The Tale of the Broken Smacker

 

There were indicators along the way that signaled Rosie's spectrum status. No so-big. No patty-cake. A refusal to say sorry. Peekaboo-fuggedabout it! But the one thing that bounced us all out of our complacency was when she was three and and the kisses went away and the lack of eye contact became overt. In other words, it was the broken smacker that did it for us.
You can see that the smacker remains broken despite our best attempts to help her learn to pucker. What we get for kisses are passive lip brushes. If we get that at all. Rosie's huge on hugs and when she gives one, it really is the present she calls it. She doesn't just give them to anyone, and a lip brush is a total treat.
The bright boy is like that; very hands off, not big on touching, but instead of a broken smacker, his kisses (only on the cheek and only I get them) are full-force, knock-you-on-your-ass kisses that we used to call whoa-baby kisses. It's why the loss of those smacks that Rosie used to give hit me (and my mother) like a ton of bricks to the forehead the summer the smacker went away.
Perhaps it's texture, perhaps it's that making that shape with her lips has become an overt, intentional one she cannot make herself make, but the times Rosie's smacker works are few and far between, and working on it only makes her more resistant to trying. She doesn't want that close of contact with anyone but me, her dad, and her grandma, and hugs for other people have always been given at direction. She is simultaneously a huggy, cuddly child with a few select people and highly resistant to touch by the rest of the world, just like Bobby was and still is, today.
Will the Rosie ever fix her smacker? I don't know. She's cute as all get-out practicing the pucker, though, even if she can't quite get it. And I feel special knowing that I am one of the few who get her lip brushes and occasional out and out smacks. I prize them, each and every one. Plus, I've almost got the boy and the amount of pressure he applies to my morning and nightly on-the-cheek-kisses worked out so that I don't get whiplash, so I reckon, given time, Rosie will get her smacker fixed, too.


*It should be noted that Lil has no pucker problems or hug issues. She tends to go the opposite, actually, and is overly physically affectionate, a reminder that autism isn't identical, even in siblings, and it's the lack of a middle ground (that we decide is normal) that is an indicator that the brain processes things differently.

 

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