Cutie

Ariane and Emma were just dancing in the bedroom, no music, just a lot of finger-snapping and hip shaking. She was so cute, laughing like crazy the whole time, rocking back and forth, proud of her new-found finger-snapping ability, looking at Ariane and me with her million megawatt smile. Ariane tried to get her to do ‘the bump’ which made her laugh even more, though she didn’t quite get the hang of it…yet.

I’m sure she’ll be bumping all over the place in a few days.

Emma has been singing all the time lately. I take her for rides around the ranch every morning and late afternoon on a small four-wheel all terrain vehicle. She sings the whole time. She likes it when we drive out into an open meadow behind the barn. I like it too because a family of coyotes lives there. They romp around, looking for mice to chomp on, or sit in the field catching some rays. They are pretty fearless so we can drive right up to them until we’re about twenty feet away. They just lay there blinking, mostly ignoring us.

Unfortunately, Emma mostly ignores them too. I’ll shout out over and over, “Hey Emma, look at the coyotes!” but she barely gives them a glance, preferring to keep warbling while I point and shout. This morning, we went into the field and I saw the coyotes up ahead, so I drove toward them. As I got closer, I saw these little brown fluff balls bouncing up and down, their heads barely visible above the tall grass.

“Look! Marmots!” I shouted, pointing ahead, trying to get Emma to watch as they bounded along the tire tracks I’d made the previous day. Then I realized they weren’t marmots at all, they were coyote cubs, three of them, about a foot long from nose to tail. They were so cute I could barely stand it, hollering at Emma, “Look! Look at the puppies Emma! Look at the coyote pups!”

She looked at them without any reaction, still singing away as they ran up to Ma and Pa coyote. They circled around them, then headed over to a nearby irrigation ditch to lay low while we putt-putted past them. “Emma look! Look at the little puppies! They’re so cute!”

Still no reaction, except for a polite glance in their direction, probably just to appease me or get me to stop yelling so she could sing without any more interference. It bummed me out she didn’t care about the cute little pups. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get home and tell everyone, but she couldn’t care less. I thought about her autism, how hard it was for her to engage with living beings or her surroundings, and I could feel a little air hiss out of the tire of my joyfulness, my hopes deflating because she’s been doing so well and has been so engaged lately, with Ariane and Nic and me and Paula and even her other young cousins who came over for a super-soaker gunfight the other night.

When I got back and told Paula, moping a little because of Emma’s lack of interest and excitement, she said, “Well you know how Emma is afraid of dogs…maybe she didn’t like seeing them or they scared her.”

“Yeah, that’s it,” I thought, looking at the glass half-full. She was nervous, she doesn’t like dogs. Maybe that’s why she didn’t care.

Or maybe she was thinking, “Puppies, schmuppies, they might be cute…but they got nothing on me.”

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