I survived today. I can not by any means say I thrived. My heart is beyond breaking and aching for my sweet baby O. There were tears shed by both of us. Owen is learning to process his emotions and share them. And I’m emotional about his emotions. What can I say to him to make him understand this is what we have to do for now to be safe. I tried to make his day a little easier, more routined, but still, what do I say to explain any of it. I was going to take him on a walk at lunchtime, but I didn’t pay attention to the weather. It started raining right as we were going for our walk. I had just said the words “let’s go for our walk” when the skies opened up and the rain poured. Then the screams came because we didn’t go for our walk. That made it even harder on him. Owen doesn’t ever cry big crocodile tears and here they were falling down his face off and on all day. All I could do was hold him when he would let me, try to make him laugh when he wouldn’t, and let him have his emotions when he needed to. As much as I’m still learning to deal with his emotions and help him through them, he is learning to deal with mine. I started crying while he was crying. It made him laugh. And the more I cried the more he laughed. I thought at least he’s laughing now. He always has a hard time when I wear my emotions on my sleeve. He wants me to hide them from him and he seeks comfort from me immediately when he can sense anything different about me. He starts repeating the exact words I will say to him when I want him to be calm. “Hi buddy it’s ok buddy I love you baby you’re fine count to ten”, he says. I pray for peace for him tomorrow and comfort in this ever-changing world that now is closing in on us. He asked for everyone and every place he could think of, but still didn’t want to talk to or see pictures of anyone. He was closer tonight though. He asked to “call grandma”, but when I started to call he screamed. I pray for a better day for everyone tomorrow. You are not alone in this journey. Remember to keep pushing forward and be inspired to make a difference in the world around you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
How To Monday
“Starting windows”, Owen said. He absolutely loves the computer. He wants to start it over and over to watch the screens as they come alive. I haven’t quite figured out how to get him to open the apps though. He has it all figured out on his tablet, but for some reason on the laptop, it feels different to him. I’m waiting for him to figure out coding. It seems like something that would be very easy for him the way he remembers things and his brain processes details. Meanwhile, I want to hang the gone fishing sign out. One of the hardest parts is to not be able to explain what is happening at this time to Owen. His world has completely been turned upside down, but I can’t tell him why. It’s hard for me to understand, but I can only imagine what he is going through. My own emotions well up inside me and then to have him sad makes the waterfall of tears sit ready to tumble out at any moment. But crying only makes it harder on him. I never imagined how hard it would be for my child to not understand what’s going on in the world. He has rules, routine, and his own agenda that govern his days and then to have it all turned upside in the blink of an eye. I normally try to prepare him when he has breaks from school or when something is going to be different, but how do I begin to explain this. His own tears echoed my emotions for the night. I held him as much as he would let me. I watched his body flip flop on the bed like a fish out of water as he worked through all of his emotions. When he cries it truly tells me how much he is hurting and confused. And of course, my worry is that he’s possibly sick. He wasn’t running a fever, but I still questioned how he was feeling. I repeatedly asked him why he was crying, in many different ways, knowing there would be no answer, but I still had to try. Next, I distracted him instead, maybe distracting me as well. I let him take my phone, which I never do, and he found the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He started laughing at one of the episodes and the tears dried up. Over an hour later he was asleep. Tomorrow I wish for peace for my baby boy, peace for my own heart, and peace in the world. Be the change in the world you want to see. Smiles to all and donut daze!
And Then It’s Sunday
Owen woke happy, has been happy, and is screaming happy. Me, I’m trying to remember to not touch my face. We went for a walk and I didn’t touch anything except my own front door, our porch rail, and his stroller, but I’m still trying to not touch my face. This is one of those things that happens and then you go oh right don’t touch your face. Owen was beyond excited to go for our walk today. The wind pretty much blew us around it seemed. He has an incredible memory and he stores everything until he can explain. I started off our walk in a different direction hoping to keep him calmer with no meltdowns, but he still kept telling me which way he wanted to go. As we were walking he would say “eagle” every so often, but I was making no connection to it. He has an agenda every time we walk, but I really didn’t understand until today. Towards the end of the walk, I let him tell me the directions he wanted to go. His little finger would point left, right, or straight, only saying the correct direction occasionally. We turned the corner and he started saying “eagle” with even more enthusiasm. On the corner of the building is a huge mural with an eagle. I didn’t even think about it being there, but he sure did. That’s what he has wanted to see every day and when I don’t go the way he wants he misses the eagle. I think about everything else he wants, like the park that we can’t go to and my heart breaks a little more. He had a pretty good day. He even wanted to watch a video of someone he knew. I was thankful for this. It was quick, but he was fine with it and then he let me listen to another video friends sent to him. I was excited about his progress and no meltdowns. But I knew nighttime was coming. He cries for the day ahead and the lack of routine we miss. There are no words to describe my heartache for my little boy when walks are what he has to look forward to the next day. I have to remind myself this is one moment in time and to keep praying for a better tomorrow. I want to focus on his smiles, his laughs, his giggles as we play through our days. The goal is to make my baby as happy as I can when the world isn’t turning the way he thinks it should or I walk in the wrong direction. Focus on the positive side of life. Remember you are not alone and this too shall pass. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Dreams Of Saturday
I didn’t even try to put him in his bed last night. But it still took three hours for him to fall asleep in my bed. He wanted to “watch de movie”. It’s the music video he likes that is very soothing to him. He watched it several times and then when he was still wide awake I switched it to the old standby, a lullaby song that generally puts him right out. After about twenty times of it, I turned everything off. Another fifteen minutes and he was out. I think both of us are a little more mellow today. I’m trying to be at least. When you have nerves of spaghetti on any given day and then you add in a pandemic you just gotta learn to breathe a little more often. The hardest part is not being able to explain all of this to Owen. He woke asking for the same agenda as yesterday, a walk. That almost brought me a sense of relief. The cries for normalcy send me to the edge of tears that I can’t cry in front of him. The smiles and laughter keep me from crying. He started playing a song and dancing with it. His dance shows how he is still learning what his body does. He pushed play on the video, started dancing which consists of him standing still, moving his knees to bounce, and holding his arm out so he can watch how his hand moves to the beat. He was singing the whole time he was moving. His singing brings me pure joy. I look back at our journey and it reminds me of his progress. The doctors told me he might not talk. I couldn’t believe this. I had to believe he could talk. And now here he is singing with such joy. The day had been full of giggles, smiles, and songs until the walk took place. I did not go the route that was expected and this was our new routine. The meltdown happened and the screams echoed through my heart. It was hot and I thought we should get out of the sun quicker. He did not. I cut through a parking lot and got back to our routine. Through these days I’m learning to look for joy in the little things, keep peace in my heart, and remember that we are in this together. Keep moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Difference Of Friday
I’m not quite sure when today became more difficult for me than it was for Owen, but maybe it was after the first five minutes when he woke. He was struggling with everything and then I think it switched. He had very few meltdowns as the day wore on. But he had a very important agenda as well. He woke asking for our walk and until we went that was what he asked about and then as soon as the walk was done he was ready to go again. My heart breaks thinking walks are now the highlight of his day. We’ve worked so hard to get to the point where he actually wanted to go places and now the isolation, the pure isolation, and lack of a way to explain it to him. I told him in order to go on our walk he had to stay dry and focus on going to the potty. He did. The next agenda for him was wanting to go to the park. My heart breaks for the second time at this point. I can’t take him to the park. Owen does not understand he can’t lick everything he sees. He doesn’t always walk up to something and lick it, but I never know when his sensory needs will kick in. When he gets frustrated or excited he will grab what’s in front of him and put it in his mouth. Generally, it’s his shirt, but not always the case. I can’t take any chances with him and the virus. So we walked every direction he pointed except to the park. If he didn’t want to go a direction I was starting to head he would put his feet down. This would stop me immediately. He would find a way to wrap his legs around the stroller and we weren’t budging. The closer we got back to our house the more agitated he got and the more I tried to explain we were not going to the park today. When we got home I distracted him with the seatbelt, but he still was upset, wanting to go to the park. One day at a time I remind myself. As he was drifting off to sleep, three hours after he went to bed, he mentioned walk several times. Tomorrow, I told him, tomorrow. The world is ever-changing and we must remember to keep pushing forward. I try not to let the stress and worry set in stone for me, but my worry-brow says differently. We can’t always control our moments in time, but we can do our part in this world to make a difference. Smiles to all and donut daze!
To The Thursday
“Mommy’s bed” has been repeated at least every twenty seconds or quicker for the last hour. It’s not bedtime but he’s continuing to ask for it. The last two nights have been rough and I’ve let him sleep in my bed both nights. I keep telling myself he’s seeking comfort in a confusing situation and we are doing the best we can. Meanwhile, I want to cry. Potty training, that’s one of those things that seems to be flying out the window with the routine as well. It’s completely hit or miss the last couple of days. Although today I told him that if he stayed dry we would go for a walk. He was dry all day. I also asked him every five minutes to go to the potty it seemed, but he was dry. His teacher sent videos that they watch at school. Owen was watching one of the videos. He then hit pause, came to me and asked me to find “rollercoaster” with the voice-activated option. This was the exact same video he was watching and now wanted me to find. This is something he does all the time. I do not know how to convince him that he doesn’t have to look for a video he is watching. This is a behavior he has done for years now. The night was rough. He cried, screamed, or obsessively asked for mommy’s bed, school, and his teacher. He doesn’t want to always be held through these moments. My baby is hurting and wants his routine back. I want the small semblance of calm we had with our routine. He’s able to express more of his emotions but not necessarily the words to convey what he means. All I keep thinking about is the transition he will have to make with a new school and teacher next year. And I pray he gets to go back to school this year. One day at a time I tell myself, remembering to breathe. Huge hug to all. You are not walking in this journey alone. Find your strength, push forward, and remember tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
When You Wind Up Wednesday
Last night was epic. Maybe not the worst night to get Owen to sleep, but close to it. Although it was before midnight so there’s that. Running, screaming, wanting in my bed, and asking for everything that he already had was cycled through, over and over for hours. I can only imagine how he feels, not knowing or understanding why everything and everyone he wants is not around. He wanted to go to bed early and then early turned into four hours later. Oh to have a routine set in place. My heart aches and aches for my little boy. His screams echo through my mind. Some of his screams are from pure delight. Like when he learned how to make Siri say, “sorry I didn’t catch that” when he pushes the button on his iPad and screams. Then there are the screams because he likes to listen to a video that talks about expressions. And the screams when he is upset, mad, or in meltdown. He’s cycling back through behaviors as well. He yells across the room to me, “we don’t bite”. The first few times I would respond to him, agreeing we don’t bite, but this would lead to him continuing on, then stating the behaviors we don’t do. He ran over to me about to bite me, but hovering over my arm waiting for me to tell him no. These were his behavior years ago. We worked through these before, or so I thought. Without his routine, it feels like he is grasping for things to find comfort and routine in. We went for a walk today. I promised him last night we would go “ride” as he calls it. He wants to be in his stroller as we go. I’m thankful he still fits in it. We had dinner when we came home. As his fried fish was rolled between his toes, we both yelled out about the same time. I said, “we don’t put fish between our toes” and he said, “school’s over” sticking the fish in his mouth. Ahh, the sensory rules of food win every time. When I struggle I pray and when I pray I become calm. Prayer needs to come before the struggle. Today and always remember you are not alone. One day at a time and keep moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Love Out Loud Tuesday
As my heart breaks, I also have to remember to let my soul rejoice. There are so many things beyond our control right now, so praying is my answer. Today should be gymnastics day. Today should be a lot of things day, but gymnastics is where we should have gone, coulda, shoulda, woulda gone. This is where everything comes colliding together for me. I want to keep my baby safe, but things like gymnastics and bowling are therapy for him, for me too. I have to push passed all of the emotions right now and keep Owen moving forward. Really I think it’s about keeping us all moving forward. I tried to do exercises with Owen. I want to keep us both physically active while all this is going on, which seems easier said than done since I want to sit all the time. Our morning was going great, so I asked him to touch his toes. His immediate response was to lift his foot directly from the ground and touch his toes. First, I thought I wish I could still do this and then second, it immediately hit my heart that he doesn’t understand how to touch his toes by bending over. I tried to show him by bending over to touch my toes, but he laughed. I have to admit it was a sight to see. Graceful is not what I describe myself as anymore, for that matter ever. I tried helping him bend in half and he couldn’t get the concept. He lifted his foot again. I had him sit on the floor and try to touch his toes, that didn’t work either. I try to breathe through these moments. We will get it. He’s making huge progress and I know he will get this too. One of the hardest things for me is gauging how he is feeling. He knows enough to say to me he is sick from an upset stomach right as he gets sick, but he wouldn’t be able to explain he has a headache or sore throat. He will also sing, “momma called de doctor and de doctor said no more monkeys jumping on de bed”. I found this comforting when I finally made the connection that he would sick it if he doesn’t feel well. However, he also loves going to see his doctor because we get to ride an elevator and he loves her, so when he asks for her or sings the song I have to watch for his energy surrounding how he says it. One day at a time, one moment, one breathe. I’m thankful for his smile and his progress. Know that you are not alone. Remember to embrace your victories and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
In The Wilds Monday
Owen’s got one thing on his mind, “granma granma granma”. Okay, so it’s about ten things on his mind, but all the places we can’t go. If you’ve never had a very persistent child that knows exactly what they want I can tell you they do know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to say it as a rolling sentence for twenty minutes or two hours at a time an inch away from your nose. Owen woke in my bed, again reinforcing my need to make my room his room, and within seconds he was an inch from my nose telling me exactly what he wanted to do with his day. He’s got me beat with the run-on sentences. All I can do is breathe at this point. He doesn’t understand why we can’t go everywhere we want to go and I’m afraid that even taking him on walks will cause more meltdowns. There’s finally a huge smile from Owen. His teacher sent the songs they use for their breakfast routine. We used it with our dinner music, but tomorrow we will try it for his breakfast. Getting us on a routine that we can use daily will be extremely beneficial for both of us. I can’t even imagine what he is going through. The world is different for all of us, but as hard as it is for me I at least understand the precautions the government is taking. How do I even begin to explain to him why we can’t go places. And I try not to think about regression as days turn into weeks of us not being able to go to the activities that we’ve worked so hard on becoming part of our routine. He can’t tell me how he is feeling or his emotions so I hold him tighter and tell him I love him deeply. I’m thankful for the smiles I get throughout our day. Know that you are not alone and together we will get through this. Be the light someone needs to see. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Fill the coffee mug, let the coffee mug sit, cold coffee, warm the coffee up, and this seems to be the circle of life for my day so far. Owen and I both seemed to sleep okay last night. But my bed is where he wants to be. It reinforces my goal of making my room his room. We have been working on speech today. He has a hard time with many letters, but L is the one I’m trying to focus on with him now. I get overwhelmed some days with the things I never thought to work on with him. Early on I practiced having Owen open his mouth to say ahh, so if he went to the doctor or dentist the concept would be easier for him. I have him sing musical scales as well, but it has been a long time since I worked with him on tongue placement or sticking out his tongue. This is not something that even registers I should do, but here I was this morning trying to explain to him how to stick out his tongue. Owen takes instructions very literally. I said, put your tongue on your top teeth. I give instructions like this and then realize what he thinks about them. He immediately took his hand and tried to pull his tongue to the top of his teeth. I moved on to show him what I meant. Then I tried to get him to stick his tongue out. I started making the la la la sound over exaggerated so that he could see my tongue’s movements. I said, to him move your tongue up and down. We were holding hands and he started singing “up and down up and down” like from The Wheels On The Bus￼ moving his whole body up and down. I was explaining with terms I thought he might understand, but he still wasn’t able to do it. One day at a time I tell myself. He’s come so far and I certainly see progress. We will revisit the L sound tomorrow. Even though he wasn’t comprehending what I was trying to have him do I saw the joy in the learning process with him. I wanted to cry, but his smile made my heart rejoice instead. I tell him all the time we are a team and together we will get through this. He’s having a really great day and thankfully he has been fine with us staying home. Lunch is being eaten with a fork and that in itself is a moment to rejoice about. Find your happiness, share it with the world, and know that you are important. 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.