Monday, March 23, 2009
The heat and color in my cheeks rose high early Saturday evening. My head ducked in reflexive shame, while an embarrassed smirk fought to be free. But unlike most embarrassing moments - where you do everything in your power to forget them, to tamp the memory down into a place it can't get air - this one, this moment I have happily and frequently relished for 3 days now.
After spending nearly the entire day outside Saturday and then dropping Cate off at a slumber party, Michael and I were ravenous. Addie was filthy from her outdoor adventures, but we were hungry enough to just wipe down the visible dirt, change her clothes, and head out for dinner. It is a rare thing that we take just Addie out for dinner. I'm not sure it's conscious, but we tend to do breakfast out more than dinner, so when we do, it's usually all 4 of us.
We chose a restaurant owned by the family of a boy in her adaptive swim class - The Apollo on Brady, for you locals. It is a greek place - order at the counter and then wait at the cool stone tables for your huge portions of delicious food to arrive.
Addie was still squirrelly from all the fresh air. And waiting is not a strong point for her. We pulled out the usual diversions, hoping to distract her from impatience. Michael handed her ice cubes to munch, we pointed to the really arty ceiling, to the people passing outside. We tried a signing game and a song.
Suddenly, a loud burping sound. Looking at Addie and glancing around, we didn't think anyone tuned in - there are few textiles in the restaurant, so it's quite noisy. We figured it was drowned out and so let it go. Too late. Addie caught our minor anxiety about it. We heard it again.
I glanced to the table next to us. A young man waiting for his take out order was looking right at me, grinning. That's when my color rose, my head ducked. I looked back at him, intending to offer non-verbal apologies with my eyes, but his attention was fixed on Addie now. At that exact point there was a momentary lull in the noise of the restaurant, just brief enough to highlight a single sound - you guessed it, the burp again. Addie and the take out man were eye to eye, snickering the same reserved, knowing and somehow conspiratorial laugh.
Addie did not actually have gas. She used one of her favorite buttons on her communication device to entertain herself and her take out friend while we waited for dinner. Take out man was not unaware of the presence of assistive technology.
Watching Addie and her friend make the most of it, overlooking the small computer on the table, you would have never known it was a button being pushed instead of an actual belch.
I have all but forgotten the minor parental shame - it's replaced by utter delight and pride - yes, I am proud that Addie can initiate crude humor to amuse strangers.
There is another gassy sound file on her device - gas that emanates from another, more southern region of the human body. I will keep you posted.
Posted by Terri H-E at 7:21 AM