Sep 28, 2016

Today I told my student that a permanent person was hired.
He was happy until he found out the new person was a woman, then he was angry.
When she arrived I asked the student if he was ready to meet her, he said "NO"!
I pushed a little and then let it go.
I explained that he really wanted a man as his aid and encouraged her not to take it personally.
The new aid respectfully kept her distance as we finished that class and moved on to the next.
When we arrived at the elevator the student saw her enter and made a very dramatic effort to turn his walker around and huff quite loudly.
We dropped him off with the physical therapist and headed to an office to chat about the student. Unfortunately, we were following behind the student and he was unleashing the fury about how he was mad about this stupid school that couldn't get him what he wanted.
The new aid is a Grad student, studying to be a school counselor. This job will be great for her! And probably really great for the student as well.
At lunch the student continued to ignore the aid.
So it is safe to say he gave her a little dose of the not so pleasant side of himself.

As we approached the elevator I said "I'll let your new aid take you up today".
He said "no" and I said "remember you don't want me in the elevator with you, I'll take the stairs".
He absolutely knew what I was pulling, turning his words against against himself to make him welcome the new aid.
His response: "good you can use the exercise".
This kid.....

Last class of the day, my last hour with this kiddo, I asked him if he needed anything and he said "can you please write 'experiment' for me I don't know how to spell it.
How twisted is it that I had a warm fuzzy over that?
He asked me so nicely.
In my mind he said "thank you for everything, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors".

As I loaded him on the bus I told him I'll probably see him again when I sub at the school".
He said "I hope not".
I held his gaze for a brief moment and told him "well I do because I feel so blessed to have the chance to know you".

A little part of me was sad as I walked away.
Part was relieved.

As I think back over this experience, the highs are in those moments that I was able to help other students with their classwork, when my student allowed me to help him, and when teachers showed their appreciation for my work.
The lows...well no sense in hanging out there.

If I could tell my student my heart today, it would be this:

You were mean and hurt my feelings, I think I know why.  It doesn't make your words or actions less hurtful, but it allows me to offer you some grace. I know you are angry that you left you left your old school and friends and you are probably angry that your body is failing you and holding you back. My prayer for you is that you find hope and joy in the One who gives it freely and that you allow the walls to collapse around you and let people in.  So I will pray that your year gets better, that you like your new aid and that you find some joy in this place.  And you better believe that I WILL say hi to you when I sub at this school again, and you better say hi back!

Sep 27, 2016

I saw him out of the corner of my eye.
He wasn't where I left him.
I walked over to see what was up and he said calmly "I need to go to the health room".

We started toward the elevator where he informed me "I will go to a restroom that is for boys or girls, I have a change of clothes in a drawer, you will help me with my pants".

One flight down on the elevator, and 56 steps to the health room I prayed "oh Lord help me do this".

Up to this moment my role was mostly academic.  I follow him through the halls and, though he hates it, I push him in class.  I take notes, make sure his homework is entered in to his planner and as of late, I draw a lot. Why is there so much drawing in Biology?  I think he finds great satisfaction in watching me suffer through drawing animals, trees, rocks and anything else that cannot be depicted with a stick figure.
He has repeatedly informed me that I need to take an art class.  Under my breath I repeatedly say "I never thought I'd be drawing for a living!!

As we entered the health room the barrier that kept the relationship academic was destroyed.  There we were, a girl gathering strength and a strong stomach and a boy humbly asking for help.

I turned my back as often as possible and spoke just three words.
Me or you?

Pants off: me or you?
Wipes: me or you?
Pants on: me or you?

Who is more impacted by this moment?
Me or you.

There is something about soiling yourself that is so humiliating.  Its like a big giant exclamation mark on the fact that you can't control your body's basic functions.
And when you can't help yourself to take care of the cleanup...the shame must run through every vein in your being.

We said nothing about the event.
We went back to class as if everything was completely normal.

An hour later he showed his great appreciation for my professionalism in the bathroom and giving him some extra grace with his homework in math by looking straight in my eyes with his deep browns and barked to me "DON'T COME IN THIS ELEVATOR WITH ME EVER AGAIN".

I took a deep breath and asked "how do you suppose I get down then?"
He didn't care.
He was mad at me for something or more likely taking out some other frustration on me.
"LEAVE ME ALONE" he bellowed.

Until he needed to draw a deer in Biology and then he was quick to ask for help, and equally quick to mock my pathetic rendition of Bambi.

My text to Matt this afternoon:  "This kid is either going to crush me or give me a titanium armor".

The reality is he will do both.
My heart continually breaks, while my skin is getting thicker by the day.

Sep 26, 2016

Today I was jealous.
Not like the nice jealous, the angry jealous.

Over this past week I have unintentionally started making a list of the things I hate about my house.
Dangerous territory right there.
Faucets that leak around the handles, crappy sinks, bad plumbing, semi-functioning appliances, noisy garage door, the green paint, and the baseboards.  Seriously, its the baseboards that take me over the edge.
Today, as I washed my hands, started a load in the dishwasher, un-clogged the toilet, and looked down at the baseboards I was a little cranky.

Then I started my van, which made it known to all of creation that I am firing it up, and stepped on the brakes to slow my roll down the hill only to add to the beauty of the morning birds with the sweet sweet sound of squeaky brakes.
Again, cranky.

I found a great parking spot at work and went about my day, all was well for a Monday.

And then 2:30 hit and my brain turned to a green pool of jealous anger.

I was leaving the High School parking lot and my dream Range Rover being driven by a 16 year old student pulled out in front of me.  No worries about pulling in front of me.  It was that this 16 year old kid is driving a $90,000+ vehicle.  Then everywhere I looked I saw shiny new cars, some without plates yet, driving all over the parking lot by kids.  Little tots who have not worked a day in their life and yet are leaving school in these gorgeous luxury SUV's.

A deep breath.

Then I recalled that I had seen the name of the street that the student I am working with lives on.  You don't even need an address on this street, it is that spectacular.  Like all you need to know is THIS STREET and you know that money oozes from the sprinkler system.
Their grass is probably more valuable on the open market than my house.

I started to feel an anger rise up within me.
Why?  Why was I suddenly so angry?
Is it because they have mansions and fancy SUV's?
I didn't think so, I mean really what does one do with 5000 square feet?

Then I wrapped my head around it all.  The bottom line is somewhere in my brain I kind of felt like I deserved more than a crappy house and a van with 180,000 miles on it.

But the reality is, I deserve nothing.
All that I have is by the blessings and grace of God.
He has secured provisions for me here on this earth and in the everafter.
If I got what I deserved, I would have a poorly drawn sign on the corner of a crowded street.

I'm not suggesting that my jealousy mysteriously disappeared, but the angry part did fall away.
A bit.

I pray that these people who have been blessed with much have the opportunity to bless others.

Sep 21, 2016

Dropping the Ball

Today was a late start.
Every Wednesday is a late start which is awesome, for the most part.
That means two days of school then sleep in, two days of school then the weekend.

The only problem is I run around all morning feeling like I'm late for something.  It feels so odd to leave the house for school at 9:30 or 10.

I was working today at 10:30, so I planned to leave the house at 10.  I told Gabe that his bus comes at 10:10, so I would just drop him off at the bus stop.
We arrived right at 10 and nobody was there.  I said "ooh lucky you, you are the first one today!!"

Off I go to work.  I was really early, so I sat in the parking lot reading my emails and such.  I got a call from Gabe.  ALARMS starting going off in my head.  Wait a minute.  Gabe doesn't carry a cell phone with him, it stays at home.  How is he calling me??

Game's voice is cracking and he said that the bus didn't come.  I said "why didn't you wait for it?"  He said that he did but it never came and no other kids ever came, he missed the bus.  Then he said "my first class is at 10:10, the bus wasn't late."

Oh dear.
At this point I have an 11 year old boy at home, late for school.
I am at the high school and have 15 minutes until I am supposed to meet my student there.

I tell Gabe to wait at the house and I'll figure out what to do.
I call Matt, no answer.
I text Matt and tell him what happened and asked what I should do.
Be late to work and go get Gabe, or leave Gabe at home.
Matt saves the day by driving in from Seattle and taking Gabe to school.
He missed both his first and second period classes.

Best mom of the year goes to.....
Not me!!

Sep 20, 2016

Today was a rough day for my student.
Everything was going well until lunch.
Instead of bringing his lunch, he was planning to purchase the school lunch.

And suddenly I was tossed into an unknown world.
I never purchased a school lunch from the cafeteria when I was in high school, and now its all technologically advanced with all sorts of options.

I panic, asked the student if he was coming with me to get his lunch and he informed me "no, you can get it".
Great.  I asked him what he wanted to eat and he tells me: pizza, macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, oranges, spicy nuggets and some other indiscernible items.

As I walk toward the dreaded lunch line with hundreds of kids waiting and so many options at the pick up window I see a light.  A knight in shining armor if you will.  The one hope I had to navigate this lunch line business with ease.... my son.  
Though I previously agreed not to acknowledge his presence, I had to break the deal and beg, plead for help.  "Psssst ELI".  I half whisper.  "I need help.  He is buying lunch from the cafeteria and I don't know what to do!"  The words that came from my sweet first born will probably stick with me forever..... "Just go get it".

Soul crushing.

Not only was I forced to navigate the scary lunch line alone, lost, and unsure of what to do, but my own child.... the one who opens doors for old people, speaks sweetly to small children, has the patience of a saint with autistic kids and all around baby whisperer... my child hung me out to dry.

I wrote him out of my will at that moment. 
The revision is as follows
 "and my 100 million dollar fortune goes to my son Gabriel.  As for Eli just go get your own."

My poor student got a lonely sad slice of pizza.  Thats it, because that was the only thing on his huge list of options that was available and I didn't know how what new fancy lunch line worked and my oldest son was a jerk face.

After the great pizza-gate of 2016, we headed off to health class.  This class happens to be my student's great nemesis.  He hates this class.  2.5 minutes into class an announcement came across the intercom that we must calmly evacuate the building.

Fabulous.  Perhaps a little handout on how to evacuate this building with a handicap person would have been a  good bit of info to be provided with.
We decided there wasn't a fire and took the elevator from the 2nd floor to the 1st then hoofed it to the field where we were totally lost among 2300 students because apparently there is a different evacuation plan for this kiddo.
To add to the drama of the evacuation a counselor came up to my student and I and started talking about what the plan should be for the future in case of an emergency when the student couldn't use the elevator.  She suggested he have some friends from class carry him.
In was in that moment that tears started rolling down his cheek and I saw his pain.
All he wants to be is a high school kid with friends and this disability of his keeps creeping up in every single aspect of his life.
I cried a little too and blamed it on the sun shining in my eyes and then I prayed that God would be real to this kid.  Jesus came to bind up the broken hearted and I see that his heart is broken.  He is lonely, he is sad, and he is without hope.
The vein that runs through all of the troubles of his life is his disability and I pray that God will turn the struggles of his youth to a powerful positive influence to others.

We both left school a little exhausted, discouraged, and glad the day is over.

Sep 19, 2016

Lost Cause

Today I was a sub at Eli's school.
Finally, adios preschool diaper changes and Kindergarten tape origami.  This week I'm walking the halls of two different high schools.

As agreed upon in advance, when I saw Eli at lunch I looked away and pretended I didn't see him or know him.

I was working with a student with some physical disabilities.  He has some vision impairment, walking, and fine motor skills are challenging as well.  I pretty much just carried his backpack around, opened doors, pulled items out of his bag as needed and took notes for him.

In addition to his physical disabilities, (wait can I say disability?) let's just say he has some academic struggles as well.  I walked in to his Sophomore "Intro to Algebra 2" class a little nervous about my ability to recall my Algebra II skills.  But quickly I realized the class was actually "Into to Algebra" 2 as in there are two levels of an introduction to Algebra.  Whew!  Saved.

As I followed him through his day I realized that nearly all of his classes served a population of students that were also academically low.  There are two things that can gain a student entrance in to these types of classes, some type of learning struggles or behavior issues.  Unfortunately, those two very different types of students are grouped together into one classroom environment.  So you have kids who just need to be taught at a slower pace with extra help mixed in with kids that are huge behavior issues and suck the time away that the teacher has to attempt to teach or help the ones interested.

I worked in these types of classes last week at Gabe's school (he ran up to me to give me a hug and introduce me to his friends... and I quote "guys that is MY MOM") in addition to the classes today at Eli's.  One thing I noticed right away at both schools is that many of the teachers of these classes are giving the students a ridiculous amount of freedom with their phones and time to talk with their friends.

The kids see this as a good thing.  It is right?  Freedoms to play games on their phone, interrupt the class, talk with friends and listen to music.  Sounds great.  The kids like these classes and these teachers.
What they don't get is that these teachers aren't being cool, they are writing the students off as a lost cause.  They no longer care, or are willing to take the effort it requires to lay down some laws and stick to them.  I'm not suggesting it is easy, but I am suggesting that simply allowing these students to sit in class all day on their phones is telling them that their education doesn't matter to the teacher.

The freedoms may very well end up being their captivity.

As they get older and they attempt to make it in life and they can't fill out an application, do simple addition, or know basic life skills strategies, they will be slaves to whatever the government is handing out.

To be given up on is perhaps one of the most hurtful things that can happen in a relationship.  These kids don't even realize it is happening.

Sep 15, 2016

What's Sub?

My job for the past two day was to give positive verbal encouragement to a disobedient, super active, highly disruptive, little kindergartener.

The super smart people who know how to hand such little boys decided that they would create a 2ft square that this little guy would have to be in during carpet time.  He could lay, sit, roll, whatever he wanted as long as he was in the square.

I was supposed to sit next to him and tell him how awesome he was while sitting in the square.

The square was created by putting tape down on the carpet.

That lasted about 3 minutes.
At one point during the tape on the carpet debacle, the kiddo had the tape wrapped around his head, around his finger, over his mouth, over his eyes, around his neck, in his hair, and on his shirt.
After each carpet time session I would replace the tape and prepare for what creation he would come up with next.

It was bordering on ridiculous and despite my desire to ditch the tape and offer some other less entertaining boundary marker, the teacher insisted we were going with the tape.

The teacher had ridiculous expectations for beginning of the year kindergartners, she was boring, slow to move from activity to activity, and didn't actually teach anything at all in the entire two days i I was there.  There were points that I wanted some tape to see what I could do to entertain myself.

I was trying to explain to a student that he needed to raise his hand quietly and when he was quiet and raising his hand the teacher would answer his question.  He said to me "no she won't, she will never call on me".  He was totally right.  Even though I was giving her the eyes while complimenting the student on how patient he was being for soooooo looooong waiting for her  to answer his question she never called on him or anyone else who ever raised their hands.

Unfortunately for me and the little boy the teacher decided that a carpet with squares on it would be more effective than the tape on day two.  So we didn't have any tape to play with, instead the student showed off his unbelievable flexibility.  He could absolutely be a yoga master.  To have his feet behind his head while laying flat on his back in the middle of the square...quite impressive.

I'm keeping a log of the different teachers, schools and jobs that I am working so I can jog my memory if needed when approached with an opportunity to return to a position.
The notes on this job read "poor kids this teacher is horrible, tape box is crap".

In other news, as I was passing by a kid eating lunch, there was a note from his mom sitting on top of his lunchbox.  Naturally, I was nosey and read it.  It said "please wash your hands, love mom".

Sorry mom, but in my expert opinion, I can confidently say he didn't wash his hands.

Sep 14, 2016

Terrible Times in the Last Days

Tonight I went to a women's bible study for the first time in a long time.
I'm pleased to report that I actually walked away a little excited to get to know the ladies at my table.

One of the scriptures we read was 2 Timothy 3:1-4.

Here Timothy has two important messages.

The first one is that we must be in "the last days".  
How do I know this?  Because he says " the last days People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

And that list pretty much sums of all of the behaviors of my children in the last 48 hours.
Clearly, it must be the last days.

The second lesson: Regarding the people who act in the manner listed above, Timothy tells us "have nothing to do with such people".

Therefore, I'm abandoning my children.

I'll give them a few more days to pull themselves out of Timothy's list of evil and then I might have to ship them off to Grandma's.

Sep 13, 2016

Sub World

I as I began looking for a new job in the school district in which our Pistachio Castle is located, I quickly found myself confused!
In my former district my position was "instructional paraeducator".  There is no such title in the new place, and after a while I realized that the same type of job that I had down there doesn't exist up here.  Everyone who is not an actual teacher is called an "educational assistant" and that title could mean you are instructional or general.  The difference is teaching kids or babysitting.  
I'm not a big fan of babysitting.  I didn't do it much as a teenager and I'm not really interested in doing it now.  Unless it is an infant.  I would really like to hold a baby sometime soon. Like an actual little infant not a three year old, a three month old.

So my job search was confusing and I decided to be a substitute for a while to figure out just how things operate up here.  I'm keeping a mostly open mind when looking for sub jobs.  I really do want to try different schools, different ages, and different positions to see what will work best for me at this point in my life.

Today, I was a babysitter and food preparer. 
Actually it wasn't bad.  Things are really different when you know you are only doing something for a short period of time.  
If I walked in to that room today with the understanding that I would be doing this every. single. day. I might not have had a smile on my face for long.

I worked in the dreaded preschool room.  I thought it was going to be special needs preschool but turns out it is just economically disadvantaged preschool.
I brought a pony tail holder because I have a phobia of headlice but turns out these kids were pretty clean!
We sang songs, ate lunch, played on the playground, sang some more songs, played in the room, ate again, and sang some more songs.
I was tasked with prepping the tables (clean double clean as per the food handing policy),  setting the tables, and cleaning them up.  Also, I had to participate in the family dining that was going on.  
Everyone is sits at the tables together, eats and shares conversation, practices passing the food, and using good manners, and then clears the table.
Today's meal...12 hour old chicken sandwiches, canned pineapple I think, cucumbers and milk.  Awesome.
I took 1 cucumber and 3 pineapple bits and a half of chicken sandwich.  I would play along with all the food but I am NOT drinking milk.  It turns out it was an excellent choice because one of the other teachers commented on how her milk had turned.  Precisely why I don't drink milk.
I suffered through that meal with nothing to wash it down.

We are supposed to brush our teeth after the meals, as in everyone including me gets to brush their teeth.  I said "oh I am sorry I forgot my toothbrush."  But wouldn't you know, they had an extra one for me.  Thankfully, we ran out of time and I didn't have to participate in all the toothpaste drool and spitting.

After playground time came "oh Miss C can you please help little boy in the bathroom".
Obviously it was my job to take care of the poo.
Super fun trying to change a pull-up overloaded with pre-school poo that has just been riding along in the pants for the entire playground time.

Did I mention the kid doesn't speak English?

Wait maybe I didn't mention that only 3 of the kids DID speak English.

I pulled some sweet High School and College spanish out of my back pocket.
I was darn proud when I could tell the kids to sit down, raise their hands, and wash their hands.  The washing of hands is really more about those signs in public bathrooms telling workers to lavarse las manos antes de volver a trabaja.

Things got weird when I switched to German and asked the little boy poo if "alles gut?"  

Snack time, little boy poo ate an entire cereal bowl full of oranges.  Let me just say this, I'm sure glad he got on the bus before those naranjas had a chance to make it into his diaper.

So day 1 of sub world went fine.  I lavarsed my manos muy mucho, signed for my dinero and bid those kids goodbye.  I suppose if I am bored I would go back to preschool but it isn't high on my list of things to do again soon.

Sep 12, 2016

Love Comes to Town

I can think of numerous times when random strangers have shown love to my family.
We have the Cracker Barrel guy who brought Matt and I to our knees overwhelmed by his timing and generosity and the Angel Lady in the Commissary parking lot who helped me load my kids into the van and told me that everything was going to be ok.
There was the guy in Spain who drove 10 miles out of his way to help us find our hotel, the farmer in Switzerland who gassed up our car at his dairy farm when we were unbelievably close to requiring a visit from the Roadside Assist van, the man in Croatia who helped me heave Gabe up onto the rocks to spare him from the beating the wake was causing, and that guy driving a white cargo van who kindly moved the 10inch long knife to the side of his seat so that the boys and I could climb in and be rescued from the dangers of the Autobahn.
There are probably so many more, these are just the ones that stick out.
These are just the ones I know about.
I'm sure people have done things for us that I'll never know of.

A few nights ago Matt and I were leaving a concert and stuck in a ridiculous traffic jam.
The venue was in the middle of actual nowhere.  One road in/out.

We were super angry that we had paid $30 to park in the VIP lot that would assist us in getting out faster, and yet we were at a complete standstill for 20 minutes.  Nobody was going anywhere.

As we finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel, we were approached by a young woman who offered us $40 to give her and friends a ride into town.  They had taken a taxi to the venue but found out shortly after the concert was over that no cab or uber would be coming in to pick them up.  All lanes for the venue were heading out, nobody was coming in.
I looked at her and said "we aren't going that way".
So she took this as a sign that she simply wasn't offering enough money and proceeded to raise her offer...  Matt and I looked at the group, and told her to give us a second.  Matt figured it would only take us an extra 15-20 minutes to go through the town they needed to get to so we told them to jump in.  The last offer the lady had mentioned was $80.  Her friends weren't so keen on the idea so they declined the ride.  Matt said "no, you aren't paying $80!  Give us $40 and we'll be your uber".

So they piled in.  A group of 20 somethings from outside of Seattle.
Our frustration with the traffic seemed to disappear as they entered the van and we started chatting.
I'm not sure how long it took us to drop them off but by the time they got there they asked us to join them for some table games at the local Indian Casino.

We found out that they had asked over 30 cars before us for a ride and everyone had turned them down.  Now, if they were creepy looking, drunk, or had dreadlocks (Nasty) I could see the concern but none was the case here.

They were so grateful and "wished that good things will happen as we lay our head on the pillow" that night as repayment for the ride, and were on their way to finish off their evening out.

I'm not suggesting picking up strangers on the side of the road in all circumstances...but this little lift proved to pick up our spirits and help them out a ton.

The next day I was looking at photos people posted on instagram with the hashtag of the concert name.  I was scrolling through and WAIT A MINUTE... in the first 20 pictures in the list was one that captured our four uber riders from the night before.
Something about seeing their smiling faces made me so happy that we helped them out.

I needed this reminder of the kindness that has been shown to me from strangers, and I hope that I will have my eyes opened to opportunities to reach out to others in a small way that may make a big impact.

Sep 11, 2016

Where We Went Wrong

Sometimes I look at the actions and behaviors of my children and I can immediately see where we went wrong.
Sarcasm: Matt and I are pretty sarcastic, so that follows that the kids often respond in that manner.
Yelling: Guilty.  That is all me.
Fear of Being Robbed: We had our van broken into in Italy and left with little more than the clothes on our backs.
Being Abandoned: I left lost Gabe at a park in Germany.  Pretty traumatic.
Angst Against Taking a Shower:. . . . .

Well there are some things that are completely unexplainable.  I have no idea where we went wrong to have to battle with our teenager over showering.

Tonight the elder came home from playing ultimate frisbee or something like that at church.  He was so hot and sweaty he BEGGED me to stop at Starbucks on the way home to get water because driving the mere .8 miles from the Starbucks to the house would simply be too far.
We got home and he replenished with water and then headed over to my couch to sit down.
Oh heck no!

So I said "Hey you need to get in the shower before you do anything else"
Me: um you are literally dripping in sweat and you need to shower.
The elder: "but I take a shower in the morning"
Irritated mother: "Yes and you are welcome to take one tomorrow morning too but right now you need to take a shower"
Elder: "fine do I have to use soap"

Apparently I need to add "Fear of Soap" to my list of unexplainable behaviors of this kid.

He never had any water close calls.  Game did, but he actually likes showers.
He also really didn't have any dangerous soap incidents either and yet here we are.

Matt and I were on a date last night and spent much of our drive time talking about the kids and where we went wrong.  We are pretty sure we taught them to be kind, use their manners, don't hit, say yes mom, shower, wipe their butt, flush, brush their teeth, you know the usual things.

But some days you would think they were raised by wild wolves.

Today is that day.

Sep 1, 2016

Today was Eli's birthday.
He received gifts from 4 people.
The gifts included money, an Arizona hoodie and a book about the mind game of baseball.
Shortly after he opened his last gift someone called to wish him a happy birthday and asked what he wanted.
His reply "I don't really want anything, I have everything".

I was conflicted.
Part of me was screaming "what? Ask for money toward a new phone or phone case or bat or something!"
But the other, wiser part of me was so proud.
He wants for nothing.

Later I asked why he declined an offer to send him money towards his new phone, he told me he wouldn't feel right accepting money toward a specific thing and then spending it on something else. He thinks he has enough money saved up for the phone and doesn't want to accept anymore "phone" money for fear he wouldn't need it.

It was a good day. Perhaps we are doing something right with this kid. Or more likely this kid is turning out ok in spite of all the things we do wrong.