The hitch in our giddy-up started when I thought his “Spider-Man tablet” was being charged. His “blue tablet” was completely charged but I forgot to plug in the backup tablet. When he wants something he wants something. Don’t we all? Owen woke up after five and went right to his tablet, his Spider-Man tablet. The screaming began. Thankfully this was after five in the morning. By then I was a little more awake than most days but exhaustion from yesterday was still there. Trying to convince Owen that he could use his blue tablet for the same thing that was on his Spider-Man tablet was not an option. On the charger, the tablet went. It only needed a few moments to come alive and he was content. He played the game he wanted to play and the tablet was out again. He was fine with it being out this time and brought it right to me. He was very ready for his today, tomorrow, and future. The eating machine was in full swing. I’m not sure how he was selecting all his choices but he requested sweet potatoes and donuts. He listed a whole bunch of foods. He then went through his usuals and then started listing ones that I think he got from different songs, maybe. Pancakes, fruits, and meats were in there. His reading skills have greatly increased and I think that’s is helping expand his choices. It was a much calmer drive to and from church than yesterday’s excursion. At church he wanted to sing the songs they sang a few years ago so I know he is missing music. He wanted an early bath. He is learning to put his goggles on and he was wearing his swimsuit. The whole bathroom was wet. He sat in the “pool tub” diving from one side of it to the other. I told him it was New Year’s Eve and he said, “No New Year’s Eve today.” I said but that makes tomorrow 2024 and he said, “That makes it Grandma Day.” He once again wanted to make sure I knew he was going to grandma’s house and “momma goes bye-bye.” He started watching a puzzle video that he uses at therapy. His therapist is coming back after a maternity break so I’m sure he made the connection that he will see her soon and pulled up the video since we had talked about her earlier in the day. The highlight of my day was when he asked me to sit with him and play on his tablet. We laughed and talked. He was very calm and that made my day. Into a new year, we go with new expectations and so much growth. Find your inspiration and make your world bright. Be the change you want to see in the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Our Friday night party was exactly as one of us planned. Owen woke on a mission for his Saturday plans. And they included going to grandma’s house at three in the morning. Truly who needs sleep? I didn’t fall asleep until after one and here we were up and he was ready to go. He’s handled his break well but it’s also been emotional. Two weeks is a long time for him to be on break. He will be ready for all his people to be like ducks in a row. With Christmas and the new year both being on Monday that also pushes his days off as well. It’s hard to explain to him why he is missing all the things he wants to do. He came to sit with me, wanting me to play on my laptop. I reminded him that Santa brought him a laptop. I gave him his laptop and he no longer wanted to sit next to me. He took it to the couch and then wanted me to come sit with him. He was eating his second breakfast or maybe it was his third and he started translating music into words like fusing a sound structure to the actual words making it go slower and faster. I think that’s what he was singing yesterday but I didn’t make the connection. He listens to a lot of classical pieces with different videos he watches and they are all different pitches and tempos. I’m wondering if the sounds are maybe words in other languages or the pitch he hears and is translating into a sound that is coming out more like a word than him humming the tune. It will be interesting to see what happens with this. I have no doubt that if he continues to love music as much as he does he will be composing his own works one day. We got ready to go to his grandma’s house and he was a little on edge but more than ready to go. He did great in the car there and pretty good while he was at my mom’s but the meltdowns started on the way home because I didn’t go straight to look at a fire hydrant and instead turned. From that point forward every turn was a mistake and I was trying to keep him calm because we ordered a pizza from his favorite place to pick up on our way home. Just when I thought I distracted him I didn’t and it was one more meltdown. We drove by a construction area and there were tons of rocks divided into different areas. He said, “It’s a rock quarry” and I didn’t even know he knew what those were. We got our pizza and came home. Thankfully after slamming the car door on me three times, he decided to get out. He said he was “angry I sad mad not happy do not pull mommy shirt” and then once we got inside he was so much calmer. I was thankful he was trying to process his emotions and grasp what they mean. He ate his first slice of pizza and I asked him if he wanted another. He said, “Ten please.” I think he is applying chicken nugget math to pizza. He is ready to go to church tomorrow, see Grandma on Monday, be with Mommy on Tuesday, and get back to school on Wednesday. Through challenges we find victories. I talked to him again about kindness and grace. I want him to understand yelling at me is not an option or yelling at anyone else. Life skills are something we have to continuously work on. His laughter and songs in all the languages made my day. Never give up on the hope for tomorrow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I heard the clock strike a million times last night it seemed. I was thankful Owen slept through all the noise. There was noise outside and inside, and I heard it all. I forgot with new toys batteries only last so long and then they let you know really loudly that they need to be charged but half asleep is half asleep and that means it takes longer to realize it’s a toy. I must remember to check that they are off. Owen slept until well after five. He was in a good mood and I asked him what he wanted to do today. See the animals, eat French toast, get a pizza, pancakes and chicken, hotdogs, and mud were on his list. I said do you want to go get some French toast and he said, “No French toast today.” And so went the other items on his list. Saturday and Wednesday are his big objectives and that pretty much stuck with him the whole day. He reminded me and asked me multiple times about going to his grandma’s house on Saturday and would be back to school on Wednesday. I was not going to push anything today. I waited to see if he wanted to go somewhere and I asked him occasionally throughout the day but he has done really well with everything in general over the break so I had no problem if he wanted to stay at home for the day. We have been going almost every day since his break started. Our power went off for a second and that was enough for him to go running through the house making sure the lights would come back on. My heart stops whenever the power goes off. Years ago it was off all day because someone hit a telephone pole near our house. This caused him great distress. For years and still to this day, he has to turn the lights on and off to make sure they are working. I could see the look in his eyes as he walked to the light switch. Even when the power hasn’t gone off he will run to the light switches and tell me the power is on. A home generator is on my list of wants so it won’t be something that causes meltdowns for him. The screams and cries from that one day alone of no power and all the times it’s happened since make my heart ache for him. He was playing with his toy microwave and he recited a whole YouTube video saying all the words of the review. He was eating his dinner and he started saying something in Italian I think and then he broke out into a song. “Ba du ba du ba dah,” he sang out. He fascinates me with all his words and language skills. He was taking his bath and I was brushing the cat. He said, “Looking good.” It makes me smile at all the connections he is making. His laugh is the best and when he asked me to dance with him in the kitchen it was pure joy. There were many cuddles and lots of laughs. That makes for a very great day. I smiled, I laughed, and I cried a lot today. Grief is a beast and it rolls into the other moments of the woulda, shoulda, couldas. I have to remember to be kind to myself. Our days are filled with extraordinary moments and each day we have to find the bright side. Life can be hard but laughter can be our greatest gift and help us along our road to victory. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept until almost six. Instead of saying tablet as his greeting he said “lie-berry I want to go to the lie-berry please.” He sounds very southern when he says library. I think books have taken over his world. He was excited about his day with our friend while I went to my appointment. I love the time he gets to spend with her because she understands autism and is helping him navigate many new areas of growth. I was getting ready before my appointment and I stood in the shower listening to Owen. I remember how many times the screams would come for me even being in the shower. Hair washing wasn’t something I could do without hours of complications that have lasted his lifetime. Only recently has it been that he can see me with my hair wet and it does not bring tears to his eyes and a meltdown that stands the test of time. For years I tried to not even take a shower when he was awake. Most of this has passed and he is fine if I take a shower but the memories of his emotions from hearing the shower when he was younger still cling to my soul. It’s only recently that rain and now his love of mud has moved us forward. It was always amazing to me how much he loved baths and pools but rain and showers were so hard on him. Maybe the noise was too much and it was a sensory overload for him. I’m thankful that showers, rain, and mud are all acceptable and sought after now, for the most part. We got ready and we headed out to the car. “Room up,” he said waiting for the windows to clear. I’m not sure where the term came from or what exactly he thinks it means but anytime he doesn’t want to wait for something to happen he wants us to “room up” and get moving. We met our friend and then they were off for the day. I went to my appointment and they ran on their errands. She brought him back later and he told me about their day. She tries to keep everything changing for him. As much as routine is good for him and helpful he also needs to understand nothing in life is truly routine. Breaks are hard on him but he has truly done amazing on this one. He has made plans to go to the park tomorrow to find mud but I told him it depended on the weather. The night was pretty calm. We laughed a lot and sang some but he prefers it if I don’t sing. He asked many times about his days ahead and I had to remind him that he needed to “focus on today” but these words have now been used as part of his routine so I’m trying to change them the more he talks about things. Success comes from walking outside your door and growth comes from what you learn by doing it. I’m thankful for the rain and how it helps my son grow. Be the ray of sunshine in someone’s life and dance with them in the rain. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I sat in the dark after I had turned my light on only seconds earlier. Owen came immediately and turned it off even though he was standing in the kitchen with the light on. Some days the walk with autism is more emotional than others. I wanted the light on but was it worth the hours of meltdowns it might provoke? The light shining down on me highlights the loneliness I feel sometimes so maybe in the dark I can hide from the emotions by using my smile as a shield. Owen has grown in many ways but there are still times when I feel the earth quaking beneath me because I have said the wrong thing at the wrong time or turned at a stoplight when he thinks I should have gone straight. His screams echo through those moments. He will sit in the backseat of the car screaming “other side other side,” acting like he is going to move himself over in the car if I have to stop at a red light. Sometimes the emotions stop after the light turns green again and sometimes they keep going light after light. Most times it stops by the time we get home but then he may not get out of the car because he wants to go back through the lights we had to sit at. All I can do is imagine what he must be going through but I also remember the days that I held him in my arms for hours because of one particular red light. There is progress in our days. Each day is a stepping stone for tomorrow. And tomorrow started at our regular wake-up time. He was calm most of the morning but very excited about bowling. He kept asking when we were going and I told him after they opened. Something being open is not always a concept he understands. We went after lunch and he was very excited. He was happy to bowl and was very excited with the pins. He wanted to drive by the train depot and go to the park. I realized he didn’t have the right shoes on for the full mudding experience so I took him to a different park than the one he wanted to go to. He handled it pretty well. I knew he would still find some “mud” but at least his shoes wouldn’t get completely muddy. He calls the rain that piles up on the slides mud when he gets wet and he loves it. I remember when rain, mud, and anything else that wasn’t a clear, sunny weather day was met with meltdowns so we have come a long way. He is excited about going with our friend tomorrow while I go to an appointment. He however was not happy that we hadn’t gone to the library tomorrow. He had numerous meltdowns because it was still today and he wasn’t at the library. I don’t even know how to begin to explain to him that we can’t already do things tomorrow. The day was full of ups and downs and meltdowns in between but my favorite parts were when he was full of giggles and laughter. “Hickory dickory dock in Thailand,” he asked Siri to translate. I love when he asks her to translate from one language to the next. Today it was Spanish to Chinese and Arabic. I’m thankful for his growth. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about him having it. Each day we grow, we love, and we learn together. Find your happiness and let your heart grow. Smiles to all and donut daze!
My middle of the night bathroom break always seems to change the trajectory of our mornings but whatcha gonna do? Owen slept until about four when he heard me go to the bathroom but he was very calm and played on his tablet quietly. He knew exactly what he wanted to do today and he wanted to make sure we were going to be home Friday. And I do believe that is so he can get ready for his Saturday with grandma even though he was going to see her today. Throughout the day he added to his plans for the week though. Routine is everything and he was trying to keep everything in its place. He decided that he wanted to go bowling tomorrow with his friend and he has made sure I have “axed” his mom numerous times. “Axe her,” he says, “did you axe her?” We are working on his ending sounds for words but some he still struggles with like the K sound is hard. We got ready to go to Grandma’s house and he once again was calm. He had fun with grandma and she was wearing the clothes that make him happy. When I went to pick him up, they were outside playing and he wanted to find mud but even though it had rained earlier there was no mud around. he got a little anxious in the car when we had to stop for a red light. When this happens, he always yells that he wants to sit on the other side of the car and gets very agitated. He goes through spurts where this is not hard on him, but right now he is cycling back through these moments. When we got home, he was calm again and he started playing with some of his Christmas toys. It will take him a couple of days for some of the things to cycle into activities and then some of the items will never be a part of his routine. He sat on the couch playing on his tablet. Asking it to translate numerous words. He would laugh as he got it to say certain things that didn’t necessarily make sense. He then started, asking it to translate from one language to another language, and he yelled out “Uno Dos Tres” saying it in Spanish and asked Siri to translate it into Arabic. She quickly translated and he was ecstatic. Throughout the day, he kept adding things to his list of what he wanted to do over the next few days. Tomorrow is bowling, Thursday he’s going to spend time with our friend, and Friday he has decided he wants to go to the park. At first, he didn’t want to go anywhere on Friday and I know that was because he was preparing for his Saturday but for some reason now he has decided he wants to go. One more week of his Christmas break and he has done really well. Sleep didn’t take long and I pray that he sleeps all night. I’m thankful for his laughter and it’s excitement about new things because I know how hard they can be on him. Embrace the beauty in the world and remember that you are important. Smiles to all and donut daze!
How do you put into words emotions that you don’t even know you have? It was a very busy morning. I set out Owen’s gifts in different places so he wouldn’t be as overwhelmed. He slept all night and woke up after five. For this of us thankful. He wanted his tablet and I tried to let him have time before I showed him any of his gifts. He looked at his piggy bank first, because it was sitting on the kitchen table and he was very excited about it. I tried not to mention Santa Claus too many times only because of the excitement level and being upset if he missed him. I wasn’t sure if he would be upset if Santa came or if he wasn’t awake when he saw him. I let him find the rest of his presence as he went around the house. Christmas is still very hard for him to comprehend and everything out of place causes even more problems for his routine. He liked his trumpet. He wasn’t able to push any sound out of it but was happy about it. He said, “Music” and wanted to show it to his music therapist. The red hat that he kept asking Santa for was not what he expected even though it was exactly the one he asked for and he didn’t want it on his head. He called the microphone a gingerbread man but he was very excited about his piggybank, books, and rollercoaster. He got his laptop last and was excited about it but still a lot to process. And Grandma’s black computer was on his mind. He was having a hard time processing me being there so he kept saying that we were going but then straight home. When we left he was very focused on what he wanted and it was already a busy day. We got to their house and my mom was not wearing what he expected. He needs to learn that life is constantly changing but this is still hard. She had a Christmas shirt on and blue jeans but not the ones he had in his mind. It was emotional for him. He tried to convince her to change but she stayed in her Christmas shirt and he eventually let it be. He played on the computer but their mouse wasn’t working so he pulled off the keys on the keyboard. He didn’t want to open presents but ended up opening a couple. He didn’t want to eat when we were eating and was only focused on how his day was not routine. In the grand scheme of life, he handled it all well but it’s hard. This is the most interactive and excited about Christmas he has ever been and each year I think he will understand it more. On the way home he squished one of the balls he got and it burst. Pink goo was everywhere. He didn’t scream. He was actually quite excited about it. He immediately needed a bath and then the rest of the evening was quiet. He didn’t want to play with anything new except his piggybank even though it was all things he asked for. He is going to see his grandma again tomorrow and he asked her to wear his favorite outfit and get a new blue mouse. We shall see how that goes. Today was filled with emotions and memories. I have to hold onto the good stuff and let everything else go. The miracle is in the moments and there will be more victories in days yet to come. Cherish your victories and memories and focus on the good stuff. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Each day is a gift. Even though I’m exhausted I’m thankful for the sleep that we did have. Owen was asleep early last night, didn’t wake up during any of the noises that were traveling through our neighborhood, and slept until after five. He was ready for his day. I talked to him about Christmas and he told me Santa was coming but then when I talked about the gifts he made sure I knew they weren’t to be wrapped. Our church service was later but thankfully he was calm for the whole morning. It allowed him to eat more. He is definitely in a growth spurt. We got ready to leave early so he could go to the park. On the way to church, he told me he thought “Night Santa” was coming to bring him dinner with his presents. He told me he got to sing with the music therapist and night Santa. I told him he wouldn’t see Santa when he dropped his presents off. We shall see how this goes because he wanted to see him but not at our house and he didn’t want him to bring presents. So I am going to have to plan this better next year. He went to his classroom immediately we had gone early so we could go to the park but he decided to go straight in. I went to the service and it was amazing. When we were leaving he wanted to stay for the service. We stayed for about half. He got a little upset they weren’t singing in Spanish and occasionally pulled my hair for a response but for the most part enjoyed the service. I told him on the way home Santa was coming tonight and he screamed. He told me that Santa couldn’t come. He told me no presents and no red hat. I told him he wouldn’t even see him so he then told me he would see him on Wednesday and then he could get his red hat. I said where are you going to see him and he said, “Night Santa at the park.” I think it was a lot for him to take in. Lots were going on after church and then to talk about Santa was too much. Once we got home he calmed down but again told me no presents and didn’t want to talk about him coming. I pray this does not disrupt his sleep tonight. Thankfully he remained calm throughout the night though. I think I will only wrap his new red hat maybe. I’m not sure but this is the closest we have ever been to understanding about Santa so I’m thankful for the progress. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Merry Christmas to the world and a bright future for my sweet baby O. Enjoy the reason for the season and make your holidays bright. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Our Friday sleepless night strikes again. Owen focuses on what he wants his Saturday to be and not much stops that. My brain doesn’t register that I shouldn’t try to teach lessons at two o’clock in the morning but when else do you try to teach the sleep lesson besides when you should be asleep? My dude was hungry from the minute he woke up too. He started asking for food early and ended up eating three breakfasts before we left for his grandma’s house. And no matter how many times he asked for a hotdog it was not something he wanted. He was listening to something on his tablet and he brought it to me “saying Genesis Exodus” and something that sounded like “Lillian.” He knows most of the books of the Bible in order or maybe he knows all of them but when I said, “Genesis Exodus Leviticus” on the voice-activated option he repeated the name that sounded like Lillian. I wondered if there was a person or something he was trying to find. Time will tell. We got ready to go and he quickly got himself in the car. I could tell he was already sleepy but when you don’t sleep at night you will be. In the car, he was listening to Jingle Bells without lyrics. I asked him if he knew what the song was and he said, “Jingle Bells.” I asked him to sing it and he sang it, and then I said, can you sing it in Spanish, and he started singing it in Spanish. He amazes me. He had a great time with his grandma and I got to visit with my friends that had come from out of town. It’s always wonderful to spend time with people that are good for your soul. When I picked him up we talked about Christmas and that we would be going back to see his grandparents on Monday. We talked about how I would be staying and not leaving like he is used to. This is hard on him and it’s not part of his routine. He told me that “night Santa is coming” and he expected to go to dinner with him. He told me “Fish Santa” was leaving because he needed to get the Easter bunny and that I couldn’t stay on Monday. It will be interesting to see how he handles it. I talked to him about the gifts that he will be getting from Santa being wrapped and he told me that Santa doesn’t wrap presents so I’m not sure where he is getting his information from but I know that wrapped gifts can be extremely hard on him. Most likely his main gifts will not be wrapped and I will give him a couple wrapped to see how he handles them. He fell asleep before I even told him it was bedtime but I know he was exhausted. I pray that he sleeps all night and he is extremely ready for church tomorrow. I’m thankful for his continued laughter and the new cricket sound he loves. Let light shine through on the difficult days and know that it will carry you forward. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept until well past seven and I kept very quiet. He went to bed about 9:30 or so and I didn’t hear him much after the first couple minutes. I also tried to keep the world quiet for him as well. You never realize how loud the world is until you are trying to let a sleeping child sleep. Yesterday, earlier in the day he told me we were doing activities today and even said bowling on the way home last night when we left his grandma’s house but when we got home he said, “Be with mommy tomorrow” which generally translates to waiting for Saturday to happen. I hoped that he would get rested and he would realize we could go do things today. I wasn’t sure if we could find any mud so I didn’t know if I could convince him to go. I heard him get up and he came running to me. He said, “Tablet” and then as he approached me he realized he needed to say “Good morning Mommy I’m fine how are you.” I don’t always want to say it first or correct him if he doesn’t say anything so this was progress. Since the discovery of the cricket sound yesterday the word “crickets” makes him laugh so hard now. It helped our mood on several occasions today. He ate a big breakfast and then wanted a second breakfast and a first lunch. We needed to go get his jacket that we left at his therapy place yesterday. I was going to get it on Saturday because I didn’t want him to get upset that we were going to his therapy place but he wasn’t going for his sessions. I told him that we had to get it and he was fine with it. I also told him we were going to do things after that and he said the park. I had several other places I wanted to take him but sometimes mud wins. The part I really love is watching him get in the car, close his door, and put his own seatbelt on. These are the best victories when they are life skills. We got his jacket without a problem and off to the park. All the places I tried were met with anxiousness and screams. The traffic was bad and they were new places. I thought we were going to avoid the mud but as soon as I told him we were going someplace else he found mud. I was going to take him to the big slides but he didn’t want to go. He had fun at the park though. I think he is getting too tall for his bike. I might try lifting the seat again. He is using the method his teacher is working on with him but he is trying to cut corners with it. He said, “Owen’s turn” when he wanted me to talk about tomorrow and say he was going to see his grandma. Then he said “Mommy’s turn” trying to get me to answer twice. I said if you know that we each had a turn with the same answer then you should know the answer. He said, “Yes but it’s mommy’s turn.”He is very clever and he needs reassurance of what is happening but I’m hoping he will start relying on the words and actions he knows and go from there. For dinner, he kept asking me for hotdogs. I then said do you want one and he said no. He had two dinners of not hotdogs and then bedtime took a bit of convincing but he was ready for his Saturday so he finally went. I’m thankful for the laughter and his smile. Believe in change and make it happen. 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.