I feel like I’m floating today. It’s been one of those magical days that didn’t really have any hitches in our giddy-up. Owen woke early asking for his teacher but fell back asleep talking about bowling. I had a busy day planned for us, hoping that we would be able to handle it all. And we did. Home Depot has a kid’s craft workshop that we have gone to several times. We don’t stay for the actual building of the project but going through the motions is a huge step for both of us. We then went to Cabela’s to see Santa and watch “de fish take a bubble baff”. In the store, they have a huge fish tank that we have gone to see many times. He has now made the connection to the fish taking a bubble bath because he sees how the tank is aerated. He wanted to take his shoes off and kept reaching towards the top of the tank. He had talked about the fish, Santa, and the Easter Bunny all the way to the store. We went last year to see Santa and then the Easter Bunny earlier this year. He now believes the Easter Bunny lives with Santa at the North Pole since he can’t see them every time we go visit the fish taking a bubble bath. Hey, it works. They were able to get several amazing pictures of Owen with Santa and I’m very grateful. We were then off to “de coffee shop bowling and den grandma”. I stopped to get him some chicken nuggets. He ate all of them in the car and then said, “let’s go eat”. He kept asking for different food throughout our day. Every time we passed a restaurant that he knew or had been to he asked for food. This coming from my child that not long ago ate a handful of foods is beyond amazing. He’s truly branching out in so many ways and he can tell you exactly where he is by the food we are located near. We had a wonderful time bowling and the laughter he shared with me was good for my heart. Change does not happen overnight but through time and love, great things will happen. Never give up. Let the world see you grow. Believe in yourself and the rest will follow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I heard Owen get out of bed and the frantic screams started immediately. He yelled his teacher’s name all the way to my room. I had to calm him. I said you will see her soon. What else was I supposed to do. I needed to go back to sleep. I didn’t want a repeat of the night before. He moved on to bowling. I told him we would go. He is so confused by this week without school. Tears the size of goldfish are floating in my eyes as I think about it. In the grand scheme of life, this week has gone very smooth. He was able to stay with friends he loves for a few days and his grandparents but it’s not routine. And as hard as it is on him I’m thankful he can express what he wants. That brings more goldfish tears swimming. I waited for Owen’s words, sometimes begging him to talk to me. The screams become deafening when you don’t know how to comfort your baby. I can only imagine how he felt when I would try to comfort him with something that would only made him scream more. He would wake up in the middle of the night and scream for hours. I can remember pacing in my living room, holding him, trying to comfort him, not knowing what to do, crying out to God to give Owen peace. This morning his anxiety is running high. If I try to do anything besides sitting on the couch he starts squealing and his foot starts tapping. I got up to get more coffee. He came running across the room, stopping in front of me. He put his hands on me, saying, “sit down”. There’s the fine line of sitting back down and pushing forward. I told him I was getting more coffee. Me not sitting when the request of sitting has taken place has caused many meltdowns over the years. I’m not sure how this even started. And I’m not sure which one of us it affects more. We push forward. Today, as Owen sings, “single bells single bells single all the way”, a tune he sings throughout the year, I asked him if he wanted to see Santa. He replied with, “wanna see de fish”. His connections are amazing. We go to see the fish at the store where I took him to see Santa. They have a huge fish tank that he loves. The treasure of life is all around us. We chose to see the glory in what shines. Smiles to all and donut daze!
At this present moment, I’m focusing on our growth and not my exhaustion, well I’m trying to focus on our growth and not my exhaustion. I woke around two and my bladder decided I had too much coffee the night before. I laid there trying to convince myself I didn’t need to go but there was no choice I had to go. Now the odds were not in my favor that Owen would sleep through me going to the bathroom. But I was hoping he would at least be calm when he woke. He passes our bathroom to get to my bedroom but depending on how asleep he is he won’t necessarily realize I’m out of my bed. The screaming started immediately. I had to calm him down quickly. He wanted his teacher, screaming her name, to start. I try not to even think about the fact that he goes to a new school and teacher next year. He moved on from his teacher, wanting to get up. Milk, bathroom, and tablet all the choices, rotating the order. Hours later we were still awake. When I thought we were on our way to being asleep he would start talking again. I think his exhaustion finally won and we got about an hour of uninterrupted sleep. And then he was ready to go bowling, not understanding it was a holiday. School breaks are hard on him. I explained to him that it was Thanksgiving but there’s no connection to it yet. We went to breakfast with our family. Meeting at a restaurant goes smoother for Owen. He has fewer expectations of what should be happening than when he is at someplace he is familiar with. Restaurants have their own set of rules we have to adapt with but each time we go he seems to enjoy it more; even asking some days, “let’s go eat”. I’m thankful for his growth. He sat at the restaurant eating his breakfast with a fork. The littlest of steps can be the hugest accomplishments. Celebrate in your way. Traditions start when are hearts are there. Put your heart into everything you do. Happiest of Thanksgivings to all. May your day be blessed with hope. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and the closer we get to it the more it has reminded me of Christmas a few years ago. Owen is starting to understand more about the holidays but there isn’t a huge significance in what they truly mean. For him, it means our routine is thrown off. I remember telling Owen we were going to see family on that Christmas Day. I wanted him to open one of his presents that had been sitting in our living room for weeks. He had been sitting on the large wrapped package whenever he wanted to. His whole body fit across it, so he would occasionally lay on the box playing with his tablet. It was now part of his world, integrated into his daily life. And that morning I did the unthinkable, I unwrapped the present. I shake still, thinking about the cries from my baby as I ripped the paper off the package. Our day was done. I sat holding Owen on the floor. He cried and screamed for hours. The emotional toll on both of us was incredible. I didn’t even attempt to open anything else. Things are different now yet the same. He still doesn’t really understand presents but wrapping paper doesn’t upset him as it did. I try not to get emotional about the moments I can’t even think through or change. I couldn’t process any of it then and it has stopped me in my tracks years later. I try not to upset Owen. But I also want him to learn and grow. I also want to learn and grow. I can’t stop trying new things because of moments like these but I am still hesitant to push too many things at one time. Sometimes the reaction to our daily life doesn’t happen until days, weeks, or months later. He remembers everything and will bring up detail of something he couldn’t even express before. His words are getting stronger every day and it is allowing him to share his story with me. Everyone‘s story is important. Share your story and know that you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The rookie mistakes are what can stop us in our tracks. I forgot to put my ice shield on my car window yesterday and I forgot to check before I took Owen to the car to see if the windows had frost on them. He generally rides the bus to school and most days if we go someplace it’s later, giving it time for the frost to be gone. Once we were outside I really couldn’t take him back into the house so I put him in his carseat and scraped the ice off the windows. He only screamed for a few moments. The rearview mirror has now become of great concern to Owen. If I don’t get him into his seat quick enough and strap him in he will be over the front seat in no time trying to get my rearview mirror off. This started about a week ago. He screams at it, “turn it offT turn it offT”. His vocabulary isn’t there to explain what bothers him about it but we will work through it. For awhile the noise of the air conditioner would have him screaming if it was on anything but the lowest setting. The lack of a CD player and the stoplights keep him pretty distracted from the air conditioner now and the heater sound does not affect him like the other sounds. There is nothing that prepared me for seeing the world through my child’s eyes but the gift of his sight has taught me a compassion and understanding I never knew. Owen came to my room at three in the morning requesting milk, knowing that he really wanted his tablet. I told him it was nighttime and he said, “wanna go potty”, the new ploy to stay up. I told him absolutely but then he had to go back to bed. He skipped the potty, got into bed with me, and promptly requested milk for two more hours. Life teaches us about life. I’m thankful for the growth I see in Owen and today is a brand new day. Dance even in the rain. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I walked out of my front door to put something in the car, leaving Owen inside the house. He watches me from the front window. I wanted to make sure the car wasn’t too frosted over from the night chill before I took him outside. I told him to not lock mommy out. I always take my keys and my phone with me because I know he will flip the lock but we’ve been working on it and he didn’t lock the door. Victory I tell ya, victory. I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I walked back through the door and didn’t have to use the key. Even if I step onto the porch he will lock the door so this was a big day. He’s been locking the door for a couple of years now, not understanding how to unlock it back. But a few months ago the lock itself started sending him into meltdowns. I would explain the door is fine but he needed the lock to be in a certain direction. Over the last few months, it had caused him many meltdowns. I was ready to go buy a whole new lock system. I talked to him every day, multiple times a day and then as quick as it started it has now stopped, kinda. We still talk about it, it’s still a big deal but he hasn’t actually tried to make the lock stay straight up in a week. And then the big victory of walking to my car and being able to walk right back in was amazing. I’ll still take my keys and my phone when I go outside because you never know when this will be a concern again but for this moment in time, I’m rejoicing the steps we’ve made. I’ve heard parents say they want their kids to stay little forever, knowing those are words to hang on to that moment in time but I want Owen to keep growing. I want more connections to be made for him. The lock on the door felt like a symbol for us. I have so much hope for my sweet baby O. I tell him every day he is amazing. One of the greatest things we can give someone else is our belief in them. And a belief in ourselves. That one is a little harder. Know that you are stronger than you ever imagined and you can do great things if you put your mind to it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Use your words, I said to Owen. He broke out into, “ahh ahh eww eee bop be baa” and on and on. He got me there. He pushed play on his video at the same time and the song he was playing was all sounds. I had to laugh. The squealing gets to me after a while. Plus, I want to encourage his vocabulary. Then, of course, there is the fine line of me asking him to do something and him using it as a teaching lesson for both of us. I want him to understand aggression is wrong and that we don’t hit people, especially when it pertains to getting our emotions out. Owen has to go through steps numerous times to understand them and process how to handle them. And of course, there are times he likes to push my buttons with them. He will walk up to me, poking me, saying, “don’t hit me”. Learning to tell which path we are on can be difficult and the difference between a meltdown and motivation. My excitement level has not waned for the fact that my child is potty trained. He declares, “gotta go potty”, running to the bathroom, taking his underwear of mid-run. I decided to start getting him dressed for church but wasn’t going to put his pants on him yet because he will take them off sometimes, even if I tell him we are going somewhere. I laid his pants on the back of the couch. This threw him into complete meltdown. His foot was pounding the floor, hand outstretched, and the anxious squealing at the top of his lungs started. That’s a rule and a rookie mistake. Nightshirts can go on the back of the couch and they are fine. Pants are a big no. I tried to tell him they were fine, he would be wearing them soon, but he ran across the room and took them to the laundry hamper. I’m still floating from our victories yesterday, knowing that my baby is growing every day. He woke asking for church and for me that is a victory in itself. Find your motivation, be inspired, and watch your world grow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today was a first for Owen. We went to see a movie. In a movie theater. And I cried all the way home. He did amazing. I was a nervous wreck. We broke all the theater rules that I was ever taught. He screamed, he jumped up and down in the aisle, we talked through the entire movie, he jumped from one seat to the next, and wanted to stay and go the entire time. We went to the sensory showing. The lights weren’t as dark, the level of the sound was lower, and all the things he did were absolutely allowed. What an emotional blessing. The movie was Frozen 2. We haven’t seen the original Frozen movie yet but I knew it was more about the experience for him and me. The movie was probably about an hour and a half too long for him but he truly did amazing. He wanted to go the entire time but as soon as something happened on the screen he would yell “knock at de door” or “did you see de water”. Throughout the whole movie, he pointed to things that were going across the screen. “Fire did you see the candle”, he said, jumping up and down. Towards the end, he was mostly sitting on my lap and I was having him gallop like the horse or move like the wind to keep him happy but we made it through the whole show. We got our jackets on and headed for the exit. He wanted to stay and watch the credits roll across the screen but I told him we would come back another day. My emotions got the better of me on the way home. My baby went to his first movie. My heart and my head are both about to explode. I’m thankful for the experience and that we got to stay the whole time. He did. I did. And together we make an awesome team. Sometimes the hardest thing is walking out the door with expectations. Let life grow you and remember you are stronger than you can even imagine. And we still have bowling on the agenda. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept all night in his bed. I was already out of bed and walking towards my bedroom door when I heard him running to my room. He immediately started screaming, “your bed”. I knew I had to calm him or it was going to be a huge meltdown. I told him mommy was going to the bathroom but we still had a few minutes that he could get in my bed if he wanted. He wanted me to lay down with him but the more we talked the calmer he was. When I came out of the bathroom I started turning on the light. He got out of bed and went to the bathroom. That step doesn’t always come easy for him. I remind myself slow and steady wins the race, trying to always keep my mindset in neutral, and keep my patience overflowing. It was raining this morning so I drove him to the bus stop. As we were waiting he noticed the lights on the building in front of us. He started pointing at them. His squeal happened and then “I set a timer an den de lights go off”, he said. It’s hard to explain to him that we don’t have control over the world. I can’t turn lights on and off on random buildings, I can’t change the color of the stoplights, and I can’t make noises stop when he needs them to, even though I wish I could for him. It’s hard for him to understand. All I can do is keep talking to him and explain it to him the best I can. Next week Owen is off from school for the holiday. While we were waiting for the bus we went over his schedule for the next week, three different times. He wants to go through his whole day. He will start part of the sentence, only sometimes finishing it if I don’t tell him exactly what he needs to hear. “Den we can go bowling”, he said. He follows it up with, “yes buddy”. The bus turned the corner and he yells, “de bus turn de corner here we go” as his excitement level went up ten notches. I’m thankful he loves going to school and for everyone that makes it a wonderful experience to help my baby grow. Show the world your smile and find what makes you happy. Smiles to all and donut daze!
One day at a time I tell myself quite often. Owen still crawled into bed with me this morning but he didn’t wake up until about five and then when he got into bed with me he slept for another hour. I’m watching my sensory baby eat his snack. He has two chairs pulled up close to his table. He is squatting with one foot on each chair, hovering there, eating his snack with one hand, and playing on his tablet with the other. Me, I’d be on the floor. He has incredible flexibility yet he doesn’t understand his body at all. Me, I have little flexibility and don’t understand my body at all either. He’s learning how his body works by watching his hands and feet move as he goes through motions. I can tell you for sure you will see life differently tomorrow. We learn from the experiences of today. Our lives can change in an instant and we can let everything impact our lives but the key is to take those moments and grow. I dwell on the woulda, coulda, shoulda beens in my life and dwelling in those moments takes away from the experiences I could be having now. Live in this moment, make the most of your life, and take charge of what you want your future to be. Every day I watch Owen grow. His words are getting stronger and he’s learning to express his emotions and feelings. I never knew what tomorrow would bring but I had faith that my son would talk. Some days begging him to talk, other days crying out to God to give him words, and other times crying in a puddle on the floor because he said, “I wuv ewe”. Tomorrow will change you. ￼We don’t have a choice on how we were born but we do get a choice on how we live. Keep believing in yourself and the rest will follow. 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.