Summer and structure

Frances needs structure — lots of it. In the past, summers have been very difficult for her for this reason.

So, school has ended for the summer break, and we have encountered a little difficulty in this regard: we had signed Frances up for a summer filled with day camp through her school; unfortunately, the school has cancelled the camp!

We’re down to four weeks of day camp from 10 weeks, and the deadlines for other camps have long since passed.

If I can get her interested, I thought reading Anne of Green Gables to her might help with her need for structure. There are many kinds of crafts or art that can be done with that theme in mind.

I’m definitely open to suggestions for helping to keep her time structured!

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When it’s quiet…

One day, when Frances was about 18 months old, she took hundreds of children’s books off a set of shelves in the living room and stood on top of the haphazard pile to get more.

She sometimes lined the entire house with a path of books that encompassed the dining room table and led back to the front room.

From the time that she was seven months old, she perused books with an unusual intensity and focus.

As a toddler, she would push a book into my abdomen or my neck or my hands and say, “Read!”

By the time she was 2.5 years old, I was reading stacks and stacks of books to her daily (usually 20 but as many as 30 or 40 at times).

At the library, where most parents might be encouraging their children to choose books, I was popping throat lozenges and encouraging her to go play just so that I could give my voice a rest.

She cried if books got damaged in the tiniest way. She protested loudly if anyone had written their name inside a book. If she became angry with me, she would threaten that we would no longer be able to visit my favourite bookstore.

She always had a book in her hand (for comfort, I assume).

The local bookstore knew us so well that Frances was allowed to take a book and read under a table where she wouldn’t be disturbed.

When Frances is reading is pretty much the only time (besides sleeping) that it is quiet in our house — the ONLY TIME.

She’s a nonstop talker with a more-than-average amount of energy and bounce in her running steps.

The other day, after school, there was a prolonged period of quiet (say, five minutes). It was very noticeable which could only mean that she was reading. Then, I heard her say to herself:

“This book is not very instructive on drawing horses.”

I knew that, within a minute or so, the house would be virtually alive again with the sound of her chatter and laughter and objects banging around again as she searched for something that she absolutely needed.

Chihuahua 

Frances drew this picture yesterday for a friend’s dog — I think it’s really cute. She actually drew pictures for all of the dogs in that family, and this is my favourite.

Too many toys

Convincing Frances to part with toys is an ongoing battle. Over the summer, she donated several large bags of toys for the very young, but there’s still much more to go.

What about Bob?

Frances discovered Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting this morning on Netflix. 

She found his mellow voice and unquestionably effectual techniques quite soothing, and asked, “Would this count as a documentary?”

While technically not a documentary, I agreed to her watching it at bedtime because it has such an hypnotic effect on her. Bob Ross is good for anxiety!

I had never considered this show as a possible means of helping her get to sleep. But, yes — Bob!

(For a reminder or to learn about this laidback painter and his show (1983-1994) go here.)

Doll crafting

Even though she has many doll houses and innumerable accessories, Frances has recently begun to craft (as above) her own using cardboard boxes, magazine pictures, and stickers.

She has been having such a hard time socially at school this year that I decided to help her today: I went through some old magazines, cut out photos and glued them to cardboard. 

It’s not much, but I’m hoping that, when she comes home, she’ll be so happy for the surprise that she won’t revisit the difficulties that she probably encountered today.

(It’s really heartbreaking to think of her playing by herself outside for an entire hour at recess time because she is having difficulty connecting with others.)

Drawing

Frances drew this while looking at a picture of same — it’s pretty much identical — which kind of shocked the whole family.