On the paranormal…

Ghosts recur as a motif in Frances’s repertoire of questions…

(She is eight years old in this panel.)


When Frances was three and her sister was six,  I took a large piece of wood, covered it with white felt, and used sticky dollar-store decals to make a story board. The goal was to have the girls make up stories using pictures.


Good balance

One of the great things about going to a children’s hospital that treats autism is that Frances is allowed to climb in the reception area. It makes waiting much easier for both of us.

Just before her occupational therapy appointment on Thursday, instead of asking Frances not to do it, her OT said: “That’s okay. Climbing is good.”



When she was five, Frances might sometimes say something to others outside the family, but it was just to correct their grammar or other mistakes. Oftentimes, I was the one corrected (as in the above panel).

The need to know

I’ve mentioned before that Frances’s curiosity, from about the age of two, has been so intense that she will even ask questions in her sleep or wake up to ask them.

Ordinarily, this doesn’t pose a problem beyond the fact that it is sometimes physically impossible to answer the sheer number of questions that occur in rapid-fire succession.

Yet when she was three, we had received exclusive invitation-only tickets to a piano performance. I was very reluctant to take Frances, but, at the last minute, I decided to do so.

She was very quiet throughout, but just near the end, I felt a tug at my sleeve. I put my finger to my lips to remind her to be quiet. Then, I felt another, more insistent tug on my sleeve.

“Mummy…Mummy!” she half-whispered.

This time, I gave her the quiet sign and mouthed “shhh” at the same time.

“Mummy! Mummy!! I have to ask a question.”

“No,” I mouthed. “Not yet.”

But she didn’t understand me or she chose to ignore me because, finally, she could take it no more.

“Mummy, do babies have tongues?”

What? No,” I answered, completely flustered, feeling as if I was going to faint.

“They don’t? Then how do they chew?”

“Yes, yes,” I whispered back. “They do have tongues. Now, shhh…”

People must have heard us because it was otherwise so silent in the recital hall, but, in retrospect, I’m glad that she asked me her pressing question.


School mornings are difficult for Frances. They typically involve huge meltdowns and outright refusal to go to school. We do get her to school (where she does well throughout the day), but not without a great deal of effort to get her dressed, fed, and ready to leave the house.

Today, everything progressed in a predictable manner until there was sudden silence: I found her in the living room, rocking herself in a rocking chair. Ten minutes later, she was still rocking. Ordinarily, the meltdown would last until the teachers took over, but we stood a good chance of delivering her into their care without tears!

I ran up the stairs to tell Pink Cup Dad that he had to take her to school NOW while she was still so calm (and he did).

Now, I’m looking forward to seeing if the rocking chair works for her tomorrow as well.