How many bubbles can I blow to keep the meltdowns from happening and when is bedtime keeps running through my mind. One minute meltdowns the next minute Owen was happy as a lark. And I kept blowing bubbles to distract him. For several days words were really hard for him and tonight there are so many words flying right at me that I can’t even process them all but he doesn’t understand why and they weren’t all connected. He was getting upset with me because I couldn't find something on his tablet. I told him I was trying to help him but we had to work together to find it. He was asking me for several different videos all at the same time. I couldn’t make him understand that what he was saying would not pull up. He loves for me to use the voice-activated option but it still wasn’t pulling up what he wanted and he started screaming again. I could see him struggling with every emotion. He said, “sorry mommy” without me prompting him or before I could even try to answer him. My heart ached for him. He kept trying to do the same actions and waiting for my same reactions. So I sat. Every single thing upset him. I didn’t even realize I was clicking my fingernail and he started screaming about the clippers and “makEee de noise”. He cried, he screamed, he cried some more. He couldn’t process it all. It felt like he was three again with all the screams, the ear-piercing screams that always went straight to my soul. My poor baby. And all the emotions we both have. It seems like when he is going through a huge learning curve his emotions become stronger. Today feels like it proved that. One day at a time I remind myself. Sometimes one second at a time. He fell asleep in my arms, crying. I think we both were. Today will be but one memory. Keep pushing past what’s stopping you from your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen asked for milk and before I could say anything he went to get the container out of the refrigerator. The container was pretty full so he struggled to hold it and close the door. He lifted his left leg resting the bottom of the container on it, holding it with his left hand, and closing the refrigerator with his right hand. This was truly amazing. Beyond amazing really. He looked like a little baby flamingo standing there and I thought my baby is spreading his wings and about to fly. He’s had a rough couple of days with sensory overload but he’s having a much calmer night as long as I don’t get too far from his grasp unless of course, it’s his choice. He’s playing music tonight, going from one of his instruments to the next, and singing with different Disney videos on YouTube. I love it when he plays his instruments without me prompting him. I have always made music a focus for him. When he was a baby I wanted him to be able to understand how music could move our soul. I would hold one of his hands on my neck and the other one in front of my mouth or on my heart. I would then sing to him, letting him hear and feel the vibrations. He’s been sleeping better again, well, most nights and I’m hoping that tonight is another great sleeping night. Maybe one of these nights I’ll actually sleep. As the night wore on he was much calmer. We had our moments but the screams were few and far in between so here’s to a good night, a strong finish to our day, and a great tomorrow. A smile is one step to a brighter future. Find your strength, be happy even in the storm, and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
One emotion after another kept pouring into me. Owen woke very early but fell back asleep for a few hours. Me, I don’t know that I slept at all last night. The demands came early from him. “Sit”, he said, before I had a chance to even completely get up from my seat. I was going to get the coffee I so desperately needed but he wanted the comfort of me next to him. The emotions, all the emotions shift through my body tirelessly like a weighted ballon trying to get off the ground. I try so hard to make connections to emotions and circumstances for him but my emotions can send him into his own little tailspin. So I breathe. His growth is huge and I know the day will come. He has been in sensory overload all day. Every single thing I’ve done today has caused screams or meltdowns so I sit. I walked into his bedroom to put something away. The minute I walked in there he came running around the corner and turned off the light, as he screamed for me to stop and once again wanting me to sit. The lights were too bright, the sounds were too loud until they weren’t loud enough, and he wanted to be pushed up against me as much as possible. I can only imagine how the world is amplified to him. I tried not to be emotional today but emotional is exactly what I was. He threw himself to the ground, flailing and screaming throughout the day. Washing my hands was one of the biggest challenges for the day but he washed his hands and dried them better than I’ve ever seen him dry them before without one scream. I hold on to the hope of tomorrow. I try to stay strong for him even though I crumble more times than I can count. I see growth though and his future will be amazing because every day he grows. Never stop believing in the hope for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen likes to use an app that mimics his voice and makes it sound like a cartoon character. He doesn’t like to use words with it though, he makes sounds but they range from high-pitched screams to his stimming EEEEE sound. He will put his keyboard on the automatic sounds or his tablet to a music video he likes and then he starts the recording. I tell him he can use the app but he has to use his words. I try to encourage him to use his words so he can hear what they sound like when he says them. I made breakfast for us. I put it down in front of him and he said, “I eat bis cut and gravy”. And not only did he eat it but he ate a lot of it. He went to spend a few hours with his grandparents today. We’ve been working on him being able to dress himself. He’s been able to put his shirt on for a while but not his pants. I helped him put one leg of his sweat pants on and then I told him to put the other one on. Instead of pulling them on, he took them off. I told him that now he had to put both legs in. I walked towards the kitchen, still watching him, and there it was one leg and then the other in his pants. He even had them on the right direction. Big ole victory right there. I told him he did a good job and he said, “very good job”. I’ve always felt like he sees all languages as one big language. He doesn’t understand that I can’t speak them all or read them. I don’t even know how to explain it to him. He has watched many videos in French and today he was screaming at the top of his lungs, running through the house, with his tablet to his ear, belting out Old MacDonald in French. I’ve counted at least six languages that he listens to and what gets hard is when he wants me to use the voice-activated option to find the video he’s looking for. I made him shrimp for dinner and I cooked myself eggs. He loves eggs but I had added vegetables to it so I wanted him to try. I said, Owen come here and he said, “excuse me”. I wonder if that’s the start of attitude of using his ever-growing word list but he did try a bite and like them. Today I’m thankful for celebrating the lifeskill victories he has accomplished. There’s great joy in knowing he can put his pants on. Next to learn shoes and socks. Celebrate your victories one by one, cherish the steps you take, and know that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
What a rollercoaster ride today has been. Hyper and in sensory overload describes Owen tonight and I’m downright cranky. He was yelling at me for every noise in the whole wide world it seems and I wanted to cry. He asked for milk repeatedly but still had milk in his cup. Then he spilled his milk but didn’t get upset until I tried to clean it up. He spilled it all over the table and it went to the floor. When I had to move the table he kept screaming for me to put it back. When things aren’t in their place this can upset him instantly or he may pass by something ten times and then it sets him off. I see him paying more attention to how something is set or angled. Our morning kept me strong throughout the day though. He woke excited about going to school. We got ready and walked to the bus stop. He saw the bus approaching and his smile got bigger. When he started walking up the steps he said, “it’s the bus I ride the bus let’s go bus”. Those were all his sentences, his glorious sentences. I was so excited to hear them all. He was all smiles as they took him to his seat. It’s the most amazing feeling to hear sentences coming from Owen that he formed. It is hard for him to process language so this is a huge step for him. When he came home from school that’s when the sensory overload took place but he was still smiling and singing, “Humpty Dumpty sat on them all”. I think I like his version best. He set up his keyboard so that it would play automatically. Then he started playing his guitar and belting out, “twinkle twinkle little star” with the tune from the keyboard. I see so much growth. He took his bath and when we were finished drying him he took his towel without me asking and hung it up. I may have had a rollercoaster day but here my boy is growing again. So proud of his progress. I turned my frown upside down many times for my sweet baby O. Smile and let the world smile with you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I saw Owen actually jump over a shoe with his two feet jumping at the same time. I instantly started crying. There was so much goodness packed into that one moment I couldn’t contain my excitement. For him to be aware something was there in itself was incredible and then to jump over it the way he did made the tears flow. He doesn’t always pay attention to his surroundings. And he doesn’t understand when I tell him to watch out or look on the floor. We go through this every day when I ask him to bring his shoes to me and put them on the floor, instead he puts them on the couch. He jumps all the time. It’s one of his stimming moves but to jump with both feet over something was incredible. I wanted to see if he could jump over a book when I asked him to. At first, he didn’t understand the instructions and so I asked him to walk over the item. I held his hands and we practiced walking over the book. He didn’t understand so we worked through it several times. Once he got that I then had him jump over the book. I held his hands and basically picked him up through the motions. He had not been completely on board with all this until I picked him up to jump. Once he realized he was flying through the air he wanted to do it over and over again. I set up our little obstacle course of books, baby wipes, and pens and he went to town jumping over it all. He ran around jumping for over fifteen minutes, never seeming to tire of what he was doing. This was a huge day for him and a bigger day for me. There are no words to describe the excitement of watching your child achieve his goals. The victories are loud and clear today. I’m thankful for my miracle that shows me every day how to never give up. Celebrate your victories no matter how big or small they are, enjoy them all. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Oh de bare necessitEEES simple bare de ssiteees”, Owen goes running through the house singing. He loves the song The Bare Necessities. I think we both sing it wrong, I can never remember the word of any song though, and I’m sure I taught him the wrong words even though we’ve watched the video countless times. I sat watching Owen with pizza all across his face, playing on his tablet. Second dinner was worn well. My sensory child loves to squish his food when he eats. He understands what a mess is if we spill something but he doesn’t understand that him rubbing pizza all over his face or in his toes causes a mess if he runs through the house and also one on him. I explain to him that he needs to wash his hands and wipe his face. I don’t even try to explain his toes. Washing his hands is a sensory delight, he loves the feeling but washing his face makes him want to run and hide. Each step we need to take we have to act and react through numerous times. It can take him months or years to learn a skill. And me wiping off his face is something he can’t stand. I now talk him through each step. Getting him to hold his head up took me weeks of going through why he had to do it. The wiping of his face took even longer. There are days he still runs off screaming before he will let me touch his face. When he runs from me I make him come back, we count to ten, and try again. I can only imagine how this feels to his face. I’m thankful every day for his greater connection to the words we say and the conversations we have. The more he learns the more we both grow. He was happy most of the night, only having a few moments of frustration. His smile gets me through my days. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen had a well checkup today. He absolutely loves his doctor and he absolutely loves going to see her because the building her practice is in has an elevator. To say I was stressing about the day is an understatement. I knew that their office would be completely different because of the covid precautions. I told him the day before he was going to see his doctor. He was over the moon and as I predicted he wanted to go right that minute. I debated whether I should tell him the night before but I needed him to know that his day ahead would be different. I had to tell him there would be no slide or TV when we got there. I still knew he would be upset but I had to try. When we got to the building he let me put his face mask on him and he wore it all the way to the office. He was thrilled to see his doctor but he was so disappointed he didn’t get to go on the slide. He’s grown a couple of inches and four pounds heavier. For Owen, that’s a whole lotta growing right there. His doctor was pleased. When we left he wore his mask again. I was so proud of him. It takes a lot for him to leave it on. He tried to take it off a couple of times but thankfully left it on for me. He wasn’t required to wear it but I want him to get used to different circumstances and work with me when I ask him to do something. A mask is truly out of his comfort zone because it covers up the face he needs to see and process. I see a maturity in him in the last few weeks. I know some of it is his age but I also think returning to some of his routine is helping as well. He was good at telling me what he wanted tonight. He asked me for milk but I wasn’t able to get it right that second. He walked to the refrigerator, got out his milk, and put it next to his cup. I’m celebrating our victories, rejoicing his growth, and loving his smile. The key is to not only dream the dream but to walk the dream. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Life skills are some of the hardest things I have to teach Owen. I’ve transitioned him so he no longer uses a sippy cup unless we go someplace. But this also means we can have messes. He screams and I try to show the face of patience. I don’t want him to get frustrated and I certainly don’t want a meltdown. He yells, ”no maka de mess”. Generally, that means he got milk on his tablet. If he gets it on himself it doesn’t bother him nearly as much. I don’t fill his cup very full. Tonight he asked for milk and I told him that he needed to get the milk out of the refrigerator. We have been working on this. He always wants to run to the refrigerator with his tablet but I make him leave it behind. He got the milk container off the door and brought it to me. I had him move his cup over and he struggled with those directions. I pointed to his cup about an inch away from it. I told him, “move your cup over here” and pointed to the spot I wanted him to put it in. It took three tries. He kept trying to move other things besides his cup. Once he moved it I had him help me pour his milk. This same thing happened numerous times after that. I made him go through each of the steps the same way. I always call it ”the art of repeat”. For every step, he learns of a process we have to do it numerous times for it to become part of his habits or learned skills. It can take months or years for it to all click together for him. He can count to two hundred occasionally using “eighty” as all the numbers but he can do it. However, he has a hard time using his fingers to count to ten. We have been practicing for years. I remind him we are a team and we will get through it together. He couldn’t settle as the night went on but I stuck with my new bedtime steps and he was out within twenty minutes. He’s going to bed later but instead of two hours to fall asleep it’s about fifteen minutes and falling asleep about the same time if we laid in bed for the two hours. He hasn’t been waking up two and three times a night either so for now we go with what works. Today, tomorrow, and always remember you are strong, you can move mountains if you set your mind to it, and celebrate your journey. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I sat waiting, getting more anxious by the moment but I had to wait it out. I didn’t hear the telltale sign in his voice of a meltdown so I waited, with my anxiety still going up. He wants me to answer him instantly no matter what I’m doing or what’s happening. I explain to him that I can’t always react or answer when he needs me to, that we have to be patient with each other and work together as a team. I want him to be able to respond with words that come from his voice instead of mine. I’ve always filled in his blanks hoping he would say the words but sometimes he still uses the exact words I would say to him. He wanted to go by “de windows” on our way home, one of his favorite buildings in our city. I had told him we would but he repeats everything, needing the comfort and my input. I remind him that we can talk about what he’s going to see or other parts of the activities that we will do but he doesn’t have a complete grasp on the art of conversation so I work with him on responses. When he gets anxious and I am either emotional or respond slowly he will repeat, “hi Owen” or some version of this trying to get me to respond quickly. We have practiced saying, “hi mommy” and other responses instead of his own name so I waited. He wanted to see the windows and I wanted him to ask to go. What seemed like days was maybe thirty seconds. I didn’t want him to have a meltdown but I wanted him to respond to me and tell me where he wanted to go. And then there were the words, his glorious words. He changed his words. He said them. He had been repeating “hi Owen hi buddy” and then he said, “hi mommy I want to see de windows pwease”. The victory dance was running through my mind. I told him yes we were going to see the windows and how proud I was of him for using his words. The victory celebration continued. It’s such an emotional journey because I want him to learn and grow but I also want to keep him calm and not cause meltdowns. He associates meltdowns with moments and I don’t want that to stop his amazing growth progress. Each step forward is a victory. Smile today, grow tomorrow and be happy. 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.