I would like to take a moment to celebrate our great accomplishment. We got home. I said to Owen, do you need to use the potty. And off to the potty he ran. This was huge in itself. No fussing, crying, screaming, not even happy squeals; just off to the potty he went. With success. I feel like we are making some great strides. Some days it all feels so overwhelming. And you have to accept backtracking with success, or what feels like backtracking. A lot of times he will set a skill aside, so that he can focus on learning a new skill. It feels daunting sometimes when he would do something the day before, and then it seemed like he couldn’t do it the next day. Round two of potty success happened. I want to shout that from the rooftops. Both times it was so easy, no thinking about it. I asked, and he went. He’s happy tonight, but wanting to do all the things he hasn’t done in two days. He was expecting school, but it was cancelled again today, because of the weather. Now he thinks it’s the weekend since he hasn’t been to school for two days. He asked to go bowling, and the coffee shop multiple times tonight. He wanted to go to church, as well. I’m hoping they don’t cancel school tomorrow for more bad weather that is coming. It’s hard for him to understand. Last week he was sick so that completely threw the week off for him as well. I got a reference calendar for his schedule, so he knows what day it. It allows me to show him what day of the week we are on, and what activities he will be doing for the day. He doesn’t quite grasped it yet, but I feel like he is getting it. He screamed his happy, little scream, and then he screamed “no screaming”. He then followed it up with “we don’t scream”. So the instructions are there, and he seems to know what they mean, but it’s putting it into action that is rough. One day at a time, I tell myself, thankful for how far he has come. He’s having more conversations with me, interacting with me each day in new ways. I rejoice his accomplishments today. We have several bubbles parties, and I’m thankful for the feeling of forward momentum. The littlest of steps, can be the hugest of victories. Celebrate your victories, celebrate ours, and share your story. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Okey dokey”, Owen said. I’m not sure what he was referencing, but he walked by, and said it. He holds on to phrases, using them randomly. Sometimes I really don’t know where they come from, other times they are expressions he heard years before. His memory is long, and will reference things I didn’t even know he knew. I’m amazed daily by him. Today school was closed because of the cold weather, and his church program tonight, as well. He’s asked several times to go to school, and church. He misses both of them when he can’t go. He also wants to go bowling, and to the coffee shop. His days are routined, so if he is not going to school, he thinks he should be doing his weekend activities. He really wants to go to the bowling alley, so he is setting timers on his tablet to tell us when to go. “Five minute timer go off den we get ready”, he said. It makes me happy that he understands why I use the timers for him, and I’m amazed that he has learned how to set them to go off. Not so excited that he set one for hours later, waking up in the middle of the night to hear it going off, but I was happy for the progress that timer meant. He seems to be smiling a lot more lately. Some days feel loner than others, but when I see his smile it brightens up my day. Even though Owen is learning to talk, he doesn’t always know how to communicate, or express himself. Some days he cries, or lashes out, because he has no other way to tell me what is going on. My heart aches for my little boy when he can’t tell me what he needs to. He looks over at me, and I hold up the “I love you” sign. He smiles, talking to me about what he’s watching. I keep looking at him, smiling, to see what he will do, and he is doing the same thing. His smile, that’s what keeps me going. Through rain there is the promise of sunshine. One day at a time, keep pushing forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke in a mood. Everything had to be immediate. But yet he was in slow motion. He started in about school, wanting to go, but yet couldn’t seem to move when I got his clothes ready to help him get dressed. He wanted to go to the bus, but didn’t want to walk to the door. It was a cold morning, so I drove us to the bus stop. He hardly said any words in the car. I took him out of the car, he immediately covered his eye with one of his hands. He stood there almost in a trance. He walked up the steps of the bus, with my help, turning around staring at me. He loves watching the bus doors close, but it seemed like there was more to this. Some days are like that. His emotions seemed heavy today, mine are too. He’s happier tonight; smiling, laughing, and stimming. I love that he’s eating more food lately, and helping make the choices. Early on, one of the best suggestions that was made to me, was to rotate Owen’s foods, not let him see the labels on his food, and use different types of dinnerware. Textures, colors, smells, and so many other things influence Owen’s choices. He can easily get stuck on one food, or not like a new food, because of the way it looks. Even with something like chicken nuggets, the different brands will taste, and not look the same. I had been rotating through different brands of chicken nuggets, and I found a new one that I wanted to rotate in the mix. I put some on a plate, put it on Owen’s tablet, and started to walk away. I turned around for some reason, and saw Owen about to throw the plate across the room. I said, put that down, it’s chicken nuggets, you like chicken nuggets. You would think I learned my lesson about food, but it has taken many more experiences like that to really understand how hard it can be for Owen with food. Tonight he had fish, his choice, and he ate it all. Growing Owen is what we do. One step at a time, one day at a time, and sometimes one food at a time. Never give up. Keep finding ways to make yourself happy, and watch your world grow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Left foot, right foot, one foot in front of the other. And then there feels like what is a stumbling block placed right in front of you. Owen woke calmly, after getting in my bed at some point during the night. I was too busy trying to paint a cow last night to go to bed early. Then I laid there thinking about why on earth I had to have a cow. The irony sat there with me. Our paintings have been calming me, even though them seem to frustrate me as well. I see exactly what I want to paint, and then it takes a turn. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I paint a mess. But I think of what the paintings mean, and I’m okay with how they turn out. “Let’s paint a background”, Owen says. I keep hoping that by having him do the brush strokes it will help with his fine motor skills. One day at a time. He knew what day it was, I heard him say, “it’s Monday”. I wanted to rejoice. He went on to talk about school. I’m thankful that he likes school. I can’t imagine if he didn’t. He’s still tiny, but there have been a couple times where he did not want to get out of the car, and there is no convincing him otherwise. He starts crying, or screaming, he becomes stiff as a board, his feet push into the seat in front of him, and his arms flail about, trying to keep me from getting him out of his seat. I have to stay one step ahead of these emotions, trying to figure out how to keep him calm. When we walked out the door to go to the bus, Owen immediately focused on something in the distance. I told him to be careful on the steps. He was ready to take the first step; he wasn’t looking, and he really wasn’t ready. I quickly grabbed his hand, he went sliding forward on the steps. I raised his hand higher, so he wouldn’t fall. I made him stop, but he still didn’t care one bit about the steps, he only kept looking off into the distance. He got to the bottom of the steps, turned around, and saw the moon. Maybe he saw the reflection of the moon in something, but now my whole world was talking about the moon. He couldn’t wait to see the bus, and I’m thankful he had a good day. Life is not always easily explained, but when I see Owen’s smile that’s what matters. In the rays of the sun find your smile, and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Momentum, that’s what it takes to move forward. And when I look at that word I always see “mom” first. I have to keep pushing us forward. Potty training, it’s not a week of diligently working through the process with my little one, it can be minutes, and hours, and days, and weeks, and months, and years, of going through the words, and motions until there is success. And then when there is success, we have to brace ourselves for what feels like backtracking, or a complete loss of skill, even though it’s truly not gone. I started early with Owen for potty training, he wasn’t even two when we talked about it, and I showed him the potty. He had no interest in it, and then I was more focused on a thousand other things. Owen couldn’t communicate, had anger issues, and wasn’t progressing in so many areas. It was a whirlwind of doctor visits, therapy, and crying; for both of us. And then one day we started going to the potty. He had been through the fecal smearing phase off, and on for a couple years, and then it was like a miracle, he told me one day he had to go “poo poo in de potty”. We celebrated with a bubble party. Days, and days, and days went by with success. I relaxed, I breathed, and then I cried. Fecal smearing was back. How on earth was that even possible, but there it was. As quickly as the potty trips started, they vanished. I was back on high alert again. If he was quiet for five minutes, I went into panic mode. It’s an emotional dance for me. He doesn’t understand his body, and the rules that we have set for it. The last few days he has done really good about going to the potty, but I have to prompt him. This too shall come, and we will take it one day at a time, together. For now I’m trying to figure out how to get the screaming to stop, the meltdowns to stay at bay, and the smiles to be abundant. Share your smile, because someone needs to see it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen got into bed with me around four, but went back to sleep. When we woke for the day, he was full of words, and energy. I can tell the antibiotics are helping. He immediately started asking for milk, but what followed was exciting to me; his tablet. Milk, it’s his go to phrase. “I want milk pwease”, he said, but it was immediately followed up by “I want tablet pwease”. This is what he really wants, his tablet, his beloved tablet. Good, bad, or indifferent, I really think it has helped him learn so many things. We got first breakfast of cereal, and then he started asking for his teacher. I told him that it was mommy and him day, we were going bowling. He kept repeating his teacher’s name. I asked him what today was, he said Monday. I told him it was Saturday; he immediately said Sunday, but asked for his teacher. I told him that we would leave in a little bit for bowling. He laughed, and asked for his teacher again. Sometimes I think he knows what day it is, and what we are doing, but says other things, because that’s what he wants to do, or how he has to process it. And sometimes I think we are both just confused. I really have to check the days, to make sure we are on the right day. After Owen goes back, and forth, about the days, I wonder myself, and get confused. He’s so happy today, interacting with me; it makes me smile to see his smile. We had second breakfast of sausage, and French toast. He went to the freezer, taking out the chicken. I told him we could have chicken for lunch. I love that he is looking for the food now. I look back over his huge milestones, thinking to when he first asked for milk. “Mulk”, he said. I wept. These days of growth are hard fought by my little boy. He has to work through every single step. Some days it’s met with pure frustration, and then the next moment he is opening the freezer, and taking out chicken. He yells to me “bowling wanna go to the coffee shop today”. Yes buddy, I do. Be inspired, be driven, and find a way to make your dreams come true. Life starts today. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen’s back to watching the vacuum videos. This time it’s mostly about the maintenance of them. And truthfully it’s about the sound of vacuum. He listened to the same five seconds of the vacuum for an hour last night. A guy talks about the filter, then we are off, and running. The stimming starts immediately, as soon as he hears the “vrooooom”, arms up in the air, and the smile spreads across his face. He pauses it, and starts it all over again, repeatedly. He gets distracted by talking about Santa Claus. “Let’s go see Santa”, he says, and then quickly adds, “Santa go bye bye to de North Pole”. He goes on, “we’ll see him waiter waiter”; still having trouble pronouncing his Ls. He loves going to see the fish at Cabela’s, in their big tank, and when we went there one time, he had his picture taken with Santa. Now he randomly talks about him. We have the whole year to prepare for Santa’s next arrival, and I think he will be excited for his return. This is the most he’s been interested in Santa, mentioning him every few days. He asked Santa for fish, and church; me, wondering how much he understands about gifts. A big sip of my hot tea to get me through my emotions. Some days the loneliness is overwhelming, other days there’s so much joy it keeps it at bay. His words are becoming more fluid, and his emotions can be intense. He fell asleep next to me on the couch, my own emotions getting the better of me for most of the day. I wonder how I can feel so lonely in a room full of people. He’s so peaceful now, all his worries far away. Tomorrow’s our day for our adventures. Owen asked about bowling repeatedly tonight, and all his other favorite things to do. I’m thankful we have found things that we can do together, and we both love. Through challenges I see victories, and progress every day. Every once in awhile the doctor’s words still flash through my mind, he may not talk, she said, and I think not only is he talking, but he’s soaring to new heights every day. Find strength in knowing all things are possible. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I took Owen to the doctor yesterday; he has an ear infection. We are home once again until he can go back to school, but all he wants to do is to go anywhere. He’s asked to go to all of his favorite places. And when I mean asked, I mean every five seconds. As soon as the words are out of his mouth he asks again. Distraction is a fine art that doesn’t really work with him. I have tried to convince him that we want to talk about something else, and that works for a minute, but then the words start up again. We’ve played games, worked on his school apps, and had lots of cuddle time, but his repeated words are what he clings to. The only thing that really stops him is when I do something that he doesn’t want me to do; like laundry. I was trying to sort things that no longer fit him. Every time I moved an article of clothing he would start squealing, in his voice I could hear a meltdown forming. I stopped for a few minutes, trying to work with him on something else, but his only concern was me sitting, leaving the laundry far away. I left it for awhile. When I went back to it, his anxiety was even worse; yelling “nopedy nope no pants”. As much as he wants to go places today, he also needs the order in what we are doing. We are home, and I didn’t say we were going anywhere, so me moving clothes means we are supposed to go someplace, but without my words telling him we are going someplace clothes are not supposed to be touched. There are home looks, and there are outside looks. I have to be the picture he needs to see. I have a shirt on that almost didn’t pass the test today. It’s a long sleeve shirt, but the sides are much shorter than the front, and the back. The side of my shirt rests right on the top of my pants. I feel like the kid, and my parent is telling me to go change my clothes, because Owen will yank on the side of my shirt trying to make it come further down over my pants. One night Owen had gotten sick, I had to change my clothes. It took me three pairs of shorts, and two pants before he calmed down enough to let me wear something. And this isn’t a matter of telling him to get over it, and us move on, this is him screaming, and upset for hours if he can’t find a calm inside himself with his surroundings. This is when I feel like my brain has to become an octopus, telling myself to put the right clothes on, rapid firing questions to him to distract him from the meltdown he is about to have, holding him to bring him comfort, trying to maintain my emotions, and several other things, to keep the meltdowns at bay. Breathe, I tell myself. So the laundry awaits, and that’s fine. We are both learning, finding our way, and together we will keep moving forward. Take one day at a time, and breathe. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The putting it all together part is amazing, the screaming some days, not so much. Owen woke fully alert; after he slept all night in his bed, got up, laid down in the hall, and fell back asleep for five minutes. He can sleep anywhere, but can also be awoken by the slightest of movements, sounds, or reflections. When he got up he went immediately to get his milk out of the refrigerator; I make sure I put his cup in there ready to go. Then he started talking to me about his day. He didn’t get the day of the week right, but he knew where he was going. He rambled off all the days of the week, trying to get to the right one. I have to stay focused on what day it actually is. He gets me so confused some days; add in the holidays, like we had this week, and I really have to stay on top of my game. “It’s Monday”, he will say, even though it’s Wednesday. He does better when it is the weekend, and when we have activities that he can keep track of, but I see the growth. I got a calendar board for him, hoping that it will help him learn what days he does things on; we’ll get to months, and years later. One day at a time, one moment at a time for us. His words, and concepts are forming; and it’s a glorious thing to watch. I see more independence happening, as well. He is also wanting to find more ways to express himself with his words. He practices words, and phrases over, and over again; almost to the point of an obsession for a particular phrase. He practices tones, and emphasis on different words. Depending on the phrase he will try to make it sound like the person, or character he learned it from. He will even try to impersonate certain sounds, or the rhythm of songs. He likes to have me find things using the voice activated control. I sometimes feel like I’m playing that game that used to be on television, so many years ago; Name That Tune. He walks up to me, hands me his tablet, and hums one, or two sounds from a song. It took me forever to figure out some of the songs he was wanting. And there is no convincing him I need more than one note. I’m thankful for his words, and actions. Owen inspires me every day to be a better person, and reach for my goals. Find what inspires you, know that you are amazing, and go after your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days Owen wakes up confused. He’s not really sure what the day is, or what he wants. Some days, I suppose, I wake up like that too. Owen’s anxiety seems to be high right now. When I walk into another room, he either follows me, or he screams. If he follows me, and I turn on a light, he immediately tries to turn it off; unless it’s the bathroom light, I can have that on. If he doesn’t follow me he will stand, screaming until I come back. And then there are the times he is fine. How do you correct a behavior that is associated with anxiety, or maybe it is a learned behavior to bring him comfort when he is anxious. We have to work on honing his skills to learn, and accept things. When he gets upset, or about to go into a meltdown I tell him to count to ten, or I rapid fire questions at him, so it uses a different part of his mind. I never knew me walking out of the room could be so traumatic for him until it was. But then what do you do. They don’t teach this in Home Ec 101. Trying to change a behavior is exactly like learning a new skill; it takes hours, and hours of repeating the same things, over days, weeks, months, or possibly years. The victories are the best. When I see those moments, and I know he’s gotten it; there is no greater joy then when my baby succeeds. He walked up to me, and hit me. I stopped him, took his tablet away, and told him to tell mommy he was sorry, and not to hit people. He said , “sorry mommy you’re ok”. He’s making connections, and putting words together. I’m thankful for his progress. Celebrate the little things in life, because sometimes they have the biggest rewards. Be inspired to change the world, one smile at a time. 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.