Owen felt calmer with a high-strung attitude all day. I felt anxious with a desire to find calm. The rains have struck and the flooding has begun. Add it to the next stage of the weather phenomenons that keep happening. I am not a fan of rain. It turns my tortoise speed into a snail’s pace. My body does not like the rain at all. It’s like a sponge and sends all my conditions into a four-way stop and none of them want to go. I was born with a condition called hemihypertrophy where my right side is larger than my left. I also have Hashimoto’s which is a thyroid condition and sprinkle in a little severe arthritis and you got a trifecta of fun, especially on these rainy days. But as I always say, we all got something and each day we can choose to let it control us, or we can find ways to still smile. And Owen helps that smile stay big and bright. He seems like he has grown a foot over the last few days, maybe not quite that much but he is truly growing. I was waiting for his next memory request to surface and he started talking about our beloved coffee shop, another Saturday tradition that has been put on hold. “I’m not going to the coffee shop today”, he repeated throughout the day. No, my sweet baby O, not today. My fears of how he would react if everything shuts down again keep me from taking him too many places. The sadness sits in my heart knowing that he was devastated for days, weeks, months when all of this first started happening. I would hold him and he would cry or scream off and on all day. How do you explain the unexplainable. It felt like Owen was understanding more as I was telling him why we weren’t doing different activities but maybe it was me hoping that he would find a way to cope with all of this. He gets to go to school tomorrow and as I wrote that I said a prayer after the fear washed over me like the rain. He fell asleep easily but I know he won’t sleep through the night. I long for him to get a better night’s rest. One day at a time I remind myself, knowing that today was a pretty good day for my sweet baby O. And boy did that dude eat and he serenaded me with some songs in every language he knows. Sometime in the middle of somewhere, I found a dream, and the inspiration comes from the smile he gives me every day. Set your goals, check them off one by one, and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
In a few words or less Owen had my emotions churning. This pandemic has been hard on all of us but I think about my sweet baby O and my eyes fill with tears. He doesn’t get it, he doesn’t get it at all. How could he. One minute every single day is filled with activities, therapies, events, and fun, and then the next day nothing, absolutely nothing. We still aren’t over the hump but at least we are doing a few things. But his routine, his activities they all haven’t returned yet and I’m not sure when they will. One of his new doctor’s offices is by the bowling alley that we spent every single Saturday at. I worried when we started going for the appointments that it would trigger emotions for him that he wouldn’t be able to handle or I couldn’t explain why we still weren’t going. Last night he cried out for his previous teacher, today he kept saying, “I’m not going bowling today”. I told him that we weren’t going bowling but we would try to go soon. When is soon going to be I wondered, wanting to cry for the routine Owen so desperately wants back and needs. He had a relatively calm day otherwise. A few moments here and there with pumped-up emotions and screams for one reason or another. I helped him keep on top of the meltdowns but he’s back to biting and pulling my hair to settle himself if we don’t stop them. We did a lot of counting and our breathing techniques to keep us moving forward. As the day turned into night he kept saying, “two more minutes”. Even though I hadn’t mentioned bedtime he knew it was fast approaching and he wanted to stay up as long as possible. We went through our routine, quiet time, supplements, bath time, bedtime, dog books in the bed, music relaxation video, and today’s countdown to sleep was him naming every possible shape he could come up with. The trapezoid, rhombus, and parallelogram are some of his favorites to talk about. And I’m always thinking square, I’m good at squares. He drifted off to sleep and my thought was when will he wake up to start his day, scratch that, our day. Through tired eyes, I heard his joys, saw his big smile, and was amazed at all the phrases he can now say in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Focus on the journey ahead and make your dreams come true. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today felt like an easily complicated day that was full of twists and turns with emotions on top of emotions. Owen seemed calmer today for the most part but when his emotions skyrocketed they soared quickly. He doesn’t always have the expressive words to tell me how he is feeling so when he can't get me to understand something he wants it can quickly become a meltdown. It seems more important than ever to work with him on breathing techniques and body awareness. The bigger he gets I no longer can carry him. And being able to carry him was my saving grace in situations where his fight or flight instincts would take over. When I walk into a room I look for all the possible places he could run or hide. I then look for doors and windows that are slightly ajar or being opened often. These are all triggers for meltdowns for Owen. I’m trying not to think of all the emotions that are attached to this, for both of us. Even with all our emotions today and several mini meltdowns he still felt calmer, until it was bedtime. He gets something on his mind and right when I think he is falling asleep he finds something to scream about. Tonight was the fact that he wasn’t going to get to see his teacher but then it turned into teachers. At first, he was mad because he wasn't going to school tomorrow, missing out on seeing his teacher but then it moved onto him crying about his previous teacher. To him, there was no closure from last year. He went on spring break and he never went back to see her. He has a hard time with phone calls and video chats, screaming at the top of his lungs, especially when he knows the person, so that wasn’t an option. Well, tonight he kept yelling her name saying that he was not going to see her again. This phrase and behavior are common though for even people he sees every day. As soon as Owen comes home from school he says the same thing about his current teacher. I dream of a day this is easier for him and his emotions meet his expressive words right there in the middle. And if he keeps going like he is he will be able to say his emotions in all of the languages. I rejoice in his smile and knowing that he is growing every day. Find your inspiration, share your smile, and know that you are important. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days I tell myself to breathe, you’re doing a good job and other days, well, I cry. When I think about yesteryear I see how far Owen has come and the crying I want to do needs to stop. The highs, mediums, and lows of the day kept me on my toes. For a while now Owen has been using a cup that has no lid. He has now become fascinated with sticking his hand in the cup, pouring the liquid out of the cup, and basically doing the Hokey Pokey with the cup and shaking it all about. Plus, of course, he is like his momma and we spill things. The combination of these things had milk everywhere three separate times. I don’t want to go back to giving him a cup with a lid because he needs to learn not to stick his hands in his drink but he also can’t be spilling his drink on purpose. It’s time to overthink on this one. We went to his therapy and he truly did amazing, right place, right therapist this time. When we were coming home we drove by an abandoned garage. The doors are always open on it. This does not go over well with him. He needs and wants those doors closed. It’s a building we pass often and he knows it before we are anywhere near it. He starts talking about the doors needing to be shut when we are still a mile or more away from it. At first, when he would talk about the doors being closed I didn’t understand what he meant but as time has gone on I realized he was concerned about the garage. I wish I could stop and close the doors. He talked to me about them all the way home from his therapy. I try to distract him. I have different phrases and techniques to help him to not go into a meltdown. I started singing, “it’s a rolie polie rolie polie and I’m bigger than this” a made-up song I’ve been singing with him for years. He wasn’t really interested in hearing anything other than me saying we would fix the doors, even though there was no way to fix the doors. We got home and he started playing with his table. He wanted me to type in the Spanish version of “a poem is” from Disney. Instead of typing the Spanish words I typed it in English but put that we wanted the Spanish version. He deleted what I typed and said exactly what I was supposed to type in Spanish, so I learned he can also read English and Spanish to some degree. As the day came to a close I realized that tomorrow is a brand new day. Through challenges we learn and grow and I know that we will do it together. Find your inspiration and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke before midnight. I hadn’t even gone to bed yet. I was still sitting on the couch when I heard him get out of bed. I waiting for the screams after the day he had. They didn’t come. He snuggled up beside me and then moved into my arms. It wasn’t long and he was out again. It also wasn’t long before I figured out I would be sleeping on the couch. It happens a lot. I’ve learned to embrace it and I’ve learned that the couch that was the perfect size a few months ago is way too small for the both of us to be sleeping on now. It’s a sectional but a very small one and I think even if it was the king-size version of sectionals it would probably still be too small but maybe I at least wouldn’t feel like I’m falling off of it. He is in constant need of input even during sleep so he pushes himself into the corners of the couch or bed. He also will drill his head into my head. He hardly ever does it when he’s awake but for some reason, during sleep, he will find a way to put his head on mine and push really hard into me. I’ve tried to create a cave-like effect in his bed so he would be cocooned by pillows and blankets but that still doesn’t bring the comfort he seeks. I breathe. I tell myself all the time that I can’t fix everything and I can’t possibly understand everything he is going through but I still want to try. I have to let go and encourage myself to keep moving forward. He woke this morning in a much calmer mood. He was happy and ready to go to school. He was also anxious that he wasn’t going to get to go to school but I told him the weather was fine. He still can’t get past the weather delays from the week before. I keep telling myself the tides will turn and we will get back to doing all the activities he loved and his routine will be set in stone again. For today I’m encouraged for tomorrow and the tomorrows yet to come. Never give up. The impossible becomes the possible when you believe. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days I want to hang the “gone fishing” sign and be done with it. How many emotions can both Owen and I struggle within one day crossed my mind more than once. It was a hard day, a doubly hard day, an indubitably hard day. It seemed like everything was overwhelming to Owen as the night went on. He repeated, “ABC you have to go” wanting me to say, “you have to go to YouTube”. This went on for over an hour. He couldn’t let it go. No matter what I said or didn’t say he was in my face repeating it. I tried rocking him, worked on his breathing techniques, had him count, sang songs to him, for him, with him, and nothing helped. My heart aches when I can’t help move him forward. His feet beat the floor with every passing moment he couldn’t find comfort in our interactions. This video has been gone from an app he liked for probably two years now. I’ve lost track of time but he hasn’t. It’s gone and that’s all that matters to him. He’s stuck on the fact that he can’t open the app and look at the song right there. The tears that couldn’t flow earlier are now soaking my shirt from running down my cheeks. This one video, one video, has caused my sweet baby O so much distress over the last few years. How can something that seems so minuscule in the grand scheme of life be something that is bigger than life to my son. He doesn’t forget a second in time, not one second. This keeps me constantly on edge, guessing when the next emotional outburst will start due to something that happened days, weeks, months, even years ago. I have a hard time remembering yesterday and he holds on to every memory possible. He couldn’t move past the bathroom door either tonight. He needed it to be in a certain spot so he could see his reflection in the knob. This makes it extremely hard to go to the bathroom because the toilet is behind the door. He had to reset the door into its correct space every time I walked into the bathroom. All I can do is breathe. I know his anxiousness is high because his routine has been nothing but routine. Oh to live in a bubble. Tomorrow I’m going to hope he wakes with a calm heart and able to move forward. I want to see his smile bright again tomorrow. Find your motivation and keep moving forward, one day at a time. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept better last night than he had in a while. Me, not so much. I try to pack so much in those hours after he goes to sleep, the me time. But that means most of the time I stay up past midnight and then he wakes me by five every day practically. I should start saving this me time for every other Thursday and when he sleeps. If only I knew when that was going to be. I can see his anxiousness moving through him when he does certain tasks. He has to repeat steps and those steps dictate how he needs me to respond and his own rules of what is supposed to happen. I wish I knew how to help him with this process. He purposely selects to open and close screens or pop-up boxes so he can ask for help. As I talk him through it he keeps yelling for help. Once he finally closes the box or app he will then cover his eyes with his arm and lifts his head up and down. I’ve always assumed he does this to see the reflections and shadows as they move through his vision. Maybe one day he will be able to tell me. If I don’t answer correctly to his cries for help or his need to repeat his day’s events it continues until his needs are met by either me saying the right words or him finishing the process he started. My words and actions can be the difference between an exhausting meltdown that can last for hours or him moving forward quickly. The pressure is on me to get it right. I’m not sure why he started talking about diapers tonight but he wanted me to know there would be “no diapers today”. He hasn’t worn them now in about two years so I’m not sure what brought this on. Maybe this was a process he needed to get through or was finally able to communicate his emotions. Either way, he was right and he has come so far. The language train is in full steam ahead. I can ask him to say something in another language and after saying “no” he quickly goes into saying the phrase I have requested. He knows phrases in at least eleven languages that I have counted and the sky is the limit for my sweet baby O. The hope is in tomorrow and my shining star is doing amazing. Never give up on the hope for tomorrow for it shines bright in our hearts. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Once upon a time, there was a lot of time. My mom has always said this to me. Right now it feels like it’s hurry up and wait for everything. I fell asleep with Owen last night. I woke up several times with a foot near my head or his hand across my face but I was too exhausted to get out of his bed, the bed he still calls “mommy’s bed”. For a while, he slept better in my old bedroom so I changed my house around and gave him my room. It was darker than his room and sleeping in mommy’s bed was the answer, until it wasn’t. Now it’s back to every night is up in the air. But the sleep I did get last night was needed. Some days my emotions get the best of me. I have been working on what time means with Owen, hoping that it will help with his anxiety about when he is supposed to do something. I tried to explain the digital clock to him this morning. I’ve gone over it before with the same results. He isn’t quite there yet. He sees numbers as a math problem and not as time. He wanted to add the numbers and not read them for me. All it was doing was upsetting him so I moved forward. His words are becoming more fluid and also he is truly interchanging English with all the languages. He asked Siri for “hickory dickory donkey in Portuguese”, quickly following it up with “dashing through the snow in French”. The phrases kept flowing and the requests came in every language she translates into. He moved on to watching shows on the television so that he could hear more languages. He listens in one language and then he has the captions in another. He moves through all the languages as well. As we were eating lunch he said, “I am happy today happy for grapes”. He keeps me guessing. He was full of emotions, wanting school and the request to me for “I’ll get you some more church”. Yes, my sweet baby O I’ll get you some more school and church. I’m thankful he loves to go to both. The week ahead seems like the weather should be better and hopefully, he’ll get to go to school every day. He also has therapy appointments so it will be a busy week. He felt connected today and his smile was bright. I’m thankful for the journey ahead. Be bold, be beautiful, be you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Three o’clock in the morning is awfully early when one o’clock in the morning is considerably late. I fell asleep early with Owen, for about thirty minutes waiting for him to fall asleep. And then I woke up with a start. I’m really not even sure what woke me. I got up and then didn’t fall asleep until after one. Somewhere in the three o’clock range, Owen was an inch from my nose talking about the weather, who he wanted to see, and where his tablet was. I was still in the processing phase. I told him it was still night time and he was not having it. He was ready for the day and that was the end of it. I told him to look outside, that it was still dark and he could have his tablet if he went back to “mommy’s bed”. I wonder if he will ever call it his bed. He wouldn’t stay in his room and he wouldn’t let me sleep. I sat on the couch in a daze for a bit, then I started the first of many pots of coffee for the day. The day was a mix of where’s my routine, screaming at me for one thing or another, and a very happy and content Owen. The listening skills were debatable but I always wonder if that is age, comprehension level, or him knowing how to push my buttons. I could feel his anxiousness every time I went to the bathroom. The door was on his shortlist to watch. He had to have the angle perfectly and everything lined up. I try to keep him moving forward with this but I also know it has to be in the right spot for him to deal with it. So a perfect door it is. He was quite the speller today. He wanted to spell the words into the YouTube search engine instead of me saying the words. Some words were spelled without me ever telling him, others he typed in the whole phrase as I said each letter. I celebrated the progress. Now as night approaches he wants nothing with the thought of bed and keeps telling me “two minutes”. I think I’m twenty-two hours past the two minutes ready for sleep. He came to kiss me on my forehead as I kiss him and I knew that everything would be fine. Celebrate our victories, celebrate yours, and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Well, it happened. Nope, nada, no school. I get it, I totally and completely get it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to cry the biggest river I can when there is no school. The weather strikes again. I had just told Owen he was still going to school and then I heard the sound of an email. I didn’t look. I knew in my heart what it was going to say and I wanted to cry but I waited until the phone rang and the words “school board” flashed across the screen. The time gave it away but there it was the words. No, no, no I wanted to scream but still knew and understood why. Owen once again did well throughout the day, only checking to make sure he was to “be with mommy” and “no school today” but it’s the nighttime that all the behavioral moments surface. He doesn’t want to fall asleep until he defines what happened for the day, what is happening the next day, and all the days forever and ever amen. It makes me anxious thinking about what will happen tomorrow and the tomorrows yet to come. His vocabulary and comprehension skills do not necessarily match and that makes it even harder for him. I’m sure on one level he gets it but still, the tears, the screams, the heartbreak he shows when his routine is gone puts a quiver on my lip and a tear rolling down my cheek as I write this. And more sadness from me because all I want him to do is go to sleep so his sadness is lessened. I’m going to focus on the fun, funny side of my sweet baby O. I tell him all the time how he makes my day and that I love him with all my heart. We got a grocery delivery and when they knocked on the door he said, “hotdog we got a visitor”. I’m thinking this had to have come from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or some other show. As we sat eating our dinner, Owen sang “single bells single bells single all the way”, his year-round Christmas song, and then proceeded to throw a couple of pieces of his remaining chicken into the area and then picking up one of the pieces and eating it. After that little adventure took place he shook his milk cup around, spewing little droplets of chocolate milk everywhere. Thankfully, luckily, and oh my word why child, why there was nothing left in the cup but it still made a mess. “Need to go potty”, he exclaimed eating the last bite of chicken, and off he ran. His fascination for the toilet and my complete and utter wanna run away from it feelings meet no where in the middle. Why my child has to love water so much, I want to know. He is much faster than me and I’m glad the water party doesn’t happen every single time he goes to the bathroom. Through challenges and victories, we made it together through our day. Never give up on the hope of tomorrow. Remember you are amazing and can accomplish anything you set your mind to. 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.