For the first time, Frances is going to a day camp that isn’t operated by people that she knows.
It’s a big change, but it’s not as big as it could have been–she is also attending with two of her cousins with whom she is very close.
On the first day, there were no tears at separation, but there were many reassuring words and hugs (when she permitted).
It’s a nature-oriented camp that involves activities such as canoeing every day. Pink Cup Dad and I both enjoy canoeing, and we’re happy that Frances is enjoying being on the water (and that she is so closely supervised).
She is surrounded by the outdoors: (animals, dense forestation) with lots of activity (hiking, canoeing, crafting).
She has also met a girl who seems to be very protective and friendly towards her and who enjoys horseback riding, too. This has allayed some of my own fears. This is her new “best friend”. (While she uses this term with everyone with whom she connects, I’ve no doubt that she means it when she says it.)
I signed her up back in February and indicated on the application that she has HF ASD. To my knowledge, she has not required one-to-one support at all and has managed well while just having her cousins there with her.
Next year, perhaps she’ll be ready to attend a camp without her cousins. I can see this happening for her.
She sometimes says “thank you” instead of “you’re welcome”, or she might say “you’re welcome” before the other person has a chance to thank her.
My adorable little girl is learning language and context, so I always tell her the correct response.
But, as I’ve mentioned recently, in these moments I get a chance to appreciate who she truly is just as she is.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that her struggle with pragmatic language often creates precious moments between us.
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…!
As I’ve noted before, my 10-year-old daughter appears younger and sounds older.
Recently, while deciding which pair to wear, Frances said, “This is a proper pyjama ensemble.”
On this day in 2011, when Frances was merely four-years-and-one-month old, we had the following conversation:
Frances: Why do I have to go to preschool?
Me: Well, it’s to help you be okay spending time away from me when you go to junior kindergarten in September.
Frances: How long is junior kindergarten every day?
Me: Six hours.
Frances: How long is preschool?
Me: Two hours.
Frances: So how can preschool be helping me? It’s not.
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?
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.