Friday, August 31, 2007

Portrait of Frankie

So after a couple of weeks here, I thought I would try to give a complete description of this odd and endearing child.

He talks non-stop if you let him. If you sit and give him your undivided attention he will tend to stay on the same topic and go on and on...the story of his dream...his theory of how to solve all the world's problems (which involves everyone being required to consume a minimum of goods)...whatever. He easily becomes fixated on something and can become so consumed that he literally talks of nothing else for days (e.g. WOW). Having seen him one day when he forgot his morning pills, there is no doubt in my mind that he is NOT one of the kids who has been misdiagnosed with ADHD.

He has a difficult time being quiet even when engaged. He makes noises, narrates what he is doing, annouces anything that he thinks is interesting, stupid, or exciting. He does not notice when he has driven everyone from the room because they just can't listen any more.

There seems to be a complete absence of the "love me--I'll punish you if you love me" dynamic. He likes me. Though he does not have Down's, it is only in Down's people that I have seen this sort of innocent affection. He is very endearing. Just about everybody responds to him they way they might to a puppy. There is, so far as I can tell, nothing manipulative about it. He just likes us.

He does not seem to get personal space at all. He is not a touchy kid and tends not to invade space, but if he needs something and you are in the way, he reaches for it. If this involves stepping on your toes or leaning against you while wrapping his arm around you, he does. He just doesn't seem to recognize that you are there, somehow.

He tends not to notice if he is getting on someone's nerves, or pick up on other social cues. On the other hand, he does not get offended or hurt if you tell him something like "I need to be alone for ten minutes." He will likely say, "Okay" and then come back in ten minutes.

He is not uptight about routine, accepts change in schedules well, laughs appropriately at jokes, makes a few jokes of his own, and does not have a phenomenal memory or any other sort of "savant" skill that we have noticed (just in case any of this was adding up to Asperger's for anyone.)

He has a low tolerance for frustration and will cry -- really cry with lots of tears -- when it gets to be too much. Neither Hubby nor I find him especially difficult to de-escalate, although it can take a while.

He seems very much the little boy. He just got his allowance and he wanted to spend it on toy guns, a subscription to WOW and candy. Even though he has been talking about wanting to be a girl, and I do not disbelieve him, he seems to me to be a little boy. It is not like Carl who was sixteen and enjoyed letting himself be a kid again. Frankie seems like a little boy 24/7.

He tends to slur his words, has difficulty remembering how to pronounce words once he has it in his head that they should be pronounced differently. He does not read well, although he tries to fake it. He has made some "dyslexic" type mistakes. For instance while reading the WOW manual he wanted to know what a "morlock" was. Andrew told him that was a "warlock."

He has difficulty calculating time, although he is getting better. He is allowed 90 minutes of electronic time (video/computer/TV) on school days and he is highly motivated to figure it out. Still, he will often ask me how long he has played if he started at 3:45 and ended at 4:24. (That sort of calculation is not one that I can always make quickly myself). He makes simple mistakes when deciding how to spend his allowance. He tends to think that if you have 40 dollars and spend it on something that costs 22 dollars, you should still be able to buy something in the 20-dollar range. It is unclear though how much of that is just excitement and not stopping to think.

He is normally compliant with requests to do chores, which is to say that he is willing to do them and prone to forget. He is disorganized, looses possessions within seconds, and tends to forget about anything that is not in his sight.

He speaks positively about his parents. He does say that his transition plans would freak them out, but usually when he talks about them it is to pass on something interesting that they taught him. His memory seems to be jumbled.

He is extremely excited about the prospect that he may get to take hormones and have surgery and be an action-figure-playing, toy-gun-loving girl.


  1. Frankie sounds like such a sweet and charming kid! And the talking would probably drive me crazy in about five minutes in real life! :p

    Your family appears to be such a great match for him and you seem to be very fond of him already. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. i've fallen in love with frankie and i've never met him! i identify with that warp speed ADD mind, hyperactivity, not so much! i am so glad he has found you and your family. he's had a rough time the past few years and deserves a safe place to grow up and find his true self!


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