This morning I told Emma she had to take a shower and wash her hair.
“Just Emma. Bye-bye Mommy,” Emma said as she ran into the bathroom, closing the door firmly behind her.
“No wait, Em. I’m just going to supervise. You need to rinse all the shampoo out of your hair, otherwise we have to wash it all over again.”
From behind the closed bathroom door I could hear her say, “No Mommy! Emma do it! Emma do it!”
This is great, I thought. She’s at an age where she needs privacy, all developmentally appropriate.
Later Emma joined me in the kitchen where Nic had just appeared, hair wet and sticking straight up in the air, as he too had just washed his hair.
“Nice,” I said.
“Your hair. You might want to run a brush through it, Nic.”
Nic rolled his eyes and sat at the dining room table listening to who knows what on his ipod.
“Here Em. You have to brush your hair.” I handed her the hair brush. “And you’re next Nic.”
Nic either didn’t hear me or pretended not to hear me. Either way there was no response.
“Hey Nic!” I said again in a louder voice.
“Nic. Your hair is sticking up. You need to brush it.”
Nicky! You need to brush it!” Emma parroted.
Nic ignored both of us.
“Nicky!” Emma said loudly.
“Emma! Be quiet!” Nic shouted with irritation.
“YOU HAVE TO BE QUIET!” Emma echoed.
“EMMA!” Nic shouted back.
“Nicky! Stop talking!” Emma yelled.
Nic caught me trying not to smile and said, “What?”
“Why are you smiling?” he demanded.
“Nope. No smiling.”
“Mom! You’re totally smiling. Why are you smiling?” Nic punched me.
“Ow! Nic! You just punched your mother!”
“Nicky!” Emma shot over on her scooter and thrust the hair brush at him.
“Mom she’s torturing me!”
Emma then began to try and brush Nic’s hair.
“Oh my god Mom! She’s torturing me. Make her stop!” he said, as Emma attempted to brush Nic’s snarled hair. “Ouch! She’s hurting me!” Nic said with feigned pain. He held his head between his hands and pretended he was in agony.
“Okay Em. Give Nic the brush. He’ll brush his own hair,” I told her.
“Emma do it,” she insisted.
“No Emma. Seriously. I’ll do it,” Nic said, grabbing the brush from her.
Emma began laughing. “I want to brush Nicky’s hair.”
“No Em. You brush your own hair,” I said.
“Already did brush hair,” Emma said indignantly. “Now it’s Nicky’s turn,” she said before racing off on her scooter.
The diet update – I spoke with Emma’s physician about the diet yesterday. Since Emma did not test intolerant for gluten and because we’ve seen no significant change in over six weeks, we are putting gluten back into her diet. This morning Emma ate Cheerios with rice milk.
“Well that should decrease the anxiety,” Richard commented when he saw the box of cheerios on the counter.
“Do you think she felt a lot of anxiety?”
“I meant yours,” he said.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.Emma’s Hope Book.com
D**N! I can just *feel* all the layers of subtext in reading what went on between you three. (Ps: tell Emma it’s perfectly fine to write things out. I’ve known for well over twenty years (long before being diagnosed) that I write better than I talk – and I talked ‘early’ (complete sentences prior to a year of age) and well.)
Back in the early sixties, though, children like me were thought to be ‘budding geniuses’, and hence were *supposed* to be ‘weird’. Fast forward about fifty years, and now that type of ‘weird’ is the not-so-new Evil.
Oh, and ‘the mask of sanity’ (as spelled out by Hervey Cleckley) is fast becoming the not-so-new ‘Normal’. Ultimately, that’s much of the reason why it’s so much NOT acceptable to be ‘autistic’ – as in every parent, or at least many (perhaps most of them?) are sufficiently narcissistic that they truly NEED a ‘mini-me’ to mirror them – to make them look ‘as good as possible’ – to make them feel ‘wonderful’ (parentify them, ultimately) – in short, to do an every-day-and-all-the-time charm offensive.
Worship is truly an addicting drug. The pusher wishes he could corner the market.
Oh Dennis, you’re heading deep into the beginning of this blog… Be kind to me, I did not know or understand so much (I still don’t) but you’re in those years when I was feeling so scared…