Saturday with Em

This past weekend Richard did a bit of research and came up with a packed afternoon of things to do with the children.  Richard is the one who reads Time Out NY for Kids.  He pores over the finer details of exhibits, performances, always considering whether it will be appropriate for our neuro-typical son, Nic, but also for Emma, who has autism.  He takes into account her special needs as he peruses the various activities.  Richard is the one who reserves tickets, maps out routes, plans the schedule as only a seasoned New Yorker and caring dad can and would do.  When we went to California for my brother, Andy’s wedding, Richard put together a jam packed children’s dream vacation for two days.  Emma still talks about it.

So off we went Saturday afternoon to the West Village where we saw Cobu – a group of performers who mix Taiko Drums with American Tap dancing.   During forty-five minutes of dance, drumming and swirling costumes, Emma only once put her index finger to her lips during a rare silent moment and made a loud “SHHHHHH!” sound.  We glared at her and she then whispered, “No talking.”

After the performance we headed over to the High Line and walked toward the Chelsea Gallery district.

Whenever we passed a place that could be even remotely appropriate for sitting, Emma did just that – even when it was in unlikely places.

Our first stop was the Mary Boone gallery because of it’s unusual displays, which we thought the children might enjoy.  Emma, however, raced through pointing on her way out to one of the mannequins and shouted, “Costume,” before exiting the gallery as though she had an urgent appointment she was already late for.

Two doors down was the Gagoshian Gallery with a not-to-be-missed Richard Serra installation.

At one point Emma said, “Richard’s show.”

“Richard Serra, Em, not daddy,” I said.  To which she turned and looked at me as though I were an idiot for having felt the need to make the distinction.

“Don’t touch, Em,” I reminded her, just as she turned the corner.

On the way home Emma put her arm around her brother, Nic and the two of them made silly faces at each other.

“Hey Mom!  That’s the most she’s ever interacted with me!” Nic observed as we headed into our building.

Yup.  Everything changes.

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

4 responses to “Saturday with Em

  1. Hi there, after reading your blog for weeks, I finally thought of leaving a note. Your description of your life with Emma is often so touching. My best friend has triplets, one of them is autistic. At the age of 21, he runs his own business (building bathrooms, making beautiful wooden furniture etc). When he was a toddler, he wasn’t able to communicate at all.

    A treatment by a specialist team of Leiden University (We live in The Netherlands) helped a lot.

    Emma is making so much progress, who nows what’s in store for her. I’ll keep following u guys, and btw: I loooove NY!

  2. The website of the organisation I meant, you can find here but I’m afraid its only in Dutch. Maybe you can email them for information in English.
    I witnessed the treatment only from the sidelines, not familiar with the details.

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