I tried really hard to forget about the huge meltdown Owen had over the sun visor in the car and instead focus on the amazing progress he had. I pulled down the visor, not even thinking about it to block the sun. He immediately started screaming. Thinking through it I’m amazed at how much car knowledge he actually knows. He watches bus repair videos but I really didn’t understand how much he retained of them or was able to associate with the car connection. As soon as my visor was down he went into overdrive mode. He was saying all car-related words but he didn’t know how to talk to me about the visor. I immediately started crying but his words were amazing. He talked about the tires needing to be changed because of a flat, the engine, the windshield, and then it dawned on me that I had put the visor down. As soon as I popped it back up he stopped screaming. Everything has to be in its place and I needed to put it back. The next ten minutes of the drive were challenging and emotional. You would think I’d be used to meltdowns by now but I’m not. I had to push through those moments and concentrate on the fact that my baby crossed his fingers today, multiple times. This was huge. Truly the highlight of my day. To watch him do it was absolutely amazing. And then to ask him to do it and he did it was breathtaking. He always wants to start sentences but have me finish them. “That’s a”, he said and pointed to a dog on the screen. The thing is he was watching the 101 Dalmatians. He kept pointing to the different dogs. I could see this was going to take a while. I gave him a cup of milk to distract him. By the time I walked to the refrigerator to put the milk away he drank it all. But I didn’t know this. As I was walking back to him he turned his cup over. I thought milk was going to be everywhere. Instead, it was a few drops and multiple quick requests for milk. I read a new book with him that we just got. As soon as we were done reading it he looked it up on YouTube so he could hear the song that goes with it. And that was amazing. Through emotions, we grow and today we grew big. Find your motivation and inspiration and watch your world grow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
There was nothing fast about our morning. Owen was going to spend a few hours with his grandma today but we couldn’t get moving. He was excited to go, he wanted to go but he couldn’t process actually getting ready to go. Some days are like that. He was happy all morning but he needed to do his routine, go through his steps, and work through it on his time. We didn’t have anything we had to do so I would rather keep him calm and let him go at his pace when we can than push the envelope and have him upset. It truly doesn’t help the process if he goes into meltdown mode. His words and connections were plentiful this morning. He said, “no shirt in your mouth” as he put his shirt in and out of his mouth. We are working on ways to meet his sensory needs without chewing through all his shirts. It is helping and the words are forming. He walked around our house correcting all the furniture he thought was not lined up in the right spaces. He kept watching a video that says it’s the month of April and he walked up to me telling me it’s November. That felt huge. He told me all the days of the week and the months. He asked for apple juice instead of milk with his meal. That in itself might be the biggest step of all for our day. He finally helped me get him ready to go to see his grandma and I rejoice the progress he had so early in the day. Be thankful for the little things because usually, they lead to the biggest of steps. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Garden Variety Friday
Owen was extremely animated and full of words and expressions. This morning I told him I was cranky. He said, “no cranky today”. I said, I’m sorry but I am cranky. He quickly replied, “are you happy today”. Well, I guess my attitude needed to change. We had an afternoon snack of sweet potatoes. One of us liked it better than the other but at least one of us had three bites before declaring, “do you like it no”. I think he may not have been hungry because he wouldn’t have eaten that much if he hated it. Food is quickly becoming a source of my entertainment with Owen. I can’t believe how much he is eating, how often, and what he is eating. I made our dinner and told him to come to the table. He said, “I’m not going to eat now”. He pretty much stuck to his word. He loves goulash so I thought he would quickly join me. He wanted nothing to do with it until an hour later when he devoured it. And my onion rings. He ate onion rings the other day and he loved them so I figured he would want some. I asked him if he wanted some of my “onion rings”. He said, “no”. I sat down and he came to get a “sip of milk”. He then took one of my onion rings off my plate and proceeded to eat almost half of them. I think he didn’t know the term onion ring but I bet he will know it now. As we stepped through our day I thought about how he is always stepping on my feet and has no concept that it could hurt me. He doesn’t always see the world around him or understand what can hurt him, as well. I saw more connections to these moments today. Instead of using his name at first he would use one of the characters he watches and telling them to “be careful” and then he would say, “watch out” but he’s getting it. As he was drifting off to sleep he started talking about a song he sings at school and told me he was “going on a bear hunk”. He then quickly fell asleep. I may have woke up cranky but I’m going to sleep joyful. Find your joy and sing until your heart is happy. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I’m thankful but I’m tired. Holidays are hard, breaks in our routine are hard, this is hard. Every night when Owen goes to sleep he asks how many sleeps until he sees his teacher again. He’s been pretty calm through the week until today. We’ve gone nowhere because that throws off his week even more but today we went to my parents for brunch. Generally, when he is at my parents I am not. It’s his time with them. So me being there threw off the day. And then eating in the wrong room did not completely go over well either. He pretty much ate as quickly as he could, announced “you done”, and there was pretty much no turning back at that point. Add in all the meltdowns once we got home and that pretty much is how all our holidays go. It’s too much overstimulation and that’s going to a place he knows and loves. Routine is everything to him and this was hard. He was eating his dinner tonight and he wouldn’t sit down, running through the house with pasta flying everywhere. I asked him to sit and I asked him to use his spoon or his fork, I truly didn’t care which one. But that was too hard for him to process or handle today. He needed the sensory input of rubbing it all over his face, his hair, and especially up his nose. This momma had to breathe. He saw me getting upset, he had pretty much been screaming at me or the world all day. He walked up to me and said, “are you happy today”, as he could see the tears forming in my eyes. He has a way of snapping me back into reality. My boy, my heart, my world. I’m thankful on this Thanksgiving day for all that he has taught me. He’s growing and I know tomorrow is a brand new day. Find your strength, push forward, and make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Great Day Wednesday
I’m liking these sleeping nights. Owen has been falling asleep anywhere from nine to eleven and waking between four and six in the morning. I’ll take it. For him to be sleeping through the night is wonderful. I’ve watched him make so many connections and express more emotions lately. I poured his milk in his glass this morning and he said, “chocolate milk”. He went on to tell me it was brown and “manilla milk is white”. “I drink chocolate milk”, he said, stating it like it was the preference he meant it to be. This felt great to me. All the steps and words to get through those moments are coming together. He goes through stages where my hair is more of an obsession to him. It has to be exactly just so. Mommy has to be picture perfect and if I try to move my hair he will immediately go into meltdown mode. Me even pulling it back in my hands will have him screaming or on the floor. I am constantly feeling like I’m being judged by my eight year old but I have to remind myself that is not what it’s about at all. He hasn’t seen my hair fully wet in years. I tried to slowly introduce it to him by showing him a section of my hair wet at a time but after a week of me increasing the amount of my hair being wet, I put it on hold. The meltdowns were huge and the hours it took for him to process it was just too much on me, and him. Mentally and physically I was exhausted from his outbursts about my hair. We will revisit it one day but I’m not ready for it. I got him some new bath toys and his pure joy made me realize I was going to have to get him more. He wants nothing to do with toys until he is in the bath. “Shark shark s is for shark it’s a fish”, he sang out as he used his new shark toy to chomp on the little fish it came with. He counted the fish as he threw them in the water. He sang songs and made up words too. I’m thankful for his growth but more importantly I’m thankful for the smile that he gives me. I tell him all the time that when he smiles it changes the world to a better place. Find your inspiration, be motivated, and make your dreams come true. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen is learning emotions. He was crying. Maybe he was working through why he isn’t in school, maybe he was working on the emotion of crying. All I know is I wanted to cry with him. He couldn’t tell me why he was crying but one day I know he will be able to. He’s been pretty mellow all day. I love how he is starting to make the connection to what his body can do. He was watching a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse video and they were dancing. I asked him to dance for me and he did. He got up from the couch and he tried to do the moves like Mickey and the gang was doing. My heart rejoiced. Now, this boy is making sure his belly is full all day, every day. I’m so excited about all the new things he is trying and the amount of food he has been eating. He had waffles and cereal for breakfast. Then he had yogurt. For lunch, he ate a cheeseburger. He doesn’t really eat beef so for him to eat a cheeseburger was a huge step and made this momma smile. Numerous snacks before dinner and numerous snacks after dinner, after the huge dinner I should say. I made three chicken patties with gravy and onion rings. He ate almost all of the onion rings, I only had a couple and he ate almost two of the chicken patties. I gladly stopped eating when I saw he was passing me up to give him the second patty and the rest of my onion rings. He ate it all but one last bite of the chicken patty. He might have finished it if he didn’t run off to go potty and then get distracted when he was done. I’m thrilled he is willing to try so many new things. He’s growing and learning. Today as time stood still I saw my baby still moving forward. I’m thrilled for his growth and can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds. Find your strength, share your story, and smile for the world to see. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I was sitting on the couch with coffee in hand when Owen woke up. He came and sat on my lap. I love mornings like this. He was so calm. He rested his hand on my face numerous times and I was thankful. After about thirty minutes, which was a very long time for him, he started moving and almost getting up. I said, “you have to go potty” and instead of saying, “yes ma’am no ma’am” like he always does, he said, “in a minute”. With many of our conversations I can predict the next line he is going to say so when he says something different it’s very exciting to me. He was very animated as the day went on but everything thing had its place and had to be just so. Doors, drawers, and ducks must be in a row or at least closed or open. It’s the rules. And it depends on which door or drawer it is whether it needs to be open or shut. He spilled his milk. This usually gets big squeals, instead, he said, “oh man”. This again felt huge to me, no screams for something that normally gets big screams. He tripped over something and he said, “be careful” and followed it quickly with “are you ok”. My go-to phrases quickly coming out of his mouth now when he does something that could hurt himself. He wore an orange shirt with deer on it. I will ask him what color he is wearing or what he has on his clothes. Generally, he will tell me the color of his shirt but he won’t tell me what character or design is on his clothes. I asked him what color his shirt was and he quickly told me orange. Then I asked him what was on his shirt he repeated orange and then said, “grey”. I took him to stand in front of the mirror and I asked him again what was on his shirt, he told me, “grey deer”. I wanted to dance. As the day closed he came to me for a kiss on his forehead and then he gave me one too. Through moments of change, we both grow. Follow your heart, share your smile, and make your dreams come true. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Time On Sunday
I hold on to the little steps that truly lead to the bigger moments. Owen’s eating a bbq sandwich. I’m already overly emotional, then add in the years it took to get to this moment and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I also want to claim ostrich rules and hide my head in the sand. It’s been a really hard day for me. I can’t make Owen understand that he is not going to see his teacher for a week. Or maybe he does understand but can’t process or accept it. He has been asking repeatedly for his teacher since Friday and today he hasn’t stopped wanting to know when he will see her again. Out of routine is out of our realm but here we are again. One of Owen’s meltdown foods is bananas but he loves to watch videos about bananas. I got bananas for our smoothies. They sat on the counter for most of the day before he saw them. Once he did that was it. The meltdowns began. He wanted to throw them in the trash and he was on the floor rolling about them. This is one of those foods that he loves to watch on videos, he loves to eat them if he doesn’t see them, and he is fine with them at some other places. It’s like the vacuum, microwave, and hairdryer. He does not like any of them but loves watching videos featuring them. It’s all about the process. I’m dreading bedtime because he will not be happy when he asks the question of when he gets to see his teacher again. This is going to be a long week. One day at a time and as many times as I’ve wanted to cry what has gotten me through the day was Owen singing and dancing with me this morning. I hold those moments close to my heart especially when the tears randomly fall. Be proud of your victories, shoot for the stars, and make your dreams come true. Smiles to all and donut daze!
He sat reading to himself. I was thrilled to hear Owen reading one of his new favorite books, sitting in his chair, more like how a bat would hang. It’s good to hear his words. He has his books memorized but he still takes his finger and moves them around the page like he is reading them. He can read though. His vocabulary is getting stronger every day. And he is quickly becoming my little math whiz. I love it when he spouts out math problems. “One plus two ecos free”, he says. Some nights all I can do is pray the world is quiet. It was a rough night for him. He kept yelling at me over everything. I can tell he is already out of routine and he hasn’t even missed school yet but he knows. He won’t see his teacher for a whole week. I want to cry. When he went to bed he did the crying. He couldn’t express why but it’s all so much for him. And then the neighbor’s grandkids kept screaming outside which woke him up screaming. He was asleep for once early and then after that, it took him two hours to really fall asleep fully. I wish I could explain to him why they were screaming or what was happening. I wish I could help him understand that right now it is anything but routine in our world. Instead, all I can do is hold him and tell him I love him. I am focusing on his words from this morning when we first woke up, “are you happy today”. His words brightened my day and made my heart swell. Today is one moment in time. We grow, we learn, we move forward. Find your strength and keep pushing forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
To Do Friday
I can tell you there are no emotions like emotions that are beyond emotional. Today was like a rollercoaster that wasn’t even on a track. I cried a lot, wanted to cry more, and knew I had to hold it together. Not only does my world revolve around Owen but I also have to deal with life. And right now that seems to be pretty stressful. But my shining star shined strong today even through a few edgy moments. I ask Owen a lot of questions. I try to help him with the answer when I know he is struggling with them. I remember before I knew he had autism I would have full conversations with him trying to get him to say words and I don’t think I have ever stopped. I’m trying not to cry more. But I see connections now and I remind him that he is doing great and amazing things every day. We were waiting for the bus and I asked him to point to which direction our house was. I love watching him point. He clearly has to think through the movements but he lifted his left hand, watched his pointer finger extend, and pointed towards our house. I wanted to jump for joy. I asked him which direction his bus comes from and there it was again, the same steps, and pointing the right direction. Then he saw his bus coming and pure joy took over. For dinner, I gave him a turkey sandwich. I am trying to teach him how to hold his food instead of pick at it. I put each side of the sandwich in his hands and helped him take a bite. He took several great bites but as soon as I stopped helping him he put it down and started tearing at the meat. I set five different colored cups down in front of him. The first thing he noticed was the pink one was gone because I was using it. I asked him to pick one. He picked blue. He actually picked only one and it wasn’t the first one, the last one, or even the middle one. This felt like huge progress. I poured his milk in it and he was really happy. He asked me to find an app on his tablet but I make him spell the words he wants to look up now. He wanted me to do it but I said you can do it. He took it back from me and started typing it out. One more victory. I turned the lights off in the wrong order as we headed to his bath but he quickly got them adjusted correctly and off we went. Through tired eyes, I see the miracles of today and I believe in the joys of what will come tomorrow. Believe in yourself and the rest will follow. 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.