Every day has a similar routine. In the morning, Melody’s mom and Penny come to wake Melody up, and then Melody’s mom takes her to the bathroom. Although doctors said Melody couldn’t be potty trained, she could go to the bathroom by the time she was three. Melody hated dirty diapers, which helped motivate her to train herself.
Although medical professionals believed Melody would be unable to complete many simple tasks, her ability to bathroom-train herself demonstrates her perseverance and work ethic.
Melody and her mother can often communicate without words. Melody’s mother understands when Melody is hungry or thirsty, and she even laughs at her jokes. In the evenings, Melody can tell that her mother is tired out, and she does her best to calm her mom with a gentle touch.
Arguably Melody’s most important relationship is with her mother, who, because she can communicate with Melody and understand her intelligence, remains her biggest advocate.
On Saturday mornings, Melody’s mom relaxes with her daughters. Melody’s mom reads Melody the comics, which she loves, especially Garfield. For her tenth birthday Melody gets a book of Garfield comics. Melody wishes she were like a character in a comic sometimes, with thought bubbles floating over her head speaking for her.
Melody often wishes that she could communicate. In Chapter 8 she wishes she could sing, and here she imagines a world where she could communicate via thought-bubble. Both methods are much easier than trying to spell out words on her limited communication board, which controls how she interacts with most of the world.
Penny can already say a lot of words, but when Melody tries to talk she just makes noise. Her parents mostly understand what she’s saying, even though her communication board doesn’t work very well. Still, sometimes communication breaks down. One afternoon Melody wanted a Big Mac and a vanilla shake, but her dad just couldn’t understand her. Melody got so frustrated she started having a tornado explosion. A few weeks later, driving past a McDonald’s Melody kicked and screeched so her dad would know she wanted to go there for dinner. This time he understood, but he never connected it to Melody’s tornado explosion earlier.
Watching Penny speak is frustrating for Melody, who knows many more words than her little sister but cannot say them. The example of a breakdown of communication in this chapter, where she wants to go to McDonalds, is similar to other tornado explosions, like in Chapter 3 where she tries to warn her mother about unsafe toys, or in Chapter 7 where Mrs. Billups doesn’t understand how bored her students are.