Early this morning Emma climbed into our bed. “Hi Mommy!”
“Em, it’s too early, you have to go back to bed,” I said.
I listened to her make her way back to her bedroom. When her bedroom door closed, I marveled at how just months ago, this would not have happened. In the past, Emma would have refused to leave or screamed until one of us took her back to her bedroom where she would not have gone back to sleep or she would have left and begun screaming minutes later. This morning, there was nothing but silence. The silence accentuated by the thick layer of snow covering everything and which continues to fall as I write.
Later, when something crashed into one of the windows, causing the dogs to start barking downstairs, I tiptoed into Emma’s room. She was in her bed, with her head on her stuffed green monster, Muzzy. “Hi Mommy!” she said.
“Just you and me,” she said pointing to herself and then me. “Just you and me in Emma’s bed.”
“Yes, I said, sitting on her bed. “You and me” is something Emma has begun saying for a few months now. It is another milestone. She says it as she points to each person she is referring to. While this may seem inconsequential, it represents an astonishing leap in cognition as well as tremendous developmental progress. One of the telltale signs of autism – a lack of pointing – is something Emma is now beginning to do.
“Muzzy, teddy bear,” Emma said, pointing to her monster.
“You love your Muzzy, don’t you Em?”
“Yes,” she said.
And I love that Emma has taken to referring to her stuffed monster as “Muzzy, teddy bear.” It’s such an apt description of what he is to her. And like all things Emma, her choice in “teddy bears” is a bit unconventional.
Emma just came into the room where I am writing with her “twin”, an enormous doll I bought for her one Christmas. I ordered it over the Internet and had to send a photo of Emma, with instructions on the correct eye, hair and skin color. When the doll came, complete with Christmas party dress and faux fur stole, Emma looked at it and wandered off. A pile of unwrapped presents remained under the Christmas tree abandoned. Every Christmas we have attempted to entice Emma with a few things we think she might enjoy only to have her barely take notice of any of them.
“Look! Doll!” Emma said as she sat down with the stripped down doll in her arms.
“Oh Em, you have your doll with you. What’s her name?” I asked.
After a pause Emma said, “Girl.”
Then she picked up some of her picture books and began “reading” to “girl”.
“Have Eddie come, get christmas presents?” Emma said while we were still in New York.
“We’ll be in Aspen for Christmas,” I told her.
“Open Christmas presents at Granma’s house,” Emma said.
For Emma to show even a remote interest in opening any presents this Christmas will be a first.