Owen woke happy this morning, almost giddy. He had gotten into bed with me at some point, but we both fell back asleep quickly. He wanted to take the car to the bus stop. It was slightly raining so I didn’t object. I’m thankful he is able to express more of his words now. Many of Owen’s meltdowns are caused by his lack of communication skills and no connection to what is happening. He ran up to me, saying “peaches” that still sounds like the word pizza, he got an inch from my nose, and screamed. Not only screamed but screamed so the whole world could hear him and then walked away laughing. We are working on the ￼ pronunciation of words. I tried to get him to say the word “peach”, but every time I said the word he would say “es”. So I tried to overemphasize the word. This is when I can tell they work a lot with his speech at school, as well, because he was ready to repeat the word back and forth with me. I said, “peach ch ch ch” and he replied, “ch ch ch pizza”. It’s coming. There is huge progress every day. Tomorrow is a teacher planning day so no school for Owen. He’s cried and screamed his teacher’s name multiple times when I tried to explain he had no school. He keeps saying, “I have to go to sleep first and den go to school”. I’m now agreeing with him and we will cross the no school bridge tomorrow. I rejoice the progress and try to help him through the moments he can’t process. Cherish the little steps because they lead to great victories. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept through the night, got into bed with me, and slept for another thirty minutes in my arms before we had to rush to get ready for school. He seemed exhausted. I know the feeling. The last month has been hard on him. Between being sick for a week and then the holiday week it has thrown our schedule completely off. Add in the fact that I transitioned him to a new bed and we’ve got ourselves a party waiting to happen, all night long. Everything is a rule with Owen until it’s not. His old bed was higher off the ground and had sides all the way around it except where the ladders went. I thought it was a good idea so he wouldn’t fall out of it easily since he rolls so much, but I couldn’t lay in the bed with him to get him to sleep and standing next to the bed for two hours wasn’t happening either, that’s the approximate time it takes him to go to sleep every night, plus he didn’t want me leaning on the bed at all. It also never occurred to me how much of a daredevil my child is until I got a bed for him that is off the ground. This should have been at the forefront of my mind since he is always jumping, but it still didn’t even dawn on me how fun it would be to jump off his bed. So now I finally got a bed for him that is lower to the ground and has rails almost all the way around. It’s a daybed and there is only a small section that doesn’t have a rail. Now I can sit on the bed and wait while he falls asleep. For over a year or more I’ve been carrying him from his beanbag pillow to his bed. He didn’t want the lights off when he fell asleep either. We are slowly transitioning through that as well. It truly hasn’t shortened the nighttime process at all, but the routine will continue to evolve. The learning curve for me never feels like I’m ahead of it at all. I remind myself to be kind to my heart, but at the moment it still feels like I should know how to handle all of this. I don’t. I tell Owen I love him and that we are a team. Life can be complicated and messy but be kind to your soul. Remember we are in this together and keep hoping for the best. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Have you seen an octopus open the floodgates holding a pizza singing karaoke while juggling a porcupine, bear, and tractor? Well, that’s how our morning went. And Owen put his own pants on because he wanted to go to church. I can’t even explain the exhaustion and joy I feel right at this moment. Owen slept until four, so hey that was progress. He woke asking for milk, which really meant his tablet, but was pretty much ready to do anything so we could go to church. The dude was beyond hyper and very animated. I’m was beyond slow and extremely cranky. We have been working on Owen dressing himself for years. His shirts he’s been able to do for a while but putting pants on requires a lot more dexterity. Holding the pants alone was something that took him years to be able to accomplish. Holding something with his hands isn’t something that comes naturally for Owen, especially when it involves clamping his fingers around the fabric. The weight of the pants hanging from his hands causes him to drop them before he even has a grip on them. But today he did it. He got one leg in of the sweatpants and had to get the other one in. He tried several times, even putting both legs in the same hole at one point but he was able to do it. I helped him get his leg out of the same hole and told him that he had to put his pants on so we could go to church. Now, why didn’t I think of this motivation before. He grabbed the waist of the pants and put that leg right in, repeating church and one of the people’s names he couldn’t wait to see. This momma needed this today. It was a huge victory for Owen, years in the making. It took him about twenty minutes to put his pants on this morning, but I knew he could do it. Never give up. I asked Owen if he wanted chicken or pizza for lunch. He replied, “ I want fish pwease”. Today was made for victories, count them one by one. Every step forward is a step, take a step today. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Three in the morning is the new time for us. Owen woke, came to my bed, and immediately wanted his tablet. Umm, no. Since then it has been a scream and meltdown fest. Any type of correction to Owen warrants more of the reverse type behaviors. And the more I seek calm the wilder he becomes. I took his tablet away from him all morning. Truly the only one this is harder on is me. He screams, he throws things, and he will get in my face repeating his words. We read, played with toys, and painted, but mostly he screamed or asked for his tablet every two seconds. It was clearly time to get our day started but I was dragging and wanted to sit. Staying ahead of my emotions gets harder and harder to do. Every time I breathe heavy it sets a chain of emotions off with Owen and this has also been happening more frequently. We set off for our day, stopping for coffee first. As soon as we stepped foot into the coffee shop Owen immediately walked over to a guy that was sitting in a chair that he likes to sit in. He crawled right up in his lap and instantly they were friends. I apologized, trying to get Owen out of his lap, but instead, he stayed there and the guy gave Owen his phone to play with, helping him get to YouTube and searching for videos for him. I stood there talking to him and his wife for close to thirty minutes it seemed. The stress of my morning washed away as I continued to talk to two very kind and compassionate people that gave both Owen and me a sense of comfort. I’m thankful for the experience and what it did for my mood. We continued our day with bowling, lunch, and a visit for him with his grandparents. I’m plain worn out. He did great when we were out, only having a few moments here and there, but our nights are catching up to me. Even when I feel like I’m breaking in a million pieces I look at his smile and hear his words “I wuv ewe” and I know it’s going to be okay. Through life’s challenges know that you are not alone, even when it feels overwhelming. Keep pushing forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Oh, the difference a day makes. Yesterday Owen was so upset and emotional in the morning. This morning Owen was so upset and emotional but as soon as he turned the lights on and off at least twenty-five times in the kitchen he was ready to go to school. I have to remind myself to be patient. We can’t all be morning people. It takes Owen awhile to process changes, even changes he wants. And it takes me a while to figure out if I go with the flow or I try to correct a behavior. He thrives on my reactions so it’s hard to decide how to handle something. He gets emotional with my reactions, as well. I’m constantly having to decide what’s autism, age-appropriate behavior, or Owen. And in a moment of our emotions running altogether, Owen comes up to me with his hands stretched out. I braced for impact, thinking he was going to hit me, instead, he said, “wanna hug” and wanted me to bend down. He hugged me around the neck and said, “I wuv ewe”. These are the moments I know everything is going to be alright. He is making connections and as hard as the emotions are for both of us I know that he is learning by all of the steps we go through. I’m thankful for his smile that gets me through so many of our days. My emotions run deep and lately it’s even harder to express them in front of Owen. He has always felt my emotions but now they flow through him even stronger. He’s singing to me tonight, a song he learned at church. There’s a joy that shines through Owen and it lights up my world. Shine your light, be inspired, and know that you can make a difference. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke around three in the morning. He was crying, running to my room. He wanted his elephant. It plays lullabies but he broke it yesterday. He turns it on, pacing with it as it plays a tune, but when he is done with it he throws it to the ground to turn it off. He hadn’t played with it for a while but this past week he has played with it every day. Luckily, we had a backup but we still had to go through the process. The new backup is on order. The cycle of what’s old is new again can becomes overwhelming. I try to breathe through it all. He’s back to hitting me again. He doesn’t hit hard like he did when he was a toddler but he hits now for my reaction. He has to go through the repeated motions of what happened before. He will hit or push me and say, “don’t hit me” or “we don’t hit”. Then he will say, “big hug I wuv ewe”, giving me a big hug, wanting me to kiss his forehead. Any emotions from me now create a chain reaction of emotions from him. Learning to deal with my own emotions without expressing emotions is emotional. And he is learning how to deal with his own emotions. When we came home today he had to restart his tablet multiple times. I could tell this was a process he needed to go through because the words, actions, and steps were all the same. I couldn’t understand all of his words, but it was all well rehearsed and sounded like a review he had probably watched about restarting a tablet. After about fifteen minutes of the same actions, he moved on. I am always amazed at the journey we are on and the processes Owen goes through. I see a brilliance in my son and a beauty in his soul. He’s learning and growing and together we are walking through life. I see the world with a little more compassion and I know that today is a gift. Let the world see your smile. You never know who might need it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
To say the dude is eating good is an understatement. He was gluten and dairy free for years. I’m still thankful I chose this path with Owen because within a few days of removing dairy from his diet he was talking. I believe there is a brain/gut connection and this helped him. Over the last year, however, I’ve been slowly introducing more foods into Owen’s diet and allowing him to eat gluten. For the first few months, he wasn’t eating very much but in the last few months he has really been branching out. He still drinks almond milk but I’m letting him have regular cheese and different things like that. I’ve always made him try a bite of new food choices and then let him decide if he likes it. He’s now also fascinated with going out to eat. This is very exciting to me because for years it was a struggle for us to go anywhere. We will pass a restaurant and he says, “let’s go eat”. I’m thankful that food is becoming interesting to him and for him to try more things is an incredible blessing. Some people with autism struggle with food daily. Owen would throw his food across the room if it wasn’t the right texture, temperature, or brand, even though it was something we worked on constantly. One of his therapists suggested to not let him see the containers the food came from and rotate between brands. I put in front of him a new brand of chicken nuggets and walked away. For some reason, I turned around and he had the plate above his head, ready to throw it. I said, put that down, it’s chicken nuggets. Luckily, he did and he ate them, but it has taken years of us working through these moments for him to not throw his food. Today he slept through the night and his teacher told me he had barbecue chicken for lunch. These times are a’changin. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but we are growing and learning together. Each of these steps I’m thankful for. Grow, learn, love and let your light shine. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Once upon a time there was a lot of time” was a saying I heard when I was growing up. And the older you get the more it becomes true. In the last few years, I feel like I have focused more on putting one foot in front of the other and not on making the journey amazing. I watched Owen struggle to fall asleep last night, clearly exhausted but his body not allowing him to sleep. It seems to be my nightly occurrence as well. I wanted to cry, started to get emotional, but any amount of emotions from me would send Owen into a screaming, crying meltdown. The littlest of wavers in my voice causes him to say, “hi hi hi buddy I wuv ewe buddy” repeating some of my words that I say to him. It stopped me in my tracks. He needs the routine to be simple at night and more focused. He seeks input on his own now, not wanting me to rub his feet as much, but instead rubbing a spiky ball across his legs and feet. Every night I wonder how I can make this easier for my baby. That’s why the tears started to fall last night. His struggles are my struggles. I want our routine to be more consistent. We have been working on bath time for a few months now. He is learning to get undressed, put his dirty clothes in the hamper, and then go to the potty. When he is done with his bath, I put his nightclothes on him and make him put his towel up. The one act of hanging his towel has taken him months to learn. The action of holding the towel and putting it over the bar takes a lot of different motions. He’s doing it and each accomplishment is a huge victory for us. Celebrate your victories. No matter how big or small celebrate them and all it took to achieve your goal. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Two big things that matter to Owen are my hair and my glasses. Thankfully he does not have as many meltdowns now about them as he did when he was younger but they are still of great concern. Yesterday was extremely rough for him. I had a bad headache. I would put my hands up to my eyes, underneath my glasses. It’s something I do not even think about it doing, completely a reflex. My body, my eyes, his anxiousness, his screams. He comes running across the room, touching my arm, yelling, “summer glasses”. All glasses are called summer glasses to Owen. This used to happen every day for any reason my hands would get close to my face. And my hair, we go through the exact same thing. I would tell Owen my hair is fine. He didn’t want me to hold it out of my face or pull it back in any way. We have made progress but there are still days that he can’t process it and the meltdowns happen. I have to be the picture of mommy and if I change too much it is hard for him to understand. He views everyone like this, needing them to be the way they are, and look the same way. I think back to when he couldn’t express himself and how he would scream, ripping handfuls of my hair out at one time. My heart aches for my baby. I had to work through all of these steps with him. Now he will touch my hair, saying, “hair is fine”. We have been working on getting him to wear the hood of his jacket or even to let me wear my hair back without a meltdown. These steps take time and are very emotional for both of us. Me, the girl that loved to wear her hair up and a thousand different hats hardly ever pulls my hair back now. Owen’s smile keeps me going. Together we learn and grow. Through his eyes, I’m learning compassion and understanding like I never knew before. Find your inspiration and change your world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen is repeating “ready to go to church” over and over an inch from my nose. This has been his mantra since he woke up. Yesterday, when he woke he started saying, “I have to go to sweep den I can go to church”. We hadn’t even started our Saturday adventures and he was ready for his Sunday to happen. It’s wonderful to see the love he has for our church. He sang all morning the songs he has been learning at church and the light that shines through him when he sings inspires me. I’m thankful for all that music has given us. I wanted him to be able to learn from music long before I understood how much we both truly needed it. As a baby, I would take one of his hands and place it on my throat and the other on my mouth or my heart as I would sing, way off-key, but I would still sing to him. I wanted him to feel the connection to the vibrations and how it can move your soul. No matter what my emotions are I turn to music to calm me again. He was so excited when I told him it was time to get ready for church. He also became overwhelmed and started running around the house. I have to focus him. He wants me to “sit down” as soon as I stand to do anything. He needs to be in control of the situation so he can process it. Me, I want us to get ready quickly, knowing this isn’t going to happen. I still try. I have to remember patience. The same patience I beg him to have with me. Today he is supposed to sing with the children’s choir. The hope is that he has an amazing experience and his light shines through. Every day is a gift. I’m thankful for his growth and where we are today. Find your inspiration and motivation and change your world. 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.