Knock, knock. Who’s There? Just let me in!!!

I’ve said it before, much of what Tommy talks about is a rolling script he’s been playing on loop in his head. To that, much of it is appropriately used in what you could be fooled into thinking is a conversation. Spend some time with him and you’ll pick up on from where he’s getting his scripts.

I can vividly remember a few years back taking a course that, for a a teacher, would be considered professional development. For parents, it was part of the code to unlocking your child’s world. “More Than Words.” The course was offered to parents of children in the collaborative where Tommy goes to school. It was there I met some amazing Moms, one of which is part of the ever exclusive ‘Mom Tribe’ I belong to. I digress.

Tommy had only been in the Collaborative, at age 3, for 2 weeks or so when I started that course. I felt so exposed answering questions in front of other parents I didn’t know. The woman teaching the course asked us all to share what we wanted most from this particular class or from our children; whatever we were comfortable with sharing.

When it was my turn, I choked. I finally responded and I felt embarrassed, but I desperately wanted Tommy to have a spontaneous conversation with me. I mean, a real, meaningful conversation. I’m still waiting.

However, through that course and our experience, I have learned to read Tom. He can complain (mostly about James) and fight with Will. He can cry when he’s hurt, mad or upset. He laughs when he thinks something is funny or he wants you to think it’s funny. He loves knock, knock jokes. He talks to himself. He’ll tell you what he’s done over the weekend even though it never happened (we’ve just figured out it’s what he wants to do, but he tells it as if it has happened). Ughh, just let me in, Thomas! Just for a second!!!

About a month ago, I was putting Tommy into bed. He’s seven and small for his age. I still carry his limp body from his heavy night meds up the stairs to tuck him in under 15lbs of weighted blankets. He rolled over and looked up at me that night with a look I had never seen before and haven’t since. It’s indescribable. He said “it’s lonely at night, Mom.” My heart broke. I knew what he meant, but I asked him anyway. He said he doesn’t like being awake all night while everyone sleeps. His meds (which would put you or me to sleep for days) wear off in a few short hours and he’s up much of the night. As quickly as Tommy let me in, I was shut out again. I went to my room and cried. In seven years, that was the realest Tommy has ever been and I can’t even put it into words. But trust, it was more than words.

Since that night, we’ve gone back to trying to read Tommy. “Whatcha thinking about, Tom?” That gets one of two answers every time. 1) Grandma Jean or 2) everything.

He’s in there, though. I saw it that night. I felt it, too.

When I got home from the hospital last week after being gone for two days, Tommy eventually came over and laid down on the couch next to me. He was very careful not to touch. I think it was his way of saying he missed me. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

My favorite scripted joke from Muppet Babies:

Waldorf: “What smells bad?”

Statler: “Maybe it’s one of the bear’s jokes. They’re all bad!”

Both: Dohhhhh!


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