Frances has always loved to play with light and light-emitting objects. Here, she is holding a smallish green toy.
Frances has been playing with light since she was 9 months old. She would often grab my booklight and look at it with a big smile on her face!
Over the years, she has developed many different ways of interacting with light and light-emitting toys.
One thing that she still loves to do is to turn switches on and off very rapidly over and over again.
Like many behaviours, this one has disappeared and reappeared several times.
We discourage it (for safety reasons) with explanations and distractions–other means of light play available to her are harmless.
But as long as she can play with light, she is happy!
Frances: Did you ever realize that we don’t see our own faces? We don’t know if mirrors are lying. We never know what we truly look like.
I just found this gem of a conversation. Frances had just turned four.
Frances: The ugly duckling is really a swan? The swan egg got accidentally into the duck nest? How could that have happened? That doesn’t make any sense…!
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!
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.
Every day, we ask Frances who she played with at school and usually she says that she didn’t play with anyone.
Recently, she told me that she sat in the corner outside at recess time watching the spinning wheels of a toy truck that she was holding.
While she really enjoys watching things spin, she also had nobody to play with at school.
I think I’m going to have to make a pest of myself again and go down to the school at recess times to make sure that Frances is getting the help that she needs.
Among other things, she has trouble knowing when/if someone is being mean or bossy; she has trouble knowing what’s expected of her in improvised play.
I wrote a letter to her teacher last week but have not heard back.
Surely, they can do better than assuming that she just wants to play by herself?