Frances takes a break during one of her last few ballet classes.
Each year, I get special permission to stay backstage with her in case she gets overwhelmed by noise or by separation. She was very overwhelmed near the end, and I talked her through it as well as I could.
One thing that we kept in mind was the fact that it would be her last ballet recital. (She wants to focus on something else instead.)
Besides, others were relying upon her, so she had to see it through to the final recital bow.
I had to say goodbye to many ballet moms that I’ve known for ten years (since Pink Cup Sister first danced). Frances said goodbye to her classmates, to her teacher, and to some other special people.
I’m really going to miss ballet.
(Besides the physical benefits, it’s great for helping to develop character: children learn that there are expectations as to attire and behaviour with respect to time and place; they learn how to follow instructions, to work within a group, and to be accountable to others. They strive towards personal development while achieving something bigger than any one individual at the end of the season. They really learn that not everything is about them but that everything depends on their sense of commitment. It’s such a fantastic teaching tool for self-discipline.)
But, alas, there are new and exciting things ahead, and Frances is embracing the change which is completely unexpected. So, onwards and upwards!
Every day, Frances verifies many rules with me. Usually, they come out of the blue, but sometimes I know what inspired them.
Yesterday, she asked me what happens to biomedical waste. I googled the term, and then we discussed what is supposed to happen and what sometimes happens.
Today, the following conversation…
Frances: Don’t catch raindrops on your tongue, right?
Frances: Because they come from the ocean, and people put medical waste in the ocean, right?
I came across this little gem in Frances’s school journal:
When I am bored, I annoy my sister. I do: ‘Knock, knock. Do you want to build a snowman?’ It really annoys my sister.”
Yes, she knocks on Pink Cup Sister’s bedroom door and sings the Do You Want to Build A Snowman? song from the movie Frozen just as the character, Anna, does.
She does it over and over again, and we have to remind her of the “it was funny the first time” rule.
Thankfully, she hasn’t done it in quite some time.
(Nota bene: There was remarkable improvement in her spelling from October to June.)
Me: How did you get so cute?
Frances: It’s not from either of you …
Frances spends all of her doll time setting up scenarios but doesn’t actually play. Once the setup is achieved, she moves on to another scenario. There is no imagined interaction between the doll and her surroundings once everything is in place.
When she was being evaluated in 2013, the developmental paediatrician noted that her use of toys did not include storylines.
It’s subtle to the casual eye but very obvious once you know what you are seeing.
Yesterday, Frances had a long ballet class because it included a rehearsal for the upcoming (very large) recital.
During a break, she ran up to a group of parents and children, who were in the midst of talking and laughing, and announced:
“Tomorrow’s my last day of school. I go to a private school.”
Everyone in the group stopped what she was doing but was very polite: someone told her how fortunate she was as other children weren’t finished school until the end of June.
Then, she hopped, skipped, and twirled back to me, and the group continued as before.
I’m very glad that everyone was polite, but part of me thinks that she may have learned more if they had shown surprise and awkwardness at the unexpected interaction.
Well, that’s what social interaction looks like for now. A year ago, she would not have wanted to approach the group. The year before that, she would not have been aware of the group.
Everything in its time!
Frances: I don’t want to hurt your feelings, Mum, but it isn’t ‘bath time’.
Me: Oh, why not?
Frances: If it were ‘bath time’, I’d actually be in the tub right now. I think you mean that it is almost bath time. No offence.
I love her logic!
(She was six years old at the time and had just learned how to tack on ‘no offence’ at the end of her very honest observations. She still does this.)