Owen woke up asking for his teacher, referenced Monday, and then quickly got onto the bowling adventure. For the last few weeks, every day is Monday to him. And today feels like a month on Mondays to me. For some reason, I woke up emotional and cranky, with a side of headache du jour. Nothing, in particular, has me going this morning, but that’s why emotions are just so much fun. Now if everyone could stop dropping hats I might stop crying. Potty training is in full swing, but the rules get us sometimes. Owen is doing excellent with it at school, but at home, he is in between struggling and exemplary. It will come. I tell myself to be patient with my own heart, but it’s not that easy. I get mad at myself for not being able to understand all the rules and to know which ones to push and which ones to wait on. It can make the difference between a calm day or meltdowns. We will be off to our bowling adventure soon. I’m not sure if I’m ready for the world today. Do we stay on the potty train, do we let it go for the moment, or do I embrace this new reality. One step at a time, I tell myself, breathing through this new reality. It’s like everything else we’ll get through it together. Owen is thriving and this is the next phase of his growing experience. He’s really doing great with it, probably better than me. He’s squished up against me, watching a video, and singing. When the emotions won't quit you still have to keep pushing forward. So that’s how today shall go. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. Today I breathe, I walk a mile in my own shoes, and I forgive myself for those moments I cry. Here’s to a great bowling day and the growth of my semi-pro bowler in the making. This is one moment in time. It may feel overwhelming, but this too shall pass and there is always someone that will understand your story. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I feel like my sweet baby O is making more and more connections every day. We stood at the bus stop singing songs together. Some he wanted to sing others he wanted to scream about. He wanted me to sing “twinkle twinkle” and not “if you happy”. He always wants to set the timer on my phone for the bus to come. He knows that when we set a timer he has to do certain tasks or we begin his bedtime countdown. He always says “two more minutes” when it is something he wants to put off, like going to bed. I’m happy he has slept well for the last few nights. I couldn’t fall asleep last night, needing the quiet time to be in my own thoughts. The echoes run through my mind from our days. He screams a lot, even in happy tones, he screams at everything. Plus the last few days our internet has been very slow. He will yell, “it’s broken” in a high pitched squeak when the internet is slow to move. If a video hesitates for even a few seconds he can’t handle it. The art of distraction is what I’m learning to do, finding ways to entertain him, and interact with him. I’m thankful for how far we’ve come. The words I wanted for so long for are now flourishing. He still doesn’t always know how to express himself, but it is coming. As if on cue we had a beautiful conversation. Owen had been playing with one of his apps and it stated how many people have walked on the moon. He loves listening to the character talk about space. A little bit later I randomly asked him “how many people have walked on the moon”. He immediately turned to me and without hesitation answered “twelve”. He kept going talking about the sun and other words I couldn’t distinguish, but he was so excited to tell me. I always ask Owen a lot of questions, hoping for responses, but knowing that he can’t always process an answer. These days are what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve longed for him to be able to tell me his thoughts and dreams. Never give up. Today is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I got sleep and Owen got sleep. Let’s start the party right there. Not as much as I needed, but I am thankful Owen slept all night. He woke early, but then fell back asleep for another hour in my bed, not wanting to get up at that point. The bus, school, grandma motivation was in full swing this morning. I started saying all the things that he would miss if he didn’t get up. We had a much better night, but we were gone for most of it. This is helpful and hard all balled up in one. We went to his wellness checkup and the doctor was pleased. He’s still my tiny little dude, but he has finally started gaining weight and getting taller. He had remained pretty much the same size for about three years, so to see this big growth spurt is comforting. I believe the weight he put on is all muscle because he is exceptionally strong. After his doctor's appointment, I took him to his Wednesday night church program. He is thriving at church. We didn’t stay long, but I still wanted him to go. My pure exhaustion kept me from leaving him there very long. The routine of it helps us through our week though, plus he absolutely loves it. I know he feels the love they give him and knowing your child is being taken care of by people that see the child and not the need is a wonderful feeling. They are helping him to embrace his love for music even more. When he sings with his true voice, not mimicking a video, he has perfect pitch. He also has a natural rhythm about him. As he learns how his body works he is dancing and moving more in a coordinated effort. He bends over to watch what his legs do as he dances. He will extend his arms out shaking his hands with an exuberance. There’s nothing better than watching your child grow and thrive. I remind myself of where we’ve come from. He inspires me every day to work harder and be a better me. Find what inspires you, love yourself, and live your dreams out loud. Smiles to all and donut daze!
To say I’m tired might be an understatement. Owen struggled yesterday with emotions and now I’m struggling with mine. It is so hard to watch your child cry over the fact that I can’t find a video he wants to watch. Taking a device away is not the solution because he will go right back to the same thing that he was looking for hours or days later. He was in sensory overload yesterday. Every single thing was “makE de noise”. His socks were making noise as he took them off, bath water was going to make noise, the laundry on the couch, anything and everything was making Owen cry or scream. He fell asleep in my arms. But he woke before three in the morning ready for his day. I had him in bed with me at first, but he wouldn’t lay still. He wants his head squished against my head and his body lying across the bed. His feet were constantly moving, kicking me willy-nilly, and laughing when I tried to get him to move down. He wanted the blanket on him, saying, “bwanket pwease”, but throwing it right back off himself. Two hours later I told him that if he didn’t stop kicking me he would have to go to his bed. An hour into that process, after telling him that he wouldn’t get to go to church tonight, he stayed in bed. He had gotten out of bed no less than ten times, running around the house. I felt like I hit the jackpot of two minutes for sleep when the timer went off and we were headed to the races. His morning was filled with laughter and delight, practically dragging me to the bus stop. And me, I was dragging to the bus stop. We go for his wellness yearly checkup today. I told him days ago preparing him for the visit. I often wonder if this helps or complicates the process. When I told him he was going to the doctor he went through all the steps. He told me we had to park, go on “de elevator”, and even the doctor’s name. I feel excited about his words and thankfully he loves his doctor, but did I make it harder on us because I am preparing him for future events. Every night we go through the same steps. He asks about school and his teacher. He says, “I go to sweep and den I”, leaving the sentence unfinished, waiting for me to finish it. I cried more last night than I’ve cried in a while. It’s emotionally and physically draining watching your child cry over something that you can’t change or help them understand. Today I’m focused on a better day and how to help my baby through these moments. One day at a time. Know that you are a lot stronger than you think you are. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I sat in traffic this morning for what seemed like forever. I kept thinking don’t they know my baby boy can’t handle the traffic. He wasn’t with me. Owen’s words flashed through my mind repeatedly as I sat there waiting to move. Any standstill for any reason is met with him yelling “green” or some other driving direction when he is with me. Sometimes he tells me directions before we even walk out of the house. Here I was in the middle of traffic, Owen at school, and me being concerned with the construction. Lynn, ya gotta breathe. I try not to let these emotions get me, but clearly, I need to work harder on that. I try to let them all go, but there I was worried that Owen was going to have a hard time with me being in traffic. I didn’t sleep much again last night, but thankfully he did. I’m trying to adjust his sleep schedule, but that’s not as easy as moving the clock. The earlier I try to get him to sleep the later it seems he actually does. He’s doing better about not pacing around the room and staying in one spot which is helping the nighttime routine, but any little thing can throw off our schedule. When that happens it’s like we have to start over from the beginning. Owen’s teacher sent me a message telling me he had a good day at school. Since he got home he has been having a really rough afternoon. He wants a certain video. Once he finds the video he watches it for about ten seconds, closes it, and then wants the voice-activated command to find it, even though it was just open. This is causing micro-mini meltdowns of the mass proportion. He expects the app to find the right video when I repeat the words “school bus” five times as he instructs me. I asked him to find it for me. He actually did. He went through layer after layer of videos to find it. Every day I see progress in Owen. Celebrate your accomplishments and through the layers of life find hope and joy in the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I was thankful Owen slept last night because once again I was awake most of the night. But after an extremely rough night, I feel better than I have in weeks. Exhaustion is still at the top of the list, but everything else feels a little better today. I’m floating strictly on the great day my sweet baby O had yesterday. The connections Owen is making now are skyrocketing. He has successfully been going to the potty for a while now, only a few times not making it or not telling me, but he never asks to pee. Yesterday he asked “wanna go potty”, took off running, and pee happened and only pee. I wanted to rejoice from the rooftops. This is a big step for him. He wanted his rewards of “Bible and bubbles pwease”. And I was thrilled to give them to him. Bubbles are always the go-to reward for him, but the Bible was a new addition. I’m not sure if it was because we had gotten back from church only a few minutes before or the words sounded so similar to him. Either way, we went through his rewards. Last night as he was getting ready to go to sleep he asked for water. I give him water all the time, but he never asks me for it. I opened a water bottle since he wanted mine. He sat there and sipped from it, asking me for more. When he was done I closed the lid. I knew if I handed it to him he would squeeze the bottle. He likes to do that and spit the water out. But instead, he actually took the lid off and put it back on several times. I was so excited. The little things. It’s those moments in time where you least expect it and something like this is the tiniest of steps but the hugest of victories. Those connections, those moments propel me to keep going. I’m thankful for how far we’ve come. He is flourishing and I’m so proud of him. Count your blessings, enjoy your day, and celebrate the little things because they truly matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I’m thankful Owen slept all night because I couldn’t fall asleep last night. The emotions rocked me to my core yesterday, unable to let go, unable to find comfort, but exhausted beyond belief. For some reason, I keep saying I’m “earthly tired”. I find peace through the prayers I cry out loudly to God. The tears that didn’t happen yesterday have overflowed today for every moment. The coffee brewing got a full rendition of an eight-octave tear fest. And then there’s my happy little toothy grinned boy smiling his smile that gets me through these moments. His anxiety has been high lately. I wonder if he is feeding off of mine or mine from his. Either way, we must get ahold of these emotions. My own insecurities kept me from wanting to put Owen in one of my favorite shirts he wears to go to church. It is full of chew marks. But I love that it has superheroes on it and he’s my hero. When he wears it I think I should put his picture on the shirt. There is such a joy watching Owen grow. Yes, I get emotional and the rough days are tough but the success days are a beautiful expression of the gift I was given of my son. He wore the shirt, I knew there would be no judgement, and I knew I wouldn’t even have to explain, but it still makes me anxious. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. Today he’s so animated and expressive. Me, I’m in slow motion trying to process it all. He’s pacing now, humming a tune, blinking his eyes in a pattern, and processing something that I don’t understand, but can see he is going through the motions for a reason. I would like to wake up tomorrow to a society that judges less and helps more. I’ll start with me. Find your passion and inspiration and change your world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I don’t know which one of us has been more emotional this week, but here I sit ready to cry at the drop of a hat. So if everyone could stop dropping hats that would be great. It’s been hard for the last few nights. And the last few days. Sensory input has been at the top of our list for the last few days as well. Owen is back to being very concerned about my hair and wanting “big hugs”. He says this so that I will reach down to him and he can chew on my hair. He wants the hug as well, but chewing on my hair is the bigger part of the input he is seeking. So many moments rush back through my mind tonight like a cacophony of sound blaring quick memories at me. I want to cry, but I might be too exhausted to even do that. He screamed driving commands at me all day, even when we weren’t in the car. I have to stay focused on remaining calm. The screaming I think is what gets me on edge. Sometimes it isn’t even the upset screams, but the happy burst screams that come without any warning and are generally very high pitched that get me. I look at him peacefully asleep now, holding his “bucket”, on his beanbag pillow, and I know that everything is going to be fine. I tell him all the time we are a team and we have to get through these things together. I’ll move him soon to his bed. I have to work on getting him to fall asleep in his bed, but that always turns into him wanting my bed and more screams. Plus, he wants all the lights on. If I try to have it dark that also results in screams. They say to pick your battles. Today I pick to concentrate on the smiles, the rest of the emotions can get the best of you if you let them. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Let go of today for it is written in stone and know that tomorrow the possibilities are endless. Find your strength and go after your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days go according to plan. Okay, so really no day goes according to plan, but does go partly to routine. Or at least this is what I try to convince myself of. Sleep happens some nights with a great gusto. Other nights it seems like they turn into days. Last Owen woke at two, concerned with his teacher. I could hear him yelling her name before he even got to me. I told him it was nighttime and that we needed to go back to sleep. I try to use the same words with him, keeping them to the point. He kept talking about his teacher. I told him he would go to school in the morning. He fell asleep about fifteen minutes later. When I got up in the morning he was still asleep, but quickly got out of bed when he heard me in the bathroom. This time he was confused about the day. He was upset saying he was done with school and his teacher, but was still asking to go on the bus. It took about ten minutes for him to calm down enough to get dressed. Once he was calm he was so excited about school. I’m thankful for his love of school and all that he is learning there. When we walked to the bus stop he was so happy. We saw our neighbor walking. Generally, when we see him we are already standing at the bus stop. As he was saying good morning to us Owen reached up and grabbed his hand, walking backwards trying to get him to walk with us to the bus stop. My heart raced a little. Here were some of his rules crossing lines. The neighbor wasn’t at the bus stop saying hi, he was further down the street. This is meltdown territory. Luckily I was able to tell Owen our neighbor had to go and he let go of his hand. Last night a car was parked outside of our house on the road. It’s supposed to be a couple of houses down, but there is construction going on so a trailer is in front of their house. Owen was occupied with this car being there. He kept running to the window yelling about the car. The world is a big picture to Owen and it helps him keep his order. I try to find ways to help him through these moments. I am learning to focus on our happiness instead of the moment we are in. Find your happiness and let go of those things that are holding you back. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke in a confused state. He wanted his teacher, crying out for her, but yelling at me to stay in bed and wanting to know where his “bucket” was. He has a little tote that he likes to sleep with. It’s one of the items he cycles through. I call it his light catcher. It is hard-sided and has slats that he looks through, holding it, and moving his head back and forth catching the light. Sometimes he will cover one eye with his hand and move it back and forth really close to his face. Now he falls asleep holding it, underneath his “bwanket”. He wants his blanket and he wants me to put the blanket over him numerous times. He yells, “bwanket pwease” and the blanket is already on him. I try to calmly state that he has the blanket on him, but he still throws it off of him so I have to put it right back on him. It’s all part of the process. He will even cover himself up, but he still wants me to recover him. Some days he falls asleep quickly without any struggle and other days he needs to go through his routine repeatedly before he can fall asleep. My mind, body, and soul have to remain calm. He feels my emotions and those seem to work into his process. The calmer I am the quicker he falls asleep. I distracted him enough for me to get out of bed and get us dressed for him to go to school. He was happy as we waited for the bus and gave me many “big hugs”. Even through the process, there is progress. We learn, we grow, and we love. Owen is amazing. I think he teaches me more about life than I have taught him. You are amazing. Find your strength to keep pushing forward. 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.