Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ain't Nothin' like a hug at the supermarket

The Stop & Shops near us all have a lot of people with Down syndrome and some other disabilities working there. At the store we usually go to, there is a fellow named O. Sometimes when I say hi to O, he says "I don't know you, ma'am." (you can just hear his mom coaching him on strangers!). However, Thursday, when Sofia and were there, O came over and gave me a BIG HUG. It was wonderful. He started telling me about a friend who had died, and how his job is pretty easy but fun.

Thursday night was the Celebrate Israel event in our area, so I took the kids (R and I stayed with them on the playground a long time, then we did a BJ's run). There was Israeli and line-dancing, and Micah and Sofia were dancing like crazy. Sofia really loves to dance. We were playing with my neighbor's daughter, who is about to turn 2, and Sofia kept going to my neighbor while S kept asking for me.

Friday, I ran another dinner at shul, and this time I had over 90 people! It was really great. I've finally got it to be easy; the caterer cooks everything, so I all I have to do it put the pans back in the oven during services and then set up and serve. We hold the service in the Social Hall also rather than the Sanctuary, and Micah (along with Murray the Moose, who is visiting us from Kindergarten this week) sat right between the Rabbi and the Cantor for the entire service. Sofia sat on the floor with our neighbor S (yes, we got to spend 2 evenings with them), and followed every move the Rabbi made. When he stood up to make an announcement, she stood up and tried to get everyone else to stand also.

This morning we went back to shul. Sofia was good in babysitting, and the boys both went to the big-kid service in the chapel. I helped in babysitting a bit, because the sitter was alone (supposed to be 2, but the other didn't show), and some of the bat mitzvah guest kids were very badly behaved.

It was a day for bad behavior. This afternoon, while David took Sam climbing at REI, Micah had his long-anticipated playdate with N. N is 3 years older than Micah, but otherwise they get along great. Unfortunately, N is NOT a very well-behaved boy. I had already explained to the mom that we no longer use computer or TV or Nintendo on Shabbat, but the boys have both been wanting to show each other things on their NIntento DS. So I said I would allow them to use it for just a few minutes, to show, but that during a playdate and on Shabbat, we would not have a long session on the DS.

Well, when N arrived, his dad was carrying the Nintendo, and the boys wanted to immediately look. I said they could have 5 minutes. N started whining that this was too mean, but they went upstairs. After a few minutes, I yelled up a 2 minute warning, and I heard N tell Micah something about "She's mean, that's not enough time!"

They argued with me at the 5 minute point (which was really more like 10) but eventually they both shut down the systems (actually, N would not shut down, only close it, and had to yell at me that he would lose data if he shut down).

So then they played a bit, but whined a lot that this was boring. I sent them outside (I was exhausted, and Sofia was starting to drag, too). They played skateboards for a little while, but then the real whining came when they wanted to go back on the Nintendo again. I said no, but there was a lot of "that's not fair" and "why do you have to observe Shabbat anyway?" (this from a kid in day school!) and rejection of all my other suggestions as "boring". When I offered to take them for a bike ride, the kid said he could ONLY ride his own bike and not borrow Sam's.

At that point, I'd had it, so I told them to get in the car. Now, to be fair, my Micah had actually decided that a bike ride would be fun. Although he'd been whining about "please can we use the Nintendo", he was not disrespectful. The other kid was. So I put Micah's bike in the car and we took N home. He yelled at me a bit, and when I explained that his behavior was unacceptable, he quieted down. I did offer to stop at a playground on the way, but N was having none of that.

When we got to their house, he got out and ran into the house. The father apologized rather weakly. Back in the car, I talked to Micah about his friend's behavior. He understood that N was behaving very disrespectully, and that he himself was NEVER allowed to behave like that, to me or to any other grown-up.

Since Sofia by this time was sound asleep, I ended up having a nice time with Micah. We drove a bit, and stopped at a farm for some ice cream. As he sat on my lap eating his ice cream, Micah said "It's important to make your friends happy, but it's more important to make your Mom happy."