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.


Anonymous said...

My son will only kiss his baby brother on the head -- nobody else. The more we ask, prompt, practice, suggest; the more he digs in his heels. And he doesn't do a pucker either. It's more of a lingering open-mouthed saliva deposit, which usually leaves his brother with a noticeable cowlick.

Kim Wombles said...

That has me laughing; that's like Bobby's smacks. I don't dare wipe my cheek off afterwards because he asks if there's something wrong with his kiss. :-)

Corabelle said...

I always thought that my son didint play peek-aboo either, then I caught him the other day doing it with his big sis. lol. just goes to show you that you never know just how the little ones will express themselves. but they do, in the most amazing ways. (his hugs are rare, and amazing)
I wouldnt change it for the world.

farmwifetwo said...

My eldest (NLD), even as an infant, hated to be held. Feed him and rock him he'd scream. Feed him and put him down... happy as can be. Still hates it. He has to touch everything, but don't touch him.

The younger (severe ASD) is my snuggle boy. Which is probably what upsets me the most about this 9yr old (this week) who's taller than the 11yr old... no more snuggles :( But I do get kisses on the cheek. He only gives them to Dad and Mom when asked, and I don't force him to give them to anyone else.

Each is very different.

Life as the mother of 4 said...

I love your title but feel a little sad for you. I totally understand what you mean about watching them practice -- quite odd isn't it. It'll get fixed someday.

kathleen said...

What a lovely post...yes..Sammy gives me the full body slam hugs..and Oscar when he chooses squeezes so hard-I think I'm going to crack. Oscars not big on kissing...She practices her pucker..she practices..how lovely and wonderful to see-because she practices..because she wants to..and hey-my kids practice winking and finger snapping and all sorts of things..it is lovely to watch-because they are trying..because they WANT to do these things...:)

Kim Wombles said...


Things like hugs keep their precious value rather than being taken for granted, don't they?

Farm Wife Two,

Lil at nine still tries to sit in my lap. :-) Yup, they are each very different.

Life as the mother of 4,

Ah, in the grand scheme of things, it all works out. My mom motivated Rosie to practice yesterday by asking her if she wanted her presents, and that child managed to get a pucker in and we got some wet, open semi-smacks. :-) I wonder if that'll work after Christmas, though? At least her hugs are giving freely and easily!

What's been interesting is to see that other parents with kids on the spectrum can relate to that particular issue.


:-) No middle ground with our kiddos; they're full on out, aren't they? Yup, that they keep trying is inspiring. They're gonna change the world!