Picture of me – with my four sons (Avi – 15, Charlie – 11, A.J. – 17 & Colescott – 23) on Valentine’s day. This picture was taken in the Portland Art Museum’s “green room” right before my two oldest boys performed at the opening gala for the retrospective exhibit of my eldest son’s grandfather’s work!
Written: March 5, 2020
Hello again friends! I wanted to send out a bit more of an update today (for those new to the list – it’s super rare that I send out two e-mails in a single day, but please bear with me as it’s been a while since I sent an update!)
I am so glad it is almost officially Spring! The flowers are in full bloom here in Portland and the air is clear (for a moment at least – no wildfire smoke right now!) One or more of my boys has been sick in bed for some or all of the past several weeks and today it looks like everyone has just finally turned the corner! Yay! I’m looking forward to months of running them around outside every day.
Colescott Update – My 23 year old
Perhaps the most momentous news for our little family is that my eldest son (Colescott) will be graduating from Berklee College of Music in May – where he has spent the last 5 years as a presidential scholar in music performance. I am looking forward to going to his senior recital on March 30th. (You are welcome to join me if you are in the Boston area that week – I will be in Boston most of that week for work.)
Continue reading below the image
A.J. & Colescott performing at the Portland Art Museum Gala, February 14, 2020
A.J. Update – My 17 year old
AJ has been applying for college over the past several months and I think this has been one of the most challenging bits of parenting to date. Having a special needs kid (who is also very smart!) go through the bureaucratic challenges of the modern day college application process is not something I would wish upon anyone! We should have some results to share soon, so please keep him in your thoughts. He is committed to being a professional musician (like his big brother) but he also wants to stay engaged in math and engineering. He also loves being part of the “maker community.” In the moments when he is not performing, rehearsing, teaching music to younger kids, tutoring other kids in the neighborhood in math (or spending time helping to take care of his little brothers), he is constantly in the workshop making things out of metal, wood, leather and whatever he can get his hands on!
We are incredibly proud of all A.J. has accomplished and of the skilled musician and talented artist he has become. He is currently First Trumpet in the Portland Youth Philharmonic (PYP) Wind Ensemble, which is one of 8 performance ensembles he is actively rehearsing, leading or working with. He was PYP’s “poster boy” for the February 2020 performance – see the image below! A.J. will also be performing (vocals and trumpet) with big brother (Colescott) and their band in Colescott’s senior recital for Berklee in Boston on March 30th. Fun fact: This senior recital performance is happening the day before A.J. is scheduled to find out if he was accepted to Berklee! I feel so blessed that my boys include each other in their activities to the point where they are performing together (all over the country – including Boston, New Orleans, Washington State and Portland!) at a professional level! Locally, A.J.’s New Orleans traditional jazz band will be performing in Portland’s Starlight Parade again this summer.
Avi Update – My 15 year old
Some more BIG news here in the Rubin household is that Avi (who turned 15 years old in January) got his driver’s permit on Monday! In spite of his brain injury (which is just one of the impacts of his being acutely Lead poisoned in August of 2005 when he was just 7 months old) he passed the test with a 97% score. I am so proud of him. He had his first driving lesson yesterday too. 🙂
Avi is currently struggling with the paradigm of “high school” (just take a dash of normal high school challenges – including social issues – and then throw in complications of a brain injury and related disabilities – including OCD and a visual memory in the 4th percentile – to begin imagining what we are dealing with).
We are always working on finding meaningful educational alternatives for Avi. He needs a custom-tailored situation where he can study science at the accelerated academic pace that he is capable of learning at – in spite of his learning disabilities. The public school system just does not understand this, nor does it have the tools to meet his needs. To learn at his capacity would require a very smart, highly skilled one-on-on tutor or para educator, but this educator would also (in addition to being able to give him dedicated 0ne-on-one attention) have to have a incredibly solid knowledge base of advanced college (and graduate school) level sciences. Avi’s specific disabilities make learning at his desired pace nearly impossible given the lack of available appropriate accommodations (for children with brain injuries) when using current teaching methods and educational tools (in the public schools system at least!) Avi would like to be an astrophysicist when he grows up.
Charlie Update – My 11 year old
Charlie’s doing ok. Every day is very challenging with him. He goes to school a few days a week, usually 2 to 4 hours a day when he attends. It’s especially hard having a very strong disabled 11 year old kiddo who is bigger than his mom and dad. He has a lot of impulse control issues that make life complicated. My goal for Charlie this month is to get him to sleep alone in his own bed every night. Wish me luck. I’ve been co-sleeping with kids (in one form or another) for 23+ years now and – at 50 years old – I am seriously ready to be done with that chapter of my life, but having disabled kiddos complicates that equation beyond what most people know or understand. Charlie’s dream is to become a glass blower like Dale Chihuly (his hero!)
That’s it for the family update for now! Thanks for reading, and thanks for being on my e-mail list. Your support (here and on social media) makes a huge difference in spreading the messages I share – hopefully protecting a child or two (or more) from being exposed to Lead and preventing them from having some of the challenges my younger children face each day.
Features & Function of the Lead Safe Mama website
A quick reminder (and perhaps some new information for the new subscribers here on the #LeadSafeMama e-mail list!)… With the redesign of my website last year I made it so the top posts (the most popular posts based on what people are reading each day) float to the top of the home page. If you are ever curious about what’s popular (which usually includes some of what’s new!) just click through to the home page at LeadSafeMama.com…
The home page is actually set up in two sections. The top half is the 12 most popular posts and the bottom half is the most recent posts (preceded by the “Start Here” post which is a good place for people new to my site to start!) If you cannot find something you are looking for on the home page you can also use the search bar that is on every single page of the website – just put in one or two keywords to start your search (as with most search bars – fewer words will yield more results!) You can look up your dishes or other items by brand, model, style, age, country of origin and sometimes by color!
Here are quick links the top #LeadSafeMama posts for today – Thursday, March 5, 2020 (as seen in the image below):
#1.) Corelle: http://bit.ly/391ZLg
#2.) Le Creuset: http://bit.ly/38s6SgX
#3.) Reversible Sequins: http://bit.ly/38qnjKv
#4.) Strawberry Shortcake glass: http://bit.ly/2VJczo1
#5.) Butterfly Gold Corelle: http://bit.ly/38SAPrn
#6.) Microwavable Tupperware: http://bit.ly/39ualwS
#7.) My Dishes: http://bit.ly/38QX0hL
#8.) Water Bottles: http://bit.ly/2VYL36b
#9.) Yellow Tupperware: http://bit.ly/38QZ9Kj
#10.) Ordinary House Key: http://bit.ly/39pANaI
#11.) Which Dishes Have Lead: http://bit.ly/2VeLhFS
#12.) Balfour class ring: http://bit.ly/2wvaIsf
Thank you for reading and for sharing!