I woke many times last night, but luckily Owen slept soundly and later than normal. The blanket and his shoes are becoming more and more of a concern for him. He woke, came to my room, but quickly realized he needed the “bwanket”, and off he went. The kicking and flailing started immediately as soon as he was in bed with it. I gave up trying to hope for calm and got out of bed. He asked to go bowling before I even had his breakfast cooked. I told him it would be a few hours before we could go. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t open. I wonder if he understands that concept. I try not to overthink these things and let it be as it is, but I get sad sometimes. Trying to explain things to Owen can become overwhelming. I want him to know what is happening, why something is happening, and when it is happening, but all those happenings can lead to a meltdown. We went bowling and he was doing really well until his shoes became his focus. Before I could even get to him he had both shoes off and one of his socks. He had handed me his ball and then he started squealing. The Velcro has become a great concern for him. I put them back on him, but he was still struggling with them. We counted to ten through many moments after that. Now to find new shoes for him. Again, I don’t even want to overthink this either. Clothes can cause many sensory issues for Owen. And not only his but mine too. In general, the feeling of his clothes don’t bother him, but he is concerned with the difference in shorts and pants. He will try to pull his shorts down longer or he will raise his pant legs up and down looking at how they fall on his shoes. He is also concerned with what I am wearing and when I am wearing it. I swallow hard trying not to cry. One day at a time. In this moment I want to hold my baby tight, telling him everything will be alright. Find your strength, keep pushing forward, and know that you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept all night in his bed. He woke when I was in the bathroom. And I heard him running about the house, knocking things over as he went. I should have figured out what he was doing, but nonetheless, I started looking for him. There my little Linus was covered up from head to toe under the big blanket that he had dragged through the house to my bedroom. He’s been extremely sleepy the last few days and not wanting to get up in the mornings. It’s hard to get him to settle some nights. He gets something on his mind and he will keep repeating it until he can process the whole thing and let it go or he falls asleep. The days and nights blend together sometimes. Owen woke with the same concerns he fell asleep with. “You can have it”, he said, emphasizing the word “can” emphatically. I really wasn’t sure what he wanted, guessing his tablet or maybe a particular app. I started asking him how to spell certain words, hoping for a response, and to distract him. It distracted him for a moment, but then he started talking about his schedule. I told him at the beginning of the week that he would soon have a day off from school because of the holiday coming up. This has now been a topic of discussion for several days. As we were getting ready to walk out the door for the bus he asked about Monday. He went through his days, telling me what he would do until he got to Monday. He said, “Monday after church I go to school”. I’m excited that he understands what happens on different days of the week, but it’s also hard when our routine does not go according to plan. How do I explain holidays and vacations to someone that wants his routine to stay the same. We walked to the bus stop and he kept stopping me. He comes in front of me, turning towards me, and said, “dis way or de back way”. He starts pushing on my leg with his one hand. I was holding his other hand, otherwise, he would have been using both. I told him no, that we had to go to the bus stop. He likes to be in charge of the direction we are going. That pretty much sums up what he wants for everything, he likes to be in control of every situation. His anxiety runs high when he can’t control them and I have to find a way to keep him calm. I see progress and through that, I can tell how far we’ve come. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen did not want to wake up this morning, so much so that he went from his bed to my bed and covered himself completely with the blankets. I had to convince him to get up. I told him what his day held and that seemed to get him moving. Tonight he will start back to his weekly church program. That makes him extremely happy. He loves going. I think it’s like an extended family to him and that makes me happy. He asks about church every day. I’m thankful that he has made a connection to church and its sense of security. I think back to when I was a young child. The church was as much a part of our life as my family was. I’m thankful that Owen understands this as well. Being a special needs parent feels lonely and isolating sometimes, but knowing you are truly not alone helps. The days are daunting when I least expect it and sadness washes over me, but then I think about Owen’s smile and the sun shines again. Knowing that we have an extended family of people that care about us makes a huge difference in the steps we take. We all got something. There isn’t a soul that isn’t touched with pain of some kind, but being able to rest on the old rugged cross helps to wash away the blues. I see a huge difference in Owen now. But his emotions are also stronger. I pray every day for guidance to know how to help my baby. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. And for that, I pray a lot for strength. His emotions cut me to the quick and even when he is not standing beside me I can feel the ripple of his words on my heart. I sat at a stop sign, waiting for my turn. It wasn’t even a stoplight, but I kept hearing Owen yell, “greenA greeeenA”. He was at school, but in that moment I could feel his pulse of anxiety run through me. I have to push past those moments and know that it will be fine. I’ve learned to appreciate life in a new way. I’m thankful for the little things and I am glad that my sweet baby O is making new connections every day. Together we grow, together we learn. You are not alone. Even in moments of darkness, the sun will start to shine. Find your strength and keep pushing through the rain. Smiles to all and donut daze!
What are you going to do at school today, I asked Owen as we stood to wait for the bus. I expected no reply. He answered, “ST Math and TeachTown”. My shock and amazement had to be heard throughout the countryside, but I was trying to keep it on the down-low with Owen. I didn’t want him to get caught up in my emotions. He doesn’t generally reply to questions like that. He’s starting to respond when I ask him questions about food, but it usually takes multiple times and I have to make him focus on me. I wanted him to keep talking. I asked him about the playground and the slide. He said, “no slide today”. I said, would you rather swing. He said, “wanna go to Kroger”. He’s been talking about the grocery store since his meltdown a few days back. He asks to go, but I’m not sure if he really wants to go. It’s one of the stores that we have gone a few times to and he didn’t have a meltdown, but we’ve also been there and it caused huge meltdowns later. He wanted to go one day after church, asking for ice cream I knew he didn’t want. We went, we did a little shopping, got his ice cream, came home, and after one bite he was done. “Yum yum”, he said, pushing it away from his lips. However, the container remained a focus of his attention for months. He would walk to the freezer, open the door, and talk about the ice cream, never wanting another bite. I often wonder if I should discourage or encourage his behaviors. But his unwritten rules dictate how our days go sometimes. One day at a time I tell myself, hoping to let go of those moments that keep me rooted in the past. I often reflect on those days though, letting them inspire me and remind me of where we’ve come from. Today my baby answered questions. The joy of that moment will carry me through the next moments yet to come. He may or may not answer me the next time I ask, but I’ll be ready when he can. Celebrate your victories. Even the tiniest of steps can lead to the biggest of victories. Know that you are important and grow in that moment. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen has been sleeping better. This in itself makes me happy, but then add in the fact that he’s been happier lately and I’m over the moon. I am going to attribute part of it to the new cover for his pillow that feels like his blanket that he loves and the calming supplements that seem to be working again. It’s always a guessing game. He woke and came running to me, asking for his teacher, and then getting in bed with me. I told him that we would be leaving for his bus in about thirty munites. Next came the Linus move, but for some reason, he couldn’t find his blanket. It was right on his beanbag pillow, but he ran to it several times not coming back with it. The screeching started. I tried to reassure him it was there, but he just yelled more for his blanket. I got up and turned the light on. This brought a different set of screams hurling at me. “Turn de light offT”, he yelled. I told him once I got the blanket I would bring it to him and turn the light back off. Oh my, oh how I would like calm to start our days. I brought him the blanket, turning off the light as I went. I didn’t get back in bed though, I went to the bathroom. This sent him into another tailspin. I told him that I had to go and I would come back to bed after I went. He likes order to our days even when I don’t necessarily know the order that I’m supposed to do things in. I knew going to the bathroom would set him off and I was prepared that the screams would come, but there was nothing I could do, I had to go. How could my beautiful precious child not understand that I have to go to the bathroom, that I have to do things. And potty breaks are not optional. He was happy when I laid back down. He stayed there for about thirty seconds and then it was off to the races. He was happy I was laying down because then he could do what he does, run around the house and talk about his blanket, more part of our routine. A few minutes later I got up and he was fine with that because he knew I would put “pants on” and we would be heading to the bus stop soon. In a matter of ten minutes, the emotions that we both went through were incredible. You would think by now I would be used to the screams, but they still make my heartache for my sweet baby O. All I want to do is find comfort for him and hope that I can explain why we do the things we do. As we walked to the bus stop, he held my hand, telling me, “ I wuv ewe”. There is no greater feeling than that moment. Even through the cloudy days, I’m thankful for how far we’ve come. Find the bright side of life, look for the sunshine on the cloudy days, and know that you can overcome any obstacle in your way. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen woke in a great mood, me not so much. I’m trying to turn that frown at least straight. Owen is extremely happy and animated today. He is squealing about everything and add that to the intermittent screaming and we gots ourselves a party. I’m trying to stay calm and in the now. The stress of the past week, heck months is catching up to me. There’s never a calm moment in our world. Breathing through my day, telling myself to keep marching to the beat of my own drum, and staying ahead of every curveball that is thrown at me is keeping me on my toes. To create a calm world one has to be calm. You can’t order a side of calm through any drive-thru I know of, so I’m trying to let go of what’s keeping me from letting go. Owen was ready to go to church before we were even asleep last night. And then he was ready to be home and “momma change” before we even left the parking lot to come home. That’s how it goes. When we got home from church, within seconds of walking through the door, he wanted me to fix his tablet, change, get him a hot dog, and fill his cup with milk. He screamed each command before I could even take my shoes off, that he desperately wanted off of my feet. I breathed. I haven’t figured out how to explain to myself that he isn’t in control of the universe, but yet that’s how it feels. I rejoice in the little things. My umbrella was near the front door before we left, it was drying from the rain we had. I asked Owen to pick up my umbrella for me. I really didn’t know how that would go. He looked around, he bent down, and he picked it up by one of the sides. I was ecstatic that he picked it up for me, but it made me realize how much he truly doesn’t understand. He didn’t pick it up by the handle. Maybe that’s a kid thing, maybe that’s something to ponder for another day. I’m going to focus on his smile, breathe through the cloudy days, and celebrate the accomplishments we make. Celebrate your accomplishments no matter how small you think they are. You matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I wondered if anyone else could hear Owen’s screams. I was trying to breathe through them. We had to stop at the meltdown stoplight. He didn’t scream until we started driving away from it. I thought we might make it without a meltdown but that didn’t happen. I wish there was an easier way to get him from point A to point B. He screamed as we kept driving. I kept wondering who could hear his screams. As we drove past the grocery store he stopped screaming and says, “wanna go to Kroger or wanna go straight up let’s go to Kroger”. I kept driving, laughing almost hysterically, I suppose so I wouldn’t cry. I knew he really didn’t want to go to Kroger, but it distracted him from screaming for a moment. We only had about a mile until we would be home. When we got home we sat outside in the car for a few minutes before I even tried to get him out of his carseat. He had yelled all the rest of the way home, screaming directions at me as we went, squealing when I would stop or turn. Why, oh why is it so difficult for my baby. A thousand ways I would like to make the world calmer for Owen and in a thousand ways I know I can’t. My emotions sit heavy today. He had a great morning, but the last few days it’s like he has been in sensory overload. He can’t settle. Today has been no different. He slept great, waking early, asking for bowling, getting his blanket, and falling back asleep in my bed for a few more hours. When he woke he was happy. We went to breakfast with our family before we went bowling. He did great at breakfast, but couldn’t stop moving. When we got to bowling he was very emotional. He wants strikes and because of the way we bowl together we don’t have much control over the ball. I explained to him that he will learn how to control the ball and when he does he will get strikes. For today we count to ten when the ball only hits a few pins down. Through emotions I see growth and I know that together we can get through anything. Today is one moment in time. Keep pushing forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen went to bed excited about going bowling on Saturday and when he got up he was happy about the day yet to come. He woke early, ran to me, asking for his teacher, getting into bed with me, and immediately getting right back out. I knew where this was going. A few moments later here he came with the signature Linus move. The blanket, however, does not create any restful reactions. He twists and turns himself in the blanket, kicking his feet erratically, proclaiming, “bwanket wanna bwanket”. His feet nonstop as he moves the blanket up and down, over his head. A little while later the alarm went off, not that we ever need it. He answered with his trademark, “two more minutes”. I set timers to let him know when bath time is or when he needs to get ready for bed; anything that will help our routine. Whenever I tell him we need to do something he will say “two more minutes” and his second choice being “sixteen minutes”. I’m not sure how that even became a choice. We got ready to go to the bus stop and I heard the rain. I knew that we would take the car to the bus stop. He was listening really well to all my instructions and I easily got him into the car, which isn’t always the case. The last few days have felt like he needed a lot of sensory input. His constant moving, jumping up and down and biting random things like his blanket and the couch tell me there is an uneasiness in his body. I try to help him find peace inside himself. We use compressions, massage, and textures to help soothe him. He now takes his ball that has rounded edge spikes and rolls it on himself. We have a rubberized welcome mat that he loves stepping on, without shoes, and he will even lay down on the mat, seeking the input he wants. My hope is that I provide him the tools and skills that he can learn to comfort his body through these times. Life is ever-changing. Find your motivation and go after your dreams, make them your reality. Smiles to all and donut daze!
My sensory kiddo slept all night. There are questions that walk through my mind, trying to determine why he slept last night. I have a huge U shaped body pillow in his bed. Yesterday I changed the cover on it to a different type of fabric. The feel of it is more like the blanket that he loves so much. So now I wonder if it was purely because he was exhausted from not sleeping well the nights before or did the new cover do the trick. Whichever way it is, he woke happy and very interactive. He also went to the potty and we had a big celebration. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. The days seem to blend together and my emotions weigh heavy. He’s seven and potty training feels like it will never end. I have to be the captain of this ship, but sometimes I want it to sail already. I know that he really is doing well with it, but still wishing we were to the finish line. We walked to the bus, him practically dragging me there. It feels good to see him so excited about school. I stood on the sidewalk, watching the aide buckle him in. I would see his head pop up every once in a while, looking over at me. I always stand there holding up the “I love you” sign, waving it back and forth. I want him to always know I’m there for him. I’m thankful he loves school and the bus. When we come home from our day he always wants to talk about what’s to come the next day and the days after that. He asks to go to church, bowling, and the coffee shop. He is thriving and I’m glad that he has things that he looks forward to and wants to do. There are days it takes all my strength to walk out my door, but knowing that Owen is happy makes those moments wash away. I’ve been talking to him more about his emotions and screaming. I keep hoping that the more we talk about it the more that he will be able to process it. You would think by now I would get used to the screaming, but it’s still emotional for me. Maybe I need to have a talk with myself. Through Owen’s eyes, I’ve learned more about myself and the world. Be kind to your heart and know that today is a stepping stone for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen was ready to go back to bed before he was even out of bed. He woke in the middle of the night, got into bed with me, immediately getting back out of bed, and then he walked back in with the blanket over his shoulder. He scrambled back in bed with me, restless to find sleep for several hours. Every time I thought he was done moving, me drifting back to sleep, he would proclaim, “bwanket” and the rearranging and kicking started all over again. I started the bedtime process earlier last night, only causing anxiety to both of us, and he still not falling asleep much before ten. Oh, to have a restful night of sleep would be glorious. He didn’t want to get out of bed to go to school. As soon as he got out of my bed he ran back to his bed. I said the magic words, “if you don’t go to school you can’t go to grandma’s house”. It’s amazing how quickly we got him ready for school. He loves going to school, but the last few days he has been so exhausted in the mornings. I think it’s getting back into the groove of the school year. Plus he has been needing a lot of input. Last night he fell asleep on his beanbag pillow, rubbing his spiked little ball up and down on his arm. He quickly fell asleep once he started doing the motions. I’m thankful that he is learning what he needs and that he can express enough to show me how I can help him. He still puts my hands on his toes, saying, “piggy market” when he wants input for his legs and feet. As we were walking to the bus stop I could tell he liked that it was darker this morning. As soon as we got to the bus stop, he said, “turn de light off” and it was the streetlight. He took my hand, pushing it up towards the light way above our head. I told him that I couldn’t turn it off and he stood there still waiting for me to do it. I distracted him by singing songs with him. The time passed quickly and off my smiley, sleepy, little boy went to school. Some days feel long and weary, other days we rejoice for the gifts that are given us, and through it all, I know that I am very blessed to be Owen’s mommy. Today and always know that you are important. Breathe through the hard days, celebrate your accomplishments, and make today matter. 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.