Tag Archives: games

“Umbrella, Umbrella, Raincoat!”

Yesterday Emma, wearing one of her eight bathing suits, (Emma goes through bathing suits the way runners go through running shoes) requested that we play a game of “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
“Mommy!  I want to play duck, duck, goose, please!”  Without waiting for an answer she ran to find her brother.  “Nicky, I want to play duck, duck, goose with Nicky please!”  Again she shot out of the room to find her dad.  I could hear her muttering under her breath, “Haveta, gotta find Daddy.  Gotta ask Daddy!”  There was a moment of silence as I imagined she located her father and stood in front of him.  I heard her  say, “Daddy!  I want to play duck, duck, goose please!”

For most parents this sort of request from their child is commonplace, however, with Emma it is far from the norm.   In the past year she has increasingly asked us to engage with her, usually in the form of a chase game, hide and go seek or other activity involving lots of running and ending with tickling and loud utterances of “You better run!  I’m going to get you!”  followed by maniacal laughter – Woooohahahahahaha – done in a creepy, deep sounding voice.  These sorts of activities necessitate a lot of lung power and is how I justify not having a gym membership in an area of the city that is purported to have more gyms than any other.  I know it’s a stretch, but allow me to cling to my lame reasoning.

Within minutes Emma had managed to pry her brother away from his favorite TV show, Chopped, me from my emails, Richard from his book and gathered us together on the floor where we sat in a circle as Emma stood over us and began.  “Umbrella.  Umbrella.  Umbrella,” she said as she pushed down on each of our heads.  She even pretended there were more of us than there actually were and mimed patting at least three more heads of imaginary people seated in our circle with us.  “Raincoat!” she shouted after a third orbit around us and pushing on my head.

The whole, shouting out “Goose!” while patting the chosen person on the head then running as they manage to upright themselves from a cross-legged position and chase her, is the one part of the game Emma hasn’t quite gotten down.  However, it must be said, she is at an advantage as both Richard and I are in our golden years aka members of  AARP and careening rapidly into senior citizen status and so bounding from sitting position to standing takes us a tad bit longer than it once did.  Still, Emma is easily caught, but other than this small adjustment to the game, she gets it and loves it.

I’d like to point out her creative amendment to the game in using variations on the duck, duck, goose theme.  I loved “Umbrella, umbrella, raincoat,” which is a variation on her other favorite, “Carousel, carousel, horsey!”

What an awesome kid!

To read my latest piece, Emma’s New Shoes, in the Huffington Post, click ‘here

And if you haven’t already done so, do vote for Emma’s Hope Book by clicking this ‘link‘ and clicking on the “like” button opposite Emma’s Hope Book.

Hide And Seek

Games are difficult for Emma to understand.  When she was much younger, unless it was a physical game such as chase, and only if she was the one being chased, games held little interest.  The old standards, Candy Land, Shoots and Ladders, Old Maid, Go Fish all sit unused in some drawer at our house as Nic moved on to Monopoly, checkers and eventually chess, which he continues to play.

A few years ago Emma engaged in a game at a day camp with some other girls where they stood in the shallow end of a pool and threw a ball to one another while singing – The Wonder Ball Song.  Emma was able to catch the ball and even threw it to the next girl, but this was unusual and so we documented it with photographs.

The Wonder Ball Game

A few years ago I tried to explain Hide and Seek to her.  She seemed to understand that it involved counting and running, but the whole hiding part eluded her.  We showed her some “sample” hiding places, but when it was her turn to hide, she was usually found standing in the middle of a room shouting, “There you are!” when one of us appeared in the doorway.

“No, no Em.  You have to find a new hiding place and then you have to be quiet so we can’t find you,” we tried to explain.

We even persuaded Nic, who was a master at hiding in impossible-to-find locations, to take her with him to hide.  But we always knew, no matter how brilliant his hiding place was, where they were because Emma couldn’t stay quiet.

“You have to be quiet,” Emma would say loudly.

Interestingly as I was writing this, Emma came into the room and said to me, “Play hide?  You have to count.  Come find me,” and then she ran out of the room to hide making me wonder whether she really is reading at a much higher level than we think or if it’s just a coincidence.

Not willing to pass up an opportunity to engage, I counted to twenty and then yelled, “Ready or not here I come!”

Emma is predictable in her hiding choices.  She almost always wriggles under the bed sheets of her bed.  So I called out as I looked in other places, “I wonder where Emma is?” while looking in the bathroom and Nic’s room before finally going into Emma’s room where a huge wiggling lump could be seen under the sheets.  “Hmmm.  I don’t see Emma anywhere!” I said.

“Waaaaa!” Emma screamed before I could shout it first.

“There you are!” I said tickling her.

When she scooted out from under the sheets I said, “Okay, it’s my turn to hide.  You have to find me.  You have to count to twenty.  Okay?”

“Okay,” Emma said.

I heard her begin counting, but at around six her voice trailed off.  After a few minutes I called out, “Em, you have to find me!”

She ran past the room I was hiding in, so I called out, “Hey Em!  Where are you going?  Come find me over here!”

After further searching she found me.  “Waaaaa!” she yelled gleefully.

“Ahhhhh!” I yelled back.  “Okay your turn to hide.  One, two, three…” I counted.

When I opened my eyes, Emma was sitting directly in front of me on the floor.  “Em, I thought you were going to hide,” I said.

“Hiding all done,” she told me, so I tickled her instead.

I know this doesn’t sound like much, but it shows a desire to engage, a desire to initiate and a desire to play with others.   All of which, are huge steps for Emma.

For more on Emma and autism go to:  www.EmmasHopeBook.com