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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fun times, Cute Faces

Friday, July 17, 2015

Perpetual Motion - and I don't Mean the Airplane

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fun Math: Counting Down to Vacation!

We three.
The countdown began in earnest several days ago, but now, after a lot of meaningless and annoying erasing of numbers in a gimmick designed to teach us math, we can finally see light at the end of the tunnel: We are leaving for New York City in mere days! In fact, you can almost distill it into hours. But do so at hour own risk.

Here's a lesson for parents of small children: Don't start counting too soon. For instance, 30 days, never. Eleven days, pushing the limits. Three days, perhaps. One minute, best option yet. 

See, we have zero concept of time. Seconds blend in to years and we don't even know what that means. All I am aware of is right now, the present, and what I want at this very moment. So if you get me excited about seeing GongGong and the Statue of Liberty, my excitement indicates that I expect to see them NOW! I don't know what 10 days from now means. 

Hence, you, dear parents, have caused my slide into depression since all this hype has yet to be fulfilled. You keep saying GongGong and Mimi and yet all I see is you in the morning. 

And we haven't even embarked upon 12+ hours of plane time plus excruciating hours of security lines and changing planes at the Italian airport. You are taunting me with your promises. 

The countdown was exciting. For the first few days anyway.
Time is vague. Lucas, for example, uses the word "tomorrow" to indicate yesterday, today, later today and, obviously, tomorrow. Also next week. Tomorrow is now. Tomorrow happened. Tomorrow is yet to be. It is vague. Days, even more vague.

"Sleeps," maybe that makes more sense. But still somewhat obscure.

The Empire State Building ended up looking more like the Chrysler Building. Oops.

In his excitement, Lucas built a Statue of Liberty
replica comprised of blocks and Raia's bottle
But he had to defend it vociferously from certain destruction 
Raia had a point - it was her bottle. 
Look out America! Here we come!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Best Bed Time Routine for Babies

Four little monkeys...
...launching themselves from the bed like NASA rockets...
...and enjoying every single moment of this semi-legal activity.

And this time none fell off and bumped his or her head! And no one jumped on Joshua either! Joshi, as he is known in our place, stood for a few seconds and then realized it was more fun (safe) to sit and benefit from our jumping. All of the bounce and none of the work. That's a baby for you - the younger they are, the more brilliant!

Our overall Monkeys on the Bed fall score is Raia 3, Daniel 2, Lucas 1. I'm uncertain who is considered the winner or loser here because in the world of babies, bruises and bumps are badges of honor.

Mommy has sanctioned this particular activity. Though extremely dangerous and prohibitively unacceptable in most beds worldwide, mommy ratified bed jumping at our home: In lieu of a backyard, which we do not have, we are allowed to jump on our parents' bed in order to spend our limitless reserves of energy. This is much easier and more accessible than gearing us up to brave four flights of stairs to find a nearby park.

We do not take this allowance for granted. Oh wait, yes we do! We toss their pillows on the floor, scale the flimsy ikea headboard and lick the wall in order to add flavor to our makeshift trampoline game!

It was the storm before the calm. But we slept well that night. After we were actually corralled into our beds. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mommy Guest Blogs: Savoring Inclusion’s Rare Rewarding Moments

See?! I can do it too!

Every so often I allow mommy to guest blog here at my site. And this time I am happy to reprint a blog of here that appeared here in the Times of Israel initially because its all about me, which is the point of this blog.

This version is better because it contains photos and videos, unlike the other black and white (yawn) original post. So enjoy rereading her words, but even more so, seeing my photos and videos!

My class <3


Savoring Inclusion’s Rare Rewarding Moments
By Nicole Jansezian

While I could spend some time castigating the Israeli education system for its failures regarding inclusion, I must linger for a while longer in the happy afterglow of success and let it be a reminder that inclusion is worth the grueling effort.

We encountered a mountain of challenges this past year after our decision to mainstream our son in a municipal preschool. The first month is still a fog in my mind. Daniel was not assigned a personal aide for two weeks and so the school’s manager, who himself is responsible for the three classrooms on the premises and several others around the city, took responsibility for my son until he received a shadow two weeks into the school year.

Daniel had at least one apocalyptic meltdown per day. Without fail, he passed out for hours in the corner while the other children carried on with their day and learned as they were supposed to. And he came down with a tricky form of pneumonia – in other words, none of the symptoms but all of the pain, so we had no idea at the outset. It was a nightmare.

This went on for about a month until slowly the issues started to peel away and he (and we) adjusted to this new routine. But the initial shock still feels like yesterday.

So you can imagine our elation when, at Daniel’s end-of-the-year party last week, we saw displayed before our astonished eyes, the long awaited rewards of inclusion: Daniel participated in all of the choreography in the hour-long show. He knew exactly when he should sit, stand or wave his prop. He was on rhythm with the music and mouthed the words to all the songs.

He did every single thing he was supposed to do, when he was supposed to do it. At 4 that’s not a small feat for any child.

And best of all, after every song, he turned to face the audience and cheered “Yea! Yea! Yea!” and gave an enormous fist pump to celebrate his exploits.

You see, the most important lesson Daniel learned this year was recognizing and relishing his accomplishments. He knew how far he had come. He knew he accomplished something colossal. He knew he nailed it – and that was more important than actually nailing it. And it meant more to him, because it had come harder to him. Thus his theatrical cheering after each song.

Time for the fist pump and victory dance!
Daniel has Down syndrome, meaning an extra chromosome presents more challenges to him in the physical and mental arenas of life. He was in a fantastic special education daycare and preschool before we moved him. Our goal in mainstreaming was to provide a normative environment that would challenge him socially and academically.

With a supportive approach from the school’s manager, who took Daniel’s case personally, Daniel’s teacher, his aide, the surrounding staff and his fellow students, this experiment succeeded. This team effort – and Daniel’s performance at the party – give us hope for next year and motivation for the inevitable fight that lies ahead. Every single year.

We were easily the proudest parents in the room if not in the country on that day. Daniel’s performance made every tear, every battle and every agonizing day along the journey of inclusion worth it.

The price of inclusion is high. But its rewards are priceless.

Warning: Video content is copious and repetitive and may only be acceptable viewing for immediate family members at risk of abject boredom to anyone else!