To say Owen did awesome at the dentist is an understatement, an absolute understatement. He slept late after waking numerous times in the middle of the night, asking for his teacher, and telling me he rides the bus. Oh boy, I thought. He knows today was his last day of summer school but it will still be hard. He is already talking about going to school in August. I’ve been telling him he was going to the dentist for several weeks, preparing him for his appointment. I always make a point to talk to him about doctors and how they help us grow and get better if we are sick. I never wanted him to be afraid of going. For the dentist, we practice holding his mouth open and counting to ten. It also helps that he absolutely loves watching YouTube videos about Play-Doh teeth and playing games where he has to clean animal teeth. He had no cavities and only a little tartar between two of his teeth. He isn’t a big sweets eater even though chocolate milk is his go-to drink, has never had a soda, only asks for juice occasionally, and drinks water. Plus, he likes crunchy foods more than anything else. We got to the dentist without one scream. We got home with three but each one was stopped with “breathe and count to one hundred”. He screamed each time because he wanted to go different directions than I was turning but I told him if he screamed we would not be able to go get his “chicken nuggets cheeseburger french fries apple slices new ice tea”. And the others times he stopped because he didn’t want to miss out on seeing his favorite windows. I’ll take it. The screams were quick and didn’t lead to a meltdown after a fantabulous dentist appointment, what more could I ask for. When we got home he devoured all his food but one lone chicken nugget and the apple slices. I got him chocolate milk and drank his “new ice tea” because he likes to order it but not drink it. He did at least try the apple slices so we are making progress. We are working on taking a bite of food and then putting it down. This is helping him stop putting the food between his toes and him wiping it up and down his face. One step at a time and we are celebrating the many victories we won today. Every day I rejoice the progress Owen is making. Celebrate our victories with us and celebrate yours. The littlest of steps can lead to the greatest of victories. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I don’t want to think about tomorrow. Have I prepared him enough for it to be his last day of summer school and does he understand what it means. All I can do is pray and move forward. Owen didn’t sleep through the night and came to me making lots of noise. He fell back asleep quickly and slept pretty late. He knew he wanted to go to school but he also wanted to sit. We got past that and he was off to school. When he got off the bus he was all smiles, checking on his routine for the next few days. He always wants to make sure he knows what is coming up. I got him his snack and I heard the crunching before I even had to think about it. I knew what that meant, there were veggie straws everywhere. I can’t tell you how many times I say “sit when you eat” or sit right next to him trying to keep him seated. He jumps a lot when he eats and if he isn’t jumping his feet are kicking the legs of the table. I’ve tried different strategies but exhaustion wins and I let him stand. I had no clue until today that lettuce has now become a meltdown food. Right, when I finally, kinda, sorta have him desensitized from the banana along comes lettuce. As soon as I got it out of the refrigerator his foot started stomping and his hands went to his ears. He covers his ears a lot but he never wants to wear ear coverings and I always go back and forth if it is a good idea for him. I don’t want it to block out the noises he needs to hear and what happens if he does get used to them and we don’t have them with us and something makes a noise he isn’t accustomed to. I also like to overthink the options he won’t even consider. I held the lettuce for a minute, in shock that he was about to have a meltdown over it, and started talking to him about it. He yelled, “throw it in the trash no lettuce today”, trying to take it from me. Oh boy, is all I could think, how did this happen. After that our night slowed down and he sang every different language version of Humpty Dumpty he knew or that I recognize. At least I think I recognize them. He knows so many now. He started repeating “we are having so much fun fun” into the mirror and with that, I thought we need a mirror around all the time. After school tomorrow we go to the dentist. That mirror needs to come on along. I’m thankful for his progress and his great big smile. Live your passion out loud and know that you can do great things if you believe. Smiles to all and donut daze!
If we could sleep that would be golden. Owen woke numerous times before he technically even fell asleep last night. Me, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. He came to me quickly it seemed but fell right back asleep. Me, not so much. He woke knowing he had school and he had to put his glasses on. He said, pointing to my glasses, “glasses off leave your glasses off”. He went on to touch his face, saying, “glasses on”. I told him as soon as he went to the potty I would get his glasses for him. I was happy he asked about them. I thought about all the progress he has made. He was off to school shortly. Two more days, my heart aches a little for the new routine we will have to establish for the rest of the summer. He’s been doing well the last few days and I want that to continue. He went to spend a few hours with his grandma while I went to an appointment. I told him yesterday that I would let him go by the windows and the eagle flags since he didn’t yell at me on the way home from church. And I told him that if he didn’t scream on the way to grandma’s house that we could go by them again on the way home. He was amazing. No screams to grandma’s house and he only told me a few directions. I asked him if he knew what we had to do in the car and he said, “breathe count to one hundred”. Hallelujah, I mean absolutely hallelujah. When I picked him up to come home we had to go on a detour immediately leaving my mom’s house. There was an accident but it didn’t phase him one bit. I told him we had to go around and he said a few things about where I needed to turn but was very calm about it. When we got to the main road he said, “let’s do the alphabet can you name something that starts with A nah not really alligator starts with A”. I heard some of my words coming from him and then he said, “deep breffs deep breffs”. I wanted to cry, I wanted to rejoice, and I wanted to yell yipeedoodlecakes as loud as I could. I told him he was doing amazing and we would be home soon. He said, “chicken nuggets french fries please”. It had been storming as we were driving home and there were double rainbows. As we stopped at a light the rainbow move down towards us and we were in engulfed the beautiful colors. I tried to explain it to Owen, I wanted him to see the beauty around us but truly it was my pot of gold right there on the street with no screaming all the way home. I’m thankful he was able to find his calm and work through his emotions. I made sure to tell him that we can’t go every day the same way but he could go see the windows again soon. I made sure he understood how proud I was of him and that he did absolutely fantastic. I’m thankful for this victory. Tomorrow is a brand new day and we will take it one step at a time. Celebrate your victories no matter how big or small celebrate them all. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days are hard. Some days are emotional. And some days I want to hang the gone fishing sign out and take a break. We had a good day. Owen was pretty calm and mostly listened but it’s still hard. Hard on him, hard on me. Not much sleep has been happening for me and that’s part of it. I attempted to lay on the couch yesterday and every time my eyes would close he would get in my face and scream about a song he wanted to hear. He didn’t want me to sing it he only wanted to hear it on his tablet but he wanted me to say his request to the voice-activated option on YouTube. His words become clearer every day but he still thinks I have to ask for it. More than half the time when he asks me to say something it is words it would recognize. And almost every single time the video is already on the screen. He wants to search for it so he can see other similar videos. When we left for church this morning I told him over and over again that we had to work together on our breathing and that he couldn’t yell at me. And if he didn’t yell at me on this trip that tomorrow I would take him to see the windows and go the direction he wanted to go. We got to church with no screaming. We got home from church with a small little attempt at screaming until I said the magic words that he would not have his swing if he screamed. It worked. I don’t know how it worked but we got home and he was calm, cool, and collected. I wanted to take a nap on the couch but wasn’t going to make that same mistake again. When we left church he asked for chicken nuggets. I reminded him that we could go as long as there was no screaming. He gets very upset when we “have to wait our turn” and they don’t close the window. He likes to order his food based on a video he watches about two little kids and what they want. The dad tells them he is going to give them a new ice tea since they drank theirs. Owen, I won’t say screamed, was very adamant about getting a “new ice tea” when I ordered and I’m sure the person taking our order knew exactly what I wanted. When we got home he devoured his food and wanted nothing to do with the ice tea. This is how it goes every time. But if we don’t have the ice tea the screams occur. Luckily I like ice tea and technically it could be an empty glass and he would be fine with it. I’m learning to adapt, grow, and occasionally figure out how to get through a day with more smiles than tears for both of us. Today was emotional but good. Never give up on the hope of tomorrow. Find your strength and keep pushing forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I’m truly going to focus on the positive points today and not the screaming that occurred once again because we drove down a road he wanted to go on. Owen didn’t sleep great last night and I slept worse than him but we still had a great morning. He was ready to go to the coffee shop and bowling before the day really even began. I started talking to him about the trip there, reinforcing that we were not going to have the screaming and meltdowns, that he could push past them. And with that, we’ll save it for another day because I can’t even think about all the screaming today. We met our friends for bowling. Owen was thrilled to see them, even saying to me that he wanted to “go eat pancakes” with them, remembering we had gone with them before. He had an awesome time bowling. The joy bowling brings him makes my heart sing. It’s an amazing feeling to see him shine. Each week I think he is getting closer to being able to hold the ball and throw it himself. When we were getting ready to leave we didn’t have to go by the customer service desk because our friend had returned my shoes with theirs. Owen still wanted to go by the desk to tell them “bye bye”. So we said our goodbyes to our friends and then went to the desk. I think about these moments and the friendships he has made without even truly understanding what that means. His smile, his attitude, and his joy are easily shared with others and you can see the bond he forms with people. I’m thankful for this gift. Then insert swig of coffee to avoid the thought of the ride home and move on to the calm evening we had. I gave him several choices of what he might what for dinner and I was shocked when he chose “hotdog please”. I don’t get them very often but maybe he likes them more than I thought. When bedtime came and went he asked for “ten more two minutes” and we sat together, him singing in several languages, asking about his keyboard. I’m not sure if he completely understands that the more music he sings or plays the later he gets to stay up but I think he’s figuring it out. I can’t get enough of his singing and playing his instruments. After his bath, he wanted to draw a “circle bunny” on his chalkboard. When he was done I told him to draw something else. He said, “circle rabbit”. I told him nice try Picasso but pick another animal. He then made a “circle gorilla with big teff”. He makes me laugh with his quick thinking. I often wonder if he understands how funny and brilliant he is. As the day came to a close he fell asleep pretty quickly and his last request was “go to church tomorrow”. Yes my sweet baby O, yes. Find something you love and that makes your heart content. Smiles to all and donut daze!
There were many victories packed into a very long and exhausting day. Owen woke in the middle of the night, coming to me before I had barely fallen asleep myself. I didn’t sleep much after that but he slept great and late it seemed once he was with me. He was off to school and I love his excitement when he sees the bus. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that there are only three more days of summer school. It’s so hard for me to think about. The routine will be gone. He already talks about August and seeing his regular teacher again. How do I explain July to him even though we talk about it every day. We went to his therapy when he got home from school. I talked to him and talked to him and talked to him some more about being calm in the car. I reminded him about breathing and how we had to work together to think about other things. I changed his cocoon a little that I made for him to keep him more tucked away in his carseat but draping the fabric differently. I dreaded the thought of walking out our door but I knew we had to go. I told him that he really needed to concentrate on where we were going. He asked to go to several of the places that cause him to scream and I told him no we couldn’t do that. I explained to him that he had to be calm for me. I told him that tomorrow we were meeting our friends for bowling and that if going anywhere upset him we wouldn’t be able to go bowling with our friends. With my nerves shaking we walked out our door. I talked a lot in the car. I reminded him to breathe, to count, to exhale, to concentrate, to look at his tablet, and to imagine all the fun we would have tomorrow, not to mention the fact that he loves going to therapy. I kept talking. We made it there without screams. Hallelujah, complete and udder hallelujah. We had his session which he was thrilled about and then it was time to come home. He asked for “chicken nuggets french fries new ice tea chocolate milk and no coffee today”. I told him that we could go through the drive-thru but he couldn’t scream. He gets really upset when they don’t close the window completely when we pay or get our food. Success once again. We still had the trek home and my heart was still racing. The closer we got to our house the more anxious I got. I reminded him about tomorrow, I reminded him we couldn’t scream, and that we needed to focus on eating his dinner. I went the long way. I kept driving around. He was telling me to go different ways but I ignored him focusing on the blocks we had to go. I turned and I waited for it. He let out a noise but before the full scream happened I reminded him about seeing his friend tomorrow. He asked if he could go eat with him. I told him we would see if they could. We had one more turn. The small scream came out. I said, “breathe” probably a little louder than I wanted to and not sure which one of us it was directed at but we made it home without a meltdown. Victory, we did it. Yipeedoodlecakes. A day without a meltdown in the car is exactly what this momma needed. He sang for me tonight in numerous languages. I celebrate today. His songs warm my heart and his smile is the key to my soul. Find your joy, know that you are not alone, and tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen was sitting as close to me as he could without actually sitting on me. He was listening to Humpty Dumpty in every language possible. I asked him if he knew what language it was and he said, “Russian”. He was right. I wonder how many languages he knows. He’s been listening to them since he was young. He somehow has always found them on YouTube. And now he watches them on the tv with closed caption in other languages as well. I wonder if he can read in other languages or if he can process letters from those languages. It’s all fascinating to me. I understand a lot of what he says or sings now because he repeats them so much but I also know that he knows more words than he can say and more languages than I can imagine. We went to his therapy sessions and when we were done he asked to get “coffee”. I took him through the drive-thru and we order coffee. He chose this over chicken nuggets. I can’t complain. I like my coffee. I dreaded the minute we left there. I knew the screams would come. I didn’t want to go home as much as he didn’t want to go home. It seems like no matter what now he screams. I started crying. I couldn’t help it. So tired of his emotions, my emotions. He said, “mommy crying” and I cried harder. It’s hard knowing that he is going through all this and I’m trying to help him process it but what do I do, how do I help him. He needs to go certain ways and routine is everything to him but something like road construction will completely rock his world and the meltdowns begin. I try to focus on the smiles, laughter, and his songs that fill my heart. “Boots go to bed” were in tonight’s edition of what shoes he wanted to wear in bed. He even mostly put them on himself. I showed him how to use the straps to hold them open and pull them up. I did finally convince him to leave them at the front door instead of wearing them to bed. Through all of this, we are learning and growing together. Be inspired to change your world and know that you can make a difference. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The days tend to all blend together but Owen seemed a little more relaxed today. He also slept better last night so that helps. He didn’t sleep through the night but at least he seemed peaceful. His words felt very connected and he held conversations with me. I love days like this where everything feels smooth. He’s doing so well with his glasses. I look at his sweet little face and I feel like he was meant to wear glasses. They seem to fit his personality perfectly. When he got home from school he wanted to sit with me and he showed me different videos on his tablet. He was watching numerous things in other languages. I asked him questions about the videos and he was able to tell me. There was a spider on the screen and he told me that the spider “builds a web”. I try to come up with questions that will allow him to tell me what is going on in the video but also to see how much he knows and understands. He fascinates me with his knowledge. I know he has so much stored in his brain from years ago. His memory is incredible. He will say something that happened years ago. I think it also causes him anxiety because he will try to figure out why he isn’t seeing someone that he used to see or he will tell me he wants to go someplace that we haven’t been to in a long time. I watch him somehow squat on a wobble chair without even thinking about it. I’m amazed at the strength and flexibility he shows. He has an incredible physical aptitude without physical awareness. His body always seems like it works independently of his reactions. And he isn’t always cognizant of his surroundings or what he should do around them. If there are papers in a chair or my laptop on the couch he would sit on them. I create obstacle courses for him with boxes, books, and other structures trying to help him with awareness and that he can’t always plow through something or walk on top of an object. I think about how far he has come and I know the sky is the limit with my sweet baby O. Great things are coming his way and he continues to soar even with those obstacles in his way. Never give up on the hope of tomorrow. Life is what we make it so let’s make it grand. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Thankfully Owen fell asleep easily last night but I could hear him stirring and talking in his sleep. He came to me not much after midnight. I could tell he had a lot on his mind. He woke early in the morning, screaming about seeing his teacher. When I told him he was going to see his teacher he said “no teacher today” and went on to tell me she had to stay home with the baby. He fell asleep again and when he woke the next time he was calmer, insisting on “five more minutes” but much calmer. He still had an hour before he was off to school. He wanted me to sit and kept telling me about the bus. By the time he was ready to leave he was much calmer. When he came home the bus driver told me he did wonderful on the bus and his teacher said he had an excellent day. I’m thankful he loves the bus and school so much. I can’t imagine if he didn’t like to go. Sometimes his words feel very concise and he explains exactly what he wants. Then there are moments that he struggles with his words and trying to express what he really means. Or like tonight he sang about eyebrows. He always wants to draw a “circle rabbit” every night on our chalkboard. He will draw several and then he wants me to draw one. His are circles and then he says, “draw de eyes draw de eyeball draw the eyebrow”. Then he hands me the chalk and wants me to draw one. My version has to have big eyebrows, an orange shirt, and blue pants even though I use the same color chalk. His imagination is wonderful. And then once we are in bed he starts singing about eyebrows. He adds them to all types of phrases and then starts singing. “Blue rain boots to bed blue rain boots to bed eyebrows eyebrows eyebrows”, he sings. All I keep thinking is he will be an extraordinary songwriter one day. He fought sleep tonight and when I thought he was finally asleep I got up, only for him to scream for me again. So the cycle goes. Another round of eyebrow songs and he was out. Thankfully he was calm tonight and that is our victory and he said, “I love you” as he laid in my arms and that is my gift. Find hope in your victories. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Screams, I keep telling myself I’ll get used to them. I truly don’t know that it is possible but at this rate, I think I will have to get used to them before Owen stops doing them. I have to remind myself to stay focused and continue to work with him. I tell him that we need to work together and try to understand what he is screaming about. After going to bed so late last night I kept praying he would sleep really late. He slept all night but six came awfully early. I told him yesterday we were going to meet our friends at the park. He couldn’t wait to go. When we left our house I explained that he couldn’t scream at the lights and that mommy was driving and didn’t need help. I kept trying to distract him. He did pretty good on the way to the park and mostly mediocre on the way home. He wanted to scream, he let a few peeps out but thankfully he listened. It was hard though and it’s exhausting. He liked the park but he didn’t want to do anything besides swing and then run around. The park we went to though is great because it has a fence all the way around. We had our therapy this afternoon so I knew we would have to go back out. He knew we did too. He once again did fine on the way to our session but on the way home he did not like the fact that I didn’t drive by the windows. He screamed. I talked to him and he stopped screaming but then I turned and the screaming started again. For at least a mile before we got home I started talking to him about counting and breathing through these moments. I tried to focus his attention on this. It only kinda sorta not really went over with him and the screams were still there but at least he didn’t make himself sick. I kept telling myself that we have to build the strategy and that it isn’t going to be overnight. I reminded myself that I had to breathe through this as much as Owen does and that we would get through it. I need to work on his cocoon that I’ve made for him with the window shades and fabric and try to block the view a little better. Not that it truly matters since he can tell where he is going strictly by the motions alone. Once we got home he was calm, asking for bed early, and interacting with me effortlessly. His vocabulary has greatly increased and I’m excited about his progress. He sang to me in multiple languages, asking Siri how to say certain phrases in Russian. Right before bath time, he was listening to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in some other language and I asked him what they were saying. He explained to me it was about a hippo and Mickey’s gloves. My amazing little dude is growing and thriving and the screaming will pass one day exactly as it started. Never give up on the hope for tomorrow. Find your strength and inspiration and know that you can make a difference in our world. 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.