Friday, November 14, 2008

Queen Teen Vs. The Big Purple Ball

Queen Teen is trying to capture her greatest nemesis, namely one big purple plastic ball. The ball is light and slippery, a little smaller than a soccor ball, and it loves nothing more than to roll away out of her grasp. But Queen Teen is determined. One day, she will tame that rotten ball and when she does the ball will quake in fear and relent to her commands.

The ball had bounced off the edge of her closet door when she was trying to put it away and rolled out of her bedroom into the living room.

"Darn ball!" she yells.

The breaks of her walker go "snap-snap" when she unlocks them and it rattles loudly as she races out of her bedroom after the ball. Balancing herself with one hand on the walker, she leans over to retrieve the ball. It gently rolls at the touch of her fingertips.

"Argh!" She leans a little further and the ball rolls even more. Straightening up quickly, she pushes the walker closer to the ball where it is wedged against a chair and scoops it up in her hand. "Got it." She sets the ball on the flat seat of her walker, where it instantly rolls off, bounces against the walker's front brace, and disappears into the kitchen.

"Oh no! Darn ball!" She races after it, her walker rattling like an old bicycle on a bumpy road.

I'm watching from my seat on the couch and debating whether to get up and help her. No, I decide. I'm going to watch what happens. How long will she fight this ball before she either captures it or asks for help?

The ball stops against the edge of the wall and Queen Teen scoops it up triumphantly. "Got ya!" She once again sets it on the flat seat of her walker and once again it rolls off and bounces away.

"Argh!!!!" She's sounding more frustrated. I want to offer assistance, tell her there's no way a round ball will stay on a flat, moving surface like her walker, but I keep silent. This battle is between Queen Teen and the big purple ball.

Her eyes narrow as the ball rolls away. It bounces against the living room chair and back into the hallway toward her room. She slowly walks forward, the walker's rattle less dangerous sounding, until she spots the ball in the dim hall. "There you are!"

She carefully moves her walker as close as she can to the ball then leans over to grab it. It bounces out of her hand, but pops back when it repels off the wall. She captures it between the wheel of her walker and her hand. Very slowly she places the ball on her walker where it sits still. "There!" But as soon as she moves her walker, the ball rolls off and heads back into the living room.

I really want to step in and help, but I know she has to figure this problem out herself. She's missing the cause and effect part. My telling her the ball can't stay balanced on the flat surface of the walker's seat won't SHOW her how impossible it is. Plus, she won't believe me; she is thirteen after all.

Queen Teen studies the ball which taunts her from where it has rolled, exactly where it had been when she began chasing it. Her lips purse and her eyes narrow again, then she slowly walks forward, one rattling, stealthy step at a time. I wonder what she is thinking as she creeps up on the purple ball; what plan has she formulating?

Standing above the ball, she announces, "I'm going to get you," then she kicks the ball with her foot.

The ball rolls away from her, but this time Queen Teen grins. She dashes after it and gives it another kick in the direction of her bedroom. It takes several attempts with a few missed kicks and the ball ricocheting in the wrong direction twice before it finally rolls into her bedroom. She slams the door behind it and shouts, "Got you!"

"That ball sure was giving you trouble," I say, still watching from the couch.

She walks over and plops down beside me. "Whew. That was hard." She sighs heavily as she wipes sweat from her forehead.

"But you did it. I knew you could!" I hug her quickly.

She grins. "Yeah. I did." She looks back at the closed door of her bedroom as if thinking, "You can't escape now, big purple ball."

I imagine the ball responding, "This time. But next time, you'll never catch me."

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