The Joy Of Communicating Without Words

This morning it was 17 degrees fahrenheit, but with the wind chill it felt as though it were 5 here in Manhattan, this was according to my “The Weather Channel” iPhone app.  Because of the ongoing New York City school bus strike and because my husband is SuperDad minus the voluminous cape and lycra tights, Richard has been taking Emma to school each morning for the past ten days.  But this morning it was my turn to step up to the plate.

7:30AM this morning

Me:  Okay Em.  So here’s the deal.  I’m going to take you to school today, but Daddy told me it’s tough getting a cab, so we may have to walk.

Em:  Take taxi with Mommy to school.

Me:  Well, we’ll try to get a taxi outside our building, but if we can’t get one right away, we’re going to walk.

Em:  No, I don’t want to walk.  Take taxi.  Just you and me.

Me:  Em, we’re going to try to get one, but if we can’t we’re going to walk.

Em:  Nodding her head.  Together.


After trying for several futile minutes to hail a taxi we began to walk to Emma’s school.  The sidewalks were crowded with parents and children.  As Emma and I made our way in the cold, Emma began to make a loud singing like sound.  It wasn’t a song, more like one line of a song, sung loudly.  People turned to look at her.  At first I just continued to walk next to her, my hands tucked into the pockets of my coat for added warmth while Emma repeated the same song-like refrain loudly.  A few people stared.  Em linked her arm through mine and sang again.  I looked over at her, ignoring the curious looks from those we passed and sang back, but in a slightly different pitch.  She smiled and did it again.  I echoed her.  She laughed.  As we continued along toward her school in this way I noticed a few people smiling as they walked by us.  Once at an intersection Emma stopped “singing” and instead winked at me.  I winked back.  When we eventually arrived at her school, Emma turned to me and said, “Bye bye Mommy.  Had so much fun walking to school with Mommy!”

Yup.  Me too.

Emma – 2003


23 responses to “The Joy Of Communicating Without Words

  1. Ohhhh what a beautiful way to start a Friday ..
    Lucky you !

  2. Very nice. She’s got a sense of humor there.

  3. How lovely, you are so lucky to be Em’s mom.

  4. Echoing Ibby and musingsofanaspie. Singing together is pure awesomeness. And those of us who work with music think that words sometimes get in the way of what sound can express. Thanks for sharing the joy!

  5. I third what Ibby said!

  6. Chou Chou Scantlin

    Singing happy winter notes to you both. Thanks for the sweet story! ❄⛄🎶

  7. Singing together – a great way to spend your walk. 🙂 (My son and I dance with the trees sometimes.) 😉

  8. Awesome morning–minus that 17 degrees, brrrr. I miss so much about being home (NYC) but those 17 degree mornings are certainly not one of them!

  9. Marisa doesn’t sing words but she has the sweetest, sing-songy lilt to her voice when she’s happy. It’s my favorite sound in the world. One of the few phrases she’ll say is “hey hey, hi” and she always “says” it in a very specific tone and intonation. I swear, I think that girl will sing before she ever speaks. Music is so very important to our kiddos, I wish there were more emphasis placed on it as a therapy. (Hmmm….idea for a blog post? Hint, hint!)

    On another note, I can’t imagine having to walk to school in such freezing temps. I’ve been so spoiled, never having to take my kids to school. If they didn’t take the bus I’m sure I’d be dropping them off from my minivan, sans makeup and wearing pj’s! 😉 At least your singing helped to take your mind off the cold!

    PS – loved your superhero description of your hubby – that’s a pretty impressive track record for someone who hates mornings! 🙂

    • It really IS impressive and he really DOES so hate mornings!

      So I’m going to admit something – when I told Em to get dressed for school she came back out wearing a light cotton summer dress. She hates wearing things with sleeves, much prefers her summer dresses to anything else in her closet. And I thought, Oh no! I can’t let her go out like that, it’s way too cold. But then I thought about how warm they keep her school and how she’d wear her warm coat that my mother gave her and a hat and scarf and well… why not let her wear what she wants and what is most comfortable? Besides no one would know except those in her class because she was so bundled up. Still every few minutes as we walked to school I asked, Are you cold? And each time she laughed and answered, No I’m not cold! About a block from her school I asked again while waiting for the light to change and she said, “Yeah. I am cold.”
      “Oh no, Em! Is your body cold?”
      “Are your arms cold?”
      “Are your legs cold?”
      “Well, what’s cold?”
      “My face is cold!”

      Tomorrow? Face mask.

      • You could always put snow pants on her, with the dress shoved in the pants part til she gets to school! 😉

        Every morning while waiting for the bus, I have the kids with coats on, gloves on, hat on, etc. Every morning without fail, Risa will proceed to pull everything off, and when I holler that “the bus is here!” she’ll show up at the top of the steps with everything off. Then, I have to scramble to find everything and hurry and put it all on again while the bus is waiting. Every. Single. Morning. Still, it’s preferable to having to get them there myself! 😉

        Here’s hoping the bus driver strike ends soon!

  10. I have to add to my comment of yesterday’s post that poetry and singing are the most important ways of communicating emotion! Wonder-walking is what you did this morning.

    After many days of record-breaking low temperatures, I am now sending your direction what we experience now, namely warm enough to bring out the bears!

    xxoo Granma

    • Are you kidding?!! Have you seen any? It’s so early for the bears… I wonder what this does to them to have their hibernation period so radically shortened. Will have to google that…

  11. I’m smiling at you both. Thank you for sharing. Lo

  12. I love it!!!!!

    I totally memorize the lines from “Brave” because if I needed to be The Queen or Merida, I WILL BE READY! Yes, that means watching it 30 times (at least.)

    This is communication. This is all communication!

  13. Thanks for all the love everyone! (I write you this while wearing a large winter coat, because it doesn’t matter how much the heat is turned up, these old buildings are just not insulated enough to keep the heat in for long…)

  14. How cute! Kids don’t usually say stuff like “Bye bye Mommy. Had so much fun walking to school with Mommy!”

  15. Precious moments matter most:) touching.

  16. Linda Gran-Daniels

    I’m a little late getting to read this one. The way you share Ariane, I felt like I was tagging behind you and sweetie pie Emma, listening, and smiling. But that’s what’s so great, you allow us to “feel” the moment. And it is almost like going back in a time machine…remembering those little moments, that still light up our hearts w/our own lil cutie. As Ben says today, (3 decades later) mom, I cannot carry a tune in a bucket! But he will entertain us and put on his falsetto voice and imitate a few lines from a pop song. And we roll on the floor! He laughs and laughs! In my mind, I still remember, a little blondie, walking and singing about MY STARBLAZERS on the way to the school walkway….Awwwww, Ariane. How can something so simple, be so amazing! TY for your gift!

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