When Emma and Joe picked me up yesterday evening from the store, Emma launched into the list of all the things they’d done through out the day – swimming, Justin Beiber movie in 3-D, Bowling in El Jebel, except there was a tournament going on so they didn’t have any free lanes with bumpers, the Wheel Carousel, which is really the metal merry-go-round in El Jebel. Emma had a blast.
“Emma did something amazing today,” Joe said, when Emma had finished.
“What?” I asked.
“She was doing some great interacting and initiating with another girl at the playground.”
“Really! What did she do?”
“She asked a girl to come ride the merry-go-round with her. She said – Girl, can you ride on the carousel with me?” Joe laughed and then said, “We’re still working on the “girl” part.”
“That’s fantastic!” I said.
“Want to ride with girl,” Emma said from the back seat.
“Last week we were working on saying – My name’s Emma what’s yours? – We’re still working on that,” Joe said.
“Hey Em,” I turned to look at her. “You can say – Hi! My name’s Emma, what’s your name?”
“Girl,” Emma said.
“No Em. You can’t call her girl. She has a name, just like your name is Emma. Joe’s name is Joe. She has a name too. Maybe it’s Cynthia or…
“Cynthia. Girl,” Emma said.
“But, Em, we don’t know what her name is. That’s why we have to ask, but we can’t call her girl, because maybe her name is…”
“Cynthia,” Emma broke in.
“Maybe, but maybe her name is Lisa or Lily or Sally. We don’t know. Her name could be anything,” I tried to explain.
“Cynthia! Do you want to ride on the carousel?” Emma said.
I looked over at Joe. “I think I’ve made it worse. I wonder why it’s so hard for her to understand though.”
“I think she understands people have different names. I think it’s hard for her to role play or understand the way we’re explaining it,” he said, ever the diplomat.
“Right, she’s taking it all literally.” As we drove up Red Mountain I thought about how instead of realizing we’re saying – maybe her name is this or that – Emma’s hearing me say – what’s her name? and she’s answering that she’s a girl. That’s what she is to Emma, a girl and since she doesn’t know her name, the name becomes secondary. I don’t know that this is what she’s thinking, but it would make sense if she were. It’s the same when I’ve asked her – “What’s your doll’s name?” The idea that Emma could make up some arbitrary name for her doll seems to be something she cannot conceive. So she answers – Doll.
“Was the little girl offended?” I asked Joe.
“Oh no. She said – I’m sorry. I have to go home now – Emma understood.”
For Emma to reach out to another child is definitely noteworthy. Children are typically much more difficult for Emma to connect with as they can be so unpredictable. It’s always wonderful to hear when Emma is making an attempt.