Emma seems to have lost interest in her velcro strip. It was actually the plastic back to the self adhesive velcro that she liked, but her yellow balloon string has replaced it for the past few weeks. Instead of holding it in her hand, she puts it between her front teeth, like an enormous piece of floss, allowing her hands free. She races around on her scooter, the balloon string held in her teeth, the rest of it undulating after her. It reminded me of a Turkish woman I encountered years ago in Ezurum, Turkey. She was wearing a shawl like head covering the size of a bed sheet and had one corner hooked on one of her front teeth. The fabric was loosely around her face, but kept slipping off her head. I remember watching her move along an alley, the fabric billowing out, as she hurried away. She turned, at one point and looked directly at me, many of her teeth were missing, but her upper incisor was intact and she used it to secure the fabric so that it couldn’t blow away, leaving her hands free.
Yesterday evening when Emma asked that we make pancakes, she climbed up onto the kitchen island, the balloon string secured between her front teeth. “Mixing bowl,” Emma said, despite the presence of the yellow string in her mouth.
“Emma!” I laughed. “You can’t cook with that balloon string.”
“Have to put it down!” Emma said, pulling it from her teeth and tossing it to the floor.
“Pancakes with chocolate chips please!” Emma said.
As I rummaged around to locate the chocolate chips I heard Emma say, “Uh-oh!”
“What happened Em?” I asked turning around. Emma sat with about a cup of pancake mix in her lap, a dusting of mix covered her arms and legs.
“You have to pour it in the bowl!” Emma observed with a slightly irritated tone.
“Here you go Em. Let’s clean that up.” I handed her a damp paper towel which she used to dab at her face.
“Okay, but we have to clean up all this mix,” I said, pointing to the flour covering her and the counter.
“Mommy help?” Emma said, half heartedly patting at the mix creating little clouds that then spread out over ever increasing areas of the counter.
“Yes. I’ll help. Here, look. Let’s clean it like this.” I brushed mix into my hand and threw it in the sink. “Now you do it,” I said as I got out the milk. When Emma had finished cleaning up most of the mix I said, “Here, you measure the milk.” I handed her the measuring cup and gave her the milk. Carefully she poured the milk into the measuring cup until it filled it about half way.
“Dit,dit, dit, dit, dit, pour in!” Emma sang. She always says this when she is measuring something during our cooking together. I don’t know where the “dit, dit, dit” comes from or even what it means, but it’s part of the process now and so she always says it.
I held the whisk in front of her.
“Mommy, can I have the whisk, please?”
“Yes! Here you go,” I said, handing it to her.
“Whisk, whisk, whisk, the pancakes, mix, mix, mix the pancakes,” Emma sang as she stirred, while occasionally dipping her finger into the batter to eat large dollops of it. ‘Yum, yum!” she said.
Emma making pancakes
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism and cooking, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com