.

There is no small talk, there is no play time, and when we are in the same room together we do our separate activities and I have to live with that without guilt......IT'S NOT MY FAULT! This is something that I have had to tell myself since the day he was diagnosed and isn't it strange that I am still saying that? It is ironic because I have the page on Facebook Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons and I support moms all the time and tell them how they are strong and how I admire what they are doing for their sons that what they are doing is the greatest feat in all the universe, and how their son is worth every moment and every just hang in there and disregard the negativity of others. But I don't find those words for myself because of the guilt that I have that autism often brings.

I know that autism is not my fault because I am an intelligent human being and even that gnawing guilt will not get the best of me that has been there since the all know it whether you still have it or not. I never went through the denial phase when Griffin had autism signs and symptoms, I went right away to get help and got Early Intervention at 15 months but did that alive me of the guilt portion of the picture? I think that all autism parents go through it but at different times and I think that I am just now going through a delayed reaction if you will....some nine years later. It is not as though I have a broken heart and/or that I am disappointed that I have an autistic child all of a sudden, it's just that I am having a hard time coping with the weight of the situation and handling the responsibilities that come with it but of course I have to. This is why I anxiety levels have risen and that is something else I have to cope with.  

I just hope that no matter what Griffin and I will continue to grow close through puberty, that we will snuggle and be affectionate and bond regardless of his raging hormones and mood swings. I adore Griffin, he is my universe and even when we are not talking or playing I feel my love for him and hope that he still connects with me.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

10 Things to Keep in Mind When Teaching Your Kids About Stranger Danger

Disclaimer: I do not endorse this company because I have no experience with them but I have agreed to publish their article because I am impressed with it.

This is a subject that comes close to home for me because Griffin has NO fear of strangers and no matter how many times I have the conversation with him he cannot seem to grasp the concept of stranger danger. I have found this article helpful even though some of the concepts I think may be that Griffin wouldn't get......I am certainly going to give it my best shot though and I will not give up! I think if I keep on being persistent maybe one day he will catch onto it.

I do recommend that you read this article because it is very helpful and I believe that every parent needs a little bit of help in this area because it is such a scary subject and sometimes we just don't know how to approach it on our own....please don't feel insulted by that statement. I just know that as a single parent I do need help and I am not ashamed to admit it, I am a strong mother but even strong women have moments when they need support. This is what makes us so strong is that we are able to seek out support and resources to help us along our path that leads us to nurture our children to the best of our abilities in the end.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The 5 Stages of Behavior (Where Hitting is Against the Law)

We went to see Paul, Griffin's new LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), who specializes in autism and I must say has me very impressed. By the second visit Griffin had warmed up to him and was really responding to him in a positive manner. I had told Paul that my main concern was that Griffin had been hitting me on a regular basis and no matter what I had tried I could not get him to stop so this is what he asked me to try and how he explained it to Griffin:

Stage 1: Happy, everything is fine and everybody is getting along
Stage 2: Worried, getting a bit tense and thinking about things that make you upset
Stage 3: Upset, time to get out the "Take a Break" card and go to your room and calm down
Stage 4: Mad, too late, you are in trouble
Stage 5: Hitting is AGAINST THE LAW!!!!!!

This has made a deep impression on him because it has been almost two weeks and he has not even tried to hit me and when he gets upset and I tell him to take a break he goes to his room willingly. So....kudos to Paul! I am so proud of Griffin for his progress he has really shown restraint and maturity.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bipolar Quandary

Who knows what it is like to be so on edge that every little thing sets you off? To be so depressed that you can't even laugh when your child laughs? To not find joy in life but to just go through the motions day to day looking for something to satisfy that need to be "normal" but then not really knowing what "normal" is. Having had so many manic days for years and suppressing them with meds to stabilize myself so that I could function and sleep worked for awhile but then my body gets used to the drugs and builds up a tolerance to them and I have to move on to something else. I then become manic again or I become depressed or I cycle between the two even in one day.

My thoughts wander like wild horses on the range and I can't help but to think about how things might have been different had I been a sane individual and perhaps been a more nurturing mother. What if I had been more prepared but of course I was in the FBI and had just been assaulted so I guess that there was no real way that I could have been prepared. I often wonder if my mental illness played a part in me being in the FBI, I crazy does one have to be to work undercover doing drug sting operations? In hindsight, that was really stupid! And then there's Griffin's dad who I met back then. I should have known he was going to be a loser. But I think that by being bipolar my better judgement was NOT better. In fact, I had no good judgement at all. I was not medicated and I was manic making poor decisions. Sometimes I reflect and I blame myself, I beat myself up for those decisions even though I know that I shouldn't, I am no longer that woman and she didn't know what she was doing at the time.

This has been my journey folks of being bipolar for so many years, experimenting with so many different drugs with several different doctors until I finally have found the right one who has helped me become stable. All these years of trying to cope with Griffin's meltdowns while having my own at the same time....the screaming and inappropriate behavior on both our parts. I have self medicated with alcohol and thank goodness I stopped that 3 years ago and I stopped smoking too so I have made great strides to self improvement thanks to myself and to my doctor.

But I did it all for Griffin because he is my universe, he is who I live for! Griffin, I hope that one day you will read this and perhaps be proud of your mom just because I am your mom not for what I have done but for who I am. I hope that you can look across to me, not up to me, and see me as a fellow human who has loved you unconditionally through my mental illness and that I hope that you can forgive me for all the words that I have spoken in anger that I did not mean that I have apologized for because it came from my heart.

My mental illness has taken me on a journey that I did not ask for and it has rendered me not necessarily helpless but at its mercy on many occasions. I have fought it rigorously but without the right medications it is all in vain and when I try to stop my anger or mania or sadness it is out of control until my doctor finds the right combination of medication to counteract those strong emotions. Then it is a matter of experimenting with the new drugs and sometimes it can be very frustrating. In the meantime I have to cope with Griffin and his behaviors.

Griffin tends to pick up on it when I am having a hard time with my emotions and he is even worse with his behaviors. Or maybe it is that I am just slack on my parenting skills with him when I am having a hard time therefore he acts out more. People who do not know any better say that I should spank Griffin for his behaviors especially because he hits me.....c'mon people, you do not hit a child and teach them to hit while telling them to not hit someone else! And you do not hit an autistic child! Spanking an autistic child does not work. I may have mental illness and get angry to the point of losing my cool but I do know not to hit Griffin because spanking him is counterproductive. I have to use positive reinforcement.

The love that I have for Griffin keeps me sane and gives me a purpose in life. I don't care that there are problems every now and then....he is so worth every moment!

Mental illness is so misunderstood I hope that you will think about it twice when you see someone who is afflicted or hear a story that you might find compassion in your heart to understand his/her situation. That he/she might be experiencing pain and anguish or any other negative emotion that may be beyond his/her control. Reach out and offer a hug if they are open to it because that show of affection would make the day of one individual which could in turn light the day of another then another and so on and so on.....

I know that when Griffin gives me a hug my anguish dissipates and all I can see is his beautiful smile, suddenly all I can think about is his unconditional love and how grateful I am for it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

10 Tips For Parents of Kids Who Are Being Bullied

These are some very helpful tips for parents of kids of most any age who have been bullied. It encourages parents to build their child's self esteem to not retaliate when bullied but to find hobbies instead in order to be distracted from the negativity of the situation. It is important to encourage your child to be redirected from the bullying, learning to block it out such as when it is cyberbullying. Read on and find out more about how to better cope with bullying yourself and helping your child cope with it as well. I find this to be a very good article especially because it takes such a positive approach to the situation.

Disclaimer:  I do not endorse the advertiser as I am not personally familiar with them but I have agreed to publish their article.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Griffin's New Respite Provider...Jim

This is my dear friend Vicky who took care of Griffin while I was in the hospital and Griffin smiling ever so sweetly.

Griffin went with the new respite provider on Saturday, I am a bit behind in writing in the blog, and it seemed to go pretty well for the first time I suppose. He wasn't thrilled but at the same time he wasn't disappointed either. When it was over he gave Jim a high five and a fist pump with a big smile so I guess that was a good sign. When I asked him how it went he told me it was boring but I couldn't get him to elaborate. First, we went to the playground and I observed them together and Griffin was very aloof even once telling Jim to go sit with me and to leave him alone for awhile. I decided to let them go to the lake to feed the ducks without me and I guess they stayed for about 45 minutes or so. Jim reported that Griffin tried to catch the mother duck that had the ducklings and Jim had to tell him to not do that but that he was okay with the correction, they didn't use up all the bread I gave them, and I think that Griffin was just not comfortable being around him yet that is why they ended up coming home so soon. They had planned to do more and to stay longer but Griffin wasn't into it.

I just hope that everything is okay with Griffin and that this works out for him because he really does need a male role model in his life. He hasn't had one since living with my dad and that wasn't for long and that was a long time ago. He has never had his father in his life and he has been asking about him, he is beginning to feel a void in his life and I hope that if he has a male role model that is positive that it will help. Jim seems like a good man and he comes highly recommended by the Autism Society and by Elsa who was the camp director at the autism camp where Griffin went for 2 yrs so she knows Griffin and his needs. I believe that if Elsa trusts Jim then I should trust him and he is also a Title 1 reading teacher for the school district, he has a family with a 9 year old daughter. Also he has worked with an autistic child who was challenging before through the Autism Society for awhile.

All the signs are there that I should trust Jim and I feel good about it but I can't help but to wonder deep inside if I am too trusting and if I just want it too bad to work out for Griffin and ignoring what I really should be paying attention to. Griffin has been coached a million times on what to do if someone tries to touch him in his "private parts" we go over it all the time and he gets it right every time but I can't help to wonder if he would really get it right in an emergency, if it was really happening. Would he panic? Would the molester groom Griffin so well that Griffin would not recognize the signs? I can't help to wonder all those things. Am I being paranoid? My child has a communication disability, he cannot express himself verbally and often only acts out instead which is nearly impossible to interpret.

Griffin has a new LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) who specializes in autism and has seen us for 2 visits now and has helped Griffin a great deal already. We have approached the problem that we have had with hitting, something that Griffin has been doing for quite some time. We have been to several psychologists and to TEACCH and nobody has been able to help us remedy the hitting problem. I think that Paul's approach is going to work. It goes as follows: There are 5 levels, 1 is Happy 2 is worried 3 is upset and time to get the ( I need a break card), 4 is mad and 5 is AGAINST THE LAW! So, he has to become familiar with each stage and know that by the time he is at 3 he needs to get his break card and go to his room until he is calmed down so that he doesn't get to level 4 or 5. If he takes a break then he can calm down and get back to level 1 and be happy again.

I am going to ask Paul about my fears of Griffin being molested even though they are deep seated, I do still think that I should know what signs to look for in Griffin's behavior and expression. Better safe than sorry....I may be overprotective but I had rather be guilty of that than to have something happen to my son right under my nose.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Out of the Hospital

I had to go to the hospital because I got an infection in my knee from the surgery, a staph infection, so I had to have IV antibiotics and had to stay in there a week while Griffin had to stay with my friend Vicky about 30 minutes away. I only got to see him once while I was in there so I was pretty sad. The doctors didn't even figure out that I had an abscess in knee until I had been in the hospital several days and they finally took the steri-stips off and puss poured out then they had to clean it out and boy was that painful because it went all the way to the bone.

Griffin seemed to be enjoying himself while he was at Vicky's, he didn't say much on the phone because he never does but what little he did say it was a good sign and when he got home he seemed okay too. She had good stories to tell me of things that he did while he was there too. She has a kitten there they he really took to but who didn't really care for him because Griffin is a bit rough with cats as he doesn't really pick them up nicely yet he does know how to hold them, sometimes it is too late because by then they are already scratching him. He doesn't mind though, it doesn't discourage him from holding them again in the future because he has such a fondness for them. He always brings Dot, our cat, to me to show me how he is holding her so nicely and how she is so calm in his arms each time and she is because she will allow him to pick her up and hold her but will not allow me to do so. There is something about Griffin that she knows and tunes into.

While I was gone I trusted my neighbor Nikki to care for my home and Abby and Dot for me and I left in a hurry to the hospital without thinking to shut down the computer or to hide my list of passwords for it, there were too many other priorities on my mind at the time. So when I get home Griffin wanted to get on the computer right away of course and he did but he opened too many tabs and had to reboot the computer and when that happened it told us that we had to enter a new password when I had it set so that the parental controls were off when I left so that the passwords were not active. So, I had four users on the parental controls and she was only able to change 3 of them so I was able to get through to use my desktop on one of them but it did not have access to any of my files or pictures or anything so I thought that she had deleted everything and I panicked. Fortunately, I had a friend who had a son-in-law who works on computers who was able to come over and fix it for me and get it back to normal for me boy was I grateful! All those photos that I thought were gone my heart was so broken.Needless to say she is out of our lives! I think that she wanted to sabotage the computer so that Griffin couldn't use it. I will have to write more on that later but she didn't like him nor did she understand him.

Now I am going out to buy some flash drives to back up my photos and documents so I never have that sinking feeling again. That is years of memories that would have just disappeared because someone had it out for me and for what? I don't know why she did it. And to top it off she blamed Griffin for it, Griffin is a smart young guy but he is not clever enough to do that nor would he have any reason to mess with something like that to even go to that part of the computer. She not only changed my desktop password but also my Facebook password and my Hotmail password because I had my password list sitting beside the computer.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Latest On My Knee

This is an Black Indian Runner Duck and I just love how the picture came out so I had to add it to the post.

My knee got infected really bad and I had to go to the doctor yesterday, it was so bad that the doctor put me on two antibiotics one that I take twice a day and one that I take four times a day and then he put me on strict orders to stay off my feet until Thursday or until the redness and swelling went down considerably or else it would move into the joint and if that happened then he would have to do surgery again to clean it out. The doctor said that it was extremely rare in an arthroscopic surgery to get infection but leave it to me to be that 1%. It is getting easier to bend it and to walk so the antibiotics are beginning to take effect I guess.

The pain is pretty bad and I can't take the meds for it while I driving or while Griffin is home because it usually makes me sleepy but that's okay because I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I have had worse and others have it worse than me like my dad, Aunt Patty, Aunt Gail, and Charlie just to name a few. So I can't complain.

My neighbor Nikki has helped me a lot, she did some housework yesterday for me and brought over some food for me so I didn't have to get off the couch. Then when Griffin came home from school she prepared snacks for him which he refused and then had a tantrum, he tends to do that when I am feeling bad, he takes advantage of the fact that I can't get off the couch. That is what he did the other day when mom was here. Nikki handled it really well and helped me send him to his room because he hit me and ran away. I did talk to him afterwards about his day to see if there was something bothering him from earlier that day and he couldn't really come up with anything specific. I think that maybe he is just sensitive about me being "sick" and not feeling well and up to par even though I do not tell him that I am sick. I just told him to not touch my knee because the day after my surgery we were snuggling and he bumped into it and I screamed (of course) and then he figured it out.

Griffin had a rough morning but I think that it was because he was so hungry because he was talking about that while he was whining and screaming. I gave him some yogurt because it was quick and has some protein and relatively filling at least until he gets to school for breakfast and hopefully it will be a good breakfast.

I e-mailed his music teacher and asked her how he was doing and she said that she was having to help him with his finger placement on his recorder, but doesn't she have to with any of the kids? And he needs help remembering his music folder but that she is going to assign him a buddy who can help him bring the folder to class. She said that otherwise he is doing well so I guess that he is getting along well with the other kids just fine. I am wishing now that I had asked her some specific questions but instead I just asked her to describe in a couple of sentences how he is doing.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Remembering When - Camp Lakey Gap July 2011

Griffin is dancing and singing having a great time in this video as he did at camp that year but he did not want to go to camp this past summer telling me that he was afraid. His inhibitions have been stifled since then for some reason and he has separation anxiety to the point of not even wanting to sleep in his own bed so he still creeps into my room at night and I don't wake up. We talk about his fears but he doesn't seem to know how to express what it is that is bothering him exactly. He has blamed it on the TV in his room but I have removed it and it didn't help he just doesn't seem to have the ability to express himself. We are going to find out what it is so that we can have this old Griffin back that is in the video, the one that dances around and goes to camp without being afraid.

I had my knee surgery and an adverse reaction to the anesthesia, nausea, vomiting, and severe fatigue but it only lasted about 2 days and now I am better especially now that I can take a shower. Thank goodness for the help of my mom because Griffin had a day off of school, I could hardly stay awake and I was so sick and he was in such an ill mood too. It was a blessing that she was able to get him out of the apartment for a little while too.

I hope that you watched the awesome video of Griffin dancing, you will fall in love with him if you haven't already.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Yesterday I had knee surgery because I had a torn meniscus on my left knee, a rather old injury that has progressively gotten worse with time, it started when I had my foot surgery back in March when I was in a wheelchair and I would pull myself along with my left leg. I have been swimming to try to lose weight and it just made it so that it wouldn't heal but instead it started popping and hurt worse so I had to get it taken care of so thankfully I am blessed with insurance that allows me to do that since I am on disability.

Today I feel pain because I have had surgery and kind of over exerted myself in the evening because my mom was helping me and I hate for her to do so much but I am moving around with a walker. She is so very helpful and kind but she does everything without saying a word about it and I feel so bad that she not only helps me but my dad too. I only get to see them every so often because they live an hour and a half away from here so that is about every 2 to 3 months so I like for her to be able to relax when she is here but that is rare because she is always helping me bless her heart! Thanks mom I love you!

Griffin has had behavior problems today all day long, it started from the minute he got out of bed and we found out that it was a teacher's work day but then it was too late for him to go back to sleep, too late for any of us to turn back. I just drank copious amounts of coffee and I think that now at 12:26 p.m. it is finally beginning to work and I woke up at 5:00 a.m. Griffin is with mom at the store right now thank goodness he is out of the apartment for awhile maybe it will help with his boredom but that was no excuse for him hitting me all morning....that has got to stop! I have got to talk to this LCSW that he is going to see on the 8th of Oct. he is hitting me more and more and hitting the remote control and the computer monitor all the time. He has consequences but they do not work anymore even when I increase the amount of time or the degree of, the loss of computer time which means the most to him. Any suggestions?????

I am tired and my knee is hurting from sitting here, I hope that Griffin is in a better mood when he gets back from the store.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Birthday Party

I was so busy socializing with my friends that I had not seen for over 2 years that I forgot to get pics of Griffin playing with the other kids. Here is my dear friend Lisa who I grew up with and used to be nanny to her daughter Devon (pictured below), I can't believe that she has a 6 year old and 4 year old...I should be feeling old by now but I am just really proud of them, not feeling old yet.

Griffin played with the younger kids, thank goodness they were younger otherwise he would have had a hard time getting along with them. He did spend a lot of time wandering around and eating but I left him alone because he was minding his own business and not complaining. He enjoyed the hot dogs that he had a lot of patience waiting for, I am proud of how well he did the whole time. We stayed about 3 hours so he really did a great job hanging out longer than I thought he would.

After we left we went to see Aunt Gail and Charlie at the rest home where Charlie is healing and Aunt Gail lives now since her stroke years ago. They are enjoying each others company because Charlie is her son, they were hanging out in the same room when we got there. It was nice to see them I think that Griffin was happy to see them both too but he was antsy and ready to go home.

Today we went to the lake as usual and found these little ducklings.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Protect Kids From Bullying

If you think that any of these things have happened to your child then you should read this article about bullying:
  • Comes home with torn clothes.
  • Is missing sweaters, jackets, school supplies, or other things repeatedly.
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches.
  • Is afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, or riding the school bus.
  • Suddenly begins to do poorly in school.
  • Is sad, upset, angry, or depressed when she comes home.
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, being tired, or other physical ailments that would prevent her from going to school.
  • Has few friends.
These are but a few of the things that could be going on with a child who is being bullied. Talk to your child often keeping the lines of communication open and helping him to feel comfortable coming to you with problems that may be going on at school/with peers. Some signs of bullying are not so obvious and can go on for an extended period of time. It is important to be persistent with the school staff when it is going on to take care of the matter, sometimes you have to make them take it seriously:

Griffin had a problem with bullies, I later found out that the kids were laughing at him in class when he had a meltdown and it really hurt Griffin's feelings. The teacher didn't tell me and Griffin kept telling me that he was being bullied and I told the staff and nobody would do anything until finally that one teacher told me that. By then it was too late for Griffin the emotional scars were there and he will never forget it. In the IEP meeting the teachers told me that it was because of Griffin's perception but that doesn't matter because it is real to him and it hurts just as much when someone pushes him and doesn't mean it, to him they are being a bully.

We have tried to explain it to him but he still doesn't understand how someone can push you or step on your foot and not mean it without being a bully. We always say we are sorry at home so he expects others to say it too but I told him that not everyone will say that to him but it can still be an accident. He just doesn't understand so I expect that his teachers to understand that he doesn't  because he has autism and they don't!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Special Olympics Bowling

I spoke with my friend Amy on the phone before we left in the morning and she told me to give it a couple of tries because he may not like it the first time because her son didn't and she kept encouraging him and he eventually loved it so we set of for Special Olympics bowling not knowing how he would like it.

We got there and Griffin seemed open to the idea putting his shoes on and trying out the ball, size 9 the smallest I could find, he automatically took to the board where you punch in your name and did so after we had decided that he was going to play singles because it would mean less wait time. For the first first frame he hit the pins and was satisfied then he began to get gutter balls and became frustrated especially since they were getting stuck in the gutter and we had to wait for the attendant to get them out. I tried to show him how to throw it faster and harder and for a few times he did and hit the pins, I cheered him on giving him a high five but it seemed like it was just not enough. The bad seemed to outweigh the good. I was just not a good enough coach for him and I should have asked for help but didn't see anyone other than parents really and frankly I was feeling overwhelmed myself just as I think he was. I think that the noise was bothering him too and all the visual goings on, too many people around us I think too. I thought that maybe he was hungry so I got him some fries but it didn't seem to help. He just kept getting more and more upset and I couldn't think of what to do to get him to focus. He ran outside into the parking lot having a meltdown with me chasing him so I talked to him and we left.

The Special Olympics woman told me that there would be a coach next Saturday but some good that would do, I think that there should have been one on the first day to help the kids get used to being there and to help the parents with the kids.

We went to see Uncle Charlie and Griffin liked that a lot, he had one of his legs operated on and his second one will be done on Tuesday then he will be moved to a rehabilitation facility to heal.

Griffin had an accident on Friday and is still having GI issues going between constipation needing Miralax and then having diarrhea like Friday in his pants. He eats the same foods at home but I think I need to get a list of what he eats at school if they will do that. He goes to the GI doc on Oct. 11th I hope he helps this time because he went a year ago and all they did was try anti acid meds for him that didn't help, then they just blamed anxiety now it is apparent that it is not anxiety.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Griffin's Cousin Sammy

On Facebook I had "friend-ed" my son's father's nephew Sammy who I had found through a search when trying to find Griffin's dad. When I sent a message to Sammy a year ago after finding him and asking him if he knew Griffin's dad he answered me and said yes, that it was his uncle and that he would get in touch with him and give him the message that I had given him.

We have exchanged a few messages but he apparently doesn't see Griffin's dad, Sam, very much but he is cooperative and wants to help me out when he can. Yesterday, I noticed that he had updated his profile picture so it showed up on the main page on Facebook and it reminded me that it was about time to get in touch with him again. I sent him a message, this time a more personal and lengthy one including a new photo of Griffin showing that Griffin looks more and more like his dad every year.

Today he responded! "I cant promise anything but i will let him know and i will let you know he looks like him like really you have a good 1 and I'll let you know what he says haven't seen him in a while" He wrote that he will let him know because I asked him to send the message I wrote to Same and to show him the photo of Griffin and to ask him to call me, that I only wished for Griffin to have a father in his life especially since Griffin has been asking about him. It made me feel good that he said that I have a good "1" and agreed that he looks like his dad. It was good that he was honest about not being able to promise me anything and that he hasn't seen him in awhile. Sammy is quite young, I think in his 20's, and I appreciate his innocence and honesty the fact that he is not jaded and that he is compassionate. He really seems to care about Griffin and hope that Sam comes around.

I told him that I only wish the best for his family and to please tell them so and to please show them the photo of Griffin. I told him that I wish that he could know Griffin that he would be so proud of him. Maybe Sammy will make a connection with us, after all he has remained friends with me on Facebook and he has not minded being a bridge between me and Sam so it gives me hope that maybe something could happen in the future.

Some moms take for granted that their sons have fathers even though there is a battle over child support but I am telling you that that child is better off knowing his father or even daughters knowing her father because there is no substitute for that male role model. Griffin has been without one for nearly 11 years and there has been a void in his life and he feels me! It is obvious. He gravitates to men like a magnet and it scares me because it makes him easy prey to child predators. I have tried to get him a male mentor but there is not one to be found and since I do not date.....and even if I did it doesn't mean that I would trust some new guy to be around my son unsupervised to go do things. There are just too many perverts out there who are looking for women who have children so they can win over the trust of the women then target the children, I am no dummy. I had rather stay single than to sacrifice the safety of my child, he is better off without a mentor for now.

We are supposed to start Special Olympics bowling tomorrow and I am hoping that Griffin likes it because he needs to have something active to do even if it is indoors. I have been taking him outdoors more now that the weather has cooled and it is far more pleasant, no more sweating!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When Will I Learn?

Why does it always have to be a struggle in the morning? Griffin is so moody when he wakes up unless of course I put him to bed so early the night before that he wakes up hours earlier before the bus gets here and then he is raring to go and I am exhausted the rest of the day. I just can't win it seems when it comes to the morning quandary. If I put him to bed "on time" and get him up with time to get dressed before the bus comes but not enough time to get antsy and restless and especially hungry then I lose that way too because he gets angry and hits me.....that doesn't go over well.

I had these "I Need a Break" cards from TEACCH that I should have used this morning but he was so upset that I didn't think of them. When in the line of fire one doesn't necessarily think of things like that only things like staying away from the other one's fists. Right before he got on the bus we talked about it so that he didn't have to go through the day thinking about it and being upset about it nor did I for that matter. So when he gets home we are going to practice going through a meltdown and for him needing a break and using one of those cards. Probably I will use them too when I need a break.

It is a beautiful day outside and I need to go out there and do something, I don't know what but I can't let this weather pass by and not take advantage of it. Maybe I will take Griffin to the lake after school but then I wonder if I should do something like go to the lake alone instead because this is my time after all. I just can't seem to find that balance between how much I should do for me and how much for him. I do end up sitting at home a lot.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Visit to the Dentist

Griffin did such a great job at his visit to the dentist yesterday, for the first time he let them clean his teeth and put the fluoride paint on them without a fight. I was so proud of him. He was so patient with the hygienist even though, as pictured here, a second one had to come in to help hold his hands down for the cleaning briefly he wasn't really fighting but was just uncomfortable. He said that it tickled and he didn't like the fact that the saliva was accumulating in the back of his throat so the second hygienist helped aspirate the saliva out of his throat and that helped him. The whole process only took about fifteen minutes especially since they didn't need to take x-rays, then the doctor came in for the exam and fluoride treatment which took about ten minutes. He said that Griffin has 10 baby teeth left but I forgot to ask which molars have come through, he does have two loose teeth right now with one coming through.

After that we went to visit my cousin Charlie who is still in the hospital, he was in good spirits and happy to see us. He told me that he had been outside for the past two days and that meant a lot to him even though it caused him a lot of pain. I imagine that it would after lying in the bed all day. His mom who had a major stroke does the same ironically and I am sure that going outside means the world to her to her too because she lies in the bed all day as well and has for years now. He is having surgery Thursday and Tuesday on his legs and then he will get out in a week to rehab to heal for months to come because he has no one to help him at home.

Griffin was so talkative with him about everything voluntarily and answering questions too. The nurse and Charlie were telling him jokes but Griffin didn't get them but it didn't phase him that he didn't either, he just went on about his business and they kinda just left it alone. While Charlie and I talked Griffin just drew pictures and Charlie praised him and asked him about who was in the picture. Griffin sometimes likes it when he is praised for his work sometimes not, depends on his mood and how it is done. I don't usually do it right or he just doesn't like it when I do it because he has a bad reaction nearly every time I do it and I have tried doing it in different ways. He is so silly that I have got to keep trying to get through to him, he is so worth it! But then I do recall someone saying that the mom is not the only influence in the child's life and should not feel solely responsible for him and I agree. There are so many influences that make Griffin who he is and others who give him praise and help him with his self-esteem.

 My Aunt Patty is still doing better, at least that is what she tells me. I am still praying for her and for her continued healing, for her family and that they get the support that they need. Please offer your prayers for them it is greatly appreciated.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

The State Fair 2012

We went to the state fair Saturday and Griffin had a great time seeing all the animals, he said that his favorite part was the petting zoo. I couldn't really afford for us to ride any of the rides so we spent our time with the animals but I think that he was okay with that, he didn't mention going on the rides.

I had a meeting today with Griffin's teachers and he is apparently having some difficulty at school with separation anxiety and doing some screaming in class but I guess the teacher asks Griffin what rule number one is and he says no screaming in class so kudos to them both. We had a problem Friday when Griffin had a doctor's appointment in the morning and had to go to school late and it caused a problem because it made him think that he could stay out of school even though I put it on his schedule that he was going to school late. It wouldn't have been a big deal except that I had to take him home to eat since it was too late for lunch at school and I couldn't take him out to eat so I had to call the school to get help for backup assistance since he was having a major meltdown.

Eventually, once I got him to school we found out that he was upset about the bus and someone on it so we talked to the man in charge of the buses and I came back to take him home that day. This morning he had no problem getting on the bus.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

How to Prevent Crying When Taking Away the Pacifier

How to Prevent Crying When Taking Away the Pacifier

 I have a friend who has a 3 year old who is still using a pacifier and she cannot for the life of her get that child off of that pacifier and she feels lost because all the advice that she has been given has not helped. I feel so bad for her because she has tried everything and nothing has worked for them and she has been firm with him and persistent, it has not been for the lack of trying but I certainly haven't been able to help her because Griffin wasn't one to really take to the pacifier like most kids. He used a pacifier for maybe a year, if that, and lost interest so I was happy because he was a happy baby who didn't complain much and didn't need one. So I am hoping that this article will help my friend. It is a good article about how to gradually take away the pacifier from your child without tears including altering the pacifier itself as an example. Soothing and comforting the child is always a great idea and especially at bedtime. Take a look and find more great ideas........

Monday, September 03, 2012

Uncle Charlie is Alive Thank God!!!!! Tae Kwan Do

Griffin and his Uncle Charlie in the hospital yesterday, Charlie is lucky to be alive and we are so grateful that he is because he had a horrible motorcycle accident. Actually it was a small scooter and he had a helmet on thank God and his neck and head were not harmed but both his legs were broken and both his wrists were too so he can't use his hands but maybe his fingertips. He also has broken ribs so altogether he is in a lot of pain. They put those rods in his legs, those kinds that are on the outside of the body that are sticking up and go circle around the leg then go into the leg and boy do they look painful.

He said that the doctor said that he would get out in two weeks but then he couldn't use a wheelchair because he couldn't push himself due to his broken wrists so I guess he would use an electric one or have someone push him. The nurse said that he would go into rehab since he has no one at home to care for him. Griffin is really close to Charlie and used to spend a lot of time with him, he acted out at the hospital because of the environment and possibly because it bothered him to see Charlie like that even though when I later talked to Griffin he didn't say so. It could be that Griffin just doesn't know how to verbalize his emotions about it or maybe it could be that he just became impatient at the hospital and got antsy because I made him wait too long and I am making too much of this.

I think that I will take him back one more time for a short visit to see if it bothers him because initially he did seem happy to see Uncle Charlie and he did talk to him as he gave his Get Well Soon card to him that he had made that is pictured here in the photo. It has Perry the platypus from Phineaus and Ferb, Mordicai, the Blue Jay is from the "The Regular Show", and Cookie Monster on it. If after a few minutes he is impatient and showing signs of being uncomfortable then I will know that it is not okay to bring him back, then we will have to wait until Charlie is in rehab healing in a wheelchair looking more like a regular human and not so scary for a youngster who doesn't understand exactly what is going on.

It was so good to see Charlie after not seeing him for over a year's time and I was so glad that he was okay and in one piece even though he was really beaten up. So grateful that he is alive!

I give thanks to Spirit that is great and generous to us all giving us life and sparing us when we think that we might not make it. You may call this Spirit "God" and it doesn't really matter but either way I give thanks that my Aunt Patty is doing well and my Aunt Gail is talking, and that my cousin Charlie is alive. I give thanks that Griffin and I have our health and are safe each and every day and that my family is safe and has access to the health care that they need for their continued progress. I am surrounded by love and I sometimes take it for granted but at night I say my prayers and give thanks. I try to not beat myself up for not being perfect but at the same time I strive to be the best that I can be for Griffin for his future but I must remember that I have to be in his present. And the only way that I can do that is to make mistakes and to be human and to let him know that it is okay, to move on, and to apologize. We make up and snuggle, he is such a loving and forgiving more thing to be grateful for!

This is at Tae Kwan Do class (Karate) Saturday, the first one for Griffin ever, it really was a test run to see if he liked it. He kind of participated but mostly just stood there and watched, I stood behind him for awhile to help him but the instructor helped him out most of the time. The class was ahead of him since they had been there months ahead of him, Griffin tried 2 moves and got them without getting upset.....YEAH! But when it came to time to wait on the side of the mat sitting while the other kids did their thing, he sat so patiently I was so proud of him. He had a great first class even the instructor said so, he explained that Griffin was exactly where he expected him to be at this point and that most kids don't participate until sometimes 6 weeks into classes.

Special Olympics is supposed to start on the 15th so I don't know if we are going to continue with Tae Kwan Do, it will be bowling and I am so excited for Griffin. I think that he is going to love it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Awake at 4:00 a.m.

Griffin and I got up at 4:00 a.m. which means that I must be giving him his sleep meds too early and putting him to bed too early so that is going to change tonight! But we did get in some quality time together before the bus came which was nice. Griffin and I spent time reading books together and he spent time on the computer of course. He has been complaining about having a frog in his throat and kind of clearing it and according to his description it hurts but I took him to the doctor and she said that it's not strep and that as long as he doesn't have a fever that he is okay. So I tried to explain to him that he would be okay and help him to not worry about it and by the time he left he was okay about it.

I found a website Nancy's Bird Photo Journal  and it has all kinds of birds and photos of every one. Since Griffin is a great bird lover it is a wonderful source of information for him especially since we are birdwatchers when we go out. He loves the ducks and since there are different kinds there, it is nice to have a place to look up what types they are. I think that Griffin's love for wildlife is going to take him places as he grows older.

I just included these photos that I had leftover from the lake because I wanted to use them before I take some more this weekend. I really like these and am kind of proud of how they turned out, especially since the camera is as old as it is. I am experimenting with it and trying to see how I can get some better pictures out of it.

I am always open to feedback on my photos.......feel free to comment on anything!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Genius May Be an Abnormality by Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin has written this wonderful article about genius, Aspergers, and autism. Here is a sample of the first paragraph of a very detailed article that I highly recommend:

I am becoming increasingly concerned that intellectually gifted children are being denied opportunities because they are being labeled either Asperger's or high functioning autism. Within the last year I have talked to several parents, and I was disturbed by what they said. One mother called me and was very upset that her six-year-old son had Asperger's. She then went on to tell me that his IQ was 150. I replied that before people knew about Asperger's Syndrome, their child would have received a very positive label of intellectually gifted.

Then she goes on with continuum of traits, genius is an abnormality?, types of thinking, and teachers and mentors.

Below is something that I discovered on Facebook that I am fond of that I hope that you can find something valuable in to take with you.