Tried it Tuesday
The goal is to always explore new options with Owen. I’m the queen bee of getting stuck in my ways so I truly understand but by encouraging him to try new things we will both keep moving forward. I want him to know he has options. I always offer at least two choices and then have him decide. I told his teacher how last night I offered two shirts to wear to bed and he asked for a different one. This was huge to me. She was also excited to hear about the carryover from what they are learning at school. She will offer him two things that aren’t necessarily his favorites and then asks him what he would like. This is brilliant to me, creating conversation and allowing him to make choices. And I’m sure several other skills. Plus with his learning style I think it helps him to process decision making. We sat eating dinner together and instead of always putting his fork back on his plate he would hold it up next to the side of his face resting his elbow on the table. It’s that fine line of what do I encourage and discourage. He’s using his fork, that’s a step in the right direction. I wonder if it is because he has low tone in his arms that makes it harder for him. He was looking at his penguin rollercoaster and he pointed to the igloo. He said, “that’s an igloo” spelling the word igloo, “igloo is made out of snow”. The amount of knowledge he has that is all tumbling out amazes me. His “Mozart dog in a box come” made its debut tonight. He was so happy to have the newest rollercoaster. Last night he was watching a video of a different version of this tiny rollercoaster. I wonder if he will want that one. He asked me to help him with his tablet. I was trying to delete some of the apps he doesn’t use because it was running too slow. He wanted me to finish and move on. I told him I was almost done and it would be another minute. He said, “patience patience patience”. Momma might say that a time or ten. He was in a great mood tonight and telling me about his week to come. Big mountains are being moved and I know he is going to keep soaring. Never give up. Every day miracles happen before our eyes. Find your strength, believe in yourself, and know that you can do it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I was walking in the kitchen, stepped on something, and Owen yelled, “careful”. It always shocks me when he says something so relevant to the moment. I’m still not used to it. Every day it seems to be happening more and more. He went back to school today. He was so excited to get on that bus this morning he practically ran up the steps. We stood at the bus stop listening to Siri say all the words Owen was requesting in all the languages she knows. When he saw the bus turn the corner he started talking and pointing to which way they were going to go. It’s exciting to hear him so expressive. And the pointing, I don’t think it will ever get old. Pointing doesn’t come easy for him and he over exaggerates the motions, not understanding his hands completely are connected to him. He lifts his hand close to eye level, makes a fist, and then uncurls his pointer finger. He holds his hand outward and points his finger almost like he is about to release Spider-Man’s web. I waited for years for him to point. I want to ask him a million questions so he can point in all different directions. All these little steps are what lead us to the huge victories. I asked him to come to sit with me and read a book. He refused. He wouldn’t come. It was enough to make me cry. He came then. He’s still learning how to process emotions, heck, who am I kidding, I still learning to process emotions. He stood next to me at first, telling me I was happy, it only made me cry harder. Then he sat next to me and put his head on my shoulder, reaching up to my face. He started fake crying and I cried harder. All the manuals or advice in the world would never be enough to tell me how I handle my own emotions when my child doesn’t understand his. I remind myself to stay strong but there I was crying again. He looked for his toy today. He wanted the “Mozart dogs in a box come”. I told him it would be here soon. I really wonder how many tiny rollercoasters we can have. I have to remember that autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. He’s come so far and every day making huge progress. He was watching a story on his tablet and he was talking about the different scenarios that he saw on the screen. I can tell they are working with him on this. He watched a part of it, paused it, and then went on to say what the character was wearing and what they were doing. As we were getting ready for bed he noticed I had socks and told me there were flowers on them. I then went to get his clothes to change him after his bath. I always ask him what he wants to wear but tonight when I gave him the choices he said, “blue shirt”. That wasn’t one of the choices. I pulled his blue shirt out of the drawer and he got so excited. “I wear the blue one”, he said. He knows what he wants and that makes this momma happy. I know that the future is going to be bright for my sweet baby O. There’s no stopping him. Look forward, dream big, and know that you can make a difference. Smiles to all and donut daze!
It pours when it rains. I can’t tell you how many rollercoaster rides my emotions were on today. And then I bought one. If only life could be calm for one day. One day. It seemed like the ups were very huge stepping stones and the downs threw us back to moments I thought were long gone. Owen’s nine, you would think I could let him play on his own in another room and everything be fine. No, no I can’t. I don’t even want to think about it. So many emotions wrapped up into five minutes of him being alone turning into hours of me cleaning up after him. Knowing why he does something doesn’t make it any less emotional when you feel like potty training has slipped away in seconds. I truly know it hasn’t but it’s still hard. I made a smoothie for breakfast and I asked him to try it. He did. He said, “that's berry yogurt purple”. He took a sip and said, “no thank you”. I was shocked and thought I should have made a chocolate one. I made him a car out of a box so he could watch tv in it. I put little signs on it for the left and right sides. I wanted to work with him on his directions. I told him to say left or right and then I moved him. He stayed in the box for quite a while. I made our lunch and I learned he does not like tomatoes but he kinda likes “white yogurt” otherwise known as cottage cheese. He only wanted a spoon full and then said, “do you like it nope nopedy nope” but ate the rest off the spoon. I ask him lots of questions, do you like vanilla yogurt, chocolate yogurt, or banana yogurt. He first answered “banana yogurt” and then he said, “no chocolate yogurt”. He watches a video that has two seconds of a cartoon pair of bunny slippers. He always stops on it and says “bunny clippers”. I told him I would get him a pair of bunny slippers. I had to try. I like to give him real-world examples of what he sees in videos that he likes. They came in the mail today. He put them on and he stomped around saying “bunny clippers” and laughing, unbelievably giddy. He actually wore them and liked them. The progress from that one moment was huge but then add everything else in and it washes away my sadness. Right before bedtime, he was watching a video with another rollercoaster in it. This time it was dogs. He ran to his rollercoaster and then the box it came in. He said, “dogs in a box come”. Well, this momma got right on Amazon and there it was. Thankful it wasn’t a Lamborghini and I added it to my cart. It should be here by Wednesday. I’ve waited years for my baby to ask me for things and if I can get it for him I will. I keep wondering how many tiny little rollercoasters he’ll have. Earlier he asked me to sing his scales with him. He said, “ahh” in his singsong tone and I knew what he meant. There’s hope in his joy and that puts a song in my heart. Find the song in your heart and share it with the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I think we about covered every emotion today and I know we asked Siri how many ways she could say banana, gorilla, and buffalo. Owen slept all night. I figured it would go two ways, he would or he wouldn’t sleep all night but I was guessing with how he was feeling he would. And he did. He woke at five and then miraculously I got another hour out of him. We’ve been working on him putting his shoes on by himself but it’s a struggle during the day because he gets very upset when we then don’t go someplace. He has low muscle tone in his arms and hands so pulling his socks on his feet is very difficult. I have him practice putting socks on a water bottle to try to strengthen his hands. It’s another reason that playing instruments and painting are so important to me, both will help to strengthen his muscles. I also realized that having one pair of shoes that he likes is really not wise. I’m trying to get several different ones now, even if it’s in other colors. He won’t wear slip-ons, boots, or sandals and we go back and forth on shoelaces and velcro so trying to find multiple pairs is difficult. Shoelaces become worrisome because they untie and velcro after a while flips up. Now when I have more shoes for him I will make him decide which ones he wants to wear, as I do with his clothes. Owen seemed to be feeling better today and he actually asked to blow his nose. He really didn’t blow it but I’m counting it as a victory because he asked and he wiped his face kind of near his nose. I call him by numerous nicknames, truly not thinking about how he connects or doesn’t connect with them. He started saying “hey” the other day so I would reply “hey boo boo” and that’s all it took. Now in moments of anxiousness, he yells out “hey” and if I don’t answer quickly enough he continues “hey boo boo hey”. It makes me smile thinking of all our interactions. I can see the more connections he’s making the more he is understanding how to communicate with me. I gave him key lime yogurt. I didn’t ask him which one he wanted because I wanted him to try it. He said, “not brown brown please”. I said, “do you want chocolate” and he replied, “no brown” but he ate the key lime, saying yum several times. What's funny he would eat one bite of yogurt and then a veggie straw. He got done and said, “let's take a bath”. I said, “how about we take it later”. This is where I can see his language skills increasing. He said, “how about now let's take it now”. I let him take his bath. For some reason, he likes the “warming screams” that come before the movies start. He will come to me, asking me to use the voice-activated option to look up the warning screens. I’m thankful for all his words and connections and today felt like a dream. His bus driver is helping us work on his anxiety with stoplights and not going the way he expects. I could hear all her explanations as he walked through the house talking about how it was safe to cross the railroad tracks and the directions they were going. I hear his words, I see his actions, and I know that his team of support and the love everyone pours into my child is what this momma’s heart could have only hoped for. His world is getting bigger and bigger and I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings. Let inspiration be your guide to make the world a better place. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Knock Knock It’s Friday
Well, it's spring in April and Owen got the yucks. I kept him home from school today and he was not happy but handled it well. I was hoping we would avoid it this year but seems like every year when things start blooming his nose starts running. From morning to night I saw such growth in him. He actually wiped his nose, with a tissue, and threw it away. It wasn’t perfect but for him to even attempt to wipe his nose was unbelievably huge. I sent a note to his teacher, telling her he wasn’t going to be there today. I told her about Owen saying he had lettuce for lunch yesterday and she told me there was lettuce on his plate. My boy’s world is opening up so big. I got him a ball that collapses flat to throw like a frisbee. He flattened it and he said, “it is a pancake”. That was a great connection to me. He threw it and it bounced back into the ball shape. He picked it up again and handed it to me. I am truly amazed how everything seems to be intriguing to him now and he’s more engaged. Rosie’s Walk is a book I got him and it’s now one of his go-to favorites. I heard him ask for the book on YouTube. He sat there watching the video about the book, talking to the person reading the story. The day of victories kept coming. He was listening to a video in French and it said, “excusez moi”. I said, “do you know what that means”? He said, “excuse me mommy it French”. I think my boy knows his languages. I got him several yogurts and offered Owen peach, strawberry, or key lime. He said, “brown yogurt please”. I had chocolate too but thought I would see if he wanted to try one of the other ones. He struggled to fall asleep tonight, between the sniffling nose and him repeating all the words he could think of in Korean. He finally fell asleep and I thought what a great day for his growth. I’m sorry my sweet baby O is not feeling well but boy, oh boy, how much did my boy accomplish in one day. He sang his heart out tonight before he took his bath and all his words flowed right through his music. He held his ukulele and he said, “I want violin”. The gifts he has given me with his words and smile I will never forget. Dream big, love with all your heart, and know that the possibilities are endless when you believe. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen was in the bathroom, standing in front of the mirror, belting out a tune, singing with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gang. I love hearing him sing. He had therapy today. When I picked him up from school he seemed not quite connected to the moment. On the way to therapy, I asked him several times what he had for lunch. He didn’t answer me until we almost got to his appointment and then he finally said, “lettuce eat it all”. Now I’m pretty sure he didn’t have lettuce but if he did kudos to the school for getting him to eat even a bite of it because I’ve never been able to. He truly eats a wide variety of food but lettuce is not something he will. Plus, I can’t imagine that lettuce was the main course. But he answered with a food so that’s in the win column for sure. A few nights ago he randomly asked for chocolate yogurt. He’s had it a handful of times but he likes very few sweets so it’s not something I think to get him. Well, I sat there watching him eat the chocolate yogurt he asked for with a spoon. That was such a huge moment for me. Hours later I still have goosebumps from the joy. My son is nine and he is now asking for things he wants. I have to leave that thought there and not go down the rabbit hole of emotions for the years he couldn’t ask me for the things he wanted and even now he still has a hard time explaining what he wants so instead I’m going to keep relishing the joy that my sweet baby O asked me for a food that he was eating and it was with a spoon. He did well with his therapy and I know that he will continue to thrive in that environment. I keep praying that it will help reduce the stress for him when summer arrives. If I can create more days that are routine for him that will help pass the time. He may even go to summer school. One day at a time I remind myself. Find your inspiration, smile through your day, and know that you can do it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen’s singing soothes my soul and makes me know everything is going to be alright. When he was a baby I knew it was important to introduce music to him. It has always been comforting to me and I wanted him to feel what it would do for your soul. I would take one of his tiny little hands and put it on my throat or chest and the other one on my mouth so he could feel the song as I sang it to him. He was so little. As he grew I made sure to play different types of music for him. And it was important to me to put the instruments in his hands. I didn’t know the struggles we would encounter at the time but I did know music would help us on the road ahead. Now I listen to Owen playing his instruments and singing his favorite songs and I know exactly how important music is. Tonight is night two of him serenading me before bedtime. I think partly he knows it will prolong bedtime but to see him stand there and perform makes all my emotions well with pride. I try not to push too much with music, wanting it to be his choice and his decision when and what to play so to see him take it upon himself makes the sound that much sweeter. There’s no stopping my boy. He plays numerous instruments. We have a keyboard, guitar, ukulele, harmonica, several types of drums, and some tiny versions of other instruments like an accordion. He loves playing the harmonica. And I’m amazed how well he does, truly able to play several notes with it. The love for music is there so the concept of how to play will develop with time. I know that it is also helping his language skills and connections. After his bath tonight he was so talkative but he was also very anxious about who he was going to see tomorrow. His teacher, therapists, and I are trying to find ways to ease his anxiety about not going to school during breaks. He is possibly going to summer school but it is still a struggle for that type of transition. He was talking about his day tomorrow and he bit me. It wasn’t hard but it still hurt. He used to bite me all the time so I’m thankful he hardly does it anymore. I started talking to him about emotions and before I could even get very far he said, “sorry mommy me no bite love you too”. We grow, we love, we learn. Our days are emotional but the joys and the knowledge that tomorrow is a brand new day gives me all the hope I need. Believe in yourself and the rest will follow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I’m trying not to cry today. I’m trying really hard to remember to breathe the right breaths so I don’t cry today. I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee I drank and how many cups went cold. But I can tell you how much I love my child. I’m trying to hold it together until he goes to sleep, I’m trying. He’s had an amazing day. Me, not so much. And I can’t even say that. Things are coming together for both of us but I feel like I’m falling apart. It takes me about a week to recover from those meetings that I’m supposed to understand. They cause me to go into panic mode, what haven’t I been working on with Owen, what should I do next, how should I phrase questions to help him learn, why didn’t I think of that, and the list goes on. And did I mention he’s doing amazing. My boy has the biggest smile, loves with all his heart, and always makes you feel like you are one of his people. I have to remember where we started, that’s what I keep telling myself. Last night he asked for strawberry yogurt and then chocolate yogurt right before he fell asleep. He never randomly asks for food except for veggie straws and chocolate milk but those are his go-to foods. I immediately ordered some yogurt to come today. He didn’t ask for it when it was snack time but I gave it to him and he was so happy. I reminded him that he asked me for it last night as he was going to bed. I wanted him to know that if he asks for something I will certainly try to get it for him. He ate the whole thing, along with his veggie straws, and milk. Well, except the part he squeezed out of the pouch so he could “make a de mess”. He loves that part. He answered questions for me tonight and did it without screaming at me. When I told him it was bath time he pretty much was dragging his feet asking for “two more minutes” but went with me to get ready. I had walked into the bathroom to start the water, thinking he was right behind me, and I hear his guitar. He had run to get it and was standing there strumming his guitar, singing his heart out with Old MacDonald. He was ready for his bath but when the music hits your heart you gotta play your guitar. I love how my music man now plays on his own. I no longer have to prompt him. And this was truly music to my ears. God gives you what you need and tonight I needed that song in my heart. Never give up on what seems impossible because I can tell you it is truly possible if you believe. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Most Out Of Monday
The last twenty-four hours seems like there were one too many rollercoaster rides that we got on, holding a pizza, while trying to eat ice cream, and yodeling while saying the alphabet backwards in pig Latin. I’m still trying to process all of my emotions from yesterday and along comes his school IEP meeting that tells me all the things that they are working on with him and where his skills are lacking or improving. Suck up the tears and call me done. I never walk out of one of these meetings feeling unscathed. They just hurt. They aren’t meant to be mean and no one was mean but they are very emotional to me. This is my child, my sweet baby O, and I want to do everything I can to make his world better. He processes things differently, don’t we all. My role is mommy, hear me roar, and to love him with all my heart. Yesterday I sat on my couch trying to get Owen to bring me a box of tissues. He had his hand on the alarm clock right next to it but he couldn’t understand the instructions to bring it to me. It had taken us several minutes for him to even get that close with my directions. He is only now beginning to learn how to point and he doesn’t understand when I point in the direction of something that is where I want him to look or go. My heart races a little faster thinking about the struggles my baby goes through. I have to make him feel safe in his quest for knowledge and growth. My own struggles are right beside his, mirroring the pain he has and my own pains when I know I have to keep going so he will learn these skills. I wanted to get up and show him the tissue box, put it in his hands but I needed him to have a sense of accomplishment. After a few more moments and him bringing me several other things like the umbrella that was in the stand next to the door he brought me the tissues. I told him he did amazing work and had him help me clean off his tablet. Today, listening to the words coming from Owen’s support team I knew they were right on many of the points but I still wanted to put my fingers in my ears, block it all out with “la la la I’m not listening” and run out of the room. The night went better than most, with tons of laughter, smiles, and hugs. We worked on his math and spelling. He decided it would be hilarious to spell giraffe and then asked Siri how to say it in Russian. And then kept repeating it. He fell asleep clutching his book, speaking Russian, and laughing about a giraffe. This is the perfect picture of happiness to me. There is nothing better than hearing my sweet baby O’s laugh to change my world. He has taught me what’s important in life and that’s love, laughter, and the Lord. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Find your inspiration and go after your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days I see the spark in Owen’s eyes like the sun shining right through them. His words exploded today. He was very alert and ready to go. And go all day, he did. He woke in the middle of the night but once he came to me he fell right back asleep. He slept until almost seven. It was like a miracle but he acted very tired yesterday so I kind of expected it. He woke and gave me a big hug. He started immediately towards his tablet after that but before I could get anything else out besides “Owen” he headed to the bathroom. The bathroom has become one of the things that he hasn’t been as concerned about as he should be. I remind myself that sometimes he puts these skills on a “shelf” leaving the skills there until he learns something new. It goes in phases. Today was a big language and connection day for him so forgetting or not going to the bathroom wasn’t on his mind. He asked Siri one phrase after another in today’s choice of Korean. He would ask her and then repeat the phrase. I always tell him to “say it, say the phrase” so that he will make the connection to the words. He lights up every time he asks Siri words. Some days I’m still in shock how many words and phrases he knows, easily asking me for chocolate milk and waffles for breakfast in green an, Japanese, French, and many more. I love how much he is learning. Earlier he was sitting on his big bouncy ball and he said, “gotta pump it up wanna help needs more air get pump”. There were so many amazing connections and words but the directions for me to get the pump made me smile. It didn’t need air but for him to tell me every bit of that made my heart soar. God has a plan. I always talk to Owen about God and church and what it means to us. I asked him if he knew why we went to church. He said, to “celebrate Christ gifts”. I celebrate the gift of my son every day and I am thankful he knows why we go to church. Find your inspiration, know that you are a lot stronger than you think you are, and start tomorrow determined to make it great. 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.