Rocking the Cello

She loves her cello, but sometimes Riley does not want to practice. It isn’t that she doesn’t want to play, but with autism transitions are especially difficult. Stop doing this to do that?

It is overwhelming to her.

But then, the cello might speak, and say, “Oh Riley. Please take me out of my case. I was so looking forward to playing with you today.”

Okay, I admit it’s me, but she usually responds favorably if  “the cello” makes the request, rather than her mother.

Sometimes when she gets frustrated during practice, and maybe even screams, I grab the cello and rock it like a baby,

“Oh cello. She didn’t mean to scare you. She really loves you and the beautiful sounds you make. She is just frustrated. There, there, cello. It’s all right.”

I rock the cello until she has regained her composure. It’s far more effective than trying to convince her to buck up and keep practicing. If handled this way, she never fails to return to the cello to finish her lesson.

Yesterday morning, the first day back from my trip, she wanted to show me something new the cello could do. She dragged the bow slowly across two low notes,

“The cello can cry,” she said.

I went over and picked up the cello. I rocked it,

“Oh cello. Why are you crying? Are you sad?” I asked.

This time Riley spoke for the cello,

 “I thought you’d never come back.”

Keeping my eyes on the cello in my arms, I continued to sway,

“Oh little cello. I will ALWAYS come back. I love you so much I could never not come back. I promise, I will always come back to you.”

After a moment, Riley reached over with her bow, played two short, much bouncier notes.

“What did the cello say?” I asked.

“It said, ‘Okay.’ “

When cello practice was over, she put it back in its case. She went over to the book shelf, picked up Little Women, got all comfy with blankets and Jingle and waited for me to join her on the couch; our usual routine.

riley jingle LW

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13 Responses to Rocking the Cello

  1. drama mama says:

    you rock that cello, mama.

  2. Courtney says:

    You’re both amazing. xox

  3. Jess says:

    That’s one smart little cello 😉

  4. Sally says:

    I am now bawling my eyes out. You are such a good Mom.

  5. Amanda says:

    You are the only person to reduce me to a blubbering heap. I’m going to make snotty pizza.

  6. amber says:



  7. Jerri says:

    I have to go find a tissue now. Excuse me.

  8. Jeanne says:

    That is so very sweet! 🙂

  9. Chloes Mom Mary says:

    Music is a marvelous tool. I am so glad that it gives Riley an outlet to express herself.

  10. Bonnie says:

    I’ll repeat what the others said cause I was gonna say it before I read their comments: that is so sweet!

  11. naomi says:

    “The cello can cry” She is going to make such beautiful music one day.
    We had talking food in our house for years.

  12. I love how creative you are with your parenting. Definitely outside the proverbial box. And that is a gorgeous photo, btw!

  13. Carrie Link says:

    You are my human.

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