just like mr. noodle

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{Image is a photo of Brooke at the beach yesterday. She is searching the sand for what she calls crystals – slightly hardened chips of sand that break in her fingers.}

The following conversation happened last night after dinner while Brooke and I were cocooning in bed.

She was watching Elmo’s World on her iPad and I was finishing a terribly written yet improbably compelling mystery that I picked up on the island. As soon as the conversation was over, she went back to Elmo and the Noodles, and I came here to record the conversation. Because Oh My God.

One note of warning: I typed this on my phone – with one thumb. I think you’ll understand why.

Brooke: Mr. Noodle can’t accept our apology!

Me: Why not, baby?

Her: Because he can’t talk.

Me, my voice thick with urgency: Oh, Brooke, please don’t think that. Just because he doesn’t talk with words doesn’t mean that he can’t accept our apology.

Her: But he can’t tell us.

Me: Well, maybe not with words, but there are lots of other ways that he could tell us.

Her: He could use sign language!

Me: That’s right. Or maybe he could tell us with what he does. Like nodding, or giving us a hug, or sharing something with us, or still being our friend. Those would be ways that he might accept our apology without words.

Her: Like Rhema would.

Me: That’s right, baby, just like Rhema would. Please always remember that just because someone doesn’t talk, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to say.

Her: Like Rhema.

Me: Exactly. Or my friend, Barb. She doesn’t talk, but she’s Mama’s really good friend. And she has a lot to say! A lot of autistic people don’t talk. Did you know that, Brooke?

Her: Yeah.

A pause.

Her: Is your friend Amy austistic*?

*not a typo

Me: Yep. She’s another good example. She doesn’t speak with her mouth, but she says a lot by typing.

Her: Remember when I couldn’t talk?

Me: I do, baby. Do you?

Her: I do. But now I talk very well.

Me: You do indeed, sweetheart.

Her: What does “indeed” mean?

Me, searching for other words: Hmm … It means “definitely” .. or, let’s see … “surely.”

So saying, “You do indeed,” is like saying, “You do speak well, definitely.”

Her: I do of very well indeed. Just like Mr. Noodle.

Mr. Noodle, who has never uttered a word, speaks very well indeed. By George, I think we’ve got it.

9 thoughts on “just like mr. noodle

  1. Oh my gosh……I have chills right now. And tears. It is so amazing to finally discover what is inside there, and then to realize as well that it probably always WAS there this entire time. Just amazing. Brooke reminds me to never underestimate my own son. Thank you for this blog.

  2. Have you ever thought about doing seminars with parents of children on the spectrum? Jess, a lot of people could learn from you. I get that you’re not perfect, no one is and I totally understand that there are moments of frustration and stress but you are truly an inspiration. Not only to parents of kids with autism, but parents in general.
    Brooke has grown and is growing in leaps and bounds because you and Luau have given her the platform to do so. The two of you are incredible people and the support, patience, and encouragement you give to both of your girls has allowed them to blossom and flourish in ways many children don’t get to do until they are much older. If more parents allowed their children to be who they are and truly listened to what they had to say, vocally or silently, there may be a chance for humanity.

  3. My son did not talk until he was 4. He is 17 now. When he was 13 he started talking about those silent years. He says he knew what we were saying and responded in his mind…just couldn’t say the words. He is simply amazing and I cherish the moments when he shares those “silent years” with me!

  4. LOVE this! Hope. HOPE! This brings me hope for my 4 y/o son. 🙂
    Sidenote: was your daughter ‘diagnosed’ with echolalia? My son fits this description (with a probable phonological issue as well)… and yet, no one has brought it to our attention nor had I even heard of it before a recent FB post of yours. I did reach out to his pre-k teacher who says she is well-versed here (or at least *versed anyway- ha) and that we can chat further on it.
    Thanks for sharing your life and your knowledge!
    Signed-
    New Student of the Specials Needs World.

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