Interview with Frances, Aged 12 years, 5 months

Current job?
~Student. I’m 12
Dream job?
~Anything that makes me enough money to run a Friesian and Lippizaner care centre attached to a vet’s office where my friends can come and ride my horses for free. Not Mummy
Favorite food?
~Salad
Favorite type of cat?
~Calico
Favorite candy?
~Anything sour
Favourite ice cream?
~Mint chocolate chip
Your favourite colour(s)?
~Black, lime green, white, and gold
Favourite holiday?
~My birthday, duh
Night owl or Early Bird?
~Night owl
Favourite day?
~Holidays! Sunday
Tattoos?
~I’m 12
Like to cook?
~Yes, whatever doesn’t burn the house down
Can you drive a stick shift?
~I’ve been shown how to drive a tractor
Your vehicle colour?
~Black
Do you like vegetables?
~Yes, of course!
Do you wear glasses?
~Yes, I think that’s kind of obvious
Glasses you wear?
~Black Raybans. (Can I wear Gucci?)
Favourite Perfume?
~Chanel No. 5
Favorite season?
~Winter
Favourite music?
~Billie Eilish
Favourite kind of movie?
~Horror
Favourite show?
~Stranger Things
Favourite author?
~Stephen King
Favourite graphic novel?
~Smile by R. Telgemeier
Favourite activity?
~English and Western horseback riding
Pets?
~
Pink Cup Cat, Pink Cup Dog, Pink Cup Pony
Where do you want to live when you grow up?
~L.A.
Favourite restaurant?
~East Side Mario’s

#asd #aspergers #autism

“I’m going through changes…”

It would seem that my posts have slowed down…But, don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned my posting. (Haha, see what I did there?)

Life does get busy here, but I do want to write more often. This is my goal!

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to share something that I’ve just noticed and which I think is cute: At the barn, there’s a policy/tradition/point of etiquette that, before opening an arena door, the person seeking entrance will loudly say, “door” and someone else will say “okay” or “no” in response.

(This avoids startling the horses and riders and also avoids someone getting run over by a cantering horse that’s really riding the rails. But that’s not the cute part; I digress.)

Recently, I’ve noticed that, before entering a room at home, Frances will knock and say “door” loudly; if she doesn’t hear “no”, she’ll go in.

It’s probably a good idea. 🤔 But I do believe that I will have to think about a way to encourage her to not open the door unless she hears “okay.” That would be more helpful for her.

I’ve also noticed a really very significant change: Frances, who has now turned twelve, will play outside! For hours!! By HERSELF!! This is absolutely huge — the trifecta that we’d long wondered about, waiting to see if it would happen — and I just can’t adequately express it.

Yay, Frances!!

#asd #aspergers #autism

All lined up

Lining Up
You can see everything you have, and it’s all in order

I’ve always enjoyed the fact that Frances lines things up. In fact, to be honest, years before she got her diagnosis, I started noticing that she did this. It didn’t concern me because, as I said to Pink Cup Dad once years ago, Frances “always has a good reason” for doing so.

“Like what?” He asked.

“Like all of her baby dolls are watching TV.”

“That’s not a good reason…”

I can actually see his point now. She would have lined them up and THEN decided that they were watching TV because she doesn’t have storylines or narratives when she plays. The lining up is the priority and not the activity of having them “watch TV.” Her behaviour isn’t, and wasn’t, typical play behaviour.

Nothing has changed about this activity as she has aged, except that she isn’t interested in baby dolls anymore; she is intensely focussed upon horses and horse dolls and horse riding and horse-doll collecting and horse documentaries…

While waiting for an appointment recently, she sat on the floor and lined up her (Schleich) horses. She didn’t have a story that preceded or accompanied the lining up of the horses; she didn’t have one afterwards, either. I think it’s just what a herd of twenty-plus horses would look like if they were going somewhere.

Frances actually has many RBIs (repetitive behaviours and interests), and this is my favourite: she’s been doing it since she was about 13 months or so.

The behaviour to me seems harmless; if she likes lining up objects, why shouldn’t she? Certainly, it can be messy: I’ve literally seen hundreds of my books continuously lined up and looped around objects throughout the entire house because my 18-month-old daughter was THAT focussed. I was very impressed even as I picked up every single book.

I know that it’s a behaviour closely associated with autism and ASD. I like it.

Trauma bay?

Since she was three years old, Frances has had an intense interest in all things medical 🏥. It shows up everywhere, especially at 11 years old.

The other day during March break, Frances announced, as she typically does (literally) in passing, what was on her mind:

“Mum, if someone were saying, ‘I can’t feel my face when I’m with you’ to me, I would say, ‘Stroke! You’re having a STROKE!’” 😂

Yes, one of the benefits of having a child who focusses so intensely on her subjects of interest is that you are fortunate enough to suddenly find yourself in the most entertaining (as well as enlightening) of conversations.

Recently, I was discussing with someone an event that had occurred while I was hospitalised last autumn and described the cautiousness that my care team had demonstrated regarding some cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary symptoms. Frances couldn’t help herself, she interrupted because she just had to know:

Did they give you TPA?

No…

Did you hear, “Code Blue” over the loudspeaker?

No…

Did anyone say, “Everyone to the resuscitation bay!”

No… (LOL)

She speaks now of becoming a surgeon which, I’ve told her, would probably allow her to continue her equestrian ambitions.

This must be Thursday…

Welcome to Thursday...
“I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

The weather here has been ridiculously cold. We’ve all bundled up under extra blankets for windchills in the -20s and -30s.

We’re approaching the end of January, and, unfortunately, Frances has been pretty sick for much of the month which has prevented her from enjoying the snow whenever it appeared.

In fact, my highly active, super-humanly energetic child has been lethargic and disinclined to do much besides watching her documentaries and playing iPad games.

She keeps asking, “Mummy, why do I feel so sick?”

Because it’s winter. Because it’s cold-and-flu season. Because the flu shot isn’t 100% effective, but it’s best to get one to lessen the impact of the flu. Because you’re young and you haven’t been exposed to many viruses. Because kids at school are sick…

And so unfolded our Thursday conversations throughout the day (once I returned from Pink Cup Sister’s appointments).

The good news on this particular Thursday is that I finally took the ornaments off the Christmas tree. I had been preparing Frances for this event for some time, but she was still a little shocked and perturbed as I carefully packed up our glass ornaments.

There is usually a meltdown when Christmas decorations slowly disappear throughout January, but Frances has done well.

Happy New Year!

Each year, I end up writing about Frances’s reaction to the festive season. This year, there was a noticeable increase in stress for her, as school finished up and decorations appeared, compared to other years.

There is always some degree of stress for her; however, we were seeing daily meltdowns at least 3x per day, and I was tempted to pull her out of the school concert.

In the end, we had a great, exciting Christmas. Frances received a stack of Breyer horses as tall as she is. It was, overall, just a delightful experience.

I do think we have to do a better job next year of shielding Frances from stressful situations. I mean, we did do so, but we’ve more clearly identified triggers as of this past holiday.

She recently said to me:

“Mummy, I don’t like uncertainty in my life. I run on a schedule…”

How insightful she is! Thankfully, horse riding is year-long, so that part of her schedule remained very close to the norm for her. In fact, like most “horse” people we know, Frances and I were there more often because of the break from school.

Picture of pony

One notable difference this holiday from my perspective was that, at the Christmas dinner, she spoke eloquently about her interest in writing and her ideal projects. She actually sounded like an adult! I have to remind myself at those times that she is only 11 years old.

Anyway, I hope to provide more updates and anecdotes this year than last: family emergencies and some serious health issues for me meant less writing.

But now that I’m back up and running, so to speak, do expect more from A Pink Cup 🙂