Monday, August 31, 2009

"Nachum TaKum", or my Roly-poly Gal

Well, school starts today at 8:00AM. Ricki's bus comes at 7:25. So she has to get up at 6:30 at the Latest!
So last night I put her in bed at 10:30.
She got up for a drink.
She got up to read her imaginary friend "Gili" a story.
Then she decided that she needed a bath.

I tried yelling. Begging. Ignoring. Not talking. EVERYTHING.

She is still a bit on Colorasdo time. She hates to go to bed alone (we are working on that.... sleeping arrangements in Colorado threw us back a bit there; she had to sleep with me, there being no room elsewhere...). She is probably excited about school as well.

Don't ask me HOW she will function sanely today.....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

School starts on Monday... in Caravans

We have received notice that Ricki is to start school.... her first year in a separte "special ed" program. All the talk about a new and better building has not yet come to fruition, though. They are studying in the same old "caravanim" (portable temporary classrooms), simply in a MORE distant location, more far from any "regular" students. I am trying not to jump to bad conclusions.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29th- Thank YOU

I first started with reader-counters a year ago.
Some 15,700 hits ago.
I am averaging something like 55 readers a day.

I am gratified, and thankful.


Friday, August 28, 2009

For Special-Needs Parents: the Best Seat on the Plane

When I am flying on an international flight, with a 777, I always try and get the seats in the VERY last row. It has several advantages:
1. The other rows have three seats; this row has two. You can seat your child by the window, next to you, and with no one else in the row.
2. It is near the bathrooms, water, etc. And the service cart is almost never blocking your way.
3. There is about half a seat of extra space next to these two seats. This makes it easty for you to get up to stretch without bothering others.

The DISADVANTAGE is that you will be one of the last persons off the plane. Don't use if you have close connections.....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Odds and Ends on Walking and Dieting...and Coming Home

Well, I am finally home after three weeks in the US. I loved my stay; nevertheless it is good to be home.
It was great to get out last night and do some walking after spending two days in transit. I even didn't have the chance to walk as much as I had hoped in the airports, as one flight was delayed, so they had to ferry Ricki and I with a service car in Philidelphia in order to reach the next flight. (We were the last ones to board.)(Our luggage did NOT make that connection; we should finally get them today.)
I am also enjoying the luxury of having all my pots and pans and a full kosher kitchen (as opposed to the bare minimum I had in America). The wonderful taste of REAL vegetable soup ( a BIG pot full, which can contain several types of vegetables and herbs) as opposed to a packaged soup. The fun of chomping on lettuce (we use special kosher bug-free lettuce, which I didn't find in Colorado....), and the wealth of cheap fruit.
...Oh, and the lovely sea-level air, which one or two deep breathes will fill your lungs with enough oxygen that you are not panting for more. Suddenly I can walk QUICKLY, without pausing to catch my breath.
And luckily, I missed, it seems, the worst of August's heat. It is coolish at night (well, at least not hot), and I was able to do my aerobic walking without getting too overheated. I may even have to start walking more hills, as my regular "pretty flat" circuit is suddenly too easy.
What I will miss is my mother and brothers, the tremendously beautiful mountains (the pictures I post only give you an idea....).... and, oh yes, and the not-as -humid weather.
When I was in the US, my son noted that the best part of any trip is coming home. It certainly SHOULD be that way. That doesn't mean that we don't need vacation, nor that I didn't enjoy myself. But as Ecclesiasticies says, "there is a time....." (for both).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Digital Picture Frame

My brothers and I purchased for my mother as a parting gift a digital picture frame. We knew in advance that we wanted to do this, so I prepared the SD card for it while I was still in Israel, and simply added while here more pictures. I maintain that this is one of the greatest gifts you can give a grandmother (and great-grandmother). This way she has pictures of all her offspring, in one compact space.
We set up the frame while she was out on the porch, and waited to see how long it would take her to notice it. (In all fairness, we have all stolen her desk for computer work, so its no coincidence that she didn't notice the frame right away.) After she found it, my mother, older brother, and I enjoyed watching the photos for a long time.
Family is special......

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Calypso Cascades

Friday was our next-to-the-last chance to hike before our return home this week. We hiked up to "Calypso Cascades", a round trip hike of 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers). This hike has a nice increase in altitude (about 800 feet, which is approx.240 meters). Here is a picture of the trail: However, this trail has an advantage that it is a gradual incline part of the way, and only the end is really steep. And all along that gradual incline are small waterfalls. So the scenery makes the effort definately worthwhile. Ricki took the hike fairly well (despite occaisional insistings that she was NOT going further), and even smiled for the camera on occaision. (Those pics will be for a later post.....but here's a video of the falls)(It's much more impressive in real life....)

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Missing Sunglasses

Friday morning my mother, Ricki, and I were all up early. We wanted to set out towards the calypso cascades trailhead early, as the parking area there is small. (If we would get there once the parking area is full, it would mewan parking much further away and adding that extra distance to the hike.)
Suddenly Ricki came into the kitchen with a pair of sunglasses, and I told her: "Those aren't yours. Put them back."
Fast forward seven hours. My brother's step-son pooks his head into the porch. "Have you seen my sunglasses?"


A massive search of the house was started. Ricki usually tells me where she has put articles like this, but this time she was not cooperating, or so it seemed. I looked all through our studff, but couldn't find it.
Finally a half-hour later the glasses were found where all the sunglasses in my mom's house are stored. When I told Ricki to put the glasses back, she lazily handed them to my mom, who assumed that they were from her stash, so she put them away there.
While Ricki was lazy in giving them to my mother, I am hasppy that she hadn't stashed them away somewhere in her own belongings. Ultimately, she HAD returned them, much to my relief.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ricki the Felon?/ Thank G-d we Found Her

You are simply not going to believe this post. I was going to post about our hike on Friday to Calypso Cascades, but that will have to wait, because we had a REAL surprise on Saturday.
I like to read on Saturdays, and Ricki (when not home) tends to be a little (O.K., a lot....) bored. So I have made an effort to play with her a fair amount. So on Saturday afternoon, I promised Ricki that at 4 o'clock we go for a walk. She usually doesn't want to go walking with me, but if bored enough, I figured she just might want to. She said "Let's go now."
- "No, Ricki, it's too hot right now. Soon. At four." I suggested that she go down to our room and rest a bit.
About half an hour later, I went downstairs and saw that she wasn't there. A quick search of the house, garage, and yard yielded no Ricki nor no clues as to her where-abouts.
If Ricki was in Bnei Brak, I would not worry so much. But here in the US, in an area she is unfamiliar with, and with no friends living nearby, the situation was definitely one of "Pikuach Nefesh" (danger to life). I had visions of her getting lost, abducted, etc, and knew that even if a good person would find her, Ricki did not know my mother's name or address, and indeed she could not communicate in English at all. I quickly called my older brother and we set out to search by car.
We did a quick look around the area, driving the way I always walk with Ricki , and asked a few neighbors, with no results. We checked in at my mother's house to see if Ricki had shown up, but she hadn't. I went to get my passport so that we could go to the police. As we left the second time, the neighbor across the way said " I've called almost everyone in this area, and so-and-so said she saw a teen with a suitcase walking up the road towards the hill."
So we took off and found her two blocks away, along with a man who was trying to talk with her. (She doesn't know English.) The man saw her taking mail from the roadside mailboxes, and went to stop her. (Apparently teen vandals of the mail here has happened more than once, since the mailboxes are at street side, and not on the houses. Taking mail just happens to be a felony....) It also seems that he was as yet unaware that Ricki had Down syndrome, AND he had already called the police. I walked home with Ricki asking my brother to speak with the man. [Ricki at first was surprised to see me, said that she was just taking a walk, and had taken the suitcase with her because she "wanted to".]
In the end, it seems that she had emptied all the mailboxes on the way, tearing a few of the letters as well. Eventually the policeman, the scowling witness (who calmed down when he realized that this was not your ordinary teen vandal) and my brother managed to get the mail returned to the proper boxes, and the policeman came to take our name and phone number. Ricki only really started realizing how serious things were when the officer appeared. She made hearty promises not to repeat either mail removal or trips outside on her own.
"Well", I quipped to my mother a few hours later, "at least I have what to write on my blog". Never a dull moment......(except perhaps, for Ricki).

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Sores" / Cub Lake

Ricki enjoyed our hike on Wednesday much more that the previous hikes. It was the longest we have done so far (4.6 miles / 7.2 kilometers ). We climbed to cub lake and back; most of the trail is gradual incline or level, just the last bit before the lake in a hefty incline (total elevation gained about 540 feet).
One thing that bothered her were a few minuscule "sores". Ricki has a big tendency to always point out to me any "injuries" that she has. Most I can not see with the naked eye, or just barely. She always requests a band aid, but I refuse unless there is blood emanating from within. Instead I put "cream" when we get home.
In the car on the way back to my mother's house, we all related what we enjoyed. My mom liked the sky, mountains, and Rocks. I liked the lake. Ricki liked the ground squirrels and the ducks (they are in abundance at the lake....). At our arrival home we found a deer in the yard.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Postscript to "You Must Have Trouble...."

First, please go back and read this Post.
Last time I was in the US with Ricki, 2 years ago, I really did have a fair amount of trouble with her in stores. This time I haven't really. The difference is very evident, and is considerable. It gives me such encouragement, as it is suddenly so evident to me just how much we have accomplished in this area in the last two years.
"He who sows in tears reaps with JOY!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Finally, Pictures....

As youan see, we are in lovely country. (I can not fiqure out how my Mom can live here and not believe in G-d.) The hiking has been difficult for both Ricki and I, but the lovely vistas push us on.

This is Ricki and her Grandmother on the trail.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Real Conversation

Sunday I had the pleasure of overhearing a REAL conversation Ricki had on the phone. She often tends to talk "short-hand"... not in a truely understandable way. But Sunday morning, she was speaking to her father, and was relaying item after item clearly, correctly, and with her hand on her hip, as one would expect from any teen....
Its at moments like this that I see how much she's grown.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Usually when Ricki asks me a question, and my answer is not understood by her, she will say "WHAT?" again... and again... and again. If I am not paying attention, I may misunderstand, and assume that she didn't hear me (especially if she is not wearing her hearing aid). Today I was surprised by her. She asked what was for supper, and I answered "goulash". She looked puzzled, asked "Whast?", and then added: "I didn't understand what you said."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ricki and Shabbas (the Sabbath)

For those of you who don't know, practicing Orthodox Jews do not watch TV on the Sabbath (if at all). We do not have TV at home, but here at my mother's house, where Ricki has no friends and little to do in her free time, she has been watching some TV cartoons. (Makes me very glad we don't have one at home....)
Anyway, on the Sabbath I like to read, and here in Colorado I tend to do the same. And Ricki has been rather bored as a result. But she has been a REAL tropper and didn't try to turn the TV on, waiting patiently until the Sabbath was over. A real accomplishment!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Laughs and Laughter

(This post is being posted from America, so don't ask why I am up at 10 PM on Shabbat. It is One thirty Friday afternoon here.)

Ricki has been a rather serious creature of late. Here at my Mother's house we (including "I") laugh a lot more than I do at home. I don't know why, but probably because my older brother (who is also visiting my mom) keeps making facetious remarks.
The first few days, every time someone laughed, Ricki "took up her arms". She got angry, snarled, etc. We realized very quickly that since she didn't understand us (speaking as we were in English), she assumed that any laughter was a crack at her expense. My mother's first reaction to this is "Boy is she self centered." And perhaps she is.
But as the days passed, Ricki got a bit less touchy. I don't know if that is due to her gaining confidence in us, or getting used to the fact that we laugh around here. More relatives are arriving on Sunday, and it will be interesting to see how that affects the status guo.

Every Stone and Mosquito

Ricki has been a grudging participant up to now in our hikes. I suspect that Ricki considers every stone in the pathway and every mosquito that has bit her as personally being "out to get" her. She oinly sees the difficulty of the climb, and doesn't see (or desire to see) the health benefits. She DOES enjoy the grand views, but she has already declared that she is ready to "go home" and "no climbing tomarrow".

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Accepting Help

Yesterday Ricki and I did an easy climb to Alberta Falls (only about 200 feet increase in elevation). On the return path, we decided to tackle a downhill trail leading from the Alberta Falls trail down 2.8 miles to Sprague Lake. I figured that this way I could get in my 10,000 steps without trekking uphill any more than I had done already.
We quickly discovered that the trail was not a well-kept one, and was full of stones. This made the going hard for Ricki, but all in all she handled it like a trooper. However, after a while came her complaints of being thirsty. My mom had a pack with a bottle of water, but my pack had been loaned to my visiting son. Instead I had prepared 2 bags of drink, and a snack for Ricki, in her bag. Suddenly we realized that somehow she had left her bag and drink at home.
To make a long story short, by the time we reached Sprague Lake, we were thirsty, hungry (breakfast had been very small, and many hours before), and tired. THEN we discovered that the shuttle bus to the parking lot does not stop at sprague lake (nor where its access road meets the main road), and we were faced with about another mile hike to the car.
At that point my mom flagged down a car with a couple, and they were quite willing to give us a lift to the parking lot. We thanked them, and they said "pass it on".
I don't know about you, but I prefer to give than to take (in general). But sometimes wisdom is knowing when you DO need help, and to accept it gracefully. Whether you are carrying several packages, a new mom with a tiny baby, a stranger in a new place.... sometimes you need help, and the smart thing is to accept it. That way, you can return to being a "giver" sooner.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Allowing Yourself

As I pointed out in yesterday's post, I attempted (and suceeded!) in doing a very strenuous hike (for me) on Monday. Above scenic Bear Lake there are three other lakes, Nymph, Dream, and Emerald. When I had last visited my mother, two years ago, I only climbed to the first two beyond Bear Lake. On Monday I stretched myself a bit (OK., a lot...) and trecked up to Emerald as well.
It felt good to meet the challenge, and the view was stunning. (Sorry, the pictures will have to wait till I get home.)
What I noticed is that I was the fattest lady on the trail. There were a few overweight people besides me, but only a few.

Whch brings me to my point today. If you are overweight (or whatever), can you allow yourself to do things that are not done? How many times do we deny ourselves the chance to do something because we are "too heavy", "too old", , a parent, an adult, a---- whatever. If something looks like fun, is moral, legal, and affordable.... don't deny yourself the pleasure just because it "isn't done".

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Acceptance of Yourself

I'm in the Rocky Mountains (one of those special places that G-d created) enjoying the time to relax- AND exercise! Many of the hikes here involve a good increase in altitude (yesterday I hiked 6 kilometers -3.6 miles- , with a 185 meter -605 feet- rise in altitude! But the lovely scenery makes the effort worthwhile.
Ricki also finds the climbing a bit hard, aqnd complains bitterly at times (spits at rocks that get in her way), but all and all is doing OK.
What I want to write about this morning is acceptance of who and what we are. On one of our first hikes, as I was still struggling with the higher altitude (the air is actually thinner here than on the mediteranean coast....), I simultaneously found my knee not cooperating very well when we needed to take very high steps up or down. So my mother (who is , thank G-d, in excellent shape) offered me her cane (which she had taken along for balance on the steep declines). At first I was embarressed to accept it. I mean, I am younger than her! It was hard to admit how bad my physical condition is. But in the end I acquiessed.
And yesterday, as I very SLOWLY made my way up the inclines, all the other hikers passed us by. And I needed the cane here and there going down. And I admit that my wish to loose weight is not only for health reasons, but because I would enjoy not sticking out like a sore thumb. Many people who zipped past us comented on how great it was that we were out on the trail. I know it was meant as a compliment and encouragement, but I sometimes felt that they probably muttered under their breaths in wondermeant that I even attempted the climb.
So I had to deal with being different, even tho' that difference is the result of my own past bad choices. Ricki has to put up with being different every day, every time she ventures out the front door.
So is it any wonder that she gets growly sometimes about it? For once I think I am really feeling what emotional battles she is up against. And fighting that battle of self-worth is probably daunting for many of us. And instilling self-worth in any child who is "different" in any way is surely not easy. The only thing that I think can help is pointing out the good things that our child does, his successes, and our love for them. But I think we must have to pour in HUGE amounts of that in order to contradict the onslaught from outside. I question very highly if I do enough.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mommy the (Almost) Perfectionist

A few weeks ago I cast some plaster-of-Paris animal figurines for Ricki to paint with water colors. The statuettes came out very nicely, but the water colors didn’t. Ricki painted them all sorts of absurd colors, and ended up with eight animal sculptures, all of them painted a muddy black-grey. And Mommy wasn’t very happy.
I had imagined eight figures at least slightly reminiscent of the animals they represented, and these were not. They didn’t sit very well with either my esthetic side.... but it was more than that. Now most people would say that she had fun, and what do I want from her? So I at least kept my disappointment to myself. But it rankled me, because I was sure that she was capable of much better work.
So I recast TWO additional sets of the molds, and this week I had her paint one set... along with me. I painted the second set. I showed her how if one uses the light colors first, the other colors stay cleaner. I showed her which colors I used. Now she did not agree with me one hundred percent, and enjoyed painting the lion’s mane blue. [Here I had to fight that little perfectionist monster in my soul, and realize that creativity and fun are also important.] But the end results were MUCH nicer, and I felt quite vindicated at my assumption that she was capable of enjoying the work, yet turning out a more colorful and “normal” job.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The End of the Concerta-Less Day

Remember that day that I forgot to give Ricki her concerta? Well, I forgot to tell you something that occurred that same evening. Ricki was trying to get me to turn on the computer for her, and I was stalling, hoping to get some better behavior from her. Suddenly she disappeared into the kitchen, and I hear the water running. She was washing the dishes, this being her personal “peace-pipe” when she wants to get on my good side. I was busy, and not paying too much attention.
Suddenly Ricki was at my side, with a worried expression.
“The suds are all over the counter.”
I flew to the kitchen in a flash, and discovered the sink high with water, the strainer cover of the drain clogged with food debris. But that was not the worst of it. This sink is a bit loose, and not adequately attached to the closet around it. So I had a flood of water in the cabnit under the sink, which of course had poured onto the floor as well.
I deserve a “Good Mommy Prize” for not yelling. She MEANT well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kosher Food and Ricki

Since Ricki and I are both observant orthodox Jews, we eat only Kosher food. She is used to the fact that in our town, just about everything available in the local store is kosher.
However, such is not the case in America. Before our previous trip, I had drilled into Ricki that she could only eat what I agreed to. And all in all, she managed that pretty well last time.
In the intervening two years, she has become much more well-behaved in stores, but more beligerant in her relations to others. I was afraid that her teen side would interfere with her agreeing to only eat under my approval. However, on our arrival, she was given something by her grandmother (who knew which certification to look for). And Ricki right away came and asked me if it was kosher. EUREKA!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good Morning!

To any readers who wonder what happened to me today, I am posting now at about 6 am (after 8 hours sleep) from the Rocky Mountains (in Colorado, USA). Posting may be a bit erratic/different times over the next three weeks.
Ricky and I are visiting my mother. The flights were tough on Ricki, but she behaved OK. During my previous trip with her two years ago, Ricki did not sleep, being entranced my the Micky Mouse cartoons on the in-flight entertainment, and when I tried to sleep, she elbowed me in the ribs. This trip,not wanting to arrive UTERLY exhausted --as opposed to moderately so - - I had warned Ricki in in advance that the "computer" would be turned off in the middle of the flight, and this helped tremendously. She slept for about 5-6 hours, and I got in about three. (It's not much, but a heck of a lot better than none!)
However, by the time we reached Philidelphia she was not in a good mood. She was being a bit nasty to others (kicking their bags). It was early in Phili and the time in Israel was already noon, but I could not give Ricki her regular dose of Concerta as it was too early for the time in Colorado, our eventual destination. And finding a KOSHER jello-yogurt consistancy food to give it with was also problamatic. (Before the trip I had searched high and low for an under-100cc jar of applesauce to take with us for this purpose, but didn't find anywhere! (And in Philidelphia half the stores were closed in the duty free, due to the early hour. We even had to wait onboard the plane at our arrival for an additional twenty minutes while they set up a customs/border control to accomidate us.) (I was a bit surprised at this. I mean, they knew at least twelve hours in advance that we were on our way....) But finally I decided that even if it was a bit early for mountain time, she needed the Concerta, and luckily I found a kosher yogurt for her.
On our arrival we went to stock up on kosher food, and set out for the mountains. There we barely staggered through unpacking, shoers, and supper before falling asleep. (In the end, I went to sleep at 8, and of course awoke at 4AM today. But Ricki is still asleep....which is good. Today we can start hiking.....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Parents and the Plaster Figurines

Whenever I see any figurines of plaster of Paris, my mind transports me back some fifty plus years to the time when my older brother had braces.
We lived at that time in Macomb, Illinois, where my father taught chemistry at Western Illinois University. And every2-3 weeks (and later, less frequently) my brother was driven by my mom all the way to St. Louis, to have work done on his braces. Occasionally I went along for the ride, and I remember two things vividly: the mighty Mississippi river (and the long bridge spanning it), and the closet chock-full of plaster of Paris figurines at the orthodontist’s office. He used them as prizes. These little white statuettes were fascinating to me. I would have loved to have a collection of them of my own.
Now you may ask, why in Macomb, then a town of twelve thousand, was there no orthodontist? Actually there was. But when my parents started investigating the possibility of sending my brother to the orthodontist, they realized that the one located in Macomb refused to accept blacks as customers. And my parents went to all the expense and considerable inconvenience to go instead to St. Louis. Now THAT is called integrity and sincerity!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

...and the other side (sort of a continuation from yesterday)

Often I write my posts in the evening, and post them in the morning. When I don’t have time I will usually write early in the morning. Yesterday it was only after 10 AM that I got started, having been up late on Sunday evening. Ricki had just gotten up, having also gone to bed in the middle of the night, and was getting bathed and dressed (on her own). A bit later she came carrying a bag of flour. “Is this flour?” she asked.
Immediately visions of her previous escapades of Ricki trying to make a cake on her own floated from my memory cells.
“Uhh, Ricki, no cakes today!”
“I want to make pancakes...”
(after a pause to pull myself out of what I was doing...) “OK, let me sift the flour for you.”

So I quickly helped her make the batter, she lit the fire, and fried the pancakes herself very nicely. [Better 5 minutes away from the task at hand (on the computer) than letting my teen wreck havoc in the kitchen alone.]

Monday, August 3, 2009

Concerta, ADHD, and Down syndrome....

[Preface: Ricki has, in addition to Down syndrome, ADHD. She exhibits it not so much through hyperactivity, but rather through belligerent, goading behavior. This is NOT typical behavior of children with Down syndrome.]

“Hey, Mom” queried my oldest daughter, “Did you forget to give Ricki her Concerta* today?”
“I sure did!” I ruefully admitted, “And by the time I remembered it was too late to give her, or she’ll be up half the night!”
[I should have given it to her. In the end she WAS up half the night, as she couldn’t sleep because I was neither at the computer nor in bed. When I finally went to sleep, she popped out of bed and poked her head into the room to see that I was actually going to sleep. As I said earlier, I know I have a problem.]
During the school year I rarely, if ever, forget to give Ricki her medications. It is part of our normal routine. But when that routine gets tampered with (like during vacation), sometimes I can forget... for a while.
Generally within an hour she will start acting belligerently enough to remind me that she needs her Concerta. However, there are those days that she acts OK (at least until it is too late to give her the medicine). There have even been days that I wonder: maybe I can take her off the stuff? And then there are days like yesterday. NOT that she was that bad. It was just like she was a muted jazz piece waiting to erupt into a strong bass rhythm.
In the late morning (already too late to give her the dose), we went shopping. At first she acted up a bit but I laid down the law: “Either you behave or you go HOME! (And if you want to go to seminary-high school – after our return from America, you will need new blouses or you won’t be able to attend....” She was, all in all, VERY good in the stores. It was one of those moments of “Maybe we can do without the Ritalin, she’s getting older already....”
But by the time we returned home, she was tired and bored. And all her crankiness stood out. It was nothing terrible, just a constant grabbing of anything I was working with, a constant aggressive pushing and shoving.... enough that her sister picked it up on the spot.

is a type of Ritalin that works for 12 hours. It has the advantage that it covers both school AND homework time, and the “let down” as it finishes is very smooth and gradual.

[note: a nice sequel coming up to this tomarrow...]

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Abusive Talk

( Note: the first bit is a bit hard to read, being couched in vague terms, but this is to protect someone’s identity.)
I have a son/daughter who used to be very self-righteous. This person would become very incensed at any indication from me that they had acted improperly.
One day, I spoke to this person about washing their dishes, which they had been requested to do, and which had consistently not been done. They seemed to have intended to wash them, but inevitably the cutlery and plates would sit in the sink until I took care of them. This person insisited that they had, in general, washed their dishes and yelled at me for saying that they had not done so.
This scenario repeated itself several times. Eventually (and rather quickly I might add) I gave up, and simply always did the dishes. It was easier than being yelled at. (Eventually I did work on it through other means, but it took a while.)

The point here is that it is very easy to cow someone with speech. If this capitulation of mine, as a parent, was so quick, imagine the poisonous effect of abusive speech on a child. Parents may find it very easy and (temporarily effective) to browbeat their children into obedience. For me, the experience of being bullied through speech was a real eye-opener as to the quickness that the victim will capitulate, and the negative feelings generated in the receiver. If you are a parent that yells, look in the mirror once when yelling like that. It should give you pause. Love is DEFINITELY not being communicated.
In Israel, at least, now is the summer break, and even the boys are home from school. Let’s be extra-careful about the ways we use speech, and the ultimate message we are delivering to our offspring.