Monday, October 31, 2011

The Cancelled Postage Stamp

This post has nothing to do with Down syndrome, losing weight, or the like. But I think it shows so well how kids operate, that I couldn’t help but post it. My son agreed to let me post it.
Friday evenings “D” and “Y” are usually home, on leave from the army. After the evening shabbas seudah (festive Shabbat meal (and what soldier could pass THAT up?), the three of us will often talk about all sorts of things. This last weekend, we were looking at the collection that “Y” has gathered of postcards sent to the family from other family members over the years. One, from an older brother, had written in the corner next to the stamps, “Y, DON’T remove the stamps”. He had obviously feared that “Y” would remove the stamp, and damage the postcard while doing so.
“He had reason to be concerned” quipped “Y”, “He knew that I was collecting stamps. You know, he had a lovely collection of sets of stamps himself, and once when he was away, I snuck up to his room and took a few. Now he had told me once that cancelled stamps were worth more, so I took the set and ‘cancelled’ them with a (kiddie) stamp of a butterfly or something…”
Kids do the craziest things…..

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On the Bus Home

One day last week Ricki and I had to return from her exercise class by way of public transportation. We waited only about 10 minutes for the bus, but discovered that it was pretty full when we boarded it. This is not a real problem, as the ride is fairly short, so standing is not all that difficult.
But Ricki is not USED to standing. People often get up for her, especially if she looks upset at needing to stand. A few years ago she would scowl at seated passengers until someone would give her a seat, but thankfully I have been able to squash that sort of threatening behavior. But she still looks very disgruntled when she has to stand.
The woman seated next to us looked very pleasant, and I smiled at her. The next time Rina “humpfed” to herself, I commented:
“That’s OK, she can learn that the whole world isn’t coming to her….”

Thank G-d, the lady stayed seated.
Thank G-d, for once someone didn’t coddle Ricki unnecessarily.
And soon enough Ricki got her seat when someone reached their stop.
And Ricki got a small taste at living normally.

Sassy 17

Tonight (Saturday night) I was inscribing in my calendar for the coming year all my grandchildren’s birthdays, as well as those of my children (which I remember anyway, but I write down just to be SURE). As I did, I noted that some of my kids are getting older than I thought. A few are nearing middle age. And even my youngest child above Ricki, “Y”, will be 20 this coming summer. 20!
Well, Ricki is no longer “sweet sixteen”, so I will have to dub her age as “sassy seventeen”. (Her Hebrew birthday was Friday.) But in actuality, her behavior has improved significantly over the past year. She is still very teenager-y, and yes, often sassy… but (slowly, slowly) she is improving. She pesters her nieces less when they come, and is nicer to them. She is better at letting them use her things. When I tell her that her nephew wants to feed himself and not be spoon fed (by her), she is able to forgo her pleasure at feeding him, and let him eat alone.
She’s slowly growing up, and I have to face the fact that in a few years she will probably be moving out. My time to be a SIGNIFICANT educator to her is limited. (By age 21 or 22 she will probably be living in a community apartment, as an independent adult, I will see her much less.)
I need to work more with her on life skills. And I need to spend more “fun” time with her, enjoying having her home while she still is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The “Chovesh”

[“Chovesh” is the Hebrew word for paramedic.]
The other day a scraped my hand and received a miniscule sratch. Ricki noticed, and I tried to reassure her that I was really OK. But she went into “Care for Mommy” mode and announced “I will be your ‘chovesh’.”
She then hugged me, asked if it hurt, and said “Don’t worry it will be all right. Oh, you poor thing….”

GEE, she has the script down pat!

No Taxi, Please!

For the last month and a half I have been having pain in my left leg whenever I go aerobic walking. This has definitely impacted my speed, which has concerned me.
Tuesday morning I had several errands to run, and while I got all of my 10,000 steps in, the aerobic ones where not as speedy as I would have liked. I even started seriously considering going to an orthopedist. (I have already shlepped to a vein doctor, and he said that THEY were not the cause.)
Then this afternoon I had to walk over to Ricki’s afternoon program, in order to escort her to her weekly exercise class. I considered taking a taxi there (as I HAD my 10,000 steps already), but in the end decided to walk, especially because I had JUST enough time to make it by foot.
Suddenly, half-way there I realized that not only was I going at a VERY good clip, but also that it didn’t hurt! YEA! (……And to think that I almost took a taxi…..)

“What’s THIS ???”

Ricki looked at the tasks-to-do list I had written for her, and pointed to a word.
-“What’s THIS ??”
Yes, again I had misspelled a Hebrew word, and Ricki caught my mistake.GRIN.
(See also HERE and HERE for similar – but more expanded - stories.)

Monday, October 24, 2011


Ricki, on shabbas, was looking for treats. [I usually don’t buy snacks for shabbas; cake is enough extra. BUT with my grandkids coming, I had purchased a few “goodies” to distribute.]
The closet from the porch off the kitchen had been temporarily displaced to the salon, in order not to be crowded into the sukkah (a booth for the festival of Tabernacles). Ricki was searching the closet top, and not finding the contraband, pushed the basket she was searching vigorously back to the top of the closet. She pushed so hard that it knocked over the second basket located there, laden with a few cooking pans. And all this fell on my head as I was sitting on a chair reading next to the closet……
I gave a surprised yelp, clutching the top of my head. Luckily my head scarf had absorbed some of the impact, and nothing beyond a few moments of pain occurred. Ricki however was in absolute shock at what she had done, albeit inadvertently, and was hugging me in sympathy. But then , after a minute, I started laughing. It really was funny, and certainly not done on purpose. Ricki, who had undoubtedly been sure that she would be scolded for her carelessness, looked even more stunned by my laughter than by the accident. So I purposely laughed a bit longer, till she loosed up enough to join in…..

For The Record

After the earthquake in Haiti, Israeli rescue teams were the first toi set up a hospital Israel has excellent rescue teams. And, despite our on-going problems with Turkey, Israel immediately offered aid. Shame on the Turks for refusing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not Knowing Does Not Necessarily Equal Not Caring

My older sons are what people would call “ultra-Orthodox”. My oldest son does not listen to the radio, and hears news only through hearsay. In many orthodox neighborhoods this is true.
So on Wednesday I went to the grocery, and a cashier there was being sure that the news of Gilad’s release got out. I was a bit shocked at how people really didn’t know. I expected it to travel the grapevine faster. Perhaps, I reasoned, since it was the Sukkoth holiday, and people are not at work and not in Kollel (study halls), there was less opportunity for them to hear.
Then on Friday, when my eldest son arrived to spend the weekend, I casually mentioned “You DID hear that Gilad Shalit was released…”
“REALLY! THANK G-D!!! You know, I’ve been praying for his safe release daily….”

So my ascetic son hadn’t heard the news. But that didn’t mean that he didn’t care…..

So Glad You're Home....

Go HERE for a nice video on the release of Gilad Shalit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Captive Bucket

Yesterday morning I asked Ricki to bring me an empty bucket and a mop, so that I could clean the kitchen floor. She point-blank refused, so I fetched it. Than I informed my daughter that since she wasn’t helping, nor cleaning up a mess of papers she had made, she would get no computer time. As I was getting the bucket, and she realized that a punishment would ensue (mind you, I HAD asked her three times to no avail), she offered to get the bucket.
“No”, I answered as I passed her room, “you are too late.”
A few moments later she grabbed the bucket, apparently hoping to “deliver” it and have the punishment rescinded. I felt that she needs to learn that waiting till a punishment is given is TOO LATE. For several minutes she held the bucket “captive”, until I threatened a further punishment. SHEESH. But I DID think that it was a pretty imaginative ploy…..

Evil In Philly

I would like to say that I am shocked by the news emerging from Philadelphia about 4 adults with mental disability being held captive there. Apparently they were held in order to get their social security payments. The news mentions that maybe 50 other victims are involved. If this is assumed because papers were found from these other people, we may unfortunately (very likely) discover that at least some, or all, were murdered.
Unfortunately, this news does not shock me; if sometimes “normal” people are murdered for their social security checks; than it is easy to realize that the danger for adults with mental disability is even higher.
This type of story is what my nightmares are made of……
Again, we must teach our children with disabilities NOT to trust. To realize that someone who smiles at you can also be dangerous. NOT easy…..

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Post Worth Reading

Over at "A Soldier's Mother", she has a post which echos word for word what I feel today. There is also a nice clip (video) of Gilad Shalit's release.

Gilad is home!

Is there anyone is Israel with dry eyes today? How good to see the photo of Gilad talking with his parents, finally with glasses (which Hamas wouldn't allow him) and SMILING.
Today, despite the TERRIBLE price we paid (in the knowledge that certainly there will be future terror attacks carried out by those terrorists who where released), I am proud to be an Israeli, a country that values each and every soldier, and which never gives up hope.

Glued to the Radio, Waiting...

The Israeli radio should take super-bowl prices for any advertizing this morning. The entire country is glued to the radio (or TV), waiting with bated breath to hear that Gilad Shalit is in Israeli hands, and alive and well. Even those who disagreed with the uneven agreement want Gilad to arrive safely.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The World Ignores; We Are “Sweet and Sour”

In the International news I see NO mention of the drama which is gripping Israel this week: the expected return of Gilad Shalit (held in captivity by hamas for over 5 years) on Tuesday. For every Israeli, no matter what their political stripe, the hope that Gilad’s parents will soon see their son, and that he will be free, is very sweet indeed. Because we all know (especially those with sons serving in the army), that “There but for the grace of G-d, goes I”.
But unfortunately, this deal is VERY sour as well. Over a thousand terrorists are due to be released from Israeli jails in exchange for Gilad. The pain of their victims’ families is also ours. In addition, the fear—no, the CERTAINTY, that these released animals (apologies to the animal world) will in large part return to terror, the knowledge that this exchange increases the chances of further kidnappings, makes all thoughts of CELEBRATING Gilad’s release too hard.
I would love to CELEBRATE. But I can’t. I do not blame Gilad, nor his parents. Gilad, I pray, will go on and have a happy life, if his captivity has not traumatized him too much for that. But if we as a country hope to go on and have a happy life, the time has come to end this madness of making kidnapping Israelis so valuable. The time has come for a change. We need to stop giving college degrees to the terrorists in our jails, but instead to start giving the death penalty to those who wantonly murder our citizens.
And I ask, why does this human drama not make the news, but Turkey’s talk of reprisals against the soldiers who boarded their ship does? Simple. Israeli captives are not news. The hamas’s ignoring of the Red Cross is not news-worthy. It does not fit in with the Israel-as-evil-occupier script.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Drawing the Line

I prefer that Ricki, on leaving the house in the morning, should be clean, neat, and dressed tastefully. In addition, she needs to wear clothing that is acceptable in our community in relation to tnius (modest dress).
However, sometimews I grant her a bit of leaveway, letting her wear outfits that I don’t especially like, but which are “passable”.
HOWEVER, sometimes I have to draw a line, balancing her need to learn appropriate dress and her need to be as independent as she can. Yesterday morning was a case in point. She had choosen to wear two blouses, one on top of an utterly unrelated and unneeded blouse, both of stretch material. These blouses are a bit tight, ie they look great under a vest, but are absolutely horrendously horrible by them selves. Worn alone, they show every curve and every pound. I told Ricki in no uncertain terms that she had to remove the extra blouse, and add a vest, OR choose a different type of (looser) blouse. She refused, and trounced out of the house., So I waited until I could see her (from the window) exiting the building, and called to her that if she didn’t return home to change I would go to her school and “tattle” on her to her teacher. No arguing, just a statement of fact. Thank G-d, it worked (saving me a trip to the school and saving her from stares in the street), and she acquiesced, returning home to change. As she went out the door a second time, she reaped a few extra kisses and a hug.

PS An easy fast to all those fasting tonight and tomarrow (Yom Kippur)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Special Exposure Wednesday (Even though it's Thursday....)

This is Ricki in a photo from a family trip this summer (for more on the trip, see HERE).
(You will find more of "Special Eposure Wednesday" HERE.)

Interesting (?) Sidenotes on myself.

1) Growing up I toyed with the idea of a profession: oceanographer (I still love the ocean today and I used to scuba dive)/ doctor (But I didn't have the grades for this)/ librarian/ stunt pilot. Eventually I became a nurse....
2) I love purple food: beets with horseradish/ beets/ red cabbage
3) During college, I ran around with a bunch of drug-users, even though I was "clean". Once when at a music concert, someone new to the group saw that I was happy, and asked the leader of the group "What is SHE on?" Answer: "Oh, Rickismom? She gets high on life....", True. On life and also climbing in the Rockies.
4) I liked the Beatles, but also Ian and Sylvia/ Renaissance dances/ Swan Lake and Sherazad /blues. Today I listen to a very wide range of music.
5) A big part of my growing up was during the years of the civil right movement. My parents were politically conservative, yet very pro civil rights. My Dad bucked the norm when as head of the chemistry department; he hired a non-white teacher who he felt was the best candidate for the job. We sat at the “black” soda fountain (see HERE).
Therefore it should not surprise you that my first husband was black ( an Ethiopian Jew).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Repentance? REGRET?

Gee, I guess that even Ricki is getting into the mood for the-soon-to-be-upon-us Yom Kippur. (Yom Kipper is a day when we confess our sins and try to make amends.) She had carelessly gotten some tipex (typo white-out paint) on the tablecloth in the living room and she went ON HER OWN INITIATIVE to get a brush to clean it up. And she worked hard, until every last trace was gone.
Now THAT is definite progress!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Conversation

Ricki reported this conversation to me this evening. She and a friend in the after-school program were conversing:
FRIEND: You have to bring the money for the trip tomorrow.
RICKI: NO I DON’T! Don’t you understand?!? I am not going because I threw my mom’s jewelry out the window!

So that DEFINITELY shows that she understood. Later she told me that “next time” she won’t throw my stuff out the window, because she DOES want to go on the next trip…
I am just left wondering if she is including in her self-ban getting into my closet as well…..

Monday, October 3, 2011


We have the results from Ricki’s sleep study of a few weeks ago: definitely NOT good ones! She has an oxygen saturation level blow 90 for 18% of the night, including as far down as 78%. Tonight our ear doctor rechecked her: there are no further surgical options beyond her initial surgery (adenoids removed in 2001), so it looks like we will soon be purchasing a CPAP machine…..

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ricki’s Fallout

Ricki’s “fallout” for the holiday was what she let fall out of our window, and the repercussions that incurred.
Last week I saw a GORGEOUS pair of earrings in a store near where my married daughter works. I hesitated to purchase them, however, as they are definitely a bit (OK, a lot) on the long side, much longer than what I am used to wearing.
Arriving home, I regretted not buying them, and asked my daughter to pop in to the store and get them for me. She did, and she handed me the small bag with the earrings (luckily NOT expensive ones) just as the holiday started Wednesday afternoon. Since I have real jewelry (ie, expensive stuff)* for Shabbat and holiday wear, I quickly stashed the tiny bag with the earrings into my closet.
Lo and behold, this morning I realized that they were gone. First I ransacked Ricki’s schoolbag and jewelry box, and not finding the contraband, I demanded from her to inform me of the jewelry’s whereabouts.
“I threw it out the window.”
Apparently, she was near the window, and as someone entered the salon, she was afraid of being caught red-handed, so she simply pitched the stolen goods out the window. I searched downstairs for the glossy strands, but found only one of the pair. The other was long gone….

Now this type of thing has happened more than once. But today there was a difference. Ricki had MONEY in her school bag. Her afternoon program is traveling to Jerusalem one day in the middle of this week, and I had given Ricki 40 shekels to pay for the trip. I informed Ricki that she would return the money to me, in order to pay for the stolen earrings. As a result she would thereby need to forgo going on this trip with her friends. I hate to do it to her…. But I love her so much that I simply CAN’T not do it. She will needs to learn that taking and losing the objects of others will simply not be tolerated.

*(which , by the way, I keep WELL HIDDEN from Ricki)

Holiday Fallout

I blew my diet moderately over the three day weekend… least only moderately. I didn’t walk that much either. Not such an auspicious start to the new (Jewish) year, is it? But I DO feel that a REAL weight loss plan includes a few MILD breaks here and there (like on holidays)….because, GOSH, you have to be NORMAL. The important thing is to keep the breaks MILD, and SHORT. I worked very hard not to gorge on the days leading up to the holidays (and believe me, it is hard not to sample …and sample again… when you are in the kitchen 2 days straight cooking…..), and while I could have easily eaten less over the holiday, I didn’t do too bad. (It goes without saying that even my overindulgences are a fraction of what I USED to eat on holidays……) I’ll see tomarrow how much extra “baggage” I brought into the New Year. (And any that there may be, I fully intend to take off PRONTO! The reason for this post is to keep me honest and not let me ignore any slip-ups.

PS: Went and weighed myself early- gained about a kilo. Let's see how fast I can loose it! In the meantime, I sat down today and made a calorie-plan to hopefully keep me VERY good through the upcoming holidays in two weeks.