It's amazing what you can learn from someone who is nearly two. Ruby came to visit with her dad, Mike, when he came to pick up the last of his stuff from our basement. She's of incredibly good temperment and has just the right amount of shyness, an initial hesitancy that children need to live safely in this world. After being here in the house for about half an hour, after watching to see that her dad was comfortable with us and after a little light went off in her memory (so she had seen us before) she began to include us in her interactions and involve us in her play.
What made it different this time was that she now really noticed the wheelchair in a way that she had not previously done. She had always known me as 'the guy in wheels' but this time it seemed that she understood 'the guy' and 'the wheels' as two distinct things. Something that adults can't often do, she now got. She decided that she loved pushing me in the wheelchair. We were shopping at the mall and she pushed Joe out of the way so she could get at the handles on my chair. I felt her try to push, I took my wheels and slowly moved them, letting her experience the sensation of pushing me through the store. After a few steps, she stopped, threw her head back and laughed, she clapped her hands and hugged herself. She was overcome with happiness. I think she felt that she was doing something important, she was helping another.
At one point we raised a few eyebrows as we had a race. Me in my wheelchair and Ruby on her tiny little legs. She ran pell mell along side me as I made racing sounds. Joe ran beside her, Mike was pushing me keeping just a little behind her pace. Again, when we were done, she stopped and had herself a giant laugh.
Just before going home for dinner we stopped and all went to a movie. She was exhausted from all the activity. She fell asleep on Mike, who passed her to me, who passed her to Joe. She slept the sleep of the dead. On our way out of the theatre she rode, seated comfortably on my stomach and took a long tall look at the world.
We played a game while waiting for her dad to get something from the car. Did you know that a huge fat guy in a slightly larger than average wheelchair could hide behind just two hands. Well, I can. I did. We played Peek-a-boo as I hid completely invisible to her behind the palms of my hands. She laughed and slapped the wheel of my chair.
Just before bed she said 'goodnight' to me, then thought for a second, and walked over and patted the wheelchair. She wished it a quiet night too. She see's us a separate, my chair and I. She sees us connected, my chair and I.
And she loves us both.
How cool is that?
(You will note that there are pictures in this blog. I bought a camera and Mike slowly worked me through how to take a picture, get it from camera to computer and from computer to blog. He's a patient man.)