Tag Archives: Going to the Zoo

On Autism, Honesty and the Art of Not Yelling

Be honest.  This is what Richard reminds me when I feel stuck.  Whether its regarding my writing or when we are discussing something that is difficult or when I simply feel confused.

Be honest.

Sometimes it’s easy, like when I feel sad and a little frightened that Richard threw his back out again and is in so much pain he can barely walk or I’m annoyed because while waiting for the subway this morning a woman cut me off and sat in the only vacant seat, forcing me to stand or how happy I felt last night when Nic asked me to watch an episode of ‘Chopped’ with him and then pulled a blanket up around us both and said, “I love this, Mommy.  We’re having a son and mom moment.”  Or the sadness that tempered that joy because my next thought was – Emma cannot say that, does not say that, has never said that and then scolded myself for having had that thought because Emma can and does talk, while so many other kids cannot speak, let alone express more complex thinking.

Be honest.

Sometimes I just want to yell and say exactly what comes to mind, because, after all, wouldn’t THAT be more honest?  I already know the answer.    Not yelling is highly underrated, it seems to me.

Be honest.

I want people to love Emma exactly as she is.  I want people to understand when they meet her that in her short life she has already known more pain and discomfort than any young child should have to feel.  I want people to speak to her as they would any ten year old and not like she’s an animal.

I want people to be nicer to each other, which means I have to do my part.  A recent study came out saying autism may be due to older male sperm.  That evening I said to Richard, “Well that gets me off the hook.  It turns out all of Emma’s suffering is your fault.  It’s a huge relief.”  Luckily Richard loves me anyway, even when I say things like that and replied, “I’m so glad I could help you out with that, honey.”

And he did and does.

I’ll end with the conversation I had with Emma last night, showcasing her negotiating skills, inherited from her amazing dad.


“Yes Emma?”

In a sing-songy voice, she said, “Mommy takes me to the zoo tomorrow?” (It’s from a picture book entitled Going to the Zoo, from the Peter Paul and Mary song of the same name.)

“Not tomorrow, Emmy.  I can’t take you tomorrow, but you and Joe could go.”

“No!  Just Mommy,” she pointed to me and then pointing to herself, she added, “and me.  Go to the zoo together.  Maybe this weekend?”

“Yes.  We can go this weekend.”

“Just Mommy.”




“Time to read a story now.”

“Okay, Em.  I love you.”

“So much.”

(As my mother pointed out after I posted this, this conversation was a perfect demonstration of Emma expressing her desire for a – Mommy and daughter moment!)

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

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