Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dave, Sitting Down

We went for lunch yesterday and a kind of upscale restaurant. Ruby had had her hair done and looked lovely with a pink feather woven into her hair. Her nails shone, freshly painted, having had her first manicure. She's getting ready to go to the ballet and we wanted this to be a total experience. We arranged the seats so that Ruby was at the end of the table between Joe and I. The restaurant is nice but maybe a bit sedate for a child and when Ruby began to get bored waiting for the food to arrive, I asked her if she wanted to play the 'gotcha game'.

The 'gotcha game' is one where one player puts a hand on the table and when the other person tries to slap it it gets pulled away quickly. If you get hit the hitter calls 'gotcha' and then they put their hand on the table. It isn't, um, sophisticated. Ruby and I have been playing this game since she was just barely over a year old and , perhaps surprisingly, it doesn't get old. I had Ruby look around the restaurant and asked her if she noticed that people were talking quietly and enjoying their lunch and their time together. I asked her to think about how, if we were noisy, that might affect others. She said, 'They wouldn't like it.' So, the rule was set, we'd play, but quietly.

The games began. She was having a rip snorting time, and so was I. We laughed quietly even though we played the game with gusto. 'Gotcha' sounds even more intriguing when whispered. At a table over across the way a family in several generations, was lunching. The little girl had been fussing and then began watching us, grinning. Her father noticed her watching and looked over, I said, 'We are being terrible roll models right now, I know.' He smiled taking in the fun we were having.

His daughter reached out and tapped his hand and burst into giggles, Another game of 'gotcha' started. When the food came, Ruby tucked in game forgotten. Their food arrived, and too, the game was forgotten. We had a lovely lunch and we talked about the parade and the ballet and all the plans for rest of the weekend. Ruby told us about school and about her dance classes and we had a long and fairly involved conversation about pushing elevator buttons. The waitress talked to Ruby about her nails and they compared hands. It was just plain pleasant.

On their way out, the dad stopped and said that he was glad to have seen us play and have fun together. Ruby said the oddest thing, 'Oh, Dave knows how to have fun sitting down, most people in wheelchairs do.' The fellow said, 'I guess they do.' I think he may have been a bit shocked at how forthright she was about my wheelchair or maybe it was more surprise at how conversational she was about it.

I know how to have fun sitting down. I never thought of that as a skill before.

But do will now.


Team Lando said...

You just brought a huge smile to my very early morning. Thank you.

John R. said...

Delightful....Ruby shines through your stories and I only hope my daughter is as honest and loving as her as she develops.....also.... I have a new game to play with my daughter when we are out to eat!! Thanks, Dave and Ruby.

krlr said...

What an awesome kid - love her!

Belinda said...

You are such a good teacher. You shared a great example of how not to say "no," but "how." If that sentence even makes sense! I know what I mean. :)

Flemisa said...

Sounds like a very special day for a special, perceptive young lady.

Most activities with children involve so much movement - chasing, sports, etc. - that it is an effort sometimes to do something seated quietly. Great to hear about your game and that you are teaching it to others.

Hope the rest of the weekend has many more special moments.

tekeal said...

that is super sweet

Anonymous said...

This game reminds me of a game my siblings and I used to play with my Dad when we were young and waiting in restaurants, or anywhere else for that matter. My dad would put one hand flat on the table, and then one of us would put a hand over his, then the next person would put their hand over that one. We would keep going until all of our hands were piled up alternately, one on top of the other. The next part of the game was that the hand on the bottom had to be gently pulled out and placed on the top. This would just continue on. It is a very fun game when there are two or more people playing as you tend to forget just where your hand is and not notice when it's yours on the bottom!

- Beannie

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving me a new game to play with X. You can only play peakaboo so many times in one day! :)

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

It sounds like a lovely day. Ruby is awesome!


Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

That Ruby - she's so wise. And beloved. Lovely story!

Susan said...


I so agree with Belinda. Expecting Ruby to "get it" once you explained the situation - talking "across" to her - and not down to her, is such a wonderful example of how kids SHOULD be treated but all too often aren't. Thank you for a wonderful example.

Kristin said...

I love the way Ruby's mind works. She is a special little girl.