Thursday, December 4, 2008
Losing Hardball with Ari
It's time to tell my famous Ari story. It's famous 'cause we tell it all the time, so if you've talked to me in person in the last 5 years, you may want to skip this post.
Ari was 3 years old and wouldn't eat dinner. She would eat toast and yogurt and pb&j sandwiches, and milk, but real food at the table with the family? Forget it. I finally decided it was time to play hardball with her. If you know Ari, you know that hardball is ....really hard. Two full weeks it took to turn her around. I'm pretty sure she was getting snacks at preschool, and that drug it out some I'm sure, but dang. Anyway, we'd sit down to dinner, and Ari wouldn't eat. Fine, I'd say (sign). I'd wrap her plate up in plastic wrap, and if she said later that she was hungry, I'd pull it out and show it to her. She'd refuse, and then for breakfast I'd pull it out again. For lunch I'd pull it out again. Dinner time I'd make a new dinner, throw out the old one, and we'd start the cycle again.
One day in the middle of this ball game, I decided to stain our redwood deck. I packed baby Kai up in his little car seat, and went to wake Ari up from her nap (she napped until she was like -five. Pretty convenient.). She was kind of cranky so I told her I was going outside, and if she wanted to come out she needed her shoes on. Kai and I went outside and started the porch. A little while later, I saw Ari at the porch door, and told her she needed her shoes on to come out. She was mad (she got frustrated easily in those days when we were still hammering out the communication thing), and tried to open the door anyway. Trying to open it, she locked it. I was worried she'd get scared or something, and tried to show her (through the glass door --talking to a deaf kid --great idea) it was locked and how to open it.
You know the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Remember when he's running home, and runs right into the front of the car his mean, witchy sister is driving? Remember how he looks at her, and she looks at him, and they reallize that it's a race to get to the house first? That was the look I then saw on Ari's face. It was full knowledge of a position of power. I left, and ran to the garage to get into the house that way. As soon as I ran up the steps I heard the deadbolt slide home. Click.
I ran around the front of the house (don't ask me why three different doors were open that day --I guess I usually only locked up at night) and just made it to the porch when I heard the dreaded click.
I had my cell phone with me -'cause I hate to miss any calls -I'm social like that- and I called Jeff and told him to come home and let me in. I wasn't furious, mainly because I was amazed Ari'd figured all that out on her own. "A worthy adversary" -you know. Jeff first tried to give me a little helpful lesson on using the garage door opener correctly, but then got the message really quickly and came home.
One of the cool things about having a deaf kid is that they are really easy to sneak up on. He walked in the door, and into the kitchen. Ari had taken one of the bar stools to the pantry, and found the bag of marshmallows. Jeff says when he caught her, she was stuffing them into her face as fast as she could go. Game, set, match. Hardball with Ari.