Sometimes routine has to be broken. There are times when it is good to push our limits, both of our limits, but it can also cause spiraling emotions ahead. Last night we went over to a friend’s house for dinner. It definitely pushed our limits, but it was great for us to do. Owen has expectations of how his day should go or even when we do things together. When he goes to someone’s house he doesn’t expect me to stay. And if I do stay, he expects us to not stay long. He did great though. We ate dinner, he interacted with our friends, and he listened really well. When we got home, he still wanted to go through his same routine even though it was later than normal. He slept through the night, coming to me a little earlier than our normal wake up time, but then fell asleep for another hour. This simple excursion is not so simple to me. It’s a mind boggling game of putting all the right pieces in the right place, praying for it to all go smoothly, and no meltdowns after the fact. And last night was picture perfect. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it about Owen having it. The sky is the limit for Owen, we just have to work through the layers to get there. He asks every day for his teacher, he gets to see her next week when summer school starts and for this I’m thankful. He loves riding the bus there, he loves being in the school atmosphere , and he loves riding the bus home. Today we push forward. It’s great to see my little boy thriving and learning. Owen inspired me every day to grow. Find your inspiration, be motivated, and watch your world grow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days are like the waves crashing on the rock, nestled back in the distance from our view. Other days the waves come crashing on to shore, but I can handle what is thrown at me. Today is one of those days I want to cry; the waves are pushing me on my own island. Even with all of my emotions, I realized the beauty of where we are at today. My sweet baby O has come so incredibly far. His words, his expressions, his smile, getting bolder, and more interactive every day. Autism is not what I expected. Some days I cry out to God, please give me calm today. Yesterday, as I was thinking and praying I realized again the gifts that my son has given me. Because of him, I am learning to paint. And this has given me a completely new lease on life. I always said I couldn’t paint. But the truth was I couldn’t paint perfection. Owen and I started painting together to help him with his fine motor skills. He has trouble with the motions of using a pen or utensils, anything like that. We do a hand-over-hand method and he helps me paint the backgrounds to our art. Learning through love, the perfection comes from imperfections in our art. We have to learn to reflect our own happiness and know that there is nothing we can’t do if we keep trying. Owen asks me every day to paint. I ask him what he wants paint and he will say “wanna paint a background” or sometimes he will ask to paint a church. When I look at our paintings I see how far we have come and if we can make one person smile through our art then every emotions poured into them is worth it. Last night Owen crawled into my arms, told me he loved me and fell asleep. There is no greater joy than to be his momma. I find comfort in knowing he is happy and he is growing. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Believe in yourself, know that you can accomplish great things, and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept all night in his bed again. At seven years of age this still shocks me. Shocks me because he doesn’t most nights and shocks me when he does. You would think by now I would be used to it, but I’m not. He woke happy and hungry. He has been eating more lately and the coolest thing ever is when he tells me what he wants. He will say, “want some turkey pwease”. There’s a great feeling when he can express his needs and wants. I’m still trying to find more foods that he will eat. He’s not a big sweet eater, unlike his momma, and he prefers crunchy foods or meats to anything else. He will eat things like hummus, egg salad, and salsa quickly, but you hand him a cookie and it may or may not be eaten. If he doesn’t have his shoes on food is automatically put between his toes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “we don’t put food between our toes” and he has proven me wrong. Phrasing is everything. Owen is very in tune with the texture of foods. And he is becoming more aware of it, as well. He loves to not only stick food in his toes but rub it across his face. He had no concept of messy but likes order in the chaos. He wants everything in its spot, almost routine in nature for the items. It’s like he sees the picture of how everything should look and when the picture has something in the wrong place it needs to be corrected. If I go through the house putting things in different places he will go back through and put them where he needs them to go. It’s also the same for the lights in our house. There are certain ones that can only be on for certain moments in time. I can’t walk into my bedroom, turn on the light, realize I left something in the other room, go get it, and expect the bedroom light to still be on. He will run from whatever room he is in to turn it off if he wasn’t already following me, to begin with. It’s a slow process to change these wheels in motion. I will tell him to leave the light on, even when I’m standing in the room, he will turn them off. One step at a time we go through the motions of life. I try to explain to him why we do the things we do. Today and always we grow together, learning and loving, that’s what we do. Life isn’t always easy to explain, but your story is important, you are important. Keep moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I’m sad. Beyond sad really. You’re be-bopping along and things go backwards. How can we go months with great success in potty training and then in one day we go back to the beginning. He’s still learning what his body does, but there is nothing that prepares you for your child fecal smearing. There is this desolate feeling when you can’t imagine why it is happening and how to change it. And I can’t spin the emotional wheel of Russian roulette, letting them all come out; I have to stay focused, try to make Owen understand what to do, and keep moving forward. I have to think about Owen’s strengths and all that he is accomplishing. I have to keep his smile in my gaze. I couldn’t believe he slept all night in his bed. I rejoice those moments. Not that I slept all night in my bed, but at least I slept some. I tried to do some laundry yesterday. Every time I would move a pile he would scream “it making de noise” and put it back into the hamper. He wanted me to sit, watching him. He didn’t really want me to play with him, but he wanted to sit next to me. He did want to paint, but I think it was more so he could take a bath. I found a new toy that creates a shower like effect for him in the tub since he is scared of the actual shower. One step at a time I tell myself. Hoping that by giving him these types of toys it will comfort his anxiety for the actual shower. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. My emotions feel like a knife cutting me over and over again in the same spot, hoping for calm to wash over me. In all of this, I see my sweet baby O as happy. I know that we both have to grow and experience life. We are a team and today we become stronger. Find your strength, know that your story is important, and focus on your future. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Pull pull”, Owen squeals from the back seat. “Pants are off”, he continues. When my head tells me to do something I should do it, but somehow I convinced myself his pants would be fine. The dude had another growth spurt. His pants are ever so slightly too short for him. They come right at where his shoe meets the edge of his pants, instead of them covering his shoe. When he was at home and sitting on the couch he noticed. When he was standing he was fine with them. I should have changed them, but I thought it would be okay since as soon as he stood he wasn’t concerned with them anymore. But here we are heading off to church, sitting. Counting, singing, animal naming, the distractions began. I just had to keep driving. He started noticing more and more about what he is wearing, maybe because I point it out more. I explained to him that he had a growth spurt and his pants were a little shorter now. He starts yelling, “too short”. He always wants me to be in specific clothes, at specific times, but he hasn’t been aware of his clothes. Now he is. Once we got to church he moved on from it, but back in the car, he was well aware his pants were not fine. Textures, colors, and design all play a big part in what Owen likes or doesn’t like. And it seems like he is really beginning to notice it more and more. When I put his socks on him today, he moved them multiple times. He never does this. He’s growing into his body. My job is to help him understand it and listen to his concerns. Those pants are moving on and he is moving up a size. Grow Owen, grow. I’m learning and growing, too. Learn from yesterday and grow for tomorrow. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I can’t wait to go bowling with Owen. I’m excited to see how he does. He’s very animated today; full of words and expression. He’s also hungry. Or like his momma, wants to talk about food. He asked for veggie straws this morning, but he didn’t even say the word “cracker” like he normally calls them. He actually asked for “veggie straw pwease”. I work with Owen on his manners and how to interact with people. This isn’t something that comes naturally for him. As we were leaving his daycare yesterday, he told them, “thank you”. I was excited for many reasons. I didn’t have to prompt him to say it and he said only the words “thank you”. I will say to him, “tell them thank you”. So, when he says it he will say the whole thing and occasionally adding “you’re welcome” to his string of words. This is huge progress. He is beginning to understand how sentence structure works and the usage of words in situations. There’s a calmness for me in his words and his bright blue eyes shining back at me. His words mean communication and being able to express what he needs and wants. That gives me hope for his independence and his future. Once upon a time Owen struggled to look at me, the doctors told me he probably wouldn’t talk, and the world became big and scary to both of us. At that moment in time, I chose to believe in my child and know that all things are possible. Every single day I tell him he is amazing and he can do anything he sets his mind to. As he looks over at me and says, “I wuv ewe”, there is no doubt in my mind he will accomplish great things and already has. If you can do anything today it is to believe in yourself, in your child, and in the world around you. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sometimes you just gotta break out of the box you’ve created for yourself. And let me tell you how hard that is. Summer vacation means all kinds of changes for Owen. The routine is thrown out of the window and one transition after another happens. Owen went to a new daycare. I tried to explain this to Owen. I tried to explain it to myself. Owen didn’t understand why he had to go. More new people to meet, again. I knew in my heart of hearts that it would be fine, but still, there are those transitions we have to work through. The release of his energy comes after the event. He could have a great day and everything could present itself as fine, but then when the day is done all those emotions coming hurling at you that he has to find a way to let go of. Last night he did beautiful after his first day. There were a few hills and valleys, but we counted through the moments, sang when we couldn’t count anymore and I rejoice the progress he is making. He was excited to go today. He ran to the things he wanted to play with and casually looked over at me as I left. The letting go of the worry is one of the hardest parts of this journey in this thing called life. Owen doesn’t always take to new environments or new people. I go with his emotions. I watch how he reacts to situations and then I go from there. A moment in time can last days, weeks, months, and years later. Owen is still talking about our power that was out months ago, asking for his jacket every day, and we talk about everything being at the North Pole with Santa Claus. Through Owen’s smile, I feel stronger. I know that we are both learning and growing in our own ways. Keep pushing forward, break the walls of the box you are in, and let yourself shine. Smiles to all and donut daze!
When something isn’t routine how do you explain it. Summer is anything but routine for us.And with that said I see growth. Not only in Owen but in me. Or maybe I’m getting thicker skin. Maybe it’s more I’m learning to go with the flow. Either way there’s changes in both of us. But still there are moments it’s hard for us to process. I am trying to teach Owen directions so it will be easier for him in the car. For now everything is “turn left” or “straight up”. He gets upset if I don’t go the direction he wants me to go. I don’t know if that’s part of the routine aspect or that he wants me to drive someplace different. We will be driving down the road, going one direction, and I can hear him mimicking the turn signal noise, wanting me to turn. If I keep going the wrong direction, according to him, I can hear the anxiousness wash over him, and the squeal starts in his voice. The art of distraction is something that I’m working to perfect, knowing we have to take it one step at a time. Owen’s happy today and that makes momma happy. I’m trying to breakout of my own shell of worries. So many things upset Owen or cause meltdowns that I walk on eggshells, wrapped in glass, hoping to not upset the applecart, but here I grow again. There’s a fine line to pushing and letting a moment rest. I’m trying to learn how to show Owen that change is okay, even when I’m not convinced it is, even for me. I’m trying to learn to quiet my own anxiousness, hoping this helps Owen through his moments of anxiety. The calmer I am the calmer he is. Or so I hope. The main thing I’m learning is to breathe. Today is one day. Find hope when you think things are hopeless. Find strength when you think you have none left. And know that today’s worries will be gone in the tomorrows yet to come. I find strength in Owen’s smile and know that love will change the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke in a good mood. I woke exhausted and feeling defeated. He started asking for all the things I couldn’t give him. Top choice, school, and it went from there. I wish there was a year round school as an option for him. He wanted to go to church, the coffee shop, bowling, and to see several people we couldn’t go see. We moved on for a bit. I wish I could find a way to explain his days better to him. We have charts and calendars but there’s still not a connection to them. He loves the timer. But how do you explain that he won’t see his teacher for over fifteen thousand minutes until summer school begins. I don’t think the timer goes that high. Now to figure out how to use the timer in other types of scenarios or figure out how to make the timer translate into days. Maybe there’s an hourglass that is days. I have to think outside the box to find a visual representation for him that he understands. And maybe even one that uses sound. Oh, how the mind thinks and rethinks. I saw such huge progress with Owen through our morning though, trying to connect the dots of all the things he could be doing for his day. He knows his routine, so if it’s not school it’s bowling day and all that comes with it, and if it’s not bowling day then it must be church. These steps are all encouraging. I saw him thinking through each thing to say his words to me. He was very precise. His frustration of not being able to go the places he wanted to go was keeping him talking this morning, trying to express all the things he wanted. I look at my bright eyed boy and I know how far we’ve come. I’m thankful for his words. I’m thankful for his smile. And I’m thankful that we are a team. I remind myself that the doctors told me he might not talk. I remind myself of this because I know what he goes through every day to share his words with me. I tell him that he is amazing and he can do great things. And he is. Believe in yourself and the rest will follow. Positive words and positive actions equals a positive life. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Oh, what’s in a day. If it isn’t school than it’s coffee shop and bowling day. How do I explain it’s neither. As soon as Owen gets used to no school summer school will start. And then as soon as summer school ends he’ll be used to school again. The trend will continue through the end of his summer break. He’s growing so much and putting the pieces together. He has always referred to his beloved veggie straws as “cracker”. In the last few months, he has realized that when I’m not specifically talking to him I refer to them as veggie straws. He now asks for “cracker veggie straw”. I think about the first time we were sitting on our living room floor with his therapist and he asked for “nut”. That moment in time will be etched in my memory for my lifetime. I cried then, I cry now. He asked for a food, something he wanted to eat. Words are a stepping stone to a whole different type of independence for him. This morning, as we were driving in the car, he screamed and started crying. It was immediate. It hadn’t been a buildup to the cry, it was full on crying. We were driving, in traffic, I couldn’t pull over that second, I wanted to. I asked him to count to ten. I told him it would be okay, that he needed to talk to me. His words don’t always explain the situation, but today after he calmed down he started yelling about his shoe. I realized he kicked it off. He does this a lot. Once I determined what had happened I told him that we would put it on when we stopped. Momma gotta breathe sometimes. He was fine once I was able to put his shoe back on. I was fine after I think I counted to a million. Life is a journey. The key is not beating yourself up about where you have been, it’s about celebrating where you are going. 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.