Jessica is my 4 year old son’s 25 year old best friend. She teaches him appropriate times to use cool words like “Scrilla scrill!” and “Come on!” when playing video games, shares snacks with him, runs around with him, and acts as his “reward” when he completes a behavioral therapy program. She gets together with “Tootles” as she calls him, weekdays at the office where we work and sometimes, on weekends at home.
Jessica is a regular contributor to this blog. Her posts appear here every other Saturday (and give Mommy a little break!) Due to unforeseen circumstances, Jessica’s post missed the Saturday post.
So here it is now… Please enjoy”Adventures with Tootles”
Tootles is a very loved little boy. His parents love him a lot. So much, in fact, that they do family hugs and kisses and all that jazz. Tootles eats it up. He is not at the age yet that it is uncool or embarrassing. He loves kisses and hugs and to be picked up and tickled and all the great stuff that comes with being a kid.
Tootles especially loves kissing. It’s his favorite. He likes to give kisses as much as he loves to get them, although his technique is a little off. If he wants to kiss you, he will look at you really intently, and then keep his mouth slightly open (usually with candy or something stuck to the side of his mouth) and smash his face (and the stuck on food) onto your face. It’s cute. Anyways.
His daddy started a funny little thing called “kiss sandwich”. Tootles LOVES the kiss sandwich! The kiss sandwich consists of his mom kissing one cheek, and his dad kissing the other, and Tootles in the middle, having the biggest smile ever!
Tootles loves his kiss sandwich so much that he asks for it ALL the time. It’s cute so no one minds. (Plus, he has super chubby baby cheeks still.) Well, Tootles decided that when daddy was busy working, he had to find a person to man the other cheek. Smart boy! Gotta keep the kisses coming!
Naturally, I was his lady. I don’t mind either. I LOVE kissing those chubby little cheeks! Tootles would ask mommy and me to do kiss sandwich!! It was great. He would laugh and keep saying, “You want a kiss sandwich?” Of course! I’ll never get too full for a kiss.
Well, one day, he wanted like 10 kiss sandwiches in a row!! So, of course, we made 10 kiss sandwiches. He was laughing and kept laughing and repeating himself. Then he yelled out MOMMY AND JESSICA KISS!
Me and Tootles’ mommy looked at each other and started laughing! UMMM, sorry Tootles but NO!! Yikes. I know that I said I would never get too full, but I think I was too full for that kiss!
[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.]
[PPS – Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kind words of support in this very difficult time. I spent most of the night in the ICU with my mom and dad. She had a setback. We were required to leave and I brought my dad home with me. It is 1:00 a.m. as I prepare to insert this post, raining pouring. We go back to ICU soon this morning and I will update as I can. I can never express how much your words and love mean to me!]