Why I Like the TV Show, “The Little Couple.”


imageThere aren’t many reality TV shows that hook me in, but I do like “The Little Couple.”

These are people who suffer from a genetic disorder that makes them shorter than the rest of us. When watching the show, it’s quite easy to forget about their disabilities in the first few minutes. I guess you could argue that it’s like a freak show, but I don’t agree. I think it is allowing people to see that little people are just like the rest of us. They have personality flaws, and good points too. This particular couple are very appealing because of their positive attitudes and love for each other.

I went to graduate school with a little person, and I did forget about her disability in no time at all. I must admit that I wasn’t sure how I should interact with her at first. I quickly figured out the only real difference between us was height.

Naturally, being that small presents enormous problems with every day getting around. Reaching things like car doors, cooking in the kitchen, etc. The show, “The Little Couple” addresses these problems. It shows ways to cope with them.

This little couple is very accomplished , judging from the house they live in and the jobs they hold. Bill is a business owner, and Jen is a doctor. They both have engaging personalities and are truly in love. The show is all about their marriage. Recently it’s been about them adopting two children ( also little people) from different countries.

Three year old Will seems to be a very insightful, compassionate and a smart child. He comes from China and calls Bill Baba (Chinese word for dad). When the couple adopted Zooey (from India) she was quite upset, but in recent episodes she appears happy and well-adjusted. The little couple are good parents and seem thrilled about parenthood.

You can’t help but like Bill because he is so easygoing and interacts with the children in such a sweet, caring manner.

Jen is little, but she has a big presence. Watching her go through chemotherapy for a rare cancer, and putting her newly adopted children above herself is truly inspiring.

I’m not alone in liking this show. It has a huge following on Facebook and on TV. Everyone needs inspiration, and they get it from this show.

Are you a fan of this show? Why?

Leaving the grandchild


I’ve been gone from my grandchild for a week. I do miss him terribly.

It reminds me of the first time I left my three children when they were small.
I convinced my husband that we deserved a trip without the children. I had a babysitter I could trust, so I didn’t feel the least bit guilty. Not at first. But, as the week went on, I realized I had a big empty hole in my heart that the children filled.

Later, when they went to camp it was hard too. It did prepare me for the time they would grow up and leave.

Now, it’s been a long time since I had children. Like my mother always told me, “it’s like a dream.”

The Grandchild Brought It All Back
I feel fortunate to experience those feelings again. Naturally, I come in a very far second or third. But, his little smile of appreciation when he sees me brings those memories back. It’s nice to get a little piece of heaven again.

Looking at Christmas from the outside


English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Esperanto: Patro Kristnasko kaj malgranda knabino Suomi: Joulupukki ja pieni tyttö (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Even before Thanksgiving is upon us, advertising for Christmas begins. It is impossible to live in the United States and ignore the impact that this celebration has on everyone.

 

My parents had an unusual take on Christmas. Being Jewish, they didn’t want me to identify with  the religious part of Christmas, but they didn’t want me to feel left out of believing in Santa Claus.  I don’t know how many Jewish kids believed in Santa Claus, but I did. He brought my Chanukah presents on  Christmas. (The truth was Santa Claus worked for his cousin on Christmas Eve, and got some merchandise in return.)  We never had a Christmas tree. We did light the candles and say the blessings each night of Chanukah.

 

I really bought the whole Santa Claus thing line, hook, and sinker. I counted the days until Christmas, and I really believed Santa Claus was watching me, so I made sure I was extra good.

 

When I found out that Santa Claus really wasn’t coming to my house, I was really upset.  It’s the first time I realized that everything wasn’t cracked up to what it was supposed to be. I guess that’s a sad reality we all have to face sooner or later.

 

I really felt like an outsider then because I realized Christmas really wasn’t my holiday. I asked my mother if Thanksgiving was really my holiday. How about New Years Eve? I was happy to find out Thanksgiving was okay.

 

Since I’ve grown up, I’ve come to my own conclusions about religion. I think it is nice to celebrate the traditions that you’ve grown up with, but I’m not exactly sure where the stories come from. (I buy the idea that they were written by people.)

I think there are lessons and basic truths in every religion. It’s too bad people misconstrue the whole thing, and live their own versions of their religions.  As my dear mother used to say,” anything in extreme is bad.”Meghan Kelly and her rantings about Santa Claus are a perfect example of what I find ridiculous.( But that’s another post.)

 

It is impossible to live in this country and not get a little caught up in the Christmas spirit. It is a good thing.  I wish people acted charitable and kind all year-long. I really enjoy the music, and the lights. I like saying “Merry Christmas” to people.

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza,  and Happy New Year!

 

 

Becoming a granny


DSCN3763It finally happened. After waiting and worrying for months my grandson finally arrived on June 28. Reading my thoughts before his arrival was a bit funny. I wondered what he was going to look like, and if he would come out all right.

He came out just fine. It wasn’t the easiest birth for my daughter, but she made it through with flying colors. His physical looks aren’t much of a surprise because he is the spitting image of my daughter. Okay, he is a boy.  He has the same blue eyes she was born with, and the same cute face. His handsome dad is in there somewhere too.

I saw him right after his birth, and he was looking a little bewildered. I guess we all are when we come into the world for the first time. It was touching watching my daughter and son-in-law’s faces as they looked at their child that first day. Pure love, and in 7 weeks they’ve both turned into great parents.

Me, a grandma? My husband, a grandpa?

At first, I nervously held him. (After all, my youngest adult child is going to be 32 years old.) Now, I’m not afraid; it all came back. Especially that aroma when the child has done his business.

I couldn’t wait to cuddle that little baby and sing to him. He responds too. I love it when he falls asleep on my shoulder while I’m holding him. There’s nothing like it.

My husband is holding him the way he used to hold all three of our kids when they were little.  He sits him up in a funny way, and he talks to him. The child seems to be listening to him too.

My husband and I got into the same talking pattern, and saying the same silly things to the baby. For a moment, we could pretend we were young again, but only for a moment.

I am looking at this from a different perspective. I swear I don’t remember how much time my infants spent sleeping. I guess I was so busy that I didn’t notice how much time it took for them to grow and develop. It’s always a relief when they are sound asleep.

Right now, he’s at the stage where he’s fascinated with staring at light, and he is becoming  a little more engaged. He is even starting to smile.

He is different from my kids because he took his “binky.” That’s what they’re calling pacifiers these days.  My children just spit theirs out. I guess I didn’t have the patience for it. Besides in the olden days our kids slept with blankets. Now, they put them in some kind of swaddling thing.  They also put them on their backs. It’s a good thing because it cuts down on sudden infant death.

This child is very lucky. He’s wanted on both sides of his family. Everyone adores and loves him. That’s how it should be for every newborn. It seems unfair that everyone is not wanted and loved from the first second of life.

So, at seven weeks that’s where I’m at. There’s just something wonderful about a new innocent life. I feel very fortunate that I got to experience it again. I think I’m going to like this granny stuff.

10 Suggestions from one Mother to another! Happy Mother’s Day!


Mothers' Day Cake crop

Mothers’ Day Cake crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These suggestions are taken from my experience.  It’s easier said than done, but I think these are some good suggestions.

  1. Make your children your #1 priority. Don’t worry about your job outside of the home. It’s not as important as they are. Take a lot of vacations together. 

 2. Don’t be afraid to praise them. Let them know when they do something wonderful. 

 3. Don’t spank or hit them. It never works. 

4. Don’t spoil them.  Let them give away stuff they don’t want anymore. 

5. Go to their sporting events, but don’t criticize them, or embarrass them. You’re not your child! 

 6 When someone complains about your child’s behavior, don’t automatically take your child’s side. (Especially when it’s a teacher.) 

7. Stay out of their conflicts.  (Unless your child’s physical well-being is being threatened). 

 8. Give them responsibility. Everyone one wants it, but not everyone gets it. 

 9. Don’t tell them what to be when they grow up.

 10. Tell them you love them often. Freely hug and kiss them!

Any more to add? What do you think?

Children grow up and become instant presto friends. There’s nothing like it!


Baloon Fun Time

Baloon Fun Time (Photo credit: andreasandrews)

 

Speaking from experience, once you have a child, they make it into you heart forever. There is no getting around it.  Maybe some people can forget about their kids once they reach 18, but that would be a person who doesn’t have a soul.

 

What’s great about adult children is that you can enjoy them on an adult level. Presto, you have instant friends. You will find that they might share your taste in clothes, food, and recreational activities.

 

My daughter keeps asking me if it’s weird having a grown-up daughter. The answer is no. It’s delightful.

 

The children they were stay in your memory and are in pictures, but  you readily accept them as adults.

 

It’s a plus.

 

Having children has been a fun experience for me, and an additional joy. I never expected to get all the benefits from it.

 

When they’re little, you get to experience life from their perspective. Who doesn’t enjoy watching your child ride the merry-go round for the first time? How about going to the zoo with them? There’s nothing like that first smile. Then there’s the first step. The first step away from you. But that’s your job. To help them grow up.

 

When they grow up, you can feel proud of them and share in their accomplishments and joys. That’s just as satisfying, of course, you do share in the disappointments too. That means like everything else in life, you” take the bitter with the sweet. ”

 

All in all, I think parenthood is a rewarding experience and well-worth the hard work.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

Pleasure Guild’s excellent production of” Peter Pan” provokes memories and thoughts!


Peter Pan 1915 cover 2

Peter Pan 1915 cover 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pleasure Guild sponsored an excellent production of “Peter Pan.”  This is a group that raises money for Children’s Hospital in Columbus. One way they do this is to produce a play.  The play was an amateur production, but seemed professional to me.  I loved it so much I put a few dollars in the Children’s Hospital’s  bucket after the show was over.

All of the actors are amateurs who did a terrific job. The choreography was fantastic. The main characters are all actors who’ve been in productions before, but there were children, who couldn’t have had much experience. The acting and singing were just perfect. They didn’t miss a step or a note!

Emily Cipfiani  who played Peter Pan was convincing.  She had a tremendous voice. (I’d read in The Columbus Dispatch that she suffered from juvenile arthritis. You would never know it by her flying and dancing.)

The actors who played Captain Hook (Doug Joseph)  and Wendy (Kelly Hogan) were particularly talented. They had those characters down perfectly.

I was impressed with everything: scenery, costumes, flying and music.

Thoughts the production provoked

This is a very old story. The first time I watched this I was a little girl. I know I liked it then, but for different reasons. I wanted to be like Wendy and fly. “Never Never Land” seemed appealing to me at the time.  I liked the amusing conflicts between the pirates, Indians and Captain Hook.  Peter Pan made a great hero. I truly believed in Tinkerbell. The music charmed me, just like it did in this production!

Now, that I am getting older, the play hit different chords. Do I wish I could go back to childhood and never grow up? (Maybe just for a day)   Can I even remember what it was like to be a child?  Hardly, but those good memories are ones I treasure.

At the end of the play, the grownups were bemoaning the fact that their children were gone. That touched a nerve. Your children eventually grow up and you and  go barely remember their childhoods. They leave one way or the other. We all want them to grow up, but it is a little sad, just the same.

There’s nothing like a good play to touch your heart.

Good job Pleasure Guild!

Did you see the play? What is your opinion?  What memories does “Peter Pan” evoke for you?

A Valentine’s letter to my mother


Dearest Mom,

Happy Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine’s Day… (Photo credit: Јerry)

I wish you were here. It’s almost Valentine’s day, and I still think about you. I thought you would live forever and you almost did. At ninety-one you finally gave in. I feel slightly guilty that I made you sign the paper giving the doctor permission to do that hip operation. I didn’t know you’d be signing your death certificate. I know you would never want me to blame myself. I do believe it was your “time to go.”

I figured you’d come through that like you did everything. You’d had a couple of  really bad breaks. You were a strong woman. You weren’t the type to feel sorry for yourself. Going blind at the end was very hard on you, but you “did the best you could.”

Things were starting to slip. Sometimes, you’d get things confused. One time, when we were listening to the radio, you asked me who was singing. It was Perry Como, your life-long crush.

[Portrait of Perry Como, New York, N.Y., ca. O...

[Portrait of Perry Como, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1946] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

You didn’t remember much about my childhood. That you’d nursed me through a staff infection for two years, that when I broke my shoulder, you’d made slings out of Cleveland Indian scarves. You couldn’t remember our family trip to Washington D.C. when I was 12.  It was like that part of our lives together never happened.

You rarely talked about my father. Not unless I brought it up. Remembering him was just too painful. I know you were hoping to see him after you died. But being the practical person you were, you didn’t believe that was going to really happen. Even though I’m just as practical, I like to imagine that you are together.

When I came to visit, we stuck with the tasks at hand. Walking down to the dining hall, taking a walk outside, and listening to that old radio station where they played all your favorites: Eddie Fisher, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, and all those singers from the 1940’s.

You still loved to go out to eat. It was almost like you were escaping from that independent living facility every time I came to visit. It was almost like we were partners in crime.

You loved to go to the beauty shop, and listen to the hair-stylists talk to their customers. It was the last place where you could feel like one of the girls.

In your old age you still cared more about me than you did yourself. You asked me if I wanted that extra dinner you’d ordered from the kitchen of the independent living facility where you lived. You asked me if I was comfortable sleeping on the couch overnight. You offered me sheets and a pillow. You tried your very best to be a good hostess.

You dearly loved all your grandchildren ( and great-grandchildren) and gave what you could to all of them. They were your hope for the future. Maybe your exterior seemed a little tough, but inside you were all mushy. You just didn’t let anyone know it.

When we went through your apartment, we found evidence of this secretive side: saved birthday cards, our old school report cards, photographs, engagement and wedding announcements and  programs from college graduations.

So, on Valentines Day I think of the one woman who loved me the most. When you died, you took my nickname with you. It isn’t the same if someone else calls me “Barbie.”  So, a part of me went with you. But, I’ll never forget you.

Happy Valentine’s Day mom.

Home for Wayward Birds: A Memoir


Once upon a time, my husband and I ran a boarding house for wayward birds.  It started with my son who was desperate for any kind of pet.  My allergies to dogs, cats and fur, made this impossible. Although I loved my son, I wasn’t prepared to go around with hives, a cough and a runny nose for the duration of his childhood.

When he was about 12, my pet-starved son, came home with a little finch in a bird-cage. “Alicia’s father can’t keep this bird. He’s going to have to stick a knife through its neck and kill it.” My son, who rarely cried, was sobbing. What could I do? I gave in. It was a pretty little bird. What harm was it going to do?  (I didn’t personally know Alicia’s father, but I doubted that he was capable of sticking a knife in the bird’s throat.)

We put the little cage in our family room,  and Pearl (later renamed Tweety) became our first guest at our birdie boarding house.

A pair of Zebra finches at Bird Kingdom, Niaga...

A pair of Zebra finches at Bird Kingdom, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The finch looked happy enough to me, but my husband thought she could use a boyfriend. So, he went out and bought another bird, (named Sylvester) to keep Tweety company. My son was quite happy with this whole arrangement.  It wasn’t a dog, but at least we cared enough about him to get him another living creature. My two daughters weren’t as thrilled as the rest of us about the birds. They were a little messy with their seeds. They could be noisy at times.

My husband would sometimes let the finches out of their cages, and they would fly around the house. We did this when the kids were at camp. Maybe we missed them. I knew it wasn’t the best idea, but I did think a cage might be a sad place to live. I’m all for freedom. (I didn’t even like keeping my toddlers in playpens).

The finches liked to sit on top of the family room vertical blinds and look down at us. I also noticed that they chirped when we played music.  The birds were pretty happy by themselves for a while. Although we didn’t have much of a relationship, they kept us company. It didn’t cost much to feed them.

The Parakeets Arrive

Parakeets and their young!

Parakeets and their young!

When my son entered middle school, he brought home a parakeet for the weekend. It seemed a lot more interesting than the finches. It was bigger and prettier.  I heard parakeets could talk, so I thought that might be fun.  (Little did I know that this creature, (Clark)  would never utter one word to me for the duration of his long life.)

Summer came, and the bird suddenly became homeless.  Nobody  in the class wanted it, except for my son. So, we adopted the parakeet. My husband became busy making it a large inventive cage that he cleverly built into our family room.  He made the bird  some really unique perches out of wood.  The parakeet  was quite happy hopping from perch to perch in the nice big spacious cage. He longingly looked at the finches, but they weren’t the least bit interested in him.

We thought the parakeet was a male. So, we got it another male to keep it company. Pretty soon we figured out that we had purchased Lois to go along with Clark.  We could tell this because of Clark’s behavior toward Lois. He ruffled her feathers.

Just for fun, we got them a wooden nesting box. Lois went in there to lay eggs. These birds were quite fertile and before we knew it, other little birds came into the cage.  It was interesting watching these birds build nests, sit on the eggs and watch the little birds hatch. The parents dutifully fed their young.  We supplied some materials to make the nests, and they all did a fine job. The father sometimes sat on the eggs, so the mother could get some seeds . It was a beautiful thing to watch, an equal partnership.

It was exciting to wait for the little birds to hatch. The little birds looked like worms when they were born. It was fun to watch them develop. Once in a while, we’d hold one. Life, on any level, is fun and exciting to watch.

It was funny how the baby birds held their mouths wide open while awaiting their food. The mother ate it first, then gave it to the baby birds.  Pretty soon, the baby bird’s feathers were as pretty as their parents. It was pretty funny to watch them learn to sit on the perches. It took a little doing. (kind of like a human learning to walk.)

After the little birds were big enough and could sit on those perches by themselves, the mother didn’t want another thing to do with them.  As a matter of fact, the parents forgot it was their baby. I thought that was a good lesson for human beings. When the kids grow up, stop coddling them. They are on their own!

We didn’t want the finches to feel left out, so we got them a nesting box too. We had a couple of extra finches come into our birdie boarding house.  Their nests were just as intricate and fancy. The tiny finches were adorable.

The birds believed in a definite routine. They ate in order, and went to sleep on the perches in order.  The best part was listening to them react to music. They all tweeted away. (The real kind of tweeting.)   It was sweet and nice.

My daughters were embarrassed about the whole thing. They just thought it was a little abnormal. I sometimes complained too. It got a little too much. There were a lot of birds (10-12) and they seemed to take over part of the family room. They made quite a racket when they talked to each other. Most of the time they just sat there, and looked at us.

I used to put my Kathy Smith workout on my DVD player on my TV,  and they’d sit and politely watch. They seemed to enjoy the whole thing. They tweeted to  Beethoven and Mozart music. The birds in our birdie boarding house had excellent taste in music.

Once they were grown-up, the birds didn’t fly on our shoulders, or want to be held. They definitely stuck to their own kind. Birds of a feather really do stick together. We tried putting the finches and parakeets together once or twice, but that wasn’t going to work. The parakeets wanted to kill the finches.

The birds lasted for around 10 or 11 years. Eventually, one bird after another would get inactive, and then pass away.  (We’d find them on the bottom of the cage). My husband would  say a prayer for each bird before he’d bury them in the backyard. They deserved a little dignity. After all, they’d been a member of our birdie boarding house.  I’d attend each funeral. One day we agreed to put the nesting box away.

When the last bird, a finch,  died my husband and I were both sad. By then, the kids had all left home.  We were finally alone. It was like we’d never had kids or a flock of birds living in our family room. He took down the cage, and the family room was no longer a bird sanctuary.

Sometimes I think we should just get one little bird to keep us company. Maybe we’d finally get one to talk, or fly onto our shoulders.  But, for some reason, it’s just like the kids. When they flew the coop, we just got used to the silence.

.

A favorite childhood poem: What is yours?


Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern American Poetry.  1919.
Eugene Field. 1850–1895
5. Little Boy Blue
 I’ve always liked this poem. Thought I’d share it.  I thought it was about growing up, but now I realize it’s about something else. But I still like it anyway. It was in a book of poems we used to have in my house growing up. Do you have a favorite poem? Maybe I was a more melancholy child than average. Maybe not, since it’s very famous.

English: American writer, poet, literary criti...

English: American writer, poet, literary critic, and editor Louis Untermeyer (1885-1977) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

THE little toy dog is covered with dust,
    But sturdy and staunch he stands;
The little toy soldier is red with rust,
    And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
    And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
    Kissed them and put them there.
“Now don’t you go till I come,” he said,
    “And don’t you make any noise!”
So, toddling off to his trundle bed,
    He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
    Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
    But the little toy friends are true!
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
    Each in the same old place,
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
    The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
    In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
    Since he kissed them and put them there.