Well, we got more sleep last night than we’ve been getting so there’s that and he’s been happy today for the most part. Noises are becoming more and more intense for him. I can immediately see the change in him when he’s concerned about a noise. The look runs across his eyes, his head does a bob and sway kinda thing, and depending on where he thinks it’s coming from he will run all over to find it. I tried a new style of headphones. They were met with the same emotions as all the other ones I’ve tried. He wanted them off and he wanted them off quickly. I convinced him to leave them on for a moment, but nothing I did made him think they were a good idea. I’ve watched him mature in the last few days and I’ve watched him regress in the same amount of time. I hear more words coming from my sweet baby O, but more emotional outbursts as well. I immediately stop whatever we are doing and talk to him about attitude and learning to stay in control. This isn’t something we can talk about one or two or even ten times and he grasps it or starts doing it, this something we have to go over and over again. We work on breathing and counting through the emotions. And this momma is exhausted from those moments alone. But it has to be done. He has to understand he can’t be upset and throw things when something doesn’t do exactly what it’s supposed to do. And then I sigh really big and take another sip of my coffee. I gave Owen some of my lobster bisque to try. He ate about 5 bites with gusto and then was like nope. He said, “you done” after asking “what is it”. I try to always explain what something is and he knows that he has to at least try one bite. He promptly asked for, “shrimp turkey veggie straws pwease”. His wish was my command, not all at the same time, but hey, the dude knows what he likes. It was another hard night for him to fall asleep and another hard night for me to watch him struggle. Nothing seems to work very long for helping him fall asleep. I dream of the day he can tell me how I can help him more. For the love of my sweet baby O, I grow. Even in these moments of struggles know that you matter. Take time for yourself, keep moving forward, and smile through the tears that might fall. Smiles to all and donut daze!
We went to church today. What can I say besides it was amazing. Oh and stressful. But amazing. Owen I think was so overwhelmed that we were there. I didn’t tell him we were going anywhere until a few minutes before we needed to get ready. He repeats steps a lot, and by a lot I mean a lot a lot, with a side of a lot and then some more. I totally and completely get it. He says the words he can to explain his feelings, he’s excited about whatever the situation is, and he wants to show it, but it’s still hard for me to some times even process. He screams about it, happily generally, but if I don’t reply to all his words those happy screams can rapidly turn into meltdown screams in an instant. I have been trying to prepare him for me wearing a mask. It has not gone well. The few times we’ve seen people with masks he wanted to get to their face and pull it off of them. I told him that if he wanted to go today that he had to let mommy wear a mask. We practiced and he started trying to take it off me. I repeated it several times that I had to wear it. There is nothing comfortable at all about wearing a mask for me. A thousand reasons flood through my mind as I think about it. When we got halfway to church I finally told him where we were going. At that moment he screamed, “no”. I started to turn at the light and he screamed louder. But as soon as I turned he started talking about all things “church”. A peace came over him, a peace washed over me too, and I kept driving. Today was the first day that he handled the masks as well as he did. That was the blessing. He did great at church in his classroom. He got to see some of his favorite people and sadly there weren’t many people there, but in the long run for us, it was probably a good thing. It was very emotional for me. We truly have been very few places over the last six months, mostly because he couldn’t handle the masks and at first the world had stopped turning. School is possibly starting next week for him so I needed to get him out and about in the world. The church is a comfort to us both and I knew they would do everything to help us through the process. It took him hours to fall asleep tonight, repeating the day's events and who he wanted to see, not letting go of the hope that he would see them all tomorrow. Each step is a process. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. Add in my own emotions of getting back into the world and all I can do is think how blessed I am for the way today went. The journey through life is not always easy, but focus on the hope for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today felt like a victory in so many ways. I can say the struggle train is far from over, but we succeeded in having a good day with only a few really emotional moments. Oh, and there’s the fact that he ignores me a lot when I’m giving him directions so they don’t count, but wants instant answers when he yells at me. He doesn’t understand that I do not have all the answers or know the clips he is watching on YouTube. He shows me his tablet and says “that’s a” and then wants me to answer. He will have it paused on a screen, but generally, his hand is covering most of the character or he’s holding it where I can’t see the screen at all. I ask him to show it to me or push play so I can see more of it, but that’s a hard concept for him to grasp. He asks me repeatedly all day to find the videos he’s already watching. He loves the voice-activated command. But he doesn’t understand when I say, “it’s a plane” on the screen and I say, “it’s a plane” that it won’t know to open a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse video about the plane they are in. This had him screaming numerous times when jets would be on the screen instead of Mickey’s plane. We got more sleep last. I realized my dehumidifier was probably part of the cause. He doesn’t like any noises coming from the basement. So last night it was off and he slept until four. He was up running around and I kept asking, really begging him to go back to sleep. He finally asked to go back to “mommy’s bed“ around five. We were in his bed a couple more hours, but he did check to make sure my eyes were not closed numerous times. As long as we still call it “mommy’s bed” he’s extremely happy. Through tired eyes, I saw more of a sparkle in Owen today. The days and weeks have been hard on him. I’m proud of my sweet baby O. Find what brings a sparkle to your eye and a gleam in your heart. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Every single place I look I see food. Mostly veggie straws, but seems like a trail of turkey too. My words need to change, my mom's voice needs to get stronger, or I need bench seating that Owen will figure out he can crawl down from, but I need something to help. I truly don’t know how many times I can say a version of “sit to eat” during a meal and try to explain to him why we sit. We had eggs for dinner. I tried a fork and a spoon for him to use. He can use both, but sometimes needs help. But he likes to use his hands. He picked the eggs up with his fork, then he takes it off the utensil with one hand, and into his mouth it goes. Next, it’s in and out of his mouth with the other hand that he had the fork in. And from there we both wear it. I think back to the morning and by eight o’clock he had played his guitar, keyboard, Cajon drum, and harmonica. I am thankful for his love of music. I’ve been trying to decide what instruments we should get next. He has numerous other ones already, but I want to give him as many opportunities as I can to find what he likes. I don’t know if I’m ready for a set of drums, but maybe bongos. Here it is bedtime again and I might completely and totally be dreading it. And if on cue for the day it took him hours to fall asleep. So after several sleepless nights, I wonder if the caffeine is no longer working. Time to change it up again I guess. His smile, his heart, his joy is what I try to focus on. Every day is a gift. Cherish the moments that make you smile, know that tomorrow is a brand new day, and grow with the journey ahead of you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The river of tears I wanted to cry yesterday had nothing on the floodgates that were open today. But I kept it together. Well as much as I can keep it together. No tears really flowed because it’s too hard on Owen. We hardly slept last night. His routine is even more off if that’s even possible and so much not going on but really a little going on. He woke around one, all the lights turned on, grabbing his tablet, and yelling for milk. I convinced him to go back to sleep, but it wasn’t easy. Next time we woke it was around five and I begged him to stay in bed a few more minutes. I didn’t even attempt to go back to my bed last night. I had a feeling it would be even longer of a night if I did. When we got out of bed he was in a mood and I wanted to cry. He threw different objects around the room and as soon as he threw his tablet once I took it away from him. I made him sit with me. I turned on the tv and we watched a whole episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It was one of his favorites years ago. He calmed as we watched it together. I made him sit through another one this time of his choice. He calmed even more. I tried to calm my own nerves, but they stayed on the surface all day. I had to stay ahead of both our emotions today. I wish I could explain to him why the world makes so much noise. Better yet I wish he could explain to me what noises bother him specifically so I can work with him on those. The basement is becoming more and more of a concern for him and I pray that I can adjust it in ways that help him. One day at a time I remind myself once again. I have to keep them thought running through my mind as the food went flying everywhere. He won’t sit at all when he eats now. I have tried everything and if I push the issue he won’t eat. Or at least won’t eat when his food is ready. Maybe the brilliant plan will come to me tomorrow, today I floated through it, holding onto his smile every time I could. Find your happiness, choose to smile even on those difficult days, and know that you are amazing. Smiles to all and donut daze!
It’s not even seven o’clock in the morning and I can tell you I’m ready for seven o’clock tonight. I slept better last night than I have in many, many nights, but if I could get a few more hours of sleep I might be feeling tired instead of zombie exhausted. Owen slept through the night, but he didn’t even make it until five so here we are. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. I have to remember I’m allowed to have emotions even though he does not think this is a good idea. He has emotions all day and many of them are fully backed by screams at the loudest decibels you can imagine, but my emotions are not something he wants me to have. The screams aren’t always mad screams, but nonetheless, they are loud. It’s noise constantly. Last night as Owen was taking his bath I was reminded again how he understands no danger. He wanted to stand up in the middle of his bath. I have to teach him safety and to be aware of his surroundings, but it’s not a concept he understands. At lunch, there was a tornado warning siren that they test every month going off. He’s heard it before, but today he ran from window to window telling me to “turn it offT”. How do I even explain this. “Grab a boat to sign in”, he randomly says all day. He says the word boat instead of “an adult”. One of the apps he uses goes through a sign in process and he doesn’t understand the concept of what an adult is so he says “boat”. Add in his comprehension skills and he’s still learning what it all means. I’m proud of how far he has come and the sky’s the limit for my sweet baby O. I changed his blanket last night when I changed the sheets on his bed. I didn’t even think about it because I had been washing his other one and putting it right back on. This did not go over well. He likes the texture of his blanket. The only difference one has been washed a lot more. I convinced him it was fine, somehow and he was able to sleep. Tonight he was fine with it, but it’s a reminder to me that I constantly have to keep things moving and changing for him, yet keep them as consistent as I can so it is all seamless. Today I learn, tomorrow I grow. Find your strength and keep moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I sat down on the couch and Owen ran past me yelling, “need to go potty let’s go potty”. I don’t exactly move fast, but I know I need to get to the potty quickly. It’s been almost a year since Owen has been potty trained, mostly. The diaper expense alone is a blessing to no longer have. We still do a pad at night, but it’s such an incredible difference. However, if I don’t get to the potty quick enough he finds water very fascinating and how many changes of clothes can you go through in one day. If it’s not the toilet it’s the sink. He likes to turn the sink on full blast and fling the water around the room. And as many times as we have worked on washing hands, multiple times a day, every day, for how many years, nine times out of ten he only sticks one hand in the water to wash. He won’t get soap unless really prompted and drying his hands is more like can he dry them by hovering over the towel. I could tell he was really thinking and processing as the day wore on. His words were strong and his actions bigger. And probably his appetite the biggest. He ate food all day again it seems. He went between turkey and shrimp for his requests and no matter how I tried I wasn’t fast enough for him at all today. His screams were loud and his tablet went sailing across the room on more than one occasion. Every noise seemed to bother him and he ran to the basement door numerous times trying to get down the steps to “turn it offT”. I can’t even remember how many times he ran past me to go potty or to get to the basement. All I can do is think we made it through our day. He sang and played his instruments numerous times. When I think I know which one his favorite might be he then switches it up and starts playing another one more. I’m thankful for his love of music, his smile, and the laughter that makes my heart sing. Find your happiness, remember you are amazing, and keep moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
It truly seemed to be a rollercoaster ride today. Owen woke numerous times through the night. His first before midnight, but he actually got up and went to the bathroom. I didn’t want to talk to him too much to wake him up more, even though he was screaming I could tell he was more asleep than awake. I hadn’t gotten to the bathroom quicker enough so I had to change him. Luckily within five minutes, he was back asleep again. I truly was shocked by the way he was screaming. He woke happy this morning, pretty full of energy. Me, not so much. Sluggish is probably the best way to describe me. The last few weeks have had a big toll on me emotionally. One thing after another snowballing into an avalanche that I felt like I couldn’t get out of the way from. Here we are now a few weeks away from Owen possibly going back to school and I feel so unprepared. It seems like I don’t even know what to prepare Owen for and I’m not sure I should be preparing him for anything, yet I know I have to get him acclimated somehow to the changes our world keeps throwing at us. He ate like he was starving all day. More snacks than I can count, dinner seemed like it lasted for three hours with three separate meals. He ate some of the beefsteak I made, but more so the rice and gravy that I gave him with it. Makes me excited to see him eating food with his utensils. He uses one hand with the spoon and the other hand to take the grains of rice in and out of his mouth as he eats. I’m constantly trying to remind him to leave his food in his mouth, but it’s all a sensory need for him. Bedtime was once again a hard time for him. He yelled about the lights that weren’t on and he wanted the phone on. Every time I thought he was asleep he would pop up again yelling about the lights. He started pointing towards the curtains and you can see a tiny amount of light streaming through the top. Every noise is a noise and every light shines when I least expect it and know what to do. One day at a time, one second at a time, and one breathe at a time. I told him as often as I could today that I love him, bringing me as much comfort as it might have for him. I need him to understand it’s not always easy, but together we can get through it all. Move mountains when you don’t think you can’t even push another grain of sand and watch your world change. You are stronger than you ever imagined. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
It wasn’t even two in the morning and Owen was screaming, screaming loud and louder and louder the longer I took to get to him. I knew he didn’t drink enough of his tea last night, but what could I do. And the answer is I should have made some more, but that would have taken another thirty minutes or hour. I should have made the tea. I pretended I had gone to the bathroom and was coming back to bed. He still thinks he’s in “mommy’s room” and as long as he thinks that I’m with him he sleeps so much better. And the tea. The good news after I calmed him down he went back to sleep and slept until almost six. Me, not so much. In the last few weeks, there has been no rest for the weary. The stress level has increased for me, Owen’s anxiety is high, and if things could stop breaking that would be awesome. How do I start preparing Owen to go back to school and church. He cannot handle seeing people in face make yet that’s where we are at right now. Once upon a time, there was a moment in time that wasn’t this time. I keep telling myself to be patient and he will get it all as the timing happens. I keep telling myself the same thing. The shrimp days have turned back to the turkey days. And as I stew about our future that I can’t completely control I try to remember that Owen is still thriving and growing. I may feel all the uncertainties, but I have to stay strong for my sweet baby O. I tried to smile even when my heart felt like breaking today. He senses my emotions very easily and we’ve had a really good day so I want that to keep going through the night. Almost time to get the tea a’brewing. Tonight I’ll make extra. I know he needs the sleep. Here’s to a good week ahead, comfort for all, and knowing you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sometimes the river of tears fall and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Owen screams a lot. Most of it is happy screams that are very loud, but there are the meltdown screams and the mad as a hornet screams. But any time I show emotions it upsets him. My heart aches for my little boy because I can see how hard this all has been on him. He has been requesting more turkey again, changing it up from his shrimp requests. He still loves his shrimp, but at every meal and snack he wants his turkey. The dude is growing again. Every noise is becoming amplified to him. He gets fixated on a noise and he won’t let go until he figures out where it’s coming from. And then when he figures out where it’s coming from he yells “turn it off” constantly. This is not something I can always do. There are noises that come from the world around us and he can’t handle them. I don’t know how to explain them all to him or make him understand. All I can do is tell him it’s going to be fine and that I love him. Today felt impossibly long. He slept great last night though. I’m hoping tonight goes as well, but the difference might be all in the tea he didn’t drink. Last night he drank it beautifully, tonight he wore it, spilling it, well rather spitting it all down the front of his shirt. I hope he drank enough to help him sleep through the night though. Pure exhaustion has won for me today. As he finally drifted off to sleep all I could do is pray for a better tomorrow. My heart is with all the other autism families and everyone else that might be struggling today. Remember you are not alone. 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.