Frances watches toy reviews as often as she watches documentaries — she finds them on YouTube. I’ve seen her watching Japanese, Spanish, and Russian doll reviews. (In this panel, she is five years old.)
As I have written before, sleep has been a major issue for us. Recently, the biggest problem has been having Frances remain sleeping. (For some time, this had abated.)
Even while taking melatonin, she would awake two hours or so after falling asleep.
I’m happy to say that, as of this week, knock on wood, sleep has come to our house! There is still early rising, but I’ll gladly take that over late nights and very early mornings.
A couple days ago, as we waited for a bus in the pouring rain, Frances asked, “Who in their right mind would be out in this kind of weather?”
I boarded the bus and sat beside her. Frances leaned over, and in her best stage whisper (for she has no ‘library voice’) said, “Remember when I asked you who in their right mind would be out in this weather?”
I put a finger to my lips to indicate that she needed to lower her voice.
“Remember?” she asked more loudly.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Well, apparently? There are lot of people who are out of their minds in this town!” she said loudly.
I lost my composure and laughed out loud.
With great sincerity, Frances looked at me, annoyed, and said, “Shhhh. You need to be quiet.”
When she was barely two years, Frances’s first excursion to the beach was uncomfortable: she cried whenever her feet touched the sand. The surface wasn’t hot, but she didn’t like the sensation.
When she was three, on her next trip to the beach, it was difficult because Frances was unaware of children trying to play with her and did not tolerate their attempts to play beside her. As a result, she cried often, and there were several meltdowns.
When she was four, we tried the beach again. At this point, we were 2.5 years away from a diagnosis, and a few months away from wondering if we needed one.
At the beach, as she poured sand out of a pail this day, I asked her to move over a few inches from a sunny to a shady spot. The meltdown that occurred, as she lay flat on her stomach, was loud and prolonged; other parents stared and shook their heads. I was quietly alarmed mostly by the fact of the meltdown and its trigger.
I honestly didn’t know what I was seeing, and I didn’t suspect that Frances had autism. Children have tantrums, but this seemed like more. I just remember thinking, “This isn’t typical, is it?”
In the above panel, she is eight years old, about 1.5 years after diagnosis, and happily enjoying the beach.
I have to say that I’m surprised: Frances loves the movie Coraline which is based on Neil Gaiman’s book of the same title. I like it, too, but I assumed that she would find it just a little too creepy.
Yet, she is intrigued. In fact, she especially likes the animals, and says, “I don’t find it creepy at all.”
We’ll read the book together by summer’s end.
(•image from the movie)