It’s been over 18 months since my last diary entry and I can’t explain that. Has Eva changed? Undoubtedly; but, fundamentally, she’s also remained the same. Her awareness of the world around her has matured, certainly, but it’s a world that still turns on her terms. Just like any other kid, she knows everything that is required of her, in terms of behavior, but chooses not to conform because she sees no reason why she should.

Also like many kids with siblings, she loves her brother very much; is both fiercely protective and witheringly scathing of him. When playing together, her handicap is really only evident in her inability to adapt. Any suggestion from him, any enhancement to her game is immediately rebuffed, as is any attempt he may make to initiate play – Eva initiates, he must fall exactly into line. He does so because he is desperate to play with her. Her school friends are less so.

They come over for play dates and very rarely return the invite because there is no give & take, and she is merciless if they don’t co-operate – at worst heaping on verbal abuse, at best just wandering off, leaving her guest alone. My wife & I try to bridge the gap, suggesting activities we know both girls will enjoy, activities that they will appear to share together, but it is only an appearance. They are enjoying the moment in parallel. There is no genuine connection between them, and Eva is no more sad when they leave as she would be if a stranger in the street had shared the fun. A ‘friend’, for Eva, seems to be a companion but for a moment – a welcome accompanist to a few brief hours in her life. She wants nothing more from them, and I’m not sure whether to envy her or not.

We all want to connect – or so I used to think, staring at the classic E.M.Forster quote torn from my typewriter and pinned on my old Uni wall – but maybe it’s far easier and far purer a joy to just appreciate a moment shared without any other commitment, emotional or otherwise. Maybe life would be far less complicated (and happier) if more thought that way.

Anyway, this is the first of many shorter, more frequent updates, so feel free to pop back later or leave feedback if you want to share your Spectrum stories. We’re going nowhere, geographically at any rate.