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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin

Archive for September, 2010

It’s the small things

Posted by Barack Levin on 30th September 2010

When your kidney functionality goes down to 20%, your concentration goes out the window. Any type of concentration in conversation, reading or writing takes such a toll on me. I can start a sentence only to find out mid way that I do not know remember how I started it.

I was talking today to my radio trainer. He wanted to work on some stories. I asked him how he would want it, and he told me we would go over them and I will memorize them. I almost burst out laughing. I can hardly remember where I put my sun glasses let alone stories for interviews. His suggestion to work on only one at a time did not help and we decided to postpone everything. I am not in a state where I can do anything productive anymore without reaching exhaustion.

I find that scheduling, something that was so easy for me to do, is out the window as well. I just can not get myself to link 2 events that happen at the same time or follow each other. It is as if each event on a completely different level plan and is not connected to the other. So if the pharmacy and the supermarket are almost next to each other and I have it written down to go to both of them, I can not make the link that they are right side by side. Only when I get to the one I realize I could also get to the other. I have never been this way in my life.

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Black Circles

Posted by Barack Levin on 30th September 2010

I was looking at myself in the mirror today and was amazed at the size of the black circles under my eyes. But it was more than that. My lower eye leads were red and puffy. My eyes were tearing as if by themselves and that is despite the fact that I slept for about 10 hours last night.

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Going to sleep before the kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 30th September 2010

The last several days have been very busy for us and last night at 8 PM my wife and I could not keep our eyes open. We did not have to say anything t each other, we just knew that tonight we are going to bed early, as early as 8:30. However, the kids still wanted to play and since they do not have school today, we allowed them too because usually they are in bed by 8:30PM on a regular school day.

We called the kids over and told them straight out that we are going to sleep and they can go to bed at 9PM. They can read and play quietly. They agreed and we placed a clock in their bedroom. We went to sleep and indeed around 9PM the kids turned off the light and went to bed all by themselves.

I was of course not surprised because our kids go to bed by themselves every night, but I am happy I am able to reach such a deep understanding and trust with them on such important matters. It helps me concentrate on other areas I need to develop with them and it also gives me a piece of mind when I know they will follow our instructions even if we are not there.

If you treat kids like adults and expect them to behave like adults – surprise, surprise – they will also act this way.

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Pine Needles

Posted by Barack Levin on 29th September 2010

You do not have to be genius to lure your kids to prefer (yes, prefer) going outside rather staying at home and watching another useless TV shows. There are so many things to discover on the street in your backyard. Today we will take about pine needles. We all know them and never gave them a second look, but for kids they can become treasures.

I went for a walk with the kids in the street for the fun of it. The wind blew piles of pine needles, and I had an idea. We sat down at the side of the street and fathered some pine needles. We removed extra needles and remained with only one. We than bend it backwards and inserted it back to its base to create a round link. We added more links this way and ended up with a lovely all natural neckless for mommy.

It took the kids about 30 minutes to complete their first chain and another 15 minutes just to show off. Few more minutes to come back home and give mommy her present.

All in all, we spent about 1 relaxing hour outside enjoying the beautiful last summer days, breathing some fresh air and exercising our feet and brains. No TV show or video game can compare to this.

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Vomiting becomes a routine

Posted by Barack Levin on 29th September 2010

I do not know anymore if it is because of the kidneys or simply the meds I am taking, but recently every morning I have this terrible urge to vomit. It usually happens after I take my meds and I never take them on an empty stomach.

Today I could not hold it anymore and barely made it outside before I said Hello once again to breakfast.

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Hang Man

Posted by Barack Levin on 28th September 2010

Have you ever tried playing hang man with your kids? It is tons of fun. You come up with a word or sentence and they need to guess the letters that make it or vice versa. The twinkle in their eyes, the excitement when they guess a letter correctly, when they bend the rules in their favor and of course when they get it right.

But…. Have you ever played hang man with a kid who does not know how quite well spell yet? That is just like walking in a mine field. When it is your time to guess his word or sentence that’s when the fun begins. Letters mix up, replace places, forgotten or just plain simply dropped of. The game takes a completely different turn. Now it is you who wrecks your brains out to figure what the hell does he want to say. What the hell is this word with T, D and K right next to each other.

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We set our kids for failure

Posted by Barack Levin on 27th September 2010

How is it possible you ask yourself? After all, no parent will admit that he sets his kids for failure. We all want them to grow, develop and succeed. No parent in his right mind will set his kids for failure, but I say, yes, yes yes. We do it all the time and we are not even aware of it.

Here is how it works. We let our kids watch TV with no supervision and waste their time on nothing productive, we feed them garbage with no fruits and vegetables, we let others take care of them for us, we hardly dedicate any time for them, in the very short time we do have for them we do not do things that they like but carry them around to run our errands and the list goes on and on.

And in return, all we are asking from them is to excel in school, have a social life, excel at sports, behave well, be responsible and more.

They of course can not do it because their brains are high on computer games, their bodies crave for the basic food items, they do not understand the term responsibility and they can not make friends because most of the time they stare at the TV.

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Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…

Posted by Barack Levin on 27th September 2010

I had a chat with some friends yesterday. Their son just started kindergarten. He is 5 and apparently the youngest in his class. Their PTA has invited them to a meeting with Psychologist to understand behavioral issues with their kids. They told me that the session was very informative and that he told them that at this age they should not expect a kid who is 5 years old to perform as a kid who is 5 and 2 months. He suggested that although the age difference is so small, still, in this age it is significant.

In my opinion, I think he is wrong, not in his philosophy but in his approach. True, in this age even a week apart can make a big difference and indeed older kids in the same class have better abilities, but this is not the way to tell it to the parents because what does it really mean? The parents take it as a sign to use excuses for their kids misbehaviors or inability to cope with the class. Instead, this psychologist should have told the parents to tell their kids to get inspired by older or more able kids and learn from them. He should have also told them to ask the teacher or their friends what older kids can do and help their own kids to reach this level. He should have encouraged them to take action rather than discourage them from taking action and using excuses for their kids’ behavior.

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Attitude Problem

Posted by Barack Levin on 26th September 2010

We have scheduled a play date with one of my boy’s best friends. 15 minutes before the play date, a phone call from the mom. Apparently her son has an “attitude” problem since this morning and she has decided not to take him for the play date with my son. She of course apologizes and hangs up the phone.

I look at my phone at disbelief for several reasons. The first and most important one of all is that now my son is screwed. That was his activity for the morning. I understand if the other kid was sick or had an emergency, but for this?

Secondly, the whole attitude and punishment issue. I understand the need to “reset” a kid when he misbehaves. It happened to me more than once, but do you really want to do it this way? How about sending him to the play date and deal with the problem when he returns?

Here is an example of how I see things. We were scheduled to go to the water park with some friends a month ago. My little girl that morning was acting up. She did not to help, she did not want carry things to the car, she had an attitude and overall was in a very bad mood. I could have decided that as a punishment she will not go to the park. That is, in my opinion, the easy solution, but I decided against it. I can not do that to her and me. She will get her punishment later on but the park is a great way to spend the day and so we went. Funny enough, our friends who were suppose to be there in the park with us had the same problem with their son that same morning. They chose to punish him by not going to the water park. And here is why I think it is not a suitable punishment. The child does not even know what a water park is. He has no clue what he missing or not so what is the whole idea behind grounding him and even if you do not want to ground him, ground him from seeing his friends but not from something that you can do only once a year.

The way I handle things in such situations is to weigh the benefits here and make my decision. My girl had a talk after the park. Now that she knows what she could have missed she knows that if she misbehaves she will miss on some great adventures.

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Ini-mini-miny-mo

Posted by Barack Levin on 25th September 2010

Here is another way to play this wonderful childhood game. My 2 kids are taking a bath. They are all happy playing with their toys in the water. They cal me over to be with them and I oblige, but I do not want to a spectator, I want to participate and so I find a new game. On the sink next to me I unscrew the cap of one of the bottles. I fill it with cold water from the faucet. My kids already know what is going to happen. I have done it many times before. They know I will choose one of them and throw the cold water on him or her and they will flee in a cloud of joyful screams. So they get ready, but this time, there is a twist. This time I play Ini-mini-miny-mo with them and the winner gets the cold water.

They play along and scream when they get splashed. My older son figures out the rules first. He understands that the first person to be pointed at is also the winner of the games, so he wants me to start with his sister. I agree, but than at the end I cheat and splash him instead.

This is just another way of taking such a simple game and “upgrading” it.

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Sick Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 24th September 2010

My boy is sneezing for the whole day and my girl is coughing for 2 days now. The sneezing is probably due to allergies or may be even a slight cold but the coughing is definitely something else all together. It is a dry itching deep cough but she does cough every few minutes as if to free her breathing pipe.

I am the east concerned about it but my mom who came to visit suggests giving her a cough syrup and so I had to explain to her my philosophy again.

My girl is not complaining, she has no fever and reports no pain. I am quite positive that the cough bothers her but not to the point that she has to stop playing or even need bed rest. I could give her the medication but what’s the point? Why not give her body something to work on? Why not have her immune system work extra hard and become better at fighting germs? So I voted against my mom’s recommendation and let my little girl continue with her cough.

Today she woke up cough free. It is not a miracle. It is her immune system that’s doing its job. Our fingers are too light on the medicine trigger and I am totally against it. Let their little bodies handle it. They were born this way.

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Simple Tasks

Posted by Barack Levin on 23rd September 2010

The headaches I am having and haze in my mind are increasing to the point it is hard for me to even concentrate on simple tasks. Take scheduling for example. I can not make the connection anymore before 2 appointments the same day. I can not grasp the conflicts in scheduling or plan my day so that my schedules are somewhat reasonable.

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Muscle Spasms

Posted by Barack Levin on 19th September 2010

A new side effect and a really annoying one too. I am so tired all the time and finally get a chance to go to sleep. I lay down my head in anticipation for some good night sleep. Just as I am about to fall asleep I get leg muscle spasms that cause my legs to jerk. I kick my wife and of course wake up. I go through several of these cycles before I can finally go to sleep.

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My Mind and My Eyes

Posted by Barack Levin on 18th September 2010

As the kidneys plunge into their death they take the whole body for a spin. The strain on the body is so immense that every ounce of my being suffers. I mostly feel in 2 ways. The first one is my mind. It is always in a haze. Very hard to concentrate very hard to plan. I can hardly make any decisions any more. I used to multi task to maximize my time. Now I am lucky if I can complete one task a day without getting too tired. My brain seems like an attic full with useless items scattered around. It is very hard to walk there and nothing is organized. As for the decision making, it is just like driving on a new unfamiliar road in the dark during the fog. The driver can only see 3 feet ahead. Nothing more.

The second thing is my eyes. I am so tired all the time that my eyes hurt constantly. It got to the point where they tear by themselves even when they are open.

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Avoiding the Crowds

Posted by Barack Levin on 14th September 2010

The recent incidents I have had where I caught a nasty stomach virus had me thinking. I can no longer take my health for granted. Every such incident now flares my kidneys and causes them to deteriorate faster. As a result, I have decided to take some drastic measures. First off – I avid large group of people and especially kids. They nest nasty viruses that for a normal healthy person might not matter so much but with me it is a different story. Secondly, I had bought something that I always refused to use – a hand sanitizer. Now it is attached to me and after every hand shake I use it. And while on the subject of hand shakes, I am thinking I am going to give it up all together. Thirdly, I told my carpool partners that they have to tell me if their kids are sick. I carry in the glove compartment a surgical mask in case they do come sick in and I have to protect myself.

Everything I do is to squeeze one more day out of my dying kidneys and not expose them to danger.

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More on ADD and ADHD

Posted by Barack Levin on 2nd September 2010

The kid we carpool with is exposed to TV and video games. Lots of TV and video games. How do I know? 2 reasons. The first one – he tells us. He simply tells us how much time he spends playing with his video games and how much TV he is watching. The second reason is his behavior. It is iritic on the verge of uncontrollable. He can not sit still for a second. He hums, yells and screams out bizarre noises which, if you pay close attention to sound just like the sounds his video games make. His mind is over stimulated to the point that he can not calm down for even one second. It is constantly bombarded with these extra forces that even when he is not exposed to them, they still play in his mind.

How sad is that. Instead of pumping into his brain useful things, his brain is always in an overload state ready to explode.

Here lies the foundation for all of those ADD and ADHD problems. Exposing the undeveloped minds of young kids to stimulations that are not suitable for them and cause their brains go berserk.

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