I know I’m just starting out in the blogosphere but I’ve already figured out this neat little trick called “Guest Posts”. Another Karen (actually Caryn) told me all about them. This is where I can take a moment to catch my breath and let someone else tell a story. Pretty neat, huh?
I thought it a bit early to start such a tradition since I’m so new and all but there’s this pushy young woman I know who is my son’s closest and best friend who has begged, pleaded and groveled to tell a story about her friendship with my son. She is for all intents and purposes, family, loves and accepts my son without any conditions, and he loves her back with pure innocent adoration! She’s blunt, bossy, and very funny. So, after much negotiation, she secured today’s post… We hope you enjoy Jessica’s Adventures with Tootles…..
One of the best things about where I work is that my little buddy, “Tootles”, as I call him, “works” with me. Tootles and I are best buddies. Well, about as best of buddies as a 4 year old and 24 year old can be.
Tootles has autism. I don’t really care. I just thought that you should know. Apparently, some people think this is a HUGE deal but I say, SO WHAT? And this is exactly what I told Tootles’ mommy when she told me he has autism. So what? He’s the same as everyone else. He’s actually better because, after all, he is my best buddy! He has a favorite restaurant, likes hugs when he is sick, has a favorite toy and he gets upset when he doesn’t get his way. But, now that you know he has autism, in case this makes Tootles or my story any less awesome to you, then you don’t deserve to hear what I have to say, so please stop reading. PS – if that is how you feel – you suck.
A lot of mornings, me, Tootles and Tootles’ mommy, go for coffee at the mall. We walk through Nordstrom and always get our coffee at the coffee shop there.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: If you have ever been to Target you know that in the kid section they have all the COOLEST toys (and the most expensive) in this plexiglass case and you hit the red button and the toy does whatever awe-inspiring junk it’s supposed to do. Well, just before Christmas, they had Stinky the Garbage Truck in this plexiglass case. You push the red button and Stinky rolls around and farts. For some reason, Stinky was all the rage this past holiday. Tootles wanted one more than he wanted chocolate ice cream for dinner every night for a month!
So, one day just before Christmas, Tootles and I are on our regular walk through Nordstrom. Tootles’ mommy went to get coffee at the coffee shop. We were walking and I happened to spot some SUPER awesome cocktail rings. Nordstrom was very quiet. I dragged Tootles over to the rings. (For some reason, he was not as thrilled as me about the rings?!?) We/I were looking at the rings and Tootles was talking to himself about whatever. (I was unable to pay attention due to the bling). Tootles turns to me and yells out, “YOU FARTED!” He starts laughing and then says “You are Stinky!”
I immediately snapped out of my cocktail ring coma and looked up to see the lady behind the jewelry counter making the “I’m gonna barf” face and scowling at me at the same time. Yes, I know, quite a feat to make two hideous faces at once!!
EEK!! My face was red with mortification. I scoop Tootles up in my arms and start running out of the store while he laaaauuuggghhhs and keeps saying, “You are sooo stinky!” Finally, after what was probably the longest run in my life (I was so mortified – the door couldn’t have been farther away?), I put Tootles down and tried to catch my breath.
We sat there for a minute. I looked at him and asked, “Did you fart, Stinky?” We started laughing, super hard.
Tootles got Stinky for Christmas. Ironically, as with most other kids, after he got Stinky, he just didn’t care about him anymore. Now, since the Stinky infatuation is over, I don’t worry too much about being called out for “farting” in front of stuffy old women. SWEET!
[Solodialogue’s Note: Jessica’s Adventures with Tootles shows what I consider a very healthy, accepting and nonjudgmental relationship by someone who knew my son, but did not know autism and then has the word “autism” introduced into the equation. True, that when I told her of his diagnosis, I was a little taken aback at her blunt – so what- approach. But since that day, she has shown me how adding a “label” to certain behaviors does not have to change a relationship between my son and others and between others and me. She’s shown me that autism is irrelevant to who we really are inside. And she’s shown me that what I sometimes view with worry and fear, can be viewed with laughter, tickles, and love.]