Tag Archives: communicating without language

The Fan Stays Off

Seeds there

Virulent shoots hamper process

ingrates they throw everything into chaos,

disruptive and noisy I shout the same thought

weeding out the bad from the stillness.

Whispering calm directives – keep it cool, Emma –

but the thrashing divas hold the spotlight and won’t exit without a fight.


Timing is crucial.

Nobody can help bring order to the bothersome braying

that brutish tyrant who won’t allow others the time or space.

Patience is needed.

I am here

sometimes insistently so

but there is so much more to discover.


Today’s Post Brought to You By Emma

Written by Emma Zurcher-Long

“Today I will tell a short story about a girl who wanted to speak to the wind.  She listened with ears attuned to wind’s song, and desired to speak with its power and beauty.  But the wind was not used to listening, and the sounds she made were ignored.  People heard her and told her to be less noisy.  The wind was loud, yet no one attempted to quiet it.  The girl understood the wind’s voice and eventually it heard her.  Neither one spoke with words.

“The End”

Emma Chose this image from a google search "Girl in the wind"

Emma chose this image from a google search “Girl in the wind”

Acting Out Emotions and Pink Fingernails

Emma came home yesterday afternoon and showed me this.

“Pink,” she said proudly.  Jackie had taken Emma for a manicure.  And not only had Emma sat still for it, she liked it!  I’ve been giving Emma manicures and pedicures since she was a baby.  She likes having her toenails painted, but never her fingernails.   This was a first!

That afternoon we took the children swimming.  While Nic and Richard threw a football back and forth, Emma and I sat in the shallow end and Emma said, “No Sarah cannot throw the bottle.  Sarah!  You have to leave the room!  Sarah is sad.”  Emma then looked very sad and nodded her head.

Suddenly I had an idea from my conversation with my friend Ib, who has told me about her theatre training and how much that’s helped her.  I couldn’t figure out how to get Emma to act out the emotions she was saying, so instead I said, “Hey, Em, I’m going to pretend to be Sarah, okay?”

Emma nodded her head and grinned.  “Yeah, Sarah is sad,” she repeated.

I began to pretend-cry.

Emma watched me for a second with a little frown on her face and then she said, “Soufien is so angry!  Grrrr!”

I shook my fist and pretended to stomp my foot under the water while grimacing, “Oh!  That makes me so angry!”

Emma smiled, “Justus is happy!”

We went on like this for almost twenty minutes with Emma attributing an emotion to a child in her class and me acting out the emotion, though I did stumble a little on “shy.”   These are all emotions Emma has read about in the book – The Way I Feel – by Janan Cain.  Emma adores that book.  We’ve gone through at least three copies of it over the years.  But what is interesting is that Emma was taking all the emotions described in the book and applying a child she knew to each of them.  I don’t know that I’ve had a back and forth interaction with Emma that has ever lasted this long.  It was incredible.

When we got home, Emma donned her pink bathing suit, which also happened to match her pink fingernails, and ran through the sprinklers until it was time for dinner.  (Notice Emma’s string, which has resurfaced and she has added to in the past month.)

Today the Aspen Ideas Festival begins, so things will be a bit hectic for the next six days.  But I will continue to post here.