Ruchi and dadThe genesis of Floosh:

Ruchi, my 12 yr old daughter, and I are driving home from picking up our dog, Sita. Sita puts her paw on the divider between the passenger and driver seat. I discipline her: “No, Sita.”

Ruchi says, “Why can’t she put her paw there?”

Me,”Because it is the first step into the front seat and Sita is not allowed in the front seat.” (Might be helpful to know I drive a very little BMW and Sita weighs in around 120 pounds.)

Ruchi: “Why isn’t she allowed in the front seat?”

Me, “Because she’s too big.”

Ruchi, “No she’s not.”

Me, “I am not going to have this conversation with you.”

…dead silence…

One glance over and I realize I have just zapped my daughter. She is hurt. I notice I am feeling defensive, impatient with her questions. Ok, we both need to chill out for a bit. After about 10 minutes I start up again and ask her how she’s feeling. I get a terse, “Fine!”

“Did I hurt your feelings?” No answer.

After a bit more I get out of her that I did indeed hurt her feelings. She felt like I just closed her down. That’s true.  She even says, “It hurt.”  I tell her, “Look, sometimes you want to explore something and I am not interested. Then I need a way to stop the conversation or change the subject. But, I don’t want to hurt your feelings. What can I do?”

Before long we have a strategy. We will make up a word. And when I want to change the conversation,  I can introduce the word. We make up a couple of words and try them out, rehearsing by going over the last bit of conversation. For example,

“Why can’t she put her paw there?”
“Because it is the first step into the front seat and Sita is not allowed in the front seat.”
“Why isn’t she allowed in the front seat?”
“Because she’s too big.”
“No she’s not.”
“Wirklocht”

Naawww, wirklocht doesn’t work. We agree on that. We try another and it bombs, too. But on the third try we hit one that does: “Floosh!” We try it out and it works like a charm. We are both laughing.

And work it does. Since that car trip 10 days ago Floosh has been employed at least five times. So far it’s worked every time. Happy dad. Happy daughter.

Floosh!

Imaginary time is a new dimension, at right angles to ordinary, real time.

 – Stephen Hawking