Monday, March 24, 2014

Purim Soup

Did Purim just fly by and someone forgot to tell me? Is it really just a few short weeks from Pesach? How is this happening? For weeks my house looked like this, as the windstorm of Purim flew in.
Now the table is cleaning and the Pesach scrubbing will begin.
What I dont understand is last year both Purim and Pesach were earlier in the year, but the whirlwind feeling I'm having this year , I did not have last year. Why is that?
Is it becasue I decided to make Rozie's complete costume from scratch this year? Ok I didn't knit the tights I bought those, and the shoes.
She realy wanted to be a Kallah ( bride) this year, along with all the little girls in her class. But she was very specific about her costume, especially the veil. She did not want it touching her eyes. Once I realized I was going with a retro style veil, to accomadite her no eye touching request, the costume took on a new level from there. I think this is my favorite costume yet.
Ironically Dovie wanted to be a CIA agent. Boys costumes are never as fun, for me at least. They always want to be some form of law enforcement. What is with that anyways?

This year for our Shalach Manos I wanted to go with something easy and healthy. Every year I end up baking and gathering tons of junk. I wanted to give an actual meal, so I went with soup and a homemade dinner roll. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

I was seriously up to my eyes in soup. It was everywhere. For days my house smelled like the strongest soup know to mankind. I was scrubbing soup out of my pores. It was a soup nightmare. I honesty can not look at or even think about soup ever again. Next year I'm buying a case of wine and chocolate bars. I'll wrap them up with ribbon and be done. Yah right.
But its all over now and Pesach is on my mind. I probably will even make soup again. When did life become such a quick ride. I really wish it would slow down.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Yesterday I was running into my local grocery store with Rozie. I had about 15min to get what I needed and be out the door on time to pick up Dovie from school. I was trying to convince Rozie to sit in the cart (which never happens), because it would help us get through the store quicker. As I was wheeling and dealing with Rozie, I heard a voice. "Can you tell me where I am?" "Please just tell me where you dropped me." "Sir, please!" I looked up and saw a women who was visually impaired standing next to a cab begging the driver for help. The cab driver had simply dropped her off on a curb and drove away without a word. I watched the entire situation out of the corner of my eye, and now this women was aimlessly trying to orient herself with her cane. It was 100% obvious that this women needed help, but I had zero time to do it. I needed chicken for dinner, I had carpool, and I was also currently engaged in a battle of the wits with my favorite toddler teen. I assumed she would be OK because she wouldn't have gone out without help if she couldn't get around properly, right? I also assumed someone else would help her. I wasn't the only person to witness this scene. I finally convinced Rozie into the cart with a promise of a chocolate bar from the heavens, and looked back one more time. She was still trying to orient herself. So on this day where my time was short, and my Rozie was in full diva mode, I realized that this one was on me. I turned my cart around and went up to the lady. "Do you need help, I saw what just happened?" I said. "Oh please, thank you so much I'm not sure where I am." she said. I explained in detail where she was and where exactly the driver dropped her, and we both agreed the driver was so rude. She asked if I could help her in the store, and I did. We got what she needed, and she was an enjoyable person who had some great things to say. I still had to pick up my Dovie, the chicken we can do without. I explained this to this really nice woman, and she was very understanding. I told her I would take her to the checkout and there I would find someone else to help her. Unfortunately I asked person after person, and nobody was willing to help. I was stuck, so I asked her what we should do? She told me if I oriented her she would be fine. So I did and I left her to her own devices with a rock in my stomach.
 When I got in my car I realized that this situation hit me harder than I thought. What I witnessed was a woman with different abilities being treated badly. She needed more than the average cab fare, and that was too much for that driver to give. She needed more than the average costumer, and that was too much for anyone to take on. It was too much for the driver to say you are in front of Bank of America facing north, and too much for another person to walk her the 5 min to her next location. It hit me that this could be my Rozie. That one day many years down the road my Rozie may need "too much" as an adult. She may ask for directions to be given in greater detail. She may need help understanding prices in the market, and I will not always be there to help her. That simple fear paralyzes me. The fear that my sweet little girl may need "too much" in the future. 
Its a hard drink to swallow, and this day was a hard reality check for me. It was also a reality that before I had my Rozie I may not have even noticed this woman and her dilemma, and truth be told I may not have even cared. I know that is horrible, but how many of you would give up shopping for that nights dinner to help someone else. How many of you would feed your kids PB&J that night because helping someone else was more important than chicken and rice. Before Rozie I don't think I would have. This is the "me" society we live in.
 I thank Hashem everyday for giving us this little girl of ours. Not because she is a perfect angel, trust me she is far from. Not because she is "happy all the time" like all people with Down syndrome are suppose to be, again far from. Not because I believe she is so special, and we are special parents to receive her. Simply because she has helped me be a better mother and a better person. Having her has made me step outside my "me" box and move on to greater things, like helping someone else in need.
Besides PB&J for dinner always is eaten with bells on in our house.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Busy Bee

I've been very busy in these parts, and that is how I like it. Together with a fried we have put together this amazing event, so if you are local you must come....

 If not we will wish you were there. What are your Purim plans, anything exciting???

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snow Swing

We are literally snowed in, with more coming tonight. Its pushing my snow limits which are actually zero to start with. The first snow is always exciting, but we are far from that, and the excitement is long over.
And when the going gets tough just pretend its a warm spring day.
Did we fool you? Did it feel like spring was in the air with the sounds of kids playing on the swing set? Ya we weren't fooled either, but snow swinging is kinda cool.
 Stay warm my friends!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Our Inclusion


Sometimes I stalk Rozie a little bit at school. I know it’s crazy mom behavior, but I can’t help it. I'm not worried; I love her school and teachers. I just want to see “school” Rozie. I think it is almost like I need to see it to believe it.

I need to see her thriving and doing everything the books said she wouldn't do. I also like to stalk my other kids but not quite the same way I bother Rozie. You have to imagine that if your child was born with preconceived notions and lowered expectations about her future, you too would worry about them a little above the norm. I personally ease the worry and fear, with some good old fashion helicopter mom style stalking. Don't judge.

Today I slipped into her class and she was in circle time with her peers. One little girl was in the middle of the circle having a mini moment. She had a sad face and her head tipped against her shoulder, we also know this look and stance, but this time it wasn't Rozie. The little girl finally reveled that her upset was because SHE wanted to sit next to Rozie. I could have walked out right that minute and had been good for the rest of the day, the week even. 

This is what inclusion is all about. It’s not about teaching others to be more understanding (mind you that is an amazing side benefit). It is also not all about what Rozie could learn from being around her “typically” developing peers. There is that added bonus and she does learn from her peers, but again that is not what its all about. For us inclusion is about a little girl wanting to sit next to her friend Rozie. She doesn't see Rozie as someone who is different. She doesn’t see Down syndrome. What she sees is her friend that she wants to sit next to.
In class the girls are treated the same. Rozie’s teachers have the same expectations for Rozie as her peers, and she is given the same respect. When accommodations are needed, they do it in a way that would never make Rozie feel like an outcast in front of her peers. Her friends see this and think of Rozie as their friend, the one they want play dates with, the one they want to sit next to. This is what I consider successful inclusion. It is successful because we work as a team. The teachers, the principal, and myself work to find ways to make Rozie succeed in this environment. Today I got to witness all our hard work pay off. All the hard work came together with one little girl’s simple word " I want to sit next to Rozie."

 I worry about Rozie's future. Will this continue? What about in elementary school when the academic expectations are higher? But I can't spend my days dwelling on her future and what it will and will not be. All I can do now is slip in her class everyone once in awhile. I can watch her draw triangles, or point out the letter her name starts with. I can see her smiling and playing with her friends and I can go home knowing that my daughter has simply been included. 

May we all merit the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days. Where words like inclusion and acceptance will no longer need to be used. We will see the light of every neshama and value everyone for their true being. 

This post was written in honor of Yachad's North American Jewish Inclusion Month. More information here