I really am not sure what time Owen got into bed with me but it was somewhere between sleep time and I really want to be asleep time. He woke excited. I should know when he is excited there will be no more sleep but yet I still try. He wanted to go to school. More specifically he wanted his teacher and he wanted to go to school right then to see her. He had me go through all the days of the week with him and what he would be doing. My brain wanted sleep. He kept going. He wanted me to get up and he was running through the house turning the lights on. At this point I know it was somewhere around three. I told him that it was nighttime and he needed to go back to bed. This threw him into a meltdown. He wanted his teacher and he wanted her right that moment, there was no convincing him differently. Somehow I had to calm him and convince him that he would see his teacher in a few hours. He slowly accepted that he would still see her. There’s a teacher planning day next week, right in the middle of the week. This is already a concern for me. I never know how far in advice to warn him of a change in his schedule. In the last month, he has become even more aware of his routine, wanting to repeat it over and over again. We have a calendar that shows what he is doing but he wants to talk about it, going through all of the steps, repeating all of the steps with me several times. We never went back to sleep. We met the bus a few hours later and he couldn’t have been happier when he saw the bus “turn de corner” to get him. The smile that washed over his face is what keeps me going. Find your smile and share it with the world because you never know who it might help get through their day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Crunch crunch crunch I hear. Owen is stepping on one of his veggie straws he dropped on the floor. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. And some days I wonder what do I even say about this stomping of a veggie straw all over the floor or food squished between his toes. It’s sensory input I tell myself. And I take deep breaths, a lot. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a fog all the time, holding an octopus playing a harp in one hand and a slinky in the other. I never know which way I’m coming or going. Owen wasn’t dry when he woke up this morning but the Depends guard did its job. I was wondering how it would work and it did beautifully. I have a feeling he won’t be dry tonight either. It seems like he can go about four nights a week and stay dry. When he came home from school he started asking about the slides. “Wanna go to the slide”, he said. Then he said, ”sing happy birthday to my friend and eat lunch first pwease”. He went back to talking about the slides. “Wanna slide pwease” and he proceeded to sing “happy birthday dear friend” many times through the night. I told him we could go different day but this felt incredible. He doesn’t normally talk about his day or what he wants besides the routine of it all. And here he was going through all the steps from yesterday. My heart rejoices in these moments and sees my son shine. On the way home he asked me about every day of the week and what we were doing, waiting for my reply about the day, and then saying “but I have to”, again waiting for my reply of “you have to go to sleep first”. He is now falling asleep in my arms, holding his light catcher basket, opening his eyes when every noise in the house sounds off. You never realize how many sounds a quiet house makes until you hear every noise through the expressions of your child. Today I had an incredible day, mixed with emotions, but full of joy. Find joy throughout your day, rejoice in the little things, and slide through life with a smile on your face. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today felt like a perfectly imperfect day. But was successful in so many ways. My sweet baby O is growing and I feel like his progress has been amazing. In the last few weeks, it seems like things are all clicking into place for Owen. He’s been doing great with potty training. I almost feel like I could use the words potty trained but the real-world experience still scares me. He’s been completely dry four nights in a row. Victory I tell ya, victory. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop but my sweet baby O is growing right before my eyes. Words and sounds intermingled today in a singsong manner. It makes me wonder what’s going on with his body. His stimming increases when he is learning or processing something new. It also changes through growth spurts I’ve found. We went to a birthday party at an indoor playground. A year or so ago we tried to go to the same place but Owen had a huge meltdown in the parking lot and wouldn’t even get out of the car. He didn’t know what the place was and I really couldn’t explain it to him but the meltdown could have been from anything and I remember it lasted for hours. That memory is long gone now. We went, he even let me take off his shoes because they are only allowed to wear socks on the playground, and he eventually took off his jacket. He sang Happy Birthday, ate a tiny bit of ice cream, and went down the slides more times than I could count. He had a downright awesome time. I’m thankful for the parents and kids that helped with Owen, encouraging him, and showing him around. We were there for almost two hours and he did incredible, only getting upset a couple of times, but following instructions beautifully. That’s more than I could have dreamed of in an overwhelming setting. I’m thankful we had the opportunity to go again. We both grow in these moments and I learn to push us both even when sometimes I want to hide under a rock. Don’t let yesterday keep you from the joys of today. Find your motivation and let the world see you shine. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I walked through a prayer today with a friend. It seems like sometimes our joy is broken and we don’t even realize it or know how to move through it. Owen slept through the night. For this, I am extremely grateful. I feel like I am slowly catching up on my sleep even though exhaustion always sits on my soul. Today has been a great day with the edges a bit tattered but there’s my little ball of energy so happy and content in his sounds and movements. I’ve asked Owen to use his words a lot in the last few days. It seems like he has been making more sounds than actually using his words but there are still moments where he is full of words. As if on cue, he comes running to me, making noises but then says, “big hug” jumping into my lap. I think he could sense my emotions were getting stronger, I was on the verge of tears, and here he came. He has hummed consistently today, using his words here and there but he has used his voice all day as a way to calm himself in his own way. It’s part of his stimming actions to soothe himself. He will pace, jump up and down, hold his hands out moving them about, and make sounds, amongst other things. I have asked Owen to sing many times today, almost begging him, so that I could hear his words. My sweet baby O is growing and changing every day. I’m learning and growing too. I know I’m harder on myself than I should be but I overthink all the possibilities. Owen fell asleep in my arms once again, this makes several nights in a row. It’s a sense of peace that I didn’t even realize I needed but here it is. Today is one moment in time. Cherish the victories, let the stumbling blocks go, and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Once upon a time, there was a lot of time, I remember hearing this all the time when I was growing up. Oh, how true this feels now. It seems like I’m always waiting and hurrying up all in the same moment. Owen’s been having some really great days. It feels like he is making huge strides and connections. This morning, however, felt off. He was making noises instead of words. His screams echoed through my heart and I reminded him to use his words. He wasn’t upset or mad, yet the words were not there. He let out little bursts of sounds as we were walking to the bus stop. I tried to encourage more words, singing, and asking questions. No words came. We kept walking. We got to the bus stop and he said, “twinkle”. There was security in that for me and maybe for him as well. I cling to his words, afraid sometimes that he will lose them. I have to remember where we’ve come from and that keeps me pushing forward. A thousand thoughts run through my mind daily, heck hourly, maybe even minutely. I try to stay one step ahead of everything that is going on around me, but feeling like I’m stumbling in the dark, racing downhill at a speed no one should be going, holding an octopus eating pizza. There’s such a joy in seeing my sweet baby O thrive especially on the days I’m struggling to put one foot in front of the other. I have my own little mantra that I repeat over and over, “when in doubt it will work out”, hoping that I listen to my own words. Know this is one moment in time and you are a lot stronger than you think you are. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Rejoicing the overnight success story that I’m not sure is a complete success story but truly was a success. Potty training during the day has been going great, even though there are some places he won’t even attempt to go yet; which adds to my stress of bathrooms in the outside world. The nighttime routine has been training pants but those are still “diaper” to Owen. This confuses him when he goes back and forth from regular underwear to training pants. Along comes an unexpected solution, maybe. I found out that Depends makes a pad. I was able to attach it to his underwear and then I used one of the plastic pairs of underwear. He was dry this morning but there was no confusion about underwear either. I am very optimistic about this. I rejoice these victories. I’m thankful for how far he has come. The last few nights have felt so different for me. Owen has wanted to fall asleep in my arms and I think about the glory in those moments. I remember my momma rocking me to sleep so many nights when I was young and those memories flood back to me when he’s in my arms. Some nights he still struggles in my arms trying to find a moment’s peace but his smile is still there and that inspires me. Life is not always easy for my baby but the love sure is. He is full of energy, love, and a determination that I don’t even know if he completely understands. Through him, I’m learning about the world in a whole new way. Let your smile shine and be inspired for victory. Today is a stepping stone for tomorrow. Success is as much a mindset as it is the victory. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
When the waves crash down on me I think about Owen’s smile and it keeps me going. Potty training seems like an overnight success story but there is nothing about it that happened overnight and he isn’t always making it through the night dry. But boy oh boy am I proud of my dude. In the grand scheme of things, it really did happen fast and I’m not even sure how to handle it. He still asks for his diaper every day and it’s confusing when he wears training pants at night. There’s a solution I’m sure that will help us through this and I know we will figure it out. He’s already come so far. I’m daunted by the thought of the restrooms in an uncontrolled environment. It keeps me from going to many places but the truth lies deeper in that statement than I can even process. I want to cry for the glory of how far we have come and cry for how hard it has been. People say to me this gets easier. My reply is it gets different. I try not to get down or frustrated but it’s all emotional. The blessings in the last week have been huge and the miracles in my life keep happening. I’m thankful for this and they have been enough to motivate me in more ways than I can even explain. Sometimes it takes a smile from a stranger or an act of kindness to realize exactly how lucky you are and pull you out of the waters that feel deep. We are not alone in this journey called life even though some days may feel overwhelming. As we were running late to the bus stop, Owen was still happy as can be. He saw the bus coming down the road and he said to me “twinkle”. I immediately started singing it for him, rejoicing the thought process of my boy. He knew that we wouldn’t have time to sing it when we got to the stop. The progress is amazing, the connections are coming quicker, and my boy is blooming. Find your inspiration, smile through the rain, and know you are not alone. Remember to be kind to your soul and cherish the little things. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept through the night, getting into bed with me right as the first of many alarms and timers started going off. My words are never so evident as when I hear them crashing back at me in waves and emotions, spoken from my little boy. He said, “your bed” and quickly followed it up with “Owen’s bed”. When he kicks me and will not settle I make him go back to his bed. There are moments in time when even these words feel harsh. I’m trying to teach him manners and expectations when sometimes I don’t even understand them myself. And then how do I keep him calm in the middle of the night or settle him enough for him to go back to sleep. Some nights that’s all I can think through, how to get him back to sleep so I can get the sleep I so desperately crave. I laugh how much I’ve changed over the years. I never wanted to sleep. I wanted to stay up all the time, all day, all night. I really didn’t even need it. Now it’s a different story. He woke happy and wanted “big hugs”. This makes me happy and sad and downright emotional. He wants hugs because his body needs input. We work on compressions of his joints and he always associates the word “hug” with it. There are times though he will come to me to hug and kiss me but I can tell the difference between these times. He also wants to hug me so he can chew on my hair. That seems to have come full circle. He left my hair alone for a while but now he must need that type of input again. All I can do is be thankful he isn’t pulling it anymore. Last night we went through his schedule, as we always do, and he said, “you ha” not even finishing the word “have”, he then waited. I didn’t answer right away so he repeated it. I realized what he said and repeated the words he wanted to hear. “You have to go to sleep first”, I said. I’m not sure how that became part of our routine but it’s here to stay for the moment. Every night as I go to bed, through struggles, through triumphs, and everything in between, I celebrate the joy of Owen. I celebrate him. We choose to dwell or we choose to rejoice in our glory. Find your strength and push forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
According to the weather it’s starting to be time for long sleeves, pants, and coats. According to Owen, no coats are required. Pants are even iffy. The pant leg has to fall on his shoes exactly right. This is for my pants as well. Anyone’s pants for that matter. He fixed a guy’s sock in the coffee shop one day. I caught him before he did the second one and socks are generally his concern. The guy was very nice about it, but how do I even explain to Owen that we don’t fix strangers clothes; he randomly hugs people too. The weather is slowly changing so hopefully that will give us enough time to reintroduce the coat back into his life. He wants me to wear mine but he immediately starts pulling his off as I put it on him. It’s amazing how quickly he can get out of something he doesn’t want on. He will ask about coats even during the summer but now here we are with winter on our heels and he wants nothing to do with them. We have several styles, thickness, colors, and lengths but as soon as I can get it on him it comes off. Luckily he is letting me put long sleeves on him and I successfully got him to wear pants. It’s not always that simple. I’ve tried putting his coat on him at different times as well and that doesn’t make a difference for him. I’m hoping that as it continues to get colder he will see the need for them. I can also see a lot of coat wearing videos in our future. I’m personally not a big coat fan myself, preferring more layers so this may be what we try for Owen. One day at a time, one layer at a time, one coat at a time, we will make it through our days. Learn to think outside the box, dream big, and change your world. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Here we are once again at the intersection of internet distress and how to distract Owen. Why, oh why can’t the internet act properly all the time. Or at least when we are home. Okay, so I know the answer to that question but Owen doesn’t. He slept all night, I finally fell asleep late only to wake up a dozen times reliving the last few days. Some days I’m more aware of autism in our lives and what it means. I am constantly having to make sure Owen is aware of his surroundings. He gets distracted easily and when he is on stairs he doesn’t always pay attention to where he is at. I have him count the steps with me and try to explain what’s around him, hoping that will help him become more aware. Owen’s request for church rang out loud and early. As many emotions as I have he holds on to them and I have to remember to keep moving forward and not let them control the situation. Easier said than done. I’ve cried all day. The stress of the past week has caught up to me. Not all the tears I cry are about Owen. Life seems to keep showing up when I least expect it. The woah is me attitude can’t be happening and I gotta suck it up I tell myself. And then I sit and cry. All the experts tell you it’s not good to hold in the emotions. I wonder what the experts say about letting them all out. I truly do not believe I have any more salt left in my body to produce a good tear but then I cry again. So I concentrate on Owen’s smile and how good he is doing. He’s been making huge steps and incredible progress. There’s a beauty in how he sees the world and how everyone plays their role in helping him grow. I’m thankful for where we are today and growing Owen is what we do. Even through rain, the sun will shine. There is beauty in every day if we choose to see it even through the tears that fall. 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.