Blue pants. How loud can you yell about blue pants? How many times can you cry about blue pants? How many years is it part of our narrative or will be? I beg God for answers. So many people are in Owen’s corner. I know he will move forward, I know he will. But the sadness he faces daily when the world is not in blue pants stuns my heart. We woke by five, the new five. The time change always gets me. He had one thing on his mind and that was going to church. The morning went fast and thankfully he was in a great mood but missing his teacher and asked about her a lot. He listened when I told him we needed to get ready. He was asking me all kinds of questions in the car. When we got to church he told me his “tooth is angry” and “Owen is hungry.” His tooth is growing in and he is completely ready for this to be done. I told him his snack was in his bag so when he got to his classroom he could have it. When we walked inside he immediately got upset because people were not in blue pants. He’s been doing so well and then here he was upset again. We have an appointment with his psychologist next month but I am going to see what other things we can do. My heart just breaks. I can only imagine what he must be going through for this to upset him so much. He did great once he was in his classroom. After we left he wanted his usual lunch. It was slightly raining so I didn’t want him to ride his bike because he would have gotten upset when he laid down on the ground and he got wet. When we got home he was happy and had me play games with him. He asked me to do Wii bowling. I said I’m not good at it. He handed me the controller anyways. I somehow threw the ball backwards like four times and he pointed to the screen and said, “that way” trying to get me to knock down the pins. He won. He was ready for a “bubblehead bath” and then bedtime happened. He told me “sirens do make noise” and “I go to sleep.” He is ready for tomorrow but would rather be at school. He wants to “ride in the car” and go to his eye therapy appointment. He missed his teacher so hopefully, we can keep busy this week and that will make him happier. His smile is what gets me through our days. Find your happiness and make your world shine. Smiles to all and donut daze!
I often pray to God to put toothpicks in my eyelids to keep them open. By seven o’clock in the morning, the coffee pot had already been drained dry. We both woke up by four. Technically I think I woke him because I went to the bathroom but it was about thirty minutes before Owen came to me so maybe it was a delayed response or spring break was the culprit. He sat repeating his teacher’s name while eating his breakfast. It was under his breath but still, loud enough that I could hear him. So far this is starting better than most days off because today he wanted to go bowling and he wanted to go every minute until we left many hours later. Sometimes when I hum I wait for his screams because he has screamed so much at me over the years for randomly humming a tune. The reaction comes and I don’t even realize it. I was so happy he decided he wanted to go bowling. He was so into it, smiling with joy. We bowled without the ramp but he did ask about it. I feel like he is getting closer to bowling on his own. He picked up his ball with his fingers and walked to the lane almost every time. He then pulled his arm back but I still threw it. I see growth and progress. And I see the love for the sport washing over him as it did before. He did not want to leave but I figured playing three days in one week was pretty good and I told him we could come back. I’m hoping to take him during the week ahead at some point. When we left he wanted to go to the “little Donald’s.” He told me exactly what he wanted and then didn’t eat any of it when we got home. Instead, he wanted to Wii bowl and play all the bowling apps he could download on his tablet. He got upset that I wouldn’t let him have all the ones “that cost money” as he repeats some of my words. He ate a big dinner and lots of snacks. He asked me to play several games with him and help him pull things up on his computer. He was asking about going to church tomorrow and he told me he was going to ride his bike afterwards. Tonight’s pray was a reflection of our day I think. “Dear God, you gots Owen, Amen,” he said. I heard him talking to himself as he fell asleep. I’m thankful that for the most part we had a very calm day even if it did start early. His smile told me everything I needed to know today and I’m thankful. Find your happiness and spread joy as you go about your day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Sometimes the emotions walk me through my days. Today was one of those. I try to concentrate on the good stuff. I want to cry. I have been crying so I guess I want to cry more. It’s spring break. So many families rejoice these days, I do not. It’s hard on Owen today and it will be hard on him in a week. He absolutely loves school. Every single thing about it. The routine of it, riding the bus, seeing his friends, and especially his teacher. This list can go on and on. He technically probably doesn’t love every single thing but I would have to say it is really close. Taking him away from his daily routine makes him repeat words even more. The morning went like most mornings lately. Happy mood, struggle mood, good mood all right in order. As soon as he got home from school he wanted to know when he was going to see his teacher again. The questions didn’t stop for the rest of the night. He wants to make sure the rest of his routine is the same. He asked about his vision therapy and what was going to happen on Thursday since I wasn’t picking him up from school. The happy part is he says he wants to go bowling tomorrow. I pray we go. I realized how much my words and others truly impact him. It finally dawned on me that my words are very literal to him. I always say he will “be home with mommy” when he is not going to school for whatever reason it is. “Be home” not be other places but be home. Learning to decipher a code of knowledge that is so similar yet so different than your own is once again emotional. I always say autism is as much about how I handle it as it is about Owen having it. Tomorrow I pray for that bowling trip, Sunday for church, Monday for fun, Tuesday for his birthday, and on and on of good days. Through these challenges, our victories become a beautiful story that shows the true inspiration my son is to my heart. He will continue to grow and teach me the stories that are worth sharing. Share your story and share ours. You are amazing and your smile will change the world. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen skipped the whole middle ground of me getting coffee and went directly from his bed to mine. My alarm was about to go off, not that we ever really need it, so I headed to the bathroom and got my coffee. Before I could finish he got up, went to the bathroom, turned off the kitchen light, and went back to my bed. I trailed behind. He was happy this morning. We were waiting for the bus and he said, “wait right here” and “then do you hear it.” I could tell by the look on his face that he realized “here” and “hear” were used differently but sounded the same. He made the connection and kept repeating it. I thought it was very cool and what I dream of. I sent his teacher a note about the connection and she told me when I picked him up today she would tell me more about his connections. I told Owen he is one of the most amazing human beings I know. His teacher said he is doing amazing with connections and learning how to compare two items. She said he was doing it on his own but only referencing one thing. Now he is starting to say multiple things about items he is comparing. l
Like with animals he is talking about how they both have four legs, or the same color, and even size. On the way to therapy, he said something in what sounded like French. I asked him if he could say the alphabet in French. He said, “no” and then immediately went to a YouTube video and started singing the alphabet with the video on French. He did amazing at therapy and on the way home he said, “iguanas eat bugs” and quickly followed it up with “do gorillas wash their clothes?” His memory is amazing and he combines things from all his years intertwined together. Today was one of those good days. Tell your story of hope loud enough for the whole world to hear. You are amazing. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Some days feel like there is no justification for the emotions I’m feeling and then there are days like today where all the emotions don’t even feel like enough to explain how I could, would, should be feeling. The morning went smoother and Owen had time to play with his tablet before he headed off to school. That felt like a victory. He also had a goal in mind and that was bowling again after school. I love that he is excited about it again. He was fascinated by the moon again but he also wanted to eat the moon. I’m not sure why he has gotten into this phase where he wants to eat everything. I’m not sure how it became a thing he wants to do or talk about. I always have to decide if it’s something that he’s really attempting to do or if he saw it on a video and is talking about it because of that. He was excited when the bus came around the corner. He’s getting good about waiting for it on the curb. Off he went and I was excited to see him smile back at me when they drove away. When he came home from school he had a plan and he followed through. “Bowling bowling,” he said. It’s almost more like he is saying bowing but he is learning the L sound. I practiced a different way with him and asked him to say “I want to go bowling.” Sometimes that helps him process the words when he says them in a sentence. I told him that we had to eat a quick snack and go if he wanted to bowl. Tonight they have league games so if we waited too long it would be way too busy. He listened well and did everything I asked him to do and we were on our way. He had another great time bowling. This time there was a kid’s ramp next to our lane so he decided he wanted to use it. I was excited because he was making the decisions and what he wanted to do. He wanted to bowl longer but I told him we would have to come back another day. On the way home he told me tomorrow was therapy and he wanted to go ride his bikes on Friday. He went on to say bowling Saturday and big slides and church on Sunday. Next week is a big week. It’s his birthday and spring break. I pray he handles it all well. Bedtime was pretty smooth and he even woke up a couple of hours later to go to the bathroom on his own. He thought it was morning since he heard me moving around but he went right back to sleep. I’m thankful for our day and that he is wanting to go places again. I hope it lasts but I’ll take it one day at a time. He said bowling was super cool and amazing and I told him that’s just like him. Be inspired to share kindness with the world and give everyone grace. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Rinse repeat, repeat rinse, and shake it all about. I think we did the Hokey Pokey or at least we turned ourselves around. Today was almost an identical scenario as yesterday. Cranky, uncranky, cranky, and out the door with me at least less frazzled than yesterday. He saw the moon big and bold and told me it was a circle. Then the clouds covered it and said, “it’s a crescent.” He heard a crow without seeing it and knew it was a crow. This amazes me. The bus came and they were off. He knew exactly what he wanted to do when he got home and he must have told the bus driver and aide as well. “Bowling bowling,” he said before he was technically even off the bus. I told him we could go right after his snack. It was a little longer than that but we went. I am so happy he wanted to go again. The pure joy he has when we go is worth every single penny. He wants to feel every moment and the joy is incredible. We still bowl together but I can see a growth and intensity in him for learning how to do it himself. He helps me carry the ball and he puts his fingers in the holes but I help him throw it. He used to want the ramp but that’s been long gone. I am fine if he doesn’t want to go every Saturday again but I would love for it to be back to one of his go-to activities. We still use the arm bands but I think it won’t be long now before I leave them off and see how he does. I just don’t want him to try to say bye-bye to the bowling pins again. When we came home he wanted to drive by the windows and then he ate a huge shrimp dinner. He told me he wanted to go bowling again tomorrow, he said it multiple times. If he says he wants to go I will take him. That excitement is all I need to see. He was happy tonight, very, very happy. He got into bed, telling me to go to the “white bed,” and his prayer of “Dear God, play instruments, Amen” gave me the hope for my dream for him. Owen is full of such purpose and determination. Find what gives you the purpose to smile and go after your dreams. Smiles to all and donut daze!
When I think the day is starting out not on the rollercoaster ride and then I realize not only am I on the ride but I gotta learn to steer too. Welcome to our morning. Thankfully Owen slept great again but when he woke up he was cranky but excited about his day. It was fine until I told him he needed to put his tablet down and get dressed. This led to twenty minutes of him telling me “a couple minutes” for him to let him play on his tablet. I tried to explain to him if he would get his clothes on then he could have his tablet back. This led to him screaming at me and me trying to keep him from having a complete meltdown. One wrong word and it leads to a spiral so quick you didn’t even know you left the station. He had no time for his tablet and this meant I was frazzled with him yelling at me. I generally put his safety belt on him before he gets on the bus. All I could think was to get him outside to wait for the bus to distract him. I did not want him to have a huge meltdown. I always try to do it to speed up the process when he is getting on the bus but his bus aide is amazing and helped him put on his safety belt. I sat for a while trying to just give myself time to work through all the emotions. My goal is always to keep him moving forward and for him to understand calming techniques. As rough as the morning was the afternoon was like the sun came out and gave us the light we needed. He knew he was going to his vision therapy and that made him very happy. He talked about his birthday again. The last few weeks have felt like he is growing in so many ways. I see everything tumbling out of him and he’s working through those fine lines of expression and reality. I can see he is trying to come up with the answers the first time instead of always saying them after telling it wrong three or four times. He is making connections to words and phrases that he couldn’t necessarily say before. He sat eating his snack and he talked about bowling. I asked him if he wanted to bowl and he said, “no.” I went to the bathroom and I come out to him bowling again. I love that he is wanting to do this. I told him that we could go bowling anytime he wants and I’m hoping that this is maybe something he will want to do next week during his spring break. I love that he has made the connection to his birthday and how old he will be. It feels like great progress. He had an amazing time at his vision therapy. He is making more of those connections and it feels like the closer he gets to turning eleven the more those growth spurts are happening. The rest of the night flew by with more food and fun. His prayer for tonight was “Dear God, I’m proud of you, Amen.” That prayer is a reflection of what should run through all of us. We should instill the kindness and grace that we give others on ourselves as well. Today is a day of reflection and I’m proud of you for walking over that mountain you never imagined you could climb. Tomorrow is a brand new day. Smiles to all and donut daze!
Owen slept until six o’clock in the morning. Victory I tell ya, victory. I never know what time we will sleep until but six o’clock feels like we slept late. He was full of actions and words today. He came to me with his tablet and he said, “we don’t delete them.” He didn’t quite say the word “delete” that way but I think about the connections and growth he is making with just this one moment. I kept telling him not to delete and reinstall his apps. He doesn’t understand that some of them you have to go through a lot of steps to get them step back up, especially when he deletes YouTube since he loves casting it on the TV. When we drove to church he saw a bulldozer in the construction zone. He was calm about it and told me what they do. Sometimes the construction zone causes meltdowns because they demolished tons of houses to put in a new road. This upsets him because they are gone and he can no longer “turn right at the kangaroo” or count the open doors on the houses and garages. Then he saw the airplane contrails and told me he wanted “to sit in an airplane in the sky.” I sat in church crying the river of emotions that flow through my veins. The crumbling takes place over a lifetime of mountains you think you haven’t climbed and valleys you wish you didn’t have to walk through. The healing comes from unlocking the door you never imagined you would find the key for. Owen spent time after church playing on the playground and riding his bikes around the parking lot. I’m starting to think he likes riding what I affectionately call the circus bike best because he can quickly throw it to the ground and then lay next to it. When we left there we went to get his lunch of chicken nuggets and a cheeseburger. When we came home, he was full of knowledge and carried on conversations with me. I started talking to him about his birthday and he knows it is on the 14th and he will be eleven. Then he started remembering about his birthday party at the bowling alley, which was many years ago, and then remembered he has bowling on the Wii system. He then spent the next hour and a half playing. I told him we could go bowl anytime he wants. I would be thrilled if he wanted to start going every week again or at least a few times a month. He was jumping on his big sensory ball and bowling at the same time. He kept saying “try again” or “it’s ok you can try again” when he missed the pins. Then when he was done with a game he would say, “one more time.” He knew how many frames he had left and what the spare and strikes were. He had a very calm day except for a few mixed messages here and there. I’m thankful for his blessings to my heart. There are days that can feel hard but remember you are doing incredible things and have walked through circumstances beyond your control. Keep walking forward. You can do it. Smiles to all and donut daze!
“Tablet,” Owen said. “Bathroom first,” I somehow magically said. It was close to five in the morning. I’m going with it was a good night’s sleep and he had a good morning. I tried to convince him to go someplace but that was not in the cards. It was Saturday and out of routine. I offered all the usuals and several out of the box ideas but he had three concerns; church on Sunday, school on Monday, and my picking him up on Thursday. My emotions got caught up in the fact that spring break will be here soon. It will be the same as his birthday week and my emotions tumbled more. It’s ten days before his birthday and I have nothing planned for him. What if I plan his party and he refuses to go? I need to overthink it some more. There are so many rules to follow if we go someplace and even more if people go with us. It’s his birthday. I want it to be something he would enjoy. He came to me to show me something on his tablet. He had chocolate milk from ear to ear like one of those handlebar mustaches. He was saying his words so I knew it would be a good time to work on his exercises. I asked him to stick out his tongue. He did it once, barely sticking out his tongue but this was huge progress. A victory for sure. I asked him to do it again and he replied, “almost there time to take a break.” I then asked him to sing his scales. He’s getting really good at this. He started talking about the bugs on his tablet screen and I asked him if he could sing about ladybugs. He stretched the word out like he was singing it in a scale. When he was done he said, “and now hippopotamus” and immediately sang it like it was a scale as well. He then said, “hippopotamus is like a rhino but not like a rhino.” He went back to eating. He then started counting bananas that we don’t have. “One banana two bananas three bananas four bananas five bananas six bananas more,” he sang out like it was a song. And maybe it was one he heard or made up. It’s similar to something else so it could easily be a version of a song he’s heard before. He wanted to take a bath. I was in the middle of finishing something and I told him he could take a bath “in just a minute.” This sent him screaming for me to set a timer and that he would take one tomorrow. If things are not instantaneous sometimes this sends him into a meltdown. I tried to explain to him I was almost done but his meltdown just ramped up more. I got him to breathe and I explained to him that I still had to finish but he would take a bath in a minute. Thankfully he was calmer but he still wanted to take the bath right then. When he was in the bath he was excited about all the bubbles. He wanted to put them on top of his hair and he told me he wanted tomato juice. I tried to have him explain it and I asked him if he wanted to be “red Owen” because a skunk got him, hoping that would help with the connection. He said, “no skunk today red Owen bubbles on his head mirror please.” I’m not sure what it all means but one day he’ll explain it to me. I love that he attempts to comb his hair when he has bubbles on his head. He wants to see the mirror so he can see what he looks like. When he was done he was ready to eat more. I can tell he is growing again. The rest of the day went fast. I tried to keep him up a little later hoping he would sleep past five tomorrow. I heard him talking himself to sleep again. We shall see where the adventures lead after church tomorrow. I have his Spider-Man bike in the car in case he wants to go riding after church. I’m thankful for the songs he sang me and the smiles he left on my heart. Positive words and positive actions equals a positive life. Smiles to all and donut daze!
At some point, Owen got into bed with me. I didn’t move him from the couch last night but instead put tons of pillows and blankets around him and then blocked it so he couldn’t roll off. Thankfully he fell right back asleep and so did I. He hardly wakes up as much now. Years in the making and all thanks to Curious George. I gave him a few extra minutes before we walked out to the bus because of the weather. By the time we got outside the right had stopped but the emotions started flowing right there. He had sat down on the steps, kind of losing his balance, kind of doing it on purpose, then the mud. He was wet and that’s all that he could think about. His bottom was full of “de mud” and we had to change. It was a race of the clock. The only way to keep him from having a complete meltdown was to get him changed in under two minutes and back outside to wait for the bus. We somehow made it. He was upset but wanted to go. That’s what is wonderful about the bus people because they know how to help him and all work with him. But the victory was with me too because I was not wearing blue pants. I suppose technically, they were blue pants but not blue jeans. They were sweatpants. He knew when he came home he wanted to go to the “big slides” and the key was getting him to go. On the way home the bus driver had to make a different turn. When Owen got off the bus he told me all about it. The wrong buildings, the right buildings but the wrong side, the streets backward, the lights not acting right, construction, and the list goes on are all these that can cause huge meltdowns. I breathe. When we walked inside he told me “grandma got hurt.” This meant we may or may not go to the big slides today and may or may not go anywhere tomorrow. Convincing him to want to go someplace is not always the right choice. It can cause more problems and more meltdowns if not in the right order for him. He went to find his pants that he got muddy in the morning and he handed them to me saying “thanks O.” It took us a couple of hours, but he finally decided he wanted to go to the big slides. As we were getting ready to leave, he said he wanted to go on a “pirate hunt,” and he took some “shiny coins” out of his treasure chest. “Ohh shiny coins tooth fairy and the lollipop,” he said, I asked him if he’d rather go on a treasure hunt, than to the big slides. He still wanted to go to the big slides and off we went. Taking him there is both fun and exhausting for both of us. It takes him a while to settle in and then once he does, he continues to look at people's blue or not blue pants. He also will say that he wants to go down the slide and then instead he goes to jump on the trampolines. Either is fine that he does but I try to explain to him that he doesn’t have to call it the opposite of what he’s doing. After being there a little over an hour we left, because I could tell that he was getting to the point where it was sensory overload. He wanted a corndog for his dinner, and I gave him his milk in a cup. Even when he is done with his dinner or snack, he always asked for more of everything that was on his plate and in his cup. He will then leave it sitting on the table without even taking another sip or bite of his food. As he was laying there, getting ready to fall asleep, he continued to tell stories that he’s made up from things he heard by watching videos, reading books, and listening to others. “Do not hurt the bug do you eat insects you eat butterfly do you eat honey bees no you eat insects do you eat ugli fruit” and the story continued too fast for me to write. The day was full, the rollercoaster ride was engaged, and he was smiling for most of it. The smiles, the laughter, the songs that’s what I cling to. There’s no greater gift, than hearing him laugh. When all else fails succeed at something else and always smile. It’s good for your soul. 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.