I have been teaching Frances how to say good-bye to someone at the door when she leaves the house.
This is not something that has come naturally to her.
From the time that she could speak, there were no greetings or goodbyes for anyone entering or leaving our home; there was no acknowledgement whatsoever. Even leaving her at school met with silence.
In January 2014, something wonderful happened: I stood partially clad at my cold front door blowing kisses back and forth with Frances as she left for school.
My daughter, who was six-and-three-quarters, had never blown me kisses before! Not once, even though I would blow her kisses; now she was doing it, and I was at once lost in the moment and aware of how joyously elated I was.
(To most people, such a typical demonstration of affection between mother and child would not merit a blog post.)
After that, as she left for her school day, she would occasionally say, “See you tomorrow!” I didn’t correct her. I thought it was cute, but, more importantly, I thought it was enough for the time being that she was aware that something needed to be said. That was a huge success!
One day, she said, “I get the impression that I’m supposed to say something else, but I don’t know what that is.”
At this point, I explained that she could say, “see you later” or “see you this afternoon”. She started using these phrases once in a while.
Within the past year or so, at eight years old, she started to say “bye” or “see you later” after I said it.
(And she still blows kisses to me.)