Ruby loves rules. But, like any of us fellow rule-lovers, what she loves most is to make up her own rules and then strictly follow them, expecting everyone else to do the same. For instance, yesterday we were playing the time-honored game of “catch” in the courtyard. The game, as it has stood for centuries, is quite simple. One person throws the ball in the general direction of the other person, and that other person then tries to catch it. And then back, and forth, repeat, et cetera, and so on, and so forth, ad infinitum.
Well, Ruby is very good at throwing the ball in my direction, but not so great at catching it. Therefore, she made a slight adjustment to the rules. “If I touch the ball at all, it counts as catching it,” she informed me. Ummmmm, okay? So I would throw the ball to her, she would not quite catch it, and then yell “That counted!”
Me: “Are you ready?”
Ruby: “Yup, throw it!”
Me: *throws the ball*
Ruby: “I’m okay! It bounced off my eyeball, so it counts! I caught it!”
Ball: *rolls under a car*
That was an actual exchange between us. But then that sneaky girl decided to use the new rules to her even greater advantage. As the game progressed, she began throwing the ball not at all in my direction, and as I ran off after it Ruby would shout out “You didn’t touch it! It didn’t count!” Yes, thank you for that.
Ruby did very well at this game of catch with updated rules, which makes sense since she invented the new rules in the first place. Many of my catches did not count, because the ball went directly into a bush, or were thrown behind Ruby, even though I was standing in front of her. But we still had fun, and maybe someday I will even start to get better at “new catch.” At which point I’m sure Ruby will change the rules again.