a rascal among us


It’s Monday night.

Brooke and I are playing Backyardigan’s Memory. The cards are all over the place. I can’t remember where anything is.

I turn over Safari Tasha. I’m fairly certain that we’ve seen her recently. I look in the general direction in which I’m sorta kinda maybe thinking her match might be.

Brooke points at a card.

“This one, Mama!” she says, pointing emphatically. “Try this one!”

I turn the card over, only to find a sledding Tyrone staring back at me.

She grins.

I turn my mismatched pair back over.

Like a cat, she pounces on the card right next to sledding Tyrone and turns it over, just as she flips its match, the Safari Tasha that had seconds ago been in my hand.

“I got Tasha!” she yells. “And now I go uh-gin uh-gin uh-gin.”

“Excuse me, Miss,” I say. “Did you know that was there?”

“I wanted it,” she says. “Tasha is my favorite.”

I’m trying hard not to smile.

“So you pointed to the wrong card on purpose?” I ask.

“Yeah,” she says, gleefully turning over another card. “No match! I don’t go uh-gin uh-gin uh-gin!”

“Young lady,” I say, “you are a rascal.”

In a pitch perfect imitation of Elmo talking to Drawer in Elmo’s World Hair she says, “Aw, go on witcha!”

I’m doing my best to look appalled, but I can’t stop laughing.




Tuesday afternoon.

My phone signals – “Katie has sent you drawing!”

I open the Draw Something app.

The photo above is what I find.

I say out loud, “What the heck? My Draw Something is in Spanish!”

The critter next to me lets out a giggle.

“Brooke,” I ask, incredulous. “Did you change the language on my phone to Spanish?”

The giggle turns into a full on belly laugh.

“Brooke!” I exclaim, “HOW did you know how to do that?”

She’s laughing too hard to answer.


I believe we have officially dispensed with Autistic Myth #472 – People on the Autism Spectrum lack a sense of humor. And, just for bonus points, I believe we’ve taken down the whole Theory of Mind malarkey along with it. Because for this particular kind of humor — the rascally kind, you can’t really have one without the other.

Brooke, meet Sally and Anne. Sally and Anne, might I suggest you watch your marbles. I’m guessing Brooke has plans for them.

17 thoughts on “a rascal among us

  1. Thank you for the giggle this morning. Brooke has always had a sense of humor and I love the rascal element thrown in. God, I love that child.

    Love you,

  2. My Junior’ SOH is starting to bud. He has struggled with being humorous, he always just seemed off. I often thought it was due to his language & auditory processing issues, but then, I recently realized it wasn’t that at all. I’ve been so focused on “getting thru” that I’ve not modeled humor for him. He sounds grouchy, tired, like a mini task master focused on goals…just like me. The fact that Brooke is so fantabulous is reflective of the fact that there must be lots of grace & laughter in your home. What a blessing! I love your posts, Diary! They always encourage, inspire & confirm things to me.

  3. Today I was frantically searching the house for my reading glasses saying out loud to myself, “Where did I put them now?”, “Why am I always losing my glasses?”, “This makes me crazy” and then Sam, sitting on the arm chair under a blanket playing with his iPad giggles at me. The little stinker was wearing my reading glasses.

    Nope, no sense of humor here either. 😉

  4. Jess, one of these days, I really want to go deeper with you on this…the theory of mind, the lack of empathy, etc. I love watching your girl move in these delightful directions. I love my girls as well…and they are outrageously funny and clever and rascally. But, I am married to an Aspie as well. And these moments can become less amusing and more painful when it is an adult one is dealing with, or even a teenager on the spectrum. Expectations are different for a spouse than a child. And, most assuredly, there are moments of pain and loneliness, when the empathy and understanding are not there. I suspect that many of your readers may understand what I am saying. Lack of empathy and theory of mind…not malarkey. It is not a myth. It is real. And it is, at times, intensely painful. I know your post was meant to be a celebration of Brooke and all was meant in good fun. But, there is a deeper truth between what you are wanting to dismiss and what is reality. I know that you have no way of understanding this, because it is not your experience. But, it would be the same as me saying, “Self-harm…give me a break. All kids gets bumps and scratches. What a bunch of malarkey.” And, clearly, we have both witnessed that self-harm is anything but a myth. Just think about it. I think a distinction needs to be made, and I think it would benefit many who follow you.

    • I hear you and I appreciate your perspective. I guess my point is that these are not blanket statements that can be made about people across the spectrum. That it does autistic people a disservice to assign to them a lack of possibility that these attributes / abilities exist.

      in doing so, however, I don’t mean to be turning the inverse into blanket statements either. I’m talking about my kid. What I hoped to do here was to state (and yes, to celebrate) the fact that she is disproving the validity of these assumptions in her life and therefore also disproving their ability to be generalized to all people on the spectrum.

      • I get that. I do. I know you were loving that Brooke was being all kinds of wonderful in your eyes. And I know that this was meant as light-hearted and full of possibilities. I honestly think that, in the search for a better vocabulary, this is an excellent example of a time when the current language does not suffice.

  5. This is all kinds of awesome! I love that your girl is learning how to “pull one over on you” and enjoys it so fully. Happy happy joy joy. 🙂

  6. Delightful story about Brooke 🙂 and I also appreciated the respectful comment interaction between Lisa and Jess above. This is a model, IMO, of the way communication/the sharing of experiences should take place.

    • thank you, joan. it’s all right here in the comment policy 🙂

      “My greatest hope is that the discourse on this blog and its accompanying Facebook page can serve as examples of environments in which compassion, understanding and mutual respect are paramount.

      That said, I publish nearly all comments, but there are rare exceptions.

      I have long been frustrated and deeply saddened by the chasms in the autism community. I will not allow diary’s comment section to become a megaphone for the anger that serves to keep us divided.

      I will not abide personal attacks, either on me or my readers. While I actively welcome constructive disagreement and respectful discourse, this is not a forum for unproductive anger, particularly that which is directed at one another.

      While I am happy to respect anonymity, please note that I also do not publish comments without a name (or consistent pseudonym) and a valid e-mail address.

      From the bottom of my heart, I thank you – not just for sharing in our family’s journey, but for joining the conversation. And in so doing, respecting each other, supporting one another, and finding ways to bridge the space between us.”

      • I have long been a follower of your blog, and have recommended it to others, but the comment above may have been my first here. Am wowed by each of your family members and your approach.

        By the way, I have an adult D in Boston who loves dance and has taken some lessons with the Boston Ballet (a Christmas gift I have her), and your story about Brooke’s experience there and her recital made me feel like donating to them.

        You never know the extent of the reach of the ripples you are sending out.

  7. ‘Step by step, slowly I turn”…. She will show you more and more and your appreciation of it will feed that fire in her.
    So very wonderful, but expected…..
    Love you,

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