The other day Emma said to me, “Give piggy back ride?” Then she leapt from the couch where she was balancing herself into my arms.
“Em! You’re heavy!” I said.
“I feel your pain, Mom,” Nic said to me.
“Yeah, she did that to me the other day,” he said.
“You’re kidding? How did you carry her?” I asked.
Nic laughed. “It was tough, Mom. It was tough,” he said, shaking his head as he left the room.
Later Geneva, one of our wonderful caregivers, confirmed that Nic had given Emma a piggy back ride. Here are the photos she took documenting it.
Last night Emma said to me, “I’m going to fly and bite you!” Then she ran over to me and bit my cheek.
“Ouch! Em you just bit me!” I said.
“A bat, fly and bite you!” Emma said, laughing.
“Are you a bat?”
“Yes! Don’t bite me! Fly and bite you!” she said coming close again.
“No! Don’t bite me!” I said.
“I’m going to bite you!”
“Ahhhh!!” I yelled running away from her.
It’s always difficult to know whether encouraging her to play a game that she might “play” with another child at school, who doesn’t understand that this is a game is a good idea. And yet, to not encourage her to be playful seems wrong. Is this an opportunity to discuss biting and how it’s not okay to hurt, how it’s important to be gentle, how this is a game only to be played with me?
With these thoughts in mind I approached Emma, “Hey Em, when you’re pretending to be a bat…” I began.
“You have to be gentle,” she interrupted me.
“Yes! You have to be gentle. And you can only play this game with me, okay?”
“Yes. Just with Mommy,” she said, nodding her head. Then she pointed to my cheek and said, “I don’t mean to hurt you.”
“And you didn’t…” I started to say.
“You have to be gentle,” she added.
“That’s right Em. You have to be so gentle and you can only play this game with me. You know that, right?”
“Yes. Just with Mommy,” she said pointing to me. “Now play – Don’t say Mommy!”
“Okay. One game of Don’t-say-Mommy,” I agreed.
With which she put her face up into mine and said, “Don’t… say… Mommy!” and then ran out of the room with me following close behind.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism go to: EmmasHopeBook.