The Comedian

Emma is a bit of a clown if she’s given any encouragement.
The other night, Emma nodded her head, while pursing her mouth in a kind of lopsided pucker and said, “I know.  You can’t go on the bike carousel.  It’s closed.”  Her tone was one of sorrow, as though she were sympathetic to the situation, but that it was ultimately beyond her control.  “I know,” she repeated.  “You have to wait.  It’s too cold for the bike carousel.”

Forget that I don’t know what “bike carousel” she was referring to.  The only one I know of is in Battery Park and it most certainly was too cold and snowy to go there.

Emma often carries on whole conversations with herself playing the role of child wanting to go somewhere and benevolent authority figure telling her she cannot do whatever it is.  There is a kind of mimicked sadness as she tells herself she cannot do something and even provides herself with perfectly plausible reasons why whatever it is, can’t be done.  It’s what they call in tennis, playing both sides of the net.

“I want to go on the bike carousel!”  Tone high-pitched, demanding, her face animated even lit up with anticipation and then the response, “I know.”  Sadness, apologetic, followed by the reason why this is impossible,  “You cannot go on the bike carousel, it’s too cold outside.”  Then she adds the facial expression with her mouth twisted to the side, puckered lips and the nodding of her head – it’s almost impossible to witness this performance and not see the comedy in it.

The other day we were all in the elevator with Emma when she went through a similar routine,  “I’m sorry,” she said.  “You cannot go on the swings.  That swing is for babies.  You’re too big.”  This last was said with a stern, though sympathetic tone.  “I want to go on the big swing,” this was uttered in a higher pitched voice.  “I know,” she said, nodding her head and giving the look, which made all of us start laughing.

“Emmy, you can’t go on the baby swing!  It’s too cold!” we said.

“I know,” she said sadly, nodding her head again.  It seemed there was a tiny hint of a smile though as she said it.  “You’re too big!”  Then she laughed.

“Em, make that face,” Nic prompted the other night.  He was referring to her puckered lopsided nodding of the head face.  But instead she just looked at him.

“Nicky!” she said sternly.  “Nicky!  Stop talking!”

“Hey Emma, go like this,” I encouraged, mimicking her expression.  When she finally complied she did it and then seeing all of us laughing she joined us and began laughing too.  “I love that expression, Emma.  You’re funny,” I told her.

“It’s funny,” she said.

On another occasion Emma burst into hysterical laughter for reasons none of us could decipher.  “Hey Em.  What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Justice!  Justice slammed the door,” she said before collapsing into peals of laughter.

“Was Justice being funny?” I asked, hoping to get more out of her.

“Yes!” But the moment was over and she wandered off.  Whatever scenario she was remembering, it was one we couldn’t share with her.

A few weeks ago when Richard and I went to her classroom with cupcakes to celebrate her birthday with her classmates we met Justice.  He and Emma sat together during story time.  On occasion one of them would reach over and stroke the others hair.  It was adorable.  Clearly they feel tremendous affection for one another and it was wonderful to see.  Then Justice began singing in a high pitched gravelly voice, making the teacher admonish him for making her ears hurt, as he and Emma laughed and laughed.

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