“FantasSTick”, Owen said. I have to second that. He followed it up with awesome. He’s watching a video about the sounds of the alphabet. I always tell him he’s doing a fantastic job with his vocabulary and sounding words out, hoping and praying the encouragement keeps him going. He’s making huge connections to the sounds of letters and words. We are presently working on the “ch” sound and I am amazed at how he puts it all together. He will repeat the word peaches emphasizing the ch sound. He says, “peaEs ch ch ch”. Trying to learning how to say the word. I can’t get him to only say the word “peach”. If I ask him to repeat it he will either keep repeating the entire phrase or the ch sound. He is also making the connection to other words that have the same sound and turning those words into phrases with the extra sounds. He’s growing and learning. In chaos, Owen looks to find order. Once somewhere is established as the location that an object belongs, Owen thinks it should always go there until he doesn’t. These rules don’t apply to every object, but when it is set in motion it can be hard to change. For the longest time, a little yellow chair that goes to Owen’s table, sat in the middle of the living room floor. It had to be a certain direction. It couldn’t be the blue chair, nor the red, or the green. It was the yellow one. He walked around it angling his head to look at it. He talked to it, in words I never understood. And if it got moved it would be right back in the same position as soon as he could get it set right again. I lost count of the meltdowns he had because he couldn’t get the yellow chair in the right place. I didn’t know how to react or help him adjust to the movements of a chair in the middle of the floor. All I could do was hold my baby tighter, crying, and praying for solutions. I’m still learning as much as he is. We face these moments daily. He got upset because I moved his coat to get ready. I walked away, putting it down. We don’t need it quite yet, but I do need him calm. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Breathe, find your strength, and smile through your days. And the new year awaits. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Think Three Times Monday
Owen got into bed with me earlier than the normal middle of the night time. I don’t know what noise woke him or maybe it was his body. I got a white noise machine for his room, but that hasn’t help, so far. Once he got into bed with me he fell back asleep quickly. The only problem was he couldn’t stay still. He rolled all over my bed and three separate times he was at the foot of my bed. He has absolutely no concept of personal space or no concept of space in general. The other day as we were walking to the car he took off down the steps to our walk. When he got to the second set he practically jumped down them backward. He recovered on each step, not falling, but it kept me on my toes. How do you teach the concept of the world around them. I make him count the steps, I try to hold his hand, but I’m also trying to teach him boundaries and that he has to stay with me when we go places. My son is seven, I try not to dwell on all the emotions that sit heavy with me. Some days he listens to me and stays right with me. Other days it’s hard for him to process and he will laugh hysterically at me for trying to hold his hand, sometimes pushing me or pulling me looking for the escape. Some situations are too overstimulating for him and he’s looking for a calm escape. All I can do is explain it to him in words that he might understand. At seven he’s still small for his age, but he can easily pull me or push me around. The more I suggest not to do s behavior, the more he wants to do it. And the behaviors are cycling through now, with him correcting himself. He grabbed my arm last night as he was falling asleep. He bit me, not hard, but he immediately said, “we don’t bite people we be nice”. No truer words were spoken, but the action, even though it wasn’t hard was still there. One day at a time I tell myself, knowing how far he has come, and that through all of this I still see growth. I know he will be happy when Christmas break is over and he can go back to routine. I’ll be happy too. Never give up, keep pushing forward, and know this is one moment in time. Smiles to all and donut daze! ￼
On The Road To Sunday
I cannot even explain the feeling of not having my child in diapers anymore. I truly want to shout it from the rooftops. It’s one of those things you never want to give up hope on, but the cycles you have to go through keep your emotions churning. Even though I would classify him as potty trained I never know what he is going to do. I have to stay one step ahead of him at all times. And that’s not exactly easy. He ran into the bathroom yesterday. Before I could get there he came back out with wet hair. In the ten seconds it took me to get to him I’m going with he turned the water on, wet his hair, and turned it back off again. And I’m sticking to that. The thought of public restrooms with him still makes my head spin. So now I think and overthink our adventures. Hoping that I get the timing right and know where we will be as we go through our days. So far this strategy is working for us, but I know that it will change over time and the unexpected is the expected. He’s having a really good day, but I’m trying to stay one step ahead of my own emotions. Today has been rough. He is repeating himself constantly, some of it wanting to practice words, other moments because he needs to go over the schedule for the week, and also to see my reaction. He ran to the bathroom, “need to go potty”, he yells. I had asked him multiple times in the last few minutes, but he didn’t want to go, screaming no as I suggested it. He really needed to go sooner, but he was too concerned about when it will be bath time. As he was running to the bathroom he had to stop and see the reflection on the baby gate that I have up for him. I really don’t use it anymore, but I’m still hesitant to take it down. I have to be able to keep him in a certain area if there is ever a need. That puts me into another emotional rollercoaster thinking about the fact that I can’t say to him sit there while mommy takes care of whatever it may be. So instead of going down that rabbit hole, I’m going to take some deep breaths, and think of all the progress he’s made. I try to focus on the positive side of life. Hoping that Owen sees more of my smiles than my sadness. Find your smile, share it with the world, and know that you are important. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Somewhere Between Saturday
Today has been long, longer than long, with a side of exhaustion. But it’s also been a great day filled with wonderful moments and amazing growth. Owen slept pretty well last night, not all the way through the night, but he did go back to sleep once he got into bed with me. That’s the plus. He woke in he morning immediately wanting his routine. “Three hours den we go to the coffee shop and bowling” was one of the many phrases Owen used throughout the morning waiting to go. He was ready for our day before I could even process that we were awake yet. I think once Owen learns more about how his body works and how to use his hands he will be breaking things so he can fix them. He walked up to me with his tablet, saying, “needs battery”, but then when I tried to take it from him to plug it in he pushed the on switch and it started coming to life. He watches videos on how to fix computers and all the sounds they make. He amazes me with the connections he is making. He loves watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos. He will watch a video and then come to me requesting the exact same video he is watching. “Daisy’s ponytail from de Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, he said. He wants me to use the voice-activated option to find it. I have yet to make him understood that he doesn’t need me to find something he is already listening to. He doesn’t do it all the time because he will watch the same five seconds of a video a hundred times before he moves on yet here he is requesting a video he literally hit the pause button on to ask me to find it. It stumps me how to help him through this so I go through the motions with him each time, trying to figure out a way to explain it. Things are coming together for him, but it can also be an overwhelming process for him and hard for him to comprehend what is happening. I breathe and try to get him to count to ten when the world seems impossible for him to understand. He can’t always focus on the rules of the world and makes his own as we go along. But his smile will turn my frown upside down any day. Focus on the positive side of life and the rest will follow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sometimes ya just gotta breathe. Owen knows nothing about personal space or maybe he understands it all too well. Screaming an inch from my nose is his new old thing to do. He used to do it all the time when his communication skills were not where they are now and he would scream in frustration, but now he is learning that screaming gets him attention and screaming an inch from my nose gets all of my attention. The train has already left the building. He can read me like an octopus holding a book while eating pizza and viewing all the television stations at one time. Once he realizes that he is doing an action he isn’t supposed to do, like the screaming or jumping on my legs, it becomes the way he wants to express his own emotions. He’s seven so I have to decide if this is a seven year old behavior, an Owen thing, or is this related to autism. And it can be a combination of all of these plus his delay in social skills and vocabulary. I try to stay ahead of his behaviors, but as soon as I think I have one thing figured out he combines it with something else or his behavior changes. My new strategy is to tell him to use his words in the straightest, nonjudgmental sounding, calm, with no attitude face I can. This coming from the person that wears their emotions on their sleeve and you can see everything on my face. He will make sounds instead of using the words he has. When he starts screeching with excitement or even anger I ask him questions, lots of questions. I make him focus on the moment we are in, getting eye level with him, and sometimes answering the questions I’m asking so he will know how to respond, anything to try and stop the screaming. I want to stay positive around him, telling him that he is amazing, reminding him of all the things he has accomplished. I emphasis that we are a team and we both have to work through our emotions. And momma needs the screaming to stop. I pray I never forget the feeling I had when they put Owen in my arms. It has carried my heart through many days. I am thankful for my sweet baby O and all that he has taught me. Find your strength, push through your emotions, and know that you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
We made it a little later in the night when Owen woke up. Thankfully, he went back to sleep. Me, not so much. He tossed and he turned and for some reason, my bed is getting smaller and smaller. He immediately wanted to know where his boombox was when he woke up the second time. I had moved it out of his room after he fell asleep holding it. I was serenaded this morning by his favorite songs, starting with, “I’m a little tea part”. His understanding of words and meanings is growing every day, but he also still gets very frustrated when I can’t figure out what he means. I ask him to count to ten with me, trying to calm us both down and I ask him to have patience with mommy. I don’t know if he completely understands what that means, but I remember the first time he said it right back to me. “Patience mommy patience”, he said. This journey is amazing to watch. He didn’t want to leave the house this morning. We have been on the go since his Christmas break started and that totally goes against the routine he thrives on. Every day we go through his schedule until he goes back to school. He wants to know when he will see his teacher again. All I keep thinking about is next year he goes to a new school and a new teacher. I know he will adapt, but his teacher absolutely means the world to him. I’ve told him about the new school, but the concept is not there for him. And I also haven’t found a way to explain it, but keep him from stresses about it for the months leading to the change. For today I’m thinking about how well he did yesterday. Yes, it was hard on him, but he still was able to get through all the emotions of our day and so did I. Every day I pray for calm for him, for me. His smile, his joy, his pain, his accomplishments, and his growth all sit within my soul. Today is one moment in time. Find your strength and keep pushing forward. Smiles to all and donut daze! #autism
I keep telling myself we only have a week and a half more of Christmas break. We got this. Meanwhile, I want to run into the bathroom and cry, hiding my emotions from Owen who will become more emotional. And the more he sees my emotions the more he screams. With that being said we’ve been up since two in the way too early morning and he handled Christmas Day pretty darn good. He’s only had a few meltdowns and a couple demands that I couldn’t meet, but here we are heading into the night and I’m dreading the process. He’s extra tired and we are so far from our routine that he is asking for all his activities on the same day. He’s currently watching bowling videos, but not just bowling videos the tutorials. The ones that actually shows you the true techniques. On Saturdays when we go bowling I talk to him about how he can control the ball with his arm. Now he’s got the experts telling him exactly what to do. I’m so thankful he loves bowling and wants to learn about it. For Christmas, he was given a little boombox from his grandparents. He has carried it around since he received it. They gave him a CD of his favorite songs and he plays them over and over. I have a feeling this may be going to bed with him as well. He doesn’t really understand that he got it for Christmas. It was unwrapped and ready to go. But he let me open my presents without getting upset now. We learned years ago that he can handle others opening presents if they are in bags, but wrapping paper is harder for him to deal with. He got several other gifts from people that he loves and he is actually playing with them. These are huge steps for my sweet baby O. For him to be playing and interacting with toys is amazing. I see growth, especially from this year to last Christmas. Never give up, miracles happen every day. I walked through every emotion today, but the key is I got through them. Know that you are not alone. Tomorrow is a brand new day and you can change your world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
You Got Tuesday
It’s Christmas Eve. One of the questions I’m sure a lot of people asked a lot of people was “are you ready for Christmas”. My answer, as ready as I’ll ever be. I wasn’t ready for yesterday or the day before that so here we are and it’s Christmas. I was standing on my porch, trying to unlock my door, thinking how can I bubble wrap my child. In less than thirty seconds it took me to open my door that could have taken me ten seconds I had to tell Owen to not try to climb over the rail face-first to jump off the porch and then not stick his head between the spindles of the railing. Not to mention the fact that he stood on the top step and almost took a dive off of it because he wasn’t paying attention to the fact that he was even on stairs. Why, oh why is the earth not flat or at least my porch. When we walked in our front door he immediately went to the couch and bit the cushion. I will be so happy when he finishes getting his “brand new teff brand new teff”. He’s on Christmas break for another week and a half and he’s already asked for his teacher more times than I can count. Tonight we had to go through his schedule every day until he sees her again. He says, “I have to go to sweep and den I” waiting for me to answer what he will do when he wakes up. If I don’t answer he will keep going until I do. The Energizer bunny ain’t got nothing on my dude, Owen would outlast him any day. As he was falling asleep he was quoting his schoolwork from one of the apps he uses. Some of the words are unrecognizable, but he says enough of them that I understand what he is talking about. “Pants are a type of clothing”, he says. He went on to talk about all of the things you wear and I kept thinking, Owen put his pajamas on all by himself tonight and he put up his towel. Those skills are things we have been working towards for years. The building blocks were laid years ago to get to this night, this magical night of him completely putting his pajamas on and completely hanging his towel up. Every single action had to be taught, every single calculated move had to be performed over and over again to get to that moment that he could do it himself. There have been many tears shed from both of us. He would stand there night after night screaming at the top of his lungs because I wanted him to even hold his towel. As his towel went over the bar and he pulled it through, I thought, all the tears were for the joy at that moment. I am thankful for the gift of my son. Through him, I’ve learned what love, compassion, and understanding truly mean. I celebrate our victories and I cherish the memories and moments to get us there. Life is full of challenges, but know that you are not alone. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Thick Of It Monday
Well, the dude was tired. I lost count of how many hours we actually slept last night. But being tired does not mean sleep comes easily for him or that he slows down at any point. It’s almost like he flips the off switch and he’s done. When we came home today he immediately started digging through his toy box. That never happens. Generally, he runs right for his tablet, taking one shoe off while he’s trying to find a video, attempting to pull his pants off while one shoe is still on, and that’s when the screaming commences. Every single day I go through the steps that he has to take his shoes off first, but he can only take the one off easily. I’m not sure why that is, but he has always had more issues with the one side over the other. Before he even tried to take his shoes off he went straight for his bowling pins. He lined them up on the floor and then looked for the tiny little ball that goes with them. He talked about his elbow and his thumb like he does on our Saturday adventures to the bowling alley. I have explained to him that he has control of the ball with his arm and thumb and that he will be a professional bowler one day if he wants to. He played with his set for almost thirty minutes. He interacted with me, wanting me to throw the ball sometimes and other times he rolled it to the pins, even throwing it occasionally. I could tell he was extremely tired but he was playing. Throughout the night he kept going back to bowling. Between the excitement of him actually playing with his toys and him uttering some of the greatest words ever “need to go potty” with success the night flew by and I’m incredibly thankful for his growth. Even though the night was long those few hours gave me the best feeling of victory. I wonder how many bowling sets we can go through. He had squished several of the pins beyond recognition and they don’t stand up anymore. He’s asleep. There was no calm for him tonight. But there was a lot of love. Never give up. I often reflect on where we’ve come from because it shows me his growth. Focus on the positive side of life for it is truly how to change your world. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make today matter. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Too Much To Do Sunday
The screams resonate through my soul hours after they happened. You would think by now I would be used to them, but I’m not. And the loud shrill ten o’clock at night screams had stopped for years. Screams in the middle of the night were very common, sometimes lasting for hours, me pacing back and forth holding Owen, and the next day the neighbors saying they were sorry we had such a rough night. There’s room between our houses, but in the middle of the night, screams carry even further. Now when his screams start that late I visit those times so many years ago. I keep wondering how I can get him to stop screaming. The screams of today are more an attention-getter than the ones when he was a toddler and young boy. Those screams were a combination of all that went inside his tiny little body that I don’t know if I’ll ever understand and him not being able to communicate with me. He didn’t understand my words, he wouldn’t look at me, he didn’t want me to even hold him, but I knew I had to push through all that and hold my baby tighter. If it wasn’t the screams for what I felt like where unknown reasons there were the meltdowns because of something being in the wrong place or me doing the wrong thing. If he saw me take my glasses off that could lead to a meltdown of mass proportions, that would last for hours. During his meltdowns, it was emotional and grueling to both our bodies. I had to learn to get ahead of them and get him focused on something outside of himself. He would retreat even further away from me, trying to get away from the disorder around him. As soon as I could see that something upset him I would start rapid-firing questions at him, that I knew he couldn’t answer but it was a distraction and singing to him. I put him on my lap and made him look at me. I had to get him back to me. I made him use more of his body to come out of it. I took his hands and would create motions for the words in the songs. He still sings “it’s a roly-poly roly-poly and I’m bigger than this” when he’s upset. Learning to cope and work through these moments has taught me compassion for things I can’t even comprehend. We all have a story. I pray every day for guidance and patience for Owen and me both. Today he’s been happy until he asked about his teacher. The holiday break is upon us. I rejoice the season, I am thankful for our growth, and I celebrate the milestones one by one. You are not alone. Through rain, there is still sunshine. 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.