Emma Ate a Slice of Pizza

Emma Ate a Slice of Pizza

Emma ate a slice of pizza last night.

That sentence required some space.  It needed to be written by itself with nothing else.  For most of you, this may seem like an excuse-me-while-I-yawn moment.  But for us, it was a DID-YOU-SEE-THAT-STOP-THE-CONVERSATION-EMMA-IS-EATING-PIZZA-FOR-THE-FIRST-TIME-SINCE-SHE-WAS-FOUR-YEARS-OLD moment.  Please excuse me while I dance a little jig, do a little arm twirling while yelling woo-hoo, spin around, jump up and down and shout as loud as I can, “Oh yeah!  Oh yeah!”  And while this may be totally overdoing it, but what the hell, a fist bump, just for good measure.

Emma ate a slice of pizza last night.

I know; I’m going to have to backtrack.  Emma is my ten-year old daughter.  Emma is autistic. When Emma was a baby she ate almost anything.  I remember a memorable wintry day when at the ripe old age of 18 months I gave her some mushroom barley soup.  She gulped it down.  She’d grab steak off a nearby plate, jamming it into her mouth and gumming it before we could stop her.  The only thing Emma refused to eat during those early years, were peas.  She hated peas.  We used to joke that Emma had a sophisticated palate for such a young child.  We attributed that to the fact we live in New York City, home of, arguable, some of the best restaurants in the world.  But as time went on, Emma limited the foods she’d eat until eventually Emma was eating very few.   We put Emma on all the different diets that have helped many children on the spectrum, but all they did was narrow what she’d eat even further. 

So the other night, while other parents are counting the years when they will no longer be required to sit down to one more meal in a pizza parlor, or wonder how they’re going to fit four large, now empty, cardboard boxes into their trash bin, we are rejoicing.  This is HUGE.  We had dinner with friends who have two boys about the same age as Emma and her older brother, Nic.  And there was pizza.  And then suddenly there was Emma happily digging in as though this was a food she eats all the time.  As though nothing extraordinary was going on at all.  As though sitting at the dinner table with a group of other kids eating what they were eating happens all the time.  I will end this now, because really there’s nothing more I can say.

Joe, Emma’s therapist of eight year asked, “Did you take a photo?”  But I was so excited, I forgot.   So you’ll just have to trust me.

Emma ate a slice of pizza.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: Emma’s Hope Book

Photo by Watershed Post

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Written by: Ariane Zurcher See other articles by Ariane Zurcher
About the Author:

Author of the blog, Emma's Hope Book Ariane Zurcher began documenting her daughter’s journey through a childhood of autism in 2010.  Her blog posts are carried on AspenPost.net and others.  Ariane Zurcher blogs for the Huffington Post on a variety of topics, but mainly autism, her posts can be found at: Huffinton Post

Ariane Zurcher's writing has been published in such magazines as Allure, XIst Century Magazine, Options, Elle, Aspen Magazine, The Aspen Times and on numerous blogs.

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