Patient 0

Are you familiar with the concept of patient 0? Patient 0 is the person who starts the outbreak of a disease or some other problem. For example, if your kid were to catch the flu in Chicago and bring it back to Orlando to give it to all his classmates, he would be "patient 0".

Early on in C’s development, I showed him the wonderful fun that could be had banging out rhythms on the table. We’d sit down to dinner, he’d bang a hand on the table and smile at me. I’d bang twice, and then we’d both just start in on an impromptu percussive concert.

Pretty cool, huh? It didn’t happen every dinner – probably only about twice a week.

Several months back, C started going to "playschool" twice a week. This is a few hours of classes where kids go to play and learn. During this, the kids break out their packed lunches and have a lunch time.

Two weeks into the class, there was quite a stir at the school. It seemed that during lunch time someone started banging on the table, and before the teachers could see who it was, everyone at the table had started. It spread like wildfire around the room until all the kids were banging on the tables. The kids used their hands, spoons, cups, or whatever was in reach.

I wasn’t there, but I understand they laid down a pretty good beat.

The teachers quieted them down, eventually, but apparently it was a recurring problem for quite a while. They’d sit down to eat and then "Bang!", giggle, giggle, giggle, "Bang!". If they didn’t stop it right away, the whole place would erupt again.

I even heard reports of kids banging out rhythms on the tables at home and then beaming proudly at their parents. There was quite a bit of gossip as people tried to find "patient 0".

We would have gotten away with it, but for me. One evening, we were eating dinner with some friends and C started banging on the table. One of the other parents started to shush him and I said "oh, that’s fine. It’s just a game we play." To show them it was okay, I banged the table back at him. Soon, all the kids and I were drumming away. I think one of us might have even started to sing.

And then I saw the horrified expression on the other mom’s face – and the embarrassed one on J’s.


C’s not allowed to bang on the table any more – at least not while J’s around.

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