Handwriting and the Joy of the Yellow R Train

First off, you’ll notice to the right of these words a blue “badge,” which, if you click on it, will show you a line up of all the blogs nominated for the “Top Autism Blogs for 2012.”  To vote for Emma’s Hope Book, click on the “like” button.  At the time of this writing Emma’s Hope Book was in the #4 position!  Very exciting.

Below is the “story” Emma wrote yesterday morning in preparation for our much anticipated day.

I had to help Em with some of the words such as shower, Elite Gymnastics and she wanted to write – After lunch will go zoo – so I had to help her with that too, but otherwise Emma did most of this on her own.  To recap, a year ago Emma had just finished learning how to form all the letters of the alphabet and we were in the initial phase of beginning to work on reading, writing and typing actual short words.  She’s come a long way, baby!

As her writing stated, after lunch Emma and I went to the zoo.  “Just Mommy and me, together,” Emma reiterated several times that morning. “Yes, just you and me,” I confirmed each time.  “Going to take the yellow R train,” Emma said matter-of-factly.  Emma loves the R train.  She refers to it as the “yellow R train,” because the letter R is in the middle of a yellow circle.  All the subway trains here in New York City are designated with a number or letter within a colored circle.  Whenever possible, Emma requests the R train, which is fine, except that this is not the train closest to our home and a few months ago the R train wasn’t running on the weekend, much to Emma’s consternation.  As we made our way to the station, I cautioned Emma that we had to take whichever train came first.  “Yellow R train!” she insisted.  The very prospect of riding the R train, almost more than she could cope with, caused her to bounce up and down.  She beamed at me.  “Okay, but Em, if a Q or N train comes, then we’ll take either of those too.”  “Take the yellow R train,” she responded.  “Em…” I started, but before I could say more she cut me off and said, “Okay, okay, okay.  Maybe take the yellow R train, maybe not.”  Then quietly she muttered, “Take the yellow R train!”

Another train flew by on the express tracks, so fast I couldn’t tell which train it was.  But Emma knew with barely a glance. “Look, there’s the yellow Q train,” Emma said, pointing as the train whizzed by.  “Yeah, that’s the yellow Q train with blue seats,” she said.


“The yellow Q train has blue seats.”

This was news to me, not the sort of details I notice, but exactly the kind of details Emma notices.  As I was pondering this, Emma said, “Look!”  Then she grinned.  “It’s the yellow R train,” she said with a kind of reverence, as though greeting an adored and much admired friend.  As the train slowed to a stand still, Emma found us both a seat and giggling said, “We’re sitting in orange and yellow seats!”

“Is that why you like the R train?” I asked.

“The yellow R train makes me happy,” Emma said, before peering out into the dark tunnel and grinning at her own reflection.

And so it does.

Coming tomorrow – The Central Park Zoo and The Puffin.

To read my most recent Huffington Post, click ‘here.’

To read my guest post on Special Needs.com, click ‘here


15 responses to “Handwriting and the Joy of the Yellow R Train

  1. Go Emma! Her handwriting looks a lot like mine when I was that age… Trying too hard, almost. I’m so glad she was able to write that!

    Also, perhaps she likes the yellow R train because it has yellow seats… so it matches the color of the R. But I’m guessing completely here. I smiled so much when reading this – those little details are things I notice too… though I definitely miss the forest for the trees sometimes.

    • Hi E.! I no longer worry about her handwriting, because of what you’ve written on the subject, and also, upon further reflection she comes from a long line of sloppy handwriters.
      I don’t know exactly what she loves about the R train, but I think you may be right, she likes that the yellow circle matches the yellow and orange seats and that strikes her as “correct.” Her joy is so contagious, so enormous, it’s wonderful to share it with her. We had such a great day together.

  2. I remember when you were just a little girl and you loved colors. In fact of all the children, even older brothers, you were always overjoyed at the different colored straw mats that we had on the breakfast table, whereas you siblings, except possibly Victor, didn’t care at all. As I recall you wanted the purple mat most of all.

    • Funny, I can just barely remember that. Yes, the purple mat was my favorite. I remember I had a purple pair of shorts too and wanted a purple turtle neck to go with them, but the colors never matched, so I settled (begrudgingly) for black!

  3. I am utterly overwhelmed by this entire issue and how you have had to change and adapt to make this work for your family. You have created a very powerful and hopeful message. I am now a committed Emma reader and will get this to information out to others. Thank you and best wishes.

  4. that’s very cool writing 🙂 Zack’s would probably be nearly that readable if he didn’t insist on using the cursive style which is the standard at school (and works very well for most kids) We tried very hard to convince him, but he had his own plan.
    He would however much rather do sums that write words. They make more sense to him i think- there is only one correct answer.

    • Maybe that’s what we have to look forward to! I remember I loved learning to write cursive (it was so grown up) and so did my NT son, Nic. Don’t know if it will interest Emma.
      I love that Zack would rather do sums. It makes perfect sense to me!

  5. It looks AWESOME Emma! I can tell you worked hard on your writing!! It was very clear! You write the name Brett nicely! I will show my Brett and hope that he takes to handwriting someday! :O) As of now, not so much!! LOL!! :O)

  6. Aw.. Thanks so much Becky. Here’s to Brett one day writing too! Maybe they could write to each other!

  7. Yes, they could type each other. I will see if Emma will and send it to you!

  8. So funny you wrote about this because it happens several times every Saturday. She usually requests the R or F train and if a train stops that does not have orange and yellow seats she doesn’t particularly like that!

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