Friday, April 30, 2010

Kissing 101

Once upon a time, in a land far, extremely far away, a prince spoke to a Queen as they were eating ice-cream under a shady tree. And this is what he said: "Queen Mother, I've decided to make love to a girl when my friends and I go away next week."

The Queen looked at her prince of a son quite taken aback and replied, "Prince, have you got a girlfriend that I know absolutely nothing about?"

The Prince said, "No, but all of my other friends have made love, so I would like to do the same."

The Queen said, "Start with a kiss."

The Prince pondered the idea and the Queen added, "Do you know how to kiss?"

The Prince opened his mouth wide, stuck out his tongue and made some strange jerky movements with it resembling a combination of a lizard and Happy Hippo hippo.

Note: The Queen and Prince were so deep into the conversation that they failed to notice that a silent Princess stood to the side observing.

The beautiful, wise, not-old-at-all Queen took a deep breath and said, "If you'd like, I will teach you how to kiss."

Shocked, the Prince replied, "You're going to kiss me with your tongue?"

Laughing, the Queen said, "No, I'm going to explain you the three kisses."

The Prince relaxed and said, "What do you mean three kisses?"

The Queen smiled and said,

"Kiss number one is actually two kisses, one on each cheek of a fair maiden that makes your hands sweat. If she smiles and doesn't break for the door after the two-cheek kiss, that means she thinks you're kind of cute.

Kiss number two occurs after you've chatted on the computer for about two months and sent some text messages, she asks you to help her with something very easy and obvious in royal school and she laughs at your jokes. Kiss number two is the meeting of the lips. You lightly touch your lips to hers, look her in the eyes and smile. If she doesn't look you back in the eyes, she may be ready for kiss number three. If she doesn't smack you across the face after kiss 2, you're making significant progress. If you can't look her in the eyes, you are definitely ready for kiss number three, but may not have the courage to actually go there.

Should you finally get up the courage and should the chatting online become more frequent, text messaging become overflowing with smiles, winks and the like and should you hear from her friends she thinks you're hot, you may ask her to be your girlfriend. After five months of kiss number 2, kiss number 3 may finally occur. Kiss number 3 involves the use of tongue. Not lizard, snake, hippo tongue, but soft lip kiss number 2 + gentle, exploring every-now-and-then tongue so that you don't look like two dogs happy to see each other. Lips, tongue and a lot of hugs."

The Prince smiled.

The Queen, sweating royally, smiled back.

The silently observing Princess said, "Mommy like this?" as she puckered up her little lips.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Must Be the Change in the Weather..

Jordan: Mammaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I'm home!!! Pyjama party!!!!!
I look at him like what??
Jordan opens his knapsack and pulls out his pyjama top.
Mamma: Why do you have your pyjama top in your knapsack?
Jordan: Buahahahahahahaha.
Mamma: ??????????????????????
Jordan: I took my jacket off during the break because it was hot and as I was eating two of my friends came up to me and asked, "What are you wearing?" When the third person asked me, I looked down and realized I had my pyjama top on. I ran to the bathroom, took it off, kept my undershirt on and put my jacket back on for the rest of the day.
Mamma: Impossible.

Nothing is impossible.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gelato and Curls

Yesterday Sofia and I went for gelato. She got a cone with three scoops: Kinder Bueno, Kinder Latte and Yogurt. The last time we had ice-cream, on Sunday, she got Mint, Coconut and Yogurt. I love that she changes ice-cream flavors every single time.

We sat on a bench under a tree and the sun was a-shining.

I watched as she devoured the ice-cream and she even stopped mid-lick to offer me a taste, which I took. Delicious.

I asked, "Sofia, are you in love with any boys in your class?" She said, "No, Mommy."
Thank God.

When she finished her ice-cream, she jumped on my lap and hugged me...for a good two minutes.

Two minutes is an eternity, when you consider I was so out of my head for two years that I never even took the time to have ice-cream with my daughter.

And that ice-cream on a bench under a tree in the sun on a miscellaneous day in April will always be one of the happiest moments of my life.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Apple Never Picked

Sometimes life gives us a break when we least expect it, sometimes, we realize we desperately needed it. It's a contradiction, we don't want the limbo, but we need it to absorb and reflect. It is so damn difficult to be a woman with principles in a world full of shit. I am encountering levels. Levels set limits and as much as I was against limits, considering them boundaries, they must be respected. So, as one part grows, the other remains stagnant. So many lessons to learn. Life.

There is peace in laundry and washing floors, something so routine. There is peace in screaming siblings and homework war. And there is peace in kissing my kids goodnight.

So much in this blog has been left unsaid. At the same time, so much has been created just using words. Words.

Two years ago, before I went to speak to the President of the Pediatric Federation I had a dream. I was a nervous wreck until I had this dream. I entered a Victorian-style home. It was empty. I walked straight through the house and exited the door opposite the entrance. I found myself in an apple grove where the apples were on the trees yet they were not ripe. The trees were filled with apples, hundreds of apples. I smiled and returned inside the house. This time there were a lot of people inside the house, as if they wanted to buy it. I found myself next to two men, who turned and asked me how much the house cost. I said I don't know, but I'm sure it costs a lot. Then, I looked to my right and saw a spiral staircase leading upstairs. I asked, "Have you been upstairs?" They looked at me surprised, they hadn't noticed the staircase. I broke for the staircase and started the climb upward. Then, I awoke.

When I awoke from my dream, I smiled, the President's last name is "Apple". I had no doubt how my meeting would go. It was only a matter of time...

I have lived struggling to create work limbo, accepted the end of a marriage limbo, and suffered through the give me some damn respect limbo.

This is a different type of woman limbo and these are the periods when we grow. Life requires that we prioritize, we just need to listen.

Monday, April 19, 2010


First of all if you don't see your comment immediately, know that I've been forced to moderate comments due to overload of pornographical content- 53 in twelve hours. Unacceptable and disgusting. Please forgive the time delay, or delay in response- I see your comments, but time is seriously lacking in this moment.

I'm living a period of work explosion. After two years of struggling, battling, fighting, sending people to where they need to go and not necessarily in the most diplomatic of ways...things are finally unfolding. The CI forum on facebook has 400 members, the blogs are still going strong, NHS 2010 is just around the corner and I have a GPOD presentation to create with the other GPOD women (Thank God for the GPOD women)and a poster presentation of the Italian Pediatric Federation-USA collaboration, there may be another big collaboration coming up, but I'll know in June.........and I'm starting a new blog: "Made in the USA...Born in Tuscany" coming soon.

Helping people every single day enables one to keep things in perspective and prioritize.

Saturday, Jordan came home from school and said, "Mom, on the busride home Sara said, 'Jordan shouldn't have been born Deaf- he should have been born mute!'"

I looked at Jordan and started laughing. He looked at me and started laughing. Sofia screamed, "Mommy look!"

I walked outside to find a bag of rainbow confetti exploded all over my court.


Friday, April 16, 2010

On the Road

Just before my single mom girlfriend put the lawnmower I lent her back in my car, she gave me two kisses on the cheek and we hugged.
I believe that God gives us what we need for those moments in life that swallow us, but in those really critical moments when we find ourselves lacking...sometimes all it takes is a cigar, a piece of melted chocolate, or a ride in a glass elevator...
to put us back on the road.
And there will be detours that take us South of Florence, curves that make us sick to our stomachs, unbearable stretches of highway that are so monotonous your eyes become heavy, bumps that make us spill our coffee and variable weather conditions...

But sunflowers will soon be in season here in Tuscany, and there is nothing like speeding down streets lined with fields of sunflowers in Tuscany..especially when you add melted chocolate.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pizza and Fries

Four days ago I sat next to an Empress. I spoke to her about newborn hearing screening, deafness, cochlear implants, doctors, Jordan and separation in five minutes. She was an elegant woman, blonde hair, ice-blue eyes, delicate ankles, red suit, knee-length skirt-amazing legs. One book of one thousand pages would not cover her life, her contribution to the field of cochlear implants and the battles she has fought and continues to win. We sat next to each other on a bench, took a five minute break from the International Workshop on Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation in Varese, Italy and soaked the brilliance of the April sun.

Her eyes were closed, she had bronchitis, she whispered, "Why did you and your husband separate?"

I had no idea how to answer that question, the only thing I was able to utter was, "He is a good man and an excellent father." More silence. More sunshine.
I asked, "Where do you get it from? Your mother or your father?"
I think she was taken aback by my question, not many people ask such things of an Empress. She thought for a second and said, "My father, he was an ambitious man."

We stood up and went back to the congress.

Later that night I started thinking, "Where did I get me from?" A while ago in a post, I answered that I was most like my grandfather. I complained that my sister always told me that I had no identity, that I sounded just like mom or just like dad, and my parents always said the same.

I got my ambitious, determined nature from my mom; my sensitivity, ability to communicate and humility from my dad...and my love of life and family from my grandfather. My grandma taught me how not to cook, but I still haven't mastered exactly how to cook.

Luca taught me the meaning of love...and my kids teach me how to give.

Sofia just gave me a kiss over pizza and fries.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Paving that Bumpy Road...

I just received a letter from the parent of three children whose son was given a result of refer for the newborn hearing screening test. He was then sent to a level two hospital which performed the exam again and once again, refer. He has been sent to Pisa, a level three hospital, where he will have the ABR. Obviously the father is worried, he found my Italian blog and contacted me with questions and concerns.

Aside from the psychological support that I can give him, and the empathy I feel for him, I step back for a moment and smile.

Tuscany has a newborn hearing screening program and it works. You have no idea how satisfying it is to see two years of work come to fruition and to receive an email because a person in need of resources can actually find them.

A minor satisfaction compared to what's going on with Paula and daughter! Paula left this comment on the last blogpost:

"The day I became a true advocate was the day another parent looked at me with eyes widened and a slackened jaw and said, 'You mean, you went to college?' She couldn't believe that a profoundly deaf woman with 2 hearing aids (back then, 2 cochlear implants now) was able to graduate both from college and law school. I knew then that I had to figure out a way to educate other parents about the wonderful things their children with hearing loss could accomplish. And now, I am so proud that my deaf daughter is following in my footsteps to help educate others too."

And here she is!!!! Click it up!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

The other day I was sitting in the lobby waiting for a friend, when a mother walked in with her son. The mother had the bleach-blonde-grandma-beauty-parlor look, rare for Italy and was wearing faded cotton sweats. She had the I-have-to-put-my-change-away-fast desperate look in her eyes and her son...evil. As the mother spoke to the secretary the little boy began to climb...everything. The secretary offered him a snack. He accepted...he did not say thank you. He asked if he could climb this platform thing that served as a railing to the steps. The secretary said yes.

The boy looked at me and grinned, I grinned back fascinated.

The boy asked for another snack...he did not say please. The secretary asked the mother if it was okay, and the mom said yes. She wiped her brow, the boy grinned and took the snack...he did not say thank you. The secretary glanced over at me and asked me if I wanted a snack. I said, no thank you, but that I wouldn't mind climbing the railing. *Smile*

The secretary smiled back.

The mom finished her business, thanked the secretary graciously, took her son by the hand, caressed his hair, and they left.

Her son had behaved like a perfect angel.

The other day I asked a medical professional for assistance because a foreign family's deaf daughter was only receiving speech therapy services for a total of one hour every fifteen days. When he told me that the only choice they had were public services and the availability of the speech therapist assigned to them, meaning that they had to accept that one hour, I wrote back that slamming the door was totally unacceptable...obviously I was joking, struggling to find a yes.

His reply was that the TONE of my response was the only thing unacceptable.

Strangely, that little boy's grin flashed before my eyes.

Perhaps that mother had flashed before his...