Seriously if I could get a break from the emotions that would be pleasant. Owen’s really having a great day. He woke up early but very happy. This morning I woke up very early and sad. I took Owen to breakfast and he did absolutely amazing, eating all of his breakfast and asked for more. I sat there and wanted to cry. I took him to Home Depot for their craft day and he walked in the doors like he owned the place. We got a late start so there were lots of kids already working on the project and I wanted to cry. We came home for a little bit because I really haven’t figured out how to do potty training out in the world. It’s beyond overwhelming to me. I need to be prepared for how he will react to public restrooms. The lights, the people, the hand dryers, and everything else I can overthink about. But I have to be prepared. I’m not. And yet here is my little amazing boy growing and thriving and I’m emotional on the sidelines. You wait for the other shoe to drop and for the calm to hit the fan, spiraling out of control. We went to the coffee shop, bowling, and then grandma’s. No accidents. We came home and a lot of running to the bathroom but almost the entire day without an accident, until right before bedtime. I’m still going to count this as a very successful day. Now to figure out how to make overnight potty training success stories happen. He doesn’t make it through the night dry most nights but he gets confused changing between underwear and training pants. Where’s the solution. I know it will come. Today he did amazing. Today I was successfully hard on myself every chance I got. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Learning to be kind to your own soul can be one of the hardest lessons for all of us. Know that you are important and that you matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I have more emotions than I know what to do with today. Cry, scream, and pitch a fit seem to be what Owen wants to do and heck I think I’m right there with him. His tooth has got him in a constant state of anxiousness. I do not know how to get him to stop. When I picked him up from school the car ride home couldn’t go fast enough. Everything I did brought screams from him. I was already having a rough day and lack of sleep does not help. The lights could not change fast enough as his screams got louder. He hadn’t screamed in a few moments and as we went through the “meltdown light” as I call it, the flailing and his earth-shaking screams started as we went through it. I immediately burst into tears. I wanted to scream too. I wanted to get home. I told him to stop screaming, I begged him, and I told him if he didn’t stop screaming at me I would take him tablet away from him when we got home. The screams stopped and I cried harder. At this point, his emotions caught up to my emotions and the switch happened. And my heart broke a little more. He started saying, “hi buddy”, “my sweet boy”, and “hi Owen” repeatedly, all things I say to him. He wanted me to talk to him. My mind, body, and soul were all more emotional than I want to think about. There’s a loneliness in these moments that feel like no one else in the world can even understand, yet I know there are others sitting, crying right now. He’s come such a long way, the progress is amazing, but the days are still jam-packed with emotions. He sat in my arms many times tonight, holding me with all his strength, and repeating “momME” over and over again. For the love of Owen, I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Our days can be hard to explain, but the love is the easy part. His smile lights up my world in the darkest of days. Find your inspiration and motivation and let the world see you shine. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Monday”, Owen says to me. Sometimes he doesn’t even get the full word out “mon” and waits. If I don’t respond he repeats it. If I don’t respond again he will come closer, say the full word, or I will hear the squeal of concern coming towards me. He’s calm right now listening to about fifteen seconds of ten different videos, moving through them. We’ve rushed to the bathroom multiple times, cutting it close, okay so close is an exaggeration. But heck he’s trying. Tonight is actually better than most nights, he’s at least telling me. Normally I ask him about every five minutes and set a timer. He’s getting good at running to the bathroom. Convincing him he is not a fire hydrant is the next step. “I’m gonna have brand new teff” is also the great concern tonight. He’s got more loose teeth and the ones that are coming in he wants to pull them down into place. I haven’t found a great way to explain teeth to him. We watch videos and he’s been to the dentist for modeling sessions where the dentist goes over steps with him, but he still gets upset about them not being where they need to be. He goes back and forth between calling them teeth and ball. I’m not sure why he started calling his teeth balls but he wants “ball back pwease”. My emotions are very sad tonight, yet I look at my sweet baby O and I rejoice. He’s accomplishing great things and making huge steps every day. I make sure I tell him he’s amazing every day, listing things that he has accomplished. I want him to see his progress with me. I want him to hear my words and know that with his determination he can accomplish anything. Sometimes my heart aches even when my son shines. He’s accomplishments pull me through our days. Be proud of your accomplishments and know that all things are possible through determination and hard work. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Last night Owen was requesting songs that he learned at church. He would come running to me, singing only a couple of the words, wanting me to find it with the voice-activated command, and running off with glee. It’s such a delight to see the world through Owen’s eyes. The pure joy from him changed my whole night. For over an hour he had me look up the songs, even though he had them open seconds before. His feet and arms are still such a mystery to him, but he attempts to do the motions he has seen at church with the songs. He didn’t want to give up his tablet last night for bath and bedtime, he wanted to keep playing the songs. He woke up this morning and after turning off “twinkle twinkle” in the hall he immediately found the songs from last night, only to have me search for them a few moments later. My boy was born to worship. He loves going to church and it helps with our routine. There is no greater victory than the victory in Jesus and my boy knows it. Life is not always simple, I’m stressed most of the time, but the one thing I always know is God has a plan. We walked to the bus stop this morning with a song in his heart and a smile in my soul. We waited for the bus, Owen asking for “twinkle twinkle” the tune he doesn’t want in the hall but wants at the bus stop. He wants me to sing it “one more time” as we wait. I asked him to show me one more time by pointing his finger. He held his whole hand up and shook it. That works for me. I’m thankful for his growth and seeing him change right before my eyes. Life can become very overwhelming and daunting but embrace the little things. Let life spark new found adventures and don’t hold back on your dreams. Share your smile with the world and watch what you get back in return. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I woke up, already feeling like I was struggling. Some days are like that. No sleep again. Owen got into bed with at some point. He fell back asleep after moving and flopping around in my bed for a while but it was hard for me to sleep after that. My head kept me from fully falling back asleep but what I really needed was the sleep. I try to figure out ways to keep the chaos at bay but I think I create more chaos in return. Words can start the avalanche of emotions for Owen. We have to repeat his schedule over and over again. He will ask for tomorrow’s events but he wants me to say the same words. I said to him one night he would see his teacher in the morning “but you have to go to sleep first”. Now that’s how many of his conversations start with me. He will say, “you have to” and I have to go through his next day. It’s a big mind game for me. You have to tune out repetitive behaviors but I also have to foster conversations with him and ignoring the conversation can create meltdowns. The fine line of walking the line. We walked to the bus stop repeating his schedule for the week and it seemed like for the weeks to come. He has been referencing every day as “Monday” confusing the issue even further. He knows the days of the week and he knows what we do on the days of the week but started saying Monday for everything until we talk about the order. The routine of our weeks helps him process his days but I also wonder if it creates the chaos as well. If we don’t do what is expected then it becomes harder for him, like vacation days from school are hard. Last night has to be one of the most successful nights for potty training we have had. No accidents all the way to bedtime. I rejoice in that and it helps to push away the days before. That’s always my goal, pushing forward. Through the weathered storm, turbulence will show you a path to peace. Reflect on yesterday, let it go, and know that you are a lot stronger because of the storm you walked through. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I wonder when Owen will be on to me about “twinkle twinkle”. I had it playing in the hall again. My trap was set. I can’t imagine that it will keep working, but for now, it’s still my go-to for getting him up and moving. He wants it off, but as soon as we got to the bus stop he asked me to sing it, multiple times, prompting me if I attempted to stop early. I’m extremely fascinated by how his brain works, but I’m also daunted by it. There are times trying to stay ahead of his emotions kick my emotions into overdrive. Instant tears fall sometimes even when I try to keep my emotions at bay. Before we left for the bus stop I put his shoes on him. Over the last few weeks, the wear and tear on his shoes has caused the need to pull the Velcro tighter. This makes it flip up a little at the edges. This is what started happening with his last pair but I thought the way these were designed wouldn’t be a problem. He sat there on the couch flipping the Velcro up and down stating, “your shoes are fine”, the words I’ve spoken so many times, hoping to reassure him, but maybe causing more anxiety with them. As we walked to the bus stop he had to bend over multiple times to look at them and then standing, waiting on the bus, I could feel his anxiousness rising. So it’s back to the drawing board for shoes. Velcro truly seemed the way to go. Slip-on shoes are not an option for him. Those bring instant meltdowns as he tries to walk in them. No flip flops or sandals of any kind, so sneakers are the go-to choice. I think I will try to find a shoe that has laces but are stretchy instead. Before Owen could really communicate even a portion of his emotions I always worried about his socks. I can’t stand when the seam isn’t right. And that’s one of the things that still gets me all choked up and fighting back tears as I write. How was he ever going to tell me when something was wrong. He’s vocabulary is forming and his expressive words are stronger every day, but sometimes there are still those moments when neither one of us knows what to say. We stand facing each other and if he gets stuck on a thought or can’t process what I am saying, I repeat, “I love you” every time he says something. Many days we now stand there repeating it over and over. For the love of my sweet baby O, I keep pushing forward every day. Find your strength, be inspired, and follow your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
There are days that literally putting one foot in front of the other is hard. Partly because of the arthritis I have and partly because it always feels two shades of cloudy. Today has been one of those days. I feel like crying nonstop might take some of the hurt away but I cried multiple times today and that solved nothing. This weekend has felt off for Owen, sensory seeking and lots of input high on the list. I wonder if it’s the growth in his body that is causing these moments or my own emotions. Potty training seems like it has taken a backward spin. I get mad at myself for not being able to figure it all out. And then I can turn right around and say he’s done so well this weekend. We went to lunch today with some church friends. I’ll tell you it’s exactly what I needed. I almost told them, no, but I’m thankful I pushed myself to go. Not only was it nice to talk to people that understand so much of what I go through it was wonderful for Owen to go. He also ate great. I got him four chicken nuggets and fries. Not only did he eat all four “potato” as he was calling the chicken, he asked for more, eating two more in the restaurant and the other two on the way home. Plus, he ate a handful of fries. When we got home I think that is when the emotions overflowed. He went to the bathroom numerous times only to come out and pee on the floor. He does so incredibly well at school, but at home, it seems to be one distraction after another that keeps him from going to the potty. I’ve tried not letting him have his tablet, but that hasn’t helped matters either. We worked on his fine motor skills throughout the day, mostly trying to count to ten with his fingers and painting. I wonder sometimes if he likes the emotions I have when he wets himself instead of going to the potty. He truly feeds off my feelings so I try to keep them in check, but here they sit raw and in his face because he knows how to read me so well. Today I’m trying to let go of the emotions and walk the walk of being proud of our accomplishments. I’m thankful for the laughter he gave me even through my tears. Smile for the whole world to see and know that even on your harder days you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Saturdays always feel like I have a grasp on some sort of a daily life. Coffee shop, bowling, maybe some lunch, and Owen goes to his grandma’s for a few hours. And then I’m getting a haircut and my eyes examined. Those feel like luxuries anymore. Stolen hours to do something. The only reason I like going to get my eyes examined is that it means new glasses. I think I could own a hundred pairs of glasses and want a hundred more. Owen had a good morning, albeit it loud, it felt relaxed for him. He has done great with potty training in the last few days. And then today I couldn’t figure out what to do. We were going to be out in a world full of bathrooms but none he had been to. What if we went to one and someone was in there too. What if they used the hand dryer. What if we couldn’t get to one in time. And a thousand other what-ifs ran through my overthinking-mind. I need to work through all of these scenarios or at least enough to make sure we can handle a public restroom. I never imagined the thought process I would go through to overthink something I had already thought about a million times. He wore training pants today. They stayed dry the whole time we were out. Have I mentioned the overthinking. I need to find a location to take him that has hand dryers and an easy escape route. I want to make sure he can handle it before it is something that we have to encounter at the moment he needs to use the bathroom. Hairdryers are instant meltdowns for him, so I’m not sure how he would handle a hand dryer. I don’t even try to dry my hair when he’s awake anymore. I can’t even remember the last time he saw my hair wet. And today I got about six inches of my hair cut off. He noticed right away but it wasn’t enough to change the way I looked since it’s still very long. In his eyes, I have to look like mommy. He gets very upset when I don’t have my glasses on yelling “summer glasses” in a squeal anytime I take them off. Today I have to focus on the progress we both made and not dwell on the steps I didn’t take. One day at a time and sometimes it’s one moment at a time. Live life forward and know that today is a stepping stone for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I have to give myself three cheers for getting the octopus out of bed quickly this morning. Owen came to my bed around four, but after a quick discussion he was back to sleep and I realized I had a headache. Besides sleeping sideways it seems like he slept pretty good. I thought I would try for round two of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and it worked like a dream for the second day in a row. I was thankful. I went through the same basic steps as yesterday and luckily he went to get his tablet. Last night potty time was the last thing on Owen’s mind and he let me know every time it was on my mind. I kept pushing him to go though. Six potty trips, three pairs of underwear, and two hours later he was in his nighttime training pants and I wanted to cry. Potty training has been going on and off since he was two. And it only frustrates me and upsets me to read about the success stories of how a child with autism can be potty trained by the age of four. I then choose to read the studies that say my child wasn’t trained until seven. It’s hard to compare one journey to another. Our story may be similar to others, but there are so many factors on why something is different from one moment to the next for each family. Last night part of the reason Owen didn’t want to go to the potty is that I was not sitting down at different times throughout the evening. He yelled at me numerous times to “sit down” and when I wouldn’t he screamed. Sometimes it doesn’t even phase him that I’m not sitting, but last night it was of great concern. Today he has done better with the bathroom trips, but the emotional trips have been something else, for both of us. When I think I have something figured out I don’t. I never imagined the rollercoaster of emotions I would go through. Today I’ve asked the question a lot, how do I help my baby. Tomorrow may be the one foot in front of the other thing that will all make sense. Always remember you are a lot stronger than you think you are. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Day three of the octopus report and I may have beaten Owen at his own game. It was raining this morning. I wasn’t sure if we would have to take the car to the bus stop so I knew I needed to get Owen going. I turned on his bedroom light, but I knew that as soon as I did it he would cover his head. On to the second stage of the plan. I put his tablet in the hall. I then turned on the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and waited. I figured it wouldn’t take long and he would be darting out of his bed to turn it off. He loves the song, loves playing it on his tablet, but only when it is his idea. I was ready for him when he got to the tablet. I knew if I wasn’t ready he would either take his tablet and head to my bed or back to his. I got Grumpy McGrumpyson into the bathroom and he “peepeed in de potty”. We were on a roll. His teeth and hair were done albeit quickly, but done. Hey, that was better than the whole week. Next came clothes. He’s been in a diaper at night, but I ordered night training pants. Every day he is doing better with the process and the changing of the rules in his world. When you have a sensory-driven mindset there is a big difference between underwear and a diaper. I have to let go of my own expectations of how something should be and try to understand and think through how he sees the options. A diaper is all he knows so the change is daunting for him. The same for winter clothes versus summer clothes. We’ve had a few cool mornings and he wants nothing to do with a coat. I’m trying to slowly transition from shorts at home to lounge pants. I walked him to the bus in yoga pants that have pockets. Today the pockets were filled with more things than normal. I had carried my wallet in case we needed to take the car to the bus stop. I had to distract Owen from focusing on my pockets because he was about to go into a meltdown over the fact that they were different. He sees the littlest of details. And through his eyes, I’ve learned to appreciate the small things and celebrate all of our victories. Count your victories one by one. Make today matter. 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.