This morning we had our parent/teacher conference with Emma’s team of teachers and therapists. I am rarely told anything that completely catches me off guard at these meetings. But this morning when her teachers related to us how Emma loves doing craft projects, I must admit I was astonished.
“Did you see the bracelets she made? We sent them home in her backpack,” one of her teachers asked.
“Yes,” I said. “But I assumed someone helped her with them.”
“No, no! She did those all by herself,” I was told.
To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. When I was pregnant with Emma I dreamed of the day when she would be old enough for me to teach her to knit, sew, embroider, do art projects, just as my mother had done with me. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my mother and I knitting, sewing, embroidering the figures for the nativity scene we made together one christmas that we still display on the mantle above my mother’s fireplace each December. But up until now, Emma showed little if any interest in art projects, her fine motor skills are one of her biggest challenges, so my hopes of one day doing these things with her were pushed aside for the more pressing issues of helping her learn to read and write.
I am always looking for things Emma and I can do together. Things that do not include her favorite outings – which can be very rigid and exacting – the Central Park Zoo, the American History Museum and the Central Park Carousel. These are regulated outings with specific things that must be done in a particular order, “go see snake bite boy” in the museum, “go see bats” at the zoo. One day, frustrated with Emma’s desire to ride the carousel over and over again I decided to just continue riding it to see how long she would do so before she asked to leave. It took almost an hour and more than a dozen rides before she said, “All done.” I was so dizzy I thought I was going to throw up and the next day she wanted to go back and do it all over again.
Emma has always shown an incredible memory for music, will hear a song once and then months later will hum or sing the entire song without missing a note. I assumed, until now, that Emma’s artistic leanings were contained in her musical abilities. But every now and again I have wondered whether Emma might find some other medium with which to express herself since both her parents are artistic as is her Granma (she’ll deny this, but she is a terrific artist who did pencil sketches of us when we went on trips together that were amazing) and her great-grandmother was extremely artistic as well. It definitely runs in the family, so to hear that Emma is deriving pleasure from her art projects at school is terrific.
Emma at school using her feet to paint.
We have a bin filled with art supplies buried somewhere in Emma’s closet at home. When I get home this evening I will pull it out.
For more on Emma’s artistic leanings and her journey through a childhood of autism go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com