Change happens…or not

Unbelievably, behaviours that we have seen since Frances was three have disappeared only to be suddenly replaced by another behaviour. For example, this fall, the rigid insistence on watching documentaries at bedtime has been replaced by (the rigid insistence on) reading and listening to audiobooks.

Recently, some new behaviours don’t seem to have replaced any others — they simply appeared. For example, near constant whistling and leg-jiggling while seated have just arrived. Also, announcing facts, while present in the past, has intensified and can be measured in facts-per-hour now.

We’ve noticed some other of Frances’s behaviours appear to be ever so slowly, gradually changing into others with the help of motivation charts. For example, her insistence on being always in my presence is shifting just a bit: Every evening, for an hour, she reads while I’m in the next room.

But there are some behaviours that seem firmly set in place. For example, when Frances isn’t talking, crying, whispering, singing, humming or whistling, she clicks her tongue as often as thirty times a minute. (It’s a sound-related, or energy-related, thing that we don’t quite understand.)

Her anxiety level, unfortunately, is still usually pretty high, so worrying is very much an issue. For example, in a very few minutes, she can go from worrying about whether a paper cut will become something worse to trying hard to figure out the meaning of someone’s behaviour to wondering if something she enjoys is going to last.

Fortunately, there are things that we wouldn’t want to change and which, in fact, have not.

The way she sits for pretty much every activity — from eating to watching something to rocking and playing and lining things up — has been the same since she was a toddler:


We’re still fortunate enough to have the sweet, poignant insights that she gleans from her unique observations and which are often expressed in rapid-fire series of questions or, sometimes, as stand-alone random events. (This, too, started when she was a toddler.) For example, she once asked, with all the world-weariness that a five-year-old could muster: “There’s always a dead skunk somewhere in the world, right?”

In general, we’re happy when change that promotes independence in our daughter occurs, otherwise it’s all good.

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