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!
I know that it’s my job to make sure that Frances knows social rules and to help her make sense of them, but sometimes it is very endearing when she doesn’t remember.
For example, in the car recently, Frances handed her sister some food that she intended to share and then said, “You’re welcome.”
“You have to wait until the person says, ‘Thank you,'” I reminded her.
“Oops. I sometimes get the words confused,” she replied.
She hadn’t said “you’re welcome” sarcastically; the words that she needs in social situations just aren’t always available to her or she confuses words because following the rule hasn’t yet become automatic to her.
At those moments, even though I step in to help, I’m really aware of just how much I appreciate who she is.
We celebrated Frances’s 10th birthday this weekend, and there were no meltdowns during the two parties.
She covered her ears during the “Happy Birthday” song both times, but we kept the numbers very small at both the party for friends and the party for relatives, so she didn’t get overwhelmed in general.
At the party for friends, in addition to a few classmates, she had two friends from horse-riding lessons which was really nice.
Guess what theme predominated the gifts that she received? Horses. She got every manner of horse toy for which a ten-year-old horse-and-doll-loving little girl could have wished, and it was really sweet.
We’re at the end of a snowstorm which could be winter’s last hurrah.
Late yesterday afternoon, while explaining the amount of snowfall to Frances, I said, “Oh, it’s less than half a Barbie in depth.”
So, dolls really are everywhere in our life now.
Me: How did you know that?
Frances: I read the information, it went to short term memory, and then it was stored as long-term memory.
I love how literal — and very specific/precise — Frances’s answers can be. In this case, she actually explains the process of knowledge acquisition as she understands it… I forget what we were actually talking about!
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.
Woke up Sunday morning to this text from Frances:
I didn’t realize that she’d recorded a video on Saturday while we were out. It’s brief, maybe five seconds, and it’s what you see would see while driving along one of the highways here.
Frances was near crying as the other girls of her ABA (applied behaviour analysis) group walked into the reception area.
“I’m not going,” she told me.
“I don’t want to go somewhere without you,” she said. She was pouting.
“You didn’t consult me. You didn’t even ask me if I wanted to do this,” she reminded me.
The ABA interventionist/group leader tried to talk to her, but Frances buried her face into my coat.
Then the group leader uttered the magic words:
“We have dolls!”
Frances looked up. “OK,” she said. “And Barbies?”
The kid didn’t even look back at me as she walked down the hall.
That was last month, and she has only grumbled a bit beforehand since then; there’s a much smoother transition now.