The sleep has been good and for that I am thankful. I heard Owen talking to himself before I saw him. He went to the bathroom and then got his tablet. He came to me while I was getting my coffee. I asked him if I could have a hug and he said, “get the coffee.” He was happy he was getting to go to school, but he was also well aware that today was his last day of summer school. We had a little hitch in our giddy-up, but we got through it. I noticed as we were getting ready to wait for the bus his safety belt was not in his bag. He has to wear a specific one when he is on the bus. I didn’t look for it yesterday when I picked him up because we went straight to his therapy. He did amazing though. I drove him to school and he was very happy to see his teacher. A change in something like this before would cause him to have a meltdown but today he was able to process it and understand that we were going to drive there. When he came home from school, he was in a great mood and immediately as soon as he got off the bus, he asked for his books. He loves reading his books. He quickly read the one he wanted and then immediately put them back on the floor in front of the bookcase. They always go on the floor. I’m not quite sure why this started, but they always go on the floor. After he looked at his books, he wanted his snack. I didn’t even attempt to ask him if he wanted to go anywhere. I knew it was going to be up and down for him since it was his last day of school and I didn’t want to push his limits. I knew the next few days would be an adjustment back to summer vacation. He played games with me on his tablet and talked to me about his teacher. I told him that he would be going back to school in August so for the rest of the afternoon he talked about it being June. As it got closer to bed, he kept repeating the fact that he was going to grandma’s in the morning. He wanted me to keep verifying what was happening over the next few days. He ate dinner very late but I was thankful he ate. It took him numerous times to actually go get in his bed but once he did, he fell asleep quickly. I pray that he sleeps the entire night through but I am prepared for it being Friday and that he maybe up all night. His laughter is one of the most amazing things about him. I’m thankful for the song that he puts in my heart and the smile that he puts on my face. Each day walk through the challenges, knowing there will be victories around the corner. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I like the sleep pattern we are under right now. I still wake up numerous times during the night but at least Owen is sleeping better. He once again woke up in a great mood. I suppose I was too. We had about an hour until he had to get ready to go to school. It was his favorite day so he couldn’t wait to get it started. He still kept sending me back to my room which I always think it’s funny but it’s part of his process. He tells me he wants to go to school, but then he tells me to go back to my room for one thing or another. He quickly got dressed for me and then I ran to the bathroom. I told him that we needed to get his safety belt on for the bus and go outside. “Finish the cook,” he said, pointing to the kid’s cooking show he was watching. I love watching him get excited over new things and different things. We went outside to wait for the bus and it wasn’t long and that smile washed over his face because he saw the bus pulling up. He knew that I was going to pick him up for his therapy and he was excited. When I picked him up from school, his teacher told me that he was making choices. She had asked him if he wanted to paint the rest of his project, and he specifically said no. Even though I would’ve loved for him to finish the project that he was working on I am still glad that he can voice his choices, and that his teacher respects him. I talk about choices with him and tell him that he does have options but he also has to let others have options as well. We drove to his therapy place and on the way we pass a donut shop. Since he’s been asking for cake lately I asked him if he wanted to stop and get a donut. At first, he said no but that was right after we left his school. As we got close to the restaurant, he kept repeating the word donut. He did great at his therapy sessions even though he was a little anxious about tomorrow being his last day of school. The whole way there he kept saying “Monday be with mommy tomorrow” and making sure that I knew we would be together. I try to get him to understand that we can do things while he’s on summer break. He was very excited to work on his exercises and he wanted to use the Play-Doh that his occupational therapist suggested he told her that he wanted to make a purple dinosaur. When we got home, he wanted to play on his computer and he ate a huge dinner. He kept checking to make sure what was going to happen over the next few days. He kept running around the house yelling “concentrate on today.” he didn’t want to go to bed right away because he wanted to continue talking about the days of his break. I told him that if he didn’t go to sleep, he wouldn’t be able to go to class tomorrow so he ran to his bed and quickly fell asleep. I hope that he sleeps once again and I am sad that tomorrow is his last day, but it will give us time to work on our next great adventure. I’m thankful for his laughter and that big smile. Never give up on the hope for tomorrow. Smiles to all and we donut daze!
The sleep train keeps on coming. Thankfully, Owen has been sleeping much better than he was and I am sleeping sorta kinda. I heard him go to the bathroom, and then he got his tablet. I had been up for almost an hour and thankfully I was quiet. I came to him to say good morning. Instead of saying good morning he started talking about his tablet and I reminded him that he should say good morning first. I try to work through conversations with him so he understands it more. I also explain to him that he can use his words. Once he said, good morning, then I started talking to him about what was on his tablet and he started talking to me about getting coffee. He was bright-eyed this morning and full of energy. He was also anxious about all the days ahead. Routine absolutely means everything to him and having routine helps him keep everything straight. When things change it is hard for him to understand. It is also hard to explain to him that the only thing that is ever consistent is change. I wish he could go to school five days a week all year long but I know it is good for him to have breaks as well. We got ready and went outside. He kept asking to walk to his old bus stop. I told him we didn’t have to walk there anymore, which he already knew, but still wanted to say. He will repeat facts like that and then sometimes if I say the same thing as him he will then get upset because he knows it is wrong. I get trapped in the moment though, because he will repeat the same thing over and over again and wants me to constantly repeat with him but that’s hard and that’s not something that helps him move forward. I also have to be aware of his emotions in the moment because that can also throw him into a meltdown. It’s a fine line of when do I stop reacting to his emotions to get him through something or do I continue to help him and repeat something so that he also can get through different emotions. And then I breathe I don’t always have the answers but love gets us through it. I don’t know how to always react, and I’m not sure what I should do in certain moments. Then there’s sometimes when you are just reacting in that second and you are distracted with something else but he’s still needing attention or wanting my attention and I still don’t always answer the way he thinks I should. The bus came to get him and he was off to school. When he came home from school, I could tell he was anxious. I didn’t even attempt to see if he wanted to go someplace. He was focused on all of the days ahead and he would repeat what was happening on each day. When it came to talking about Monday, he knows he’s not going back to school, that summer school is over but he wants to continue to ask about seeing his teacher on Monday. This is when the emotions are hard he knows he’s not going back to school until August, but he wants to continuously bring it back up so that he has that reassurance that he is not going to school on Monday. He was excited that the book he requested came in. He read his book for me, and he also played his ukulele and sang several songs. I’m excited about how much he loves music and instruments. He is teaching himself how to play. It’s mostly by ear and just playing some of the notes. I completely believe he will be able to play the instruments as he grows older. He is getting good at the harmonica, and I can only imagine what he’ll be like in the next few years. Music has always meant so much to me even though I don’t play or sing I know it is amazing for our soul. He ate a pretty good dinner and was calm for the rest of the night. Bedtime came surprisingly quickly, and once he actually got in bed he then stayed there,.I think he was pretty tired and he’s ready for his tomorrow. He can’t wait to get to therapy and he knows that I will be picking him up from school. Seeing his bright blue eyes light up when he read the book he requested makes my day and fills my heart with gladness. Find your victories in the little things because the little things will lead to your greatest rewards. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I gotta remember the good stuff, I gotta. Some days are hard, some days are harder than hard. But there’s a silver lining in there somewhere if you look for it. Maybe it’s more of a shade of silver but find it. Holding onto the emotions wears you out and believe me I am worn out but today as hard and emotional as I was I saw the beauty in the emotions and pushed forward. Thankfully, Owen slept all night and woke up in a good mood. He slept till almost six o’clock. He was stuck on what day of the week it was, and what was happening over the next few days but he was happy. We got dressed and went outside to wait for the bus. He was laughing about when the bus would be coming. He kept pointing again to the wrong direction that the bus would come from. When the bus got there, he ran from one part of the yard to near the street. A smile washed across his face as it open the doors. I wanted to try to go someplace when he got home from school. I think he had the same idea which he usually doesn’t. As soon as he got off the bus, he started talking about taking his bike for a walk. I wasn’t sure if he would walk back out the door once we put his stuff away. It didn’t go according to his plan. He said he wanted to go but what we did was not what he was expecting. He was not pleased once we got in the car. I was going to take him to our church park and let him ride his bike, but he kept telling me he wanted to walk his bike. After a lot of screaming and him telling me he wanted to walk his bike, we came home. I told him when we were in the car that I was sorry we weren’t doing what he expected but he had said that he wanted to go walk his bike. I’m not sure why he got so upset but I think he wanted to ride it at a different location, but he couldn’t tell me where. When we got home, he got out of the car and he held my hand. I think he knew it was all hard. I guess he just wanted to walk here. Once we got back inside, he was calm and excited about the week ahead. He kept yelling about the lobster tooth and laughing hysterically. He watches a video about a lobster and then for some reason he thinks it’s funny that they may pull the lobster's tooth. He didn’t want to eat much for dinner and he kept asking me about the days ahead. He knows he will be going to school for the rest of this week and then he keeps saying “no school on Monday.” I’m praying that the transition for the next few days will go smoothly for him and he will be able to enjoy his summer. When he got in bed, he kept talking about going to the “bank on Saturday” instead of going to grandma's house. I’m not sure why he was concerned about us going to the bank on Saturday, but he got up numerous times before he finally fell asleep. I explained to him that we weren’t going to the bank on Saturday and that he would be going to see his grandma. Some days it’s so hard for him to understand what his days will be like forward especially when he has a routine that he wants to go by. I’m thankful when he got out of the car that he realized I was emotional too, and he grabbed my hand and we walked up the steps. I’m thankful for that connection and then he understood that I was there with him in those emotions. I told him I loved him and I hoped we could go someplace tomorrow after school. Our journey is not always easy to explain but the love sure is. Share your story and share ours. Your journey may not be the same as ours but it is important and there’s always someone that needs to hear it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sleep happened. Owen slept until 6:30. It was a wonderful thing. I mostly slept and for that I was thankful. I know he was exhausted from not sleeping much the night before. He didn’t have much time before he had to get ready for school. I heard him go to the bathroom and then before he looked for his tablet he started saying “coffee” over and over again. I was sitting in my bed with my coffee when he woke up. He came around the corner and saw me sitting with it. He came to me, hugged me, and then ran off for his tablet. It wasn’t long before he was back in my room sitting next to me. He stayed with me for a couple of minutes playing on his tablet and then he ran to look at something on his computer. I love how much he understands technology. It amazes me the way he can find things and use them to help him express what he needs or wants. I started to get him ready and he asked to wear his black shoes. I was pretty surprised when he asked, but also excited that he wanted to or something different. We went outside to wait for the bus. As we stood there, a cardinal flew by. I always talk to Owen about the different animals that we see. He told me it was a bird. He then started pointing towards the different roads that the bus could come on. He knows which direction the bus is coming from but he continues to point in the opposite direction because that’s where his old bus came from. And every time I see him pointing it makes me happy because I know how far he has come. Something like pointing to an object took him years to learn, and now he does it all the time. I can’t help but rejoice every time I still see it. It’s a huge victory for him. His bus came and he was off to school. He knew when he came home from school he was going to his vision therapy. However, when he got off the bus and walked inside, he immediately took his shoes off and then went to the bathroom and took his jeans off. He had already mentioned that he was going to vision therapy to see the doctor, but then he took his clothes off. I told him he had to put his clothes back on if he wanted to go to therapy it took him several minutes to process it all. He kept telling me to change instead of him changing, but the closer it got to his appointment time he realized he needed to put his clothes back on. He then put his jeans on and got his shoes. When we got to his vision therapy, we had to wait for a little bit since the doctor was running behind, but he did amazing as we waited. When we went into her room, she had already turned off her computer so that he had no distractions. He did well and participated in all of the exercises. On the way home he saw a sign that said “open” and he said, “it is Owen’s sign.” I’m not sure if it’s because the word open looked like Owen or if there was another reason, he thought it was his sign. The rest of the night went quickly and he was very calm. He ate a huge dinner, and he was very interactive with me. It took him several times to fall asleep because he kept coming to tell me that he was going to see his teacher tomorrow. He is concerned about his days ahead and he knows that he will not have school starting on Monday. I’m praying the transition from summer school back to vacation will go smoothly. I’m thankful for his progress and how wonderfully he did today. Never give up on the hope for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The coffeepot was drained by six in the morning. I was too. Nothing prepares you for the sleepless nights when all you need is sleep. Owen was focused on his day ahead. And that included us going to church. One of those clocks that didn’t get to stay in his room showed the difference between night and when it was time to get up. He went to sleep focused on how bright it was outside even though he sleeps with a light on. That light, I don’t know when it became a thing, but it’s a thing. A big thing. I’ve tried turning it off in the middle of the night or any time after he’s gone to sleep and that has turned into a different thing. It was sometime around one and he was awake, ready to go to church. “Church church church,” he said, followed quickly by his tablet talk. I told him he needed to go back to bed and he did not think that was a good idea. It was party time. There was no way he was going back to sleep. I told him that if he didn’t go back to sleep we wouldn’t be able to go to church, knowing that wouldn’t work. He at least went back to his room until the unthinkable happened. Why, oh why does the internet have to ever go out? OK, so I get it but he doesn’t. There was a glorious moment in all this chaos though. He stood breathing. I think he thought I was going to tell him to breathe through the internet being out but I was going to explain he should go back to sleep. Thankfully the internet returned quickly in my book but not quickly enough for him. He was hungry from the minute he woke up. He ate cereal and “sausage dogs” until it was time to get ready for church then he went to sit on the couch, under a blanket, asking for a bath. I asked him if he would rather take a bath or go to church. He sang out “church church church” again. I went to get dressed and in a few minutes he came to get his backup tablet. He yanked out the cord and threw it on the ground. I called him back to me. I wanted to explain that he needed to pull it out gently and not throw it on the floor. He said, “blue eyes you got beautiful blue eyes.” I told him I didn’t have blue eyes but he did have beautiful blue eyes and he said, “no green eyes understand me.” I did understand him since I have green eyes and “understand me” is his new catchphrase. He somehow found a video of the building he loved near us that they tore down. He is so excited. He ran to show it to me. He watched it and several of the other videos in the area. He told me all about the “letter building.” I’m thankful with such a hard morning that he had an amazing day. He was ready for bed and I hope that means he sleeps all night. I’m thankful for his progress and his amazing smile. Remember to be kind to your heart and know that you matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
The day Owen waits for was finally here. His dreams and reality don’t always come together and sometimes collide. And today they did big time. We woke almost at the same time. I was thankful he slept until five o’clock when a lot of Saturday mornings he is up so early. Right now it feels like he is going through a lot, a lot of emotions, a lot. The up and down rollercoaster ride makes it even harder for me to walk out of my door some days knowing that it will end up with him crying or having a meltdown. My heart breaks for how hard it is for him. He has a picture in his mind of his perfect day with grandma’s computer that isn’t even hooked up to the internet, his tablet, Mickey on the tv, a bowl of turkey meat, a different bowl with triangle chips, chocolate almond milk in his sippy cup, riding by the fire hydrant, then the church, railroad tracks, depot, and McDonald’s. Bike riding and bowling are talked about but generally up in the air until he can handle them. He wants us to have pizza or fish but he really wants to go to the “little Donald’s for chicken nuggets, french fries, a plain cheeseburger, and chocolate milk with honey mustard” that he won’t eat until later in the day. There are so many other steps in between or options that can or cannot be changed depending on how we say something or what is happening in the moment and that’s all subject to change if it’s raining or a thousand other scenarios that I really can’t even begin to comprehend but I need to comprehend to help the meltdowns that may or may not happen. My exhaustion is exhausted and we were only gone from the house less than six hours. Some days he recovers quickly from all his emotions but I’m still hanging on to the swinging pendulum that feels like it will never stop. I left him at his grandma’s house for several hours and he was in a great mood when I brought his pizza request, he even ate a bite of it. He was excited about going to ride his bike but then he wanted to do all of the other things first. Last week he got so upset because my mom turned left or right when he thought she should go right or left and that was that. There was a meltdown and now the reflection of the meltdown from last week carried over to today. No matter what we decided it was going to be emotional for him. We stuck to the plan though. We pushed through and he rode his bike for a few minutes. I let him choose between riding his bike or going home. He wanted to go to the fire hydrant first but we stuck with riding his bike. Driving by one particular fire hydrant brings him incredible joy. He has to go in the right direction down the road and then he is happy he sees it. This also causes meltdowns when it causes meltdowns. It also causes me to cry because this is so incredibly hard for him to understand that we cannot possibly go by all of the streets, places, and objects he wants to see each and every time we are out. I was thankful he was at least able to ride his bike some without having a complete meltdown. My mom then took him to the “little Donald’s” and then I picked him up. We came home, driving by the windows but I turned in a different spot hoping that he could process that we both get to make choices. We had passed one of the bowling alleys on our way home and he said, “let’s go bowling” but by this time he had numerous meltdowns and had told me he didn’t want to go. When we got home he was extremely calm, ready for his Sunday, and ate his dinner before bed. He wanted me to turn the sun off because it wasn’t dark enough for nighttime but he sleeps with his light on. He finally fell asleep and I won’t be far behind him. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. We learn, we love, we grow. And not necessarily in that order. Each day is a gift. Today the gift was tied with a very tight ribbon but when we opened the package it was amazing to see the story unfold. In those challenges the greatest rewards are found. Smiles to all and donut daze!
To say I was quiet as a mouse is probably wishful thinking but at least I was quiet enough to allow Owen to sleep a little bit later than most mornings. It was almost six o’clock before he woke up. I was up before five but at least he got some sleep. And oh boy was he happy when he woke up. He knew he was going to school and he couldn’t wait. Since I already had my coffee he was a little thrown off by what he should do first but he ran to the bathroom, got his tablet, and then joined me to sit in the “white bed.” I watched him play a few of his games and then he asked me to play knowing that he really didn’t want me to play. I started to take his tablet to play and he quickly grabbed it back and started laughing. I was onto him. I tried it again knowing I would get the same reaction. His laughter is amazing and makes my day. We got ready and we went outside to wait for the bus. He was happy to see a bunny which led him to tell me about the bunny and porcupine again. His bus came down the road and he was off. When he came home I thought I would try something different to get him to go somewhere with me. I thought I had more of a chance to convince him to go if we didn’t go inside. I put his tablet in the car and as soon as he got off the bus I started talking about going to the park or riding his bike. He said, “no” before I could even go on. I told him we were all packed we just had to get in the car. He opened the door, got his tablet, and closed the door. That was that. There was no convincing him of anything. There is a solution and I have to figure it out before the routine of this routine gets us stuck in these types of moments. This is an emotional journey and in moments like these I have to push past them and keep thinking positive. He was watching a video about one of the books he likes and he told me to order it. I said, “I can order it.” He said, “order the present and put it in a bag for my gift.” Talk about communication and a sentence. I was so happy. He told me something he wanted and how he wanted to receive it. Friday nights feel the hardest right now. We will get through them but the anticipation of tomorrow is so hard on him. The night went great and he was very calm. His anxiousness for his Saturday started as he went to bed but hopefully, he sleeps all night and I know he will be happy to spend time with his grandma tomorrow. I’m thankful for his laugh and that big beautiful smile. Focus on the positive side of life and watch how your world changes. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I was thankful Owen slept all night once again. Schedule, routine, and follow through are all helpful in keeping him focused and learning. I only wish summer school lasted longer than three weeks. He was so happy when he woke up. He is doing great with going to the bathroom first and then his focus changes to the light switch. I got my coffee and he followed me to my bedroom. He was laughing and playing his games. He said, “mommy’s turn” but I know this doesn’t really mean my turn. He still wants me to do all the steps exactly like he would do them and he takes the tablet away from me when I don’t. This is where I have to decide what mood he is in. If I push too much and do it my way then it leads to a meltdown but some days he can handle it. It helps if I know the difference. He was very excited about his day so he kept asking when he was going to see his teacher. He also knew it was his favorite day because he was going to his therapy. We got dressed and we went outside to wait for the bus. It didn’t take long and he was off to school. When I picked him up his teacher told me he had a good day but he is biting his finger again. She is going to help us on finding ways to redirect him. It’s always wonderful to have someone able to make suggestions and work on behaviors with you. He had an absolutely amazing day at therapy with all three of his sessions. He was able to do tasks and exercises he had completed before and he seemed like he was focused on what was happening. When we left therapy he wanted to come a different way home but then got upset we weren’t going by the things he would see if we went the other direction. Thankfully he didn’t have a meltdown but he started repeating every place we had gone before. My head spins with so much stuff flying at me one second after another. When we got home I talked to him about his choices and that we can’t always go to every place he suggests. He said, “concentrate on today” and I told him he was right. I love how much he is learning. I know that it’s a lot for him to process too. One day at a time I remind myself. Each day is a gift and a learning experience for both of us. We have to keep pushing through these moments together. Bedtime came after a very late dinner. He wasn’t hungry when I fixed his dinner but he sure was when it was bedtime. It may have actually been a ploy. Once his head hit the pillow though he was out. The victory comes from moving forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept until after I woke up. His anxiousness for the day was quite evident. He kept asking for his teacher. His words spilled out like he didn’t know how to stop them. He asked Alexa for a two minute timer, trying to speed the process along even though we still had an hour until the bus would take him to his beloved teacher. We played some games together and then he ran off to his room to play for a few minutes while I got dressed. I helped him get dressed and we went outside to wait for the bus. His shoes and the way his pants lay on top of them were a concern but he was distracted by a bunny that was hopping around. It’s always interesting to me what he tells me about the things he sees in the world. He started talking about the bunny and then he told me “the bunny talked to a porcupine.” I didn’t know if this was something he was making up or if this referenced a story he heard. He will tell me very vivid stories especially when his words don’t always easily flow for him but I am seeing incredible progress with his sentences and communication skills. I often reflect on the past to see how far he has come. It is amazing and I am thankful. When you are told that your child probably won’t talk by doctors at it is hard to process and hear. I told Owen that he could accomplish anything if he set his mind to it and he could figure out a way to communicate with me. He’s my miracle and I tell him that all the time. When he got home from school I tried to convince him to go to the park but as soon as he walked in the door he took his shoes off and there was no convincing him to go. I wish I could figure out how to make him go but if I tell him he has to do something it can lead to huge meltdowns and that defeats the purpose of us going. Wednesdays and Fridays are hard for him to process through. Wednesdays he is preparing for therapy and even when he isn’t in school it is hard for him to think about being out of routine. Fridays are the same thing because he gets so excited about spending time with his grandma on Saturdays that he doesn’t want to go anywhere to mess with his routine. Plus, I have to remember that he processes adventures and going places completely differently than I do. The sights, sounds, places, and people will determine how an experience will go for him. I remember taking him to certain stores and he would scream as soon as we stepped inside. I didn’t completely understand why but I knew that it was so hard on him, on me. He had a great evening and was calm. That was the important part. He wanted to take a bath early and ate a huge dinner. The only part of the day that was hard on him was when I wanted him to go to the park. Once we got that figured out it was smooth sailing. Bedtime was quick and I feel like I won’t be far behind him tonight. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. We learn, we love, we grow. Find what teaches you about the world and let it be the guide to your happiness. 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.