I can tell you right now today was a second Monday. At least I’m feeling better. Owen had a pretty good morning and then he went to see his grandparents, but coming home the meltdown light struck again. He screamed, I cried. All I can say is at least it’s not like it was before, hours and hours of meltdowns from that one light. When we got home he had a happy night. We played his game on his tablet together. And by that I mean I had to follow the rules. Every time I didn’t do the action he wanted me to do he would take the tablet and run. So do I mix it up or follow the rules. This is the question I ask myself constantly and some days it’s different answers. I know there are days the rules mean everything to him and other days it’s fine if we stretch them ever so slightly. I held him until he fell asleep. I’m trying not to cry the rest of the night away. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. I tried not to think about how Owen licked the car before I could get him in it. This is his new thing and it’s something I have to figure out how to stop. If I push too hard he will do it more and if I don’t find a way to stop it, well I’m not going to think about it. I pray I can convince him to stop licking things. I pray tomorrow for calm. I pray that he understands my words more. And that I can start figuring out how to prepare him for school, through all the uncertainties of what will happen next. One day at a time I keep reminding myself and it looks more like one minute at a time the last few days. Through what seems like several impossible days I remind myself that the word says “I’m possible”. Even on those hard days know that anything is possible and you can achieve great things if you put your mind to it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
To say I’m over this day is an understatement. And Owen sailed through the day pretty beautifully with only a few times that were really hard on him. With me, quite the opposite. Every single thing was overwhelming and stopped me in my tracks. I woke very early in the morning with a headache that was relentless. I prayed I could get to the bathroom and take some medicine without waking Owen. I prayed a lot, a lot a lot. Thankfully he stayed asleep. I turned no lights on, I didn’t flush the toilet, I tried to not trip over my own two feet, and I made it back to bed. He didn’t wake. When I woke several hours later it was to Owen’s request for his day to begin. I asked him to give mommy a few moments to wake up, that I wasn’t feeling well, and he actually laid quietly with me. That never happens. More prayers were answered. I needed that time to wake up. One thing after another seemed to trip me up as the day went on. Thankfully within a few hours, my head stopped pounding and I could at least think, but then maybe I was overthinking too hard. It was a slow-moving day for both of us, but at least he was happy throughout the day. He seems to be expanding his choices of videos to watch. This is a mixed blessing. He has been watching a video about a pet monkey that likes to eat bananas. I’m always fascinated by the fact that bananas are a meltdown food if he sees them, loves the flavor of them though, and wants to watch videos that include a banana in them. The only part about him watching this particular video is that he wants to mimic the sounds of the monkey. He will turn on his app that distorts sound, watch the video, and then make the noise like the monkey screaming while eating the banana happily. I want him to use his words, but here he is mimicking the sounds instead. One day at a time I remind myself. I got new motion sensor night lights to help keep him calmer at night with the lights. Tonight that was completely the opposite of what happened. They stay on for ninety seconds after they are turned on. He could see the light in the other room through the blackout curtain. Those few seconds turned into a twenty-minute meltdown after a delay in our nighttime routine because I cut my finger. Sleep finally won for my boy. And for me, several times as well, waking up for a thousand reasons at the end of the day. I’m thankful for his smile on a day that every minute felt like I could cry a river of tears. His patience helped me get through the day. Remember tomorrow is a brand new day. Be kind to yourself and the rest will follow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke numerous times in the middle of the night crying. I don’t know that he was even completely awake. It had been a while since he cried that much during the middle of the night. It was random bursts all night long. His words were all tangled together and he couldn’t tell me why he was upset. I tried to quiet him as quickly as possible, holding him in my arms, and whispering quietly in his ear to go back to sleep. My emotions sat as heavy as his did at that point. I wanted him to go back to sleep so it wouldn’t escalate. The words he was saying were gibberish and I knew if he completely woke up at that point it would continue with a series of meltdowns. Luckily each time I was able to get him back to sleep. He was happy when he woke for the day, but I could still see the emotions sitting heavy with him. He wanted me to help him throughout the day and he made numerous requests for things we didn’t have, but obviously, he wanted. He wants a computer tower like he uses at grandma’s house. He calls it a “box”. He has a laptop, but he wants it to be more like the one he is used to. I’m amazed at how much he makes connections to certain things. He will be getting a new computer soon. The other thing he asked for all day was a dog. Since he’s been playing more with our friend’s dog he talks about it all the time. I love it when he lights up about his world that excite him. The dog won’t come as quickly as the computer, but I hope to get one for him in the next year. I want to find a dog that he will have a connection with and will easily be trainable to follow commands from Owen. Since he can’t always explain himself the dog is going to need to be very perceptive and smart. I feel confident it will happen as it should and he will get the dog of his dreams. All day Owen was one tear away from crying and I kept trying to make him laugh. I didn’t want him to go into meltdown mode and I prayed I could keep him busy. We painted, sang, and he played his instruments for me, talking a lot about his keyboard. His smile still pushed through even though we were both emotional about it. Follow your dreams, explore your options, and you can make a difference in your world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke around one last night. I was up really late and had the light on in the kitchen. I have a blackout curtain hanging in the hall, but he can still see some light around it though. He won’t let me close his bedroom door so I tried to figure out a different way to hide the lights that shine from other rooms during the night when I’m still awake. When he saw the light he thought it was the morning and started running through the house turning the rest of the lights on, getting his tablet, and asking for milk. I told him it was still night time and we were going back to bed. The screams started immediately, but I could tell he wasn’t even truly awake. I walked him back to his room turning the lights off as we went. He was asleep again within twenty minutes or so. He hadn’t woke like this in awhile. But I also haven’t had the lights on as I did. I’ve been trying to keep the house darker at night, but that’s not always easy. I need to come up with another solution for the hallway. I need a different door or more ways to block the light and noise. I never imagined how the ticking of a clock, the buzzing of a lightbulb, or the glow from a lamp would affect him, yet I completely get why it does. His senses are acute and he is attuned with the world. I remember the song of the crickets and other bugs outside my window that would keep me up at night and I can only imagine how he hears the noises of the world as his day goes along. The second time he woke was closer to seven in the morning. He was happy most of the day, spent some time with his grandparents, and then we had a great night of singing “Old MacDonald had a zucchini”. He laughs every time he puts something on the farm that he thinks is funny. I’m still smiling, hearing his laughter as he says, “no way a zucchini”. We had lasagna for dinner and I’m so proud of how well he is doing with eating. Through the valleys, we walk in sunshine and rain, but we are walking together towards our victories. Never give up on the miracles yet to happen. Keep moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
One of us woke up cranky and it wasn’t me. For once. I needed coffee, but I wasn’t cranky. I needed a lot of coffee. And maybe still do. I think as the day wore on the roles switched, but he was cranky and full of words and emotions as soon as his eyes opened. I started making our breakfast and I went to the freezer to get his waffles out. I dropped a package of frozen fruit onto the floor. Owen was in the living room, but immediately started screaming. He threw his tablet on the ground, started knocking the pillows off the couch, and screaming about the refrigerator door. He walked into the kitchen and threw the fruit that was already on the floor across the room. He picked it up and it went sailing again. So this is where we have to stop these moments. I sat down with him and I explained to him that things drop and we can’t get mad about something that falls from the freezer. We have to pick it up and move on. So I showed him where it fell from and made him put it back. I explained that the freezer was really full and that is why it fell. Some I’m sure he didn’t understand, but I still have to go through the motions and explain it to him. The more pieces I can connect for him the better it is for when something like this happens again. I saw a lot of sparkle in his eyes today and a lot of mischief that followed. I think he saw me struggling as the day went on and he knew what buttons to push. I try not to show my emotions, but they still sit so close to my heart he can tell. He knows me as well as I know him. I had him try several new foods today and he didn’t like them all, but he at least tried them and that was the important part. He even kinda liked broccoli cheese soup, kinda. I’m thankful he’s been sleeping better and maybe soon I will too. I never imagined the ups and downs that we would go through in one day, but I’m thankful that his words are starting to flourish and he is finding ways to express himself. Every day is a gift. And his smile shines throughout the day, even on our toughest of days or brightest of moments there is still that twinkle in his eye and the smile in his heart. Find what brings you joy. Know that tomorrow is a brand new day. And you can move mountains if you set your mind to it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke requesting milk, ran to the potty, and got the tv on before I could even think about my first cup of coffee. You know that cup that you stand at the pot waiting for, wondering why it’s taking so long, only to realize that it’s not good enough to add the coffee and water you must actually push the button. Luckily, after I made that discovery the coffee helped wake me, some. Today was a much better day. I was still holding my emotions inside, but it truly was a better day. I really had to concentrate on the great moments and not think about the ones we have to work through. I asked Owen to bring me the package of baby wipes. They were sitting right bedside his guitar. I pointed, but he doesn’t understand the imaginary line that leads all the way from my finger to the wipes. I pointed and kept my arm outstretched. He still couldn’t understand I wanted the wipes. I used different names and then I tried to play I spy with him, telling him the color of the package, but he was getting very frustrated and tried to bring me the guitar multiple times. I stood walking closer to the wipes, still pointing. He didn’t understand and his foot started banging on the floor. At this point, I knew that I better wrap it up so it didn’t cause him to have a meltdown. I was right next to them and told him to bring these to mommy, pointing right on them. I sat back down and he picked them up, bringing them to me. I went on to use the wipes, showing him what I was doing, and then helping him with his tablet. The whole reason I needed the wipes, to begin with. His tablet still had lunch all over it so I wanted to clean it before it went everywhere. There were only two things on the side table I was pointing towards, his guitar and the wipes. He couldn’t process that the wipes were there. No matter how many times I was pointing he thought I wanted the guitar and he didn’t even try to touch the baby wipes. We are still working on directions and what it means to move in certain orders. It’s all very frustrating to him. He knows left, right, and straight, but in general, he always says the word right however, he doesn’t know to move to the right. I quickly moved this all out of my focus and thought about how many good times we had and the laughs he gave me. I think we both ate all day and I’m thankful for all the new foods he has been trying. I told him again that he’s my miracle and he can do anything he sets his mind to. Never give up. Today is one moment in time and remember that you can do it. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The emotional rollercoaster strikes again. I watched Owen as he bent himself in a thousand directions, trying to catch the right reflection on the tv, staring at it from as many angles and positions as he could. He squealed with delight. I got a little more emotional. Today was a rough day for me. And Owen seemed like he had a hard time processing it all. The last two days have been like that for him. He has to repeat and repeat and repeat the same actions and then repeat some more. If I don’t answer the way he wants the squeals turn to screams of anguish. I try to do my part. But it can be very exhausting. Plus, I am always trying to figure out if I’m encouraging the right behavior at the right time. He walked up to me many times, pushing me ever so slightly or hitting me with the lightest of touches. He would say each time, “we don’t hit”, wanting me to react to his actions. This is where it’s hard. I can’t react because that encourages him. I can’t ignore him because this frustrates him and causes different emotions to go spiraling out of control. And I certainly can’t cry, scream with him, or stop my overthinking. Then when I didn’t think my emotions could be anymore rollercoastery the amazing happened. I was going to get him ready for bed and then paint later, but I decided to go ahead and paint. He walked up to me as I was painting and he said, “you’re painting a turtle”. I was thrilled with the connection and that he knew what I was painting. My happiness soared. I’m beyond thankful for his words and progress. Celebrate your victories no matter how big or small they are. Remember they are important. And so are you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“It’s’ah”, Owen said and said again and again. He says it so fast it’s like one long word. He wants me to tell him what something is when it is something he already knows. And he wants me to tell him multiple times. I try to explain to him that he needs to tell me what something is, to use his words, but it always seems like I still end up telling him what it is. ￼Most of the time it’s from videos he’s watching and he will pause it to ask me what it is. Half the time I can’t actually see what the item is that he wants to talk about. If it’s on his tablet he will hold it towards himself. If it’s on the tv he will stand directly in front of the area he wants me to see. I have tried to make him understand I can’t see around him or when he is covering the object, but so far that hasn’t helped the process. Now I try to change it up a little on the things I know he’s going to ask about. Anytime we are outside he talks about the stop signs. He points down the road and starts, “it’s’ah” and I name things it can’t be. I want him to tell me. This doesn’t always work well though. Sometimes it frustrates him and we get nowhere with learning or moving forward. It’s like the case of the almost forgotten bananas. Owen loves the taste of bananas, but seeing the banana itself causes him huge meltdowns or he wants to “throw dem away”. I got some so we could make smoothies. He’s been asking to make something with yogurt. He loves watching the kid’s cooking shows and on one of the episodes, they make a smoothie with yogurt. He wants to put it in the microwave, but he wants to put everything in our microwave. The microwave is another source of huge meltdowns. He will be fine with ours as long as I don’t have to restart it after I cook something for a few minutes. However, the microwave at my parents' house he doesn’t want to even walk near it. All of this goes through cycles. All of this is hard on Owen. And all of this makes me want to hold onto him a little tighter and tell him I love him. Growing Owen is what we do, but I think I’m growing too. Never give up on your dreams. Believe in the miracle yet to come for tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today feels like it was a very Monday Monday. Some days feel so lonely. I try to get Owen to interact with me and he ignores me. That’s how it feels, but in my heart, I understand there’s more to it than that. It still feels lonely though. He screamed a lot today. Happy screams, but they still rock my boat. And then when I want the sadness to wash away, but think it’s here to stay the incredible always happens. He started talking to me. It was in song form, but I’ll take it. He was an inch from my nose, singing Old MacDonald and adding all the vegetables and fruits he could think of. He was supposed to be sitting to eat, but hey he was talking to me, while he dragged his hands through my hair full of veggie straws. Never a dull moment. After that, I started singing the scales with him and I said, “you can hold a tone”. He thought I said tongue so then he started holding his tongue while trying to sing. He takes everything very literally. When I tell him to “close his eyes” he will take his hands and try to find a way to pull his eyelids down. I have to watch my words with him. I forget sometimes that he tries to do exactly what I tell him to do. He was happy all day, if not even a little mischievous. I was cranky most of the day. But his smile, bright eyes, and songs in his heart helped me get through my day. Find your smile even when it always feels like it is raining. Know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
At some point, my emotions switched from happy and you know it to trying to put all the pieces back together. Owen does not always listen. I know he can’t process some of what I say to him as well. I always have to decide if it is the eight-year-old, autism, or Owen that is struggling in a moment. Most of the day seemed to cruise right along without any glitches. And then it was like something switched and everything seemed impossible. I have to remind myself that I got a washable area rug and a couch cover for a reason. It’s going to be fine I told myself numerous times today. When I see Owen running to the bathroom I have to hold it together. He isn’t running because he has to go, but because he already went. We’ve come so far on potty training and most days he does well with it, but why, oh why can’t it be every day. We had so many great moments today, that’s what I need to focus on. We sang Old MacDonald together while he played his guitar. It still makes me smile thinking about it. I’m amazed how he can make the guitar sound even though he doesn’t completely understand about how the actual notes work or how to hold his hands. I help position his hands around the neck of the guitar and make sure he strums over the opening of the guitar, but he is figuring it all out on his own on how to actually get the guitar to make the sound. It’s the same with the harmonica. The “whistle”, as he calls it, seems to be so easy for him to make the sounds. It’s not an easy instrument to play, yet he makes it look easy. He still doesn’t understand how to make a melody, but he never stops amazing me at how well he can actually get the notes out. It also makes me smile thinking about him playing the harmonica. That pushes more of my blues away. He fell asleep quickly tonight and it always seems to take me hours to find rest. Remember even in a storm you deserve happiness. Some days are hard. Some days are harder, but you are never alone. Remember to be kind to your soul. 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.