On Monday afternoon, my son’s Little Gym sports class put on a “show.”  The show was for parents as kind of a finale, to show off the degree of skill the kids had acquired over the course of the class.  It involved running “bases” for baseball and mock hitting with a “swim noodle” in place of a bat.  The kids used hockey sticks to make a goal, and putted a golf ball.  It was very adorable.

You know which one is mine... Gym Class Awards.

During the course of the “show”, the teacher would explain things to the parents using the words “moms” and “dads”.  My husband, Tootles‘ daddy, has been in trial since the beginning of the month.  This means he is in Court five days a week and does not return home until 6-8 p.m.  He then works upstairs until midnight.  On the weekends, he’s been working at the office and then returning home to go upstairs and work again til midnight.

Tootles does not like it.  At all.  He misses his daddy.

With Daddy.

During the show, he turned to his tutor and said that he missed his daddy.  I was there but mom is always there.  This is sports stuff and I think he really wanted his dad to see what he learned, even though he did not express that in so many words.  Daddy is the one who plays baseball and golf, not mom.

Each night, when his daddy gets home, my son runs to him and talks to his dad about whatever he wants his daddy to do at that very moment.  It always begins with wanting to go upstairs because he knows this is where daddy goes when he gets home.  Daddy always makes time for the little guy, even if only for 20 minutes or so.  They disappear together and then daddy returns our son to me so he can work.

After the return, my son does try to amuse himself when I am doing some chore or writing.  Otherwise, we do something together of our own.  During these evenings, at some point, he will always talk about wanting to go upstairs again.  I have to tell him he can’t.  But he’s mastered a new technique.  He will yell to his daddy upstairs.  “DADDY!”

We both actually love hearing it because it is a skill that took him four years to acquire.  He never used to yell for either of us and we are simply happy that he does this “daddy yell” now.

When Daddy does not come running downstairs, my son will repeat it.  When Daddy yells back, ”What is it?” the little guy yells, “Daddy, I want some apple juice!”  My husband, like a sucker, comes downstairs.  Usually, my son has a fresh glass of apple juice right in front of him.  The little guy knows a request for apple juice will get his daddy’s attention.

This whole month has been chaotic for my son because of this trial.  Jessica has been working at the courthouse for the whole month.  Billy is away from the office studying for the Bar Exam in July.  It is very quiet in our office and I have been left to run what is left going on while taking my son to all his therapies.

On Fridays, during the trial, the courtroom has been “dark”.  This means that there is no jury trial on Fridays so my son has been able to see Jessica.  You might think this would make him happy.  Instead, it is confusing and overwhelming.

Jessica is excited to see Tootles, pick him up and hug and hold him.  He smiles and then he wants her to hold him all day long.  He wants to climb in her lap and have her baby snuggle, tickle and play with him.  She can do this for only moments and then she must go back to work.  This causes my son severe emotional anxiety.  He is excited to see Jessica and then Jessica becomes “unavailable” to him for reasons he cannot understand.  He doesn’t actually have a meltdown about this.  He does cry, but in a quiet way that makes it clear there is no panic, no anger, just sadness.  I feel it right along with him and it breaks my heart.

Eating foreign food just to hang with Jessica on Saturday during trial...

He’s started repeating “Daddy and Jessica are using the vacuum cleaner”.  When our office was broken into the night before Easter, shortly before trial, we all came to the office.  There was broken glass all over the carpet in my husband’s office.  I took my son out so he would not get hurt and then both Daddy and Jessica used the vacuum.  My son is scared of the vacuum at the office because it is (horribly) loud.  I think he’s made some kind of connection between the horrid sound of the vacuum and their disappearance every day for trial.  But despite this scary connection, my son’s bravery and desire to see them both has surpassed his fear.

This week when I’ve pick him up from preschool, we’ve headed over to the office for his ABA sessions as we usually do.  Each day in the car he has asked if Jessica and Daddy are back at the office.  I have to tell him they are not back yet.  This week I told him, “Daddy and Jessica are not there today.  They are in court.”  I knew he has never been to court and does not know what it is, but I thought it would be good for him to hear this information.


Some kids might ask questions about what court is and what their daddies do there.  My son does not ask these questions.  Instead, he paused, turning his head to the side as he usually does when he is pondering.  Then he said to me, quite excitedly, “Wanna go to court!!  Wanna go to court!!”

Uh, yeah – no.  But it was pretty cute.  This trial better hurry up and finish.  Otherwise, there’s going to be a new lawyer on our team and I’m not quite sure how that will work out.


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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23 Responses to Court.

  1. Ok… first off — I LOVE the pondering picture. God, Karen, he is SO CUTE!

    And the daddy thing… Little Miss has a similar thing with her daddy. LM’s daddy doesn’t work as much as T’s dad, but LM missis him so much! All day long, I hear “where daddy at?” and the worst is when she goes to the garage door and cries. “Daddy, I NEED me daddy!”

    You’re right about it being bitter sweet. I love how much she loves him. I love that she misses him when he’s gone. And it makes me so sad to see her missing him.

    In one way, we’re really really lucky. Daddy’s office is about two miles from our house. Sometimes, we can stop in and visit him. Little Miss loves it.

    Hopefully, your husband’s trial will be over soon and T can go back to seeing his daddy at the office. Hugs to you both!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you Karla!! Just make sure to have Little Miss ready for her date with Tootles when they are – hmmm- 25 or so… 😉

      I’ve always felt like daddies and their daughters have something special and different and I think it’s adorable that Little Miss adores her daddy so much! My son loves manipulating daddy – and I think that’s why he misses him a lot. He gets away with a lot more on daddy time than mommy time! Is it just me or is everyone’s house like that?

  2. Heather says:

    Awww poor guy! It’s hard not being able to bond with your favorite people.

    He is sooo cute though- I just wanna give him some snuggles!!

    • solodialogue says:

      Don’t feel too bad. Daddy finished closing argument (finally!) and is now just waiting for the jury… So the little guy is upstairs right now with a cup of apple juice! (He would welcome your snuggles Heather! I can tell!)

  3. Lizbeth says:

    It’s a hard one….my husband works long hours and his time with the kids is limited too. The kids work through it but it seems extra hard on Alex. The trial will be over soon!

    • solodialogue says:

      Alex and Tootles need to hang while their daddies work! Why don’t you live closer to me?! (Oh yeah – might be a lot of crazy deer and birds to contend with…) – Just kidding! 🙂

  4. Teresa says:

    One of the most challenging things, that affects all the autistic people I know, is how to handle emotion. It is for Matthew, still a major issue. He loves his daddy. In fact, all day long I hear, “Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?” He knows Dad is at work but he still misses him. But when Daddy finally comes home Matthew runs and hides or covers his face. He doesn’t know what to do with the emotion. Once he greets a person he then is okay.

    Yesterday, we were out shopping and met up with Dad at the store. Matthew was not prepared for it. While we talked, he kept standing looking in the corner or at the floor. Finally, I realized the problem and reminded hubby to actually greet Matthew. When he did, Matthew gave him a hug and then was fine. It’s a problem for Grandma, Grandpa, certain aunts and friends. People are often offended at first, until they understand.

    A more worrisome issue, because Matthew is nonverbal, is that if he were lost he wouldn’t respond (or would hide) from a known rescuer. I used to give lectures to Search and Rescue groups about seeking a special needs person. This was a point they really needed to understand.

    • Teresa says:

      Whoops, I hit the wrong button. Just wanted to wish you continued successes and, of course, continued patience!

      • solodialogue says:

        Matthew sounds like such a sweetheart! I’m glad you were able to do some lecturing to rescuers about helping a special needs person who is lost. Does Matthew keep an ID card on him or in his clothing? My husband’s shirts all have his name in marker pen on the inside in case they get lost at the cleaners (What? You think I’m ironing?! Not.a.chance!) Thank you for your kind wishes. Trial is almost over – hooray!

      • Teresa says:

        Matthew wears an ID bracelet. A problem with autistic kids is that they often are very sensitive (or have nimble fingers and take it off.) When he was young he couldn’t tolerate it on his wrist…kept messing with it, so we put it on his ankle. He has gone through several as they eventually wear thin. He wears it on his wrist now. It’s a really good safety tool. You can get them through companies that keep lots of details or just a phone number. And prices run the gamut.

  5. Awww, hang in there Tootles (and mama). It’s so hard to explain to them when they don’t quite understand where people are going or for how long.

    • solodialogue says:

      I know! He has no clue what his daddy does for a living or what Court is! It’s hard enough to get him to understand what day of the week it is! Someday….

  6. OMum22 says:

    Love the pondering picture so much! I hope the trial ends soon, it really must put so much on your plate, as well as having the emotional drain caused by the absence of others. You’re doing so well, with so much on your plate.

    This post really brought a lump to my throat. I just got out of tax season and I know what it’s like to be away from the little people in your life due to work. It’s tough. Kudos to your husband for working from home so he can spend some time with the little man. I wish I had the discipline to do that but I can’t – if I’m home then I can’t concentrate!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks Deanne! If he did not do some work from home, he’d end up sleeping at the office! Court is 9-5 and then work from 6-12!

      I think you may get a kick out of this – All about the trial…

      But really? Being a mom is a 1000x harder. That’s why I so admire you for working so hard for your boys! Someday, they will understand and appreciate all you are doing! I completely believe that about our kids. 🙂

  7. Grace says:

    Little boys just need their dads. This is true of all boys.

    Because of my situation, my son goes as much as 6 days without seeing his dad. He asks me EVERY MORNING “is my dad gonna pick me up today?”

    Hopefully this trial will end soon so things can get back to normal and your son won’t have to appear in court.

    • solodialogue says:

      Aww, Ryan is welcome to come hang out with the Tootles any time!! The trial is in the hands of the jury right now and the Toot is driving his daddy nuts right now as we speak (Mwahahaha!)

  8. Amanda says:

    I feel for you. It’s really tough when we can’t fully explain things to our kids yet.

  9. TootlesDaddy says:

    I miss time with Tootles as well! We will be playing golf this weekend so I can see all of his new techniques!

  10. Kelly says:

    Aww…poor Tootles. It is so hard to explain why Daddy’s away. The Hubs has a four month deployment coming up, loooong working hours, followed by a full year of underway periods of varying lengths. It’s hard on everyone in the family, that’s for sure.

    Stay strong, Tootles! (and Karen, Daddy, et al.)

    • solodialogue says:

      Whoa, Kelly! That’s a long time away. It makes this trial seem like nothing. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. We’re doing good! I hope Yoda helps gets the boyos prepared for all the many changes coming your way. I’ll be here to hold a virtual hand whenever you need me! 🙂 ❤

  11. eof737 says:

    Good to read about your son and his ever busy dad… I enjoyed this post and the picture of them together was just precious! 😉

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