I think one of my absolute favorite things happened with Owen today and I know he doesn’t even completely understand what he said. I was trying to explain to him that there was no way I could know all the different languages in the world. He wants me to read what is under different videos on YouTube and then use the voice-activated option to find it. He wants to see other videos that are similar to them. He had pulled up a video in a language I didn’t even recognize. It was a Disney Junior video that someone had translated. Until the last week, Owen didn’t really want to use Siri on his tablet. Although he has liked to use Alexa. Once he is used to something he doesn’t always like to change. Now I think they will be in a heated conversation between the three of them at some point. When I was trying to explain to Owen that I really don’t understand most languages I said, “it’s impossible for me to know them all”. He didn’t miss a beat and said, “it is possible”. He’s my constant reminder that anything is possible if you put your heart and soul into it. He puts a whole new meaning to “I’m possible”. I hear him in the background asking Siri for “Disney Junior in spinach”. The days ahead will be long as the days of yesteryear but the joy I get from hearing Owen rapping in French, asking Siri for the languages like spinach, potato, and “germen”, and laughing as he hears her say, “I can’t translate into English yet” are music to my ears. He was then singing “baa black sheep” but switching between languages and quickly singing “Humpty Dumpty” in German. The road for 2020 was certainly less traveled but the lessons I’ve learned are never-ending. This year has taught me patience, understanding, and a thankfulness for the people that have helped this momma get through a very trying year. Tonight when the clock strikes midnight I’m celebrating our progress, victories, and the hope for the tomorrows yet to come. Never give up, believe in the hope of tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The language train is all over the map as they say but for Owen, it is definitely the globe. Siri and he are becoming best friends. He asks Siri to translate everything now. He makes his voice clearer for her, pronouncing his words more distinctly. It’s amazing to listen to him and he will talk to her for hours. “I want milk please in potato”, he asked her. He doesn’t really understand what language means. He asks her to translate words in boy, girl, potato, and turkey to name a few. He laughs hysterically when she tells him she can’t translate in turkey. He asked me to blow bubbles and when I blew them I told him to count the bubbles. He counted to ten. I asked him to count to ten in French. He did. He didn’t say all the numbers and his words weren’t completely clear but he tried. I thought let’s try Spanish. The same thing happened. He doesn’t always respond when I ask him questions or want him to do something. For him to kind of count in two other languages, I’m beyond excited. I have always said he thinks all languages are one big happy language. Now as his voice gets stronger I can’t wait to see him soar. This momma needs to brush up my on her languages or how to use a translator quickly. The connections are coming to his emotions as well. “Happy and sad and mad”, he said. He went on, “are you happy”. It’s wonderful to hear him talking about emotions. I know he is starting to read my expressions too. He also knows how to push my buttons. But the good news is I can read him like a book too and I can see this twinkle in his eyes when he is trying to get me. I’m thankful my sweet baby O is growing. Every day I look at the hope of tomorrow, I remind myself where we have come from, and I can’t wait to see what happens. He’s doing amazing and I truly can see the sparkle in his eyes. Find your passion, know that tomorrow is a brand new day, and make sure you share your smile. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I was always that child that didn’t want to touch my food. It took me years to eat bbq because I didn’t want to get my fingers messy. Now mind you, I by no means are neat and organized but messy hands, no thank you. And then along came the patience train that I needed to get on board with. Owen is a sensory child extraordinaire. He loves getting his fingers in all the foods. He will put food in his mouth, take it out, put it in his toes, and then back in his mouth. I can tell you this is one emotional train ride for me. He comes to put his hands in my hair almost as soon as he takes a bite of food. He runs through the house eating and throwing food no matter how many times we work through him sitting to eat. Crunch, crunch, crunch as I walk reminds me I need to sweep again. But he doesn’t really like the vacuum or the broom. Better yet he likes them on videos and he likes to laugh and scream at them in the real world. The screaming really isn’t different though than what he does for most of the day. The best thing in the world was listening to Owen talk to Siri for over an hour, asking her to translate everything he could think of. He went back and forth between French and German, mostly asking for French. He said, “I want single bells single bells single all the way in French”. The laughter was exactly what I needed. I was amazed at how clearly he was trying to pronounce his words to make her understand. I made Chinese dumplings for dinner. I wasn’t sure if he would eat them but here we were eating dumplings, listening to Johann Strauss from the Little Einsteins episode and it was in French. I had tried to ask him questions earlier but he couldn’t react or answer them. Sometimes it takes him a while to process my words. In my loneliness, I sat right next to Owen. Then I was reminded one more time how special and amazing my child is. He walked up to me and put his forehead on my lips multiple times for me to kiss him. I always kiss his forehead and tell him “I love you”. I’ve done this since he was a baby. It’s my reminder that we are a team and he knows how much I love him and need him. He feels my emotions and reads me quickly. He saw my sadness and he wanted to make me happy. “You happy”, he said. Yes, sweet baby O, your momma is happy. Never give up. There is hope in tomorrow. Through challenges, we grow and find strength in our soul. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept all night. He was up early but laid with me for a few minutes more before we got up for the day. He seemed to be hungry from morning to night and very connected to everything around him. He was playing with some of toys and quoting Mickey Mouse as he was sending his rocket ship into the sky. I love when he actually plays with his toys. This doesn’t happen often. I can see how French is quickly becoming his go-to additional language. I thought it was going to be Spanish but not French is easily surpassing all the other languages. However, I still think he sees all languages as one big happy language. I started showing him Sofia the First in French. He was mad as a hornet at first until he saw what I was pulling up. Then before the video even started playing he sang the whole opening song in French. I try to give him real-world examples of things that he likes in books or videos. He now likes a book about the garbage truck so I told him we would have to listen for the truck to take our trash. He watched the whole process and then sat down with his book to read. His voice is getting stronger. He is starting to use it to find videos on his own. Sometimes the voice-activated option doesn’t always understand him because some of his letters are not always recognizable but he’s trying. He was working through emotions today. “Owen is happy”, he said. He ran through many other emotions but when I said he was Owen he struggled with that. My sensory child loved dinner tonight. We had a chicken cheese rice bake that had carrots and peas. Most of it went in him but to his sensory delight, he rubbed the bites all over his face. We were covered in it. After dinner, we went back to the translator. I thought Siri could speak Turkish but she informs me that she could not translate Turkish yet. Owen kept asking her to translate turkey and laughing hysterically when she said that she couldn’t translate that. Bedtime went easier than most nights and now it’s off to bed myself. The joys come from hearing his laughter, knowing he growing, and tomorrow is a brand new day. Find your motivation and be inspired. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Tonight the warm milk challenge begins. I’m challenging it to be the sleep winner. It was well after one when I fell asleep last night, really closer to the two o’clock range, and here a very happy Owen comes by five, looking at me like I was nuts for still sleeping. “Tablet”, he said. My reply, how about we sleep a little longer. He crawled on top of me. Not next to me, straight on top of my side. OK, so sleeping wasn’t going to be an option. He said it again, “tablet”. I tried a different approach. Generally, if I tell him he has to go potty first he will lay back down for a little bit and occasionally fall asleep. This time, as he likes to say, “nope”. He ran off to the bathroom turning all the lights on as he was going. The French singing started immediately. I’m amazed at how easily it is starting to flow for him. He listens to the translator while he watches the different Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos. I keep listening to the way he says the words. I’m hoping that the way he says the letters in French will help him see how the letters translate in English as well. I love the connections he is making to his body. I try to teach him manners and how you react to certain situations. He burped and then made himself burp again. “Excuse me”, he said and then made a little laughing noise burping one more time. How do you even explain bodily functions but here we are learning and growing together. The warm milk made me a little sleepy but it sure didn’t work on Owen. Two hours later he finally fell asleep in my arms. Today was a bit calmer though. We had our moments but through it all, he did better at listening and working with me. Maybe it’s because he was exhausted and pretty much joined at the hip with me, yawning all day. The laughter, the smiles, the songs, and him playing his guitar made me one happy momma. Find your happiness, share your joy, and go after your dreams. What are you waiting for. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I went to the bathroom. I had told Owen I was going. I wanted to take a toy back to his room first. He can hear the vibrations in the floor as I walk. He came running to the hall. His toes started pounding the ground and then the screaming began. And so the bathroom rules start again. I told him I put the toy up and was now going to the bathroom. He closed the bathroom door when I went in and immediately started banging on it. He then opened the door and asked if I was ok. I wanted to cry. The screams from the day echo in my soul. This is all been so incredibly hard on him. He doesn’t understand any of it. One day he gets to do all the activities he loves and the next day walking out our door brought all the unknowns slapping us in the face, keeping us inside. How could he possibly understand, I still don’t understand it all. Finally, he was able to go to school, and then that was gone in a heartbeat. He got exposed to the virus, he was quarantined. It will be over a month before he goes back to school with the holiday break. Our world has changed but I can’t explain it to him. I told him he would see his teacher soon. He screamed. He can’t comprehend what that means. My heart aches. I asked Owen what he wanted for dinner and he said, “want to paint baby red bird”. We had roast beef and macaroni and cheese. I walked to get more milk and I turned around to see him sitting on the table. The same table that three screws have fallen out of from his sitting on it that I’ve had to replace. The one calming supplement that has worked for years finally met its match tonight. Almost four hours later Owen was asleep. He screamed for all the things I couldn’t give him, cried while asking for the things I could, and finally fell asleep in my arms after asking for a big hug one more time. My prayer for tomorrow is to have calm for my baby. I hold onto his singing in French most of the day and laughing about the snow. It puts the smile on my face and the song in my heart. Dream big, follow your heart, and know that you are important. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Snow and more snow and snow kept us home today. The roads were clear after a while but it was easier to keep Owen at home. Tomorrow we will go to celebrate Christmas with my parents. He talked French and German all morning, asking Siri, “I want chocolate milk please in German”, laughing hysterically when it would pull up and then asking for the phrase in numerous other languages. I asked him to tell me something in French and he squealed with it quickly escalating to a meltdown. As soon as I stopped asking he went right back to speaking French. Half of it is not recognizable and the other half is said all squished together with delight. I recognize some of it and then tell him he’s doing a good job about the rest. The big milk spill happened today, they happen a couple of times a week. He understands that he “makea de mess”, squealing he says this, but then his sensory needs take over. He will sit in it, slosh in it, or walk through the entire house with the dripping milk coming from everywhere. If I catch him quick enough he screams the entire time I ask him to sit while I clean him and the mess up. I breathe. He does really well most of the time with an open cup and I want him to have that independence. He’s made me laugh so many times and when he uses his words I want to sing it from the rooftops. Sometimes when he doesn’t want to do something or when he thinks he will push my buttons his words are even more fluid. We had spaghetti for dinner. He ate about ten bites, stopped, and promptly declared, “I need to go potty” as he was running there. When he was done he came back to the table but he said, “you done not going to eatening no dinner you done yum yum no more dinner tonight”. The “no more dinner tonight” runs a close second to my favorite phrase “you done throw it in de trash”. But he’s listening and learning and together we are growing. The older he gets the more his opinions completely matter to him and he makes sure they matter to me. For bedtime, I started early, way early. I took away all the electronics, I made everything calm, got all the steps ready for his bath, we read several books together, took an extra long bath, and had his tea ready that I keep hoping will help him sleep again. Two hours later he was still not asleep. But we also had lots of fun today. I got him new bath toys and one of them was letters. We spelled words on the tub wall and he did amazing. So thankful for my gift of my sweet baby O. Challenges come and days fade away but the smile he gives me keeps my heart singing with delight. Be thankful for your gifts, be happy in your heart, and know that tomorrow the struggles will fade away. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I want to hang the gone fishing sign out and not even think about what tomorrow is. It’s emotional, it’s flat out emotional. People ask me all the time what Owen wants for Christmas. I don’t mind the questions, never mind the questions at all, because it gives me the opportunity to share our journey but I don’t always know how to answer the questions. This is the first year I’ve felt like he has had a remote connection to Christmas. I don’t have one decoration up in my house, not a tree, not a bright twinkling lightbulb, not one thing. I showed him the decorations and he hides or screams. He has a hard time when the kitchen drawer is open for me to get anything out of it. He will run from another room to make sure I close it properly and then stands there inspecting it. I will tell you I have stuff out of place and everywhere so it’s not that something necessarily has to be in order but it can’t be out of his order or realm. He sees decorations in other places and he is fine with them but it’s not directly in his home. However, he gets upset quickly if it is not what he wants and where it should be. The rules are the rules until they aren’t the rules anymore. When he was younger I would try giving him wrapped presents. They would sit here for days wrapped under the tree and then I had him help me unwrap them. The emotions swell inside me again. I sat with my baby on the floor, cradling him for hours because I had taken the wrapping paper off the packages. He tried to put it back on. He couldn’t handle the difference of seeing the boxes without paper. My heart still cries out in pain seeing how hard that was on him. As the years moved forward we’ve worked on it. He can handle gift bags and now he can handle brown wrapping paper. So I breathe. Tomorrow we celebrate in our way and in our time. And I pray a lot, celebrating what Christmas really means to us. Today we sang, we laughed, we loved, and we learned and tomorrow I will be thankful for my blessings. Here’s to the joy of what tomorrow will bring. Make your dreams come true. Smiles to all and donut daze!
What color are you on now, I had asked Owen. “Yellow”, he replied quickly. Wow wow wow I was so excited he answered my random question. He had been playing a game and he was talking about the colors to himself so I started asking him questions and he kept up with the conversation. Sometimes he’s engaged with me talking to him but he isn’t responding to my questions. I love when he follows through with what I’m saying. Today was a little calmer than yesterday but still a little on edge. He went to spend some of the day with his grandma and I know that helped. As soon as we got home he wouldn’t stop asking when he would see her again. And then his questions turned in to him repeating the exact things we’ve been struggling with the last few days. But this time I could see the gleam in his eyes when he saw that he was pushing my buttons. I wish I could hide my emotions from him sometimes but he can read me like a book. I tried everything I could to distract him and I think it helped. We read and sang together. He did better at dinner, eating with his utensils, and eating a lot at that. After dinner was over he had many conversations with Siri. It’s great hearing him say “I want chocolate milk pwease in German” to Siri so he can hear his tablet talking to him. He wanted to listen to it in French, Italian, and Spanish. I’m not sure what other languages he asked for. “Single bells single bells single all the way” was his go-to song for the night and I always love when he sings it. This year feels like he is more connected to Christmas and every time I ask him about Santa or Rudolph he runs to the window looking for them. I tried to let go of all the yesterdays that sometimes weigh heavy on my heart and instead think about all the tomorrows yet to come and know that my boy is growing. I saw many victories today even through the challenges we faced. Never give up. Open your mind to the possibilities of what tomorrow will bring. Smiles to all and donut daze!
There’s no crying over spilled milk but there sure is crying when you are exhausted and in a pandemic. Today’s emotions come from Owen not understanding, or maybe understanding too well, that no matter how many times he wanted a certain video YouTube was not going to find it. The squealing, screaming, biting, and kicking seemed to rock our evening. He wants instant gratification and if I don’t answer right away he screams or sticks his tablet right in my face. If I’m in the middle of eating or drinking and he wants me to find something on his tablet I better find it on his tablet. And then when his tablet can’t find it the emotions are even stronger. The tablet is one of those things I love for him to have and I hate for him to have. The words, interactions, and skills he has learned from using it have truly been a blessing but it is also hard. If the internet goes out or he can’t have every app out there it’s difficult to explain why to him. Then add in when his table, nor I have all the answers the meltdowns can come fast and furious. Over the years he’s gone back and forth with biting as the answer. Tonight biting was the answer. He’s quick. He was sitting next to me and he grabbed my hand. It was in his mouth before I could even react. Luckily he actually responded when I told him not to bite me. The tears swell in my eyes thinking about it. I knew I had to work on his calming techniques with him at this point. We counted, we breathed, we ate dinner, and then we started the two-hour journey of bedtime. Flip-flop McGee was all over the bed. He was yelling for me to give him a “big hug” but then bending my fingers on my hand backwards as he was trying to fall asleep. He doesn’t get his own strength or that he could possibly hurt me. Each time he was close to sleep he would do something to completely wake himself back up again. I held back the tears and tried to remember the calmer I am the calmer he becomes. That is what I have to hold in my heart and know that together we will get through the rocky days. His laughter, singing, and randomly bursting out in French phrases kept me going today. I pray for sweet dreams for my boy and a brand new tomorrow. Focus on the positive side of life 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.