I took Owen to the bus stop this morning. There wasn’t anything much different than most days, except there was very thick fog. I tried to explain the fog to him, I want to talk to him about everything, but how do I explain the fog, how do I explain these moments. Owen will repeat my words, and phrases, trying to express what he needs, or wants. Sometimes, I hear my impatientness in his voice; his tone mimicking my tones, and expressions. It snaps me to my core, realizing the way I say things are exactly how he hears it, reflecting my moments of calm, or stress. “In a few minutes” he will say. It’s amazing how many tones I actually say that in, and that Owen will express. When we got home today, Owen started asking to take a bath. He wanted it immediately, but then he started asking to paint. I got everything ready to paint, and his bath concerns resurfaced. He yells, “it’s Monday when de timer goes off you can take a baff in a few minutes”. The words went on, and the emotions got stronger, all while wanting to paint, and then when we were painting. I don’t know if you ever get used to the screaming. And in the middle of his screaming, that was on the verge of a meltdown, he says, “wanna hug”, leaning into me for a kiss. I gave him a kiss, telling him it’s Tuesday. He went on to say, “it’s Tuesday timer go off you get a baff”. There is this invisible line that I have to try, and find, keeping Owen on this side of the meltdown. What do you give into, reinforcing those behaviors, and what do you allow, so a meltdown doesn’t occur. The fine invisible line was successfully avoided, and we stayed on this side of the meltdown. Dinner is being eaten, and then bath time will be had. Today, I find strength in knowing we are making progress. Owen’s smiling, the thought of a meltdown gone for now. Life isn’t always easy to explain, but know that your story is important. It may be different than ours, but someone needs to hear it. Share your story, share ours, and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
When I picked up Owen, I asked him about his day. I have been doing this for as long as I can remember. I ask him questions, filling in the answers, or at least making suggestions of what the answers could be. What did you have for lunch, did you work on your numbers, did you sing any new songs, did you meet any new friends, did you have fun after school, and the list goes on, answering each one as I say them. My heart wants to beat out of my chest with the emotions this causes me. But I do it anyways. I want him to understand conversations, I want him to know I’m listening, and I know the day will come when he answers, with his own answers. I try not to let the sadness swirl inside my soul. This is my baby. His new favorite song is The Bear Necessities. He will sing it, but sometimes he wants me to sing it. He’ll start with one note, sometimes he’ll say “oh”, waiting for me to finish the words. The line he wants to sing is exactly the line I need to hear; “the bear necessities the simple bear necessities forget about your worries and your strife”. Some days I feel like I need a rod in my back to keep me standing tall, and walking forward; like a wilting flower that need support through the elements of weather. I have to remind myself that Owen’s happy, learning, and growing. I tell myself to be kind to my soul, and I wonder if we set ourselves up for failures when we don’t encourage ourselves to see the complexity of life, and know that it’s going to be okay. I tell myself to breathe, look at where we stand today, and to know there are great things to come. Live, love, and smile. Know that through the rain there will be sunshine that comes. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
One, two, three, breathe. And one, two, three, breathe. Owen is full of emotions today. He screamed for the better part of an hour. He asked to paint. I told him we could as soon as we finished lunch. No sooner had the words escaped my mouth when the screams happened. At the top of his lungs he went back, and forth between the words “be nice”, and “banana”. It was almost like he couldn’t distinguish which words to use. He started off “be ni”, quickly changing it to “be nana”; really emphasizing the “B”. Once those words were in his mind, he couldn’t let go off them; until he realized we hadn’t finished talking about painting, and what he really wanted to do, which was “take a baff”. A couple of times we’ve painted later in the day, before bedtime, so he has taken a bath then. Now I think he associates painting, and bath together. He slept all night in his bed, woke up happy, has had only a few behavioral issues, but in general, it’s been a great day; except the constant screaming. I have a thousand things to do, but sitting tends to be the easiest. If I try to do something it upsets Owen, to the point of more screaming. Autism is much about how I handle it, as it is about Owen having it. I try not to think about the coulda, woulda, shoulda beens, and concentrate on the moment; sometimes that’s easier said than done. He’s moved on from the screaming, and the bath for the moment; only because I set a timer for when he could take a bath. The timer is now used for everything. As winter is turning into spring; Owen earlier wanted his jacket on, not because he was cold, but because it is supposed to be on, it will take a while for him to adjust to not needing to wear one. He said, “when the timer goes off you can wear a jacket”. He’s learning to express his needs, and wants, telling me in the way he can; especially about wanting to take a bath. Find happiness in the world around, share your smile, and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
We had a great morning. Owen slept all night in his bed, only coming to my bed right before six. We laid there for awhile; talking, and laughing. He got up with his milk request; off he ran to get his tablet, turn on the lights, and then get his milk out of the refrigerator. I still laid in bed for a few more minutes; Owen running back, and forth between the rooms. I got up, and fixed us breakfast. He laughed so much this morning; big, cheesy smiles, and his whole belly, shaking laughter. I love hearing him say new words. One of the apps he has, says, “stupendous”. I told him we were going to go bowling soon, and Owen yells out “it’s sue pandas”. He had an excellent time bowling, doing his new signature move, the spin. I love how excited he gets about bowling. We left, and I asked him if he wanted to go someplace else. I told him he could “take a ride”; that means being pushed in his stroller. He wanted to go, but as we were heading to the mall, the meltdown, crushing stoplight got us. It wouldn’t change to green. It felt like a million years sitting there. I could hear the meltdown coming, and there was nothing I could do. I asked him to count, I rapid fired questions at him, and I told him I loved him; that’s all I could do. The screams were earth shaking, but the tears are heartbreaking. He screamed the entire way home, through his tears, at the top of his lungs; I cried with him. Instead of walking at the mall, I took him for a walk around the neighborhood. He was calmer, but as soon as we got home his emotions were there again. It’s a helpless feeling knowing there is nothing I can do to calm my baby when something like a stoplight causes him to have so many emotions. Is it the vibrations from my car, is it the way he sits at the light, is it something he once saw; all I can do is tell him I love him, until I can get him out of his seat to give him a big hug. He’s calmer now, hours later; I still have tears swimming in my eyes. His screams are still echoing in my mind, as I try to erase that moment. His words are so important to me, for moments like this, and all I can do is pray that more words will come, so he can let me know how to help him. Use your voice for good, spread joy, and know that together we can make a difference in this world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days are an emotional rollercoaster; today has been one for the books. There are things truly beyond my control, but what should be the simplest of things will have my mind spinning for days. I get mad at myself for the things I haven’t accomplished, instead of praising myself for putting one foot in front of the other. I haven’t gotten much sleep the last few nights. Owen has somehow learned how to become a triangle that takes up all four corners of my bed. When I got out of bed this morning, he immediately started yelling at me. I leaned over to kiss him, and told him he could stay in bed, that I was going to the bathroom. In a million years I never realized how the layout of a house could be so hard for my child. The bathroom is in between our bedrooms, this wakes him up, if I have go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. In the mornings, from our bedrooms you can see the lights in the kitchen, this wakes him up. This list goes on, and on. And today was one of those days that everything got him. When we came home this afternoon, I asked Owen if he wanted to go for a ride; that means in his stroller. He said, yes, but I told him we had to go inside first, then we could go. As soon as we walked in the door he took his clothes off. I asked him if he wanted to go for a ride, he said, no. So, hours later, he wants to “go for a ride let’s go for a ride”. The rules were set, he had to finish his dinner first, and then we could go if it was still light outside. Approximately every thirty seconds he asked to go for a ride. We went for a ride. He ate most of his dinner, and I think it was good for us to be out in the night air. Bedtime is fast approaching, and I think we are both ready. He greeted everyone we saw with his trademark grin, and a big “hi”. I’m thankful for my sweet baby O’s smile, it’s what gets me through our days. Today’s emotions are only one step in this journey. Let yesterday go, and focus on the joys of tomorrow. You can make your own sunshine, even through the rain. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I went to bed as soon as I could last night. Owen, and I both seemed exhausted. He now falls asleep on the couch, and then I move him to his bed. He’s still tiny, so it’s easy to move him, but that day is coming when I will not be able to carry him. His bed is one of those things I thought I over-thought it all the way through, but it wasn’t. It’s higher off the ground with a storage area underneath, that I thought he could use a hideout; a little sensory room. But instead the height makes it that much more fun for him to jump off of, and throw things from. The other reason I got it was because there is an edge almost the entire way around the bed, except where the ladders go; this part is perfect for my acrobatic, tossing, and turning son, but it’s hard for me to get in, and out of it I want to lay with him until he would fall asleep. Me getting out of his bed is the same as having a herd of elephants run through our house, and it wakes him every time I try to get out. And for some reason me standing next to his bed does not help him fall asleep either. It was becoming a two, or three hour a night ritual for him to go to sleep. So asleep on the couch has become our go to thing. There were so many things I didn’t understand what it would meant to raise a sensory child. My emotions were getting the best of me for a moment, but Owen snapped me back to the moment we are in. He’s sitting, attached to my hip, at the moment. He could feel my emotions, and he said the simple word “hi”. There is nothing simple about that word for him. It’s taken him great effort to learn to say it, but it’s also packed with his own emotions; and as much as he can tell that I’m upset, I can tell the same thing with the tone he says “hi” in. I’m learning to not cry as much when Owen is around. It’s very hard on him, and that makes it harder on me. So tonight, as we both sit here yawning, and in our own emotions, I think about starting bedtime, and all the ways I hope I can make his bedtime routine better. He reached for my hand, and smiled. That’s what gets me through my days. Give someone your smile today, they may need it more than you can ever imagine. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept all night in his bed. I could tell he was still tired when he got up. He ran towards me, and I scooped him up for a hug. I sat on the couch, holding him, and he didn’t move out of my arms for several minutes. I love those moments when they feel calm. He wasn’t worried about anything, and neither was I, for at least thirty seconds. I got him ready, still having a calm morning, and off to the bus stop we went. He had the same reactions as we passed the building, as we did before. The smiles are huge. He was having a great morning. When we got to the bus stop, he was more animated than normal. Every time a car stopped at one of the stop signs, he yelled, “hi everybody it’s Owen”, trying to look at the cars, and looking at his backwards hand to see it waving, all while jumping up, and down. His excitement, and the connections, made me overwhelmed with gladness. This is my little boy, he has trouble connecting himself to his name, and yet here he was yelling who he was. These are the moments that propel me through our days. These tiny steps are the hugest of victories. Nobody heard him in those cars, they didn’t stop to talk to him, but the pure joy he was expressing was wonderful. I stood there, as the bus drove away with my sweet baby O, and I thought about all that lead up to this moment. It’s not easy for him to process everything, and yet the connections that he is forming with his body are shining through. Owen is starting to wave greetings to people; I never knew if that day would come, even though I believed in him. He can count to two with hand now, as well. Keep moving forward my sweet baby O, keep moving forward. Every step forward is a step, embrace it, and know there are still great things to come. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sometimes I marvel at the gift I was given of my son. His laughter, his spirit, his smile can brighten my day quicker than anything else in the world. The shadows bouncing off the wall of a building as we were walking towards the bus stop, had Owen laughing this morning. I’m not sure if it was the shadows, but he does this a lot, as we walk by this building. He walks sideways, with me, so he can look at it, sometimes covering one of his eye as we go. It’s like a full belly gut laugh, and I can’t help but chuckle. We had to stop numerous times for, “one more hug pwease”. And when we got to the bus stop, he said, “I wuv hugs”, repeating the word “love” over, over again, trying to process how to say the phrase. He reached out to hug me, making a kissy noise like I make when I kiss him, and his hand motioning “I love you”, in sign language. He can only extend his pointer finger, and thumb. He hasn’t quite figured out how to extend his pinky in the motion. He didn’t want to get out of my bed this morning, that he crawled into around four, but he still wanted to go see his teacher. The routine of school is what he needs; the structure of knowing what he is going to do every day helps him. My heart already aches about summer. It’s change, and change means it’s harder on Owen. And I’m already thinking about two years away, not next school year, but the one completely after that. He’ll have his same teacher next, or should have her, but then after that he will go to a whole different school, with a new teacher. My heart skipped a beat as I thought about it yesterday. I have to prepare him for those changes, and help him understand that he will no longer be in his beloved teacher’s class. Tea is sipped to try to stop the swimming tears in my eyes. One day at a time, I remind myself once again. I want my sweet baby O to keep thriving, and growing. Remember that life is what you make it, last yesteryear go, and be motivated for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen’s off to school, and now I’m sitting. I laid in bed longer than I should, he laid right next to me. I wasn’t sure if I would be met with screams, as I got up, so I laid there as long as possible. Once I did get up, he still laid there. I went to the bathroom, and he was still in bed. I went to the kitchen, turned on the light, and he still hadn’t moved. I jumped on the scale, because that’s what you do when you tell yourself you’re on a diet, but still eating like you would on any other day, and he was still in bed. I started fixing some hot tea, when Owen zoomed past me; running to turn the living room light on. No screaming. He walked back to me, “wanna milk”, he said, opening the refrigerator, and getting his cup out. He went on, “wanna cracker momma get ewe some cracker pwease”. I explained that it was morning, and I would give him cereal. His reaction is always the same, “more cracker pwease”, and then started asking for his teacher. His beloved veggie straws are always top choice. I wish I knew how he started calling them crackers. He was very calm this morning, as we got him ready for school. He loves school, and his teacher. I can’t imagine if he didn’t want to go to school. As we walked towards the bus stop, I saw the spot ahead of us that Owen always trips on. The sidewalk has uneven pavement from settling over time. I stopped to point it out to Owen. I bent down to show him that it was sticking up, explaining that he needed to watch where he walks; he never does. So many times I’ve had to catch him as he trips, having it almost pull both of us over. Many times I’ve thought the city should fix it. I wanted to call them, I wanted to alert the media, I wanted to cry, but this patch of pavement isn’t cracked, or broken, it doesn’t even stick up an inch from the other ones. There are a lot worse sections, this is just where Owen trips. Today, as I was showing Owen the spot, I realized I had options. I could have him walk on the other side of me, but you never know what would trip him up over there. One step at a time, I told myself. Every step we take is a growing experience, for both of us. Jump right over that stumbling blocks, and know that you can achieve great things. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Donut mocha coffee and tea tea tea”, Owen walked up to me, and said. Okay, so I talk a lot about food, and especially all of the things he listed, but it really made me ponder, how he came up with that order. He loves watching the cooking shows on the Disney Junior channel, and any other ones he can find on YouTube Kids. He plays several kid apps that have to make coffee, or food. He will say, “coffee is done”, like in the apps. I started taking him to the coffee shop, so he could see the steps in real life; now he asks to go all the time. I couldn’t sleep last night, I kept waking up as soon as I’d fall asleep. Somewhere around two, Owen got into bed with me. Not much sleep after that for me, and he seemed to toss, and turn, as well. When he woke, he immediately started asking for his teacher. I told him it was Sunday, so then it changed to church. We thrive on routine. We still had many hours until we could go, but he was ready. He had a great morning, we came home from church, and he ate a huge lunch; then he got it in his head that he wanted to take a bath, and go to bed. Bath, yes, I think he wanted that, but bed, he was only saying that because it’s what follows a bath, generally. When Owen wants to do something, he repeats the words over, and over, and over again. “Let’s take a baff”, “baff it’s baff time”, “I want to take a baff pwease”, and “baff baff baff baff baff”, are a few of the phrases that he repeated for over two hours, throwing in bedtime occasionally. I try to explain to him that he can’t repeat things constantly, that he needs to work through those moments, but he still doesn’t understand anything besides instant gratification. I have to breathe. He then resorted to “when de timer goes off you can have baff time you can have it”; overemphasizing the word “can”, meaning he really wanted it. At this point he changed to asking about painting. He figured if he “finished de work you can take a baff” might work. So, he’s had his bath, and the minute he got out, he asked, “wanna take a baff”. To say the least my dude likes water, and I’ve got him signed up for swimming lessons. I used to think it was all about growing Owen, and it is, but I see where it’s about my own personal growth, as well. My emotions run thick some days. Today, I’ve tried to be strong, but I feel like my own epic meltdown will happen after he goes to bed. Learn to let go of yesterday, find strength in yourself, and make tomorrow your best day yet. Smiles to all and donut daze!