Saturday, January 31, 2009

Parents Always Make Mistakes

On the last post, John left a comment and said, referring to Jordan:
"Let's hear what he has to say when he is 21 years old."

I hope that he says that I was a good mom. He will one day reach that age where he sees me as a person, not just as a mom, and he will judge me, my lifestyle and my character. We all grow through that period at one point in our lives, it's never easy. We realize the mistakes our parents made with us, so we are forced to look at the reasons why they made such mistakes. We go through a period where we judge them, then if we are truly evolved human beings we begin to understand them and even empathize with them for having erred. And we all make many mistakes.

Love is the saving grace. Because, if we manage to make our children feel loved along the way with all of the many mistakes we make, they will get through the period where for the first time in their lives, they detect weakness in the two human beings who had always been rocks.

I'm sure Jordan will have quite a bit to say when he's 21 years old...he's already started complaining and he's twelve.

Luca wrote a post for the CI Circle Blog that has yet to be completed and he wrote, "Looking back at my life, thinking about all I've experienced after my son was born, all the good and the bad moments that I've lived... I wanna tell you one thing: if I could go back and have the power of choosing my son, I would want him the way he is.. I would want him exactly the same, I wouldn't change a dot of him.
He is my son, my perfect wonderful deaf son and I love him.


(When he gives us hell, I'll be sure to show him this post...)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Response to ASL RISEN-The Deaf Community Virtue

In response to my post on Aidan Mack's new film,I Sign and I Live, ASL Risen asked me: How can we cure the Deaf community virtue??? Can you tell me that? Thanks.

Let us define Virtue:

Main Entry: vir·tue
Pronunciation: \ˈvər-(ˌ)chü\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English vertu, virtu, from Anglo-French, from Latin virtut-, virtus strength, manliness, virtue, from vir man — more at virile
Date: 13th century
1 a: conformity to a standard of right : morality b: a particular moral excellence
2plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
3: a beneficial quality or power of a thing
4: manly strength or courage : valor
5: a commendable quality or trait : merit
6: a capacity to act : potency
7: chastity especially in a woman

Obviously, we may immediately throw out number 7.


And...number 2.


This leaves us with morality, valor, merit and potency. Each individual possesses certain virtues based on their life experiences. But the main source behind those virtues lies in the integrity of an individual, a combination of brain, soul and heart.

The Deaf Community has many virtues and a great deal of passion. However, there is a great deal of fear and uncertaintly as to its future. See the recent posts on Deaf School closings and budget cuts.

I prefer to speak of integrity.

Integrity defines the perceived consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles. A value system's abstraction depth and range of applicable interaction are also significant factors in determining integrity due to their congruence with empirical observation. A value system may evolve over time while retaining integrity if those who espouse the values account for and resolve inconsistencies.

Integrity may be seen as the quality of having a sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one's actions. The term hypocrisy is used in contrast to integrity for asserting that one part of a value system is demonstrably at odds with another, and to demand that the parties holding apparently conflicting values account for the discrepancy or change their beliefs to improve internal consistency.

How you live your Deafness is your personal choice. How my son began living his deafness was my choice, however he still has the possibility to make his own choices as he grows. We went to the newsstand the other day, every Thursday he goes to get a Mickey Mouse comic, however yesterday he stepped up to the counter and asked for a copy of the local newspaper The Tirreno. I swear I almost passed out on the spot. I said, "Jordan, you do realize that you just asked for a newspaper, don't you?"
He looked at me, straightened his shoulders and said, "Yeah, I want to know what's happening in the world." I paid. (I've been laughing ever since)

Everyday we make choices. Above all, we choose HOW we want to live our lives.
Virtues are fundamental in living a quality life and in developing, appreciating and giving value to a sense of community.
I don't feel that the Deaf Community Virtue needs to be "cured" (just like I don't feel like I've attempted to "fix" my son's deafness), because the community is based on integrity. Based on what I've read and how posts have evolved with regard to the acceptance of cochlear implants as a valid approach to deafness, I think the Deaf community is in this phase: A value system may evolve over time while retaining integrity if those who espouse the values account for and resolve inconsistencies...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Aidan Mack: New Film Will Promote Awareness

Aidan Mack has pissed me off. She's said things that I completely disagree with, and she most certainly is anti-cochlear implant. Aidan Mack has just launched her new project "I Sign and I Live," and this is the synopsis:


The 25-minute dramatic film, I Sign and I Live, is about Daisy, an impassioned Deaf teacher who constantly faces prejudices and stereotypes in society at large. Unexpectedly from within her own family, she faces a battle of wills with her sister over her niece, Dawn. In a family tragedy, her hearing sister, KAY makes the decision to have her Deaf daughter get a cochlear implant. Daisy is appalled by this. She has always believed that her sister, an average housewife with no degree, accepted her as a Deaf person and respected her superior intelligence and professional accomplishments. Her sister demands that her daughter be made to hear because Kay has always had an inner prejudice against the Deaf.

The niece is removed from her signing classroom and placed in a class where the teachers speak and require children to speak and hear. This tears Daisy and her niece apart because Kay insists her daughter speak and she will not permit her to sign, therefore, Dawn can’t interact with Daisy at all. The battle between Daisy and her sister causes an impasse that leads to a tragic conclusion. Kay, along with the larger society, wins the standoff while Deaf people like Daisy continue to sign and live.


I have no doubt the final product will be intense, because every vlog Aidan creates (once again, I rarely agree with her) is soulful and profound. Her words stimulate discussion because they are oftentimes extremely passionate, assertive and reflective of her views and experiences as a Deaf individual. Many times she has spoken on behalf of the Deaf Community (and even if that may not have been her intention, many commentors perceive this based on their cheers).

Within the email she sent out (I've made her mailing list:)), she wrote:

Please take a few minutes to look at the new post here. I Sign and I Live, the film, is now in production. Deaf and Hearing Actors and Deaf and Hearing crew members are now being sought to join in and help bring this visual story, I Sign and I Live, alive with moving images. Equally important is the "role" of financial support, since a good financial support system works like a "heart" which enables the "body" of film production to function.

Aidan is requesting funding to help finance her film. If I sent out a plea to help Abbie reach her goal to attend a conference, I will definitely blog a plea to raise funds for a film project that will promote awareness on all fronts regarding approaches and lifestyles in Deafness. Donate HERE. Support an extremely talented Deaf Filmmaker (Who drives a Harley, btw.).

I look forward to seeing the finished product and taking part in any ensuing controversy.

Good Luck, Aidan!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Univ. of Pisa...Here I Come!

My life is insane. My poor husband. I told him he had eleven years of "peace," and now he must deal with the beast: me. I think that when a woman awakens, everyone around her awakens. And my awakening was pretty strong. Yesterday, we dropped my car off for an oil change at 8:30 a.m. and had to be in Pisa by 10 when I had a meeting with Jordan's ci surgeon. He told me he would dedicate an entire hour to me to discuss my plans for developing a parent-parent mentoring program with his ENT unit. Miraculous- an entire hour. The trip to Pisa usually takes two hours, especially during rush hour. Luca managed to get me there at 10 on the dot.

I entered the office to find the surgeon, who said, "Jodi, I had an emergency and I have to take this to another office. If you want to talk, you'll have to come with me."

So, off we went. Damn, that man can walk fast. And there I was, shooting my thousand questions and explaining my project as we zipped through the hospital/university campus. He agreed with my ideas, outlined his requirements and I am now officially working with his team. (I really need to quit smoking!)

I have a million ideas. This man has no idea what he's in for...

My first meeting with the mom who contacted me is on Thursday. I'm motivated and excited to start establishing resources and necessary information.

*Smile* I am the luckiest...

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I have one thing to say:


Friday, January 23, 2009


The Little Boy and the Old Man
By Shel Silverstein
Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the little old man, "I do that too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

I talked to my mom today about my Grammy. Apparently 93 year old studly Jake ordered a tray of crabcakes for his TWO ladies. (My gram loves crabcakes, hon) My grandma won three dollars in the weekly Bingo event at the home and tried to pay Jake for the crabcakes. He refused and said, "Don't worry, Betty, my treat. But if you want to give me something I love, I'd sure love some matzah ball soup from S and H!"
My grandmother turned to her daughter-my mother and said, "Monye, would you mind getting Jake a bowl of matzah ball soup?"
My mom replied, "Okay Mother."
To me she said, "Shit, now I have to go and order all of her dinner table soup from S and H!"

I love you, Mom.

Half Full

Brie ate my ipod earbuds. I managed (barely) not to strangle her and feed her to the mad cat Lola. The light in my car flashed on indicating some type of problem. I stayed calm (yeah, right), took it to the mechanic this morning - my two back brakelights were out. (WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOO!) I opened my emails this morning and found a letter from an Australian GPOD member who gave me a link to the information I had intended to translate in Italian - ALREADY TRANSLATED IN ITALIAN BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes, life can be so sweet!

Jordan is home with a sore throat and cough and had a sudden craving for schiaccia with cooked ham. So, I hightailed my butt to the supermarket to get him some of that Italian stuff. The man behind the counter...oh my GOSH! Elvis (a confused version). Okay, he was wearing the white smock-like uniform of the supermarket with the top four buttons that peeking out of the smock was this BRIGHT GREEN button-down shirt and a flashy wide red silk tie. His sideburns put Elvis to shame-we're talking three times as wide, down to his chin. He had a pair of glasses, tiny frames, transparent with the slightest touch of red. (Okay, I told him he was hot:)-he wasn't, but you could tell he really wanted to be:)) Lookin' at him made you wanna thaaaaaaaaaarust your pelvis. And to top off this killer fashion statement:


Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Great Omission: Parental Involvement in the Process

The NHS 2010 International Conference invitation started going out yesterday to a mailing list of 13,000 people. The invitation included a fundamental, yet new element- the importance of parental collaboration in the process of raising a Deaf child:

NHS 2010 - Beyond Newborn Hearing Screening: Infant and Childhood Hearing in Science and Clinical Practice
Villa Erba Congress Center, Cernobbio, Italy
June 8-10, 2010

We are pleased to announce that the NHS Conference will be held once again
in Cernobbio (Italy) from June 8 until June 10, 2010.

We cordially invite you to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the historic
Lake Como conferences.

The first NHS, held in 2000, was a follow-up to the successful Milan 1998
European Consensus Development Conference and began the Millennium by
paving the way for a new era in the care of infants with hearing loss.
In the past 10 years the field of Newborn Hearing Screening and Early
Intervention Programs has undergone tremendous advancement.
Many countries throughout the world have well-established highly successful
programs, yet there are still countries and regions that are well behind,
which need support to forge ahead. Since the NHS Conferences have been the fuel
to start and to maintain the engine, it is not difficult to predict that the
2010 NHS may be the final impetus in establishing early identification and
intervention as a concrete reality worldwide.

Technology for hearing aids, cochlear implants and audiological equipment
is making continuous and impressive developments, thus offering
increasingly reliable and affordable solutions. Still, one of the great
omissions in too many intervention programs is the crucial role of parents within the process. Implementing improved systemic protocols and practices which encourage informed choice and the empowerment of families with children who are deaf or have hearing loss must be a fundamental objective to ensure the effectiveness of programs worldwide.

The NHS 2010 will include keynote addresses, special sessions, workshops,
a number of satellite events, free communications and massive poster sessions.

You are cordially invited to attend the NHS 2010 International Conference,
and we would like for you to join us in making this historic event another
great success!

There is such a great need for a collective approach to providing resources for the parents of Deaf children. English speakers have an abundance of literature, studies, articles, videos, etc. at their fingertips. My Italian blog is one of two that I have found which addresses deafness. Two. Can you imagine having NO access to information??


does not exist for an Italian parent. (It will by the end of the night, however)

Ironically, one of the Australian founders of GPOD expressed her perplexity in translating an American article into Australian English - you can only imagine the issues in translating from American English to other languages. By the way, check out her new site: Aussie Deaf Kids.

We will be bringing the following issues to the Newborn Hearing Screening 2010 - in one way or another-

-Implementing systemic protocols and systems and practices with the needs and voice of families at the forefront

-Informed choice

-Empowering families around the world


There is a desperate need for parents to be informed.

(I'm praying that by 2010 I'll be able to arrange some accomodations with a bathroom en suite lol)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No More Miss Nice Girl

I will be sweet. I will be available to help, create, assist, motivate, plan, direct and advise you...but please, please do not piss me off. I have never been a person to sit waiting on the defensive, unless that is the best strategy for a given situation. I will work for free as long as I am respected and appreciated. I will wait...and I will be patient.

*Until a mother asks me for help and I am placed in a situation where I am unable to give it*

Then, I am forced to hop over to the offensive side of the fence. A mother contacted me the other day. I have no idea how she found my number. She has a seventeen month old deaf baby girl. Her audiologist is the same as the audiologist who first diagnosed Jordan. Her daughter currently wears hearing aids. This audiologist does not believe in cochlear implants or sign language. I'm sure she has her reasons. This mother began doing some research in her free time. Note: she is divorced and works at a fast food restaurant.

As opposed to the mother in DENIAL, this mother told me about how she saw a child with hearing aids walk into her workplace, and that she asked to go on break to sit and talk to the mother of this child. She tried to convince the mother of this child to create an association so that she could be in contact with other deaf children just like her daughter.

She called me and we began to talk. She called in the middle of Jordan and company's English lesson, so I asked her if she wanted to talk to Jordan. She started to say, "No..that's okay." I handed Jordan the phone. He talked for about five minutes and if I had difficulty understanding her on the phone, you can imagine Jordan. When he handed me back the phone, this woman was crying.

*If a mother cries after talking to my son, I will draw blood for her*

I told her I would contact the necessary people, so that she could have a consultation to see whether her child could potentially be a candidate. I explained that the cochlear implant is just like the hearing aid, you must be in speech therapy and work on language- no difference. She said she had never heard a deaf child or adult speak and that she is ready to work.

We spoke again later that night and this morning. She said that when she had tried to make an appointment with the ci department, she always received an answering machine. She asked me for help.

Do you think it's easy to ask for help? Do you think it's easy to trust people with your child's information and life history? How about your emotions?

No, I can't save the world...but I can hold her hand.

PS. I MUST have one of those hats!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009



-"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."
Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States and the nation's first African-American president

Monday, January 19, 2009



Interesting morning. I really try to be productive, but there is always someone or something that gets in my way. I went to the store that supplies us with Jordan's equipment needs. Two months ago I asked for an estimate for a Phonak Inspiro fm system- I heard good things about it from the Ci Circle, then I saw it at the NHS 2008. I must have it. They gave me the price estimate, I went to the ASL and they approved it. I returned this morning- okay, two months later. The gentleman had no idea what I was talking about, couldn't find the estimate on the computer. I wrote down the name and that Jordan has a Nucleus Freedom processor, he told me he would call the company and get back to me.

In the meantime I received an SMS from a friend who was having a crisis regarding her 17 year old daughter- the hysterical type where when I call to see if she's okay, she's bawling on the phone. So, I tell her to get the coffee machine ready, I'm on my way. About one minute from her house, my cell rings, it's the guy from the store saying, "Jodi, do you know how much a Freedom Processor costs?"


I had to spend another twenty-five minutes explaining the parts of the Inspiro and that I did not need the cochlear implant processor. Does this give anyone an idea of WHAT I AM DEALING WITH HERE????? To give credit where credit is due, he did say that not all mothers are like me. Apparently he understands something. He's a very nice gentleman.

Anyway, back to the desperate mom. Apparently, her teenage daughter opened a big mouth to her, is insensitive and a bitch from hell. Hahahahahahahaha. I suddenly had a flash of what my life will be like ten years from wasn't pretty. The mom is going through menopause, while the daughter just broke up with her boyfriend. Really bad situation. I drank my coffee, had a couple of cookies and cheered her up. She then took me to her daughter's bedroom where she showed me some MSN correspondence that she had saved to the computer. She SPIES on her daughter's conversations. Total PRIVACY INVASION!!

*Are you the type to spy on your child: read text messages, diaries, computer chats?*

So not a smart move. I still have my diary from when I was a little girl. I swear I must have cussed my mom out on every page. Oh God, the funniest entry was the first, I think it was on January 3rd, 1986. I wrote something like. "Today, I got my period for the very first time in my life. Signed, Jodi, The Woman."

It's been downhill ever since...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Like Mamma Like Daughter

On our way to dropping off the kidlings at the in-laws last night, I said, "Brrrrr, I'm freezing."
Jordan responded, "All girls are always cold. It's the man's job to warm them up."
Jaw dropping, I said, "What????"
Jordan said, "Alessia is always cold and she asks me to hug her to warm her up."
(hobag)Between me, myself and my forever frozen hands and feet, I think, there are certain fundamental truths in this world concerning men and women. Interesting that my twelve year old son is starting to "get" them.

After dropping the kids off, Luca and I headed to the movies to see Seven Pounds with Will Smith. I've loved Will Smith in dramatic films since I saw him in "Six Degrees of Separation" many years ago. Okay, let's put it this way, I would become bisexual for Rosario Dawson, without even thinking twice. How freaking hot is she?? The movie was interesting, sappy, etc. and my eyes started flooding when he killed himself to give her and the rest of the world his organs. However, I have to say they lost me when she went to find his eyes...and they were in Woody Harrelson's head. Creepy. But I was so into my cry that I could have almost stomached that, had the movie theater not flashed on the blinding lights in the theater the exact second the movie ended.


Can't a woman enjoy a good cry without being busted?? I had to wipe the tears, not a kleenex in sight and then, everyone in the theater started looking around to see who was crying or red-eyed. I like to cry in private. Would it have been so damn difficult to leave the lights out at least until the end of the credits!?!! Not only did it ruin my cathartic experience, but then I got totally creeped out about the eyeball thing. Would you go searching for your dead lover's eyeballs had he donated them??? Don't think I could handle that...and there is something so wrong about Woody having Will's eyes. Wonder what Jada thought about that. In any case, Rosario is hot.

So, this morning the mil invited us to lunch, actually it was Sofia who called to invite us since she is telephone obsessed. My mil had made lasagna, we accepted. During the meal, as we were sitting and savoring the lasagna, Sofia picked up the two liter bottle of coke and began drinking out of the bottle. Oh no, no, no. I yelled at her and called her a truck-driver (if you are a truck-driver who does not drink out of the bottle- I apologize). I told her that was not princess behavior. She said, "Mom, you are a piece of shit!"


My sweet, adorable six year old lipstick-loving princess called me a piece of shit. I told her to say she was sorry. She said no. I said she would be grounded and thrown in her bedroom for the day. She said no. I said there was no way she was going to see "The Beverly Hills Chihuahua Movie" this afternoon. She started bawling hysterically. My mil said she didn't mean it, I said, she'll apologize. Sofia cried on. Luca laughed. I kept my poker bitch face. My mil took Sofia into the hall to have a little heart to heart. They came back after apparently they had reached an agreement. Sofia, blobbering and slobbering couldn't say that word. My mil said, "Come on Sofia, say you're sorry then Mamma will say she's sorry."

*Um, Noooo. Mamma will not say she's sorry*

I looked lovingly at my monster and said, "Sofia, Mamma will not apologize to you because, you did something you shouldn't have done and you opened a big mouth. I am the mother and you are the six year old child who needs to learn not to open a big mouth to her mother. I will not apologize to you, you will say you're sorry or no movie."

Does Sofia apologize at this point?

Nope. She proceeds to say, "You are a stupid piece of shit," She then gives me the finger and says, "Take that!"

I can assure you it took everything I had to keep a straight face. I looked at her and said, "You will say you are sorry."

Finally, after another half an hour of crying, stomping and seeing that I wasn't budging, she came and apologized. We hugged and kissed and made peace.

How did I get such a stubborn child with such a trash-mouth????


Friday, January 16, 2009

Doctor God

This was written on one of the Italian forums:

"I was recently visited by Audiologists-ENTs in three different public hospitals in three different regions of Italy.
My audiometric exams resulted the same in all three visits, but only one ENT suggested that I consider a cochlear implant.This doctor asked me why I had never been advised or informed of the cochlear implant. I had no idea how to respond to that question...

Christina (pregnant, emotional and very intelligent) wrote this in her post:

...Why didn't ANYONE...ANYONE just tell me he was Deaf? Why did it take 9 months for my little boy to get amplified? Why couldn't all these doctors, audiologists, nurses, and even social workers look me in the eye and tell me that my child is Deaf. Did I look like I couldn't take the news? Is Deaf considered a dirty word among all these hearing loss professionals? WHY COULDN'T ANYONE HELP MY SON?

Knowing what I know now, Christian should've never have passed any portion of any screens in the hospital, or any OAEs that were ever done in any office. It wasn't until we FINALLY got to Hopkins that we got any answers. It wasn't until we got to Hopkins that we were looked in the eye and finally told what we always knew--that our son was Deaf.

A mother on an Italian Forum whose daughter was just recently bilaterally implanted, asked the question, "Could someone whose child has been implanted with MXM Neurelec implants please give me some feedback on that particular brand?"

So, of course I asked for information from my support groups: MXM has not been FDA approved and is not available in the USA.

*Pissed off*

In the USA parents ask questions and DEMAND answers. Thanks to well-publicized cases of medical negligence, parents know to ask questions. Parents come armed and dangerous and Doctors MUST be informed and knowledgable. It is a rare case that a doctor admits to not being an expert in professional material.

Christina wrote:

"So here I am. It's been 2 years since Christian was born. 2 years since we had that first test in the hospital with the red note and the smiley bear. And even though it's been 2 years, I'm still FURIOUS over how everything happened (or didn't). I've learned to control my anger about Christian's actual hearing loss. I've learned to see past it. However, on days like today, when I revisit the first part of our journey with him, I get so angry. And I think I always will."

I can understand her anger. My American pediatrician never listened to my concerns, he called me neurotic. To get over my anger, I gave him a copy of RALLY CAPS and told him to pass it on to the next family with a deaf child. He tried to make some excuse regarding the fact that there was no Newborn Hearing Screening when Jordan was born. I told him, "I know, make sure you listen to a worried parent the next time she expresses her concerns." And I went on my way back to Italy.

As I have said a thousand times, I have been exceptionally fortunate to have found qualified and sensitive doctors who not only listen to me, but who are sincere when they cannot answer my questions. This is a rarity. Doctors here in Italy have a patient load of over 500 children, they can't possibly know your child as well as you do. You are a PARENT...they are only doctors.

I do my research and I ask the questions that I want you?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Audism: I Need a Definition and Some History...

I'm getting more involved in the Italian Deaf Forum and someone posted this:

"Well then, to say it succinctly, the term "Audism" is widespread in America and it means literally, "discrimination against Deaf people." Audism is a new term that does not exist in Italian dictionaries - it was first mentioned in 1975 by a Deaf American whose name I do not remember- which means that hearing individuals have more advantages than deaf people thereby causing discrimination between the Deaf and hearing, especially in the working and social environment. For some, this term may seem excessive, however, I believe that it does have some truth to what it represents."

I've been called an Audist a couple of times here on, but I don't exactly know the factual, historical significance of the word. I just reply, "Um, I'm not an Audist."

So...could someone give me an education? Be nice!

Sex and Love

This morning I couldn't look at the computer, I needed a break. My friend who will remain anonymous, bless her, called me to meet her for a coffee since we haven't spoken for a while. Carpe Diem and I was outta here to meet her. I love talking to her. She was one of my first friends in Grosseto, we met playing softball. She stole my position at first base because she's a lefty and could do splits. I do not do splits.

Anyway, we talked for a while about our traumatic lives and as it always does, the talk turned to sex. We're both Scorpios and very open about the matter, don't know if she realizes I'm so open that I'm about to discuss it here, but I don't think she'd care. She is married to a great guy and he's hot. He tells her after every single time they have sex that it was the best sex of his life. He had many relationships with so many different women, yet she is the woman of his life. She made me laugh, she's like, "Jodi, it's winter and I am in hibernation. I walk around the house in holy fleece sweatshirts, unmatching sweatpants and wool socks. You don't even want to know the type of underpants I wear- obscene, totally anti-sex."

*I lived that phase of my life*

She said, "When he walks in the door after work, he looks at me as if I were wearing a sheer thong, stilettos and as if I had a size triple D push up bra with sequins. There I am, calmly on the sofa, watching a dvd...he attacks."

*Smile..whatta man!*

"After nine years that we've been together, every single day is the same as the first," she said.

I smiled and said, "Slut."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 PLEASE!! I Need Some Info!

I have become the official Italian international go-between girl. One of the moderators of the Italian Deaf Forum online sent me a letter asking me a question. She wrote:

Ciao Jodi,
As you may have seen on the forum, we often discuss about laws that assist deaf people in Italy. Someone asked what the situation was in other countries, so I thought I'd ask you how it works in the USA.

I mean, do Deaf people have any economical advantages? If so, what are they based on? Age? Income? Degree of deafness? Language? etc. What exactly are the governmental benefits provided to Deaf individuals?

*I have no flippin' clue*

Could someone please give me a link or an answer?

Thank you.


All morning I have been smiling. Don't know why, can't explain it, it's just like that. So, Sofia and I sprint to her school, late as always, I drop her off and head to the bar for a cappuccino expecting to see the morning coffee group-nowhere to be found. I had my cappuccino and croissant with jelly alone, smiling. I paid and went outside to sit on the bench outside the bar for my morning cigarette (Dad, please no comment). I sit on the bench, look up and eleven people are standing about ten feet away, staring at me. I swear, every single person standing there looked at me and continued looking. No embarrassment. No looking away, just staring. I stared back and smiled. Maybe it was my bright purple hat, don't know. It was funny.

We continue staring until their bus arrives, every now and then, I smile, and they go merrily on their way to the center of Grosseto. Like something out of a horror film. Then, I casually look up and see the stone medieval walls of the town where I live with white sheets hanging from the clotheslines strategically lined window to window. I started laughing hysterically. Every now and then I get a reality check of my surroundings- that was one of them.

Across the street from the bench where I am sitting there is a laundramat with driers. This morning it was packed with women struggling to dry their clothes, see, it's humid here today and had they hung the clothes on the clotheslines outside, it would have taken forever to dry them. As I've said before, my self-imposed requirement for membership in this backwards ass country was a drier, so seeing everyone huddled in that laundramat to dry their clothes was funny. And cultural, so add cute.

I smiled on my way to the car and all the way back here to my computer where Brie greeted me with jumps and licks only to resume running around the house with my underpants. So adorable.

The greatest gift any person could ever give me would be laughter.

And...Life is funny when we are able to laugh at ourselves.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Denial Part 2: I Can't Accept My Child's Deafness

I've changed my tone. I am desperately trying to understand this mother's pain and convey certain fundamental messages regarding disability. I started my Italian blog with the Special Mother Poem, so that parents would focus on the positive and not be consumed by the guilty, nagging feeling that they were in some way responsible for their child's deafness.

This mother flat out said that she does not accept her son's disability. She talked about an experience with her son's coach:

...The coach asked a question to all of the children and expected they answer. After many children answered, one child refused to answer and the coach said, "So can you not hear me because you're distracted or because you're all deaf?"

The coach doesn't know that my son is really deaf. I never told him.
Why? The truth is that I don't want him to be treated differently than the other children. I lie to everyone because first and foremost I lie to myself...maybe this is the real problem.

Please forgive me, I am not trying to insult anyone, but only here do I feel able to truly express myself, and not to fake or always say that everything is okay...

I realize that it is not easy to understand my point of view, maybe because there really is no logic to it. I have these disconnected and illogical thoughts that come upon me unexpectedly and without warning.

There are times when I feel this incredible sense of strength and I'm ready to fight for my kids and then there are these moments of total desperation where I am so totally ashamed of myself.

I have tried to examine myself in these two days that I have been writing to you and the truth smacked me in the face. Not only can I not accept my son's deafness, but I hate the idea of accepting that my child will never be totally the same as other children...And you know? Writing this is not easy. I am ashamed of myself and I so wish that these thoughts about my child would never have surfaced.

While at first the people responding to this mother's post were a bit on the harsh, "pull yourself together" side, now the commenters are being a little more empathetic. This is a MAJOR cry for help. These cries for help are always present on the support groups and are totally normal. I went through these periods where one minute Jordan made incredible progress and the next I felt like he would never speak a word again. The down moments are so totally down, especially when you are alone. Her husband provides no emotional support, he's in denial as well. She lives in a small town where she has never seen another deaf child. She is alone. And she is reaching out.

I won't say "I understand your pain and you have every right to be in denial. Your son is Deaf-what a tragedy!" That is so not what I believe. However, I remember all of the times I said to Luca, "Honey, I'm taking a walk. Be back in a half hour and I'll be a much better mom to my son. Good luck to you." I went for my walk and I breathed. God, I was totally alone and even more isolated by the language difficulties. I think I ate a lot of gelato in that period.

Every day, I read the mothers' cries for help on the support groups and after ten replies from parents who have "been there, done that" they begin to see what is beautiful in their children. They focus on the positive, not the negative. It is a long journey and a very difficult one without support. The more support this mother has, the stronger she will become. Jordan has taught me many lessons in patience and faith...this mom has no idea how her life will be enriched by her son. Once she begins to overcome her sense of guilt, now that she is reaching out for help, she will begin to understand that she is a Special Mother, too.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jordan's Essay: Sad to Happy

Okay, this was the assignment:
Today you are particularly blue, there's no precise motive, but you're a little depressed this morning and it seems like nothing is going your way.
Enough!! You must absolutely get yourself out of your funk so you need to do something that will help you change this bad vibe. What are you going to do? Where will you go? Who will you go with? Organize something that will make you feel good!

Jordan's essay:(translated)

Today is not such a great day, I've been trying to think about something that will make the smile return to my face, something that will make me happy. I think and think and think. In the beginning I couldn't think of anything really special. I thought about buying a new computer game, "Spore", but it costs too much and it isn't really anything special. I thought about exploding some firecrackers, but it's too dangerous, and it isn't anything special. I thought about reading a book, but it could be a sad book, so it might not be such a great idea. I thought about buying X-Box, but I've already received a lot of gifts and it just wouldn't be right.

Thinking about this a little harder, there would be one thing that would make me happy. I would like to take all of my friends to the United States. I like thinking about taking them to meet my American grandparents. In America, I would take them to see my grandparents' house with a big yard to play in and a swimming pool. I would take them bowling - I'm a champion, then we'd visit the Baltimore Zoo that is beautiful. Another thing I'd like to do would be to visit Camden Yards for a baseball game and go to the Baltimore Aquarium afterwards to see the dolphins. Then, we could walk around the Inner Harbor.

To eat, I would take them to the famous "Pizza Hut," where they make the best pizza. I would really like to see their reactions to the skyscrapers downtown (in the center of the city). They are really tall and they look just like the ones in the American films. Speaking of films, I'd take them to one of those huge movie theatres to see a movie and eat popcorn. Another place I'd like to go would be to the Mall where there are a million different kinds of stores, restaurants, elevators, escalators, etc.

See! First I was sad, but now, after thinking about going to America with my friends, I'm happy once again, because I know that we would have a world of fun!

*That's my future writer! Jordan Eric Del Dottore*
PS. What were you expecting, an essay on deafness and the cochlear implant? He's just a "normal" 12 year old boy! *smile*

Friday, January 9, 2009

Denial: A Mother Lies to her Deaf Child

I have begun my Italian experience in offering support to parents of deaf children. I don't know whether I'm cut out for this job or not. See, a mom on one of the forums wrote a post asking for comprehension regarding the fact that she has been lying to her son...
Her son consistently asks her, "Mom, when am I going to get better? When can I stop using my hearing aids?
The mother replies, "When you are twelve or thirteen years old."

Oh God, you know that horrifying sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something is really, really wrong? Multiply that by infinity and that was my reaction. Then, suddenly this overwhelming sense of anger took over my body and I was flat out disgusted. I refuse to feel compassion for this mother, yet isn't that what I am supposed to feel if I'm helping other parents?? Hellllllllllllllllllp me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This mother felt so badly that she lied to her son and she is lost. But, her son is more lost and he is who interests me.

I replied,

Dear Anonymous Mom,

I don't have any desire to sugar-coat my reply to you, so I am apologizing ahead of time. Your son is Deaf. If you can't accept this fact, how do you expect your son to except it? Deafness is not the end of the world; although, yes, it does make life more difficult. You can say to your son, "You were born a beautiful, sensitive and intelligent baby, it's just that your ears don't work very well and so the hearing aids help them work better." He needs to understand that his ears don't work very well, but that he 'works' just fine.

I told her she needed to explain this to him in a firm yet loving way. If you don't face this situation, how do you expect your son to deal with it? His hearing aids are a part of him. Jordan called his hearing aids his ears. Do not HIDE them, because if you react in this way, then your son will really think something is wrong with him or that you are ashamed of him - and a child doesn't invent that feeling, someone gives him a reason to think that he should feel ashamed. No, it's not an easy thing to face, but you are an adult - start acting like one. I'm sorry, but sometimes things need to be said with conviction, because more than your well-being, I'm interested in your son's well-being...

I think I lost it and I'm not sure that I reacted in a productive way, but the fact that she lied to her son blew me away. I can understand denial, but denying your child's deafness to the point of lying goes against everything I believe...if I meet more parents who react like this, I don't know if I'm the right person for the job.

I'm very disturbed by this situation. What would you have said to this mother??

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Drew's Mom and Dad

Okay. I am trying to be the perfect mom. I'm not succeeding. This morning we woke up late, I took the dog out to pee and miraculously, she did. She then pooped in the house, but we're making progress. I got Sofia ready by 8:05 am (school starts at 8 am) and even remembered to put on her pink scarf. Proud of myself for managing to close the dog in the house without jamming Sofia's knapsack in the door, I turn to go to the car, Sofia looks at me and says, "Mommy, my coat?" Oh God. So, I open the door, the dog sprints outside, I slide on Sofia's coat and throw Brie back in the house. So we finally make it to school at 8.20 am, I ring the bell and Sofia's teacher is waiting for me at the door. She wasn't looking too happy, in fact, she reamed me out, and threatened me for always being late. I told her she had REALLY pretty green eyes. She smiled and I left. Here I am, feeling all warm and gushy after my morning cappuccino with the girlies.

Since starting my new blog in Italian, I've been reading a lot more blogs of younger children. I steal material, because the Italians desperately need resources. One blog in particular -aside from the photos and videos I consistently steal from Val and Christina - Turn on My Ears is a wealth of information and human spirit. Drew's Mom and Dad post on Ci Circle and are always willing to share information and Drew's clothes.

One commenter wrote:
I saw on Drew's blog a video of the kids playing at COSI. On the back of his shirt is a pocket holding his bi-lateral processors. I was wondering what the measurements were on that and also where you had them done. My son is being bi-laterally implanted in a few weeks and I would prefer not to use the harness. I think your set up looks much better. Can you please, send me your contact or just the measurements, so I can get my local seamstress to see if she can do it, or if it is something I can do. Also, do you have a button or velcro holding it closed? What stops it from falling out. I noticed he was hopping around and it never moved.

Thank you so much for posting on your blog, we have been reading it and really have gained ALOT of information from it. The video of Drew's equipment was so valuable for my husband and me. Please tell your husband he gave us our own "in service" LOL. Drew's piano video made us smile, we played it several times for our older children to see. You have a special young man there for sure! God Bless...

Drew's mom and dad immediately responded as did other mothers who apparently were recipients of Drew's onesies, twosies, etc. All this generosity, sharing, good will, giving via internet makes my heart go bump. So.........

My second official Blog Award (that I create as I go along, because I want to...) goes to Drew's Mom and Dad for their inspirational blog: Turn on My Ears
*Bookmark It...Now!*

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I have been blue since yesterday afternoon and I can't understand why. I mean this horrible sad feeling that won't go away. So not like me. Sofia had a great time at her birthday party, how could she not? Look at her cake that my mil made:

After eating all afternoon, I opened Facebook, found this picture and a couple of others that will not be shared (My headache went away immediately):


I have been reminiscing with about eight people I went to Elementary School with...those were the days. Jordan was lucky enough to find a class as special as mine who helped raise him as my friends did with me. While in Italy the family is the center of your world, in the States, it's your friends and teachers...especially when your parents are divorced. My best friend Hallie and I used to have sleepovers, memorize songs ("ONE" was our specialty-chorus line included), play with Barbie and Ken-she had a killer collection- and eat Booberry cereal in the morning. Loved Booberry cereal. Anyway...Facebook has been quite the experience for me, but if the Middle School photos start poppin' up...I'm so outta there!

Happy Befana to all!
And, finally...back to school! Wahoooooooooooooooo!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Party Time!

Yippeehooooooooo! It's party time here at the small home that will soon be the scene of fifty screaming children shouting, "Be-fa-na! Be-fa-na!" No, the holiday season doesn't end here on New Year's Day, the Italians draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag it out another week for the Epiphany. Basically, my mother-in-law dresses up as an old hag with a blinking nose, broom and old lady- who-lives-in-the-country attire. She traditionally makes her grand entrance to the explosion of a firecracker, then dive rolls so that the hysterical kidlings can see her ruffled bloomers. After, she takes the seat of honor as the excited children await their candies, and I pull out the annual present of a bright red thong so that everyone can laugh and she can say, "Ooooh, Santa Claus will LOVE this!" I kind of wonder what she does with those little items every year...

Speaking of dirty old men, as I was doing the pre-party shopping an 85 year old man tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Are you from Naples?"
I said, "Um. No." (What is with these men? I am A*M*E*R*I*C*A*N!!!)
He looked me in the eyes and said, "I'm surprised, because you have that incredible beauty that only a woman from Naples possesses..."
Note: I have red hair and green eyes.
This is a typical woman from Naples:

*Blind Dirty old man*
Gotta love him!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Letting Go...

My husband says that when I'm not being a bossy bitch, I am a highly sensitive woman. Yesterday, out of the blue, he kicked me in the ass.
Pissed off, I asked, "What'd you do that for?"
He replied, "There's an old Italian saying that goes, 'When you come back home, beat your wife. You don't know why...but she does!'"


Anyway, an adorable friend from facebook posted this video, and being that I'm in a sensitive state of mind, just thought I'd share...

If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were.
-Richard Bach

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Try explaining the difference between a birthday and a birthday party to a six year old child born on New Year's Eve. I've been trying to do this the past three days and I'm sure I'll be doing it until Monday, the actual day of her birthday party. Try teaching a dumb-ass dog how to take care of his needs OUTSIDE!
I have something I need to blog about, but I'm itching to go read a book I, off I go.

In the meantime, I called my friend to see if he wanted to meet for a drink to catch up on his New Year's Eve endeavors, now there's one with a funny story to tell, every single endeavor- but he was skiing with his daughter.

I have climbed many of these, but I've never actually set foot on one...maybe one day we'll go.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My 85 Yr. Old Grammy's Got a CRU-USH!!!

Adorable. Between being nostalgic for the New Year and cleaning dog poop off my floors at 4.00am after a Rockin' New Year's Eve, I have been seen laughing aloud every half hour since my mom gave me the news last night.

For those dedicated readers who follow this blog, the last time I wrote about Grammy, I was in town visiting her in the Nursing Home back in April terrified she wouldn't remember me because she has Dementia. My mom visits her regularly and takes care of any needs that aren't met by the staff at the Home. Obviously this is extremely painful for my mom and it has been a very tough four years.

Then, last night, my mom gave me truly miraculous news...

Mom: Jodi, did I tell you that Grammy has a crush on a 93 year old man named Jake?
Me: Nooooooooo! But he must be be a player with a name like Jake. Oh my God, tell me everything. NOW!!
Mom: Okay, do you remember the old biddy who sat across from Grammy at dinner, who was an old bitch from hell?
Me: Yeah.
Mom: Well, Grammy and her started getting aggressive, so I had Grammy moved to a different table for meals. And...that was when she met Jake.
Mom: Jake reminds me a little of Pop Pops and Grammy and Jake always fight when they talk, they don't really talk. But I think he looks at her like he likes her, too.
Me: Oh My God, Grammy's in love!!!
Mom: There's only one problem.
Me: What could possibly be the problem at 93 years old? *smile*
Mom: There's another woman.
Me: F***!
Mom: Yeah, totally. Okay, so last night was the New Year's Eve party at the Home and we were all sitting at the table.
Me: (interrupting)Mother, what did you wear to the party?
Mom: (laughing) Oh, just my high heel leather boots with fur around the tops, black leather pants and a tight sweater.
Me: Slut.
Mom: Someone's gotta entertain the old fogies...Anyway, Jake was seated at the head of the table. "The other woman" was seated to his right, I was on his left and Grammy was next to me on the other side. Jake and the other woman weren't just holding hands, they were swinging and holding hands. Grammy turned to me and said, "See, Monye, he likes her, not me."
Me: (Devastated)I'm comin' to town to kick some old age ass.
Mom: Wait. Okay. So after dinner, I took Grammy to her bedroom to tuck her in for the night and she said, "Monye, I want to go say goodnight to Jake."
Me: (Melting)
Mom: I told Grammy, "Okay, Mother." We walked to Jake's room, knocked on the door and entered. I said, "Jake, my mother would like to say goodnight to you."
Jake: Come in, Betty.
Mom: Okay, so she went inside the room and they started talking, not their usual fighting, but kind of nicer. At a certain point, and I swear I almost passed out, I saw Jake touch Grammy's hair and Jodi, he said, "Betty, you know you have really beautiful hair."

*The Power of Love*
Oh my GOD! It gets better. Apparently this crush has changed my grandmother's life. She is happier and told my mom she wanted to try to walk again. So, she began physical therapy five times a week and my mom says she's determined to start walking again. My mom is totally into this love affair and has been buying my Grammy new clothes and lipgloss so that she feels like a woman. And I am the proud granddaughter..."the other woman" my ass!