Lessons

 
Last Saturday, we drove to Frances’s ballet lesson, but we also tried to have a bit of a leisurely drive as well.

I’ve written about it before in a lighthearted manner, but I don’t mean to trivialize the fact that it is very difficult to drive with Frances. 

It is hard to admit that the constant chatter is, well, constant: the questions come at us so fast and furiously that I will not drive with her if I’m not also a passenger.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t endearing moments — such as the funny questions that I frequently record — but I would be lying if I said that I always feel patient.

I don’t know why it took me 1.5 hours to think of giving her my telephone. It helped to quieten her for that final half-hour.

At any rate, it was something of a relief as we pulled up to the grand, ancient building in which her lesson is held.

We waited together, Pink Cup Dad, Pink Cup Sister, and I, without talking in the tacit anticipation of one hour of absolute silence.

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My incredulous kid

Frances: You can’t drive a CAR!

Me: Yes, I can.

Frances: You can’t drive a car.

Me: Yes, I can. Please stop saying that 🙂

Frances: You can’t manoeuvre a vehicle… 🙂

(She is eight in this exchange. And I can drive. Really.)

Letter perfect

When she was 18 months, it seemed hard to get Frances’s attention. It always had been, but because of her interest in letters, I ended up noticing more acutely.

She carried around a bag of Bananagrams (letter tiles) all the time. She would shove it into my hands, and I would say, “Oh, you want me to make words for you?”

We would sit on the floor in the living room, and I would empty the bag of letter tiles. Then, I’d arrange letters into small words and read them to her.

By 24 months, she identified all letters and knew if they were upside down or sideways. 

Eventually, though our letter game continued, she needed me less. One day, I said, “Are you making a word?” (In a video of this conversation, I ask her many times.) Finally, she answered, without looking up, “Letters make words.”

From that point on, I was a little uneasy about the fact that she seemed deaf so much of the time, yet she COULD hear me as she clearly demonstrated in the video. (We knew that her hearing was fine as she had been tested.) It was very confusing.

When she was 27 months, while at the ophthalmologist, I explained that the picture set was unnecessary: she could handle the letters for her exam. She was able to name all the letters that she could see, and the technician was shocked. 

I explained that she wasn’t reading: Frances just knew the letters. What was even more unusual was that she had an incredible attention span with letters and could sit for an hour with her tiles (and then books).

By the age of three, though letters were still a big deal for her, Frances’s intense interest included numbers. 

The new addition…

Since the Pink Cup family had good first days of school last week, and got settled into school quickly, Pink Cup Mum decided that it was the right time to treat herself to a new guitar. 🙂

Once Frances’s appointment schedule is set, I’ll resume my guitar studies. I had stopped when my first child came along, but there’s more time now.

What’s great is that Frances enjoys playing her ukulele alongside me as I play the guitar. (She has been learning how to play the ukulele at school.)

Anyway, Pink Cup Dad doesn’t mind the sounds of flutes, pianos, and guitars being played so much of the time.

Lights

Since about 9 months of age, Frances has been fascinated by light-emitting objects: book lights, flashlights, house lights — during the day and during the night. 

Once she is distracted by a light-emitting object, it is very hard to redirect her attention. Unless it’s at bedtime, we generally don’t mind, though we discourage turning house lights on and off repeatedly. 

(In the following panel, she is eight years old.)

 

Gears

On our vacation last week, not only was I reminded of how much Frances likes gears, but I remembered how much I love them, too.

At the science centre that we visited, I think that I was the only adult who was very focused on making a large chain on the gear wall.