School is in Session – An Adventures with Tootles Tale!

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!)  Mommy needed a little break on Thursday this week! So here it is now… Please enjoy”Adventures with Tootles”

When I first met Tootles I really thought that he didn’t like me. I was new and he wasn’t familiar with me and would ask me to “go away.” As time progressed we became great buddies and he has taught me all sorts of awesome things. Here are a few things that I have learned from the coolest four year old ever:

1. How to cuss in public without getting “in trouble”

When Tootles gets mad he doesn’t use regular cuss words, he says FIRE TRUCK!! What noise does the fire truck make!?!”  So, when I’m out at the DMV or in line at the grocery store and someone is invading my personal space, I’ll say “What noise does the fire truck make?”  It seems to be pretty fail proof.  I get a weird look and the person behind me usually takes a step back.

2. How to get what I want without being direct.

Tootles asks things by using the second person voice. He asks “Are you hungry?” He is the one that is hungry. “Do you want to play iPad?” I don’t but I’m sure that he does. So, I got to thinking one day and started asking my boyfriend, “Do you want ice cream?” He will say something to the effect of “Um, sure?” SWEET! Cause I know that I sure do!

Do you want ice cream?

Look!! It worked!

3.  How to get people to GO AWAY

Tootles has a very intriguing personality. If he likes someone they will know it and will feel his love.  If he doesn’t like someone they will definitely get the picture! He will ask them to leave.  Even if he loves someone, sometimes, they can get the boot!

For example, Tootles sometimes just wants to hang with his ladies.  Dad cramps his style. So, I’ve heard him say, “Daddy, GO AWAY!, GET LOST, DADDY!” “Goodbye!” He has this inflection that shows that he is not kidding.  The consequences of not listening will be losing a limb, or something equally as valuable.

I am in the process of mastering this inflection. There is a guy at the office who really gets under my skin, sometimes. So, I’ll just pull out the trusty old Tootles’ method. “GO AWAY Billy!! GOODBYE!”  This tends to work for me.  I have started to notice that even when I start to look slightly irritated and just say good bye, Billy will flee for safety of his limbs.

"So I just tell him to go away?"

Tootles has taught me lots of things over the years.  I’m sure that there are many more things to come. I’m just super stoked that Tootles is my teacher!

[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 for your unending and much appreciated concern for me and my family during this very difficult time.  Mom is almost nearing discharge and we are actually nervous about taking her home.  But hey, it’s home!!  Today is her 14th day in the hospital.  While a “skilled facility” was recommended, she is going home instead (knock on wood) where she will receive home health care and physical therapy.]


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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13 Responses to School is in Session – An Adventures with Tootles Tale!

  1. This is great, I love to see the unconditional acceptance of Tootles. I will apply the lessons learned in my own life. Especially the one about getting rid of people. And ice cream.

  2. Lizbeth says:

    I love it! We found that if you do a hand flourish (think Harry Potter) with the GO AWAY/GET LOST it works wonders.

  3. Sarah Ruth says:

    That’s so awesome. My dad and my sister do the ice cream thing too. LOL!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really enjoyed this post.

  4. Big Daddy says:

    Karen, so glad your mom is going home.

    I’ve been using the “Go Away” method with Lynn for months and it just isn’t working. She is apparently a tougher nut to crack than that push over, Billy.

    • It seems like you know Billy! You have to do the inflection with the “go away” let her know that you mean it!! Or just ask her if she wants ice cream, maybe she’ll GO get some!

  5. Tam says:

    hehe this was really cute

    continuing to keep your mom & family in prayer

  6. Grace says:

    I don’t know who is more awesome in this post, Tootles or Jessica. . .OK, it’s Tootles, but Jessica totally rocks, too. Can I borrow one – or both – of them?? Because I know some people I want to go away too. And I’ve developed a sudden craving for ice cream.

    • Swimswithoctopus says:

      I like to think that it is a close tie between Tootles and I for coolest! (although I know that Tootles ultimately wins, I want think that I taught him some of his cool!)

  7. bbsmum says:

    Jessica, you sound lovely. Anyone who can adapt autism’s lessons to get herself more ice cream is my kind of person!

  8. eof737 says:

    This is hysterical … and very wise. Lots of lessons we can all learn and use. Good job Jessica and Tootles! 🙂

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