The words, the glorious words were flowing yesterday. They were all referencing his schedule and what was going to happen over the next few days. School is back in session and my boy couldn’t be happier. The minute Owen leaves school he is asking to go back. He asks for it as he goes to bed and when he wakes in the morning. His teacher said he is doing well in school and progressing nicely. He slept later this morning but still came to my bed with the now trademark Linus walk. It makes my heart sing. I decided to find another blanket that will hopefully compare to this one. We shall see how that quest goes. I went to the store I got it from yesterday, but they didn’t have anything similar. It had been several years so I wasn’t holding on to much hope, but I still had to try. Since it’s a blanket I’m really not too worried about losing it, but they still get worn after a while. I remember my mom telling me a story about my brother having a favorite blanket and it got to the point where she would pin pieces of it on his clothing because that’s all that was left from it. It’s only been a few days for Owen to be attached to this blanket, but as soon as he comes home it is the second thing he grabs now; the first being his tablet. I’ve been trying to give him more tasks to do when he comes home, hoping this helps him with life skills. He wants things sometimes instantaneously, not understanding that I can’t magically produce the object he wants. He’ll scream until I get his milk or keep pushing his tablet at me until I help him with the choice he wants to make. I try to get him to understand that I can’t always take the item he is trying to hand me depending on what I am doing. This aggravates him. From an early age, I would try to explain when I was holding something hot or my hands were full, but he hasn’t been able to always process this and make the connection. I see progress though. Through his eyes, I learn a lot about the world and myself. Know that you are a lot stronger than you think and find what lights up your world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I watched Linus, I mean Owen come to my bed at three in the morning, carrying the blanket over his shoulder yet again. Okay, so why is he waking up again in the middle of the night and now what to do about the blanket. Do I encourage the blanket or do I discourage it. He’s got tons of blankets in his bed and in mine, but now this one blanket is the one he wants. These and other fine questions run on the hamster wheel in my brain all day long. The attachment to a certain item can be hard on both of us. If it is lost or the location of the item is not where he needs it to be our day can spiral quickly. I’m very thankful that Owen hasn’t been attached to many items because of this. However, I also know that it does give him a sense of security and comfort. So the search now begins for a second blanket like the first one so that we have a backup blanket. None of the other blankets compare so far to the large king-size blue blanket that gets dragged everywhere. Then I have to decide if I can find one that compares to the same texture will color matter and should I change the color so that it doesn’t matter. Queen of Overthinking reporting for duty. He has always been fascinated by blankets and has used them for the sensory input he needed. As a baby and small child, I couldn’t put any blankets in his bed with him. He somehow found a way to wrap them around his head. I was afraid to have anything in his bed with him at all. I talked with his doctor and therapists about my concerns. As he got older the doctor told me that it would be fine to start putting blankets in bed. It was at least another year before I put a cover sheet or blanket with him. Now watching him sleep with his blanket those memories flood through my mind again. But I know as he sleeps he moves so much the blanket will quickly be tossed around. Sleep has always been one of those things that I want to help Owen through, but we always seem to struggle with it. He’s very happy today and his smile lights up my world, encouraging me to stay strong. Find your strength, shine your light, and know that you are amazing. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Not only is my plate full, I think it’s broken and a little wobbly. And I’m not sure it matches anything else I own. But today’s “looking on the bright side day” and boy is it a pretty plate. We all got something. Not one person walks this earth without feeling like they need a bigger plate. Owen lost another tooth yesterday. This gave him a little more comfort through his night. He woke around five, got into bed with me, proclaiming, “bwanket wanna bwanket”, and immediately he was off again. I felt like I was watching Linus from the Peanuts comic strip walk back to my bedroom. I have a huge king-size blanket in the living room that he falls asleep under a lot of nights. Here it was over his shoulder, being dragged across the floor, and coming into the bed that already had tons of blankets and pillows. What’s one more. He then shouted out his teacher’s name a few times and the fake snoring commenced. Ahh, the comfy sounds of one of us falling asleep. Somehow the fake snoring leads to real sleep for Owen a lot of times. I don’t get it, but the sound or energy he uses puts him back to sleep. He was only asleep for about ten minutes when he woke again ready to start his day. I wasn’t even out of bed and he wanted me to have my “pants on”. The unwritten rules of what is expected of me grow daily. He wants me to do certain steps at certain times. I always feel like I’m one second late to those Saturday SAT tests that we had to take and I’ll have to reschedule. I try to stay ahead of the curve, but when the curveball gets thrown anyways you have to roll with the punches and avoid them as much as possible. Once we got up he was ready to get to the bus. He talked about his diaper, wanting it changed. That felt like huge progress. He then ignored all the next steps to get ready, but he was still excited about going. We walked to the bus stop and the pure joy that washed over Owen is what makes my heart sing. To be able to have joy in a world of chaos is calming and therapeutic all in one. Find your joy, sing your song, and know that you are important. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke in the middle of the night. I’m really not even sure what time it was. His teeth were bothering him. He got into bed with me, proclaiming, “wash your face”, immediately falling back to sleep. All I keep thinking is we have a mouth full to go through. One day at a time, I remind myself. They are worrisome to him, yet I feel like he is handling this all well. He woke later, asking for his teacher, but he did not want to get out of bed. I didn’t blame him. Some days that feels like the calmest moment of our days and I don’t even know that it is all that calm. It was raining this morning. That meant we took the car to the bus stop. This threw our morning off a little. He wants to stand there waiting for the bus. I park where he can still see the bus come down the road, but it’s not the same. I’m thankful he loves school and the bus. I often ask him what his favorite things are, knowing I won’t get an answer, but hoping that someday he’ll understand what that means. I ask him what his favorite color is, always telling him mine. I think I know a lot of the things he loves, but I want him to be able to tell me. I still cling to all the words he says, knowing how far we’ve come, and still anxious they will disappear. There have been many times where it felt like Owen lost skills or wasn’t able to use his words, but it was like he put them on a shelf, waiting until he needed them. This was very daunting and overwhelming to me at first. I was afraid he was regressing, but when this happened he was learning other skills and he had to concentrate on those steps. Some days all I could do was scream out to God, praying he would bring comfort over both of us. This is my baby, my heart, and I wanted him to be able to talk to me. I needed him to be able to talk to me. We’ve come along way from those moments. I will never forget the waiting for words, waiting for the connections, and waiting for him to look me in the eyes. All of these things can still be hard for him. All of these things are still emotional for me. My prayers haven’t really changed either, wanting a calm for both of us and knowing that we have to breathe through our days. Owen’s smile is what I cling to. His laughter fills my heart with the joy I need. And knowing he is happy gives me a sense of peace even when I don’t feel calm inside. The journey is not always easy to explain, but I’m thankful for the love of my life. Today is a moment in time. Follow your heart, dream big, and make those dreams come true. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back on the sleep train, at least for Owen. He has been going to sleep later, but sleeping through the night. I’ll take it. He ran to me this morning, saying his teacher’s name. I told him, yes buddy today is school. He was so happy. He repeated her name off and on for the next twenty minutes. He even listened to directions and he helped me with his clothes. He was ready to get to the bus stop. It’s almost like time stood still. He wanted to do the same things he did last year as we were at the bus stop and even the way we walked there. He likes walking backward and directly in front of me. This is something I try to discourage, but he seems to walk back in front of me no matter how I try. When we got to the bus stop one hand goes over his eye. He changes it from left to right eye, moving between hands as the moments change. He wants to stand in a certain location and he wrinkles his nose. The toothy grin he’s got going on right now finishes the picture. Before his bus arrived there was another bus that picked up a child on a different corner. The bus driver thought at first it was us but Owen wasn’t crossing the street for anything and he knew where he was supposed to stand. The bus driver realized it was the other child and Owen was back to wrinkling his nose, waiting for his bus. I’m amazed at how many words he is saying now, even though I never doubted they would keep coming, I still get amazed with the flow of his sentences. The same songs he liked as a baby still bring excitement to him and he sings those constantly. The Wheels On The Bus I feel has been sung over a million times by us, but maybe I should do the math. I would say we are closing in on it though. Every animal, person, and thing I could think of went on the bus. The past week there has been an interesting calm about him every evening. He will lay under his “bwanket” for fifteen minutes or so, not doing anything besides laying there. For my child, that very rarely finds peace in his body it at first brought uneasiness to me. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The first few times he did it the fake snoring happened. That at least gave me a comfort that he was fine. But then he stopped doing that in the nights to come. I really am not sure what to make of it. He’s happy though, every once in a while popping his head up yelling “bwanket” and laying back down. I’m learning to embrace the moment and at that moment know that everything will be fine. Find your calm even in the storm. You are stronger than you ever imagined. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sleep, glorious, glorious sleep. The cycle of sleep is in and I couldn’t be more thankful. I often wonder why the old supplements stopped working but I thought I would give them another try and they are started working again. The better sleep he gets the more sleep I get. And the better the days are for both of us. He woke with a mission, “church”. I’m not sure if he understands how the days of the week go, even though he can recite them, or if it’s the fact that we have the routine of bowling and church on our weekends. Either way, he slept late and then came to me. He stood by my bed and said, “church”, immediately crawling into bed with me, giving me “big hug”, moving over to the other side of the bed, and promptly started crying, “wash your face”. His teeth are bothering him. The one will not let go, it’s there hanging by the last possible thread it can. Almost sideways out of his mouth but still there. Now another one is loose and the process will start again. They are worrisome to him and he does better once they are out than to have them hanging there. He still fiddles with the holes in his mouth, but they don’t seem to be as much of a stressor for him. He told me he had to go potty. “Let’s go potty”, he said, “wanna go potty”. You never know how much those words mean until they are spoken and success is achieved. Today I’m beyond stressed, feeling broken in a million pieces, trying to stay focused, and not let his screams of delight stir my shaken nerves. He’s so happy. I’m trying to focus on his new toothy smile and know that today is a moment in time. Tomorrow is back to school and I know he will be ready to go. The routine of life is important to us. I took Owen to his orientation on Friday at his school. It was in the early evening. He has asked for his teacher all summer long, but as soon as we started going towards his school he started screaming. We got there and he was upset. We only stayed a few minutes and we were off again. The minute we were down the road he started asking for his teacher again and hasn’t stopped since Friday. The road traveled is not always the path you thought you would take, but life has a funny way of taking you on an unexpected journey. Autism wasn’t important to me until autism was important to me. Share your story share mine, someone needs to hear your journey. And know that you matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Even when the weather is a little cloudy I see the joy in Owen’s sparkle. He’s been sleeping better and that helps to bring a calmness to his world, even though this momma is stressed out to the hilt. He slept late this morning. I heard him running to my bed. I wanted to yell out “walk”, but picking the battle thing comes into play. Plus, I really wasn’t awake. He stood next to me and said, “today’s bowling”. I was so excited. Today is bowling and coffee shop day, I exclaimed. Knowing that I was going to have a brownie. And then he got into bed with me. He said, “big hug” and squished his face into my head. Input day two, I thought. The words were flowing and he was happy. A whole lotta joy in that for me. Some days he wakes up very anxious and everything seems hard for him to process. I pray every day that he has a calm that washes over him and he will be able to use his words to express what he wants and needs. I’ve been trying to ask him more questions lately, hoping this will provoke words and emotions from him. I have to be careful to not push him too much though. It can backfire on me. If I ask too many questions then he starts screaming and retreats from the interaction. He’s hiding underneath his “blanket”, listening to the same few seconds of a video he is watching, every once in a while popping his head out to smile at me. The partially vacant toothy grin he’s got going on cracks me up. I can’t wait to get our day started. He’s ready for bowling. I’m ready for the coffee shop and my glorious celebratory brownie for reaching my goal weight. And then it’s back to the healthy train. Sugar is no longer my friend because of arthritis. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but I’m learning to let my expectations go and embracing who I am. Owen inspires me every day to be a better me. Find your inspiration and know that you can make a difference in our world. Embrace you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I did the happy dance this morning because Owen slept all night in his bed. He ran to me, standing by my bed saying, “wanna hug”, immediately crawling on top of me, squishing his head into mine. He kept pushing. Days that start this way means he needs input. I try to remind him to be gentle with mommy. But I don’t know that he comprehends the term. He moved over to the other side of the bed. He then asked for milk, while he kept pushing himself into the bed and pillows, almost throwing himself into position. A few minutes later he was running to the refrigerator to get his milk. I put milk in his cup the night before, placing it on the door, so he will be able to get it when he wakes up. I’m trying to give him jobs to do that will create more of an independence for him and teach him life skills. It’s now part of his routine. I do this for other things as well. He has to put his clothes and shoes in certain places and after his bath, he has to return his towel to the bathroom. I never analyzed how many steps going to something like hanging a towel on a bar until I had to direct Owen through it. We still have to do it together, he can’t quite figure out how to put the towel over the rod and pull it down, but he is getting it. Every step to me is a victory worth celebrating. Some days I’m overwhelmed with emotions, wondering why this has to be so hard for my baby. Even in my sadness and gladness, I tell Owen that he is amazing and can do great things. His smile and laughter keep me going. I’m thankful for the progress he is making and that he is able to share more of his feelings and emotions with me. He is my greatest gift and I want him to always know I am here for him. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small you think they are. You are amazing and take one day at a time. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen bit the inside of his mouth yesterday as we were driving home in the car. He instantly started crying. At that point, I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew he was upset. He yelled, “wash your face”, then I knew it had to do with his mouth. Those are his keywords for expressing himself when he can’t explain all the details about his face or mouth. I thought he might have lost one of his teeth; he has several that are loose. He then went on, “does your teff hurt”. I started asking him questions, trying to distract him. He had calmed down the closer we got to home. He screams and cries a lot in the car. He can’t always explain what is the matter and sometimes he is upset because the stoplights aren’t all green. I have to decide what is a cry of anxiousness, what is pain, and what is for attention or from happiness. There are days that walking out our door takes every bit of effort I have. He has a hard time processing it all and so do I. We got home and as soon as I turned off the car he started screaming again. I turned to face him and he reached for my hand, wanting me to put my finger in his mouth. I told him that we would look at it as soon as we got inside. By the time we got to the door he had pulled on his mouth and it started bleeding. I got him to the bathroom and I handed him a washcloth. He wanted to wipe his face. Once he did that I was able to look in his mouth. He still wanted me to put my finger in his mouth to feel the bump. Luckily when I do this now he doesn’t bite me anymore. He used to grab my fingers, put them in his mouth, and bite down as hard as possible. I do not miss those days. I never understood if it was input he needed or why he wanted to bite me. I gave him some medicine and the rest of the night he was very calm about his teeth. I’m thankful that his teeth didn’t give him more trouble last night. Maybe by the time he loses them all, he will be able to process it. Until then we take to one day at a time. Through the rain, there will still be sunshine. Take a moment to breathe and know that this too shall pass. You are important. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Ahh, back to the previous sleep supplement means the dude is sleeping through the night. It had stopped working for him, but I thought I’d give it another try. The break did him good and hopefully will help him for a while. Day two of the underwear was still not a success, with of course the underlining success story written in. He wore them, he hated them, and they sure don’t hold as well as a diaper, but we are one step further along though and he is making progress. His words seem to be going through a change as well. Some words that he used to say more clearly are getting rammed together to come out with one big word now. He’s back to listening to a lot of foreign languages and that sparks new words. However, then I have to decide if they are foreign words or words that he is not able to annunciate correctly and he gets upset if I don’t understand what he means. I think he sees all languages as one big language and not as separate. I’ve heard Spanish and French words from him, spoken perfectly. And I know he is speaking Chinese, but I can’t tell what he is saying. He will answer questions in foreign languages with English responses and he will have two tablets on with the same Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode in two different languages. It amazes me how he will change his tone trying to sound like the character when he is speaking their lines. It’s like he is performing the scene, but learning it to use at a later date. Some days I feel like he is so interactive with me, wanting my attention for everything. Other days he feels withdrawn, but I still have to be in his view. Through all this, I know where we’ve come from though and I know how hard he has worked to get to this point. My heart rejoices in his progress, aches when he has hard days, but I know that together we will keep pushing forward. Share your story and let your light shine. 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.