Tag Archives: outings for children in New York City

Saturday with Em

This past weekend Richard did a bit of research and came up with a packed afternoon of things to do with the children.  Richard is the one who reads Time Out NY for Kids.  He pores over the finer details of exhibits, performances, always considering whether it will be appropriate for our neuro-typical son, Nic, but also for Emma, who has autism.  He takes into account her special needs as he peruses the various activities.  Richard is the one who reserves tickets, maps out routes, plans the schedule as only a seasoned New Yorker and caring dad can and would do.  When we went to California for my brother, Andy’s wedding, Richard put together a jam packed children’s dream vacation for two days.  Emma still talks about it.

So off we went Saturday afternoon to the West Village where we saw Cobu – a group of performers who mix Taiko Drums with American Tap dancing.   During forty-five minutes of dance, drumming and swirling costumes, Emma only once put her index finger to her lips during a rare silent moment and made a loud “SHHHHHH!” sound.  We glared at her and she then whispered, “No talking.”

After the performance we headed over to the High Line and walked toward the Chelsea Gallery district.

Whenever we passed a place that could be even remotely appropriate for sitting, Emma did just that – even when it was in unlikely places.

Our first stop was the Mary Boone gallery because of it’s unusual displays, which we thought the children might enjoy.  Emma, however, raced through pointing on her way out to one of the mannequins and shouted, “Costume,” before exiting the gallery as though she had an urgent appointment she was already late for.

Two doors down was the Gagoshian Gallery with a not-to-be-missed Richard Serra installation.

At one point Emma said, “Richard’s show.”

“Richard Serra, Em, not daddy,” I said.  To which she turned and looked at me as though I were an idiot for having felt the need to make the distinction.

“Don’t touch, Em,” I reminded her, just as she turned the corner.

On the way home Emma put her arm around her brother, Nic and the two of them made silly faces at each other.

“Hey Mom!  That’s the most she’s ever interacted with me!” Nic observed as we headed into our building.

Yup.  Everything changes.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   www.EmmasHopeBook.com

Sunday with Emma

Yesterday Richard and I took the children to the park, where Emma played in the sprinklers, while Nic sat with us in the shade and talked.

Emma in Union Square Park

Then off to Toys R Us to return a Nerf gun that was faulty, then to MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art) where we watched several video installations by the Belgian artist – Francis Alӱs.  Emma wasn’t interested in the video of him pushing a huge block of melting ice through the streets until it disappears, but she was fascinated with the video of him chasing tornadoes, particularly when he entered the tornado.  Another video she liked was one in which he is driving a VW Bug up a very steep dirt road, but never makes it to the top, instead rolls backwards, before attempting to climb the hill over and over again.  Talk about the trials of Sisyphus…

When we went to a lower floor Emma pointed to a giant collapsed fan and said, “Telephone.”

“Look Em.  It’s a huge fan!”

“Fan,” Emma said, before going to the next sculpture with wheels, “Bicycle,” she said.  Then she turned and pointed to an enormous sculpture of a man holding a steering wheel.  “Bus driver!” she said, jumping up and down.  And on it went.  When she didn’t know what something was or if it didn’t look like any recognizable object she would point out it’s color.  “Red!” She said.  Or, “Green!”

“Hey Em.  Look.”   I pointed to two sculptures that resembled melting metal.

“Blobs,” she said nodding her head before running over to a sculpture of a vaguely female form.  “Mommy,” she said, pointing and smiling at me.

Emma at MOMA

After the museum we made our way to the swimming pool at the Vanderbilt YMCA, where we went swimming.

Prior to our leaving the house that morning, I’d made a list of all the things we planned to do and went over it with Emma.  “Okay so first we’re going to go to Union Square, then the museum, then the pool and then Toys R Us.”  I pointed to each item on the list as she repeated all our activities.  Except when we got to Union Square and saw how hot it already was and how heavy Nic’s Nerf gun was we amended out list.

“I think we better unload this thing,” Richard said gesturing toward Nic who was barely able to lift the bag carrying his broken toy far enough off the ground so that he could carry it.

Once we got to Toys R Us and Nic found a newer, bigger, better and even heavier Nerf gun, Richard turned to me and said, “I guess we’re going to have to take this thing home before we go to the museum.”

Meanwhile the list I’d painstakingly made and gone over with Emma was no longer relevant.  I worried with each change that a meltdown was imminent.  But the meltdown never came.  In fact Emma was great, took each change in stride, repeating the change of plans to me, before cheerfully going along with the next activity.

“Well that was a great day!” Richard said as we headed home.

Everyone agreed.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:  www.EmmasHopeBook.com