A few observations from the peanut gallery

Miss Cathy and I have played the card game 3-13 several times now and while she seems to be getting the hang of the game there are a few challenges. She’s caught on to the basic premise of the game but she’s having difficulty with the subtleties of how to win a round. As minor as these things appear I do think they are significant in that they show a break down (however slight) in her problem solving and cognitive skills. One of the reason I’m so happy she likes playing cards (aside from the camaraderie) is that the game gives her an opportunity to exercise her mind “muscle.”

After playing a few hands she confessed that she didn’t know how to shuffle the cards very well so I thought I would teach her, easy enough-or so I thought. When she didn’t “get” my verbal instructions I tried showing her what I wanted her to do and it didn’t help much, if anything I think it confused matters. This was most apparent when I asked her to “mirror” my hand movements as I demonstrated how to mix the cards together.

I watched with fascination (not frustration as you’d probably think from my usual ranting) as I would arch my hand “up” by the wrist and hold the cards with my fingers in a specific way, left hand and right. She would struggle to hold her hand “down” and to approximate holding on the cards with her fingers, never able to match either what I was doing or each of her hands.

It’s in these moments that I’m at my best; patient and kind, with an instinct as to the right thing to say and do. I went through the motions of showing her what to do several times, each time phrasing the instructions differently or altering the visuals, looking to see what would “click” with her, ultimately abandoning the lesson for another time after praising her efforts.

Because of something we’d gone through recently I told Chad that I could be counted on to “shine” in a crisis-that it was the day to day of life that I struggled with ”dully”. It’s not that I’m bragging-far from it, it’s just an observation made after bearing witness to how I’ve responded to situations in my life. I know who I am, what I’m capable of and that I can be counted on. I’m not saying I’m unique by any stretch, it’s just that I think there are three types of people: those that “show up”, those that “can’t cope” and those “that flee.”

Most of us know which we are, and if you don’t –others do.


2 thoughts on “A few observations from the peanut gallery

  1. I can relate to that ‘instinct’ to say and do the right thing at those moments when needed. I think of it as my inspirational angel who helps guide my hands, words, actions, and heart. There’s a warm feeling that comes from those moments.
    I’ve also likened those times of showing or explaining multiple times to a video game – we are afforded many, many attempts to get it right, tweaking our efforts with each new try until we get it right or reach a point where we can move on.

  2. Thank you for your comment, I couldn’t agree with you more, I especially like the video game analogy. There are many days when I am frustrated but like Maya Angelou says,”when you know better, you do better.”

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