I panicked a little about the lights last night as I heard Owen running to my room. I left a light on in the house again, too tired to go turn it off when I went to bed. I wondered if we would have hours of him in complete meltdown because the wrong light was on at the wrong time. A smart house flashed across my mind. Wouldn’t that be a joyous thing, knowing I could magically turn on and off lights at will. I wonder if that would be worse or better for Owen. He was up, but he did not run straight to my room. The panic had to go away, I had to remain as calm as I could so it wouldn’t excite him even more. I was able to distract him enough to get him into my bed. Glorious, glorious sleep then happened for my sweet baby O. Me, not so much, but at least there was no meltdown, from either one of us. I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights, wanting answers, wishing I knew how to help my baby more, and from pure exhaustion that wouldn’t allow my body to even sleep. He’s so happy this morning. It’s our adventure day. We are starting our day off with a twist though. One of my biggest joys is when Owen can tell me his thoughts and emotions. He asked to see one of his friends that he hadn’t seen in quite a while. We were meeting them for breakfast and then going bowling after that. I wait for the words, emotions, thoughts, dreams, inspirations, needs, wants, and everything else that Owen stores waiting for him to be able to share them with me. I’m amazed at his memory and what he says once he can find the words. Sometimes it’s years later that he is finally able to put everything together to explain what he saw, wanted, or needed. I’ll never forget when he looked at a stuffed animal in his bed and after having it for over two years he told me the name of the person that gave it to him and what we called the animal. We hadn’t talked about it in over a year at that point and here he was telling me about it. Never give up. Today is one moment in time and tomorrow is a brand new day. The journey is always evolving and the new joys are right around the corner. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I laid in bed trying to decide what day it was going to be. All my days seem to be blending together. I desperately needed sleep last night so I let Owen fall asleep in my bed. In the last week he has been falling to sleep in a more peaceful state because of his new found interest to “watch de movie”, but it still takes a while for him to fall asleep. We were introduced to a musician that plays a handpan drum and steel tongue drum and the sounds completely calm Owen. He started calling the drums “snowball” and “waves” and every night he wants to watch the video calling it the “movie”. Music has been a big part of our lives. I have always wanted him to feel how much music can affect our souls. When he was a baby I would hold him in my lap, placing one of his hands on my mouth and one at my throat or heart. I would sing to him, letting him hear and feel the vibrations. We have several small instruments that I encourage him to interact with, working on his fine motor skills and vocabulary, as well. Owen is learning to talk, but there are many letters of the alphabet that he cannot pronounce and depending on where the letter is in the word he will say it differently. Often I will point to my mouth showing him that I want him to speak. Through all of this when I listen to Owen sing in his true voice, not mimicking a character, he has perfect pitch, unlike his momma. We work on his scales to help with enunciating the letters he still has trouble with. It’s amazing to watch him do the scales and he’s a natural at it. I explained to him that he can go up or down octaves and I will use my hand to show him that I want him to move up the scales. He follows along with ease. I’m thankful for his love of music and I’m excited how he is finding the music that he wants to hear. Never give up. Find your inspiration and motivation and your happiness will grow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
How many yawns can you yawn in one minutes time, this and other fine questions come to mind. Sleepless nights after sleepless nights equals a very tired momma. I’m trying not to think about the lack of support special needs families get. I’m trying to instead think of how I can be part of the change to make that a thing of the past. I want to cry a river, wallow in sorrow, and downright be mad, but hey rinse repeat and it puts me back to my original yawning question. One day at a time. I didn’t send Owen on the bus this morning. We had a rough night, no sleep, and he was still a little lethargic, with a side of energy like only my sweet baby O can have. He cuddled with me one minute and then ran around the room the next minute. I didn’t want to rush our morning and I wanted to make sure he felt alright. Still no fevers, coughs, or no new signs of sickness, but I knew he still wasn’t feeling great. He asked all morning to go on the bus even though it was long since gone, go to school, go to grandma’s, go to church, go to gymnastics, go to everywhere he could think of. I finally took him to school a few hours late, but he seemed to be happy when we got there. I’m thankful he loves school and that he wants to learn. I can’t imagine trying to make him go if he didn’t like it. As it is the things he doesn’t want to do are hard for us. I’m thankful that I’m finding activities that he wants to do, like bowling and gymnastics. After watching him at gymnastics the other day I thought about the indoor rock climbing walls. I want to take him to see how he will do. I also don’t want to take him because I know how I will do. I’m scared of heights, he has no fear. I am trying to find activities that not only will he enjoy, but help him to understand boundaries and his surroundings. I don’t feel like he understands depth perception or how his body works in certain environments. Today my hope is that he is feeling better and that he’s having a great day at school. I’m amazed at his growth and the connections he is making to the world. When I hear his voice it’s like music to my soul. Never give up. Let today be the stepping stone for your incredible tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sometimes I want signs, obvious, obvious signs. Today there were none. I sent Owen on the bus only to be called not even twenty minutes later that he got sick. My heart dropped. I hated that he wasn’t feeling well, but mostly that if he wasn’t feeling well he hadn’t been able to tell me. I retraced our morning, our night before, and I saw no signs of sickness. There was no fever, no cough, no changes in attitude, nothing I could think of that would have told me he was sick. My heart still aches. He is learning to tell me he is sick by saying, “are you sick” the words I ask him. He will also sing the song Five Little Monkeys, using the phrase, “momma called the doctor and the doctor said”. None of these things happened. When I got to the school to pick Owen up he looked a little pale, but otherwise fine. As soon as we walked in our door he started asking for food. I didn’t rush any of it since he had been sick, but as the day wore on he ate several different requested foods. One of the hardest things for me is knowing Owen is not able to express his needs, wants, or his excitement from his day. I feel like it’s all right around the corner. I see his vocabulary exploding and the connections he is making fill my heart with pure joy. He was able to ask about a friend he hadn’t seen in a while, a boy his age, then he asked for some other friends of ours that he doesn’t get to see very often, and both of these moments gave me so much hope. I tried to keep the sadness away. How many other people, places, and things does he want to tell me about and can’t express yet. One day at a time I remind myself and I focus on the progress he has made. Our night has been rough and I pray the sickness stays at bay. In the darkness, the sun will shine again. Focus on joys yet to come and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I’m trying really hard to keep my chin up and my smile on today, especially since the tears seem to keep spilling out. I think about how slowly fast our nights go. They fly by with one of those slow-motion type effects repeating our emotions. I think about all of the exercises and learning experiences I didn’t give Owen in the many yesterdays that have gone. I have to focus on how far we’ve come and not the rabbit trail of tears I want to cry. In order to keep Owen motivated, I have to stay motivated. In order for me to stay motivated, I have to stay focused. But exhaustion wins so many of the days. Last night it sounded like Owen was making his own personal dental hygiene commercial. He said, “brand new teeth coming up” like it was the next show in the series, his cadence mimicking the videos he has watched so many times. Some days he doesn’t want to brush his teeth. He gets so upset when I even suggest it. Screams erupt from his tiny little body when I make him do things he doesn’t want to do. I get it. I totally get it, but I have to endure and push forward. It takes Owen a long time to learn life skills like holding a fork and actually eating with it. Eating with his hands is so much quicker for him, but I have to keep him focused on the goal of being self-sufficient. This is one of the reasons I started painting. I wanted to work with him on his fine motor skills, but wasn’t sure what to do. Now we paint together all the time. We use a hand-over-hand method, with him helping me paint the backgrounds, and then I paint the rest. I also work with him, still using the hand-over-hand method, to paint scenes he wants to do. He loves painting churches and Disney characters. These are the moments I need to focus on, the joy, the accomplishments, and the victories no matter how small they are. Be proud of where you have come from. Let go of the sadness, rejoice in your victories, and know that today is one moment in time. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today I thinking about tomorrow. I’m focusing on the gleam in Owen’s eyes when he talks about the things he loves. A week ago he took his first gymnastics class and since that class he asks about going back every day. Gymnastics might takeover his love for bowling; we’ll still try to do both. His excitement for gymnastics makes me thankful for all that it means. When your child learns to express themselves using their words, their emotions it’s a beautiful progression to watch. During the early years, I was there holding Owen tight when he would scream if we tried to do anything that involved instructions, steps, or interactions of any kind. It was hard for him to process. And it was hard for me to understand why it was so difficult for him. If I tried to make him sit for too long or put puzzle pieces together, even would I put his clothes on him the emotions for both of us were overwhelming. He would pull my hair out of frustration for the situation, continuing to meltdown on the floor, or scream in my face. This could last for hours. Finding motivators for Owen was difficult. There weren’t many toys he liked or even wanted to interact with once he got out of that early toddler stage. All I wanted was answers and instead, I got more questions. So now to hear my sweet baby O request to go to an activity and also go eat afterward fills my heart with joy. I try to focus on the tomorrows yet to come. I see his growth, he inspires me to grow, and I see the possible in him every day. Never give up. Today is one moment in time. Focus on the positive, be the change, and know that you can do it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days my emotions win. I keep telling myself today is not going to be one of those days, trying to hold on desperately to the tears that want to fall. Owen’s actually having a very calm day after a relatively rocky bedtime, but an incredible night of I’m calling it “a full night of sleep” sleep. He didn’t fall asleep until almost eleven and didn’t wake up until almost five, in his bed. He then got into bed with me and slept for almost two more hours. Funny how that feels like such a huge victory to me. A moment of panic happened when I woke at four and he wasn’t in bed with me. I wanted to check on him, but I knew this would wake him. I wanted to go to the bathroom, but I also knew this would wake him. I waited, I listened, and I was about to get up when here he came running to my room. He woke ready to go to church, but already looking forward to his week ahead. He’s mentioned gymnastics multiple times since his lesson. And today he keeps talking about when he will get to go again. I’m so glad that he liked it. I wanted to take him years ago, but I didn’t feel like his maturity and comprehension levels were ready to handle the instructions and ability to do the workout. I hope that it helps him to better understand his body and his surroundings. He walks without watching where he is going or what’s around him. And this seems like it is getting worse not better to me. I’ve always been very concerned about him on stairs. Technically he can walk on stairs easily, but he will spin around if he hears a noise or if something catches his eye. Owen keeps looking out the window. Our neighbors were outside. He keeps yelling, “telling them bye bye”. The rules and routine of our day mean this should not be happening. He’s trying to find order in the chaos. He keeps walking from the window to the coat closet, pushing next to the door with the finger shadow dance he now performs multiple times daily. Me, I’m breathing. I want to find calm for both of us. The calmer I am the calmer he is and the more we can do, even though I still want to hide under a rock sometimes. I’m thankful for Owen’s big smile that is creating a sense of peace for me in my own emotions. Find your calm, know that you are important, and that today is one moment in time. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Sit down”, he instructs. Owen doesn’t want me out of his sights generally on Saturday mornings and a lot of other days as well. I got up from the couch to pour more of my energy in my cup, I mean coffee in my cup. He can see me in the kitchen, the rooms are connected, but he doesn’t want me going any further than that. Owen’s high energy today, preparing for our Saturday adventures. I love our Saturdays. We have our routine and I even get to have a few hours of me time. This truly is important. I often reflect on the past to see how far we’ve come. This past week has been very emotional. I went to a progress meeting for Owen and it was all over the map. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens all emotional. I came away from that meeting feeling defeated and sad even though I heard many great things about Owen’s progress as well. As the week has propelled me forward I was able to put it all in perspective. The therapists were able to test Owen in ways that he was not able to be tested before. This says a lot. The results are that he was able to be tested. That is the progress I focus on. My little boy is talking, growing, learning, and most of all finding ways to express his heart. We are made to soar through life at our own speed and to our own destination. The key is to keep fostering enthusiasm for growth. Owen had his first gymnastics class this week and since his class, he has talked about going back. He’s got it planned out. He wants to go to class, then “let’s go eat”. I have to look no further than that to see the progress my sweet baby O has made. Today and always keep pushing forward. Life is not always easy to explain, but the love sure is. The possible is right around the corner. Keep reaching for your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
We walked to the bus stop. It felt like the longest walk after the longest night. It could also be said it was the shortest walk after the shortest of sleep for the night. The sleep train has got to come for us again soon. It has to. Owen was almost asleep in my arms last night only to have him jump up asking for all the bedtime rituals we do every night that we had already done. This happens a lot. He gets something on his mind and sleep turns into these moments of concern. I try to find the perfect routine for us, the one that will keep my baby sleeping in his bed, all night. I have yet to find a solution. His anxiety seems to be higher lately and his need for routine greater. How can I provide the perfect daily routine when in life nothing is routine. Sadness washes over me and I try to wash it away. The lights, darkness, sound, and vibrations all play a role in Owen’s day. He walks up to our coat closet door. He then outstretches his hands lightly touching the wall. It’s like his fingers are doing an intricate dance on the wall as he moves them back and forth. He walks away slowly, backwards, as he moves from the wall. He will return and this dance will happen again and again throughout the night. There’s another corner in our house that he stands with his nose almost touching the wall. He will cover his one eye with his hand but his fingers will be spread apart. He makes his excited EEEEE sound as he moves his head back and forth, generally moving from one foot to the next. It’s like he is capturing a snapshot of the shadows as they move across the wall. He does this with a lot of things. He holds books close to his face moving them back and forth or covers the book partially with his shirt moving it around to hide parts of the cover. He delights in these moments. He loves the shadows, he loves the textures of our walls. Sounds and vibrations are a completely different potluck of sensory exploration for him. He can handle the loudest of noises, but the sound a light can make him stop in his tracks. We go bowling every Saturday. I didn’t know how he would handle the lights and the sounds, but he handles them beautifully. Every so often he will put his hands to his ears or even his eyes, but in general he hardly even shows me that he is concerned about them. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. I grow, I learn, I love and tell him that we are a team. Find your happiness, share your joy, and let the world see you smile. You never know who might need the inspiration. Smiles to all and donut daze!
My sleepy, sleepy baby was actually yawning this morning. None of the lights were bothering Owen as they were blaring through the house. Generally, if I turn them on before he is awake he comes running to turn them off, not today, he was out. At some point in the middle of the night, he got into bed with me. I don’t think he moved much last night or I was too exhausted to notice, but he looked like he was in the same spot. We’ve had a busy last few days and our routine has been completely different with him going to gymnastics, having a day off during the middle of the week, and going to church for his weekly program. I told Owen that he would go back to gymnastics next Tuesday and see his instructor again. I go back and forth on whether him knowing his schedule helps us through our days or creates more of a problem when he has days off. The only thing I tell myself is there is no stopping this train. He knows the days of the week, he knows his routine, and in general, I do think it helps with his progress. I have to remember to be patient when the schedule is different and he gets upset. He doesn’t understand and I need to breathe through it all. When we were heading to church he started saying something and I couldn’t hear him. I asked him to repeat it. This does not always work, but he kept saying it. When we got to a light I could hear him more clearly, but it sounded like he was saying “busy bees on Tuesday”. He said it a few more times and I finally realized he was saying, “I see Billy Bob on Tuesday”. I smiled, I rejoiced, and I told him, yes he would go back to gymnastics on Tuesday. Billy Bob is his instructor and Owen talking about it makes me know he liked it. As I kept driving Owen went on, more connections were being made, and more smiles from this momma. He loves to go to restaurants now. This was not always the case. He said, “Billy Bob Bob Evans for dinner let’s eat”. I think we might have to go to eat after gymnastics on Tuesday. Celebrate your victories, no matter if they are big or small, know that they are important. 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.