Friday, July 24, 2009

Fortune Cookies

Well, we hit the Chinese Food/Sushi buffet last night as I pack on the pounds and a good time was had by all. Of the entire buffet, Jordan had Wonton Soup. His eating habits drive me crazy especially considering all we do here is eat and shop with an occasional 3D movie thrown in.

In my quest for Zen, I found the following fortunes interesting...
*The major value in life is not in what you get, but in what you become
*Rest is a good thing, but boredom is its brother
*There are plenty of promises and hope floating around you
*Life is a gift, don't waste it
*Take a very long walk to burn off all the Chinese food you ate
*Respect for others is peace. Respect for yourself is happiness
*The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.

There were about ten more because we each grabbed a handful on our way out, but these will suffice for now.

I like the last one, I find it applicable. Jordan and I had a long conversation last night after Sofia fell asleep. We talked Mamma to little man about really deep life issues. It wasn't the fact that he could speak verbally to me, because Deaf children who don't speak, sign and can have heart to hearts with their parents, just like we did. It was the fact that he is now old enough to discuss delicate issues, to process them and elaborate them. And here we go back to the subject of Concrete vs. Abstract. He has all the tools he needs and now they finally have come together.

We talked about his past loves, different types of love and past pets. Such an amazing feeling to be able to reach a certain level of conversation with my twelve almost thirteen year old child.

On the other hand, he is stubborn as hell and drives me crazy...

*Smile...I am the luckiest*

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Aidan, Lucas, Jordan, George, BATMAN and ROBIN

Well, after almost two years of blogging and interacting virtually with so many incredible people, I finally got to meet some families..and their AMAZING kids!!! We came, we met Batman and Robin (Note: Batman and Robin dedicate their time and a lot of cool stuff at charity events all around Baltimore. I feel so fortunate that they were able to share their time with us...Thank you so much!) and we definitely ate a lot! A fun time was had by all...

I spoke to one mom who told me that she rarely feels comfortable talking about her experiences raising her deaf children with other families of hearing children, so that being able to spend some time with families living her same situation was so incredible for her.

Two other moms talked schools in the vicinity and discussed speech therapist options. Another mom had a question about batteries and processors. We all talked CIs. A gentleman walked up to me and asked why Batman and Robin came, were they here for a party. I said it isn't a party, it's a group of parents hanging out who share the cochlear implant in common. He said that his wife's cousin had one of them things. I said, "Really?" He said, "Yeah, it changed his life..."

It certainly has changed the lives of the families at that park and for two hours, we talked all about it...

Check it out!!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Me and My Shadows

When they aren't killing each other, chasing each other, screaming, yelling, kicking and instigating..they...are the most perfect brother and sister in the world.
They give tag-team a whole new meaning. Sofia is Jordan's shadow and he deals with it until he can deal no more, then, he walks upstairs and enters videogame land.
I am so happy I have two kids.

My mom is in heaven. The latest is that whenever my mom speaks to Jordan in English and he doesn't understand something, Sofia will flip back her hair, hold up her little fuscia polished hand to my mom and translate in Italian.


I am no longer a Mamma, I have become a referee. Which is fine by me.
Yesterday we went to Chuck....E....CHEESE!!!!!! And we had the best time. Before we went, my mother-in-law called and I listened as Jordan spent ten minutes explaining to her the concept of Chuck E. Cheese that does not exist nor have an equivalent in Italy. He did a damn fine job. I am always amazed when he speaks on the phone, understands and actually enjoys talking on the phone. He never did with hearing aids, it was taboo.

My little man goes with my stepfather to work every Sunday morning and makes ten bucks. Two years ago the going rate was five bucks, but on the flight over I prepared him to ask for a raise, he got it. So now, he's the big moneymaker of the family.

Anyway, I got the kids a large pizza and 100 game tokens that ran out after about an hour, so unbeknownst to me, Jordan went to the cashier and got ten dollars worth of tokens. The next thing I know, because I was trailing behind Sofia the entire time, he walked up to Sofia and put about twenty tokens in her cup.
He GAVE her tokens!!!!

I do believe that that was one of my proudest Mamma moments ever lived.
Love that generous boy.

Anyway, we are partying in the US of A and my mom is still alive!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Amazing Amelia...IN PERSON!

I have known Debbie since high school and a mutual friend told me about her blog about a year ago. I have been following Amazing Amelia's story since then. Finally, after about fourteen years, since I last saw Debbie, I got to meet them in person. Amelia has cerebral palsy and Debbie's blog is a wealth of information. Reading the blog and living the dynamic Mom and daughter duo are two completely different things.

I hung out with Debbie and her hot (famous-but-you'd-never-know-it)husband Nestor over homemade chocolate brownies that her mom had made and we reminisced about our trip to Italy about twenty years ago. Now we are old Mammas taking care of our incredible kids.

When Amelia woke up, I followed Debbie upstairs and met the star in person. She is a lot bigger and even more beautiful face to face. She was a little scared of me when she met me, I think she thought I was another doctor ready to visit her. I watched as Debbie inserted a tube that serves as a burper because Amelia can't do that herself and this is part of the procedure Debbie goes through before Amelia can eat. She put the best of doctors to shame with her skills and strong yet loving way of taking care of her girl.

Then we went back downstairs to chat and Amelia watched the "Backyardigans" (I think, I'm new to this American tv stuff) with her legs daintily crossed...such a little woman!

Debbie is an inspiring and special mom. She is intuitive and knows Amelia's every need before Amelia can even blink. I love them both...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Trees, Grass and Chocolate Snowballs with Marshmallow

It's good to be home. The kids are having fun, over jetlag, tearing up the house and destroying my parents. The usual. I was dying to go to a conference in Sturbridge, Mass. and Abbie saved me by inviting me to roadtrip with her, but I can't go. Yesterday, Sofia started screaming from downstairs and my mom couldn't understand what she was saying. I ran downstairs and she was freaking out because she had a piece of corn in her eye. She was so distraught that she couldn't say it in English and was screaming in Italian. Language barriers...and I can't go away and risk losing my kids and my mom because of language barriers. Story of my life.

In any case, five days have passed and my mom and I haven't had one fight. Miracle of miracles. Last night I went to happy hour with my best friend who happens to work with a guy I went to elementary school with, so we reminisced forever. Best time! When I got home the house was black *ten o'clock* and everyone was knocked out. I went upstairs and Jordan was sleeping in my bed, so I picked him up - all 75 lbs. of him to move him to his bed and he said, "What are you doing? Stop!" In ENGLISH!!!! The child, half asleep, was speaking English, not Italian..does anyone else find that to be slightly bizarre?

When you are away from the states for a year and a half, you appreciate everything so much more. Everyone I meet asks me, "Jodi, don't you LOVE living in Tuscany?" And I do. Italy is a beautiful and calm place to raise a family. There are no gangs, the crime rate is non-existent, my kids play outside until midnight, we have gelato, fresh food and culture...but there aren't any trees and grass near my house..just beautiful rolling hills.

So, when I sit outside at my mom's house, listening to her scream at my kids if Sofia gets too close to the pool or Jordan splashes, I just like watching the trees and grass, happy that my parents have the time they have with my kids.

My mom keeps asking me if Jordan's cochlear implant is working. I say, "Mom, it works a lot better if you speak Italian to him so he can understand what you're!" I ask him a question in Italian and he responds. Yup...working just fine.

Today I went to spend some time with my grandmother in the nursing home. So sad to see my grandmother living there. I hung out with her "boyfriend" Jake. They had had some activity in the Home that discussed memories. He whipped out the booklet they used and said to have a look at page 31, so I did. There was a series of questions, so I began interrogating Jake:
"Jake,what was your proudest moment in life?"
Jake said, "When I came home from World War II and hugged my parents for the first time..."
*I let that sink in...*
"Jake, has there been anyone in your life who has not helped you?"
Bright, blue-eyed Jake replied, "I was a hustler from the time I was little. I have always been independent. I've always helped my family members and I know that God is looking down on me along with all of the family members who have passed. You know, our bodies are composed of 95% water. We are 100% soul, so that even when we pass, we are still here with the people we love. I'm not scared of dying, I just want to live my life as happily as possible. I have never asked anyone for help in my life."

I lost it. Nothing like a good cry and staring into the beautiful eyes of an old man, stroke victim who still has such a sharp and deep mind. What a beautiful person. I can see why my Gram digs him. I approve.

Anyway...we've been busy living the USA. We've hit the zoo and the paddleboats at the Inner Harbor. A lot has changed, yet at the same time nothing has changed. I'm still taking it all in...with my kids and my family over a chocolate covered cherry snowball with marshmallow.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

USA: Independence Days

Well...WE MADE IT!!!!!
Really smooth flight, Jordan and Sofia are highly experienced world travelers. I will say this: we always fly US AIRWAYS because they have a direct flight from Rome to Philadelphia AND they have the little computer screens on the seats in front of yours with an incredible selection of videos (of course mine didn't work). Every year, we bring the little headphones to plug in so that we can hear the videos...THIS YEAR, JORDAN HAD THE COCHLEAR FREEDOM WIRE THAT CONNECTS FROM THE FREEDOM PROCESSOR TO THE AUDIO SO THAT HE COULD HEAR THE VIDEOS DIRECTLY IN HIS PROCESSOR!!!!!
Unbelievable, you should have seen his face. The incredible thing is that he began complaining to me that there was static in the sound that wouldn't go away, so I plugged in my ipod wire to see if it was true and lo and behold there was static. I asked the flight attendant if she could do anything about it. She reset the audio, Jordan plugged in the cable and the static was gone. Didn't hear from him for the entire 10 hour flight...

When we arrived in Philly, we had a three hour layover, so what's an American girl to do who hasn't shopped in the USA for almost two years? Yes, that's correct, we hit the Harley Davidson store. Sofia found a miniscule stuffed dog that she loved and was arguing with me in Italian trying to convince me to buy it for her. Obviously, the girl behind the counter was staring at us like we were crazy. After five minutes of bickering, Sofia turns to the girl and asks in English, "How much does this cost?" Yes, her first sentence in English, my jaw dropped. As I've said before, she is my child...


When I saw my mom I cried and scared her half to death, I never cry when I see my mom, she thought she must have looked old.
Since we've been here for two days, the kids are already acclimated. We hit Toys r Us (that was my mom's idea. I told her I'd wait outside until she sent the little Toys R Us man outside to come and get me- he said, "Excuse me, Maam, your mom wants you in the store!" hahahaha),

Pizza Hut


and my Aunt Janice's annual Fourth of July Bbq with my entire family who stared at me like, "Who is that?"

I may never go back. (just kidding, I think)
My mom and I drove Sofia downtown last night to see fireworks, Sofia fell asleep and we did the driveby, obstructed view fireworks display...spectacular moment.

By the way, I've learned something new: cars can be turned on using the remote control key or even by pressing a button.
I'm living in a third world country!!!!