Sometimes a few words can change everything about your day. And sometimes your day can change everything about you. I try to breathe and not show all of my emotions outward because they do not always sit well with Owen and he was having a great day. Today is one of those days I remind myself of how far he has come. The doctors told me he might not talk and I always told Owen he would. Some days, honestly, I begged him to talk. I sat holding him, telling him I believed in him, and he had to find a way to talk to me. I told him to find a different place in his brain to put his words. We worked on games that would keep his mind flowing and I reminded him that he is amazing and could accomplish anything. Today not only is he talking but he’s asking me for his snacks in French and translating words from one language to another. He asked Siri to pull up different phrases in Spanish and he then said them in French. One of the highlights of my day is when he asked Siri, “I want Owen in Spanish”. It brings tears to my eyes as I think back to that moment. He doesn’t always connect with his name and here he was asking Siri for himself, my sweet baby O. He giggled as she responded and my heart soared. He went on to ask Siri for, “happy and sad and angry and surprised in German”. I can tell his teacher is working with him on emotions and facial expressions. He looks at emotions now and will tell me what they are. He’s making connections and his world is blossoming. He said, “thank you” when unlocked a new feature in an app he was playing and I thought my boy has manners. It was a good day. It was a very emotional day for me and I would like to trade my plate in for a serving platter but when Owen smiles my world calms even for that second. Never give up. My miracle talks to me in not only words but more languages than I could even imagine. Believe in yourself, keep thinking positive, and reinvent the wheel. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke happy but he woke extremely early. The happy part made the early part a little easier. He was singing and talking to Siri about all of the languages he could think of. “Buffalo buffalo buffalo in French”, he laughed as he asked her. He repeated the same request but then in German, Spanish, and Arabic. He then moved on to his favorite, “I want chocolate milk and potato and grandma in boy in Russian”. He then asks for the same thing but “in girl in Japanese”. He goes through every combination of person and language he can come up with, making me still think he sees all languages as one big happy language. Siri answering right along for him. Not long ago he wouldn’t even try to use his own voice to find videos on YouTube and now here he is having full conversations with Siri. It’s music to my ears. I showed him several silent films. They were all playing instrumental music. He started singing to the music as it was playing. Making up tunes as we went along and then switching it to possibly a German nursery rhyme he had learned. Once again I was amazed. Partly because he was calm about me showing him something on YouTube that wasn’t his choice and because he was full of song as he listened to the video, he had pretty much stopped watching it almost immediately. But hey we had songs. He requested shrimp for dinner, which he ate almost all of it, but then helped me with my bbq and coleslaw. I am so excited about all the different foods he is eating now. He got up halfway through dinner and started repeating the word “horse” over and over again. He stood in front of the microwave, moving his mouth very distinctively saying the words. I can tell they are working with his speech because it’s a clear change in his facial structure and attitude. His words are becoming clearer to understand. We had our moments today but he remained happy and I tried to focus on all the positives in our lives. Bedtime was a little chaotic but he calmed after a while and now I decompress. His laughter and smile got me through the day. Positive words and positive actions equal a positive life. Smiles to all and donut daze!
How many backup remotes should a household have I wondered. And the answer is at least one and you should probably have two as I put another one in my Amazon cart. I ordered a backup a few weeks ago when the volume got stuck on the original remote. Thankfully, I had the remote. However, the remote did not have the batteries in it. This challenged seemed like it took way too long for me and Owen expressed exactly how long it took for him. My head spins trying to stay ahead of the meltdown curve. I ordered a new vent floor cover for the heat. He will not leave them alone. He wants to sit on them, saying, “it’s too hot” the entire time he is sitting on them. I tell him to move, I ask him to move, I beg him to move, and occasionally he moves or I have to move him. I ordered another type of vent cover since option one and option two were destroyed quickly. It’s the like the Three Bears of vent covers but this one was still not the answer. He realized because of the way it stood upwards out of the vent he could lift it off and sit directly on the vent again. On to the next idea. Batteries, I think that is one more thing I never have enough of. I finally got myself a handy dandy organizer for my batteries so I can at least see which I need and keep them in stock. His little boom box needs batteries but he doesn’t want me to put batteries in it. The new rules supersede the old rules and I have to remember all the rules. Every day he walks to it, tries to turn it on, says, “it needs batteries”, and then walks away from it. I tried to put batteries in it and that caused an epic meltdown so I took them out. Then I moved it from its location thinking that he would be fine with it being gone and that was another huge mistake. So it’s back on the table battery-less and we have the discussion every day that it needs batteries, week two. But I have the batteries when he truly wants it to work again. My mom got him the backup boom box in case this one got destroyed so we would be ready for that situation. Sometimes I wonder which rules to push, which routine to walk on eggshells with, and which moment in time to breathe through it all or just say no rules today. The one rule I have to remember is to be kind to myself. Preventing meltdowns is much easier than hours and hours of meltdowns over something like a battery or a remote. The flying chicken at dinner seemed ironic somehow but all I kept thinking was at least my boy likes a variety of foods and he’s eating. He fell asleep holding his new book that he read to me and I was thankful. Know that today is one moment in time. Be kind to yourself, know that you can do it, and tomorrow is a brand new day. And it won’t hurt if you have extra batteries. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Stomping, running, and now pounding has been added into the mix. Owen hits his fist down on the table and says, “one two free” opening his hand. It’s like some type of game he has learned. He starts it again and then laughs hysterically. The laughter, it’s what gets me through my days. He does not forget a thing and he can reference something that happened a minute before or years ago expecting me to understand. He gets frustrated with me when I don’t know what he wants me to say or help him find. He has to go through the same motions and emotions before he can move forward. Sometimes it takes hours or days before he will stop asking the same question or needing the same response and then he could cycle back around to it even years later. I get stuck on what do I answer, what do I ignore, encourage, or stop. If I don’t help him it can spiral quickly into a meltdown. If I answer too much the reference happens every day. And if I stop him he will only start again when I let him run the mile. I remember when he was much younger I didn’t understand that he had to work through all of the steps. He had been repeating the same few seconds of a video for what seemed like hours to me because of his crying and screaming I took the tablet away from him. I played games with him and we did other activities. As soon as I gave him back his tablet he went to the same video and had the exact same reaction for at least another twenty minutes. I could not stop the moving train even though I tried to derail it. There’s a lot of rules for me to remember. I remind him that it’s fine to have emotions and that we have to learn to work through them. I want him to know I love him even if I don’t always understand what he needs from me. Growing Owen is what we do and I know that I’m growing right next to him. Find your strength, share your story, and know that you are amazing. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Four o’clock in the morning comes really early when one o’clock in the morning was really late. To say I need sleep might be an understatement. Owen drank a lot of milk last night. I should have made him go to the bathroom about twenty more times before he went to bed but I really didn’t think about it. He woke up around four, came to me, and I realized he was wet. It’s probably what woke him up but he doesn’t understand his body enough in the middle of the night to understand the process of going to the bathroom when he wakes. I got him cleaned up but by that time it was like party central here. He wanted his tablet, the tv, milk, and no more sleep. Me, I’m like when is bedtime. Tonight I can tell he is exhausted but he will be fighting sleep I’m sure. He has been singing up a storm in every language. He keeps asking Siri to translate sayings into “boy”, “dog”, “green”, and “potato” as his top choices and then he moves on to actual languages. He is starting to get a little more upset when Siri doesn’t understand what he is asking for but still asks her a ton of questions. All I can think is he is mad at her and not me. Owen has a memory like the memory lane of all memory lanes. He loved an app that had a song for the alphabet included on it. For some reason, the app changed and they took the song away. This did not go over well with him. About two years later he still asks me almost every day about the app and alphabet. He says, “ABC”, his foot starts tapping the ground and then he waits for me to say, “you have to go to YouTube”. This is years after the app changed. I never know what is going to compel him to repeat something but I know he memorizes everything. I have to remember the rules and make sure I respond in the way he wants to hear. Some days I push the envelope but I also try to help him through the process. He keeps telling me ten more minutes for bed and I haven’t even told him it was bedtime yet. I think he might be as ready as I am. His smile, his songs, his growth are what put a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and my soul growing right next to his. Be strong, be motivated, and be ready for your new happiness. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I think one day one of us will sleep through the night again but right now it’s not looking promising. First, it was a dramatic stomp across the house and now it is a full-on run everywhere. It started at dinner. He ran to the refrigerator to get out the milk because I guess I wasn’t fast enough. Then when I was done pouring more into his cup he ran the container back and put it away. It takes me a few minutes to adjust to his actions and reactions. Yes, he has run many times but I sense a difference with the body movements, he’s becoming more aware of how his body moves. I’ve seen so much growth the last few days and then along came stomping and running. The running is almost as dramatic as the stomping. They both are done with purpose and attitude like he knows what he is doing. This brings peace to my heart because the more he becomes aware of how his body works the better it will be for keeping him safe. He knows no concept of danger and walking on stairs backwards is almost an every day occurrence for us. I have to remind him to face the right direction and also try to protect him while not being too close to him because he will launch himself right into my arms on the stairs. As long as I’m not too close he will keep moving. It is something we have been working on for years. He has always been fascinated by the lights that reflect off of other objects. He moves his eyes around looking at the shadows in the room. He will walk right up to a wall or the tv -even when it’s off and move his face back and forth an inch from the surface. He’ll close his eyes as tight as they can be but still have a tiny little sliver open to see through. Sometimes he will take his tablet to the wall and hold it at different angles to catch all the reflections of light. Now he started holding his tablet above his head, squinting as he pulls it down in front of his eyes over and over again. Today brought new songs in languages I didn’t recognize. He laughed with Siri as he asked her to translate into “boy” and “dog”, laughing harder with the replies she couldn’t do as he asked but quickly followed it with German, Italian, French, and the rest. The language skills he is building are amazing. He had a few anxious moments as the night went on but he swung till his heart’s content and then went to sleep easily without too much of a struggle. He asked when he would see his teacher again and I told him to look at the calendar. To my heart's content he looked, he didn’t scream about it, and he was happy. Through tired eyes, I search for joy. It comes from hearing Owen laugh, seeing him run through life, and knowing that tomorrow we will grow again. Be brave in days that feel hard and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I wonder sometimes how many times one can wake in the middle of the night. I fell asleep early with Owen, well early for me but then woke up by midnight. And then it seems like a thousand other times. Something so simple as a printer problem can cause hours of bewilderment and sleeplessness. I figured out that Owen is starting to understand that when we touch or he does something like put on his jacket it can shock him. I’m trying to find ways to explain electricity in our bodies and why we shock each other. He seems very fascinated by it and even sticks out his finger testing if he will get shocked. I told him it was called “shock”. I actually think this is helping him work through it. He says, “shock” to me when he is about to touch me. I remember as a kid trying to shock my brother. It didn’t take much for me to create the charge. Now I see all kinds of questions running across Owen’s face when it happens and I have to find a way to connect it all for him. He turned the tv on really loud to the volume setting twenty. I said if he could say twenty in Italian he could leave it on that number. Not only did he say it but he said other words and lost me at twenty in Italian. This momma might need to learn a few more languages. I ask him questions about what he did for the day. I want him to make the connections to his day and to learn those communication skills. I ask him questions like what did he have for breakfast or what his favorite color is. He doesn’t answer me but I know it is only a matter of time. I tell him that he is amazing and that he has accomplished great strides already. I want him to know I believe in him and he should believe in all his hopes and dreams. Never give up on the miracles yet to come. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I prayed for calm today. Thankfully, Owen in general did really well with this. I on the other hand have had a very emotional day. I’m going to focus on the parts that got me through an extremely difficult day. Owen doesn’t understand when my emotions come pouring out so I’ve tried to keep them under wraps today. That means I hide my emotions from him and hopefully, it keeps him calm. He wanted to know when he would see his teacher again. When he asks a question he doesn’t ask once or twice or even three times, it can be hours of his foot tapping on the ground, and asking me when he will see her again or whatever the question may be. Today was the calendar of progress. Two days in a row he has let me show him a calendar. Yesterday I showed him one on my phone and that lead him to count to twenty-five in Italian and today I filled in our erasable wall calendar that he’s never wanted to look at with the events for the rest of the month. He didn’t scream when I showed it to him. In fact, he went to it several times reading and looking at the information on it. That’s some big ol’progress right there that’s been years in the making. He’s never wanted to use any type of schedule or visual displays. Anything to do with pictures he would knock out of my hands or take them from me and try to hide them. But today we are moving forward. He played his drums all on his own. He grabbed his tongue drum, put it on the couch, and started playing it. He belted out, “twinkle twinkle little banana” like one of the characters from the show Ooh, Aah and You. He then sat on his cajon drum and stomped his feet. I moved his hands and showed him how to make the noise. Sometimes this is easier for him. He doesn’t quite have the connection to his body movements to do it but he’s learning and that learning has included him being able to stomp across the entire house. It’s funny to watch him do a happy stomp when you would think it might be more dramatic. “I want help” and then he took me to his swing, “you can count on me”, he continues. Thankful for his words, thankful for his growth, and thankful for the hope of tomorrow. Find your inspiration and show the world your smile. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Hi mommy”, Owen said. I was kind of taken aback by his words. He says it all the time but he had been repeating, “hi Owen hi Owen hi Owen” and then he switched. It felt like a huge connection again. My day was very emotional and he can read me like a book. To calm his world he needs me to say hi to him but sometimes I’m trying to hold it all together in that moment which makes it even harder on him. But his words turned my emotions around quickly. He went from anxiously saying his name to calmly changing his demeanor and saying hi to me. We were in the car so I really couldn’t see him to it but I could feel the change in him. It felt like his whole body moved when he realized he needed to reference me. There’s joy in those words and excitement in those moments. When we got home he started walking up the steps backwards. My heart races every time he does this. He was trying to hug me while on the steps, not holding on, and walking backwards. I try to make him understand he has to be careful but it’s met with no real understanding. I have hope because I hear my words coming out of his mouth when he does his daredevil moves. He says, “be careful” and yet there is no resemblance of anything on the careful side of life happening. I breathe. I learned today Owen can count to at least twenty-five in Italian. I showed him the calendar because he was struggling with when he would see his teacher again. It was a fine line if I was going to help or hurt the meltdown that was in progress by showing him a calendar that he generally wants to hide from. He handled it by saying the date in Italian. He proceeded to say numerous numbers in order and pretty much covered them all up to the date. What else do you do besides then fix dinner of shrimp and cheese grits and I watched dinner quickly disappear while he was listening to Siri talk about animals in Italian. Maybe tomorrow he will be counting the sheep in Italian as he drifts off to sleep. My dream is for hope and calm for everyone. And the laughter and joy to all like my sweet baby O brings to me. Find your smile and share it with the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
It’s all in the sounds, I tell myself. Owen’s getting it. I see connections daily for him. Today I heard and saw how his speech is changing. There are several letters Owen still has a hard time with. I think between speech therapy, his teacher’s go get ‘em attitude, and his new love for listening to different languages he is able to say the L sound. He was talking to Alexa this morning on his tablet and he was calling her “awexa”, his Ls always sounding like Ws. I could see the change in his eyes. He realized he wasn’t saying the L and immediately regrouped. His whole jawline moved, he opened his mouth differently, and repositioned his tongue. Out came, “Alexa we need a sample of hickory dickory dock”. It was such an in-depth process to watch but there it was the true connection to the letter. He’s been saying his L a little more clearly lately but this was the moment I think it clicked for him. I got Owen a new shark blanket that he can lay inside. He was sitting with it around part of his legs and he saw the teeth. He said, “triangle” holding it up looking at it. He followed with, “those are shark teeth”. I feel like these are the victories we celebrate. The connections, the joys, the moments when he knows it and I see the changes in him. He was on edge most of the night, concerned when he was going to see his teacher again, go visit grandma, and go to church. He was ready for all the steps at one time. He was very calm at dinner though. He ate several pieces of chicken, as much as me, and tons of veggies. He said, “milk” several times to me without saying “please” so I waited to see what happened. He got up from the table, went to the refrigerator, and got his milk. He handed it to me and said, “I want milk please” in French and with that, I knew through all my other emotions seeing his progress is what mattered the most. Celebrate our victories and celebrate yours. Remember the smallest steps can be the hugest accomplishments. 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.