Tag Archives: routines

Routines Disrupted

We have been traveling.  Our cell phone and internet coverage has been spotty and in some places we’ve had none at all.  As a result my routine, which usually means I wake up when Emma comes into our room, (anywhere from 5:15AM – 6:00AM) get dressed and go to my studio where I begin the day by writing, has been disrupted.  The beautiful thing about traveling is that there is no room for routines.  We’ve spent a few days with my sister, gone on a rafting trip down the Colorado River, gone horseback riding, gotten lost, spent time with one of my brothers, hung out with one of my cousins, (I have a large and sprawling family that live all over the United States and even world, and my mother’s house is often the only place we get to see one another.)  So it’s been really wonderful and lots of fun.

When I have gotten up early enough to write AND the internet is cooperating, I have begun a post only to have Em say she doesn’t want me to write about the topic I began writing about.  In fact, I have started three different posts, and Em has shot down every single one of them.  This could be seen as a bad thing, but I don’t view it that way.  I see this as an incredibly good, no, a great thing.  The first time I told her what I was starting to write about and asked her permission, she said no, I was surprised.  The second time I began writing about something else and asked her permission, I was surprised and amused when she typed “no, I do not want you to write that.”  The third time I thought – this is great!  Great because this blog began with no thought of her opinion and has evolved to represent only what she agrees to and may well end because of her thoughts and opinions.

What all of this means is that I haven’t been writing every morning.

So I will end with something Em typed to me the other day and told me I could post.  She typed, “Language is an awkward way to communicate.”  She would not elaborate further and why would she, as that sentence says it all.

The Rocky Mountains

View From Cabin

How Emma Takes Control of Time

We have a morning routine.  This is not a routine forced upon us because Emma is autistic.  This is our morning routine.  A routine we all profit from.  It smooths the transition from groggy-still-asleep-trudgery to wakeful-functioning-so-that-we-can-get-out-the-front-door-and-go-our-various-ways.  In other words routine simplifies our lives.

Emma’s body clock, and  mine too, wakes at 5:30AM.  To tell her to go back to sleep is like telling me to take a nap at 11:00AM.  It’s not going to happen. But she knows she isn’t allowed to leap into our bed until 6:00AM.  This morning she came into our bedroom and announced “It says five and three and eight.”  Then, because she knows she isn’t suppose to come to us until six, she wandered out.

At exactly 5:57AM she reappeared.  I can’t tell her to leave with only three minutes to go!  She crouched in front of the DVD player and whispered, “It’s five and five and seven.”  She waited for exactly three minutes and then crawled onto our bed with an enormous grin.  “It’s six!” she said with gleeful abandon as she dove under the covers, tossing  Merlin from the bed like a toy sailboat on stormy seas.   He landed on the floor with a dejected plop.

Later, after Nic had reluctantly awakened, breakfast was eaten, dishes cleared, lunch made, Merlin fed, his water bowl refreshed and his  litter box cleaned, Emma ran into the other room, returning with my iPhone in her hand.  “Have to use the clock,” she said.  She then set the timer app to one minute.  She sat back in a chair, humming to herself.  When the timer went off she said, “Uh!  Time to take the vitamins!” and ran off to do just that.  She returned moments later and again set the timer for one minute.  Again she waited until the timer beeped.  “Uh!  Have to go brush my teeth and hair!”  and off she went.

What is astounding about this is that these are not things Emma particularly enjoys doing.  I must remind her, to which she will inevitably reply, “Just one more minute?”  “No, Em.  Do it now and then you can have a minute after you’ve finished,” I reply.  So Emma came up with a solution to this.  She has incorporated her need for the one minute adjustment period she needs into her routine before I reminded her!

As I write this, while marveling at Emma’s creative process and progress,  I can hear the timer going off again.  She is rummaging around in the dryer.  “Cokie‘s clean!” she says triumphantly.

Merlin looking majestic

A Story About The Lady at the Zoo

Emma was confounded yesterday when she was told by one of the Central Park Zoo employees that she could not sit on the railing to watch the sea lions being fed.  She was very upset and wanted to go home.  However, instead of biting herself or doing herself injury, she came up with the following story, which is yet another example of her delightful temperament, personality and a wonderful display of the progress she is making in being able to turn something upsetting into a story that was both poignant and very funny.

Before we got on the subway, Emma verbally preseverated in her attempt to work through what had happened.  “Mommy says no.  Mommy go home, Emma stay at the zoo with just Daddy.”   Emma reasoned immediately after leaving the zoo.

“But Em.  This isn’t about Mommy or Daddy, this is about the zoo employees.  This is their rule now.  They won’t let anyone sit on the railing any more.  It’s a new rule,” We told her.

“I want to sit on the railing!”  Emma wailed over and over again as we made our way to the subway.  “You have to ask Daddy!  Daddy! I want to sit on the railing please!”

“Emmy, this isn’t up to me.  This is a rule that the zoo has.  You can’t sit on the railing.”

“But I want to sit on the railing!”  Emma cried.  Then Emma flung both arms around me and buried her head into my side.  “I know, I know.  You’re so upset,” Emma said, mimicking words I often say to her.

“Oh, Em.  I know you’re sad.  I know how hard this is for you.  But I’m also really proud of you for the way you’re handling this and talking about it.”

When her beloved R train arrived Emma secured seats for us by the window and then told the following story.

“The lady said, You have to get off the railing!  You have to get down!  Yeah,” Emma nodded her head and frowned.  Then she said,  while stomping her foot on the floor of the subway, “The lady stomped her food and said, You.  Stomp.  Have.  Stomp.  To.  Stomp. Get.  Stomp.  Down!  Stomp.  You get down right now!  Then the lady said, I’m going to get you!  I’m going to tickle you!”  Emma demonstrated being tickled.  She stomped her foot and continued.  “Yeah.  The lady is going to tickle you.  Then the lady had to go home.  She hurt her back.  Bye!  Bye, bye lady.  Lady gotta go home!  Bye!”  Emma waved her hand, like a Queen waving to her adoring subjects.  “The lady had to go.”  Emma nodded her head and feigned looking sad.  “The lady went home and Emma got up on the railing to watch the seal show!  She had to go home because she hurt her back and she has to put on a bandaid.  Now it’ll feel better.”  Emma finished and looking triumphant said, “Emma got to sit on the railing!”

“Wow, Em.  I love that story!”  I said.  “How did the lady hurt her back?”

“She tickled you!”  Emma said and then collapsed into giggles.

Earlier in the day, playing on the High Line

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.