In the blink of an eye, a tear fell down Owen’s cheek. I can barely see from my own tears for my baby. What seemed like a really good day quickly turned into one of the hardest nights since the quarantine started. He was full of words and excitement today, he even went to spend some time with his grandma, but his emotions escalated as the night wore on. He watched as his shrimp cooked for dinner. He said, “it’s still hot the end” as he stood in front of the oven making sure it was shrimp. He ate all of his dinner, but he seemed sad. I tried to talk to him, but he kept asking to sing Old MacDonald. Everything now goes on the farm. On the way to grandma’s house we sang and sang some more. He belted out, “and on dis farm he had a rutabaga”. All the vegetables go on the farm now. Seems appropriate. When we talk about the different animals that go on the farm he will add animals like a bear and then he says, “no way” and laughs hysterically. The smiles and laughs carried me through our day until emotions and tears filled both our hearts. I knew the night was going to be rough when he started pushing me earlier. And from there it kept going. I held him, I rocked him, and finally gave him compression and that calmed him enough for sleep to happen. And I cried some more. My baby doesn’t understand why his world has changed so much and I don’t have any answers. One day at a time. Our journey is not always easy but the love sure is. Follow your heart, know that tomorrow will be a brand new day, and you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I thought I just swept the floor, but I see a distinct trail of veggie straws as I look around the kitchen all the way into the living room. I didn’t catch Owen fast enough as he ran from the kitchen into the living room and every last veggie straw crumb I believe may have fallen off of him along the way. His new trick is to run to the bathroom, slam the door, turn the water on and off, and run right back out the door. No time for handwashing there. He prefers to run straight into the living room if I don’t remind him to wash his hands. And he certainly doesn’t like that I already figured out his no washy de hands trick. He’s chewed through another shirt today and he started chewing on his ukulele strap as he was playing. I got him to sing instead, but he was going to town on the strap at first. I got him a new strap for his ukulele. I showed him that it had rocket ships, planets, and astronauts on it. He doesn’t really pay attention to anything that has designs on it yet, but I always try to show them to him. I like to reference color or whatever is unique about the object hoping that he will understand the details. I’ve always wanted to know what his favorite color is. I have a little lump in my throat thinking about that. I try to explain to him what that means. I use veggie straws as an example. To me, veggie straws are his favorite food. He used to call them “cracker”, but now calls them veggie straws, which brings a huge smile to my face thinking about how far he has come and how much he has grown. I explain to him that mommy’s favorite color is pink, but I also like orange and purple. I tell him that he can like lots of things, but he might like something more like veggie straws and that would be his favorite. One day at a time I remind myself and think about the miles we have traveled already. The path we take may be constantly changing but we walk it together. Keep moving forward. Find your happiness and know that today is one moment in time. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The day started off much better than yesterday even though I had a massive headache. Owen was very calm for me, listening to my words, and even offering a “big hug” numerous times. He stayed calm throughout the day and came running to me numerous times for various types of interactions. At one point I caught a glimpse of the trash and saw Owen’s shirt in it. I tried not to think about it. I suppose I could use them for rags, but it’s too hard. Sometimes he chews through a shirt a day or a towel, the couch, even his blanket. It depends on the day. I try to remind him not to chew on things, but I also remind him all day long to keep the volume lowered on all his devices. I had to not think about that shirt or all the other shirts I’ve thrown away. He has different types of chew accessories, but his shirts have always been his favorites followed closely by the couch. Instead, I like to think about all the new foods he has been trying lately and different flavors of foods he already loves. The last few times I’ve ordered our groceries they have been out of his beloved plain veggie straws. So okay, don’t they know this is a no-no. But I ordered a couple of the different flavors to try and he loved them. I’m very thankful that he is branching out with his food choices. He knows that he at least has to take one bite of something before he “throw it in de trash”. I will not make him try foods that I can tell he has a gag reflex to, which happens often. I think about how far we’ve come and the words he says now, not to mention the foods he eats, and all I can do is rejoice in these moments. Find your inspiration and motivation and the rest will follow. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
As I watched Owen eat a second dinner of shrimp I had to breathe. We ate dinner earlier and he had ham, green beans, and potatoes. He actually ate most of his first dinner for it not being his first choice. I helped him with putting the bites on his fork, but he did great with actually eating everything. And now the shrimp are flying. He gets so distracted as he eats and the shrimp easily fall out of his hands as he sits there playing with his tablet. But he managed to eat all of the ones on his plate minus the few on the floor, chair, and in his hair. He got up halfway through eating, ready to run to the living room. I was able to stop him, but more shrimp parts hit the floor and some of the chips I gave him while he was waiting for his shrimp to cook. It’s like a smorgasbord on the floor. Even though he was happy I was emotional. It seemed like a hard day for me. He screamed when his tablet wouldn’t pull up what he was expecting or it took to long. He cried as he waited. I heard his shrill cry and I knew I needed to hell him immediately. There’s no stopping the moving train unless I help calm him down. But I wanted to cry too. I couldn’t tell what was wrong. To me, it seemed like everything was fine with his tablet, yet the screaming continued. Distraction was next up and that seemed to calm him down some. I try to get him to explain why he is upset, but that does not always help. He started asking for his blanket. The one he wanted was in the dryer. I wondered if that was why he was screaming. He doesn’t like the noise from the dryer even though it is in the basement he can still feel it. I try to do it when he is sleeping, but I had to get his blanket dry before it was time for bed. There always seems like a stumbling block I need to get through. He didn’t want to go to bed until the blanket was dry. As soon as I brought it to his bed he was ready to go to sleep. We still had to go through our nighttime process, but it seems like once I had the right blanket sleep found him quickly. Through my emotions, I see his growth. I try to not dwell on the moments of sadness or the times when the air feels too thick to breathe. Even during the rough days like today, I rejoice how far he has come and can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds. Let the miracles give you the strength to chase your dreams tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I may or may not have fallen asleep waiting for Owen to fall asleep last night. And then he yells, “need to go potty let’s try” scrambling out of bed to get there. He went and this momma was thrilled. When we were in the bathroom Owen said “birthday candle” but was picking at his toenail. So I asked him if he wanted me to cut his toenails. He repeated “birthday candle” a few more times and then proceeded to open the drawer that had the clippers. He got the clippers out of the drawer and told me to “cut cut cut”, which is what he says when I cut his hair. So I took the clippers and he let me cut his toenail. He has been saying “birthday candle” for a while but randomly and not picking at his toes. I explained that I was going to use clippers on him and he said, “birthday candle”. This is the hard part for me when I am trying to help him learn words or when I am trying to figure out what he is saying. His words do not always reflect what he is referencing. But today I’m rejoicing because now I know that he understands his toenails need to be cut and I can help him with that. I will try to emphasize the name “nail clippers” so that he can learn it as well. Somehow the words get crossed for him and he doesn’t know what something is called or he associates it with something else he learned about. We’ve watched videos on grooming and he has several apps that show trimming of nails, so I’m not sure how the words “birthday candle” became associated with it. He is still learning how to pronounce words as well. He brought his tablet to me, playing one of his apps. He said, “sacgorrila” as a squirrel came on the screen. I repeated the word squirrel back to him several times, but he kept saying it with the gorilla sound in its name. He doesn’t always process words the way they sound. Throughout the day he has said his version of squirrel a few more times, but I can tell he is working on saying it. Every day I say an extra thank you prayer for his words. I know how hard he works to say each and every one of them. I waited for those words. And last night as he told me in his way his toenails needed cut I rejoiced even more. One of my biggest concerns has always been that he couldn’t explain to me if his sock wasn’t on correctly or there was a rock in his shoe, and the list goes on, but here he was telling me his toenails needed cut. Every day a miracle happens. Every day there is change and growth all around us. Look for the beauty in that growth and know that all things are possible if you believe. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Today feels heavy. It feels emotional. And it feels like there is more to it, but I can’t quite define any of it. My music man slept well last night and he slept late this morning. We both have been yawning today, but Owen is happy and that’s what’s important. I love days when he is interactive with me. I like it when I ask him questions and he responds. Some days I know it’s extremely hard for him to process what’s going on around him and can’t answer me. I can see it in his eyes, in his demeanor, in his attitude. Days like that he doesn’t want to look at me, but it’s more like he can’t. I get emotional thinking about it. There’s a crossroad between me trying to give him the time he needs to process and me pushing him to keep going through the motions. I don’t want to push him too hard because that won’t benefit him at all, but I also want him to understand that we all have those moments and we have to keep moving forward. Last night I showed him the new lamp I got for “mommy’s room”. It has a pull-chain on it so I knew it would be easy for him to use. I however did not realize how much he would absolutely love it. He was beyond excited and enthusiastic about what it did. He kept turning it “offT” and on again. He realized when he got in bed he could reach the light and this made him even happier. He wanted to turn the light on and then got completely under the covers so he couldn’t see the light. He then yelled for the covers that were already on him, quickly uncovered himself, and turned the light off, only to repeat the steps again to turn it on. But boy, oh boy was he happy about the light. I finally convinced him to leave it off and after talking about it for a while longer he fell asleep. I never know what will bring him that kind of over the moon joy, but I do know that it is the greatest feeling in the world to see him be excited about something. Today the squeals of delight have been numerous, the songs varied, the potato chip greasy hands in my hair moments galore and the hugs abundant, which all makes for a good day even if this momma is a little emotional. As I remove the shrimp and potato chips from my hair I hear Owen talking about music and I know that we will be jamming soon. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, but keep moving forward and know that one step forward is still progress. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The dude is becoming quite the music man. This morning when Owen woke up he immediately went to get his guitar. He brought it to me in the kitchen while I was fixing our breakfast. He wanted me to help him put the strap over his head so he could play it. He stood in front of the turned-off television watching himself move and strum the guitar. I’ve been showing him how to hold it, but it’s still hard for him to grasp all the motions and get hold it so it was basically dangling from his neck straight up and down. He was strumming away singing Old MacDonald and putting every animal and vegetable he could think of on that farm. He played it for over twenty minutes and then took it off. He asked me to help find “play guitar old MacDonald” on YouTube and then proceeded to listen to the videos I found. He played his harmonica for a few minutes, but on that, he wanted to play “I’m a little tea part”. We’ve had different types of instruments for years, but only recently has he wanted to truly play them and in the last few days, he has been soaring to new heights. I’m thankful and excited about his growth. I laugh about all the vegetables that are now finding their way to the farm. Taro, persimmon, and turnips are a few. He loved this video of flying and spinning vegetables when he was a toddler. He loved the whole series they did with fruits as well. I’m always amazed to see how much he still loves the exact same videos that he did when he was younger. And he responds similarly now even. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds for my music man. He sang himself to sleep tonight with the farm and this momma is exhausted. We had a great day, but he stayed on the go. Find your happiness and share your smile with the world. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I want to say I handled today well and I suppose because I didn’t cry all day that kinda covers it, but it’s been hard. When you have so many things flying at you and all you want to do is sit it feels like there will never be calm. Owen doesn’t understand if I have something in my hands or if I’m in the middle of doing anything that I can’t stop to help him immediately. He gets so frustrated and starts screaming right away. I try to explain to him that he has to ask for help, that he just can’t grab my hand, but that only frustrates him more. He doesn’t understand that I might have something hot in my hand or holding something that could hurt us if it dropped. But through my emotions, lots of smiles came as the day wore on. Owen is truly becoming my little music man. I have all his instruments sitting out for him and anytime he wants to play them he can pick them up. Numerous times today he would pick up his guitar, strumming it as he sang. He played his harmonica as well. After his bath, he wanted to play his guitar again. I really should have made him come straight to bed, but having his request to play the guitar made it hard to say no. He stood there for over twenty minutes playing and singing. He was looking at himself in the turned-off television. He could see his reflection and he was watching himself move as he sang. I’m so impressed by how far he has come in such a short amount of time. I love how enthusiastic he gets when he is singing. And he sings in his voice. The more he sings, the more he plays, I see even more connections forming. There’s no stopping where my music man can go and I tell him that every day. Through emotions, I learn to let go and find the positive things in life. Today is one moment in time. Positive words and positive actions equal a positive life. Remind yourself that you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it. Tomorrow is a new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
My music man made me happy today. Owen asked to play his “hornmonAKA”, guitar, and ukulele. He wanted to sing “I’m a little tea part”. And that he did. Numerous times through, many versions, on many instruments. I asked him if he wanted to play his drum and he said, “no” and kept right on playing his guitar. This morning I showed him a couple of videos of people playing Old MacDonald Had A Farm on the harmonica. At first, he wanted nothing to do with the videos, which is very common for him, but then he watched what they were playing and he got excited. After a few minutes, I asked him if he wanted to play his. He did amazing on day two of playing and was able to get different notes out. We then sat there for an hour putting every animal he could think of on the farm and singing about it. It makes me so incredibly happy that he loves music like he does. I love the connections he makes to other things he knows as well. He now asks for “old MacDonald chicken nuggets”. And he wants to put chicken nuggets on the farm. I don’t even know if he understands the connections and what it truly means, but I’m always fascinated by how he gets to those points. He has made the connection from the computer having windows to the windows in the buildings. He likes to drive by a certain section of buildings in our little downtown and he always talks about “windows shutting down”. I’m thankful he can express so many of his thoughts now. I may not always understand what he is trying to tell me, but knowing that he is able to share these moments with me is a very emotional gift. I waited for his words for a long time. Every word he speaks I am thankful for. Today my heart was filled with gladness. We sang, we smiled, we laughed, we learned, and most of all we loved. Owen had a really great day full of connections and moments of true victories. Celebrate your victories no matter how big or small they are celebrate them all. Know that tomorrow can be your next great day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
For some reason, the song Stuck In The Middle With You came to mind as Owen started throwing his shrimp around the kitchen. Shrimp to the left of me, shrimp to the right, kinda came out in a singsong tone as they went flying by my head and I was in the middle. Let’s just say Owen would have preferred to have his tablet at dinner. It needed to charge, plus can’t we have one meal without it, but the flying shrimp say otherwise. He wasn’t mad so much as he wanted them off his plate so he could be “you done” with dinner. I then tried to encourage him to eat his shrimp and talk with me, but instead of throwing them, they started going up his nose. When I asked him to stop sticking the shrimp up his nose he stuck them in his toes. I think we moved on to Dr. Seuss at this point because he kept going. He rolled them in his hair, he rolled them across his face, he even pulled his shirt out and stuck them down his shirt. And which behavior do I try to correct, so I stopped even trying. I moved on to more conversational questions. “Do you know what state you live in”, I asked. This is when it got good. I think he rolled his eyes at me. I don’t know if he even understands the concept, but there they were. I said, “you live in West Virginia can you say West Virginia”. He proceeded to say a version of West Virginia quickly followed by “throw it en de trash” lifting his plate above his head. So I kept going and surprisingly he put his plate down. I asked him more questions, trying to ignore the behaviors. If I pay attention to the behaviors they are amplified. If I ignore the behaviors they are changed. The song came back to mind again “stuck in the middle with you”. How do you correct a behavior when correcting the behavior only creates more behaviors or hours of meltdowns. You breathe, simply breathe. He got up, I made him wash his hands, and decluttered his shirt from the shrimp, and he was off to the races, grabbing his tablet as he went. I sat down surrounded by shrimp knowing he would come back. I really couldn’t cry. The tears are all dried up today. I thought I swept all the shrimp up but after three more trips back to the table with his tablet, and three more trips to the bathroom to wash the shrimp off, and three more trips back to the living room, I think I missed a shrimp in the final cleanup. Back to Dr. Seuss, I thought. I’m tired and he’s happy. He asked about all of his favorite places today and I prayed a little harder that everything would be okay when we started going back. One day at a time, one shrimp at a time, and one huge smile from my sweet baby O gets me through my day. Let yesterday go, rejoice the victories of today, and know that after the rain the sun will shine again. 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.