Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Ricki and I were working this afternoon on a bit of homework. I was first and foremost trying to teach her to “stop, read, think”: the need to ascertain the task before attempting it. She had grabbed her pencil, and I could see that there was no point in continuing until the pencil would be put aside. She was raring to go, like a race horse at the starting gate. She wanted to launch off in order to finish, and to conclude her homework at nearly all costs. This of course made the probability of not doing the work properly a foregone conclusion. So I told her to put her pencil aside. She put it down, but only about 3 millimeters from her hand, which was in “hover” position. Her entire concentration was on her writing implement.
“Ricki”, I said, “Put the pencil next to your apple”. (The apple was an arms reach away.) She refused, and I got insistent. So she reached over, and put the apple next to the pencil.
I threatened a consequence.
She put her pencil aside, and finally turned her head to listen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Report Card

What could be a better pleasure for a parent than their child bringing home an excellent report card? Is this not what most of us dream of?
So why was I so disgruntled on Friday when Ricki brought home her first semester report card? Because it was straight A’s, and she did not deserve it.
She deserved a lot of A’s. I don’t think she could have been expected to master the material in science or geography any better than she did. Those were richly deserved marks, the results of hard work.
However, her work on handwriting and math was not up to her capabilities. And how can you give an “A” in “has clean and orderly notebooks” to someone who often scribbles in them for no purpose?

Why should she try if she can get A’s without trying?

Looking beyond stereotypes- two vignettes

Today, on my way home after taking Ricki to school, I saw a small boy who wanted to cross the street. He had long curly peyot (ear locks), and the rather distinctive dress of the chassidic ultra-orthodox. Anyone seeing this child from afar would assume that his parents have no connection with the “outside” or modern world. But I can assure you that they do. No, I do not know the family. But I recognized his cochlear implant, a “brand” from the modern world. I was glad as I saw him take off in a run after crossing the street, probably quite unaware of how lucky he is to have been born in this generation.
Tonight, I was at a meeting, and I returned home accompanied most of the way by an acquaintance from Jerusalem. To the casual observer, she looked your typical orthodox lady: wig, long sleeves, long skirt. During our conversation she mentioned that she works as an advocate in the courts. I hadn’t known, and certainly would never have guessed it!

Monday, January 28, 2008


Today one of my grandchildren was here; I was babysitting. He was inquisitive. He asked the meaning of a word which I did not know. We looked it up together in the phone book. Every time I baby sit one of my grandkids, I am simply amazed at how smart, quick –thinking, and curious they are. Years of not having a normal baby/child in the house has warped my sense of what is normal.
And yet, I saw that he doesn’t have even half of Ricki’s courage. He balked at doing new/hard things quicker than she does, even though these “hard” things are not half as hard for him as for her. And the minute she came in from school, my slightly anti-social daughter managed anyway to give him a nice compliment. Oh, I am proud of her today!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Condemning the Attitude, Not the Person

Someone whose opinion I value very highly, wrote me about the blog I linked to on Monday. She said:
Hinsburger is very eloquent, even poetic, but quite wrong. Let him worry more about people who refuse to fund schools or give help for mothers who have disabled children, or fund a charity clinic, not those who show empathy or a willingness to help. The fact of the matter is that some people are indeed disabled to the point where they need help. Are they lesser people? No, of course not, all of us are disabled in one way or another, but some of us are seriously disabled, either by disease, intellectual incapability, physical birth defects, mental disease, old age, extreme youth, a childhood messed up by uncaring or too caring parent, or a disabling accident. If it were not for people that cared, even though they show it in inappropriate ways, NOTHING WOULD EVER BE DONE TO HELP THEM.”

I would like to reply to this, as a further clarification. It may soften a bit the attitude, but the basic message is the same.

I would point out that he said nothing to her, and that I am assuming that he is not making up about the tone. He was not advocating answering the lady back. A friend of mine who is blind, Ricki, and others I know, occasionally encounter a certain tone that is very condescending and depersonalizing. I almost never answer these people back, as I recognize them for what they are: people with a feeling that they are greatly superior. They would not even hear me if I said something, so I let it go. I would agree with you (the only point he made that is doubtful) that unless the tone was extreme, I would not say "hateful". (But they are YES prejudiced, demeaning, and contributing to the dehumanization of those with intellectual disabilities.)
When others are condescending or very condoning I will often tell them as nicely as I can the behavior I expect:
"You want to know her name? You can ask her yourself."
You say "the matter is that some people are indeed disabled to the point where they need help." Of course. But there are ways of offering help that are not obnoxious: "Do you need any help?", "Can I help you with anything?" in a normal tone. My friend B, who is blind, has become very frustrated with "helpful" adults. People tell her that she does not "want" things that she does, insist on hauling her half by force to places she could get to by herself, which make B. feel that they are using her to make themselves feel good), etc.

You are right of course that it is much better than people not helping, and therefore one must be very careful what they say and to whom. For example, that is why I am not fighting Ricki's school about the 2 hours of treatments she should be getting a week, which they claim they have no appropriate therapist for. Who knows WHERE that money goes. But since they are so good about everything else, I decided to be grateful for what we have.
However, his audience is probably at least a third people with disabilities (physical), and his point to them not to disdain the retarded is good.
And if you would read his back logs, you would see that in his work he comes across a lot of people with intellectual disabilities who have yes been consistently depersonalized by staff (another third of his audience). This depersonalization, this not letting the retarded chose ANYTHING for themselves, is a direct contributing factor to the susceptibility of the retarded to sexual assault, and other types of being taken advantage of. The cultural allowance of treating the retarded like little children, is felt keenly by high-functioning adults who find it almost impossible (especially in non-American countries) to get a job.
I would add that I think we have to be careful not to hate those who demean others due to their improper use of speech (those who are trying to be helpful; I am not talking here about those who are purposefully hateful.) People like this need to be educated when feasible, but mostly pitied.
I remember one lady who unwittingly said something extremely insulting to me, who breezed on, not even realizing that she had stuck BOTH of her feet in her mouth. At first I was very insulted and hurt. Today I pity her as I recognize her as a person who is so unsure of herself internally, that she constantly is angry at everyone and everything. (I pray that I never be guilty of the same.) I pity her as she has virtually almost no friends, her bitter tongue having "won" her isolation.
This point- the one that we have to condemn the attitude, and not the person, is perhaps the thing missing in Dave Hingsburger's post.
Thanks for giving me your opinion. It made me think this over again very carefully

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eduacating the Educators

Today I gave a talk on “Family Adjustment and Coping, and Our Expectations of Teachers” to a class of special-ed-teaching students, a talk I give yearly at this institution. I always try and slip in here and there a few points that I fear these students may not have been exposed to, ideas that are a bit more contemporary to the norm here. Over the years, the teacher who invites me has asked me not to dwell on this point or another, and I had the talk pretty well set up to our mutual satisfaction. This morning, before leaving, I looked over my notes and revamped my speech. I talked a bit more about offering more choices to the children and adults that they may work with, the importance of not being patronizing, and the importance of a school to do a reality check of their work.
If you go to this address:
You will find a report on a very interesting study, showing that school psychologists will nearly always blame failure in studies as the fault of either the parents or the child. Almost never will the school step back and ask themselves:
”How can we do this differently? What do we need to do to make it work?”

I felt that it was important to broach these ideas to our future educators.
We’ll see if they invite me back next near….

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ethics of the Fathers

Today Ricki and I were learning Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers-Sages), in preparation for her class tomorrow. The teacher had told me that her main point was this: That not only does the crown of a good name overshadow the other three crowns (priestly, kingship, scholar), but that in fact none of these crowns are valid or truly attainable, without the crown of a good name. And the more that I thought about it, the more that I saw that it was true.
I think that the scholar is easiest to understand. What good is knowledge is you do not have the good character traits to use that knowledge well?
Also the loss to the king if he is lacking in a good name is pretty obvious. Dictators and rotten people have a tendency to be overthrown.
That leaves us with the crown of the priestly class. And if a priest does not have good personality traits, and a good name, what harm will befall him? Well, if he has bad character traits, he might be led to do a sin that would disqualify him from serving in the temple. For example, one Cohen (priest) was once so angered that he stabbed someone in the Temple. His whole side of the family found themselves as outcasts, not invited to take part in the Temple rituals. Also, priests were to receive tithes from the rest of the nation. Imagine if I had to give a tithe from my produce, and there were two priests in my area. One I get along with, and the other is known as an angry fellow who no one likes. Guess who gets my tithe?
So as we can see, being a nice person is something that we should aim for. We should aim that others (those “others” who have a normal sense of values) think well of us. Which of course should not be any big news to us. But reminders don’t hurt, do they?

Monday, January 21, 2008

The danger of the Patronizing Tone

I sent a copy of Dave Hinsburger’s blog today to several friends, and got a varied response. He himself got varied view of replies. I would like to clarify my views.
First, please read his blog for today:
(again, this does not mean that I give tacit approval of everything that he says or is. But he is a very articulate champion of rights for the mentally challenged.)

He is speaking very forcefully, to get a point across.
Many in the disability community, tired of being lumped together with the R*****, have made the mistake that Dave so aptly points out: this tone is not suitable for anyone. And even though the old lady did not mean any harm (read Dave carefully, he says “That old lady thought she was being nice.”), the tone was patronizing. (She could have asked in a normal voice: “Is there anything you need help with?”)
And while many of us look at that patronizing tone as a benign problem, I am saying that it isn’t. This tone, and the underlying attidude beneath it, has led many youth with intellectual handicap down a dangerous road.

The road where I am worth less, and need to be pampered.

The road where I can act as I please, even if I am being anti-social, as no one will tell me to act normal.

The road where I do not need to try, as nothing is expected of me anyway.

The road where I am led to not try to learn to watch out for myself, as others will do it for me. (But when the others aren’t around we can run into BIG trouble.)

The road where teachers are not held accountable when they fail to teach, as long as they are “loving”.
And that is why I think that in his post, the point, although forcibly made, was one that needed to be heard

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Vegetable Buy

The other day I had gone to buy produce, and had it delivered to my house. Once it arrived, it was laying in the salon in a cardboard box, waiting to be unpacked, sorted, and put away. Somehow I was too busy to do so (I often am; this job is frequently a one o’clock at night job). After several hours I suddenly noticed that the box was almost empty.
Opening the refrigerator door, I discovered “half havoc”. The fruit bin was full of vegetables, and the vegetable bin had apples and tomatoes, topped with (YIKES!) heavy potatoes. And even though the rearranging took more time than the job initially would have, and even though some tomatoes complained to me about the inquisition they had suffered from the potatoes, all in all I was pleased. Ricki had taken the initiative to do a big job. She simply lacked training, and that was my fault.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I was searching in Wikipedia for pictures of famous Jews from England, to use in Ricki’s “Britain” notebook at school. I came across the name of Harold Abrahams, the noted English runner that was immortalized in the film “Chariots of Fire”.
I saw this movie last summer, when visiting my parents. They had created, along with my older brother, a list of films worth seeing, taking into account my cultural and religious differences from the rest of the family.
The film “Chariots of Fire” portrays the olympic successes of two British runners in 1924: Harold Abrahams, and Eric Liddell. The first was a Jew trying to fight against anti-Semitism, and the second a devout christian, who apparently was using his running as a way to “glorify” G-d, using his G-d given talents to the best advantage.
Parts of the film were upsetting to me: the feeling that Mr. Abrahams was fighting a losing race if he felt that winning at the olympics would impact on anti-Semitism, and his willingness to date a non-Jew. In a way, I felt that I could relate much better to the world view of the “Flying Scotchman”, Liddell, who refused to run in the 100 meter race since being in the competition would require him to run on Sunday, which as a devout christian he refused to do. (Instead, he ran the 400meter race and won.)
So why am I writing all this? Because as I followed the above link to the name of Harold Abrahams, I discovered that in 1934 he converted to christianity. It seems that running the race had not helped with the anti-Semitism after all…..
At this point it would be very easy for me to vilify him completely. We like to see things very much in “black and white”… to see things as absolute. We love true heroes and dastardly villains are easy to hate.
However, I think I pity him more than anything else. While we can learn from him that one can accomplish a lot with determination, it bears minding that the worth of that accomplishment is based on its intrinsic value. While being the best “Tiddledy-winks” player may get one into Guinness’s world records book, it has no true value in terms of making this world a better place. (And I am certainly not going to argue here on whether the 100 meter race has intrinsic value or not. That question is irrelevant to my ultimate point here.) Thus it bears keeping in mind that occasionally we need to check on what we are doing and why. What are we spending our energies on? And what are we ignoring as a result? That doesn’t mean that one can’t “waste” a bit of time with a good book. Relaxation and rejuvenation are also important. But if we are spending hours reading, day after day, when other pressing matters are ignored, that is a cause for concern.
Ultimately, Harold Abrahams may have accomplished many things with his race, but he did not accomplish anything against anti-Semitism. He simply joined the other side.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Large sizes store/ Enough sleep

Its been cold down here, and I’ve been walking around with 2-3 sweaters on. Luckily I HAVE some, having gone with my daughter three weeks ago to buy something in the “large sizes” store. (We had to travel by car about a half hour to get there.) It was nice, for a change, to have a CHOICE of items to purchase. In our town, I am usually forced to get whatever is in my size, even if I don’t really like it, simply because nothing else fits.
Today I was really overeating—mostly from simply being tired. So why am I awake at midnight? My evil inclination, of course! Somehow there is always something to read or enjoy once the kids are asleep, even if I know that I need the sleep more….So enough for now; Good night!

Positive Words work

Well, today was the first day of my “be more positive “campaign. And it was no surprise to me that the day definitely went better. I felt much more proactive, more positive, and less frustrated. Ricki basked in the positive comments, and even listened here and there to non-positive facts. She still procrastinated, but I don’t expect MIRACLES!
Now the challenge is: 1 Can I keep it up and 2) can I do this with the other family members?
What is truly astounding is that I have never viewed myself as having a negative personality. However, as the day passed, and I realized how different I was behaving today, the conclusion was startling: I am a hard person to win a compliment from (at least, if I have expectations of the person I am with).
And of course while I’m at it I can compliment myself as well:
“You got a lot done today, Rickismom, and you inched a bit closer to being a better person.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The FM

Yesterday morning, in the midst of my rush to get “something done”, I happened to notice that Ricki’s FM transmitter for her hearing aid was NOT in her school bag. I turned the bag inside out, searching for it, while trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. I didn’t want my husband to realize that the transmitter was possibly lost. Why worry him about it if not necessary? I called Ricki’s learning assistant at her home, hoping that she would locate it at the school. A half hour later she called back, as she suddenly remembered that it was in her purse.( Ricki had run out to her ride at the day’s end so quickly that the transmitter had been left behind.) I am glad that she called back right away, and didn’t just write in her daily end-of-the-day report that it had been located. As much as I would like not to be a “worrier”, the news made my morning a lot calmer.
This dependence on others to watch over our expensive possessions is part and parcel of having a special needs child. Unfortunately over the years, I have seen those staff members who were really not that concerned. Most do try, but surely not as much as the parent would. For literally, in this case “The buck stops here”.
Today was a day that I had scheduled as tight as could be. I am trying to catch up with the backlog of work that I have…( My “Must do immediately, should have been done three weeks ago” list is growing to absolutely unimaginable proportions!) And the frustrating thing was that Ricki was so uncooperative, and so sassy, that I felt like a total idiot in my inability to manage her behavior.

It is so frustrating to see her act in ways that is detrimental to her own self. Sometimes I feel like I am just hitting a wall of bricks in my efforts to get her to be congenial, to not make faces at others, to do homework. I suspect that I am too negative, and not generous enough in my praise. I want to try and change that. Surprise-it’s not easy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Today I entered a “trinkets” store with Ricki. Unnoticed by me (I was examining the hair accessories) she immediately started filling up a shopping bag with all sorts of baubles and junk. On discovering this, I informed her highness that everything had to be put back in place before any negotiations would be held concerning purchases. The store owner, while at least not offering to let her have it all as gifts (I guess it was too much), kept telling me that HE would return the items, pointing out that as fast as she returned items, she picked more up. I replied to him that she needed an education, and that his store was empty; we could not be bothering other purchasers. Eventually something clicked in Ricki’s head, and she put the stuff back. We bought one small item, and left. However, as luck would have it, when returning the one outrageously priced item that they sell, Ricky accidentally broke it. SIGH I suppose she will grow up some day….

Sunday, January 13, 2008

An “up” day

Today was a pretty good day. It could have been terrible. Ricki, being scared of the dark managed to not fall asleep last night until 1:30 am. (She likes to fall asleep when I am on the computer in her room, but last night I was doing other things. She can usually fall asleep even if I am not in the room, but it didn’t work out that way last night.) Anyway, I decided that all things considered, she would get “punished” by staying home from school. So she did home schooling “homework” this morning, and some drawing.
This afternoon/evening, we went to visit a married brother of hers who has just opened a store. As we boarded the bus, my checkbook fell—and Ricki was the one who noticed, and stopped me. In general she acted very well this evening. Considering her lack of sleep last night, I think that this was pretty good.

Brent Martin

This is a post that you are not going to like. It is about a tragedy that went largely unreported. I don’t like writing about it, either. But I feel that people really do need to know about the so-called people that exist sometimes on this earth.
Brent Martin was a 23 year old man in Britain. He was murdered 3 months ago simply because he had an intellectual disability. He was callously beaten to death by three youths. For sport. And as this was going on, he tried to make friends with his attackers.
We have to teach our special needs population to take care, and not to trust everyone.
We have to teach our teenage girls names of body parts, so that they can effectively report abuse and be believed.
And we parents have to protest that in general, these types of crimes go unpunished, or nearly so. Please pass this message on.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Too Focused

Yesterday I was taking Ricki to school, and we were running a bit late. However, IF she would hasten her steps, she could get there in time. The problem was that I knew very well that the likelihood of her making a dash towards the school was nil. As I was urging her to hurry, we came to a broken place in the sidewalk. The pavement had been somewhat torn up, and the area was uncrossable. However, there were two ways around: on the left was a thin crooked stretch, and on the right one could easily pass. I went right and urged Ricki to do the same. Ricki balked, saying something I didn’t catch. Only after a minute of imploring her to hurry did I get her to cross, although she choose the left side. I was peeved that she had balked, and that she had gone on the harder (and thus slower) side. She had effectively made herself a bit later. Just after I crossed her the last street, and started to wave goodbye, she came to a complete standstill. I finally realized that she would resume her steps to school if I would listen. (“G-d knows what she wants NOW?!”)
“What happened to the sidewalk?” she queried.
I was so ashamed of myself. I had been so intent on where I was going, that I had forgotten to listen. I so much want Ricki to be inquisitive, and here when she had been asking me something, I was so rushed that I was shooing her into silence. So I answered; she waved goodbye, turned, and ran for school.
How often do we not notice the little things in life? The good, the bad, the everyday things—how often do we trample them in our rush to accomplish our tasks? And how often do we ignore and tread on the feelings of our loved ones, simply because we were too focused on something else? I pray that I will do better next time.

As They Are NOW

One of my “normal” children goes to a school where there are two important staff members: One that he sees daily, and one that he has less contact with. From the beginning of this year (when he entered this school) the first staff member has been pretty positive, and the second rather negative. Not that the first found nothing to complain about, but he did so in a way that showed that he believed in the boy.
Unfortunately, the second staff member has been almost universally negative. He has never contacted us with positive information, only with negative.
My son commented that all the boys in the school know that this teacher will see the good in boys that he is inclined to, and the bad in those whom he is prejudiced against. This suddenly reminded me of something that I had noticed when the children were younger, and I shared it with my son:
I had noticed that if a child had misbehaved, I was much more inclined to label any rambunctious behavior negatively (“he’s starting up with me”, “he’s being sassy…”). And if a child had gotten on my good side for some reason, the SAME behavior was likely to be excused or overlooked. In other words: I am likely to see what I expect to.
So this is a challenge to all parents: Even when your child has misbehaved, can you drop the anger and preconceived opinions, and let this child continue the day with a clean slate? [Incidentally, G-d judged Esau when he was with Hagar in the desert as he was THEN, despite his less-than-good future.]
Because if we do not judge them “where they are now”, they will notice that we are not being fair. Woe to us for such a mistake!
And of course I charged my son: If you can be good enough for a while, you will surely move to the second teacher’s “good” list. If you change, so can he.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First mistake was to agree to the idea of eating a meat meal to eat in the evening to start with.
Second mistake was not to notice that the new bottle of catsup is “HOT!”
Hope my taste glands recover by tomorrow morning….

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


More and more I am coming up against Ricki being very stubborn, and rather angry, cranky, and spiteful. And one of the biggest problems is that there are so many variables that to point at one thing and say: do this and all will be well- is impossible.
It could be because:
-She is not getting enough sleep. She is scared of the dark. We are working on this, but it takes time
-Maybe her concerta is no longer enough? (a tempting idea, but this will be the last thing I would consider changing, as she already gets a lot.)
-A teen independence thing. I will show you that I don’t have to do what you want (even if it is the most ridiculous thing in the world.
-Behavior problem.

I suspect the last. So I am being much more strict with her on shoves and kicking, and at the same time trying to find good things to notice. I just wish the process would be faster.

It seems to me that with all the shock of the early years of parenting a child with a disability, we forget that older parents have difficulties as well. You can’t force an adult-sized person to do what you want; you have to convince them. This, in actuality, is just and right. They have their own thoughts and opinions. [For example, I let Ricki wear her hair in a style I don’t like, because after all, it is HER hair!] The problems arise when this teen wants to do something that you know will hurt them, affecting them in ways that they themselves do not want. They just do not have the intelligence to measure that pro and con scale. But to build that level of trust, to build a bond that is strong enough to get them to realize that you have their own interests at heart… is the work of our lives. And this is of course true with ANY child, not just the “special” ones.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Prayer of an Overworked Lady (who is involved in community affairs, too)

First thing G-d, if you could please give me 2 or 3 hours more than everybody else, I would really appreciate that. But since I doubt that my merits stretch that far, at least please do the rest.
First, please reduce the number of calls I get from people who ALWAYS, every time they call, give me a two hour talk about all sorts of things that went wrong…5 years ago. And give me patience for those who do call. And help me be assertive if I really have to go and do something else.
Please help me keep cool when dealing with officials who know next to nothing about Down syndrome, but who tell me how much they love “these kids” before refusing my request.
Please help me not notice interesting non-relevant things on the net when I am searching for information, and help me keep in mind how valuable my time is.
Please help me not feel guilty for not doing more, both at home, and in the community. Help me know how much time to give to each. Help me not explode when people who never help with anything criticize that I don’t get more done (both at home and in the community).
Please help me forgive the person who spread the rumor that I waste my time in chat rooms. I have never been in a chat room in my life.
And above all, please help me really love and care for others, and do that little extra bit that is sometimes so hard to do.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Seeing is Believing

On Friday, I had the interesting experience of seeing my son who is in America. I’ve known for a long time about the possibility of putting a camera on ones computer, but I am definitely not going to put one on mine. Why in the world should I subject myself to “looking presentable” when on the computer!? But one of my sons has a computer with a camera, and so does my son in the US, so I got to see him. (An interesting aside: he seemed to have no need to look “presentable”- he was in casual stuff, and hair not combed out well. I guess that is a woman’s thing….)
In addition, on Saturday Ricki managed to break her “reserve” glasses, and the main pair is still lost. Without her glasses, she struggled a bit with some reading that she needed to do. (At first she pretended that the reading was impossible, but soon after she saw that it was more than possible. I am not sure if that was a “get out of work” ploy, or a natural reaction to not having her normal range of vision.) But having limited vision is definitely limiting.
This gift of sight is so amazing. The ability to see the mountains this last year affected my inner being, and was not just “a sight”. The glimpse of a child’s smile is a pleasure. Seeing my son was definitely different than just talking on the phone. We take in so many nuances with our sight, so much information. So I’m a bit more grateful for that gift tonight.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Enjoying What You Do

Early Thursday morning (4AM), our electricity went. No fridge, no washing machine, no computer. So instead of doing something really profitable with my time, I read. It was a nice morning. The electrician, who came at about 11:00, was a very nice fellow. He apparently has a lot of experience, and he mentioned that he really loves his job. Being an electrician is not only handyman type work. It also involves “sleuthing” : finding where exactly the problem lies, and it involves working with people, including, he said, a bit of psychology.
Later in the morning I was pleased to hear that my good friend’s son has had a baby. What was special is that this baby had taken a few good years to arrive. At first, my reaction was: “Well, FINALLY they have a child!” And my attitude was one of pitying them for those childless years.
However, on second thought, I am sure that they don’t and didn’t want any pity. Prayers yes, but pity? NO. I am sure that the years they have had until now were good years, just in a different way than the years ahead.
Every person in life has challenges. Agreed some seem to get more, but that is not the point. The point is that whatever you find yourself doing, work at enjoying it. Just like my electrician.
And Mazel Tov to the new parents!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

the eyeglasses

Today Ricki went to piano lessons with her glasses, and came back without them. She is usually very good about safeguarding her glasses (she needs them), but if they get dirty, she will remove them, and put them aside. When out of the house she would put them in her bag or my purse.
On her return I noticed immediately, and asked about them. The high school student who I pay to take her back and forth to these lessons said: “Oh, I guess in her purse.”
Well they were not in her purse. They ONLY cost about $170. (They are cut from thin glass to decrease the “owl” effect that farsighted glasses make, and are bifocals as well.)
I suspect that she removed them while playing the piano (which would explain why they were not in her bag), and forgot them there. I hope that the piano teacher has them. Luckily she has a second, slightly bent pair that she can use meantime.
And a further good note- even if they did get lost, we are overdue for a check-up by the optician. We would probably have needed to buy a new pair soon in any case. In fact, on could say that I was almost waiting to be forced to go to the optician, biding my time, and getting the most out of the current pair. So I guess “being forced” has arrived.

Education Works

Two weeks ago I took Ricki to the pool (she has recently started to learn to swim), and when she was very un-modest in her dressing afterwards, I threatened to not bring her for the next session if she continued. Well, she kept prancing around naked in the dressing room.
So last week we skipped swimming. (I gave the pool a one-week warning. They weren’t too happy, but once I threaten it has to be carried out.)
Today was swimming day. I reminded her briefly why we hadn’t attended the previous week. Result: I didn’t see as much as her little toe as she was getting dressed. GRIN.
EDUCATION (not punishment) works.