One of the hardest things for me, every single day, is when to push us forward. The fear of the unknown and known keep me rooted to the ground. A year ago Owen and I started bowling together. A year ago I was a mess taking my baby to a loud bowling alley. One of my greatest fears is that he would run to the pins. It didn’t happen our first few times out, but it did happen. We now wear a safety band that tethers me to him. I will never forget that moment. I was so scared thinking he would get stuck in the ball return contraption. I had a Willy Wonka flashback thinking the Oompa Loompas were going to come to rescue my son. All I could do was race slowly down the slippery lane, while Owen was yelling “bye bye bawling pins”. I was crying when I got to him. They were so nice at the alley, helping me, and reassuring me it was okay. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I was a nervous wreck. I immediately ordered the leash that would bind us together and protect my baby from moments like these. He understands no fear, I understand it too much. That moment in time changed me forever. Owen loves bowling. I love bowling. But taking him that first time was one of the hardest steps for me. He didn’t want to go. Stepping out our door is hard. Besides the unknown, it’s the days, weeks, months, and years later that can affect us. He asks for his teacher every day and he won’t see her for another month. He talks about our lights being out months ago. He reminds me of moments he doesn’t want to repeat and tells me where he doesn’t want to go. His no is a strong word. It keeps me rooted in my spot a lot of times. “No” can lead to meltdowns and moments for years to come. How do I push us without pushing us over the edge, that is my daily struggle. Bowling is something we both absolutely love and it’s what reminds me that as much as I want to keep us safe, in our home, we have to keep pushing forward and walk out our door. And I have to remind myself that it will be okay. Owen inspires me to find new ways to grow for both of us. Find what inspires you and soar. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept through the night and I think I actually slept most of the night, too. Owen has been very anxious lately. Seems like everything we do causes him to want to be home. But at the same time, he loves being out doing things. It’s the days that follow that I always have to be aware of. The emotions come later. He’s been hitting me again, but he has also been walking up to strangers and randomly hugging them. In one breath I’m like the world needs more huggers and I’m also the one cringing hoping the person is okay with that. Do I smile, apologize, explain, or let it go. And I’m also the one that overthinks everything. Owen didn’t always like affection or attention. For a while, he wouldn’t even look at me. Those were very emotional times. He couldn’t talk and express himself, so he hit me a lot and also banged his head on the floor or wall. Lots of sips of coffee to get through those emotions without crying. Years later and they still bring tears to my eyes. My question I still ask every day is how do I help my baby. One day at a time I tell myself. I wish I could help calm his anxiety. I’ve never been an organized person, but Owen sees organization in our chaos. Everything has a place and everything needs to be or not be in that place. I had a pair of pants sitting on the bathroom vanity. Owen saw them. His foot started tapping, his hands went to his ears, and he started yelling, “it not makeE de noise”. The meltdown began. The pants were there only a few minutes. I sat them there instead of putting them in the hamper that was already overflowing. We moved the pants together, I held my baby on the couch, and I distracted him until he calmed down. The rules apply to certain places and things. I opened the refrigerator to get cream for my coffee. Instead of closing the refrigerator I stood there pouring it into my cup. From across the room, Owen comes running to close it and runs right back to his game. And just like that, he came to me, giving me “big hug”, sitting on my lap, and putting his foot in my hand for input. My sweet baby O is growing every day and I’m thankful for where we are today. Always remember you are a lot stronger than you think. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke in the middle of the night. He woke crying. It was a high-pitch squeal of a cry. My heart stopped. I jumped up and I could hear him getting out of bed at the same time. He stopped crying as soon as his feet hit the floor. All I can think is he had a bad dream. He got into bed with me and went back to sleep. Me, not so much. The screaming nights like these don’t happen as much as they used to, but they still fill me with emotions. He couldn’t tell me what was wrong and I wanted him to know he was safe. When he woke this morning he was fine, no lingering moments from his night before and he was ready to start our day. He knew it was bowling day. I was excited to go. We got his new ball drilled for his finger holes and I couldn’t wait for him to be able to use it. We were going against routine a little bit today, breakfast at a restaurant with our family, then bowling, then some time for Owen to be with his grandparents, and then to the coffee shop. I told him how we were still going to do everything, but in a little different order. He handle it well, only asking for me to change clothes a few times, which is his go-to response when our routine is different and he wants to go home. Home is where he has the most control and comfort. His anxiety is increasing, but I also see growth and a whole new way he is processing things. We had a few moments today that stopped us in our tracks, a stoplight got us, and there was something not right with the angle of the door, but my boy got my shoes for me, even getting a matching pair. My heart soared with excitement as he handed me my shoes. I’m thankful for these moments of growth. The littlest of steps are the biggest of victories. In this journey of life there are always twists and turns, but know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen’s anxiety rocks me to my core sometimes. My sweet baby O gets so upset about certain situations. Routine is everything to him and when we don’t stick to routine it can throw us off for days, weeks, and months later. Last night we went to the bowling alley to get his new ball drilled. We normally don’t go through the week. He wanted to be home. As much as he loves bowling it was still hard for him to process that we were going at a different time. As soon as I picked him up from daycare he started talking about bowling. I had been preparing him for days. But he also kept repeating “momma change”. He wanted us to go home, me sit on that couch, and him run around playing. In the car ride home, he repeated over and over that he wanted me to change. We had to go home for about an hour before our appointment at the bowling alley. I told him that we weren’t going to change. This is where progress meets anxiety. Normally when we walk in our door, off goes his shoes, his socks, and then his shorts. This time that didn’t happen. He left his clothes on, he kept telling me to change, but his clothes were on and he wasn’t pushing me to change, even though he kept talking about it. This was amazing. The drive to the bowling alley consisted of Owen saying, “bowl first and then momma change”. He went on to change the words a little, “after bowling then momma change”. There is so much progress happening with my dude I can’t always keep up. His words are forming and he is figuring out how to change his sentence structure. We got his ball drilled, we bowled, and then we got home and changed. This morning, however, he didn’t want to go anywhere. He kept asking to stay home. And then he would ask for his teacher. The summer is so hard on him. Being out of routine for weeks on end cause his anxiety to soar. My heart breaks for my sweet baby O. In a world that’s ever-changing how do you explain change. I’m proud of Owen and all he is accomplishing. He’s learning to express himself and what he wants. He motivates me every day. Find your motivation and inspiration and go after your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Nothing like waking to a toe up your nose. The dude didn’t sleep long in his bed before getting into bed with me. And then it was full on sensory mode. He was like a fish out of water, flipping around, pushing his head into mine multiple times, and the whole toe up my nose thing. He was sound asleep, but his body couldn’t stop moving. He kicked me multiple times, my back being his favorite target. And he was asleep. I wish I could figure out the right amount of activity with input to help his body. It seems like I am never able to give him the correct amount of input. It’s hard for me to determine when he needs compressions and when it’s too much for his body to take. I knew it would be a rough night for him because he kept requesting input before bed. He kept telling me, “sit down”, then sitting next to me on the couch, putting his right foot in my hand. I see the changes in Owen. I hear his words and the connections he is making. When I took him to daycare he wanted to “plug in” the television. I was so excited that he knew it needed to be plugged in for power. He repeatedly said, “pwease Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”. These steps are huge. Our daily goal is to teach him life skills. I want him to be able to take care of his basic needs. Something like hanging his bath towel up is a process that we work on every day. Last night he reminded me he had to do it. I’m thankful for these moments and I’m proud of my sweet baby O. Keep pushing forward. Be proud of where you have come from and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Not so much sleep for me, but hip hip hooray Owen slept. He did wake in the middle of the night and get in bed with me, but he slept late so that works. The lights got us in a little bit of a tailspin this morning, but it didn’t last long. He wanted them to stay off, but he also ran through the house turning them on. However, my legs kept Owen laughing this morning. He follows me all through the house, falling to the ground at any moment to inspect my knees. If he’s carrying his tablet the corner immediately goes in his mouth and he giggles, staring at my legs. If he’s not carrying his tablet he will touch my knees, looking at my scars from the surgery I had as a child. This phase goes through cycles. He hadn’t done it in a while, but the last few days it’s back to knee inspection. He talks about my clothes all the time. I must have on pre-approved clothes for what I’m doing. The lounge clothes at home go through the winter to summer and summer to winter transition. Shorts and pants cause their own sets of anxiety and rules for Owen. And Owen never wants to wear pants or shorts at home. But he must wear a shirt. If I try to leave his shirt off before a bath or bedtime he will cry and scream until I put his shirt back on him. I wonder sometimes how these rules for him were set in motion; is it the way I handled something or is it the way he processes the moment. The last few days he seems very tired, but also calmer. I’m not sure if they are connected or if one is the result of the other. He’s been laughing a lot more lately, too. I love to feel those happy emotions. Owen is my world. I never imagined the emotions I would go through, but when I see the progress and the light shine in his eyes I’m thankful. See the beauty around you, let your light shine, and go after your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The overwhelming fear of my son running across the parking lot gets me every time we go someplace. I try to hold his hand, but I also try to give him freedom. He has no fear, I have it all. I want him to be able to explore the world, but he runs after his dreams, not looking at the where he is ever going. Stairs are my next fear. When he is paying attention he does amazing on them, but one motion, one noise, one moment in time and I’m holding on to him for dear life. I sit with a thousand emotions daily in my soul, pounding moments of memories into my thoughts. He’s come so far, but every day I have to stop the hamster wheel putting those memories back in my brain. Today he woke extremely happy, in a great mood even after getting out of bed, turning on the lights without me asking him to, and only screaming once, correcting himself as he did it, “no screaming”. He slept most of the night, waking close to five, getting in bed with me, and falling back to sleep for about another hour. I was thankful for his calm this morning. His emotions wear on me. For a thousand reasons. It hurts that it’s so hard on him. In the last week, he’s cried himself to sleep many times. He can’t express what’s wrong. All I can do is offer my love and support, telling him it will be fine and holding him when he will let me. Oh, how I wish he could tell me his feelings. This momma heart of mine tries to hide from the pain and remember his smiles throughout the day. In the still of the night, when he falls asleep, I try to reflect on his smile, his beautiful, expressive smile. He captives me with it, lighting up the world as he goes through his day. Life can be overwhelming, but look for the rays of sunshine. Know that you are not alone and tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen was screaming all morning. It was his happy little bursts of screams that made him laugh, look at me, and then wait for my reaction. Sometimes, a lot of the times, it’s so he can see my reaction. The self-appointed queen of facial expressions has to sit motionless through so many moments, hoping that this was the right decision to let it all pass. There isn’t a one size fits all rule book that I can read to get this daily life correct. It always feels like one rookie mistake will keep us hinged to the next move. The look told me more screams were coming. Brilliant words trickled from my mouth, “there’s no reason to scream don’t even think about it”. “Think about it”, he says. He thought about it though. He didn’t scream the next time he came running to me, they came later. But this time the screams were different, echoing a moment of distress. His tablet wasn’t performing correctly, the internet cutting in and out for a few minutes. In these moments he now comes to me for help; sometimes in patience and sometimes in angst. We moved on from all that to get ready for our day. He really was having a good morning, he had slept all night in his bed, only coming to me for his good morning hug. He was listening really well to most of my instructions. I try to have him help me with the steps of getting him dressed. All I can think is he’s come a long way. He’s seven and he can’t put on his shoes, but I think he can take them off. That’s the progress I cling to. I also worried that he wouldn’t be able to tell me if his socks didn’t feel right or he had a rock in his shoe, but those glorious words are right on the edge of explanation. He’s able to get his point across in many different ways now. More emotions fill my heart with every word and smile he gives me. We had a dance-off in the kitchen, him actually laughing and joining me for once. His smile is my rocket ship out of this world. Find your inspiration and take your dream to new heights. Smiles to all and donut daze!
And there it was the change. There’s a video that says “wow wow everyone” and Owen runs to me asking me to find “wow wow everybody”. But today was the day. He switched it. He comes screaming from the other room “wow wow everyone”. I heard him going back and forth between the words, trying hard to say everyone in exchange for everybody. He had learned the word “everybody” from another video he watched and uses it for everything. He only watches about ten seconds of the Wubbzy video, but the smile he has on his face is huge. He moved the video to the exact second he wants and watches it over and over again until he changes it and listens to it in multiple other languages. Then the mix of Spanish, English, and Owen’s own language mix together to form a song like no other that brings an even bigger smile to his face and laughter that moves his whole belly, giving me pretty much the same effect too. I love hearing his words because some days my emotions sit heavy with the sounds he makes. He screams a lot and then will scream, “stop screaming”, laughing the whole time. There are only so many ways to say no without using the word “no”. My words are as important as his words. Not only do they need to reflect exactly what I have to say, but they have to be the perfect words in the right moment. I mistakenly said, “let’s go take your shower”. I meant bath. He’s fine with me taking a shower, but that rookie mistake, as I like to call them, threw us off for over an hour. He cried, he laid on the floor screaming, and then he would run to me yelling, “no shower”. The interesting part is he loves the way the shower flows, I have a little handheld shower sprayer and he loves the input it gives him on his back. He can even use it himself. I remind myself of how far we’ve come and that I can’t be perfect all the time. It’s still hard. I can’t sit on pins and needles, but that’s how it feels waiting for the explosion to come from Owen when my words get us. I am stronger today. I will be stronger tomorrow. There is beauty in the world around you. Take a moment for you and know that you are amazing. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Last night the fireworks were not our sleeping friend. Owen couldn’t settle. Every time a firework went off he rushed to the window to see what was going on. The hours rolled by and no sleep was happening. I think I could have slept if I was the one setting them off. The good news, once he fell asleep he slept all night. Me, not so much. He woke happy and he has continued to show his enthusiasm by screeching screams of udder delight. He laughs when I suggest he not scream. The roaring screams go with my random emotions. I’m happy he’s happy, but I wish he could tone down the screams a little. Or maybe not so ear piercing. We will be off to our Saturday adventures soon. He first asked for his teacher and then I told him it was Saturday. He has been very interactive this morning and even initiating conversation. He told me “good morning mommy” and followed it by “I wuv ewe”. I can tell he is in a huge need for input. He has crawled into my lap multiple times, squishing himself into a ball in my arms. He has also wanted to be in his cocoon swing and running all over the house. No settling today. But the words, the glorious words are here. He says, “breffest wanna eat breffest”, as he finished eating his pancakes and sausage. I am also trying to keep his aggression in check. He likes to walk up to me and hit me. He goes through spurts where he will hit me every day and then asking for “big hug”. It’s like his attention getter. I try to explain to him that he can have hugs without hitting and that doesn’t always go over well. He likes to push boundaries and I have to figure out if it is something he doesn’t understand or the way he is processing that moment. And I’m sure there are many other scenarios. Today I’m thankful for his words and interactions. Now to start our day, new shoes await as part of the adventure; those do not always go over well. One day at a time and the rest will follow. Know that you are not alone in this journey called life. Your story may be different than ours, but someone is right there with you and needs to know they are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I'm Lynn Browder. Owen's Mommy. The best moments in time are when I get to see the smile on his face and that giggle come from his heart.