When Is Monday
Sleepy about covers it. Owen didn’t want to fall asleep tonight. He kept singing and humming. And the later the night got he started asking for everyone he wanted to see. There’s a fine line when I start answering his requests. If I answer too much he is up for hours. If I ignore him then he starts screaming. He had a great morning though. He ate his breakfast and requested second breakfast. I love to see him eat all of his food and request more. We’ve worked really hard to get him to this point. I always make him try a bite of everything and after that, he can then choose if he likes it. There are exceptions to the rules though. I can tell right away if something is going to bother him. He will start gagging before I can even give him the first bite. Sometimes he will not even be in the same room and I can tell he can’t handle it. And there are foods that cause him to meltdown. He also will eat certain foods for some people and not others. Now that he is eating a more varied selection of food that has changed some, but there are still a lot of rules that apply. I’m proud of how far he has come though. He has been wanting me to tell him what something is on his tablet as he watches a video even though I can’t see it. He will come running up to me saying, “it’s a”, holding his tablet facing him. He gets very frustrated when I can’t tell him what it is. I try to explain mommy can’t see it, but he keeps pushing forward. I am trying to teach him to show it to me so I can tell him, but so far he is not responding to my requests of standing with beside me instead of in front of me where I can’t see the picture. One day at a time. He’s come so far and I rejoice his progress. His smile gets me through my days, the song in his heart rings true in mine, and I’m thankful for his growth. Never give up. Today is one moment in time. Smile and the world will smile with you. Smiles to all and donut daze!
One of my happiest moments of the day was watching Owen play all his instruments in our little jam session in the living room. Old MacDonald came to town and every animal and vegetable was on that farm. It’s very exciting to watch his growth on the different instruments. And my excitement continues because I can see the enjoyment he gets out of it. There are times he doesn’t want to play or only for a few moments and I totally get that because who wants to play all the time, but when he is totally into it there’s nothing greater than watching him thrive. With his guitar and ukulele, I’m trying to teach him how to hold the strings and strum at the same time. I’m amazed how well he is doing with this since he has such a hard time with his fine motor skills. He will actually hold the strings down as he strums. His harmonica skills are increasing as well. It’s so fun to hear him play. I tell him all the time that the sky’s the limit. He can make his dreams come true. I try to keep these happy moments at the forefront of my mind, focusing on them instead of the sadness that will wash over me. It’s the little things that get me sometimes. I had a random hair that was tickling my arm. I couldn’t find it on my shirt. I wanted him to be able to help me look for it, but that’s not even a concept that I could express to him yet. That’s when the loneliness hits and I have to remind myself of how far we’ve come. He’s doing great things and every day I see so many changes in him. That’s what’s important. There’s great joy in seeing him thrive. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Know that you matter and today is the first day of the rest of your life. You can accomplish great things if you believe in yourself. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I dreaded putting the shrimp into the oven. I did it anyway. I knew Owen would love it and he had chicken for lunch, plus he asked for it and “apple suice pwease”. He didn’t drink the apple juice, but he did eat his shrimp. Well, most of it. Toe shrimp, ear shrimp, hair shrimp, floor shrimp, and left on the plate shrimp might be shrimp that was never discussed on Forrest Gump. The good news is he loves shrimp and he didn’t put it in my hair tonight. He will jump up from the table before I can even react and try to fix my hair, putting shrimp in it at the same time. Last night was another rough night for my sweet baby O and I think it’s left me in a fog all day, both of us feeling a tinge of sadness. I don’t want to upset the apple cart today, so I’m trying to keep him calm and moving forward. He went to see his grandma. On the way there he said, “go fastest route to grandma”. I had to laugh. I talk to him about the route we are taking and the directions we are turning. He always thinks we are turning “right”. I finally got him to say left and straight, but he still thinks we drive in his terms. I thought I was helping him by explaining the way we turn and in the long run, I’m sure it will help him, but for now, he gets mad with some of the directions I go. We discussed our emotions from the night before. All I can do is try to explain to him that sometimes we get sad. I want him to understand that mommy gets sad when he is sad, but together we are a team and we can get through it. But for tonight he’s happy. We sang songs and he played his guitar. Nothing makes me happier than hearing him strum his guitar, singing a song. Life is not always easy to explain, but the love sure is. We all got something and remember you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Come On Friday
I’m not sure why Friday nights seem so hard, but they are. Owen screamed wanting to see his grandma for hours. He then cried himself into hysterics and laughed himself to sleep. He then woke up multiple times yelling about people he wanted to see. My heart aches for my sweet baby O. None of this has gotten easier for him to understand. His pillowcase became a great concern for him tonight. He wanted it “offT” only for that to make him mad and I had to put it back “onT”. Time to find zippered pillowcases. But then the zipper might bother him too. The self-appointed Queen of Overthinking can overthink every scenario about every pillowcase. I’ll try to save that for a rainy day. Today was one of those days that the joys kept coming even through all the tears I wanted to cry. I’ve yet to understand the potty train derailment, but I keep telling myself this is a moment in time. He is a sensory child and he wants to figure out how his body works. I feel like his words are growing and he is making more connections. He asked me to “cut his toe”. He took my hand and put it on his toe. I rejoiced the progress. He still said, “birthday candle” as I cut his toenail, but for him to reference his toe and put my hand on his foot felt like we had climbed a mountain. His words felt strong today and his interactions were plentiful. I think he’s on another growth spurt because the dude ate a lot of food. I made barbecue chicken nachos for dinner and I was shocked how much he actually ate. I held my baby tight as he once again screamed himself to sleep. I have to think of the bright smile he had as he sang Old MacDonald to me one more time, putting all the vegetables he could think of on the farm with the animals. That’s what keeps me going. Always remember you are stronger than you think you are. You can move mountains and you can make your dreams come true. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I watched Owen drop a veggie straw on the floor. It didn’t even phase him. He didn’t try to pick it up. He didn’t even act like it happened, he only picked up the next straw on his plate, and moved on. There went another one. I talked to him about needing to pick them up, but that really didn’t seem to phase him either. He has to be taught all of these steps and reminded of them several times. It’s hard to remember all of the things I have to teach him, and remind him about, and go through the motions with him. It’s easier if I do it myself, quicker, but then I remember I have to teach him, I have to help him with those life skills. I wore my hair back for most of the day. It was in a messy bun behind my head. It bothered Owen from the start. He kept coming up to me and pulling on my hair, trying to put it down around my face. He’d walk away though after trying to bite it a couple of times. And then it got too much. He wanted me to hold him and he started grabbing at my hair. He tried to bite it and then he started screaming. He had enough. My hair has to be a certain way. If I don’t look like mommy then he gets upset. I try to explain to him that I can wear my hair back or look different, but he needs me to look like mommy. He can’t process the change quickly. I’ve been trying to wear my hair back more lately, showing him that I’m still mommy, talking to him about the different looks that I may do. I hope it helps him to understand that not everything is consistent. He’s smiled a lot today, he’s screamed even more, but they were his happy squeals. One day at a time I remind myself. My life’s instruction manual seems to be changing every day so I try to remember to be kind to my soul and keep moving forward. Start setting your goals and chipping away at them until victory is in sight. Today is your day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
How many animals and vegetables live on the farm, a lot of them. Except for the ones that don’t. This is the new thing I have to keep straight. Some animals are allowed on the farm and some need to go live in the water and numerous other places. The good news Owen is learning about all types of animals and their natural habits. Today he asked for all the places we can’t go yet, but when I asked him if he wanted to go see our friends he said no and ran to play on his tablet. My sensory dude was in full swing as the day wore on and I had to remind him about going to the potty. And if you ain’t played toilet paper basketball you ain’t living it up in the bathroom. Owen will stand as far back as he can from the toilet, taking the toilet paper from me or grabs some randomly, and then tries to do a far away version of a slam dunk. This delights him to no end, but as soon as I go to flush the toilet his hands immediately go to cover his ears. Sometimes he will cup his hands over his ears and move them back and forth like he is trying to hear the echo. He doesn’t act like the noise completely bothers him, but more like he wants to amplify it. And then he started singing a song in French mixed with a rendition of an English old MacDonald song that had a parrot, serpent, and vegetable. He was happy and that’s what mattered. He has been going through all his school apps and I know it’s started some of his anxiousness again. I dream of the days of calm for my baby and then I remind myself of one day at a time. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Let the journey for your happiness begin now. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I heard my words coming back at me in a rapid pace this morning. Owen’s long eyelashes, bright smile, and pretty calm demeanor helped me get through my rough morning. He needed a lot of input as the day wore on, requesting “big hug” almost as soon as the previous one was done. He likes me to lift him up with my arms, almost like he is a barbell and I’m curling him upwards towards the sky. This used to be so much easier when he was half his size. I can’t get him very far off the ground now that he had a huge growth spurt. It almost feels like it won’t be long and he’ll be as tall as me. He had his snack of veggie straws before lunch, asking for shrimp as he was eating them. As soon as I put his shrimp in front of him he got up from the table stating, “throw them away”. Well, I wasn’t going to throw them away, but there were my words again. I explain to him about trash and what gets thrown away if we don’t eat it. Within a few minutes, he came back to his plate, ate all of his shrimp, requested more, and ate some of my lunch. He stayed pretty happy, but he talked about all the activities he was missing. I lost count how many times he brought up school and his teacher. I was torn with what to say because I didn’t want him to have a huge meltdown. I tried to let him ask about it and then tell him we were going today. At least that seemed to be the right strategy. I was probably more emotional than I should have been today, but nothing seems to be going smoothly right now so I remind myself to breathe. Some days feel rough around the edges and lonely. I stood saying “Owen” repeatedly trying to get him to answer me. At that moment he couldn’t reply, he couldn’t even look at me, and I have to remind myself that it was one moment in time. He can’t always process how he needs to respond. Sometimes it takes him several minutes to even look towards me. Sometimes it is the kid response. I have to decide whether the way he handles something is him being a kid, autism, or Owen, maybe even a combination of all of them. Today I tried to plaster a smile on my face even though I felt like I was breaking into a million pieces. His laughter, his joy, and his smile kept me moving forward when all I wanted to was tailspin. Through challenges, we grow and through those experiences, we learn to become stronger. Know that you are a lot stronger than you think you are. Keep moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Hold On Monday
The unapproved clothes strikes again. I needed to take out the trash this morning so I put jeans on. When Owen realized what I had on he started screaming. I’m not supposed to wear jeans at home. I’m supposed to have on comfy clothes, home clothes. If I put on other clothes that means we are supposed to go someplace. He also has a hard time adjusting from shorts to pants. When the seasons change it takes him a while to understand that his pants no longer touch his shoes. He will try to pull the hem of his shorts down so that it covers his shoes. I sometimes wonder if I should keep him in pants all the time, but after a few weeks, he is okay with wearing shorts again. I think about his clothing and shoes. I always try to make sure his socks are on his feet pretty straight. He is only now beginning to be able to explain when things bother him so when I put his shoes and socks on him I always worry he won’t be able to tell me if there’s a rock in his shoe or his socks are bunched up. I take a deep breath and a swig of my coffee on that one. Even though his words are forming he still has a hard time explaining his needs and wants. He says, “birthday candle” when his toenails are bothering him and I only figured that out recently. I have to rejoice how far he has come in these moments of overwhelming sadness. “Wow wow amigos my name is Wubbzy”, Owen yelled out earlier today as he was watching a video in English. He will interchange words in many languages or sing English with a song that’s in a foreign language. It’s all one big language to him. He fell asleep in my arms tonight, requesting a “big hug”, after putting all the huge plastic dinosaurs in his bed. My sensory baby wanted to lay on top of them. I think I got all of them out so hopefully, he will get a good night’s sleep. Growing Owen is what we do, but I find that I’m growing and learning too. Find what inspires you, know that tomorrow is a brand new day, and your dreams can come true if you go after them. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Attitude, was the name of the game today. Owen has a big one that he doesn’t even completely understand. There’s a fine line between attitude and aggression and I try to make him comprehend that we have to be nice to one another. If something upsets Owen he doesn’t always know how to process it or try to be calm about it. Many times he will scream, hit, bite, or kick his way through a situation. The screaming is about the only one that is consistent anymore, but the others still happen. I talk to him about attitude and how we are a team and that we don’t disrespect each other. This is something we have been working on for years. Owen doesn’t work on a one and done training schedule. Something has to be repeated over and over and over and over and over again before he can start the process of grasping a concept. And then implementing the strategy to correct a behavior takes time as well. Trying to keep Owen calm some days is a chore in itself. If I go to the bathroom and it isn’t at a moment that Owen wants me to go he will scream. There are times where me closing the door bring screams and there are the times if I don’t close the door that it sends him into complete meltdowns. He will pull the door shut, sit outside of it, kicking on the door, and screaming about me going to the bathroom. Deep breath and a swig of coffee to get through that moment. It’s hard to imagine my eight year old screaming because I have to go to the bathroom. More deep breaths, a few blinks of the eyes, to keep the tears at bay. It’s emotional. The world has to be quiet when he needs it to be quiet and that could mean even if he is listening to something as loud as it can be or he could be completely asleep. Either way in that second he needs the world to do exactly what he needs it to do. And that could mean me not going to the bathroom, turning on a light, or singing a tune he may have already asked me to sing a hundred times earlier in the day. Every day I pray for patience and understanding, the love is the easy part. Owen’s smile gets me through our days. Find your smile, share your joy, and celebrate each and every victory. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Knowing It Saturday
The uneasiness of yesterday has carried through to today. Owen’s on edge and I’m trying to keep things as calm as possible for him. He went to spend a few hours with his grandma. As I was leaving he yells out “I wuv ewe” holding up his hand trying to sign I love you. This brings my heart so much joy. On the way to her house, every single animal was put on the farm, maybe even a couple of times. And then there are the times he doesn’t want me to sing. He says, “I’m not going to sing”, but he really means me. On the way home, he didn’t say too much except that he wanted to take a “baff” and he screamed at the two meltdown lights. We got through the first one with only a tiny scream and I breathed a little easier. I was hoping the next one would go as well. I held onto the steering wheel waiting to see what he did. The light was green, I thought maybe he wouldn’t scream because of it, but there it was and I kept driving. If I react too much he screams more. There’s that fine line of is this a meltdown now or is it a reactionary behavior from the past times. I try to talk to him about the lights and why we have to stop, but he doesn’t understand. I keep trying though. I feel his emotions today. He’s wanted to sit on my lap, playing with my hair. He’s now listening to a video in a different language, answering it in English. I don’t think he understands there are numerous languages. He will say words to me that I often don’t understand. I have to decide if they are a foreign language or if it is a word he hasn’t learned how to say yet. He gets frustrated when I don’t know how to answer him. I have him go back through the steps with me if he can. Sometimes this frustrates him even further, but I keep trying. I haven’t talked to him today about the different activities that hopefully we will get to do again soon. The emotions he had last night and how the day has still felt thick keep me from talking about what’s to come. But really who knows what’s to come. Everything still feels up in the air right now. I remind myself to breathe. He’s smiling more as the day goes on and that’s what is important. Every day Owen inspires me. Live life to the fullest. Find your inspiration and motivation and watch your world grow. 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.