When Owen was younger I would hear him listening to videos in numerous languages. It seemed like he thought it was one big language. I now realize he was soaking it all in. The word “amazing” keeps running through my head when I think about it. Every day I can see his language skills increasing and I know he is starting to recognize each language as its own language. I filled his glass with milk and he said, “thank you”. I said, can you say it in French. He said, “thank you for the chocolate milk momma” but it was all in French. It almost feels like he is grasping sentence structure easier in other languages. “Penguins in the box the come”, was another big part of our night. He talked about it and gave the penguins their adventure on the rollercoaster. He wants to tell me about some other toy he wants but he doesn’t know how to yet but it will come. It took me forever to get him into his bath and then it took another forever to get him out of the bath. If you don’t do things in the right order it throws the whole night off. He wanted to drink the bath water. It’s hard to convince him not to drink it. He sang himself to sleep. “H h h horse that’s a good one”, he sang out, “hen that’s a good one”. He fell asleep in my arms and starting into the Js. The chaotic from last week has moved to the calm of this week and I’m very thankful. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Never give up on the hope of tomorrow. The doctors told me Owen might not talk and here he is singing to me and talking in numerous languages. Hold on to the hope, share your dreams, and make tomorrow matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today felt like a big deal. It actually rocked. Sure there were a few moments, who doesn’t have a few moments but wow, oh wow, did the day feel huge. Owen’s penguin rollercoaster toy came in. I left it in the box so he could see it. I am still emotional about the pure joy I have from seeing him so excited about a toy. He asked for a toy. That still has tears floating in my eyes. I put the box on the table and didn’t tell him I did it. I should have put it together but “penguins in the box come”. I wanted to see the reaction he had and what he would do. In a little while I heard his words “penguins in the box come”. He ran to me with the box. This in itself was another huge step. I took it back to the table and I opened the box. I then took out all the pieces. I had to put the batteries in it and attach the slides. He stood patiently next to me holding the little packet of penguins. When I put all the pieces together he handed me the bag. “Open it”, he said. I opened them and put one on the track to make sure I set it up correctly. He wanted me to keep adding them but I explained that I wanted to make sure it worked. Again the patience amazed me. Once I let the first one go through I handed him all three and the party began. He was thrilled, running all over the house, talking about the “penguins in the box come”. The joy in my heart is making it beat stronger. He asked for a toy that he wanted and he was over the moon when he got it. Plus, the big thing, he played with it. I try not to let the sadness wash over me about him not being able to tell me other things he’s needed or wanted over the years but instead I’m letting this moment win. I’m staring at the three little penguins on the rollercoaster wishes they understood how much they mean to a little boy and his momma. The day started off big. He woke up and was completely interacting with me, answering questions about all the words he was reciting from the alphabet. I said, do you know what a kitten turns into after he said, “k is for kitten”. He then said, “cat” spelling each of the letters and saying, “meow”. As he fell asleep tonight he was reciting the same letters he woke up saying and I was reminded that life is truly what you make it. As my sweet baby O fell asleep his words came to mind, “are you happy today”. Yes baby, I am. Find your joy and know that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen kinda slept and I did not sleep because he kinda didn’t sleep. He woke around two but thankfully went back to sleep immediately when I got him to lay on the couch with me. When he woke again he was in a great mood and ready for school. It makes me happy knowing how much he loves school and what he is learning from his teacher. After an extremely hard last week this week seems to be better for him. But then along comes Friday. I’m already dreading it and anxious about it. Friday and Monday are days off for him. It’s like a short spring break for him. I keep telling myself to be thankful it’s only two days, he’ll be able to handle it but I want to cry. Any and all breaks are hard on him. He needs the routine, structure, and focus school gives him. The routine, the routine, is all that keeps running through my head. I can’t even imagine how summer will go this year. The older he gets the more his routine matters to him and the more he focuses on it. I always want to says obsesses about it but that feels too much like I’m putting emotions on him that he can’t explain to me yet so maybe there’s another reason. When he came home from school today he wanted to look two new videos up on his tablet. Both videos were based on books and ones that I’m sure he is learning at school. He was able to find them using the voice-activated option, which is incredible to me. When I realized which videos he was pulling up I went to his book baskets and found both books for him. The baskets are much easier for him to work with than shelves. I handed the books to him and he was thrilled. He generally doesn’t look in his book baskets unless I sit there with him but when I handed him the books he walked over to the baskets and started looking through them. This one is a victory to me. I love how interactive he is becoming. He sat with me for our entire dinner, talking to me, and trying all the different foods I gave him. A whole lotta rejoicing over here. He fell asleep easily tonight and I pray he can sleep through the night. Let your smile shine bright and share it with the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
We slept. Let’s pause to rejoice that gloriousness. “It’s raining”, Owen said, after hearing the rain hit the awning. More rejoicing. What a grand way to start our day. There is so much complexity to that simple sentence. Tears are forming in my eyes and the smile spreading across my face as I think of it again. He woke up, heard the noise of the rain outside, and had a conversation with me. Thank you, God, thank you! The birds chirped with their rejoicing too. He was playing with his Santa rollercoaster and said, “penguins in the box come”. I asked him to repeat it. He went to the tv and pulled up a penguin rollercoaster video and said it again, “penguins in the box come”. I said, “do you want a penguin rollercoaster” and he said, “yes”. This felt like the moment when I’ve heard so many parents saying their child will ask for every toy at the store. Owen’s never done that before. He never grasped the concept. It felt magical. I pulled up a toy like it and asked him if this was what he wanted. He told me yes again. I showed him a couple of other rollercoasters with different animals and vehicles, “no”, he said, “penguins in the box come”. I told him I would order it and it would come in a box in a few days. He ran to an empty box I had put by the door to take outside for trash day. He opened it a couple of times. I told him it wasn’t here yet but it would be here soon. There is so much joy from being able to not only have a conversation with my sweet baby O but to understand and be able to get something that he wants. The connections he is making are incredible and my heart is thankful. He’s had two baths and my floor has been mopped three times in the span of an hour. I got the ham salad out of his toes and hair and ears and off the floor only for him to spill his milk all over the table and the Santa rollercoaster. The milk spill looked like it was trying to take Santa back to the North Pole. The last two days have been much calmer than any of the days in the past two weeks. I’m thankful he feels more at peace in his body and the words and connections are flowing. He said, “do you see the smile on my face I'm happy”. Me too, baby, I'm happy too. Life is not always easy to explain but the love sure is. Never give up. You can make tomorrow the day of your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept all night. Well, our version of all night is five in the morning but hey, I’ll take it. I have a feeling it would have been longer if I didn’t go to the bathroom but drinking coffee at ten o’clock at night is what I do. Compared to the week we’ve had he woke calm and listened to instructions. I was so thankful. I asked him to come to lay down with me. I was hoping to squeeze a couple more hours of sleep out of him but knowing it would be only a few minutes if I was lucky. He laid with me for almost twenty minutes before he used the “baffroom” excuse. “Baffroom need to go to the baffroom”, he said. And by bathroom he meant tablet. I told him if he went to the bathroom he could have his tablet but he had to lay back down with me. To my surprise, this also happened for another twenty minutes. It’s so worth it. The morning felt good. I didn’t try to push us and I didn’t ask him to do anything. I played with him and gave him lots of hugs and tickles. He lights up with laughter when I tickle him and it does my heart good to see his smile. He watches a video that features a little toy rollercoaster that has animals automatically sliding around it and then they get pushed up a tiny set of stairs. He loves it. The lights and movement fascinate him. I like to give him real-world examples of things he sees in videos or apps he plays so he can see how it works. A while ago I got him a different version of the rollercoaster. He loves Christmas songs so this one was Christmas themed and had three Santas that came with it. He played with it for several weeks and then he stopped watching the video and didn’t play with the rollercoaster so I put it away. He started watching the video again. I pulled the toy back out. He doesn’t understand to go look in his toy box so I always have to show him what he has. But he never forgets what the toy does. He was excited when I showed it to him and he didn’t miss a beat. It used to have three Santas but we lost two. He was asking for “Santas in the box”. He said, “three Santas”. I might have to find more Santas. He sat playing with the toy, singing “single bells single bells single all the way” and I smiled. The day ended as it began, calm. I pray for these days to continue. Look for the peace that brings your heart joy. Smiles to all and donut daze!
How big can the gone fishing sign be and where can I hang it so it stands out. I keep telling myself autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. And today I want to cry. I sip more coffee instead. The meltdowns have come hard, fast, and furious all week. One after another. More sips because those tears want to fall. How hard does this have to be for my baby. Over the years we’ve worked very hard to keep these meltdowns under wraps and then along came this week and bam meltdown central and no way to get around them. The triggers for his meltdowns are endless and then I really don’t know what’s causing them. My child’s brain is beyond amazing and calculating things before I realize there’s something to calculate. The goal, the hundred million percent goal is always to keep the meltdowns away. But this week one after another. I’m exhausted and I hurt for my sweet baby O. The one thing I have to remember is that I have to keep calm. It’s not an option, I have to be calm. I can tell you I want to be on that floor kicking and screaming with him but the calmer I am the more I can help him find his calm. Coffee is not keeping the tears from rolling now. I can see the glaze in Owen’s eyes when he is in meltdown. He can’t focus on me or anything else besides getting himself centered and the emotions set right. When he sees the chaos in whatever it is there is no calm for him. I knew early on in this journey we had to get him to find a different focus. I begged him to use other parts of his brain to find calm. I told him I knew he could do it. I made up a song and would sing it to distract him. When I saw a little bit of a change I would rapid-fire questions at him, trying to get him to respond. Back then he didn’t have words but it was more the means of a distraction. As the night wore on he calmed. He let me play with him on his tablet, even letting me select the options. He gave me numerous big hugs and put his forehead to my lips to kiss him. I tell him all the time he will move the mountains he chooses and he through our challenges we grow. Today was not easy but tomorrow can be beautiful. Seek happiness in every moment and joy within your heart will soar. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I’m staring at a piece of popcorn on the table I’ve yet to clean off tonight, sipping my coffee, trying to figure out how to keep from crying, and helping Owen understand spitting at me is not an option. We were laying in bed and he was fighting sleep. I was not. I had my eyes closed. This upsets him when I fall asleep before him. He wants me to hold him, not fall asleep, and be the blanket fixer-upper that he purposely kicks off every few minutes. He is also learning how to share, process, and understand emotions. The problem is sometimes those collide. He doesn’t understand or maybe he does that his spitting on me and hitting me causes me to be upset. It also causes me to completely wake up and that’s his goal. I want to rejoice in the fact that he is now learning how to spit also for the proper reasons like brushing his teeth. And I’m thankful he is starting to grasp the different range of emotions that people can have. The day was emotional. Car rides are becoming extremely hard for him again and he screamed and cried all the way home. Every single light caused him to scream at the top of his lungs, flailing in his seat. I wanted to kiss the ground when we got into the safety of our home. He heard a song about hot chocolate and he asked for “hot chocolate please”. I was quite shocked but we tried it. He didn’t like the hot chocolate but I only had a mint-flavored one left. He took multiple sips before saying “throw it in the trash” so we will try it again. We were painting the backgrounds of our paintings and he said he wanted to paint a “square owl”. We paint together using a hand over hand method working on his fine motor skills. When we were finished with the backgrounds we worked on his square owl. “Make the eyes”, he said, after painting the square. We put the lines in them. “It needs a smile” he went on. I said how about a beak. I told him a beak could be a triangle. Next, we made triangle wings. Then he wanted to paint a rectangle so at the bottom there are feathers. He painted legs and told me he wanted to paint shoes but decided on only legs. When he was done he wanted to add another circle around the eyes and “glasses like mommy”. I’m always amazed at the words he uses. Some phrases are exactly the phrases we’ve worked on for years trying to learn communication and others are his thought process and it’s amazing to see. Sometimes the words I write are too real, too emotional, that I can’t, I can’t put them on paper. I change them or reword them. This is my baby. But one day I know he’ll read this, I know in my heart he will, and I want him to be able to see how far he has come. Every day I tell him I love him and that he is amazing. Even on our days of struggle, I want him to see the obstacles he climbed over and succeeded through. The toughest road isn’t always the hardest journey when love is your motivation. Find your inspiration and motivation and watch your world change. Smiles to all and donut daze!
It feels like sleep, like Christmas, only comes once a year. The last few nights have been hard. I’m hoping that we can go to sleep early and stay asleep all night. I might have to go to bed with him to accomplish this. I don’t necessarily get much sleep when I sleep in the same bed as him but I also don’t get much sleep if I don’t sleep in the same bed as him. I know he had a rough day at school and I’m trying to keep his night as calm as possible. And I can tell you I’m ready for both of us to sleep. I can’t stop thinking about how the summer will go. How many days, weeks, months, years in the future do I stress over when I really can’t do anything about them except to continue to talk to him about what’s happening. He’s still worried about not going to school now because of the weather, I can’t even imagine the summer. The older he gets I see more of those anxious moments forming. I try to stop the train before it even leaves the building but it’s still hard. It's so great that he can use his voice to find videos on YouTube now. He came home wanting “hippo and the watermelon” and he found it. Before the video even started playing he was quoting facts about how much a hippopotamus eats. He then moved on to a Christmas song, running into the bathroom to watch himself in the mirror. He’s growing, thriving, and teaching his momma as much as I’m teaching him. Smile and the world will smile with you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
If only I could sleep. I wake so often with Owen being in the other room. But I’m constantly awoken if I’m sleeping in bed with him. He seems like he covers every inch of the bed when I check on him. He’s always been a sideways sleeper and now in his double bed, he goes from one side to the other. I have bedrails on both sides and a headboard and footboard but it still doesn’t feel like enough. I debated back and forth what type of bed to use for him and where I should put it. On the floor, I thought at first, in a frame that went all the way around but I didn’t think I would be able to get out of it. Plus, I thought, maybe the older he got he wouldn’t move around as much. If anything the opposite is true. He kept talking about popcorn last night so I knew I wanted to get some. I had groceries coming today and when he kept talking about it I added it. I put straws and popcorn on a plate for his snack. He ate all of the popcorn and asked for more. He ate most of his veggie straws but popcorn kept being the request. It’s kind of funny because veggie straws have always been his go-to food. When he was little and first learning to say any words he called them “crackers” but now calls them veggie straws. He started yelling at me because I asked him to sit properly on the chair when he was eating dinner. I moved his tablet so I could talk to him. He got upset with me and started yelling more but this time he was yelling in French and German, asking for milk in both. I think it was like a reflex for him. I tried to not let the emotions wash over me and stop me in my tracks. We started the bedtime process early tonight and he went to sleep easily after reading one of his books to me that he has to take to bed every night. Through emotions, we grow and today I think we grew a lot. His smile and the kisses he comes for when we both are struggling is what gets me through our days. Believe in the happiness of tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I truly was not expecting Owen to sleep two nights in a row but I sure kept praying about it. It didn’t happen but at least he fell back asleep quickly. When he woke for school he kept yelling for me to sit. I wonder sometimes if that helps him stay in control of his surroundings. He wants me to be in certain spots at certain times. Sometimes if I don’t sit when he needs me to the meltdowns will start or the screaming. Some are behavioral responses, knowing that if he screams I react, and other moments he is completely struggling and his response is helping him find order again. When he shook off the sleeping fog the dude was ready to go to school. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. There are days my emotions get the best of me and he feels it. He doesn’t know how to express the emotions he feels with the words he knows. I tell him all the time we are a team and we will get through it together. “Popcorn”, he said numerous times. I said, do you want popcorn and he said, “no veggie straws”. My heart sang. It felt like he was heading down one pathway and he was able to change and have a conversation with me. He was saying words that started with the letter P. When he got to popcorn he kept repeating it so that’s when I asked him. Maybe it was a connection from something in school with popcorn, I’m not sure but for him to tell me he wanted veggie straws felt great. When we started getting him ready for bed he was very anxious. He was worried about the weather and not being able to go to school. He almost had a meltdown about it. His words were there and I was thankful he could tell me what was worrying him. I was able to distract him after confirming several times the weather was fine and he would be able to go. And thankfully he fell asleep quickly. I tell him every night grow sweet baby O, grow. Every day brings new joys and growth. Never give up on the promise of tomorrow. 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.