The last few mornings Owen hasn’t screamed at me. There’s some kind of ahh bliss moment in that right there. But I know the unexpected is the expected, so I still wait for the screams. Today is the last day of school for the year. No rejoicing here. The routine and structure will be gone. He’s going to summer school but it’s for such a short time in the grand scheme of life. I’m still thankful for the days he gets to go though. He asks for his teacher every day, even on the weekends. He doesn’t easily get distracted from his train of thought either, so it’s hard for him to move on from asking me about school. It’s like when you are on a car trip and your child asks when you are going to be at your destination and you just pulled out of the driveway. Only for Owen, it’s constant. He can’t move on from something. Today he asked to put on his jacket and he went to get my jacket. He doesn’t understand that we don’t need them. He kept asking for his jacket all the way to the bus stop. He asked for them every day since the weather changed. Once we got to the bus stop he changed his focus to set the timer on my phone for the bus to arrive. He thinks setting the timer will make it appear quicker. The excitement washed over Owen as the bus turned the corner and headed towards us. He covered his one eye and started jumping up and down. I can’t help but smile when he has this much joy over the bus. When the bus pulled up next to us he wanted to run to it. In life, we should be excited about what’s to come. Find what you love to do, love it with all your heart, and sing its praises of how it has changed your life. Follow your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Have you ever been in a room full of people and all you wanted to do is not be in a room full of people; that happens to Owen all the time. It doesn’t even have to be in a room. The open outdoors, a busy or non-busy store, and even our car can be overwhelming for him. So, how do I explain that he loves to go bowling every week, to a place that is often loud and busy. I can’t explain it, but I’m learning to embrace it and help him through these moments. Owen’s teacher called to tell me he was having a rough time at his field day, you know the day that is supposed to be fun for kids. As the moments wore on she said he was doing better but my heart aches for my baby. Should I have gotten him right that second. Do I need to put a bubble around him. How is this going to effect the rest of his day. The wonder and the questions go on. The biggest one, how do I keep from crying. This is difficult for my baby, this is difficult for me. You feel alone and isolated about everything. Nothing about change or something out of routine is easy for him. Or me. It doesn’t necessarily come at that moment either. It can be days later that Owen remembers a detail that upset him, sometimes it doesn’t even have to be something that upset him but something that was different. Once he gets that moment on his mind it can be hours of him coming to me repeating words that are referencing to that moment in time. One of the things I cry out to God for is a calm to wash over our lives. I sit thinking about the struggle my sweet baby O has had today, knowing that he will grow in this moment, so will I, but it’s still hard. Every day, as the rain falls, I think this is one moment in time. The sun will shine again. Find strength in knowing that tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept all night in his bed. He woke happy, no screams, and listened to directions - mostly. That makes for a wonderful morning. He was ready for the bus. He was ready for his teacher. And in my mind my heart is breaking because he only has a few more days of school. How can this year be over already. Where did the school year go. I hear some parents rejoicing that summer is almost here and I want to cry. My baby thrives in the routine and is learning in the structured environment. I try to do schoolwork at home with him but it’s not the same as when he is at school. He asked to paint as soon as we got home yesterday. We painted several backgrounds and he moved on to playing his keyboard. He sings all the time but he hasn’t wanted to play his keyboard for awhile. He sat down and started playing the keys. He moved on after awhile to his guitar. I was thankful he wanted to play for me. I want to get him a set of drums. I’ve read that they can help with dexterity and concentration. I think it would be something he would like to do. When we challenge ourselves to grow our world opens up to new possibilities. I’m thankful for Owen’s smile, excited about his future, and ready for his growth. Through our emotions, between the hills and the valleys we are a team. Find your inspiration and watch how you soar. The possibilities are endless. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The screams are bound to come so I stayed in bed as long as I could. Owen woke in the night, came running to me, but he fell along the way. I got to him as quick as I could and held him. I think it shocked him more than anything. He asked to get in bed. He was asleep immediately. He runs all the time through the house. How do I get him to stop and how do I come up with all the answers. He sees no danger in anything he does. And the more I try to correct him the more he finds humor in it or goes full throttle into the wind. His newest thing is to run from the bathroom after he has finished his bath. While he’s in the tub he becomes a turbojet engine, kicking the water as hard as he can to create bubbles and spray the water everywhere. Why aren't bathrooms waterproof. Now I have to hold on to him so he doesn’t take off running when I get him out of the tub that he wants to jump from as he gets out. Why do bathrooms have hard surfaces. Today I’m feeling very alone. Trying to talk to Owen, work on projects with him, and teach him life skills, makes me feel like I’m lightyears behind. Some days I want the calm, when there’s always a storm brewing. He’s come so far and he’s doing amazing things, but I’m stressed. At four in the morning when your child is running to you and falls, you react. I have been reliving that moment all day because it’s one more night he hasn’t slept. What wakes him, what do I need to do differently, and how can I create my own calm in a world of chaos. Ya breathe Lynn, ya breathe. That’s how you do it. I look at him and his smile stops the cascading waterfall of emotions. That’s what I have to focus on. That’s what I have to use as my guide to strength. And that’s what gets me through my days. Today and always, remember you are not alone. Through the winter of life, spring will come. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I heard the rain. I didn’t know the storm was coming. I immediately went into panic mode. Please, please dear God, do not let my power go out is all I kept praying. Owen didn’t really pay attention to the rain until it got really heavy and then he went to the window. Our electric had been out for most of the day, over a month ago. Someone had hit a pole near us, causing the power to be out, and causing Owen to go into overdrive. Owen struggled with not being able to turn the lights on. We stayed away from the house for most of the day, returning a couple of times to get a few things. It was hard for Owen to be out all day and it would have been hard for him to be home. Weeks have passed and he still talks about the lights being off. Luckily, our power stayed on, but my heart still raced. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. In these moments I have to stay calm, cool, and collected when I want to scream, twist, and shout every one of my emotions. I want to have a bubble around us at all times, so the world doesn’t cause my baby to have a meltdown. The calmer he is, the calmer I am, the better our day goes. And then sometimes ya just gotta breathe. Owen woke this morning asking for his teacher. I told him today was a holiday that he wasn’t going to school. He had slept all night in his bed, even got in bed with me for a few minutes, laying there quietly; that never happens. After a few minutes, he got up, saying, “I want mulk pwease” and away he ran. I heard the refrigerator open and I knew our day began. These moments and days are filled with emotions. Some I breathe through, other times I cry, and then I hold my baby tight. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Live, love, learn, and grow. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Yesterday was one of those rough around the edges kinda days. Nothing horrible, middle of the road, with the beauty of the world mixed in, and a side of spectacular, but still rough. Owen asked for his teacher all day long. How in the world do you explain to a child that he only has four more days of school for the year. I hear other parents rejoicing summer vacation and my heart is crying. My sweet baby O thrives on his days of routine. And here we are faced with summer. He is going to summer school but that’s only twelve days. Twelve days. His new favorite song is the theme song from Phineas and Ferb. “There’s 104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it”, Owen sings. I see a sense of irony in that. I try to give him as much routine without school, but this year he feels even more attached to the routine of his days. For Owen lack of routine means more outbursts and meltdowns. This is my child, my love, and my heart breaks that I can’t give him something he wants; like school every day. He’s learning how to deal with emotions. He’s gone through this cycle before. Yesterday he played a game and kept losing. He wanted to lose because he wanted to cry and scream. He did it multiple times. I took his tablet away. We worked on painting, we played games, and we did compression therapy. As soon as I let Owen have his tablet back he went right back to the same game, at the same spot, to lose again. Thirty minutes went by of the same reactions, the same screams, the same emotions, and then he moved on. I should know that I can’t stop this learning train because I’ve tried before, but it’s hard hearing my baby go through these emotions. It’s also mentally challenging for me to let him go through them. I have to put my emotions aside and let him literally scream it out. Today I breathe, today I become stronger, and today I hold my baby a little tighter, and tell him that we will get through this thing called life together. Know that you are stronger than you could ever imagine. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Autism, I saw a lot of it today. I want to cry, I want to rejoice, and I want to hide from all these dang emotions. How can you have a bad good day or a good bad day. Well, that’s what today felt like. This morning felt slow but good. Owen had a couple of moments where things weren’t going his way but he recovered pretty easily. We went to the coffee shop, I got my amazing coffee, and as we were sitting in the car ready to leave I hear, “O P E N”. I heard it again and again and again. It took me a minute to realize Owen wasn’t spelling his own name. I was excited. He was saying the letters on the sign of the coffee shop as they were flashing. To say the least, I got a little excited. I have him read signs with me all the time but this was on his own. I may have startled us both with my screaming rejoices of accolades. As we were driving to the bowling alley I talked to Owen about words and he helped me spell several more. We got to the bowling alley and it was a rough start for Owen. He doesn’t want to use the ramp anymore and he expects for us to hit the pins every time. After a few frames, he calmed down and started enjoying the moment. I think it’s hard for me when he is upset because how do you explain that we can’t get a strike every frame, yet. His want to succeed at bowling makes me think it won’t be long until he is getting those strikes regularly. We ordered his own ball today and I think once he can hold it in his own grip it will literally be a game changer. Some days I’m more emotional than others, today’s one of those days. We made it through today as a team. We walked out our door into the big wide world and we succeeded. The bumps and curves in the road will still get you to the same place; it’s how you arrive that’s important. Keep your smile shining bright and move forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“It making de any noise”, Owen screamed. He was very upset because I didn’t put on the pre-approved pants to walk to the bus. When he is upset about what I’m wearing he screams that things are making noise. I’m not sure how noise is associated with what I’m wearing but that is how he always references it. Mommy has to look a certain way and do certain things at certain times. This morning, I broke the rules. I told him several times that I was fine and reassured him that he was fine. Let the emotional rollercoaster begin for the Friday morning shenanigans. I have started wearing some shorts around the house. This brings a whole new adventure to our days. I have to constantly be aware of where he is walking because at random times he will drop to the floor to look at my legs. There is no warning, he just falls to the ground, and grabs at my legs. This hasn’t changed since last year. All summer long he would stop in front of me to look at my legs. It’s the same with dresses and skirts. Only those he pulls up. I don’t often wear skirts when we are in public together because the skirt goes completely up. There’s no warning, he stops, turns, and up the skirt goes, so he can touch my legs. Owen is learning about the body. For the longest time, he would look at his own hands and feet like they weren’t attached to him. He didn’t understand how they moved and we have worked on many exercises, hoping to give him a better understanding of his body. It’s working. His hand-eye coordination is greatly improving. I’m thankful for his growth and I’m happy that he is making progress. We will learn and grow together because we are a team. Find your happiness in the world around you and know that you are amazing. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“The timer goes off de bus will be here”, Owen said. Every morning now he wants to set the timer on my phone when we get to the bus stop. He gets so excited. He says, “one minute” and starts jumping up and down. He’ll go through the counting process and watches as the numbers tick away. When the bus turns the corner he gets excited as it is coming down the street. He looks at the timer as the bus comes down the road. The last few days we’ve been working on time. I want him to know what time means and I think the timer is starting to help him understand it more. When I tell him we have to do something he will yell out, “fifFFteen minute” or some random amount of time. I’m glad that he is getting the concept. When he came home from school he was hungry for a big-time snack. He went to the refrigerator, retrieving his sippy cup full of milk, set it on his table, and then said, “wanna cracker veggie straw turkey pwease”. He has long called veggie straws “crackers”, but now it seems he is starting to understand that we reference them as veggie straws so he is adding both terms. I see the growth happening right before my very eyes. I put the veggie straws and turkey on his plate and within a few minutes, he was asking for more. I do believe he is growing in more ways than one. When I look at Owen I see a beautiful work of art that has so many intricate layers that are involving constantly. I tell him all the time that he is amazing and he can do anything he sets his mind to. We can let the challenges of life win or we can challenge the curveballs that are thrown at us. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I said to Owen close your eyes. But what he did instead was to squish his eye with his fingers, pulling the top lid down over his eye, screaming, and counting to ten. How did he get those instructions when I said close your eyes. I wanted to see if he would follow my instructions, but I was met with a response I didn’t expect. I tried not to show any emotions because I didn’t want him to keep pulling at his eye. I tried to distract him, telling him he did great with his counting and asked him if he was ready for dinner. I try to work with Owen every day on life skills and educational activities, but sometimes I get tired. My mind is plagued with all the things I should be working on with him every day, but it seems like there is never enough time. What’s your name I said to him, while we were waiting at the bus stop. After many tries, he responded, “Owen I’m fine”. I moved on, letting it go. All I can think about is school being out for the summer next Friday because all he can think about is going to school every day. He’s going to summer school, but it’s only twelve days. That’s twelve days that both of us will be excited about, but it leaves a lot of open days through the rest of the summer. Routine is Owen’s calm. When he knows what his schedule is and the order things are happening it makes it easier on him for everyday circumstances. We have been home from our day for about an hour. In that amount of time, he has asked to go to school at least ten times, followed closely by “take a baff”, and “crackers pwease”, even though he knows he takes a bath after dinner and there were veggie straws on his plate. He works it all through his mind, processing it as he can. Good news potty training is going amazing and I’m thinking positive about the summer ahead of us. The journey of life is ever-changing. Take one day at a time and live life forward. 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.