Today I Was Humbled By My Teenager

“Griffin come on we’ve got to go!” I said for the hundredth time.

“Mom, hold on!”

I could just picture him sitting on his bed reading his latest “GameInformer” magazine. I called him one more time and asked him what he was doing. “Just wait and see mom” was his reply.

As we started to walk out the door, I asked him one more time “What were you doing?” I had this feeling that maybe he was trying to sneak taking technology to the after school program he attends. “Just wait and see” he repeated.

We walk down our stairs and Griffin approaches a man who is quietly standing near the bottom of the stairs. The man is holding a cup with change in it. Griffin smiles at him as he puts money into the cup. I am instantly filled with pride and guilt.

I’m proud of Griffin for obvious reasons. He saw someone in need and went into his piggy bank to get money to give him, no questions asked. I feel guilty because I assumed Griffin was not listening or paying attention to me when I told him we had to leave. “How did you know about that man?” I asked. “I noticed him when I looked out the window. I saw the cup with money in it and I knew he needed money” he answered.

I’m happy to say that Griffin proved me wrong. He reminded me to pay attention and to be in the moment. He also reminded me to always be on the lookout for ways I can help someone out.

Canister Please!

I’m always trying to understand Griffin and the unique and beautiful ways he views the world. I admire his passion and caring heart. He likes to collect things, like yogurt tops. He was starting to get quite a collection recently. He would rinse them and then put them in a cup, telling us he was going to use them for an art project. He’s also big on recycling, so I was finally able to convince him that he should start putting the tops in the recycling bin so they could be recycled into new tops. But I couldn’t help but wonder where the idea for his unique collection came from.

And then it hit me…

One night when we had some friends over, I looked up and saw this: my own unique collection of coffee canisters.

I had to laugh and realized that I had my own reasons for this collection. I wanted to share some of the ways I use these lovely canisters. As you will see I prefer Folgers Half-Caf canisters but YOU be you!, and use whatever canisters you like.

We recently had a leak in a sink. What to do? Use one of our nice bowls? Oh, hell no! Canister please!

What about a unique way to store toilet paper and keep thieves away. Canister please!

A spoonful of sugar? How about a canister full of spoons! Canister please!

Oh Where, Oh Where do I put my wet umbrella? On the wood floor? No way! Canister please!

Normally I wouldn’t put salt in my coffee but where does one put their sidewalk salt? Canister please!

Well this solves the mystery of where Griffin gets his unique collection ideas. Hopefully it gave you some ideas too. Hopefully one of them not being that I’m a complete goofball ūüôā

Meet Tiffany-So Thankful To Call Her Our Friend

This year as brought so many new and special people into our lives. One of those people is Tiffany. Tiffany is one of the many amazing staff members that works at our “Y.” She is a lifeguard that has taken time to swim with Griffin and has worked with helping him jump into the pool. She does this on her own time and is so wonderful with Griffin. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know her and call her a friend. This past week she wanted to meet so she could give us a gift of baked goods she had made. I told her she already gave me the greatest gift I could ask for, her friendship with Griffin. I told her much I appreciated her taking the time to get to know him. As we chatted over coffee she then gave me another gift. She told me she noticed how good I am with Griffin. How patient I am, how I try to help him. This meant so much to me because like all parents do, lately I’ve been feeling like I’m letting him down. I feel like I haven’t been as patient with him as I wish I could be.

As we were saying goodbye Tiffany gave me one more gift. She told me how she had told her mom about me and that she told her how I listen to her. She said I was like her mom away from home. I let her know that I had special women in my life at her age (she’s in her early 20’s) and that it made me feel so happy to be able to be there for her.

Tiffany, thank you for being you!

Yummy baked goods from Tiffany

Tiffany helping Griffin get comfortable jumping into the pool

Meet Randy, He’s One Heck Of A Guy!

I want to introduce you to Randy. Randy is Griffin’s piano teacher but he is also our friend and a mentor to Griffin. This past week their piano lesson turned into a great lesson in set design. Randy had a job to design a set for a friend’s up-coming play. He asked Griffin if he’d like to help create a miniature stage. The next thing I know the two of them are not only creating a stage but doing math. Randy was very patient with Griffin and helped him get used to using an exacto knife, better him than me! I love how Randy meets Griffin wherever he is on a lesson day. Sometimes they talk about music or whatever is bothering Griffin. We are so grateful to have Randy in our lives.

Getting The Sillies

Recently Griffin has been having some challenges at night. He gets super silly, can get kind of mean spirited, and has a hard time staying on task. Honestly it’s become a dreaded time of the day, one that many parents look forward to.

I think part of his behaviors are due to the fact that Christmas is coming and he’s really excited. I also think his behaviors are due to the consequences he’s had for some of his behaviors and the fact that he is a teenager. We remind him to use his tools, to be kind, and to remember what he is working towards. In the evening he has many reward options like video game or tv time. But he was still having a hard time and I was in near tears every night.

He does an amazing job getting ready in the morning and I wanted him to find a way to apply that success to his evening routine. I suggested he write a poem that he could say or sing while he’s doing his nighttime routine. We’re big on singing and having friendly reminder notes, like empty out your bag and is your bag packed?

Below is the sweet poem he came up with. When he was done he taped it to a wall in his bathroom. He’s still getting the sillies but I’m happy to say so far his poem has helped!

What Will This Day Bring?

Yesterday was Griffin’s first day back to the after-school program he participated in last year. It’s a way for him to socialize with other kids since he’s homeschooled. When I went to pick him up, Patrick, one of the counselors asked to speak to me in the hall. I won’t lie, I got nervous. He was great and immediately reassured me that it was nothing bad. He went on to tell me that Griffin actually handled himself very well when it came to another boy referring to and then singing a song Griffin doesn’t like. This moment reminded me of how much I still worry that something will happen when it comes to Griffin being in a social situation. I don’t expect him to be perfect. I just live with the memories of things not working out. This was a nice reminder that we’ve come along way. I’m so grateful for his progress and that he has a safe environment to learn in.

The song below is a song I wrote while Griffin was in traditional school.

This song was inspired by the countless phone calls I would receive¬†when Griffin attended traditional school.¬† Every time the phone would¬†ring when he was in school I would tense up.¬† I actually prayed it would be a solicitor or bill collector.¬† But then I¬† would see¬†good old “CPS” on the caller ID and I knew it wasn’t good…..

OMG! Dido, Dido, Dido!

We went to the library this week and while we were there I suggested to Griffin that he check out the teen section. He loves to read and I thought maybe he would discover a new series of books aimed at his age group. I thought that by reading books from this section, it might help him with his social skills when he’s around kids his own age. Boy, was I in for a big surprise!

He immediately found a book series that is written in text form which seemed interesting to him, so he grabbed a few of those. He then spotted “Forever” by Judy Blume. He loves reading the Fudge series she wrote so he just assumed “Forever” would be a good choice. As soon as he said “this looks interesting” I told him “This is about dating, I don’t think you’ll like it.” (I remember reading “Forever” when I was younger and how controversial it was back then.) Griffin seemed ok with putting it back (crisis averted!), and we moved on to the section of the library that had the other Judy Blume books…ones I didn’t have to worry about.

Later that day Griffin was sitting reading one of the library books when he said very calmly “Mom, this book has some language in it and I’m not reacting.” He told me the words and they seemed age appropriate and harmless so I let him keep reading.

Cut to dinner when he asks “What’s an ‘F’ buddy and what’s a dildo?” Um, excuse me!! I just about died and was so glad Tom was there to help out. As soon as Griffin asked those questions, he immediately giggled and whispered (again very appropriate) what the answers were. He told me he was asking because the words were in the book he was reading. From the answers he gave, I’m guessing the book must clearly define the words as well. (Thanks for not leaving my kid in the dark or giving me time to answer.)

I immediately blamed myself for being so naive to think that I could let him read a teen book without doing research on it. We do our best to limit what Griffin is exposed to in an attempt to help him not have meltdowns from being exposed to subjects he’s not ready for. He’s thirteen but he can also seem six sometimes, depending on the situation. He has a tendency to repeat inappropriate words, often in succession, at the most inopportune times and places. He’s certainly becoming more mature in many ways, but he’s just not ready for this subject matter. I want him to be more independent, but clearly finding the balance of when to step back and when to let it be is still a work in progress.

The funny thing is that while he was talking about dildos, he started inadvertently calling them “didos”. We were not about to correct him. I have a thousand other things to worry about. Didos, I mean dildos, are not going to be one of them. Luckily I confiscated the books so he won’t be reading about anything heavier than that…at least, for now. There are other words he’s come across that are not ok for him to say because they could hurt people and make them uncomfortable. He gets that, and does not say those words. So we told him that talking about “F” buddies and “didos” was in the same category. But, for now he’s a bit fixated on “didos”.

Then Tom tells him that there is a singer named Dido. “So her name means fake penis?” he asked. Now I have to worry that if he ever meets Dido, he’s going to say to her “I’m so sorry that your name means fake penis.” Oh Lord, now I really do have a thousand and one things to worry about.


&*$@! these books!!

I’m Learning Right Along Side Of Griffin

I keep being reminded that I’m learning and growing right along side of Griffin. Today it’s all about the importance of music in both of our lives. For Griffin music has become a great passion. When he plays the piano he is calm and focused. When he’s listening to music he engages in conversation about the composer, the song, the tempo.

For me music has always been a passion. I love to sing and in recent years I began teaching myself how to play the ukulele. When I’m playing the words I’m singing comfort me, I don’t feel so alone. Writing songs as become a way for me to express emotions and thoughts that at times seem too overwhelming to express. When I’m stressed or feeling depressed, music is always right there to help me.

This is a song I first heard on a music box my grandmother Zonie had when I was growing up. I can really relate to the lyrics, as I know we probably all can.

Water Balloon Fight, Anyone?

Today we were at our neighborhood festival and Griffin asked Tom if they could do the water balloon fight game. Griffin doesn’t like balloons popping at all. When we walked by the game booth where you pop balloons to win a prize, he walked as fast as he could in fear that one would pop. But water balloons are different and he really wanted to get Tom soaked! Tom asked one of the workers if they could demonstrate to Griffin how to play and before we knew it, Clarissa was helping Griffin. It turned out slinging the water balloons was harder than it looked and she stayed with him the whole time. I thanked her and wished there was more time to express to her how much it meant to us. You can tell by Griffin’s screams he had a great time!