Thursday, July 31, 2008

In Memory Of Jody W.

Jody passed away Tuesday after a long fight against ovarian cancer. The funeral was yesterday.

I met Jody when I sang in Zamir. She was a very unique person - perfect pitch, exacting sense of detail, defend of justice. The funeral was one of the most beautiful I have ever had to attend.

Because Jody knew that the end was near, she was able to plan her own service, and she would have been very pleased with the result. The service was held at Temple Beth Shaom in Framingham, where our friend S is the cantor. He spoke first to introduce the service. Then we, present and past members of Zamir Chorale of Boston, sang two pieces:

"Enosh" by Louis Lewandowski (Psalm 103: 15-17)
(English Translation from www.mechon-mamre.org)
As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof knoweth it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him,
and His righteousness unto children's children;


and "Adoni Ro'i Lo Echsar" by Gerald Cohen (Psalm 23..."The Lord is my Shepherd"...)

After we sang, first Jody's husband, and then her brother, spoke. Then two friends, one briefly and emotionally, and one for longer and very very thoughtful and beautiful. Then two women from choir shared thoughts together. The choir director chanted the Hebrew from Lamentations, and Scott followed with the English translation and his own comments, followed by the Memorial prayer.

Then came the car procession to the cometary, where the local Chabad Rabbi took over, for another moving (and hot!) service. It was a long afternoon, but a beautiful celebration of a special person.

Of course funerals always make me think about mortality and death and mourning rituals. On the T21 board, whenever someone suffers a loss, the other folks on the board come together in many beautiful ways to offer their support and sympathy. Many of the "customs" that have been developed on the board are not at all like Jewish customs (for example, for a non-Jewish funeral, we send cut tulips, reminder of the "Welcome to Holland" story so central to the modern experience with DS; at a Jewish funeral it would be very bad to display cut flowers, which are supposed to be for happy occasions instead).

On a happier note, last night I got to go out with my husband, to celebrate our "anniversary" of when we first met, 12 years ago. He is the one who keeps track of that, he's very romantic that way. We had sushi, and then spent an hour in the bookstore. We both believe we could live in a bookstore, given the chance...

My best friend from college, R, is coming up today for a few days visit. Yeah!

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Me-anderings

First, Happy Birthday to Amy F. at The Flege Farm. And welcome to the blog-sphere, my friend Tracy at The Keirnan Clan. Tracy and I know each other in a very odd way - her husband was a dear friend of mine all through junior high and high school. I used to hang out with him and his sisters all the time. Turns out, their third daughter also shares that little "something extra" with Sofia!

Sofia had her second swim lesson this morning, and loved it again. She jumped right in without any fear whatsoever. I am really glad I opted for a private lesson. There is no way she would wait patiently for her turn with two other kids in the class.

She fell asleep on the way home (we were going to have a snack before picking up Sam), so I got to work on the bike seat some more. Picked up Sam, put Sofia in her bed, and finally got the whole bike seat put together. It's a Bell Cocoon Child Carrier. It is supposed to detach easily, and cost about half of the standard seats. Pain in the butt to install, but once it's on, it looks like it'll be fine.

As I was watching Sofia at her swim lesson and yesterday at the Gymboree party - I got to thinking about "normal" and "typical". When Sofia says or signs one word to me, it encompasses such a huge mental conversation, that I just take it for granted that she is fully speaking to me. I forget totally that other kids her age or younger can say several words at a time. I forget that she is anything other than "typical". She is totally typical...for Sofia. She communicates clearly (watching her swim was fun, because she likes to issue commands to the teacher, who generally had no problem understanding). She makes her demands understood. She is as "three" as she can be. So what if she's shorter than most three year olds and uses fewer words. She's simply Sofia - perfect, as far as I am concerned.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

End of weekend

Whew. I'm tired! It's been a fuzzy sort of week. Let's see...

I had Jury Duty on Thursday morning, but first...David woke up barfing (something he ate didn't agree with him). So I had to do the whole morning routine with the kids before I could get out of the house. It was monsooning, but I still managed to get to Newton fairly early. They tell you to be there at 8:30 - but they didn't even open the door until 8:25, and it was really raining! Yikes.

There were only 18 of us (3 no-shows). We waited a few hours, at at about 10:30 the judge came in. We were dismissed, but he talked to us for about half an hour about the importance of jury duty. He was great.

So I got a "vacation day", and went to the maill for a bit. Got a manicure and pedicure (I don't usually go to the mall for that, but I wanted indoor parking), and walked around a bit.

Came home, did some tinkering on my bike (as long as my babysitter was still there). I think I have ADD. I can't focus on anything for long!

Friday was beautiful weather. I hung out with Sofia at home in the morning, cleaning in preparation for the cleaning ladies, and after we picked up Sam, we went to the pool. I was there 5 hours. My friend N and her kids joined us.

Sofia LOVES the water. The girl has no fear, and is already starting to kick and tries to blow bubbles. In the kiddie pool, she floats around on her belly with a noodle. At pone point, she did a face-dive right into the kiddie pool, came up laughing.

David picked up Sam around 3:30 to take him out to the Berkshires to meet his father. Sam got to spend the weekend with his grandfather. I gave the little ones an early dinner, and the three of us passed out on Micah's bed before David got home.

Saturday, Micah work up impossibly early to play on the computer. We went to shul; Sofia was doing great in babysitting, but then she fell and was crying and needed some Mommy time.

She fell asleep in the car on the way home, and David passed out shortly thereafter. Micah and I took a bike ride (FINALLY - my first ride on my new bike!), and then we woke up David so we could clean out the garage. Got rid of lots of carboard, and David has PROMISED to take away the ancient car-seats, the twenty-year old double-stroller (was a hand-me-down when Micah was born) and the busted sewing machine. I took pictures of all the extra bikes and some toys, and posted on Craig's List.

We went over to another friend's apartment to swim in her pool a bit, and went to dinner with D&E and their girls. Different dynamic without Sam, much more peaceful!

Today, David was grumpy and morose, so he got in a fight with Micah. I took Micah with me - Sofia got to go to her first birthday party! It was at a Gymboree, and she just loved it. Micah is friends with the girl's older brother, so he had a blast, too.

After the party, we did a quick grocery stop, and then both kids fell asleep in the car. It was cute, they were sitting next to each other, and in the exact same position. I drove around for a while, and then I was going to take a nap with them in the driveway, but Micah woke up. So I transferred Sofia to her bed, Micah played more computer, and I passed out.

Micah woke me just in time to transfer Sofia back to the car and take him to the 2nd birthday party. This was a combined party - his friend T and the sister of the girl from this morning's party! David met us there, 'cause Sam was invited too.

I took Sofia to Starbucks and bought the toddler-carrier for my bike. Then met the boys, and came home. Micah passed out before I even got dinner done. Sam was bouncing off the walls, so David let him watch "Robots" before going to sleep. I posted all the pictures from my dad's party.

David just asked me "what 'cha writing? Anything good?" I said "no". He thinks that's funny. He's a boy.

Seriously, I do think I have A.D.D. It's impossible for me to concentrate...unless I'm playing Mahjong on my iPhone...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fabulous News

I just got an email from Sofia's cardiologist:

The echo did look good. There is a small communication at the level of the atrial septum and a small patent ductus arteriosus. The heart function was normal. She does not need any intervention for these findings. We should see her in 2 years

Woo-hoo! Two whole years! Hooray!

They will forward a copy of the echo to my sister (who is also a cardiologist, and wants to take a look). That is just so great!

In other news, see what we did yesterday:



Yup, La Principessa got a very funky haircut (or, as Micah said rather angrily this morning, "Mom, that's E's haircut!"). Sam and I also got cuts; Micah has to wait until he's done with camp.

Less happy was a small conversation with Sofia's teacher yesterday. Nothing bad, mostly that Sofia had a great day (as usual) and was "talking" alot. But then the teacher leaned down and said "Sofia, show MOmmy the new word I taught you today."

"Cow"

Yup, "cow". Like she's been saying and signing for well over a year. That's the NEW word!

Teacher proceeded to claim responsibility for just teaching her "green".

I somewhat pushy-parently instructed my darling daughter to show ALL the colors she knows (and has known for some time), along with a few other animals in her vast repertoire.

Sigh. Summer school. Different personnel.

(Sofia just stole my phone, and it "talking" to someone on it now...)


Last night, David and I went out for sushi with old friends. It was yummy (and I got just a wee bit tipsy - something about mixing a blueberry martini with 3 shots of sake AND a migraine pill...)

This morning, the guy from the art gallery FINALLY brought over and hung our two new paintings. Whew. I am amazed we found places to make them fit; they are large and my walls are not.

Yesterday, I bought a bike!!!!!! Soo exciting. I've been riding the same Trek Jazz Voltage for almost 20 years. Last time I tried to get it tuned up, they said it would cost more to tune it than to buy a new one.

So I got a Diamondback Wildwood Comfort Bike. Nice upright ride, not meant for much other than cruising around with my kids, which is all I can do anymore anyway.

Unfortunately it's raining all week, so I haven't gotten to use it yet. I took Sam's bike in for it's 30 day tune-up today, will pick up this afternoon.

Miss Sofia has not had a nap yet, and she keeps growling at me. Hmmm. Maybe I should go for a drive...

Oh, I remember the other thing I wanted to comment on. My friend J forwarded me this blog entry from Greek Tragedy. Take a look and then come back...

Ok, what do you think? I tend to agree with those moms she quizzed; we do have a responsibility to take possession of the language that describes our children. My daughter IS "mentally retarded", but to call her "a retard" is (aside from grammatically questionable) just plain mean. It's like "the N word", and the arguement that, although the general population is not allowed to use it, those whose skin is darker can use is, as long as it is with humor. I just don't think it's funny. Ever. So why use it?

Yes, I admit that sometimes I see a situation and I think to myself "that is just so retarded." However, 1) I do not voice that out loud, and 2) I find myself with that word in my mind when it is grammatically appropriate - "this situation is so much slower than it should be, not quite up to a typical level of functioning."

So what do you all think?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Whew, it's Monday!

First, I've gotta share the latest article by Beverley Beckham.

Ok, now dry your eyes, and say thank you once again for all the wonderful people we've met during this journey.

Now, onward to photos from the weekend. First, the summary - Sunday's get-together with David's cousin and some close family friends was lovely and relaxing. We didn't get home until after midnight, so both boys skipped camp today (OH MY but they WILL go tomorrow!). Sofia had her first swim lesson this morning, and just loved it. We will go every Monday for the summer.

So now I'm home, and downloading the photos from the party. Kids are vegging and watching TV or videos. We should go to the pool again, or should take naps...

Argh. Photobucket is apparently having some difficulty tlaking to my pictures, so I'll post again later.

****

Oh, I exceeded my monthly bandwidth limit...

So I took a break to talk to my girlfriends on the phone (three of them all pick up their kids at the shul bus stop from camp, so they called me). Then Sofia threw up on me (she was sitting on my belly while I was laying down talking on the phone...Pizza and an ice pop do not mix!). Then I made a video, so let's see if I can post this now:

video

(My cousin Jenny's daughter, Lily Iris, is only 4 days older than Lilie! My nieces, Hannah & Julia, are 6 weeks older than Sammy).

And here's a short one from Sunday's get-together. It was my gang, Laura & Lilie, my in-laws (yes, they came!), Great-Grandma Ruth, Heather and Peter and their boys Alex & Ian, and family friends Stacey & Hilary, with Stacey's girls Hannah & Ava. Kid ages:
- Hannah is six weeks older than Sofia
- Ava is 4 months older than Ian
- Ian is 2 weeks older than Lilie
- Alex just turned 5 in April

video

Can you tell I like to hold babies?!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Good Echo, Great Party

Sofia's echo went fine. David did come with me, which was good, since he can actually understand what he sees on the screen. We dropped the boys off at their respective rides, and got to the hostpital about half and hour early. We eventually got in, and they gave Sofia the chlorylhydrate around 11:20. She was asleep by noon.

They got great pictures. We have not yet spoken with her cardiologist, but according to the attending and the fellow who were doing the scan, the ASD is teeny-tiny, and there's one hole that, although a fairly large hole, is competely covered with tissue. We are not sure what that means for the long term, but for now that is great.

She was floppy-exhausted all the rest of the day. We raced home, dropped David off, raced back to the shopping area to get Dad's birthday present and find the cookies my mom insisted I bring to the party. Micah's bus was half an hour late to arrive, so we didn't get home until after 5:30. We were supposed to go to shul for dinner and I was part of a group leading services, but I cancelled us. We were all too exhausted.

Saturday, Sam went to our neighbor's birthday party and we packed up the car. Picked him up and drove down to my sister's house for my father's 70th birthday party. It was so lovely. About 75 people came. It was hot out, but shady in the back yard, so after a while we adapted to the heat. TONS of food (as you would expect from my mother). All the brisket (2 whole briskets) got eaten, and lots of everything else.

It was so nice to see the whole family. I'll post photos Monday from home (I'm at my sister's now). Today we are heading down to David's cousin's house for a family get-together, which will also be fun.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Me-anderings

Tomorrow Sofia has her sedated echo at Boston Children's Hospital. This is just routine; she hasn't had an echo in two years, and they need to see how things are going on that little ticker of hers. It's tough to do a clear echo on a toddler. I do know a few people whose kids get it done without sedation at this age, but I guess it depends on the child's activity level - and Miss Sofia is certainly ACTIVE!

So we'll drop Sam at the neighbor's house to wait for his ride (he's psyched, since it's B's birthday tomorrow and they can play together for a while before camp), then drop Micah at the bus (another mom will put him on it), and off we all go to Boston. We both have to go, because they recommend having 2 adults, so someone can watch Sofia during the drive home in case she has any breathing problems (from being too sedated).

Today I had to drop off Micah, do a quick grocery run, drop the groceries home, drive Sofia to school, drop the minivan at Toyota for its 60K checkup, take the shuttle-van home...collapse. Walk over to pick up Sofia at noon, feed her lunch, make cookies for my dad's party this weekend, try to get Sofia to go to sleep, wait for the shuttle van to pick us up, transfer Sofia (who fell asleep in the shuttle) from that van to my own without waking her up, drive back to Sherborn to meet Sam's ride, race back to the pool club to get Micah (the bus counselor kindly watched him for a while), swim, try desperately to wake a sleeping toddler (eventually I poured water on her), swim with her, bring everyone home, cook dinner (while David took all three kids for a bike ride), eat, do the bedtime routine.

Whew! Are we having fun yet?

Sam's Art

Sammy had his Art Night at camp tonight. I had a babysitter (my neighbor, home from college) babysit the little ones, got Micah a ride home from the bus, and I got to have "Mommy & Sammy Time" for a few hours. We walked around Newton Center a bit, then went to Taam China, the local Kosher Chinese restaurant. We shared a Pu Pu Platter (Sam is still disturbed by the name, but he liked the food).

We got back to the JCC early, so he was able to show me his artwork (they have all the kids' work on display for Art Night). It turns out that Sam and his friend Y were the only kids to chose PrintMaking as an elective, and they had tons of prints (all of the following close-ups are Sam's work!):



He also had a few paintings up. I was just amazed at his work. This is the third year Sam has attended this camp, an Arts & Drama camp, and his work has grown so much in those years. I was so proud!

Eventually we also got to watch his show, and I hadn't realized that Sam had a singing solo! It was "High School Musical" (in case you don't recognize it), and they had three different groups do sections of the play, so Sam was only in the first Act.



He's wearing a lab coat, 'cause he was one of the Brainiacs. It's a wee bit too long on him. And the girl is a full head taller, which made it interesting when they had to do a spin under his arm...Welcome to the next 5 years of Sam's life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News in Brief

This past weekend was the National Down Syndrome Congress annual convention in Boston. Thursday night, one of the moms posted on the T21 board that she had left her daughter's suitcase home, so I raced in Friday morning with a bag of size 6 clothing (from our hand-me-down stash). We went to Faneuil Hall with some families, walked to the Children's Museum with one family, but Sofia fell asleep, so then I went to the Trade Center for the conference.

It was soooo incredible to see everyone - both my online friends, and just the whole crowd of people of all ages with Down syndrome. All over Boston, wherever we went, we saw lots of people.

I went home around 5 - David was suposed to collect the boys, but I made dinner. Saturday we went back in, did the convention for most of the day. The boys were extremely well behaved, especially during the two sessions they sat through. I was very proud of them.

We went home at dinner time again, because David wasn't feeling well. Sunday we went back in, met a bunch of friends at the Aquarium, had lunch at FanHall, walked back (the boys went running through the sprinklers on the Greenway and got soaked!), and drove down to Sharon to swim in the lake and have dinner with more friends.

Very late nights all weekend. I was so wiped out!

David is excessively stressed with work. I am trying had to keep him from having to do stuff with the house, but he keeps thinking he needs to. Sigh.

Sam's camp show is tonight. I got a sitter for Sofia and Micah so I can concentrate on Sammy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Odd Telephone

Sofia just walked past me, holding the TV remote up to her ear like a telephone and sayig "yeah, hi, uh, hi, yeah." Hmmm, I wonder who she is talking to!



She had a slight fever this morning, so no preschool. She seems better now; she had a long nap this morning.

I went to dinner with The Girls last night, my 'posse' - all three of them have daughters in Sam's class, and we've been friends at least since kindergarten year (J and I have been friends since we were pregnant with the now 9 year olds). It was great to get together with these ladies.

Gorgeous gorgeous day today. Clear blue sky, not at all humid. I was actually able to open the windows and turn off the air conditioner! I'll take Sofia to the pool in a while, and David will pick up Sam and meet us (and Micah) there for dinner.

I'm soooo tired now. Sofia was awake very early, because she didn't feel well. And she napped in the car while we were driving to my therapy appointment, so I could not join her in the nap.

I'm looking forward to this weekend, the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention in Boston. I can't wait to meet all my on-line friends (and their kids!), and I am looking forward to seeing David and Sam and Micah have time to immerse in the DS community a bit.


***

I just reviewed my last few posts, and I owe a few updates:

Sam's anxiety/panic attacks seem to be calming down. I figure that 2 weeks with my mother is enough to give anyone anxiety attacks!

I took Sam to the guitar store on Sunday, and we brought along my guitar to compare. It turns out that MY guitar is just perfect for him. The student guitar they had on sale was way too small, and the others are too big. So instead of buying a new guitar, we bought a cool case for him, and I "gave" him my guitar. He is very happy about it, and looks so cute with the guitar case strapped to his back.

Last night at the pool, Sofia just wanted Micah to hold her in the water; she kept pushing me away. He was very good-natured about it, and enjoyed the attention.

Right now Miss Sofia is dancing along to the "Move & Groove" Signing Times DVD, singing her own "song" and waving toys in the air.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What do I do with all this STUFF?

Yes, we have way too much "stuff" in our house. My mother oh-so-kindly made a handwritten list for me:
- stuffed animals
- toys
- books for children
- towels
- covers and blankets
- pillows of all kinds
- tee shirts for boys
- things on tables and shelves all around the house
- food items in pantry
- coats and jackets for all seasons on the coatrack

(Gosh, thanks, mother).

Ok, so going under the presumption that indeed, we have "too much" of any of this (and yes, we do have too many stuffed animals and toys, but we actually use the blankets and pillows!)...how do I get rid of it?

I can go through and throw away the actual trash. But plenty of this stuff is in good shape, and I'm sure someone can get some use out of it, without just dumping it in some landfill.

I don't have the time or energy to post everything on Craig's list or eBay, much as David would like me to do that. (He'd also like me to categorize all of our credit card spending for the past year...)

Big Brother Big Sister can take clothing and toys, so I try to have bags ready whenever they call.

But really, old boxes of food? I'm talking OLD. Some of these things moved into the house with us 9.5 years ago! I'm such a pack rat, I hate throwing things in the trash.

And right now my garage and basement are both full of things "to be gotten rid of", such as a broken sewing machine, old car seats (David refuses to believe the "rule" that you shouldn't use a seat older than 5 years, so he won't let me throw them away), an ancient ancient double-stroller. Things I can't really donate, not in good conscious, but where the heck do they go?


****

Last night was Micah's camp Bunk Night. I picked up Sam early from his camp, and we actually got to Micah's camp on time (as opposed to last year, when I got hopelessly lost and we were 75 minutes late). Swam at the lake (a tasty brown color...I really don't want to think about it...), and had our picnic on the field before the bunk performance in the ampitheater.

During the picnic and show, I got to sit with a friend of mine, whose son is in Micah's bunk (they were buddies in nursery school). D's son played ball with Sofia in the lake and they both had a blast. D's daughter is also enthralled with Sofia, and D was watching Sofia's other adoring fans (we have a lot of friends from school and shul at this camp).

D had a great observation: it's not specifically that the kids are enthralled with Sofia "just because". It's because, when you pay attention to her, Sofia devotes her entire bundle of energy and enthusiasm to you, and it's that pay-back that attracts the other kids. I love thinking about it like that. D said that Sofia is so generous with her attention, it just makes the other kids feel great about themselves.

Here's a slightly sleepy Sam, after a long day at his own camp, waiting for Micah:
Photobucket

Sofia watching the Show:
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Micah singing songs:
Photobucket Photobucket

My scraggy kids:
Photobucket

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just some random musings:

This morning, on the way to take Micah to the bus, I noticed that, every so often there was a loaf of french bread on the road. Apparently a bakery truck did not have everything locked in tight. But it looked like Manna from Heaven - it's raining bread!

I made a shiva* call tonight (see below for definition/explanation). One of Micah's friend's grandmothers had passed away, and the kid's mom is my friend, too. They belong to a local Reform shul, but their rabbi is in Israel, so someone from the congregation led the service. I knew several people there. Mid-way through the service, however, the guy who was leading could not remember how a certain prayer went. Most of the group was very ...I guess "timid"...in their ability to participate in Hebrew, so he asked for someone to take over. And of course one of my friends blurted out "Francine, you do it." So I ended up leading that section.

[*Definition/Explanation: in Jewish tradition, burial occurs within 24 hours of death, and then the immediate relatives (children, siblings, spouses and/or parents) "sit shiva" in their home for 7 days. Usually there are specific calling hours, including a brief service. Non-mourners visit to comfort the mourners.]

It made me really reflect on how Jewishly literate my congregation is. The few of us who were there from TI are all regular attendees. While we still have many "beginners", we have many many people who would feel comfortable leading a service, and there is never a shiva minyan (service) without someone completely comfortable leading. It made me appreciate what we've got.

Miss Sofia starts summer camp tomorrow - yeah! A few hours to myself! I took her to the pool this afternoon, and she ran me ragged. That kid just LOVES the water.

Tomorrow is Micah's camp Family Night, so I have to pick up Sam and race to Micah's camp. Last year I got hopelessly lost, so I'd better go check the directions...

Our July 4th Weekend

We went down to Sakonnett to my friend's summer cottage on Friday. The kids had a great time. The boys and H&A spent a lot of time and energy digging a "Hermit Crab Habitat", while Sofia loves jumping waves and digging in the sand. She also decided to CLEAN the railings, the flowers, the chairs and the cars.



Saturday and Sunday were fairly relaxing. David and I were both still very jet-lagged, so we slept late Saturday, then in the late afternoon went to D&E's house. Sunday I dropped David and the little ones at the pool, and took Sam to Guitar Center. They were having a sale. I was fully ready to buy him their Yamaha Student Guitar package, but it turns out that guitar is smaller than my old one, which is in turn smaller than a full-size. So instead, we bought him a nice cloth carry case, and now he looks awesome with the guitar strapped to his back. I also bought a darbuka drum for myself!
Now all I need is a teacher!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

She just doesn't "get it"

I've been processing this one in my head for a few days, but I feel like I had best blog it now.

Among the many things my mom "discussed" with us after midnight on Monday (after 24 hours in-transit) was Sofia.

Mom: "You tell her not to do something, and she hides her face and stops, then she gets back up and does whatever she wants."

Us: "Well, yeah, she's three years old."

Mom: "No, it's not just that, it's the way she is." (my italics)

Sigh.

I told my babysitter, E, about it the next day, and she said Mom had said something similar to her last week, too (although I guess for E she used the phrase "it's because of her condition.")

And E, bless her heart, was also bothered by it, and went home to talk to her mom, a special ed teacher herself - who said "Well, yeah, she's three years old!"

So while I am very pleased at how E and her mom (and all the folks at our pediatrician's office) reacted to this story, I just can't get over being so disappointed that my mom still doesn't truly "get it". She cannot get over the fact that Sofia is "different", "special", "slow", "retarded", "disabled".

Those are all in quotes, because except for being VERY special, I don't particularly think of her with those other words.

Does she learn things just a bit slower than kids her same age? Yes.

Am I glad that my last baby is growing less rapidly? Yes - I have been able to savor each and every milestone Sofia reaches, whilst with the boys, everything passed by ain a blur.

Do I think that Sofia's extra chromosome makes her any "less" able to achieve things? NO! This kid is going to achieve anything she wants to achieve.

But once again, my wonderful little bubble was popped, or at least deflated a bit, by the ...(arg, it's a harsh word, but...) ignorance of someone important to us.


***

In other news, the kids are all making me "pay" for leaving them for 2 weeks. Sam is still having his anxiety/panic attacks - I spoke to his therapist, and we discussed some calming strategies he knows (which means we spent 45 minutes last night searching for the "happy rock"!).

I had to take Sofia to the pediatrician yesterday, because she'd popped a fever, her face was all broken out, and she kept clutching herself in pain. After two hours hanging out in the office (thank Heavens Micah was there to play hide-and-seek and jungle gym with her, and then Heavens they keep lots of empty cabinets around!), she was much better. We had tried to get a urine sample, by putting a taped bag on her, but we didn't get enough. So I was supposed to try again this morning, but she was so FINE, that I told them never mind. There's nothing like a visit to the pediatrician's office to cure whatever ails us. (Heck, since I'm there so often, the office ladies and the nurses are all friends, too, so they got to hear the story of my mom).

Micah and I had "alone" time today (E took Sofia to the playground). We went to a few music stores, investigating guitars for Sam. I may have found a reasonable acoustic, smaller than my old guitar, but it might actually be too small, so I want him to try it. I also checked into hand-percussion lessons for ME! Yup, I am suddenly struck with the yearning to learn hand-drums (tof, dombeck, djembe types). And Guitar Center is having a sale this weekend, AND they had a small metal one for about $32, so we might go back on Sunday...

I think I'll take Micah and Sofia to the pool club for a little while now. Sam won't be home from camp until about 6:00 (they are stopping for ice cream and he wants to see his friend's new puppy). We might go to the fireworks in Sharon tonight, but it might get canceled on account of wind. Tomorrow, we are off to my friend's cottage in Rhode Island for the day.


Next week, when EVERYONE is in camp (!) I will work on an extended version of my trip to Tahiti.

Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone! (For those of you out of the U.S., that's Independence Day here)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Return to Real Life

I will write a more detailed report, but to sum up:

- French Polynesia is still beautiful, despite the changes the last 10 years have brought.
- David and I "reconnected" and had a wonderful time together.
- I SLEPT hours on end for the first few days - guess I had some catching up to do!
- We rented a motor scooter on Moorea and bikes on Bora Bora, and in both cases circled the entire island (I was soooo sore after the bike ride).
- We mets lots of nice people, both locals and tourists
- I missed the kids, but not overwhelmingly so, until the last couple of days.




We got home around midnight, after a full 24 hours in transit. My mom, of course, greeted us with a list of what is wrong with our house (too much stuff) and our family (Sam apparently really knows how to manipulate the strings, and gave her a big woe-is-me about the guitar I didn't buy him).

I have to pick up Sam from camp, Micah and Sofia are home. I will try to make it though the day, but go to sleep when the kids do.

And for your reading pleasure, Beverly Beckham's latest article about her granddaughter Lucy.