Monday, April 27, 2009

Keep Your Eye on That Hearing Aid!!

Anne, an American Mom living in Rome, who is also a member of the Italian support group Sorditaonline Forum, translated a post left by a dad (so adorable):
My son's hearing aids and the dolphin

It was August, 1998 and we were in the seaside town of Cattolica, Italy. One evening we went to the aquarium to watch the dolphin show. There were a lot of
people, but luckily we were among the first to go in and were able to get good
seats right in front near the giant pool. My wife held our son on her lap, so I went on the other side of the pool to film them watching the show.

Everything went great; it was beautiful and our son was so excited and happy
watching all the moves of the dolphin. He was having so much fun, and every now
and then even got splashed a little with water. I filmed away and it was wonderful to watch my son enjoying the show so much.

But then my son did something…he took off his hearing aid and launched it at the
dolphin!! The hearing aid sank down to the bottom of the pool, and the dolphin
swam down, scooped it up, and began swimming around the pool with the hearing
aid on its nose!!

We were in total panic! I started jumping all over people trying to get to my
wife; she was desperate, and our son was having a great time. They obviously stopped the show and the trainer, with various hand signals called the dolphin to the edge of the pool.

The show was packed with people, and when the dolphin brought our son's hearing
aid back everybody burst into applause.

We ran back to our hotel and after two hours with a hairdryer it started working
again. If we had known, we would have brought a toy for him to hold while he
watched the show!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stop... and Smell the Sunflowers

Tomorrow is the first day of my next life.
When people start over they carry baggage and that baggage weighs them down. They become bitter, angry, resentful and all of these sentiments prevent them from trusting again. They walk in fear.


Is it easy to start over? Hell no.
But it's raining here in Tuscany, and I've got my sunglasses on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lipgloss, Thongs and a French with Polka Dots

Life requires adaptation. Luckily, the materialistic world we live in, offers a vast variety of tools to facilitate this adaptation. I received an email the other day from a website called "Stages of Life". Couldn't have come at a more appropriate moment.

During any given day, we may be mothers, waitresses, teachers, dishwashers, washing machines, chauffers, happy prostitutes, doctors, philosophers and execs. We may also be the little girl who joins Susan Boyle's fan club on facebook and cries when a 12 year old belts out a Michael Jackson song.

Bills, death, taxes, traffic, rain, stress...all of these contribute to harnessing a free soul, unless you adapt, accept and move on.

How does one go about such adaptation in moments of stress?:
Phase one: Thong
Phase Two: Apply Lipgloss
Phase Three: French manicure with Polka Dots
Phase Four: Learn to know yourself and love yourself.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Go Jordan!

This was the television advertisement for the writing competition "Different, yet the Same: from Cultural Barriers to Architectural Barriers" held in the Province of Grosseto, sponsored by the Committee for the "Breaking of Architectural Barriers"

Jordan broke the sound barrier...



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Unstoppable Rachel

Rachel Chaikof's blog is soulfood. Her neverending coverage of children living the cochlear implant experience blows me away- remaining true to her hurricane reputation. The woman rocks, she is now an official journalist! Check this out: a Deaf woman with bilateral cis interviewing a Deaf little girl with bilateral cis! Introducing...Megan...and Rachel:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Emotional Experience

Honest Abe...

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Saturday, April 18, 2009




After the Laundry, the Laundry

Impermanence is the truth of life. Embracing it in our most basic daily activities can be the key to everyday ease.

Living with a busy family, I often feel just like one of the Tibetan monks I once saw making an intricately designed sand mandala. For months, they bent over the ground, arranging the sand grain by grain, and once their beautiful creation was complete, they cheerfully destroyed it in the ultimate celebration of impermanence.

While I don't create ceremonial mandalas, I do wash the dishes. And when I come back to the sink later, dirty dishes have appeared again. I fold and put away a basketful of laundry, and in no time, the basket is full again. Even my yoga mat is a reminder of impermanence. Just this morning, it was stretched out on the floor, filled up with my movements, and now it leans against the wall, empty and forlorn.

As the Buddha said, impermanence is the nature of the human condition. This is a truth we know in our minds but tend to resist in our hearts. Change happens all around us, all the time, yet we long for the predictable, the consistent. We want the reassurance that comes from things remaining the same. We find ourselves shocked when people die, even though death is the most predictable part of life.

We can even look to our yoga mat to watch this pattern play itself out. We often find ourselves attached to a never-ending process of "improvement" in our asanas. They do improve quickly at first—in the beginning, we are on a honeymoon of discovery; we grow by leaps and bounds in ability and understanding. After a couple of decades, however, our poses change much less. As our practice matures, it becomes more about consistency, deeper understanding, and smaller breakthroughs. This is not to say we won't continue to improve, but the improvement may be subtler. Oftentimes, we can no longer practice certain poses because of age or injury, yet we feel agitated because we assume that the poses of our youth should be the poses of our middle and old age. We are surprised when familiar asanas become difficult and formerly difficult ones become impossible.

What's the lesson here? Experiencing remarkable improvement on a continual basis, it turns out, is a temporary stage. Realizing this puts us in touch with the truth of impermanence; remaining attached to the practice of our past creates suffering in us. In India, the home of yoga, there is a traditional Hindu social model that underscores the change we continuously experience. Called the Ashramas, or Stages of Life, it defines four distinct periods in life, during which people can and should do certain things. The first, brahmacharya (brahmic conduct), is the student stage, during which one learns about oneself and the world; the second, grihastha (householder), is the stage of family and societal obligations. The last two stages focus on renunciation. During the third, vanaprastha (forest dweller), one is freer to begin a contemplative life. And during stage four, samnyasa (renunciation), one goes deeper, surrendering all worldly things and living as a simple mendicant.

The beauty of this model is its inherent acknowledgement of the impermanence of each stage of life. There is wisdom in this awareness—not just because our lives do obviously and unavoidably change but, more important, because when we accept this fact as truth, we suffer so much less.

Without having an awareness of impermanence, we typically fall into one of two patterns: denial or depression. Although we cannot escape the impermanence of life and the fact that we are going to die, we desperately deny these truths; we cling to our youth or surround ourselves with material comforts. We color our hair, Botox our foreheads, and touch our toes. Or, if denial isn't a good fit with our personality, we may unconsciously turn away from the truth by feeling depressed or withdrawn from life.

Yoga philosophy offers an alternative to these tendencies. It is to embrace the powerful truth spoken by all great teachers: the power of living in the unchanging eternal present. The first verse of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra states, "Atha yoga anushasanam," which translates as, "Now is an exposition on yoga." The power of this verse is often lost on readers who interpret the words as an introduction of little value. But in my view, Patanjali does not use unnecessary words. That first word is the key. The verse is intended to underscore the importance of the study of yoga right now. It encourages us to focus on what is happening to the body, mind, breath, and emotions in this moment. Now is a word that is powerful and sufficient enough by itself to be used as a life study, a sort of mantra. The ability to respond to now, to live in now, to enjoy each precious moment without clinging to it or pushing it away is the essence of spiritual practice.

Yoga philosophy as a whole is predicated on the notion that identification with the temporary, changing aspect of reality leads to suffering, while recognition of the eternal, changeless Self leads to peace. In day-to-day life, these concepts seem interesting at best and esoteric at worst. But remembering the eternal in daily conversations, tasks, and actions is really the key to transforming our lives. Unless we are able to return to the "big picture" of our lives, we will be caught up in the minutiae of being late for an appointment or losing a favorite earring. What gives life its juice is the ability to mourn the lost earring fully and simultaneously know it doesn't ultimately matter.

In other words, we can live to the fullest when we recognize that our suffering is based not on the fact of impermanence but rather on our reaction to that impermanence. When we forget the truth of impermanence, we forget the truth of life. Spiritual practice is about remembering that truth and then embracing it. In the past, I kept doing the laundry so it would finally be "done." Of course, it never gets done. Now when I look into the laundry basket, whether it is full or empty, I try to see it as an expression of what life is all about: moving through the different stages, surrendering to impermanence, and remembering to embrace it all.

...By Naomi- my guru.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Secret

Two summers ago, when I was in Baltimore promoting RALLY CAPS, my mom called me into the living room and told me that I needed to watch a video with her. The video was called "THE SECRET". Apparently the book was featured on Oprah and my mom was so impressed that she made the investment. I saw the film during a period of my life where I was in limbo and wanted to do something important. This is what "The Secret" is about:

The Secret reveals the most powerful law in the universe. The knowledge of this law has run like a golden thread through the lives and the teachings of all the prophets, seers, sages and saviors in the world's history, and through the lives of all truly great men and women. All that they have ever accomplished or attained has been done in full accordance with this most powerful law.

Without exception, every human being has the ability to transform any weakness or suffering into strength, power, perfect peace, health, and abundance.

Rhonda Byrne's discovery of The Secret began with a glimpse of the truth through a 100 year old book. She went back through centuries, tracing and uncovering a common truth that lay at the core of the most powerful philosophies, teachings and religions in the world.

What Rhonda discovered is now captured in The Secret, a film that has been viewed by millions around the world. The Secret has also been released as an audio-book and printed book with more than six million copies in print.

The Secret reveals the natural law that is governing all lives. By applying the knowledge of this law, you can change every aspect of your life.

This is the secret to prosperity, health, relationships and happiness. This is the secret to life.

I had such a pure, unconditional need to make a difference and to love. I had just begun posting on the CI Circle at that time and wanted to share my experiences to provide support for other parents who may not have had support, just like I didn't while raising Jordan. That was the beginning of my own healing experience and I didn't even realize it. The law of THE SECRET is to really want something so badly and to give it to the have faith.

*I have always had FAITH*

Anyway, the point of this post is the following. Yesterday was the two year anniversary of the publication of RALLY CAPS in the USA and the first year anniversary of its publication in Italy. And yesterday was the first day I sat with another mother through a cochlear implant surgery, reliving my experience with Jordan and all of the anxiety and stress of those painful four hours.

It was an extremely stressful day, but it all went well and the little girl and her mom are recovering nicely. On the trainride home from Pisa, I sat next to a guy. About halfway through the ride, I glanced over to see what he was reading..."THE SECRET"- in Portugese.

I believe in signs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Second Cochlear Implant Surgery

1. My kids have been on vacation since last Monday, I love them, but thank God they are returning to school.
2. I'm going to Pisa tomorrow morning to support my first Mom. She contacted me three months ago with a question regarding the cochlear implant and her 18 month old beautiful baby girl is having the surgery tomorrow morning.
3. I'm freaking out.

I love that I have the opportunity to provide information and resources to parents going through what we have gone through with Jordan. I met with a mom of a newly diagnosed baby about three weeks ago and started crying with her as she broke down wondering whether her baby would "be okay."

Tomorrow, I'm going to live all of the pain and agony I went through while Jordan was in that operating room. This time, I'll be the one bringing the coffee and calming the nerves of another mom. I hope I don't have a panic attack.

It's times like these when I can almost understand why some doctors have no bedside manner.

I never want to become numb.

Image care of

Monday, April 13, 2009

For the Record: NAD=ENS Has Still not Responded

NAD = ENS in Italy
AgBell = FIADDA in Italy

If you have been following this blog and what has been going on in my Italian Newborn Hearing Screening Saga, then you know that I have met with the President of the Italian Pediatric Federation and he has approved an initiative regarding the screening at a National level.

Three weeks ago, I wrote a letter asking for support from both the ENS and the FIADDA.

The FIADDA replied immediately and offered any assistance I could possibly need in carrying out this awareness campaign.

The president of the ENS has still not responded.

My purpose in creating this campaign is to identify areas of weakness in Pediatricians' knowledge of the screening and issues in deafness. Obviously, communication methodologies would be one aspect that would need to be addressed. My job is to provide unbiased resources within this campaign. Why did I even contact ENS? Because after a year and a half of blogging and listening to all of the readers' opinions, I knew that such an organization existed and how important it is to provide unbiased, objective resources for parents...starting with the pediatricians who assist them.

Ironically, in an Italian blog post, the president of ENS left this comment referring to the Italian Premier:
(translated in English)
We have written on many occasions to request a meeting as a Federation of the Historical Associations and ENS, which in Italy represents 4 million disabled, but Berlusconi until now has been the true deaf person on the national political scene considering he has never responded. And they say he is a Man of great feeling and sensitivity...

Ida Collu
Presidente Nazionale ENS


I can understand her frustration. Just think, she is the PRESIDENT of an organization and never received a reply.

I'm just the mother of a Deaf child.


Friday, April 10, 2009

In the Mood

For a little of this:


So...Introducing Aimee Mullins:

(Thanks Linda...beautiful videos)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Shopping with my Girlfriend

Jordan slept over a friend's house so Sofia Madyson and I are left home alone on market day in Grosseto. Hmm. What are two girls to do?


We drive to Grosseto and park the car. We exit the car and begin walking.

Sofia: Mommy, my feet hurt, how far is it to the shops?
Me: Sofia, rule number one- you are a woman in training- when shopping one must suffer. Deal with it and walk on, girl.
Sofia: Mommy, I'm hungry.
Me: Okay, I could use a cappuccino myself.

Sofia and I proceed to the bar where I tell her to pick out her pastry of choice. We dine together...just mommy and princess.

We leave and head to the market where we proceed to fight.
Sofia: Mommy, I like these shoes.
Me: Horrendous.
Sofia: But I like them and they're for my feet.
Me: You like everything, we need to find a mutual like and only then, may we consider it for purchasing.
Sofia: Okay.

We stumble upon a man selling umbrellas. Considering the sky is menacing and I have been dying for this ruffly umbrella with hearts that everyone has been carrying lately, I ask Sofia which one she wants- red or pink. Of course she chooses pepto-bismol pink...quite possibly the ugliest umbrella in the world. But we choose it together.

We head for the shop where I usually buy her clothes and spend about an hour debating over which outfit to buy. She grabs this one white frock with a grey bow at least five times...absolutely not- no grey bows. We finally agree on a pink-no-surprise-there outfit and go on our way. Just as we are leaving the shop it starts to pour. Sofia screams, "MOMMY, OPEN THE UMBRELLA!!" And there we were, mother and daughter skipping under the pepto-bismol pink umbrella with ruffles and white hearts...

When we finally make it back to the car, Sofia says, "Mommy, I love you. I had such a great day...when can we go shopping again??!

*That's my girl!*

Monday, April 6, 2009

Earthquake in Abruzzo

Thank you to everyone who sent messages wondering how we're doing here in Tuscany. We were fortunate not to have been located in the region of Abruzzo where the Earthquake occurred, and our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones due to this natural disaster.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that an alarm was raised regarding the possibility of a major earthquake occurring...and it was ignored.

We are about one hour and a half from Rome, where they are filming the Italian version of "Big Brother." This was the scene in "The House" at 3:32 am when the earthquake hit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

MOMS Around the World in 80 Clicks

I received this email a couple of days ago:

You don't know me but I found your blog because I was specifically
searching for blogs written by moms all around the world.

A few days ago, Catherine Connors of the blog Her Bad Mother -'s trying to see
if we can connect mothers all around the world so that we can all just
click through and learn about parenting in other countries. The
entire thing basically means writing a post about five things you love
(or "love" if it's one of THOSE days) about being a mom.

I was hoping that you might consider taking part in the project.
There's no enormous rush to post something, but if you could, that
would be really awesome.

(By the way I can not tell you how envious I am that you live in Tuscany!)

Take care!

Sherry Osborne ::
Chaos Theory -
Canada Moms blog -
Professional Blogger:

And considering there is nothing I love better than being a mom, here goes the list of the 5 things I love the most about being called "Mamma!"

1. Yesterday morning Jordan received the following letter in the mail in response to the essay he submitted entitled, "Different, yet the Same":

Dear Jordan,
In relation to the 8th annual competition entitled, "Different, yet the Same: From Cultural Barriers to Architectural Barriers" it is with great pleasure that I inform you that your essay has been recognized for excellence(or something like that) by the Jury which has decided to award you Honorable Mention in the competition.
I am also proud to invite you to the ceremony to be held on April 21st where the awards will be presented and you will be given a certificate and prize for your essay.
I will be honored to notify the Director of your school so that she will allow you to be absent from school in order to claim your prize and in the hope that she will invite your class to attend the ceremony...

2. Sofia Madyson, two weeks ago, said: "YOU are not a sweet mommy. How I would love to have a SWEET mommy. Chiara's Mommy is sweet and she makes really good dinner. You are a terrible cook!"
Sofia Madyson, yesterday: "Mommy, you are a queen. You are such a sensitive mommy, I love you!"

3. Secretary from Jordan's school: Mrs. Del Dottore, your son would like to talk to you.
Jordan: Mamma, I don't feel well. Can you come and pick me up from school?
Me: Okay.
I'd never tell them this, but I love going to get my kids from school when they are sick and weak. We have our best conversations one on one in the car-ride home when they have that I-am-so-grateful-that-you-rescued-me-from-school voice.

4. 4,20 am.- Dead asleep, I feel something touching my arm. It's Sofia: "Mommy, can I sleep with you, I had a bad dream." We cuddle and I am the happiest Mamma in the world. Then, she awakens me with her lethal morning breath and she blows it in my face intentionally. No other human being should ever have to experience my daughter's morning breath, she may never marry.

5. This video is in Italian, it's the last scene that gets me every time...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mrs. Block

My Elementary School Guidance Counselor Shirley Block, a plump, jovial, golden blonde who always smelled like powder saved my life when I was going through my parents' divorce. I would spend an hour a week in her little office playing with finger puppets, but above all reading books. We read books about strong women who travelled the world and fought for causes they believed in...and they always prevailed. Always.

I was visiting Baltimore for the summer, once, when Jordan was about 2 years old. At that time he wore hearing aids, was learning to speak and was often in temper tantrum form. I ran into Mrs. Block at the supermarket. So happy to have found her after so many years, I hugged her and thanked her profusely for all of her help and love that she gave me during a difficult time of my life. As I was speaking to her, Jordan was sitting in the shopping cart and Mrs. Block put her hand on the handle of the cart. Jordan removed it. She put back on the cart. Jordan removed it. She put it back on, looked at him and in a firm voice said, "My hand is staying there." Jordan didn't touch it again.

I saw her for a total of five minutes, and she touched my life again by disciplining my child with love.

My child is Deaf, he doesn't need "Special Treatment." He needs auxiliaries, his ci and support. He needs to be taught right from wrong just like everyone else.

Right and Wrong, Yes and No.

Today, the President of the equivalent of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the FIMP, Dr. Giuseppe Mele, gave me permission to take the Tuscan Study to a National Level.

I began the meeting by showing him a video of Jordan and explaining how so many pediatricians do not listen to a parent's concerns until it is too late.

For the first time, a doctor let me talk for one hour straight and really listened to what I had to say. He didn't shake his head once, although he did bow it to think every now and then- and at that point I would say, "Should I continue?" And he would say, "Yes!"

I said, "I would like to use a questionnaire on line to assess the level of Italian Pediatricans' awareness of issues in Deafness and the Newborn Hearing Screening."
He said, "Yes!"

I said, "Considering that the results will indicate that Pediatricians are not aware of issues in deafness, I have created a potential program to be implemented..."

He said, "Okay, we can add a page to our website filled with resources for the pediatricians and parents to start with..."

I said, "You know, if we launch an awareness campaign, I really think it would be a good idea to let me speak at the Conference so that I can convey the message to a larger amount of pediatricians- um, 2000 to be exact."

He said, "Maybe!"


My son was born Deaf and that has been a difficult yet enriching journey that we live every single day. Overcoming the obstacles that have been thrown at us in this journey has made me a stronger woman...

For the past eight months, I have put my hand on that shopping cart and it has been removed-I can't tell you how many times.

Just try to budge it now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Mamma on a Mission...

Don't know how I got this far...but there's no turning back now.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

- Albert Einstein