16 March 2011

Oh the Places

"Outside" is Emmaline's most frequently uttered word over the past several days. Even this morning, with rain pouring down and puddles forming on the slate walkway out back, she persisted.

"Water," she said. "Splash, splash....Outside."

I was not feeling particularly accommodating, not only because of the wet but also because the temperature was hovering in the low forties, and so despite her incredible verbalization of the request Emmaline stayed cooped up and dry.

Yesterday she had gotten plenty of sun, distant and wan though it was, and so I did not feel overly guilty about denying her wish. It was a landmark occasion, the little red wagon that had been buried beneath ten feet of snow for the last several months had finally emerged, rising like dry land after the flood waters recede. It was dirty and covered in rotting leaves, it is true, but it was functional. The plows had not torqued the wheels or the handle so much that it was unusable, as I had feared would turn out to be the case.

It took Em several tries to get the hang of maneuvering the vehicle around the driveway and yard. But she kept at it. Her concentration for certain tasks is astounding, in large part because I often find it so hard to focus myself. This morning, for instance, sticking together over-sized legos while music played in the background and the dog chewed on a knotted bit of rope and I poured myself more Diet Coke, the chaos in the house was enough that I lost track of my train of thought several times merely in the process of getting ice and opening the two-liter soda bottle. But when I turned back to Emmaline she was intent, completely absorbed in the fitting together of one nubby block to the next.

"Good job," I told her.

She gave me a look of derision, as if to say, "No kidding. I've been rocking this fine motor thing for a while, lady."

So outside, she kept her head down and eyes straight ahead. The dog sniffed at the wagon and knocked her about but Em remained undeterred. She walked on. She swiveled and turned and headed off in a different direction, the wagon bumping inexorably along behind her, bent wheels and all, rattling in time with her soft sing song as she told the birds and the trees about all the wonderful places she was soon to go.

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