Elbow Camp

For the past 6 years, we’ve enrolled Alice in a camp called LARC (for Lefty and Righty Camp). This is a camp that is intensive physical and occupational therapy done for kids who have issues with one side of their body. In Alice’s case, it’s from a stroke, but there are kids who have had a wide range of conditions that make them eligible. For the duration of the sessions, the kids wear a cast on their good arm and are required to do everything with their poorer arm.

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This year, since I’m working from home, I’m sharing the 2 hour-each-way drive to camp and working down there.

Today, Alice had her lunch packed and I packed mine. Alice witnessed this.

When we arrived, she put her lunch in the fridge. I put mine in.

Round about 1, I surfaced from work and went to get my lunch. It was not in the fridge. I poked around to see where the kids were and then I found Alice’s lunch bag next to mine near where she had taken off her shoes. Both were empty. Totally empty. Alice ate a good sized kid’s lunch and a good sized adult lunch. I flagged down the head of the program as she walked by and asked what happened. They were a little confused by the two lunches, but they see a lot of weird things so they didn’t complain because Alice ate everything. I explained that no, she had eaten my lunch too and she knew it. I also explained that she will only ever get one lunch and that she shouldn’t have anything else since it might not be gluten free.

When the day was over, I did some probing to find out how much intent there was.

“Who’s lunch box is this?” I said, pointing to mine.

“Yours.”

“And this one?” pointing to hers.

“Mine.”

“Did you eat your lunch?”

“Yes.”

“Did you eat my lunch?”

“Nnnno.”

“Try again.”

“No.”

“Alice.”

“yes, I did.”

“You had two lunches today.”

“Yes, daddy. I’m sorry.”

“I hear you and I’m glad you’re sorry. I was looking forward to the ribs in my lunch. I feel disappointed.” I said this with no anger.

She apologized several times, and each time I responded the same way.

Then. Oh yes, then. Alice decided to show some brass ones.

“Daddy we go to Burger King for french fries and Diet Coke?”

“No. Do you know why?”

“I ate two lunches.”

“That’s right.”

A few minutes later: “Daddy, I so hungry and thirsty.”

“No, Alice, you’re not hungry. Do you know why?”

“I ate two lunches.”

“That’s right.”

Many years ago, I heard an interview on NPR with a professional negotiator. He was asked who were the most challenging people to negotiate with. He said kids, because they have nothing to lose and they know it. It makes it easier to ask for something crazy because they just might get it.

Nice try, Alice. Nice try.

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