Category Archives: Melanie’s Insights

Melanie gives thoughts and reflections in her blogs…

unfiltered

 

3725755_orig

It’s the truth I tell you and it’s unfiltered.

Random and usually unspoken.

We have them. Most of the crew just doesn’t share… for all sorts.

Lucky you, I’m not most. <ahem>

If I had a penny for every time someone told me that their own child does the same thing too, I would have gone on every bucket list trip of mine… twice.

It’s not that parts of what is being said are not true, but I can’t help but want to squeeze their head between my thumb and forefinger.

My neck is literally a swivel and I’m sorry if I don’t seem interested in what you are saying. I’m checking and re-checking.

Be prepared for just about anything when you are with us. A potluck dinner if you will, mixed with an array of behavior and emotions all rolled up into an undefined but flavorful dish.

Thank God for the creation of drive-thrus AND safe wide-open spaces.

I know your issues are issues but please don’t tell me how hard it is to decide which sport to choose for your child, soccer or basketball. Or even better, how tired you are of going to the weekend games. For the love.

If you have something high to climb on, be prepared. We climb. Way higher than yours… and no, we won’t sue you.

I’m sorry you didn’t sleep well last night. I haven’t slept in years <smile>

Spur of the moment? What you talkin bout Willis? Pre-planning keeps us all sane.

I’m sorry I had to cancel again. I’ll do it again next time too.

We are late but we are dressed and his hands are only partially down his pants. Are you going to eat that fry?

Oh, this is a great day for us. Can’t you tell?

I dislike ignorance almost as much as the noisy Target cart that always seems to choose me.

What a load off. <smile>

Come on mommas, comment and add to the random truth.

You know you want to.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

hear say

20160125_162110-1

I’ve taken such a nice long break that I forgot my password.

I remembered it. <smile>

It has been good. I needed it. We all need it.

For me, vocalizing is not usually difficult or strained. Facial expressions too… I can’t hide them. Gosh I really can’t.

My husband. If you know him, you know expression is his world. He’s a talker…much, MUCH more than I am. It comes easy.

For William, every word is mainly work. Something for others to hear.

I see the wheels turning, the eyes shifting… I know there are thoughts, but many times it is silence I hear.

With two expressive parents, it must me in his genes somewhere. Trapped at times.

I can’t speak for him, not always the way he would like me to. His sister has, does, and will often. Those two.

My questions are not always the right questions.

But I do try…probing constantly to get a true depictive response from him.

But, those are words. Really, just words.

If I look closer, he speaks often.

Each raised eyebrow, pause, snicker, and hand gesture… speaks to me. It’s loud sometimes and yes, I do sometimes yearn for it to come in one easy box of simply uttered words.

Sometimes it does and I relish…pondering on it for days sometimes. Ok years.

His expressions. I’ve learned to live and breathe for. I’ve learned to hear him with passing hours of no words in sight. It’s all there.

It’s a different bird though and not easily caught.

In fact, I know I have missed it many times by waiting for words.

Don’t get so caught up in the words that you miss the expression.

Sometimes you just need to just shut up to watch the expression unravel. <smile>

You’ll hear so much more.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com
   

believe

imagejpeg_1 - Copy-1-1

The first race he wanted to be with the parked cars in the parking lot.
We had a big team.
Fussing and fighting, I showed him our team…his team.
He stayed in the parking lot.
His team ran well and hard without him but for him.

The second race, I managed to get him out of the parking lot.
He wanted solitude and ate way too many chicken biscuits.
His team ran well and hard without him but for him.

The third race was cccccccold. He said, “I go home” and never stopped. Not even during the consumption of his chicken biscuit, which he squeezed through his fingers and threw on the grass.
He wanted to go home <smile>
His team ran well and hard without him but for him.

The fourth race was a blurr but he watched the race from afar.
His team ran well and hard without him but for him.

The fifth race he laughed a little and hugged the chick-fil-a cow a little too tight.
He ran a little, walked a little, and then I carried him… a little.

This year, his team ran well and hard with him and for him.
His biggest fan ran by his side <smile>

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com
   

july 9, 2015

DSC02944

This date deserves a title. 

He said them.  Those 4 words.  Beautiful words.

Of course I always say them and he says them back.

But, July 9, 2015 was different.  No mimicking.  No prompts.

Just him… spontaneously.

He is nine.

Most of those years, I wasn’t patient.  Outside, yes.  But inside, I was burning and yearning.  It was a  “long term” goal that I was not sure would come to fruition.

It did.  I wasn’t ready.

My hands were drenched in soapy water from the sink and I felt a tap on my shoulder.  “I love you mommy.”  It ended with a kiss on the cheek.

I was distracted and then became undistracted and… undone.  

It reminded me of the days when he was young and we would go over animal noises. For years.

Over and over and over and over and over again to only hear crickets.  Not a word.

One day I was nursing Margaret and he walked in the room, picked up a plush cow toy and said, “The cow says Moo!” and walked out, as if he were telling me with his middle finger pointed upward, “I am listening all of the time.”

I don’t know if or when I will hear those words again.  Speech is complex.

But, I heard them once.  The words came out of his mouth.

When the days are slow and difficult, a sweet gem of a blessing pops up to keep me going.

I know it does for you too.

This just happened to be a big one. <smile>

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com
   

a watchful eye

IMG_2265a copy

To the mother at the Museum of Science and History,

You walked outside while we were eating lunch. You had two children with you.

Your oldest boy was curious and wandering. I watched your youngest girl and thought how well she listened and obeyed you. She reminded me of Margaret so I watched closer.

I noticed how much time you spent with your oldest boy. Watching, closely following… very closely.

I noticed how your youngest just followed in line and…

Well, then I watched you.

I watched your eyes and began to see the picture. I know it well. Your watchful eyes, the concerns, the constant of it all. It was only after watching you that it clicked… autism.

Your oldest was moving about and your watchful eyes spoke thousands.

Once or twice you looked at me but in a flash, your eyes were back on him.

I wanted William to make a sound or move about so you could see that you and I were one.

He was eating.

The only time he is somewhat physically still and free of sound is when he is eating. So, we sat still and I watched some more.

You looked tired. Your watchful eyes looked tired but loving.

Watchful. Tired. Loving.

I hoped for you to have support. I hoped for you to have breaks and time away to recharge.

I hoped for you to have what I have.

William was finished. He leaped up and broke into a sonnet of some sort <smile>

Your eyes watched him. Then your eyes met mine and you smiled a big smile.

It clicked.

Your eyes looked revived.

And I think mine did too… <big smile>

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Special Thanks to Jewett Photography DFW Photographers http://www.jewettphotography.com

the need to create

20141030_160813-2

I’ve always been a creator. Something out of nothing. It’s in my heritage.

As a little girl, my sister and I would invent all sorts. She had a scientific mind and her inventions were “complex.”  Boy she was good.

The ideas for her inventions began with me. I had a ton of ideas.

I knew exactly what to create… always a picture in my mind.

We were… the dynamic duo.

25+ years later, the yearning to create hasn’t changed…. Not one bit.

To create for the joy in a child’s face? YES!! Always.

I’ve always wanted William to be involved in some type of group sport activity after school and to be honest, that idea got pushed aside for a while. We had other important and more top of the list issues to address.

Meanwhile, the need to create was bubbling. It didn’t take long before I got antsy.

Soccer could be good? Kick a ball. Yes, that would work. Ah, but uniforms, competitive teams and weekend games… not so much. Back to pushing it aside for a while.

And then there was Soccer Shots.

Margaret wanted to learn and her school provided an organization perfect for the first timer.

And then there was Coach Chad.

…a bundle of energy, able to rein in various groups, never boring and patient with a “nothing’s impossible” mentality.

After her first practice, my idea was molded in my mind and ready to be created. Done.

“Do you have a team for children with developmental delays?” I asked. He shook his head but looked interested.

My idea was forming faster than my words.

He was willing. He would prepare. He was the perfect one for the job… he just didn’t know it yet. <smile>

That day, we created soccer for children at the Jane Justin School.

That day began with just an idea.

I have a ton of them. <smile> 

What’s your idea? Get to work!

http://www.soccershots.org/wtarrantcounty/local-leadership/

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

the skinny

IMG_0071bw

For some of you just tuning in, I thought it might be good to start from the beginning. You know, for the sake of a new year <smile>

Some of you may not have read the book. Some of you may only know shreds of how this is all pieced together…perfectly under God.

You must know. I must tell you.

After receiving degrees in speech pathology and special education, I was assigned a few clients with special needs.

These children were non-verbal. These children were capable of learning.

These children had autism.

So there I was, 3 months pregnant sitting on shag carpet in the home of one of my clients. She was learning sign language and I was teaching her. As I became more aware of her behavior, likes and dislikes and sporadic movements, autism was becoming a part of my daily intake.

She was challenging but she was learning.

I left that house exhausted. Every time.

I left that house wondering how on earth that mom was surviving. Every time.

Fast forward 6 months later and I was holding my first baby.

William.

He never crawled. He scooted. Sitting up on his own took him a loooong time and we worked on it everyday. Milestones were few and far.

Then I started to see some real stuff.

I started to see some similarities in him and the client I once had.

Once I saw it, it never left. It stayed. It truly lurked behind every moment I had with him.

There I was on the other side of the table. They didn’t teach me this part of the side in grad school…

I couldn’t leave and shut it off until the next day like I did with my client and her mom.

I was that mom.

I never wanted to be that mom.

He began therapy at 16 months and by two and a half, he was officially diagnosed.

That was an early diagnosis at the time. That was over six years ago.

Since then, it’s been twists and turns.

I have a passion. It found me. I didn’t seek it.

Perfectly under God. The buck stops there.

That’s the skinny! Aren’t you glad you know now?

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

get it, got it, good!

DSC00899

At first glance, this just looks like a normal picture…nothing more than a picture. A toss-able one even.  I came across it last week.  Haven’t seen it in years. Oh, but I’ll never forget.

It’s dead-on.

This one is way more than a thousand words people.  This is hard stuff.

His 5th birthday.

I so wanted him to want to open the gift. I tried really hard to get that picture. The one where he is interested, the one where he get’s excited… just one.

There is so much pain there with me looking down.  You can’t really tell… or can you?  I’m trying to keep it together.  I wanted to cry… really hard.  Hysterically, but I kept it together.

He wants to go outside.  I know it.  He doesn’t care about gifts.  I know it.

Birthdays and Christmas’…  I know the drill.

A lot has changed since this picture.  A lot.

It’s still hard. Yes.  And even at nine, I still have to encourage him to open the dadgum gift.

Every year I watch in amazement as his cousin (same age) barrels through his gifts with the wrappings and trimmings flying all over… William’s gifts would still look pristine and intact if I didn’t coerce just a titch.

But, I do know certain gifts he prefers. <converse shoes> always and forever…

They are never really toys.  He doesn’t “play” with toys.

Some of his favorites include plastic spoons, an eraser, and a mangled hairbrush that he has managed to keep for two years now and I am currently contemplating on getting a new one.  Or does the old one carry meaning?… we’ll see. <smile>

When you start realizing what they do like…even if it sounds ridiculous, get it.

When it seems silly and not so age appropriate anymore, get it.

When you can’t think of anything to buy, dig deep for it. It’s there, get it.

There is always something that is of interest. It may not be what you want them to want, but… it’s not about you.

One of my all-time favorite posts is Merry Christmas, Here’s Your Spoon!

It still holds true today on many levels.  You can end some of the pain by digging for what really brings them joy.

These days, we are all about experiences. Trampoline parks, zoo trips, museums of all sorts, and swimming… anything active.

Although it may seem boring to open up a card with an “experience” inside, the smile on his face when we are actually experiencing the preferred above activities is unstoppable.

I’ll be sure to take a picture.  It will look nothing like this one <smile>

Merry Christmas!!

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

 

my forty, niner

IMG_8198

Many of you may not know that my two special men were born on the same day.

When told, some say, “Ohhh… they have to share the day.”                                 Others have big eyes, wide mouth grins and shake their heads in disbelief.

Everyone has an opinion about this twosome event.

But, I’ve always thought this to be quite a special time.

William was born a few days early… smack dab on my husband’s birthday. Yep.

And while this time can be a little crazy <more coffee please, I mean wine, ok fine… coffee> for me trying to make both of my boys feel extra special, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a connection… and I’m always scouting for ways to connect them.

This is one of them.

In so many ways, my two are alike.

Their smiles and big ole’ chocolate brown eyes. Yes, both utterly handsome.    Just speaking the truth people.

They both love attention.  Like, love it.  Thrive on it.

I didn’t see it in William at first, with autism always trying to get in the way of it.

It is there.

He loves to perform and the applauds are never enough.

They both have sense of humors that make me laugh loudly.                                         It takes a special kind of humor… they are teasers, pokers, prodders. <smile>

I can’t get away from it.

I see it.

As he continues to grow, I continue to see the personality that so desires to come out.

I get to see flashes of it and it settles me.  For a while at least.

I live for the moments when I see the likeness of my two.

It is there.

How incredibly blessed I am for my two.

Happy Birthday to my Forty and Niner.

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Photography by the famous Callie Shepherd at www.callieshepherd.com

the voice

IMG_2370a

I’ve thought a lot about conversations that could’ve, should’ve , would’ve.

The pitch, the inflection…the whole shebang.

What could he tell me about the years past?

I’ve thought a lot about it.

I have so many questions.

I think it would look like a piece of this…

ME: Why don’t you like opening gifts?

HIM: I think gift wrap is stupid. I don’t understand why people buy it and make it look nice and then tear it all up. It takes too much time and I want to be outside anyways.

ME: Why do you cry when someone on TV falls down?

HIM: I think it is real and I feel sorry for that person. It kinda scares me.

ME: Why do you have to look at your lunch every morning before school?

HIM: Because I really don’t like turkey sandwiches…you pack them because the school has a “no nut” policy but I like peanut butter and I wish I could have one.

Bless him… he does get them on the weekends.

ME: Why do you smile so big at girls?

HIM: I like pretty girls. I really like girls with long hair. I like when they say hello to me. I just want to stand next to them.

ME: Why is it difficult for you to pay attention?

HIM: I listen to what people say… a lot. I listen even when I don’t look at your eyes. <smile> I like my world better. It’s easier. Your world is busy and confusing to me at times. I wish everyone would just be quiet and stop talking.

ME: Why do you get frustrated when I ask you questions?

HIM: If you only knew how hard it is for me. I have to think about the question and then think about how to answer it and then actually form words into a sentence that you are happy with so you will stop asking me more questions. It’s totally exhausting for me. Can I just go outside and play?? <smile>

ME: Why do you hum when you eat cracker products?

HIM: I love a cracker. All is good and right when I can eat a cracker. Plus, I like to hum. Can I have a cracker??

ME: How do you feel when I pick out your clothes, Halloween costumes, etc?

HIM: I really don’t care about clothes. I do like shoes though. Converse are my favorite. I don’t care about the costume… I just want the candy. Put me in anything as long as I can eat a Twix.

ME: Why do you like being at home so much?

HIM: I love my house. It’s nice and clean. It makes me feel safe and I know what to expect. I’m tired after school. Please don’t run errands after school… It’s such a beat down.

ME: Do you like it when I love on you and make you give me hugs?

HIM: I am used to it. You make me love on you all of the time. It’s your way to connect with me. I really do like your hugs and I like to play with your hair.

ME: Why don’t you like Legos?

HIM: I hate Legos. If the pieces don’t fit right, I want to squeeze them and break them. I’m sorry to burst your autism stereotype, but I hate Legos.

ME: How do you feel about Margaret?

HIM: She’s pretty bossy. I like when she is outside with me. I like that we share a room. She talks a lot but that’s ok. Sometimes I hide her things and smile about it. I’m still her big brother….

Actions do speak. He must have a loud voice. <smile>

To read more blogs from Melanie, Seth and TheFowler4Group, check out their Website (www.lookatmyeyes.com) and while you’re there, buy a copy of their book, “Look At My Eyes”.  Or find them on YouTube.  To contact TheFowler4 Group email: info@thefowler4group.com

Special Thanks to Jewett Photography DFW Photographers http://www.jewettphotography.com