My little boy, he’s seven, he shouldn’t be pooping in the tub. But he is. I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry, I wanted to throw myself into a puddle on the floor. I didn’t. Instead I cleaned him up, put clothes on him, and held him on the couch with me. Why, oh why, does this cycle have to keep coming back. Fecal smearing is back, tub pooping is back, and all mixed in with him actually going to the potty. Crying doesn’t solve anything, I tell myself. When I held him on the couch, I reached up to fix his wet hair. He then took his hand, touching his wet hair, he grabbed my hand, and touched his hair; he did this for several times. His expression told me he was trying to process the different feelings. Can you imagine not being able to express those words. He has had wet hair before, but yet this is the first time he really noticed the difference. And maybe, he was figuring out the different sensations from me touching his hair, and him touching his hair. He went on to move it so it was back standing straight up, took my hand again, putting it on top of the same area. I know he has wanted a lot of sensory input lately; he might have felt the touch as I was moving his hair. I, generally, don’t rub his head; maybe I should, or at least try it. He slept through the night. I don’t want to think about that, but I want to revel in the fact that he did. It’s been several nights now. I’m going to keep doing exactly what we are doing. I’m emotional today, he’s in a great mood. He woke asking for his teacher, ready for bowling, after I told him he wasn’t going to see her today, and then wanted to go to church, since it wasn’t bowling day. I’m trying to not think about potty training, letting the events of last night go, once again. I find strength in his smile, I find inspiration in his words, and I find motivation in knowing that today is a brand new day. Life is what you make it, so let’s make it grand. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen was upset, because his week hasn’t gone according to plan. School is supposed to be happening, his church program ended last week, and he can’t go where he wants, when he wants. It rocks my emotions, too. I have to breathe. Every morning he wakes up asking for his teacher. Every morning I tell him it’s spring break. I don’t even want to think about summer break. Hopefully, he will go to summer school again, but the thought of him not going to school every day has my heart already aching for him. He loves school, he loves the routine of it. I love it for him. Last night, and this morning, were really rough for us. He couldn’t settle. He needed sensory input, a lot of sensory input. He sat next to me, took his hand, and started tapping his own leg. He then grabbed my hand, and pushed it in the air. He doesn’t have the words to tell me what he wants, but he has the emotions, and motions to explain it. I take my hand, making a loose fist, and lift his foot, lightly, I will tap the bottom of his foot, moving up, and down, across it. After that foot is done, I move to his other one, repeating the same actions. I move on to joint compressions, and using the ball of my hand to rub his muscles. He likes this done for his feet, ankles, legs, knees, and arms. He loves the compressions at his hands, but not his elbows. For his upper arms, he prefers the tapping method, almost like what I do on the bottom of his feet, but softer. I’m thankful that he can explain this to me now. When I first started doing the compressions for him, he wanted nothing to do with them. Then one day, he took my hand, put it on his foot, and said, “piggy market”. I thought at first he wanted me to go through the nursery rhyme game with him, but quickly realized he kept doing it until I started tapping his feet. I’m thankful this brings him comfort, but in the same breath my emotions soar to the top of the charts. Why does it have to be so hard for my baby. He fell asleep relatively quickly last night, but he tossed, and turned in his waking moments before his body could even settle. Then it seemed like he was at peace with himself. He’s been sleeping through the night. I still wake at night, listening for his every move. One second at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time, I remind myself. Today is a brand new day. Remind yourself of how far you have come, never give up, and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I hear the rhythmic turn signal clicks coming from Owen in his carseat. He mimics the tone, and speed of the car’s turn signal perfectly. He knows when he wants me to turn, and he knows when he wants me to go a different direction. If he can tell I’m turning, and he doesn’t want me to turn, from the back of the car I hear, “no no no no no”, and it keeps going. When he wants me to turn, he will make the turn signal clicks. I’m trying to teach him to say left, right, and straight; hoping that it will help him with his directions. Occasionally, we have to go to a drive thru, whether it be for a prescription, or for food. Owen now on the way home, from anywhere, will say, “drive thru”. I will tell him that we don’t have to go to the drive thru, that we had gone a different day, and he will then say, “we went to de drive thru we’re not going to de drive thru today”. This is an every day occurrence for us. He has to put our events in order. I try to be his tour guide as we go places; explaining about the buildings we pass, and what we could do, or get, from the businesses. When we pass the gas station, Owen will say, “mommy get de gas for de car to go vroom”. I tell him that we go to the “atm machine” for money. I laugh, and tell him that some people don’t like when you call it an “atm machine”, because it’s then an automatic teller machine machine. But it’s okay, for us it’s an “at the moment machine”, because at the moment we have money in the bank. I wonder if he gets the joke. I wonder if he understand the concept of money at all. I try to explain it to him, but how confusing is money. You can pay cash, check, or charge. Heck, you can even click one button on Amazon, after you set everything up, and you’re money is gone, and packages arrive. I explain to him what money is. We work with it on his apps, and I show him how we give people money for goods, and services. Today, after sleeping all night, Owen is happy, and vocal. Every day I wake up, say a prayer, thank God for our blessings, and make sure I tell Owen he is amazing. Positive words, and positive actions, equals a positive life. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I could almost get used to this sleeping thing. Owen slept. I mostly did. I really can’t even get comfortable about it, though. I know the next non-sleeping day will arrive at some point. But here I sit, a little more rested than normal. He woke happy; I suppose, so did I. He asked for his teacher, I reminded him that it was spring break, and he seemed to move on. I hope that trend continues. It’s hard for him to be off routine. Sometimes it isn’t until later that I feel his wave of emotions from being off schedule. He remembers things that happened years earlier, not to mention a few days before. Every few days, he says, “I’m not going to de post office today”. I took him to the post office with me on a day that he had a meltdown. He was still recovery from the meltdown, and I thought we could try the post office. The answer is no, no, no, we shouldn’t have gone. In the effort to distract him, and try to keep him moving forward, I made it harder for him, for me, but you don’t necessarily know that in the moment you are doing something. You try your best, and you go for it some days. I never imagined how all of this would build on him. With our power being out on Saturday, it still affects him. He was already consumed with the right lights being on, at the right moments, and now he is even more focused on it. Sometimes it’s hard for me to know what to stop him from doing, or sit back, and let things go, because pushing him in either direction can make the emotions linger for days, or even months. I see a maturity level with him some days, like he can focus more on the tasks I assign him, or the directions I give; and other days he runs, laughing, from me, unable to focus, or even do the things he wants to do, like bowling, or going to church. I see the connections he is making, thankful for the spark in his eyes, and glad that he is able to express more of his emotions. I want him to know I see his growth. I remind him that he can do anything he puts his mind to, that we all have to grow, and learn each day. Never stop growing, find what makes you happy, and go after your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept. I didn’t. He slept all night, and then got into bed with me, sleeping for another hour. I thought if I bypassed the kitchen light, and turned on the living room light he might not be disturbed by it. He was. Time to invest in some nightlights, maybe he would get used to them, and I could still see around the house when he doesn’t want them on. I’m learning to adapt to rules that govern our daily lives, that can change at a hat, but usually stays the same. Owen is on spring break. A whole week of no school. He asked for his teacher this morning, and to ride the bus, but then I told him wasn’t going to school. He asked to go bowling, the coffee shop, and church. Sometimes I tell myself to breathe. I can’t even explain the rollercoaster of emotions that I go through. I cry at the drop of a hat, over everything. Every time I put Owen’s socks on, and he stretches toes, I wonder if the sock fits him fine. He can’t tell me if the seam is in the wrong place, or if it gets bunched in his shoe. He’s so sensitive to his surroundings, yet he can’t explain what he needs to change. He’s learning to express himself. I can see changes in the way he does things to get his point across, as well. I remember when Owen would get sick, I had to try to figure out what was wrong with him, way after the baby stage. Then he moved to singing “momma called de doctor and de doctor said” when he was sick; taking his cue from all those monkeys jumping on the bed. And now when he isn’t feeling well, he says, “are you sick”. These are huge steps, and yet one of the hardest things for me, because I rejoiced when my baby started singing about the doctor. It meant he could tell me how he felt, but still to this day the sadness washes over me that he couldn’t use his own words. It’s been a growing, and learning process for both of us. Today, he is jumping up, and down, happy as a lark, playing a learning video, and eating his dinner. Every step forward is a step. Find your strength, and know that today is a stepping stone for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I do believe Owen might be a little tired from our adventures yesterday. It was a long day, for both of us. He slept until a little after six, then got into bed with me, with very few words spoken. He laid there with me for almost a half hour, before the milk request even came up. He’s very clingy today, and the little reminders of our day still creep into our moments. “Turn de light onT”, he will say, but yet when we came home from church he wanted all the lights off, so he could “take a nap”. What that really means is he wants me to lay on my bed, and he run back, and forth between our bedrooms; leaving his tablet on my bed, and laughing about it. He will move the video he is watching to a certain point, run away from it, and wait until he hears exactly the part he wants. He runs back in the room to start it all over again. He’s been asking to paint every day now. I asked him if he wants to paint a church, or a background. He will say he wants to paint a ball, or name something like an animal, but always paints a church. He said, he wanted to paint bubbles, so I told him those were circles. He painted a circle. We still did the same support method, but he went through all the steps to paint lots of bubbles. When he was done, I asked him if he wanted to sign it O, or Owen. He said, “Owen”, and happily wrote out “O W E N”, as he said each letter. He finished, told me “it’s pwretty”, and then immediately said “let’s take a baff”. Off to the bath we went; I’m beginning to think a bath is a reward to him. I cut a little of his hair before he took a bath. “Cut cut cut”, he said, as I was getting ready to use the scissors. I do a little at a time, hoping that it’s easier for him that way. He still seems to be having a hard time processing yesterday. But looking at the day as a whole, he really handled it well. Autism is as much about how I handle it, as it is about Owen having it. Learning to adapt quickly, and change plans is something I was never really great at, but life teaches you about life, and here we are today. Through Owen’s eyes he is my teacher, and together we are learning how to keep moving forward. Know you are a lot stronger than you think you are. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
When a light switch is switched, and nothing happens you’ve got a problem. And one could say a big problem. The day went as according to plan as our day could go, until we got home, and our power was off. Owen had slept all night in his bed, woke asking for his teacher. I told him we would leave in a few minutes for the bus, until I realized it was Saturday. I told him we would go bowling later, that it was our day, and I’ve been preparing him that it’s spring break; a whole week of being off schedule. We had a great morning. We went to our beloved coffee shop, and then we went bowling. He did amazing bowling. He had this new signature knee move, pushing the ball off the ramp, and he still did a few of his spin moves. When we got home from the rest of our adventures, as soon as we walked in, Owen tried to turn the lights on. Nothing, absolutely nothing happened. There is nothing that prepares you for this moment. Immediately Owen went into meltdown. “Turn de light onT”, he screamed. How does one remain calm when you are panicking; this and a million other questions ran through my mind. Okay, so we had to get back out of the house. We went for a walk. I put him in his stroller, and off we went. I had to keep him distracted, and I had to figure out what was wrong. I looked at the electric company’s website, and a car had hit a pole, right behind my house. There was no estimated time right away. We kept walking. So a new plan had to form; to the mall we were going to go. We had to come back in the house to get things, but then we could go. Owen screamed, and screamed, and screamed some more, as soon as we walked in. We got to the mall, walked around for awhile, and I kept checking my phone to see what time the power would be restored. Nine, nine o’clock at night. Don’t they know that’s impossible, we can’t go that long without power. How can we stay gone that long from our house. After we left the mall we drove back by the house, in case the website was wrong. Nope, still no power. Off to see the fish at Cabela’s, we went. And I had to get Owen food. We got home, still no power. Owen was handling it a little better, but he wanted to go bowling again. So we did exactly that. We are home now. Owen’s asleep under the bright light of the living room. The lights came on around nine thirty, and within a few minutes he was asleep. Any time I hear about a natural disaster, or a family displaced for some reason, I immediately think about the autism community. My heart goes out to the families, because I know there is no way to be prepared for it all. Today was hard. There is no other way to say it. I had to remain calm, even though I wanted to cry. It was a lot for Owen to take in. We made it. I am thankful it wasn’t out for days. When the lights turned on, Owen yelled, “we did it”, and turned on all the right lights. Owen had been repeating, “turn de light onT” every few minutes throughout our day. I look at Owen is his sleep, and I’m thankful he has found peace at the end of our day to sleep. Find your motivation, be inspired, and set your dreams into motion. Today is your day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Let’s do the happy dance; Owen slept all night, in his bed. He woke happy, listening to most of my directions, and talking with me about his day ahead; no screaming. That in itself is a huge plus. I’m working on my own health, trying to stay one step ahead of the age game. I’m focused on trying to be healthier, eating better, taking my vitamins, and the big one, being kind to myself. It’s easy to let myself get down about things, or feel like I’m not succeeding, but the more we sit in that moment, the harder it is for ourselves. I tell Owen every day that he is amazing, and can accomplish anything if he puts his mind to it; I have to remind myself of this, as well. Every day I wake up with hope. Hope, for my son, for me, for the world. Today is one of those days that keeps me motivated. He was singing with Little Einsteins; he kept running to me to interact with him. There is no greater joy than having my child look me directly in my eyes, and sing to me. Tears are floating in my eyes, like little sailboats, drifting off to explore the sea. I never knew if Owen would interact with me, more or less look at me. There was a period of time he couldn’t look me directly in the eye, but here we are singing together, staring at each other. We stood at the bus stop, and he wanted to see me without my “summer glasses”. My baby knows me with glasses, that’s how he has the mental picture of me, and it’s very hard for him when I don’t have them on. He wanted them off my face. I took them off for a second. He said, “hi mommy”, and then said, “wear summer glasses”. I put them back on. There was no screaming, and he was smiling. These are huge steps. His focus is becoming stronger every day, and I know everything is going to be fine. I’m thankful for these moments, and I see more of them every day. Never give up, keep going after your dreams, making them a reality. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Oh, to have a bathroom that wouldn’t be in earshot of Owen when he is sleeping. Or a bladder that can withstand the test of time. I woke, he woke, but luckily he went right back to sleep, and he hardly moved the rest of the night. The blaring of my alarm woke me to a rage full headache, but luckily Owen was pretty calm. He really didn’t want the lights on, but I really didn’t want them on either. His words, glorious words, are coming in loud, and strong. It makes me happy to hear them. As we were standing at the bus stop, I could see him thinking of the next words to say. The expression washed across his face, and then the words tumbled out. I’m so thankful that he is finding his voice. He stood there laughing as cars went by, telling me the different types. We talked about the train, he even looked towards it, like he understood I was pointing to it. That’s one of those things that causes him so much frustration. when I point towards something with my finger, he doesn’t understand that there is a reference point at the end of my finger, in the distance. Today, it felt like he was making more of the connection. The bus got there, and he lit up with excitement. He talks about the bus, he watches bus videos, and he can’t wait to get on the bus. I tell him every day that he is amazing, and to keep finding ways to express himself. I want him to know I believe in him. He asks to paint every day now. He says, “look how pretty” as we paint the backgrounds. Some days he wants to paint his churches, and some days he asks to paint a ball, or an animal, but then he still paints a church; using our hand over hand method. These are all huge milestones for us. I think back to the day the doctor told me he might not talk, and all I could think about was finding a way to hear his voice. When Owen was born, I always joked that he would sound like Ross from Friends. I could see him saying “hi” exactly like him. Owen has his own voice, and it’s spectacular. Find your voice, and go after your dreams. Don’t keep waiting for tomorrow, make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The sleep, slept, sleepless nights get ya. One night Owen sleeps well, the next night it feels like a herd of elephants are crashing through our house. He got into my bed before two. I could tell he needed sensory input. He completely pushed his body into my back, nestling in for a long winter’s nap, that only lasted for five minutes, and he moved again. He was very chatty, even if it was in his sleep. The usual conversations were had; his teacher, milk, his tablet, and crackers, were all things he wanted right away. Luckily, I got him back to sleep, even if it was only for a few hours. When we got up he was calm. I was waiting for the screams. I have to keep myself prepared for them, but they didn’t come. He was full of words this morning, and wanted to interact with me. As we were walking to the bus stop, he was full of songs. Once we got to the bus stop, he was asking for hugs, still needing input, and for high fives. He moved on to talking about numbers, and animals. He was excited, and animated. This is how I like to start our days. It made me happy. I told him when the bus got there to say “hello everyone how are you”. He repeated it back to me a couple of times, as the bus approached. He walked up the steps to the bus, and he said, “good morning everybody how are ewe”. My heart leapt for joy. His words, his voice, his tones. These words are important for him. He is learning to express himself, and finding his voice will open more, and more doors for him. The joy of those words means he will be able to tell me when he hurts, and when he feels amazing. I hang on to the moments when he can use his words, instead of singing “momma called de doctor and de doctor said” for me to understand he is sick. I’m thankful he found a way to tell me he was sick, but I rejoice in knowing my baby is growing. Know today is a stepping stone for tomorrow. Find your motivation, and know that great things are possible if you believe. Smiles to all and donut daze!