I think it is like a merry go round on a Ferris wheel sitting on top of a rollercoaster. That’s pretty much how I described the day and that was by eight o’clock in the morning. Today felt sad before I could even get going. I told Owen I was cranky while we were eating breakfast. He said, “no cranky today”. Some days it’s easier not to do anything because the happy screams are easier to handle than the screams you know will come if you do something that upsets him. The lights become overwhelming to him and in turn they become overwhelming to me. Which one can I have on, when can I turn it on, which one makes noise, he can tell. It’s an old house it makes noises and they change all the time, like everything. He had an hour-long meltdown over something making a noise in my bathroom, moving between the toilet and the sink. There’s no convincing him it’s okay because it’s not. It had to stop doing whatever it was doing. The light shining through the window in the bathroom bothers him at certain points during the day. Some days he wants the bathroom door all the way closed, other days he wants it partially opened so he can look at his face in the doorknob while sitting on the toilet, and other moments he’s trying to go to the bathroom while holding his hands over his eyes because the light is shining in from the frosted window. How do I fix any of it. I breathe. I had to pick up Owen’s things from school. All that does is make cry. The kind of tears you can’t even see through. But it all followed us through the entire day. The night probably one of the hardest since this all started. Owen repeated “school’s over” and named off people and places he wanted to see all night. I prayed for calm to wash over him. I prayed it for everyone. Today is one moment in time. Keep pushing forward, know that you are a lot stronger than you think you are, and tomorrow we can start anew. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days feel like the wheels won’t stop turning. Any of the wheels, even when you want them to slow down. But then there it was the highlight of my day that made the wheels stop. I was in the kitchen fixing Owen a snack, okay me too it is quarantine times ya know, and I hear him singing Old MacDonald, strumming his guitar. It always makes my heart sing when he plays music without being prompted. He doesn’t understand any of the chords yet, but hearing him play and sing wash away so many other moments. He screams a lot. The screams are for every reason, jumping constantly, and his general excitement through the roof, unless it’s screaming because something isn’t going according to plan. He had a good day. But he had his mind set on how he wanted it to go. There’s this line of how hard do I push him and if I push too hard we then could have hours of a meltdown all because I asked him to do something he didn’t want to do. This also happens if I don’t do something the way he expects it to go. For his bath tonight I didn’t run the water twice. I fill the tub and then a little bit of time goes by and he wants to have the water running again over his feet. I think it’s a sensory request for him, a camping mechanism maybe, but I was trying to hurry the bath time process along so I wasn’t going to run the water again. He started screaming and throwing himself around. There’s a fine line between a tantrum and a meltdown. Tonight’s moment was right there on that edge until I heard the squeal in his voice escalating it quickly. I could tell if I didn’t put the water in we were going to have a long night. Two more minutes of water saved hours of him being upset. When the bath was done I stood in my bathroom for two or three moments preparing myself for the possibility of two or three hours for sleep to happen. Luckily, it was only an hour tonight. I think about his smile and that pushes me through the sadness. I get emotional because this is so hard for my sweet baby O. This is so hard for me. He still cries out every day for the school routine that’s gone and asks for places we can’t go. There are no words to make this easier for him. And according to him, he didn’t have enough “swrimp”. Breakfast shrimp was requested throughout the day, but the dude still ate everything else that was put in front of him. Growing Owen is what we do. One day at a time I remind myself, trying not to be mean to my own soul because I don’t always have the answers, but I have the love. He fell asleep in my arms and with that, I knew it would be okay. Don’t let worry steal your sunshine. Some days are hard, but tomorrow the sun will shine again. Smiles to all and donut daze!
There was a bag near the door filled with a few items that I needed to put away. I asked Owen to bring the bag to me describing it in detail. He wasn’t even two feet from it, he touched it, and kept looking around bewildered. I try to make him find things every day and bring them to me. This is an extremely hard task for him. We play I Spy and he does well with finding random colors, running to the items, but adding too many steps to the process are daunting for him. I have to breathe and let it go. It’s emotional for me. I have to push him to try new things without upsetting him. Owen is not a big sweets eater but he loves chocolate almond milk. For a while, I couldn’t get him to drink anything else. Now he is actually asking for apple juice, I think it’s only because a character has asked for it on one of the videos he likes, but hey he’s asking for it and drinking it. That’s a win in my book. He’s tried numerous new foods today and vanilla almond milk with chocolate syrup was one of them. I have to gauge what to surprise him on and what to explain to him that it will be different or new. He knows that he always has to try one bite of food and then he can decide if he likes it. He now says, “try it yum yum you like it” before he even puts one bite to his mouth, generally with a snarled up nose. For his milk, I showed him that it was vanilla, but we were going to make it chocolate. I had already put the syrup in and I had him help me stir it. That’s an action he still has difficulty with so we did it together. He drank it down requesting more since I hadn’t put much in his cup. For first lunch, since he really didn’t have much for breakfast, I made southwest rice and beans dish. He hadn’t eaten them in quite some time. This took some convincing but he agreed to try it. He ate it all and he did it mostly with his spoon, me helping him push it on there. He still wants to use his fingers to eat it. Our internet was out for hours today. To say this was stressful is an understatement. But Owen handled it like a champ with only a few dozen moments of unhappiness. He’s come so far and today proves it. I walk on eggshells trying to keep him from going into a meltdown over something like the internet, but we got through it together. A backup modem is coming tomorrow and bedtime is soon. We probably have this covered. I think it’s today’s shrimp I see on my floor and not yesterday’s. Have broom will sweep and more coffee to the rescue. For the love of Owen, I’m growing and learning. Be the change you want to see in the world and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
It seemed like it was only thirty-six bathroom trips before Owen fell asleep, but really it was four. Last night he woke me up to go potty, and that he did. It’s the first time he had done that and I was startled that he was screaming about it, but thankful he told me. Tonight, trip after trip of the uneventful nature, but what am I supposed to do. The only thing is I’ve got myself a sensory baby that loves water and much faster than me. Okay, so that took a big sip of coffee to think about, maybe two. Owen has no fear of the toilet and I can’t stand them. I never imagined in a million years that toilet talk would be the conversation I have with Owen throughout our day. He likes to play in it, the water is so tempting. And he saw the fear in my eyes when he did it and now game on. I try not to think about it. Sometimes there’s a sadness you have to push past. There’s no greater love than I have for my child, but when I say his name ten times and he can’t process that I need him to respond it’s emotional. There’s a loneliness that washes over you and you have to push through it. Some days it’s more he is ignoring me because he doesn’t want to do something or he knows he is doing something he shouldn’t, like screaming as he turns the tv volume up as loud as it will go. But there are still moments where I’m asking him a question and he retreats. It’s too much for him to comprehend at that moment so he shuts down. I can see the difference. I can hear it with the sounds he makes and then the actions he does. I looked down on the floor and I see some “swrimp” I missed when I was sweeping up from dinner, more coffee needed. When he finally let himself rest tonight, he laid in my arms, and said, “night night baby I wuv ewe” in my accent as he drifted off to sleep. His words flowed more today, connecting with what he was trying to say. I’m thankful for his words, thankful for his smile, and thankful that he knows I love him. I’m learning and growing just like my sweet baby O. I tell him all the time we are a team and together we will figure this out. Never give up and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen is in whirlwind mode. And I seem to be in slow motion. He’s doing much better on potty training today and telling himself to go. He wanted shrimp again for breakfast, but I convinced him that French toast was a good choice. He ate it all. I just couldn’t handle the shrimp mess first thing this morning. My sensory child is in full swing when he has shrimp. He is still learning the process of eating. I truly never understood how much my child would go through to learn a skill. And I’m trying to not get emotional about it. If I don’t remind Owen to stay in his seat he will jump up and down next to his seat, if not run through the entire house holding a piece of shrimp, even trying to eat it as he runs. He can use utensils, but it’s still not an easy task for him and generally, even if he gets it to his mouth with a fork he will take it back out with his hand picking it apart to eat it. He doesn’t really take a bite of something and then put it back on his plate. Even if something is a bite-size piece he will pull it apart and put it in his mouth, rolling the other part in his hands. Sometimes when he is distracted and isn’t wearing shoes his food goes straight in his toes. He is constantly touching his hair or coming to me and wanting to touch my hair. I generally have as much of his food on me as he does. And the floor is covered in it as well. I’m trying to keep him more focused during meals. Reminding him to eat with his fork or spoon and helping him load it again after he gets a bite. Then there are times you just have to breathe. He ate all his shrimp, he told me he was “done with dinNER” and off he ran to play. I said, wash your hands first and he actually took the detour right to the bathroom. He even went to the potty. He shut the door and then opened the door angling it so he could see the reflection in the doorknob, only to cover his eyes with one hand from the light shining into the room from the window. The overthinking starts trying to figure out which particular changes would make the bathroom better for him. Or if I make changes will those changes be worse than how the bathroom is setup now. Once again breathing through the overthinking and instead, reflecting on the happy screams that are coming from the living room as he turns the volume way up on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, only to run towards me saying, “turn it down dats too loud”, multiple times, laughing as he does it. Hey, at least he knows the rule and “tonight on de magical world of Disney soonyer” is taking over. There are days that don’t go according to plan and moments in time I want to cry, but when Owen comes running to me saying, “hug pwease I wuv ewe” I know everything is going to be alright. Reflect on the good, push away the moments of sadness, and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. When all else fails, succeed at something else. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The emotional rollercoaster was in full swing throughout the day, for both of us. I slept better last night than I’ve slept in months and I thought Owen did as well, but it seems like exhaustion carried him through his day. Yawning and emotions were prevalent at every turn. There were so many great moments, but sadness washed over me still. He sang many songs, played his instruments, and even danced a little watching his feet and hands move at their pace. But this isolation has been so hard for both of us. Especially him. Every phone call I get he comes running to me, putting his ear up against my head so he can hear. He screams if he hears someone he knows, walks away if he doesn’t recognize the person, and cries out if he hears the word “school”. Potty training was rough today. And he comes to me with his tablet throughout the day asking me to find “need to go potty”. This at first made me extremely happy that he was trying to watch some of the videos we’ve watched before about potty training until I realized he is wanting to watch videos about people putting things in toilets to see what they do. Why people, why record things going in toilets. Every few moments he was running to the bathroom. Luckily for me, he was not taking anything to the toilet and he’s not really interested in flushing my toilet, yet. I can’t get upset with him about the video either or tell him not to watch them because he then will watch them more. I learned this the hard way and now he says word for word the video he’s not supposed to watch after only watching it a couple of times. I suppose on that one I have two things going for me. He doesn’t understand the words that they were saying and add in his accent and still learning to pronounce some of the letters I’m then probably the only one that will know. Blocking, that has my head spinning because as soon as I think I have something blocked he either finds a way around it or pulls it up on another device or the tv that’s smarter than me. Momma got up her game. Some days I think about taking the tablet away, he doesn’t need all the stimulation, but then I look at all the incredible things he has learned from using it and I can’t imagine him not having it. He was playing his drum today and he sang a quick version of Old MacDonald. As soon as he was done he said, “good job now farmer and de dell you can do it”. His words of encouragement to himself remind me that we should all do that. I encourage him all the time, but I’m hard on myself. Learning to let go is easier said than done. Dream today of the tomorrow you want and don’t settle for less. You deserve it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“It’s not a problem”, Owen said to me when I tried to convince him to come eat his breakfast. He was watching the tv that he knows how to work better than me. Instead of coming he turned the volume way up and said, “I’m gonna take it away”. So I may have said that a time or ten and I suppose I should start following through with it. By the time I try to react to one thing he has moved on and had my attention for the next phase of what hoops we will be jumping through. As soon as he opened his eyes this morning he started talking about the ducks. I’m not really sure what ducks he was even talking about, but they were of great concern. He quickly moved on from them though and laid there talking to me in words I couldn’t understand. He laughed and said, “wanna go potty let’s go potty”. He emphasizes the word potty almost like it’s a “poTAY” waiting to happen. He started to get out of bed, but he hung on the edge instead. He literally was hanging off the edge of the bed, one foot dangling down, holding on with the rest of his body. He has no fear and doesn’t understand how falling can hurt him. School was the topic of discussion again. He repeated the word “school” contentiously for at least twenty minutes straight, besting his foot to the ground, and then sporadically throughout the day. My heart aches for him. He yelled, “school’s over” I don’t know how many times as well. He can’t process it. It was taken away from him so abruptly and I had no time to prepare him. Plus, not having any activities for him to go through is extremely hard. All I can do is pray that he understands I’m still here for him. I keep asking him if he wants to talk to his teacher or watch her videos, but that leads to more meltdowns. I remind myself one day at a time. We were sitting at dinner and Owen said to me “you need a hug”. Yes, yes I do. Through the rain, the sun will still find a way to shine. Never give up. Know that tomorrow can be extraordinary and together we can make a difference. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I can tell you exhaustion doesn’t even cover what I’m feeling right now. They always say don’t put the cart before the horse, well my horse ran away a long time ago. Some days I don’t even know where to begin, end, or middle. Owen has been ready to go since he woke up. Everything was good and everything was also emotional for both of us. He has it in his mind that he wants a computer tower. He calls it “box”. We have a laptop that he can use, but he wants the tower like the kind he uses at grandma’s house. And when my child gets something on his mind it is on his mind. He shares it as many times as he can in ten seconds and then comes back through and shares it again. Some days I can’t even think. I turn the tv off only for him to turn his tablet on or the tv back on. I turn the volume low and he turns it up high. And then in the middle of it all, he runs yelling he has to go potty, only he probably should have gone twenty minutes sooner, but didn’t once respond to me telling him to go potty. I think I’m somehow supposed to be in charge, but it never really feels like that some days. Something the light did in the bathroom made him scream. There’s a window in the bathroom that’s frosted. The sun will shine through it depending on the time of day. He was going to the bathroom and the sun shifted I guess. He immediately put his hands on his face and started screaming about “de light”. I try not to panic, but all I kept thinking was please, oh please do not make him scared of the bathroom again. When he was much younger he was scared of the tub. It literally changed in one day, but it took me months to get him back into the bathroom. I filled a huge plastic tote every night with about an inch full of water giving him a bath in the living room. Slowly each night I moved it towards the bathroom. Years later he still takes a bath inside the totes, inside the tub. The totes have grown with him. Now the showerhead is started to upset him. All I can do is breathe. I never imagined how daunting the world would be for my sweet baby O. He shared a lot of words today though. I haven’t been able to get his chocolate almond milk for the last couple of deliveries. He’s been doing really good with understanding he only had “nanilla” milk. He went through all the milk choices, telling me the colors. He said, “I want chocolate milk pwease I want brown we have nanilla white one”. His words fill my heart with gladness. Even on my daunting days, his smile gets me through. I tell myself not to worry about what’s happening at the moment, but continue to grow for the next. Celebrate your victories. Know that each one of them is important. Let today be your guide for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Night night baby”, he said, in his little southern accent. Owen has this way of saying my words or other people’s in their tones and inflections. It amazes me how he does it. It still sounds like him too, but when he says, “night night baby” I hear my voice loud and clear. My child has become a bottomless pit and asking for food, mainly “swrimp” constantly. He asked for chicken for dinner. We were out driving around and every time we passed a restaurant we had been to he asked for chicken. When he was in school and I would pick him up I would take him sometimes to the drive-thru and get chicken nuggets and French fries. When we got home I make him chicken and macaroni and cheese. He ate it all. Right when I was getting him ready for bed he said, “swrimp pwease”. Well, of course, you can have shrimp, I told him. And the dude ate it all. I’ve had our groceries delivered for about a year now and it’s really helped because stores are so hard on Owen and it would be even harder right now with all the rules to even attempt to take him. When I was still learning about all us sensory needs and what they meant I remember taking him to the grocery store and towards the middle to the back of the store he wouldn’t scream, but as soon as I’d reach the middle of the aisle up to the front of the store he would get so upset. I remember turning around so many times in the middle of the aisles instead of going down the full row. It felt daunting and exhausting to take him. I remember the first time someone said anything to me about how he was acting and it still brings a lump in my throat. I thought you don’t enough know how hard it is for me to even walk out my door with my child, let alone come to a store when I know he’s going to be upset and you’re going to tell me how this is bothering you. I wanted to tell them how their words crushed my soul, but I kept walking. I thought it takes as much time to encourage someone as it does to discourage them. A different grocery store I couldn’t even get Owen past the front doors. As soon as I would try to go in the store the pure panic I heard wash over him still brings tears to my eyes. And imagine if you have no other choice you have to go get your groceries. I started changing the times I would go to the store. I would race in for a few quick items while he was still with the sitter or his grandma. I remember the day he asked for ice cream. We were at church. He wanted to go get ice cream and I told him that meant we were going to the store. I knew he really didn’t want to eat the ice cream since he wasn’t a big sweets fan, but he wanted to go so I took him. He did great. But that twenty minutes we were in the store carried on for weeks after that. He never ate the ice cream, but wanted to look at it every day. Some days he would ask to go back to the store, but as soon as I said we could he was screaming no. He’s still not a huge fan of going to the store, but he will. However, restaurants that’s where it’s all at. But that was years in the making. Don’t give up. The challenges we face today will help us grow for tomorrow. Find your strength and keep pushing forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen stood there, the shrill sound beginning to form, his foot started tapping so his crinkled toes hit the floor, and he screams, “no shower today”. I was walking to my bedroom not even going to the bathroom. It happens to be in between our two rooms and is hard for him to handle. There are days he doesn’t focus on me going into the bathroom and other days he wants me to sit in the living room and not go in the bathroom at all. I thought this might change when he used it more himself, but his rules do not apply for me. For breakfast, Owen had shrimp after I asked him if he wanted waffles, French toast, or eggs. He requested “swrimp” for lunch, snack, and dinner. I let him have it again for dinner, but I made us chicken nachos for lunch. At first, he screamed because he wanted nothing to do with them. It was the first time I made them for him, plus he wanted shrimp. I told him he had to try the nachos and then after one bute he wanted a full plate of them. With his dinner shrimp, I made potato puffs, like a tater tot. Again something he didn’t even want on his plate, but I made him try one and he not only wanted more on his plate, saying “yum yum”, but he also finished them before his shrimp and was staring the ones down on my plate. When the oven went off for his shrimp we had been discussing that it takes a while to cook and they would be hot. He wanted them immediately and was getting upset they took so long. When the buzzer went off and he said, “I bet they are still hot” and I was excited about the connections he was making. His words flourished today and we worked on spelling. He spelled at least fifteen words, with very little help from me by sounding out the letters. And no screams from him for doing “work”. I love hearing him learn and growing. The journey for words has been a miracle in the making. One day at a time and him growing with each word. Sometimes I felt like he lost his words and it was a struggle for him to use them, but it was like he put those words on a shelf so he could learn something else and when he needed them he could use them. The journey is not always easy to explain, but the love sure is. Never give up on the miracle that will grow before your very eyes. Through challenges, the victories will emerge and greatness will happen. 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.