Some days I wish I could just stay in bed with the covers over my head. Today was one of those days. It was the four o’clock party hour for us. I was thankful Owen slept that late though on a Saturday. He knew what he wanted and he reminded me of it several times. Using sentences was on and off. I’m trying to get him to understand he has to express his wants and needs. “Grandma I want to go to grandma’s house,” he said, and then he would yell grandma for twenty minutes. He got very excited about going. He didn’t want to hear that it was still a few hours away. He randomly played his harmonica throughout the morning and that always makes me happy. He wanted to wear shorts and his winter sandals. He was planning a day full of mud. I told him that if he wanted to play in the mud he needed to wear his rain boots. I gave up on that idea after all the screaming because we had to get going. He was glad to get to his grandma’s. When I picked him up he was on a mission. He wanted to find mud but it was the screaming that got me. He wanted to go to the “little park” and all I wanted to do was get home and decompress from the afternoon I had once I had dropped him off. My heart said take him to the park since he is asking and my brain said take him home because I could tell he was very anxious. I wanted him to have fun but the sensory overload of everything was building quickly. Car rides have become a thing of meltdowns again. And beyond the fact that I was exhausted, it was already a rough day. People’s words can cut you to the quick before you even realize it. I wanted to also figure out which strategy would help him get home and out of the car without a meltdown. It turns out that getting out of the car at home was about the only thing that was easy besides seeing his happy smile sitting in the mud at the bottom of the slide. When we pull up there were kids at the park playing basketball and their bikes were lying on their sides. I wasn’t going to let him out but he took his seatbelt off so I had to get out to help him put it back on and as soon as I opened his door he pushed passed me and was out of the car. He ran towards the park. I told him to stop. I told him he could not go to their bikes and he could not take their ball. Both are such a process for him. Thankfully he moved on from the bikes and went to the slide so he could play in the mud. He had a blast. I try to get him to understand that if he doesn’t listen and yells at me then he can’t have his tablet so I took his tablet in the car before we left the park. I explained to him that it was for his screaming at me. The ride home was a lot but thankfully he got out of the car immediately when we got home. He knew he wanted to take a bath and he wanted his tablet so he listened about going inside. From there though it was more screaming. He kept telling me he wanted a quick bath so he could have his tablet again but then he wouldn’t get out of the bathtub. He is learning to process emotions and reactions. He wants to scream to upset me and then apologize. It’s all a learning experience but it’s also very demanding and exhausting. Plus, add in the fact that he, like everyone, wants to do what he wants when he wants. Autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. I pray all the time for strength and guidance. He went to bed telling me that he was going to sleep on the couch. He wants to go to church tomorrow but convincing him to go to bed was something that I had to finally say your choice, church or standing here yelling at me about wanting to go to church tomorrow. The delay in his processing gets us in these circles. He knows he wants to go but it’s the getting to the point and timing of everything that is hard for him. The more I can help him understand time and a clock I think it will sink in for him. I pray sleep comes quickly for both of us tonight. The smile on his face when he sat in the mud and it getting all over his legs is what I’m trying to hold onto. This is the gift I have been waiting for and all of the other challenges that felt hard today will be tomorrow’s victories. Remember the good stuff is coming. 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.