They played video games, sang songs and hung out. Jessica spent a lot of time taking care of Toots when I was in trial last year, right after she found out she was pregnant.
For those of you who are not familiar with Jessica, she is a legal assistant in our office and guest posted regularly here before she had her baby in April of this year. You can get a sample of her stories here and here.
Now, Tootles knew there was a baby in Jessica’s tummy. He would say, “The baby is in there!” and point at her tummy. When she was further along, he would say, “The baby is swimming in there!” Once Jessica was on maternity leave, we told Tootles it was because she was having the baby. It was coming out of her tummy. He didn’t ask any more questions but from time to time, during her absence, he would tell me he loved her or ask me if he loved her (also his way of saying he missed her).
I didn’t really think too much of the whole baby thing other than to think of how exciting it would be to see Toots get to interact with a cute little baby. Jessica and I talked about how Toots and her baby would form a little baby gang and hang out together. I was very excited that she would be coming by a few weeks after giving birth with the baby! I shared the news with Tootles expecting (foolishly) that he would be just as excited.
“NO BABY!! NO BABY!!” He was freaked out. Shocked. Terrified and shaking.
Maybe, I thought, he simply did not know what a baby was…? Or, uh… well, I didn’t know.
We waited (me a little bit on pins and needles) as she was set to come in the afternoon. As a bit of a precaution, I let the ABA tutors know about his apprehension. They agreed that, if necessary, they would prepare him further and perhaps, do a program. Everyone was laughing at the possibility that Toots would be afraid of a baby. Everyone but me…
The end of the day came at about 4 p.m. and, no Jessica, so we started out the door of the office to go home. Just as we went outside, Jessica walked up with the baby carrier from the car. Immediately, I felt something clinging to me with the Defcon 1, death grip. With the clinging was shaking and screaming, “Car!!” “Car!!” “Go to the White CAR!” “GO!!” He was shrieking as well and pointing to our vehicle. Luckily, I had previously visited with Jessica when Toots was in school and did not want to upset the baby, so I complied.
Now, you all may need to look away, lest you be terrorized and terrified at the sight of what took the blood right from my son’s face and struck him with such fear:
I have never watched the movie, “Alien” with him, around him, near him or talked about it. We don’t own any Alien movies and he would have no opportunity to see a commercial about the movie, but I’m imagining that might be what he is thinking.
After all, he knew the baby to live inside Jessica’s tummy. Obviously, since the baby was able to make it’s way out of that- it must possess some super human strength and power. He may just claw his way into Toots’ tummy!
Now that Jessica has returned to work, there is a precarious relation between the two of them. When he is home, he professes his love for Jessica. Sometimes, he will say, “Do you love the baby?” and then answer “yes,” when asked the question back. But in the bright light of day, he has a new routine.
When he arrives in the office, he nonchalantly walks straight into Jessica’s office. He does not just greet her and move on. He inspects her office, walking all the way next to her and, with the preparation of an Olympic runner, looks under the desk to assure no hidden baby lurks under her desk space. When he is satisfied she passes inspection, he ignores her and slowly walks out.
Yep. That’s love there.
Don’t worry. ABA actually is going to work a program for this. He will be allowed to greet her from the doorway. He can ask if the baby is here, but not invade her personal space to inspect her desk for baby contraband. Although, I can see several career opportunities for him should the program be ineffectual. Good thing he’s an only child, eh?