Monday, November 29, 2010

"No, I Won't Forgive You"

Yesterday I played "Tough Mommy" (my husband calls it "Broncho-busting mode").Ricki was in a very bad mood. I later realized that once she had eaten supper, she calmed down),but this was before that. She was intent on taking eight (!) slices of bread for supper, and I was not willing for her to stuff herself in that way.I agreed to two-three slices. Nor was I willing for her to take soya (in addition to the soup). I simply stood by the stove, guarding acess to the forbidden foodstuffs, and waited for her to realize that I wasn't going to give in, even if she would call me names, threaten to hit me, etc. She finally gave up, but continued calming me names, telling me to "shut up".
I ignored her, and sat down to eat my supper with her. As she calmed down, she suddenly started apologizing.
"No, I won't forgive you..." I claimed (though in my heart I did). I felt that she needs to learn that spitting and name calling will not be overlooked.
n Yes, it was tough. But I have found that a few tough days like this does wonders in influencing subsequent behaviors. Tonight Ricki on HER OWN took only two slices of bread with her egg.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ther Workbook

Already for a week and a half, Ricki has been acting (on the whole), much better than in the preceding several months. On one day, I happened to do a lot of activities with Ricki, and I noticed an increase in good behavior. Noting this, I was cautiously hopeful, and tried my theory out on subsequent days. And I was correct: the busier I could keep Ricki, the happier and better-behaved side of her showed. Just tonight she was fighting with her father. I went in, and fished out an activity book, and minutes later she had forgotten the argument and was happily at work on the booklet.
So if you have kids who are misbehaving, ask yourself: Are they bored?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Pink Schoolbag

The other day I sent Ricki downstairs to meet her ride to school. I checked from the window to see that she wasn’t making a detour to the grocery store, and that she crossed the street carefully. Then I went back to the task at hand. A few minutes later, I went again to the window, to see if her ride had arrived. Then I saw IT. A pink schoolbag.
Ricki has somehow gotten hold of a schoolbag which was definitely not hers. I was surprised; people usually don’t leave bags lying around, even if they have to make a quick dash to do something. There is too much risk of someone calling the bomb squad (and the bag getting shot at). But there Ricki was, prancing happily on “her” corner, with a lovely pink schoolbag. I told Ricki to leave it alone, but she was not in the mood to listen. And I knew that if I would go downstairs, Ricki would only run away ahead of me, walking to school on her own. So I called her driver and was about to explain to him NOT to let Ricki enter the car with the bag, that it wasn’t hers. Suddenly the 9 year-old owner of the bag turned up, extracted her possessions from Ricki (who readily returned it), and walked off to school. (Bet she doesn’t leave her bag lying around in the future…..)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Special Exposure Wednesday: Ricki Making Hot Beads

Ricki was sick last week, so we had a bit of extra "together" time. She made Hot beads for fun.(To see her creations, look back at Monday's posts.....)
You will find more of "special exposure Wednesday" HERE.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Important Message To Parents of Future Israeli Army Inductees/ PS to Yesterday's Post

[imgage: a poor picture of "Y" in uniform]

[image: A better picture, which Ricki's older sister took.]

My son “Y” is back already from the army for a one-day leave. They apparently want to send him to a course, and will be “really” starting with him in a few days. After two VERY BORING days, he was relieved to be sent home. [He will be treated in the meantime like a “jobnik” (desk-worker) inductee, and will only start his combat tour of duty in about half a year.]
When I asked him if he felt like a “pin cushion” (after receiving MANY vaccinations), he laughed and said “Yes!”. Then he added that they had also taken a blood sample for bone-marrow matching.Then he added:
- “But it’s voluntary; not all of the soldiers opted for it.”
- “Why in the world would they refuse?!?”
- “If they are afraid of needles…or, they want one needle stick less….”
- “But we’re talking about the chance to save a LIFE!”
- “Nu, some of them are spoiled little children…..”

So parents, please be sure to inform your soon-to-be-inducted soldiers to be sure to not opt out of this important mitzvah (good deed).

PS to Yesterday's Post:
Yesterday she did NOT throw clothespins when bringing the laundry in. But I suspect that she realized that we were watching.

A Punishment, Threatened

Sunday afternoon I had to pop over to Ricki’s pediatrician, in order to pick up the needed papers for her prescriptions for the coming month. No one else was home except for Ricki’s married sister who lives on the roof (meaning that in emergency, someone WAS home), and Ricki wanted to come with me. However, she was not dressed, and I had no intention of waiting for Ricki to get dressed, especially as her doctor’s office is literally less than half a block away. [I would be back within fifteen minutes , maximum.] Also, Ricki had (SIGH, Roll my eyes) thrown ICE CREAM out the window (and onto the formerly neighbor’s laundry), and I had decided that her staying home was a fitting punishment. Ricki was none too pleased , and decided that she would go to a neighbor. Not wanting to let her “punishment” be turned into a prize, I informed her sternly that I don’t allow, and if she will not be in the house on my return, she will be confined to her bedroom for most of the evening.
It worked. She was at home when I returned. She realized that I meant what I said.
Progress is being made!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Continuation of the Clothespins Saga….(written Sunday night)

As I have often mentioned (last time being this last Thursday), Ricki has a penchant for throwing things out the window. On Saturday afternoon I was alerted to her bombarding the sidewalk with nectarine slices by the unbelieving surprised cry of a witness to the act from below. She couldn’t fathom (judging from her tone), who could do such a thing….At least I was appraised of the situation as it started, and was able to put a quick stop to the felony.
Now Ricki LOVES to hang up laundry, but when bringing it in, she is often too lazy to put the clothespins in their basket, and simply lets them drop the three floors to the sidewalk. (I hope she never hits anyone with them.) So this evening, Ricki volunteered eagerly to hang up the floor-cleaning rags, only to discover, to her horror, that she couldn’t, because she had apparently earlier today chucked most of our clothespins to the sidewalk. She sheepishly went to collect them, and happily returned, bearing an armload of clothespins.

Now it will be interesting if I leave the rags on the line until tomorrow afternoon, and let Ricki bring them in… if she will again let the clothespins fly, or if she has a new respect for the value of keeping them and storing them in their place.

Magic Marker Monday: Hot Beads

Ricki worked on hot beads this last week. First we finished off the last of the bigger-sized ones:

Then she attempted the small size for the first time. (I helped with the teddy, but the frame she did 95% on her own.)

You will find more of "Magic Marker Monday" HERE.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


My two strapping teenage sons just walked out the door five minutes ago. One (D) is returning to his (relatively safe) service as a driver in the army. The other (Y), brimming with the excitement and hope of a youth headed for a “man’s job”, is entering the army today as a soldier in “Givati”. This means that for the next three years he will be a member of Israel’s front-line troupes, as well as a lifetime of reserve duty. The next few weeks will be extra-intensive as he competes for the privilege of entering an elite unit. As a mother, I try and ignore the worries and fears that pop up in my head*, and center my thoughts on just loving the two of them.
I remember how the first few weeks in the army radically changed my first soldier-son (D). And I wonder how well Y will take the initial training period, and how he might change in the upcoming weeks.

*(Don’t ask me how I will deal with my fears if a war breaks out.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Screw That Wouldn't Screw

I have a chair- one which could possibly be called an armchair- in the corner of my living room. This was purchased at a used-furniture outlet about two years ago. I was happy to have a slightly less extravagant chair (ie., not a real padded armchair), because the difference in price was tremendous. I really do not have the extra cash for an armchair right now (if at all).
About two months ago I noticed that some of the wooden pieces were separating, and asked my 18 year old (strong, muscular) son to fix it. He and a friend tackled the job, but after about half an hour, called it “quits”, and declared the chair a hopeless case. I was not so willing to give up, and left the chair in place. A few days later I approached the chair with an attitude of “Why didn’t it go for them?” I quickly figured out that a certain precursory straightening of a second board was needed, and after that I managed to glue and hammer the chair into working state.
Early this week Ricki must have made a flying superman leap onto the armchair, as she managed to break the wooden board that supports the seat cushion. However, on closer examination, I realized that one of the supporting bars needed strengthening as well, or it would soon come out of place. So yesterday I bought the hardware, and in the evening asked my son again to do the “man’s work”. (I mean, he DOES have stronger muscles than me.) About a half-hour later he reported failure.
So this morning I went to check out exactly what had been done. Several screws were half-in , but other then that, the job was pretty good. The screws just needed further insertion, and one more strengthening metal corner added. However, on trying to insert the screws further, I realized that strength alone would not work. So I again asked myself “Why isn’t this going?” I suspected that the screw driver was a smidgen too small, and I went to exchange it. Sure enough, with the correct size screw driver, the screws went in full length. I added on the extra corner, as well, and later today I will hopefully buy the needed board.
So why did I succeed when my son didn’t? A big reason is I see the “fixing the chair” as a big savings, and in essence the difference between having a chair to relax in on Shabbos morning (with a coffee and a book), or having an empty corner instead. My son saw “fixing the chair” as something keeping him from his computer game….
But in addition, I think that the stopping to ask myself “WHY isn’t this working?” on both occasions saved the day. Lots of time in life we try to accomplish certain things, and it just doesn’t go the way we want it to. It might be our diet, a problem with a child, a critical relative, or whatever. It could be that often the “cure” would be to stop back and ask ourselves “WHY isn’t this working….?” Once we see THAT, we can design a new plan of action that hopefully will accomplish what we are aiming for.
[note: I published a different post earlier this morning. If you are arriving here from a blog list to this post specifically,you might want to click on the blog name to get the whole blog, including the earlier post from today.]

I Think That I Was A Bit Too Exasperated….

I’ve had it with Ricki acting like a bomber plane. You name it… almost anything she finds inconvenient is “throw-out-the –window” material for her. When bringing in the laundry from the line, she is more likely than not to chuck the clothespins downstairs, rather than take the extra three seconds to deposit them in the clothes-pin basket. She also regularly bombards the sidewalk with soy patties, bread, and tomatoes .
Tuesday I made meatballs for lunch, but Ricki was hungry before they were ready, and tried to sneak two breaded soy patties out of the freezer. I caught her, telling her that if she wanted soy, she was limited to ONE, and she would forfeit the soon-to-be-ready meatballs. Her reaction? She went to the porch, locked the door, downed one patty, and threw the second out of the window. Thus, she thought, she would still be eligible to get meatballs, because she *doesn’t* have the patties…
I immediately informed Ricki that she had just eaten her lunch, and would not be receiving meatballs. Her reply to this was that she was STARVING. Well, I guess that I was a bit too exasperated, and I told her “Well, if you REALLY are hungry, you can go downstairs and get that soy…”
So she did.
I just hope that she at least brushed it off before consuming it…
Color me chagrined….

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

As per Request: Ricki's Photos (Special Exposure Wednessday)

By popular request, this week I am posting the pictures RICKI took (see "Special Exposure Wednesday" of last week).
[Image:This is a view of the Mount of Olives.]

You'll find more of "special exposure Wednesday" HERE.

[Image: The Cardo, Jerusalem]

[Image: The Restored "Churvah" synagoue.]
(The Churvah was destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948. It was recently rebuilt.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I had tried all week to watch what I ate, but was not 100%. I wanted to walk extra to "make up" the extra calories, but I was VERY stern in calculating any slip-ups. The end result was that even extra walking on Wednesday and Thursday was not enough. So I hit the pavement early on Friday morning, and figured that I could get out again in the evening if needed. It WAS needed (if I want to lose a full kilo this week), but felt unwilling to do so, not Friday night, and not Saturday. I didn't even do my regular Sat. AM walk, but took a REAL vacation. I felt a bit fed up with walking, watching every bite, etc. Maybe I felt that I just wouldn’t walk enough to loose a full kilo this week, and felt bad enough about that to “give up”.
This scares me a bit. Actually, it scares me a lot. If it continues, it is the way back to weighing a whopping 150 kilos. And that is something I DO NOT want.
However, I was careful about not overeating, and I feel confident that tomorrow I will be out walking as regular, and yes, watching every bite. I think I just needed a (slight) break. But that “vacation” means that I may not loose this week. (I am pretty confident that I will not gain. I WAS pretty good.) However, the bigger damage is the weakening of the feeling that I will do what I need to lose, no matter if I am in the mood or not. I really need to keep that feeling that weight loss is one of my priorities. I need to remember WHY I am doing this, and the loss if I do not continue. But I WILL continue. I am NOT stopping now. OK, I had a weak two days, but I am not going to let that mild slip-up become an avalanche. NO WAY!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ricki Taking Pictures -special exposure Wednesday

Ricki checking how her photo came out. Location: Jewish quarter, old city, Jerusalem

Find more of "special exposure Wednesday HERE.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Independence or ___________?????"

I have friends with teenagers with Down syndrome who need to be reminded constantly to let their children be more independent. I don’t need the reminding, Ricki does it for me. She simply chooses independence, and if I am stupid enough not to realize in advance what she is likely to attempt, and prepare her for it, then she is running a big risk.
Whenever we go to her exercise class, she alights from the bus in a hurry, and walks ahead briskly, in order to walk on her own. And if I manage to keep apace with her, and arrive at the building’s elevator before she disappears within, she will give me dirty looks and scowls.
Last week was a time that she definitely beat me, but something unusual occurred. When I arrived a few minutes after Ricki, she was NOT there. I called her name repeatedly, and received no reply. I quickly checked the floor above, and ran down the stairs, checking each floor with a glance, including the parking area beneath the building. Then I quickly glanced outside on the ground floor, but still no Ricki. By this time I was terrified that some pervert had dragged her to some corner and assaulted her. I then ran back up to the floor where the class is held, but Ricki was not there. A moment later, she emerged from the elevator. It seems that she had gone to the bathroom, and had either not heard me calling her name, or had chosen not to reply. I of course roundly berated her for the scare, trying to impress on her that near-empty buildings can be very dangerous places.
Fast forward to today (Sunday). Ricki and I went for a day of sightseeing in Jerusalem, followed by a visit to several of my grandchildren in the afternoon. The first thing I did with Ricki on arriving in the city was to treat her to a breakfast in a bagel restaurant…..a real adult type of thing. While there, she indicated that she wanted to freshen up in the bathroom, so I instructed her how to ask the waiter where the restroom was. It was not on the premises, but down a hallway. I was then saying the grace after the meal, and indicated to Ricki via hand gestures, to wait a minute. But she wasn’t having any of that, and out the door she went.
I gulped.
I remembered last week.

I let her go on her own.
And she was back within a few moments, beaming with victory.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Postscript to Yesterday’s Post

On Friday morning, after writing my post, I went to town to run a few errands. As I was doing so, I happened to pass a store (“Elegant Paris” in Bnai Brak) where I had skeptically entered two months ago, to see if maybe they had anything in my size. Why skeptically? Because it was a “regular” store, not a self proclaimed “big sizes” one, and I fully expected the saleslady to either hiss or mournfully inform me (as I have experienced in the past) that they had nothing in my size. But she didn’t (making me feel rather “normal”), and on that occasion I had found a good under blouse just perfect to complement a-way-too-revealing-mesh top bought in the “big sizes” store.
So yesterday, I wandered in, on whim, to see what they had. And they had plenty of things just (barely) my size. And in addition, they charge a price much cheaper than the “big sizes” store.*
However, what impressed me most was when I was considering whether to purchase an item that I was unsure of, the saleslady said “If you’re not sure, don’t buy it. I don’t want you to walk out with something you won’t be happy with…” In the end I bought the same design in a different color, and walked out content indeed. I know where I will go FIRST next time I am aiming to purchase clothing….

* Last time I was in the big sizes store, I heard a lady asking the saleslady why they were SO expensive. She replied that all the extra material costs money… Um…. The extra ½ meter (at most) of cloth costs them 20-30 shekels, and the price gets marked up by at least 70-100 shekels…..The obvious truth is that if their customers can not go elsewhere, it is easy to mark your prices up……

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Burst Bubble (or the Ups and Down of Shopping)

A lot of women (99.99 %???) enjoy shopping. I also do, as long as I am shopping for dishes, silver, jewelry, books, toys, etc. Clothing is another story. For years, shopping for clothing was a torture. Finding anything in my size was nigh-well impossible, and what there was available was invariably expensive. Often I had to purchase items I did not really care for, simply because I had no time to sew, and these items were the only available things I could find. Shopping for clothing was a big reminder of just how overweight I was, how I was way beyond the norm. And how society has no place for the overweight individual.
Recently, as I have managed to lose weight (44 kilos so far!), I have found that shopping for clothing can be fun. In certain stores, I can find things in my size, and in a few there is a real choice. My only problem with these outlets is that many of them design clothing that is not modest enough for the dictates of Jewish law, and I will need to supplement the items I purchase with under-blouses, alter too-open necklines, line see-though sleeves, etc.
[In one store, when I asked if they didn’t have a “basic blouse” available for me to wear when trying on their short-sleeved sweaters, it became apparent that ALL of their blouses (in addition to their other things) had a low, dipping neckline. I asked the saleslady, “I have a question for you. I know that as a non-religious lady, you are not concerned with the “modesty” of the low neckline. But in winter, aren’t you COLD with half of your upper chest exposed???!???” (Her answer was that they wear scarves with it. This, to me, sounds like a very difficult way to stay warm. It seems to me that a scarf would slip, fall, not cover well, etc.) Why a winter sweater needs a dipping neckline is beyond me…….]
Anyway, after buying early this week several items at two specialty “big size” stores, I set out to purchase some turtleneck under-blouses and a few simple winter blouses to supplement my purchases.
And that is when my bubble burst.
If I dreamt that I am nearing a normal size, that I am in the very upper range of normal, I was wrong. I wear a size 2X, and I found shopping yesterday very hard and discouraging. I went to one store where I have never been to, but which always advertises that they have “big sizes”. The largest they had was a 48. Another “big sizes” store (per advertisement) has to size 1X. And a third, advertising that they carry up to and including size 3X had nothing in 3X, and a choice of TWO items in size 2X. I refused to capitulate and buy either of these two options. I didn’t like them, and I am FINISHED with buying items I don’t like. If necessary, I will somehow make the time and sew what I am missing. (But I am hoping that one of the better “big sizes” stores that I know will have what I need as the weather gets colder. They simply didn’t get their full winter range in yet…..)
So while I feel GREAT about what I have lost so far, last night’s shopping expedition was a callous reminder that I still have a long way to go. But that’s OK. I’ll get there!

Frozen Yogurt

This is my standard 1:00 noon snack before my nap(except in winter). I eat lunch later. You need a good strong blender stick for this. This has about 200-250-300 calories, depending on what fruits or additives you use. Made with low-fat yogurt, the calorie count is not bad, considering that you get lots of dairy and (in the fruit version) fruit.And drunk with a straw on a hot summer day, it is soothing and very satisfying.
Fruit version:
-2 half-frozen 0% fat diet yogurts (or frozen completely then both defrosted together for 45 seconds in the mcro at high strength, then sliced)
-one or two fruits (depending on type and amount of calories available for this snack-meal), such as peaches, pears, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries
-optional: (if you have the calories for it) 10 almonds or wheat germ (both are good at helping to prevent dementia)
-3 packets of artificial sugar substitute
BLEND in a big glass with a blender stick.

Non-fruit version)
-2 half-frozen 0% yogurts
-1 half-frozen diet 0% fat pudding-yogurt ("maadan" in Hebrew)
-2 packs sweetner
-1 teaspoon coffee (optional)
-a FEW almonds or walnut (optional, depending on calories wanted)
-a bit of water (3 Tablespoons), as the frozen pudding is thicker....
Blend with blender stick

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The “What in the World am I going to do With all Those Dates Left Over from Rosh HaShana” Cake

A fairly easy cake to make if you have a blender/food processor. NOT dietetic. Very freezable.

1 margarine (200 gram –about 7 ounces) (best to soften a bit first, and slice into thinish slices)
1 jar applesauce (700 gram- about 25 ounces)
6 eggs
100 gram (3.5 ounces) of peeled nuts (walnuts, or almonds)
30 dates (about)
2 grated carrots
4 cups sifted flour
1 teas. salt
11/2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger
2 teas. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 envelopes (ie., 20 grams) baking powder

De-seed the dates, and check for infestation. In a food processor, put the checked dates, applesauce, eggs, nuts, and margarine. Process until the margarine, nuts, and dates are well blended into the liquids. Add the grated carrots and mix in (not blend), and set aside. In a bowl, put the sifted flour, sugar, spices, salt, and baking powder. Stir to mix. Add into this the “wet” mixture, and stir. Pour into greased oven tray and bake about 45 minutes at 150 degrees centigrade (medium heat), until done.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Short and Sweet / Over 22,000 steps

Well, our trial with the buzzer alarm was short and sweet. Last night Ricki announced “I don’t want it. It wakes me up…..”
Although last night I let it go, this morning, on further reflection on the issue, I think that I am going to have to act a bit more firmly than I have until now. I think I will institute some type of prize as an incentive just for wearing the alarm. In addition, I think I need to sit down and explain the alarm's importance, and if necessary, give a punishment if she will not agree to comply and wear it.
* * * * * *
Yesterday morning I decided to walk to a park that is about a forty minute walk from our house, and there walk on their “walking path” for an hour. I particularly like this walk, as the park is downhill from us, and the walking path is level. The total of about 100 minutes walking is just right, and from the edge of the park I can take a bus which takes me to a minute’s walk from the house. So yesterday I did the sweet hike, and even walked an extra little bit. But upon reaching the bus station, I was in for a surprise. My fare had somehow been lost, and I would have to return home (tired, and going uphill) on foot. So I saved $2.5, and gained nearly 4000 extra steps. I followed this up with a shopping trip, and lots of housework….eventually totaling an exhausting 22,000 steps!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bedwetting, Continued

Last night Ricki dawdled no end, so by the time that she crawled into bed, she was TIRED.
So it came as no surprise that she refused to go to the toilet (before going to sleep).

“No toilet, no buzzer alarm” was my reply.

(Groan)… a few choice words about how she feels about Mommy (hereby censored....)… and she trudged to the bathroom.
EUREKA! One battle in this war won……

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bedwetting and Alarms

Ricki is a bed wetter. As I have mentioned before, this has little to do with her Down syndrome, and much more to do with the tendency of everyone in the family (besides me) to sleep VERY DEEPLY.
However, the other kids (those who did bed wet) stopped fairly early (on the whole), as they had a burning desire to get beyond this. That desire seems to have been lacking in Ricki. She simply apparently had little reason to make the extra effort. (Yea, I know, I tried prizes, I make her do all the work of taking off wet sheets, etc.)
I once tried an alarm system (which worked exceptionally well with my other bed wetters), but Ricki was scared to death of the noise, and point blank refused to wear it.
Once she had a problem of wetting in the daytime as well (only when at home, out of the house she felt the need to be OK.). That has decreased to a much lower level due to a consistent withdrawal of privileges whenever she wets at home, the withdrawal giving her enough reason to “get her act together”.
It has actually always amazed me that it seems so hard for her to internalize the idea that life would be a lot easier if she would make the effort needed not to wet, not to throw papers on the floor, and not to throw stuff behind her bed. (Because in all of these cases, she is the one who has to do the cleanup eventually….)
For several years I have been taking Ricki to a doctor, who hearing from me that alarms don’t work with her, tried various medications (often prescribed for bed wetting), usually to no avail.
Finally, at our last visit to the doctor, I suggested that HE tell Ricki to use an alarm.
It worked.
She not only has agreed to use the alarm, but she requests it if I forget.

Maybe she finally got tired of waking up wet.