Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Is That....?" / Even Less

I heard her from behind me: "Rickismom?????? Is that you?"
I was standing in the grocery store, and a friend I haven't seen in a while hesitantly approached me.
Yes it was me, and yes she hadn’t been sure. This is beginning to happen a lot, and I have to be careful and not make be too self-confident. The way back up the scale is a piece of cake here and there, indiscriminately.
* * * *

I know that I have not been posting a lot, and the bit I have been will soon become less, as I am getting involved in Pesach cleaning. I hope to write more frequently in about two months.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh, that morning CUP /

I have been with a relative in the hospital for most of the last day and-a-half. Yesterday morning at 6:30 am as I entered the hospital (after a late-night "pit stop" at home), I made a quick detor to the coffee machine. As I walked down the corridor, I passed a fellow going the opposite direction, also balancing HIS cup of coffee. I smiled, and commented: "Well, I guess nothing really replaces that first cup in the morning....."
Now keeping a diet/Walking Plan can be very hard when a relative is hospitalized. Sometimes just keeping from gaining is the best one can do. Some ideas/hints follow below. Of course, not all apply in every situation, but here they are for what they are worth:
1) Often there are breaks when you can leave a patient's bedside: when they are sleeping, when others visit, etc. Utilize these to get out and walk around the outside of the building, or even in the lobby/long halls. If needed, make smaller circuits to check if the patient has awoken.
2) Ask visitors to bring YOU a salad if you can not buy in the hospital, and you can not bring from home.
3) Many hospitals have grocery stores. Even a few crakers with white cheese will be better than a store-bought danish!
4) Try and find a way to deal with stress. Bring an MP3 with relaxing music, do some stretching exercises in a corner.

Monday, February 21, 2011

GEE, I forgot to Mention!

I've been so busy that I forgot to mention here that I have passed (downward) the 100 kilo mark! I have lost 50 kilos!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Sad Story- And Sadder Yet if We Do Nothing About It

One of the big news items this week in Israel is the rape of a 12 year old girl with Down syndrome. She was waiting outside a building for her father, and was drug forcibly and violated. Luckily the perpetrator was apparently caught. But of course that is not enough.
I have written about the need for awareness of the problem before (HERE).
ALL of our children need abuse-prevention education, and special-needs kids need it even more. Again, a few points:
- Usually the offender is not some weird-looking stranger, but someone that the child knows- a cousin, a brother’s friend, a family acquaintance, etc.
- Children need to be educated about :
1. their ability to say “NO!” (Ask the child which blouse they want the red or blue, and try to give them the one they didn’t ask for).
2. private areas (their own drawer), respect for privacy (knock on their door before entering), and private body areas (covered by a swimsuit)
3. good secrets and bad secrets, and to always tell Mom secrets, even if an adult says not to.
4. who it is appropriate to get gifts from
5. who to tell if someone touches them, tries to hurt them
6. what to do if someone tries to take them, tough them

A good start is Rav Horowitz’s lecture (see HERE).
- a one-time talk is not enough. Especially with special-needs children, repeats are needed. After this incident I AGAIN talked to Ricki. And I told her that there had been an incident. And this time I really think that she took it seriously.
- for special;-needs children/teens acting, puppets, and practicing reaction is imperative.

PLEASE DON’T WAIT. Educate your children TODAY!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Laying Down the Law

Ricki’s favorite breakfast is pancakes. I refuse to make them for her daily, due to the high caloric input that they impart, but this morning, it being coldish outside, I decided to give her a treat. Besides, I was feeling magnanimous towards her this morning; Ricki has been calmer and better behaved the last few days.
However, as she entered the kitchen, I quickly noted that she had put her “Raggedy-Ann” style night socks on, and she was bra-less. I commented that her dress was improper, and she would need to correct it. When she balked, I explained why she could not wear the socks, and when she again balked, I immediately laid down the law: “Go put on hose instead of the socks and put on a bra, or I won’t serve you the pancakes.” She feebly reached for them, but I could see that she realized that I meant what I said. When she turned for a minute, I even managed to slip the plate of food into the silverware drawer, thus negating the need for me to stand guard over the “goods” until the price was paid. When Ricki realized that she did not even know the location of the plate she reluctantly went to fix her clothing. Ten minutes later she was pan-cake full, and had brushed her teeth, and she came to show me that she had done so. She inquired how much time she had left until her morning ride to school, and I told her, adding that maybe she wanted to listen to some music in the interim.
A typical morning, and I suspect, a pretty typical teen as well…..

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Guitar’s Pajamas

Ricki, Her father, and I were sitting around Saturday evening. As her father played his guitar, Ricki relaxed, pleased to see him in a good mood. She only protested when I sang along with him on one song. [For some reason she apparently views “being a mommy” as too serious a business to sing (though I sing all the time….and she also doesn’t like me dancing to my MP3 player, either…..) ]
Anyway, when he was done playing my husband started to put the guitar away in it’s case. He jokingly remarked to Ricki “See, just like you have to go put on PJs, the guitar also wears pajamas.”
Ricki looked at him, puzzled.
“But a guitar isn’t a person. It doesn’t sleep.”
“A dog isn’t a person, and HE sleeps…” countered her father. As she mulled this over he added “A fish sleeps and it’s not human.” At this point I “rescued” Ricki and interjected “But a guitar is an object, not a living creature.”
At this Ricki nodded, and looking at her father said “You were joking, weren’t you?”

She fully understood at last. But what I enjoyed was her verbal expression throughout the whole exchange.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Toffee Mystery

I needed something at the grocery a block away. Ricki often goes there. The only downside is that she often adds purchases for herself to the bill. But I was desparate, so I sent her, allowing her to purchase a small bag of chocolate milk for school, but with dire warning to make no other extraneous purchases.
She returned home beaming/ranting (simultaneously affecting both moods, as hard as that is to imagine). She proudly stated that she had not taken anything from the grocery besides the allowed items, yet she was at the same time muttering about some “Levi kid” who took her toffees.
“WHAT toffees?” I quizzed. “So you bought toffees in the store!”
No, she protested, she had not. But the Levi kid took her toffees. HER toffees.
I tried to ascertain from where she had obtained toffees, but to little avail. And her bus was due momentarily, so we went down the stairs together. Upon reaching the bottom floor, I noticed the “Welcome Home” sign made of toffees pasted to the Levi family’s door, missing the last letter.
Mystery solved. (Except for understanding how in the world she was able to convince herself that they were HER toffees….)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oh, the Downside of Independence

Of course, allowing more independence (see Sunday’s post) has it’s drawback--- things DON’T always go as planned.
As I have mentioned before, Ricki is very good with buses. Even though I have nearly always accompanied her on the bus, we often sit apart, and she always knows when to get off if it is a place we have been to previously.
Thus, in a mood of “let’s let her do what she can”, I decided after a doctor’s visit yesterday to let Ricki get off the bus near her school, while I would be getting off one stop earlier. The only problem was that the bus that we caught does not pass her school,; it turns left (and away) about two blocks before reaching the educational facility. But I figured that this would not be a problem, because Ricki often walks to school, and knows the way. Of course, I mentioned to her that the bus does not pass her school, and that she must get off the stop after me. I even reiterated it as I exited the bus.
Later in the day I picked Ricki up in order to take her to her exercise class, and discovered that she had a brand-new cute-as-can-be umbrella. When quizzing her was not productive, I started more intensive interrogations. And when she finally “spilled the beans” I was in for a shock. Apparently she had not gotten off the bus when she should have, and finding herself in unfamiliar territory, had stuck with the bus until the final stop. There the bus drivers took matters in hand, and they took her on a line that passes the school. The umbrella was taken somewhere along the way. [I will add in her that Israel is NOT America, and that even though there is always a chance of evil people being around, we DO live in an almost crime-free area….]
This type of scenario is what prompts parents to NOT let their children be independent. Our fears are great. But, again, at some point the teen or young adult MUST be taught to manage on their own. So I do not see this incident as an indicator that Ricki must be supervised every second, but a pointer as to what area of “the material she needs to know to ride a bus” was not clear enough to her. Although she is fully aware that not every bus takes her to her exercise class, she still needs to internalize better the idea of differing bus routes, and of taking at times a bus that passes further away from your destination than the one you usually take (because the usual one is not available).
Do not think that I am not fearful. I am. But that same fear powers me to look at the need for long-range education for safety, and not just the temporary convenience of keeping her under lock and key.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“Y” and the Wedding / “They Won’t Lynch You….”

In Israel, social groups are often formed by what school you attended, what army unit you served in. For example, our local hardware store owner served in the same tank unit in the Yom Kippur was as my husband did. Whenever he sees me he asks how my husband is.
But my son “Y” has “Switched sides”. He went to a chareidi (ultra-orthodox) high school, and today he is not religious at all. And he is serving in the army, something that is not standard for the chareidi orthodox.
This last weekend he was home on leave, and had several errands to run, And since he recently sold his motor bike, he was without “wheels”. So he stayed in uniform, in order to benefit from the free bus fares for soldiers.
But that same night a friend of his from high school was getting married. So he decided to go and wish the couple “Mazel Tov”, and at the same time see and catch up on his former classmates. I was also planning to stop in briefly at the same wedding, as I know the grooms mother. So we walked over together. It gave me a few minutes of private time with “Y”, a chance to ask him about his present studies, his service, etc. As we neared the wedding hall, he stopped short. “Oh my G-d, how stupid of me. I forgot to bring a kippah*.”
He is not embarrassed to be non-religious, but he didn’t want to insult anyone either. In the end he went ahead to the hall. And he enjoyed his visit with his former classmates. No one started up with him, or was upset. One adult who was connected with the school, but didn’t really know Y at all, did a double-take as he passed him, looking to see who this soldier was, but then continued on without comment.

And it just happened that this same afternoon, a woman army officer had to come see us about something, and in advanced phoned us with the following query: “Is it OK to wear a uniform in your neighborhood?” I told her that she could. I told her to expect a few stares, and added “But don’t worry, they won’t lynch you.”
Often I see that the non-religious are VERY hesitant to enter chareidi areas, afraid of being yelled at, etc,. I suspect that much of this fear is due to bad press, and that in general the reactions of the chareidim (Orthodox)are not all that terrible……

(*headcovering worn by the religious).