Now fourteen, my Faith
No more a child, young lady
Always my baby
-Lee Kin Mun
I tried to find out what fourteen-year-olds girls wanted. I read that fourteen-year-olds want to be liked and want to be a part of a group.
Then I looked at my autistic firstborn and thought, scratch that. Let's work on teaching her how to blow out her candles first.
After I wrote the haiku for her birthday, I remembered that I needed to buy more adult diapers for her, because we were running low.
Yesterday, Faith sat in the living room, playing with her Winnie the Pooh toy. She hit the keys of her favorite toy phone, creating almost a rap by making Winnie the Pooh speak each number, "6-7-6-7-6, 6-5-4-3-2-1…"
Once in a while, she would pause, and let Winnie the Pooh say the number and play the accompanying nursery rhyme tune associated with the number.
She hit the zero, and Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush came on. And then I heard her hum the tune.
I got excited and amused. And when the tune came on again, I sang along:
"Here we go round the mulberry bush
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush
Here we go round the mulberry bush
So early in the morning!"
She looked up at me, her eyes curious. She pressed the zero again. The song came out. I smiled at her. Then she pressed the zero once more, and looked at me intently again. But this time she said, "Wuh wuh wuh."
"What do you want, girl? You want Papa to sing?"
She made eye contact again and said, "Wuh wuh wuh." She pressed the zero for me.
"Here we go round the mulberry bush…" I began.
She did it a few more times. And even tried it with another song. Pressing the nine button produced Polly Put The Kettle On.
"Wuh wuh wuh," she requested.
So I sang Polly Put The Kettle On, happy to be her Papa Karaoke Machine.
This marked the first time in fourteen years that Faith has ever asked me to do something by asking verbally. Not dragging my finger to something. Not pulling me to the object. Not handing me a bottle of ketchup or a box of chocolates. Just eye contact and a verbalized request.
I would have sung all night for her.