Sunday with Emma

Yesterday Richard and I took the children to the park, where Emma played in the sprinklers, while Nic sat with us in the shade and talked.

Emma in Union Square Park

Then off to Toys R Us to return a Nerf gun that was faulty, then to MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art) where we watched several video installations by the Belgian artist – Francis Alӱs.  Emma wasn’t interested in the video of him pushing a huge block of melting ice through the streets until it disappears, but she was fascinated with the video of him chasing tornadoes, particularly when he entered the tornado.  Another video she liked was one in which he is driving a VW Bug up a very steep dirt road, but never makes it to the top, instead rolls backwards, before attempting to climb the hill over and over again.  Talk about the trials of Sisyphus…

When we went to a lower floor Emma pointed to a giant collapsed fan and said, “Telephone.”

“Look Em.  It’s a huge fan!”

“Fan,” Emma said, before going to the next sculpture with wheels, “Bicycle,” she said.  Then she turned and pointed to an enormous sculpture of a man holding a steering wheel.  “Bus driver!” she said, jumping up and down.  And on it went.  When she didn’t know what something was or if it didn’t look like any recognizable object she would point out it’s color.  “Red!” She said.  Or, “Green!”

“Hey Em.  Look.”   I pointed to two sculptures that resembled melting metal.

“Blobs,” she said nodding her head before running over to a sculpture of a vaguely female form.  “Mommy,” she said, pointing and smiling at me.

Emma at MOMA

After the museum we made our way to the swimming pool at the Vanderbilt YMCA, where we went swimming.

Prior to our leaving the house that morning, I’d made a list of all the things we planned to do and went over it with Emma.  “Okay so first we’re going to go to Union Square, then the museum, then the pool and then Toys R Us.”  I pointed to each item on the list as she repeated all our activities.  Except when we got to Union Square and saw how hot it already was and how heavy Nic’s Nerf gun was we amended out list.

“I think we better unload this thing,” Richard said gesturing toward Nic who was barely able to lift the bag carrying his broken toy far enough off the ground so that he could carry it.

Once we got to Toys R Us and Nic found a newer, bigger, better and even heavier Nerf gun, Richard turned to me and said, “I guess we’re going to have to take this thing home before we go to the museum.”

Meanwhile the list I’d painstakingly made and gone over with Emma was no longer relevant.  I worried with each change that a meltdown was imminent.  But the meltdown never came.  In fact Emma was great, took each change in stride, repeating the change of plans to me, before cheerfully going along with the next activity.

“Well that was a great day!” Richard said as we headed home.

Everyone agreed.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:

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