It’s epic…

One of the best things we’ve done in the past year or so has been to sign up for an ebook subscription service for the kids.

For a monthly charge (pretty minimal), parents can monitor what is being read and even set aside books that they want the kids to read. They also receive a monthly report enumerating the books read (which includes a printable certificate).

Each kid has her own account, collects badges for reaching reading milestones and can favourite books that she really likes.

Before the recital

We were waiting for Frances’s school recital to begin last night, and Frances was running all through the auditorium to get out some energy.

Frances has the most energy of any child I’ve ever met: she doesn’t seem to experience sleepiness. (This will come in handy at university if she’s staying up all night to finish essays.)

I do joke about it sometimes because it’s good not to take things too seriously (and we make sure she gets enough restorative sleep.)

There was only one other parent waiting with us before the recital. I’m quite comfortable with this mother as we’ve both had children at the school for some time and she really likes Frances. She’s got a great sense of humour as well as very active kids, and the following exchange occurred as Frances ran around.

Other Parent: Frances is still very active, isn’t she?

Me: Yes…but I saw her yawn once. ūüôā

She actually did yawn this past autumn, in the car, for the first time that either Pink Cup Dad or I could remember. 
It’s just who Frances is and the way things are. She may experience being tired more as she ages, but who knows? For now, she’s our very sweet bundle of energy.

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 For example, this fall, the rigid insistence on watching documentaries at bedtime has been replaced by (the rigid insistence on) reading and listening to audiobooks.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.

Independence 

In our ongoing quest to help Frances with issues of separation, her behavioural therapist has her reading for an hour without me in the room every night. 

She has a chart, and for every night that she completes the hour she earns 5 points. Those points, at certain increments, can be saved and cashed in for rewards.

So far, it is not going too badly; however, I do find every once in a while that I’ll feel as if someone is watching me. I’ll look over and find her in her typical posture — arms around knees — looking up at me from the floor of the room that she’s in. She’ll have migrated from the bed with impressive silence. She’ll say she is lonely or that she misses me. She’ll say she wants a hug (and we’ll hug and cuddle).

Times like this remind me of her very sweet disposition.

Routine and reading 

As you probably already know, Frances (absolutely) has to watch documentaries at bedtime. When she expresses an interest in reading as well, I encourage it.

I always promote reading — I really do — but bedtime may not be the best time to read for Frances: she just never gets tired

The night before last, at around 8:50, she asked if she could read “just a little bit” before bedtime. At 12:30 a.m., she was wide awake and still reading.

She becomes so engrossed in the story — her mind so active — that the activity loses the soporific effect it probably would have had on someone else. 

At a half-hour past midnight, I was impatient and told her that I was going to sleep, that I couldn’t wait for her to do so as I normally would, and she merely shrugged, said “Okay” and kept reading.

We’ll see if it happens again (it didn’t last night). I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but I know very well that she may dismiss the idea of reading if she thinks that I won’t stay with her while she falls asleep.