Shaina makes a Brocha

Our family wakes up at odd hours to do strange things. On Tuesday night, we had the Chicken Dance at 10:30 p.m. We have Games Night at midnight, 2:00 a.m. giggle sessions and the grand unpacking of cupboards at three in the morning. Shaina’s latest late-night escapade both surprised and gratified us. The room wasContinue reading “Shaina makes a Brocha”

Time management

7:58 yesterday morning. I’m due to address the Torah Academy primary school at 8:00. At 8:15, Naomi and I are meeting with some of Shaina’s team (principal, teacher, facilitator, and therapists). I teach a weekly class in Glenhazel at 9:00 and another in Sandton at 10:30. Straight after that, I am meeting someone at myContinue reading “Time management”

Singing in the bath

By now, you know that Shaina loves to sing. She barely talks but can belt out the lyrics of dozens of songs (admittedly, with her own pronunciation). Shaina insists that I sing along with her and can’t understand how her verbal dad doesn’t know all the songs. She often surprises us with words from aContinue reading “Singing in the bath”

It’s not always fun as the sibling

Whohoo! We survived the summer vacation and returned our kids to school intact. Ask us how our summer went, and we’ll politely respond that Shaina is happy to be back in the structured social environment of the classroom. I wouldn’t suggest you ask our other children how their holiday was. Luckily, they’re too old forContinue reading “It’s not always fun as the sibling”

Summer vacation?

“Joburg is wonderful at this time of the year”. Half the people who make this claim are never here over December. The rest of us find it “wonderful”… half the time. Johannesburg used to grow blissfully tranquil at this time of year as locals flocked to the coast. We would enjoy hot but not humidContinue reading “Summer vacation?”

Thawing out in the New York winter

New York offered an icy welcome when I landed there last Monday. My daughters tell me the mercury dropped as I stepped off the plane. Frosty as the weather was, I looked forward to a warm experience at the annual Kinus conference.  Or did I? This trip to New York would stir up past traumasContinue reading “Thawing out in the New York winter”

Pre-flight jitters

In a few hours, I will please G-d fly off to New York for the annual “Kinus” conference of Chabad rabbis. Historically, that would have excited me. Considering I haven’t been there since 2019, I anticipated being pumped for this inspiration-filled mega reunion. Instead, it has triggered a series of unanticipated memories and emotions.  Perhaps,Continue reading “Pre-flight jitters”

Seeing life the right way

“It must be an issue with her left eye.” Shaina’s teachers and therapists all seemed to be in agreement. We had been sitting in Leah, the school principal’s office. Being called into the principal’s office is daunting for a child. It is overwhelming to be there to hear an assessment of your special needs child’sContinue reading “Seeing life the right way”

Passport Blues

Applying for a passport doesn’t rank too high on the fun scale. When your child defiantly sprawls herself on the floor while an official drawls on about the sluggishness of her computer, you need a stiff vodka. Hey, here’s an idea: Alcohol dispensers at government offices. Okay, that might be irresponsible. How about Xanax? WeContinue reading “Passport Blues”