Owen didn’t sleep through the night but once he came to me he fell back asleep quickly and then he slept until almost seven. He’s been falling asleep later and later it seems. As soon as he woke up he reminded me to “get gas to go to church” and that he needed to wear his “green shirt”. Yesterday we discussed how I would need to get gas on our way to church. When he was little I would tell him that mommy had to get gas to make the car go vroom as he would scream at me anytime I had to get gas with him in the car. A lump in my throat formed as I thought about those early days. I kept hoping and praying he would repeat the words I would say to him. I remember the few words he would say and then never say anything again for a very long time. The waiting for those words was a very emotional journey. And some days as he is still learning to use his words and express his feelings it’s rough. He did well on the way to church. No screaming, no directions were told. He sang to me and talked about what he was going to do the next few days. He always likes to talk about his schedule. On the way home since he didn’t scream at me we went to see his windows. However, after we drove by the windows he started screaming at me because I turned to show him the signs and flags he likes but he wanted to go “straight” yelling it at the top of his lungs. He had only seconds sooner told me he wanted to “see the eagle” and then here he was going into a huge meltdown within seconds. My mind spins how quickly it all changes for him. So instead of going by the eagle, I drove home. I don’t know which is the right choice to help the meltdown but I had to get us home. Once we got home he calmed down in a few minutes. The journey feels rough some days. He was pretty much joined to my hip all day after that. Bath time is like the Three Bears story. When he is taking his bath he will say, “it’s too warm it’s too hot it’s too cold” one right after another. He says it hoping I won’t completely turn the water off, filling the tub high. I have to watch him though so he won’t try to turn the water knobs on his own. He doesn’t understand that the water could come out of the faucet hot but luckily when I tell him something like his food is hot he will let it sit for a minute before he starts to eat it. When he was trying to fall asleep he kept doing his fake snoring routine. Then he said he was snorting and he kept repeating “yawn” over and over again. It still took him over an hour to fall asleep. He talked about going to see his teacher, riding the bus, and our therapy tomorrow. And with that our day was done. We talked a lot, he sang to me in numerous languages, and he played several of his instruments. I’m thankful he found peace today after several tough moments. I’m hoping for a great day for him tomorrow. Follow your heart, love with all your might, and share your smile with the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept until well after five. He was calm and listened to instructions when he came to me and he even laid with me a few more minutes before he started asking for his tablet. I made a deal with him that if he went to the potty he could have his tablet if he sat next to me or played in his tent. It worked, well, for another twenty minutes but hey I’ll take it. We had a busy Saturday planned. He was going to see his grandma for a few hours and then go to our beloved coffee shop and then off to bowling. The language train was plentiful this morning asking me for several videos in numerous languages. His language skills fascinate me. When we were getting dressed I had several pants and shorts options for him. I’m trying to get him to wear something else besides jeans or as he is calling them “blue pants”. I actually got a different pair on him but he quickly told me “no pants today” and off they went. So he brought me a pair of jeans that were in the still too big for him pile. I tried to explain that they were going to be too long, which he hates, but he insisted on wearing them. As soon as we put them on he realized his decision was not what he thought it was going to be and immediately wanted to take them off. I told him he needed to leave them on and they would be fine once he had his shoes on. This took some convincing but then he let me put his shoes on him. Selecting clothes now that he has an opinion can take a long time and he changes his mind. I want him to have options but I also want him to realize that when he makes a choice we need to follow through with it when we can. Finally off to grandma’s we went. He stayed there for a few hours and then we went to the coffee shop. He took a sip of his “coffee” and he said, “ahh so refreshing”. Then make him a special milkshake and he loves it. When we got to the bowling alley that dude was ready to bowl. We bowl together. He puts his fingers in the ball and then we throw it together. Occasionally he will try it on his own but gets upset when it doesn’t go that far. Well, today as soon as we were out of the gate he was mad because we weren’t getting strikes. He was about to have a huge meltdown and I told him he needed to learn how to throw it with more power. Luckily he calmed down after a few balls and he started telling me “we need more power”, my words coming out of his mouth. I talked to the guy at the bowling alley and he is going to help us find an instructor to work with him. He watches bowling all the time on YouTube, he plays bowling apps, and when we are bowling he tells me how many pins he knocked down and what’s left. He will even tell me about the players around him. He knows his stuff. When we left bowling he wanted “chicken nuggets french fries cheeseburger a new ice tea ice cream one apple pie”. He watches kids order this on YouTube and he decides what he wants. He didn’t want more than two tiny bites of the apple pie and none of the ice tea but he devoured the rest, even trying the sweet and sour sauce they put in our bag. I pray tonight is another great night of sleep after a very busy day. I’m thankful he mostly wore his glasses today, slightly bending them out of whack but I have to remember he’s mostly wearing them. Be inspired, be motivated, and then watch how your world changes. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days all I can think is please let the sadness wash away quickly. And then I think about my sweet baby O sitting there in his new glasses asking Siri “how to spell giraffe in Russian”. Siri never spells it but she says it in Russian and he laughs and laughs and laughs. And now he looks very studious in his glasses when he is asking. Owen slept until after five this morning. I woke numerous times searching for him around me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to him sleeping through the night. He does it so infrequently that when it does happen I’m still at a loss. It felt like my pins and needles had pins and needles today. The more he is learning to voice his opinions also means the more mine are wrong, even if they are something concrete like the light isn’t going to change to green if you scream at it or me. I can’t even think through all of the screams he had today about moments that happened years ago. Summers are so hard and confusing to him and when people come in and out of his life how do I even explain this to him. Here we are establishing a new routine but it will only last three more weeks. I have to keep telling myself about the benefits of him going to summer school and it truly is a blessing for him. But it’s still hard. The pressure on me to get everything right seems overwhelming some days. I have to be on my toes constantly. Saying one wrong word can create hours of Owen spiraling. So I breathe. I’ve been telling him for days that we were going to get his glasses today. I asked him if he knew what I meant. He said, “check the board can you see the heart”. The doctor used shapes for him in the eye exam. His memory is never-ending. When we got to the office he knew “we have to wait our turn”. What he didn’t understand is that you try to be courteous and respectful of other people in the waiting room. He wanted his tablet but he wanted the volume turned way up. I told him he could have his tablet but he needed to keep the volume down. This lead to him biting a hole in his shirt and screaming. I try to teach him how we act and react around others but how do you stop a moving train. It was our turn and for some reason, Owen wanted to not go the direction they wanted us to but thankfully they accommodated us without even a question and put us in the room he wanted to go to. This made him very happy. Within minutes we had his glasses and my frazzled self and he walked back to the car. The night wore on with him wearing his glasses somewhat near his eyes and somewhat across his mouth. For the first day, I’ll take it. He screamed himself to sleep talking about the teacher he has now, his teacher he’ll have again in August, and all of his appointments that he has next week. I breathe. I keep thinking about when he walked up to me, wearing his glasses, and in all Thai, he asked me to look up “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall with a castle”. We learned, we loved, and we grew today. Find your strength and grow tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept until five before he came to find me. He then slept for about thirty more minutes. I’ll take it. Our sleep has been even more off if that’s even possible. He seems very agitated at night. I can’t decide if the tent over his bed is a good idea or not. He can’t see out through it so the noises seem like they feel even more amplified to him. The wind blows he sits up, the air conditioner kicks on he sits up, a bird chirps, a dog barks, a car goes by, he automatically sits up. He was yawning when he got in bed and it still took him two hours to fall asleep. This morning he was so excited about his day. He was going to school and he had therapy, one happy camper. He was also very talkative. Most of what he was saying was from videos or apps he plays. “What comes in spring flowers”, he said, stating the question and answering it all at the same time. When it was time to get ready he couldn’t wait to get outside to wait on the bus. However, he only wanted to wear blue jeans. I wanted him to wear his camo pants but that was a big “nopedy nope nope nope”. He took them off quickly and made sure I knew he was waiting for blue jeans. I helped him put them on and then he was ready to go. He still struggles with putting clothing on. Sometimes he will get his shirt on or pull up his pants and other times it seems very daunting to him. And he doesn’t understand the front or the back of his clothes, or even if something is inside out. When I picked him up from school for therapy he was all smiles. His therapist told me he had a pretty good day. I think sometimes he doesn’t always understand the objectives of therapy but at least I can tell he is learning. When we left it was raining. And my boy will tell you “I love puddles”. He doesn’t always say his words referring to himself so when he says something like that it’s pretty cool in my book. Well, puddles he did love. I had the umbrella over us, thinking about keeping us dry but Owen wanted to lay down in the puddles. Since I was holding his hand he instead jumped in all of them. I wish he had his rain boots. I would have loved to see what he thought. Tomorrow when he gets home from school we go get his new glasses. The next adventure awaits. His smile is my joy and I’m thankful to be so blessed by him. Find your joy, share your heart, and let the world see you smile. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I keep thinking about how this new routine will not be routine for long. June is going to fly by and then here come July. No “camp” in July so we will have to create a new routine to keep us busy. When Owen got off the bus he immediately started talking about going to school the next day and pretty much continued to talk about it all night. He likes his teacher and seems to be making progress at school. He was sleepy when he went to bed tonight but still, it took him almost three hours to fall asleep. Well, fall asleep the final time. I’ve tried early to bed, late to bed, and everything in between and it is different every single night. He kept falling asleep and then he would jet straight up from his sleeping position, again hearing every noise in our house. The wind blows and the house makes a noise, and he is awoken. I try not to overthink it but I wish I could create a soundproof room for him, one day. Even the light shadows play a part in his sleeping. His room is brown with blackout curtains. He sleeps with a tent canopy over his bed and that still doesn’t seem to be calm enough. We went to one of our therapy sessions tonight. It didn’t go according to plan. He expects to have everything go in the order he wants it to. And it is not easy for him to comprehend when it doesn’t. I try to explain to him that sometimes we have to wait our turn but truly what does our turn even mean. He’ll yell out “we have to wait our turn” but when he is saying it he is generally already heading towards a meltdown. Plus, right now with everything being topsy turvy the not having his routine plays a bigger role in moments like these. When we left he wanted to get “chicken nuggets french fries apple juice cheeseburger and a toy” changing it up a little but with his words. He ate most of it when we got home, only leaving a few bites of his cheeseburger. He knows what the rest of his schedule will be for the week but trying to explain to him that he gets his glasses on Friday has not gone over well yet. “No glasses today”, he says. I think this is mostly because he needs to keep to the routine and places he understands for his schedule. I’m hopeful that once he realizes he can see better with the glasses that he will want to wear them. One day at a time I remind myself, praying a lot and knowing that we truly do have to take it one day at a time. He has so many things to process right now that it is hard for him to comprehend them all. We laughed a lot tonight in between the struggles and I know we both needed it. Find your inspiration and let the joy seep into your heart. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke screaming “straight”. I was hoping and praying he wouldn’t keep screaming. I had been awake for what seemed the twentieth time at this point so his screams didn’t wake me but it sure startled me. I had a feeling it was either me or the bus that didn’t go the direction he wanted in his dream and that was what he was screaming about. I think he may have startled himself because he quickly moved to my arms. He started talking about taking the bus and seeing his teacher. He struggles with saying her name and then back to his previous teacher. He won’t see her until August. I go over this with him several times a night, asking him when he will see each of them. When he gets on the bus I always stand next to it, signing “I love you”. The bus driver told me he could see me and was saying “I love you”. It made my heart smile. I was glad he could see me. He wanted to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar with me tonight. He got the book and sat down next to me. I love when he wants to read. He knows most of his books by heart but he still goes through them with me page by page. He kept trying to download an app and then asked for help. I’m not sure how come he needed this app but he has tried to do it for several days. I asked him what he wanted it for and he said so he “could make phone call”. I asked him who he wanted to call and he said, “grandma”. I told him we didn’t have to have the app that we could call her anytime. He said, “no”. He has a hard time processing phone calls and live videos of people he knows. He will scream or get very agitated about them. It’s hard to explain to him why someone is not here yet talking to him. He kept waking himself up before he was completely asleep, talking about his tent and the people he would see tomorrow. Every noise travels through our house waking him quickly. Countless times I thought he was asleep only for him to pop up and start yelling his teacher’s name again. There is so much for him to process and deal with. I pray tonight he gets more sleep. We both need it. That is my prayer, my cry out to God, please let him sleep and have a great day tomorrow. His smile is the victory in every single day. Share your smile. There is always someone that needs to see it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
One of the greatest joys is watching the smile wash across Owen’s face when I say, “hey you know what”. For years I’ve said it to him and now for him to immediately smile and say, “I love you” puts the smile right back on my face. The day was filled with struggles and joys all intertwined but the love, giggles, and lots of snuggles got us through all of it. When I dropped Owen off at “camp” he was on to me. He pretty much knew this was school but that big playground sealed the deal. And he always loves school but the transition and word “school” was hard for him when he knew he would not see his regular teacher until August. We arrived early and he got to see some of the kids from his previous years in school. I could tell he was still apprehensive but he was ready to meet his teacher. The bus brought him home and I could tell that made him happy. From there he was connected to my hip pretty much right until I said it was time for his bath and then magically he went and sat on the couch, not hearing a word I was speaking. When your child repeats words you have a whole new level of interesting. I don’t know how to get out of the circles sometimes. I work on only allowing him to say the phrase so many times, distracting him by playing games or asking him questions, and even repeating everything with him, and no matter what strategy I focus on after me trying to help him through the behavior he will go right back to repeating the words. And in his book me ignoring him is not an option because he will get nose to nose with me and keep repeating what he wants to say. I’m sure I’m missing the steps of some strategic workaround or positive reinforcement aspect to help ease his anxiety but I still have yet to figure it out. Plus, did I mention I’m tired. I asked him what he wanted for dinner and he said, “waffles please”. I was shocked by this even though I know he loves them. Usually, he always says, “shrimp”. I thought we haven’t had breakfast for dinner in a while and it was his request. He ate them all. All through dinner, his bath, and until he fell asleep he repeated what his schedule would be for tomorrow, including his teacher’s name with every pronunciation he could come up with. And with that I was on to him, knowing he was doing it so I would say her name. He fell asleep in my arms, stretched out like only an octopus could do, taking up the entire double bed it seemed. That boy has grown. I’m thankful he had a good day. I’m thankful for the joy he brings to my heart. And I’m thankful he is ready to go back tomorrow. Find joy in the little things and know that you can make a difference in your world around you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Exhaustion is catching up with me. I thought today would be the day I would accomplish a lot. Today was not that day. Owen and I did have a really fun day though. There were a few moments we were in circles but in general, he did well. Tomorrow is summer “camp”. He has been repeating his teacher’s name over and over again all day and he tells me he will see her tomorrow so that’s good. But then he tells me “no new kids today”. It’s a lot for him to process. He then would start listing off the kids from his class. How do you explain something like this. All I can do is try to help him through it. He was so excited to go to church this morning. He told me he wanted to wear his green shirt and blue pants but I told him his green shirt was dirty. He told me one of the guys at church wore a green shirt and blue jeans. It didn’t dawn on me that he was actually telling me he wanted to dress just like him. They all were T-shirts that have the logo on them for his classroom. I loved the connection and when I told them they gave him his very own T-shirt that he will be able to wear next week. When we came home from church we drove by the windows. He didn’t scream at me going to church or coming home. He only told me a couple of things about the way I was driving but stayed very calm. We drove by his beloved windows, the flag he likes, and the mural he wants to turn by, and then we came home. He didn’t cry, scream, or have a meltdown through the whole process. I watch him bounce on his balance ball and I’m always amazed at how well he does with it and he keeps it right with him. His coordination is so finely tuned but there are still those components that his body can’t do. He was very mischievous today. I could see the little gleam in his eyes. He asked for the puffcorn he likes and instead of sitting to eat it he would take a bite and run. I told him he had to sit while he was eating so he would sit, grab one, put it in his mouth, look at me, and then runoff. I was onto him though. After a couple more I told him he had to stay seated. He said, “no more seated today” and once again ran off to play. Eventually puffcorn for the win and he came back and sat down. Now as bedtime approaches I’m hoping we can get to bed early and he will be ready for his new adventure. He’s kept me on my toes today but his smile has brightened my world. Dream of the possibilities of tomorrow. Know that all things are possible if you believe. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“I’m not taking the bus to camp” was the running theme for the day. I told Owen he was going to “camp” on Monday. But now this has turned into a will of words and we’ll see what the actions hold. He is struggling with routine and his schedule. Constantly throughout the day, he wants to know where he is going and what he is going to do for the days ahead but if I go too far in his schedule the screaming begins. Where, why, when do you figure out how to stop the moving train when you don’t even realize you have left the train station. Owen repeats himself nonstop, nonstop. And he doesn’t say an entire word, waiting for the affirmation from me to come of the complete word. He knew we were going to the coffee shop, bowling, and grandma’s but it is a completely different order than our routine used to be. My mind races trying to keep it all straight. Which rules can bend, which need to be consistent, which ones do I adjust, and which ones do I cry over. The first word out of his mouth when he woke up was “grandma”. He knew he was going. He gave me a hug, then it was “tablet no potty today”. He needed that reassurance he was going to do all his activities. He said, “gran gran gr gr gr” and wouldn’t finish it, waiting for me to tell him he was going to grandma’s house m. When I got him dressed to go I put a light-colored pair of blue jeans on him. They were new because he’s almost grown out of his smaller pants. He immediately wanted “blue pants”. I told him they were blue pants. Off he went to his room. Seconds later he returned with a pair that was in his dresser but too big for him. He wanted to wear them. They were darker. I told him they were too big. He took off the ones I had put on him. He then decided he wanted “tan pants”, again bringing me a pair that was too big. Luckily I was able to find a pair that met with his requirements and mine that they actually fit. We left for our journey. I truly couldn’t handle any yelling today so I made him spell animals with me on the fifteen-minute car ride. He knows how to spell a lot of animals or close with assistance. He also tried to tell me how to drive but I kept asking him the same question over and over again. We got there and I felt like I had run a marathon. When I picked him up after his visit we went to the coffee shop and then bowling. Oh, how that boy loves bowling. We bowl together but he’s getting to the point I think he will start throwing more of the balls on his own. When we got home he was mad because we didn’t go see the windows. I told him we would see them tomorrow if he didn’t yell on the way to church. That’s worked the last couple of weeks, kinda, so I’m going with it. After a very full day, he finally fell asleep almost at eleven o’clock and now I sit and collect all my scattered marbles that I feel like I’ve lost today. He sang Humpty Dumpty in Vietnamese tonight, I think, as he was getting ready for bed and I’m thankful for that smile and the laughter he had from watching a monkey eat. Let the little joys rule the day and everything else wash away. Sing your victories from the rooftops and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I am really missing those three days in a row Owen slept all night. Really, really missing them. I never imagined I’d never have enough hours in my day but I truly don’t. I took Owen to see “camp” today. That’s what I decided to call his summer school program. He was getting upset because he knows he’s not going back to school yet but then I was telling him he was going to school. He still wasn’t interested in meeting the new teacher or being with other kids until I drove him by the most exciting part of “camp”, they have a playground. When I drove him to the school I purposely drove him behind the school first. I told him to look at the playground he was going to play on, emphasizing he would be there Monday. He got excited, talking up a storm about the “swide”. He still struggles with certain letters and depending on where they are in the word makes a difference for him. That’s one of the reasons I think him learning all the languages is helping him learn how to pronounce and enunciate certain words. When we left “camp” I explained to him that I would be taking him on Monday but he would be riding the bus home. He absolutely loves the bus. I talked to his summer bus driver and aide today and I was so thankful. It is the greatest gift when you have people that are invested in your child and they haven’t even met him yet. Like his summer teacher, they asked me numerous questions to help Owen adapt to the transition of summer and what his likes and dislikes were. They talked to me about how to handle meltdowns if they occur and what they could do to try and keep him happy. I was beyond relieved. I loved all of his support he had for the regular school year and then to hear these questions made me know that he would be supported through the summer as well. When we went to the school I told him that we were going to go get chicken nuggets and ice cream afterward. He is starting to cycle through phrases he hasn’t used in a while. “Quick like a bunny”, he said to me, once again my words coming out of his mouth. I would always tell him we wouldn’t be gone long and we be quick like a bunny. Nothing is quick for us but it sounds good. He has been watching Curious George lately and he was eating ice cream. Owen truly is not a sweet eater even though chocolate milk is his go-to drink. We got our meals and I got a chocolate shake for him, truly knowing who was going to eat the bulk of it. He devoured his dinner, eating all his nuggets, fries, and a cheeseburger. This after he ate a huge breakfast and tons of shrimp for lunch, plus snacks all day. I showed him the “ice cream” and told him to take a bite. He took the tiniest of bites and wrinkled his nose. I thought that might be the end of it but he had a couple more with the same wrinkled nose effect. After about five more bites he was done. The total amount of those bites didn’t even equal half a teaspoon. More for momma. Wait, I’m supposed to be giving up sweets. Stress ain’t got nothing on me. We ended our night with him reciting vacuum demonstrations, playing his drum, and working on “fixing” his laptop but was really watching the Very Hungry Caterpillar. He has become quite the expert on how to demonstrate a vacuum which means he turns it on and screams to turn it off. If he doesn’t turn it on he will talk through numerous videos he has watched with kids giving vacuum reviews. My joy was watching him play his drum and singing throughout the day. My music man knows how to make his momma’s heart sing. Look for the joy in that never ending rainbow and soar to new heights in the hope for tomorrow. 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.