Jessica is my 4 year old son’s 24 year old best friend. She teaches him cool words like “Scrill!” and “Come on!” to use during video game play. She gets together with “Tootles” as she calls him, weekdays at the office where we work and sometimes on weekends at home.
Due to the popularity of “Adventures with Tootles”, Jessica has become a regular contributor to this blog. Her posts will appear here every other Saturday (and give Mommy a little break!)
Please enjoy”Adventures with Tootles”
My little buddy, Tootles used to love to play doctor. Although I didn’t really think that it was “doctor”. It was more like “torture me ’til I run for a BandAid”…
Tootles has a doctor kit that his parents bought. I think that they want him to be a doctor. Anyways, the only thing that he really liked about being a doctor was taking temperatures. Even though he had the kit, he uses his hand, specifically his pointer finger. His parents have one of those scan thermometers where they run it across your forehead. This is the only way he knows how to take a temperature. So, he would take his pointer finger, with his little razor sharp baby nails, and slide it across my forehead and say, “You wanna take your temperature?”
Since Tootles and I are such good friends, I let him practice his future profession on me. He would sit on my lap and squirm around ’til he got into the perfect position – where both of his bony little knee caps were imbedded into my thighs and I could feel my muscles being ripped from body. Then, he would whip out his pointer finger like he had never been so ready for anything in his whole life. He would glide it across my forehead, not knowing that he was splitting my skin as he went along. With such pride, he would look at me after and say “Wanna take your temperature?” this meant that he wanted to do it again…
I like to think that I am a good sport and a good buddy, so I usually let him. After about the 8th time, I would pretend that I was all better! “Oh Tootles, you are such a GOOD doctor!!” I would say. He would hop down and run off looking for his next
I would then try to reattach my thigh muscles so that I could go try and find a BandAid that I could adhere to my forehead to stop the bleeding without looking too conspicuous.
Tootles is such a professional. He cares a great deal about his patients. So much so in fact, that he comes back later in the day to check in on me. He asks, “You wanna take your temperature?” I smile. He climbs up on me again, squirming into the perfect position to separate my muscle from the bone and checks my temperature. At this rate, Ill have to go to the doctor for real!!
Luckily, Tootles hasn’t played doctor in a while. I am so very grateful, I was starting to get concerned that he might graduate to taking my blood pressure or God forbid, SURGERY!
[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.]