For the first couple years of my life, I was happily content to be the reigning princess of the household.  Just a few months after I turned two, a newcomer was foisted upon me.  At first it was fun to have my very own living, breathing baby doll.  That was before I realized what a pain baby brothers were. 

And, to be honest, Ricky was a bit of a pain.  I’ve often heard the story of how he came home from the hospital with his entire head misshapen and bruised.  Apparently, the doctor decided that he was taking too long to be born and helped out with a pair of forceps.  It’s been theorized that most of his troubles stemmed from that.

One of my earliest memories of my brother is of translating for him.  He would talk up a blue streak and then get frustrated because hardly anyone could understand him.  For some reason, I almost always knew what he was trying to say and would decipher his words for the adults.  Ricky was soon enrolled in Tiny Tots and speech therapy classes for the extra help he needed. 

When he was old enough to start going to regular school, Ricky was thrilled.  He loved being around people and to be a “big kid” like his wonderful sister.  It didn’t take too long to figure out that school wasn’t going to be as wonderful as he thought it would be.  He couldn’t seem to understand all the concepts that the other kids were learning with ease.  He seemed to have trouble fitting in.  Every night at the dinner table, Ricky would regale us with tales of who he got in fights that day at school. 

More testing revealed that he was hyperactive and dyslexic.   In today’s world, he would have been filled with Ritalin and sent on his way.  I don’t know if it was a choice my parents made or if the drugs simply weren’t available, but my they chose a different sort of treatment.  We became a “Feingold Family”.  Basically, the Feingold Diet was a way of eating more natural and pure foods.  No preservatives, additives or artificial flavors or colors.  It was tough.  I can remember my mom making our own catsup and mayo.  She baked bread and even hamburger buns!  It was a lot of work on her part, but it made such a difference.  We could always tell when my brother had eaten something he wasn’t supposed to.  The sweet little boy became a monster! (OK, he wasn’t exactly sweet, but he wasn’t quite rotten when he was on the diet!) 

As for the dyslexia, my parents had learned about something called the Slingerland Program at a local school.  This used a whole body approach that helped kids somehow turn the letters around in their heads.  (This is just my perception, I wasn’t really a part of it.  I can just remember Ricky drawing a huge letter “A” in the air using his whole arm and reciting the sounds that it made.)

As he got older, my brother didn’t stay on the diet nearly as well as he should have.  There were so many wonderful treats out there tempting him, and with his huge sweet tooth, he just couldn’t resist.  Between a combination of that, and just going through his teen years, he was a bit of a nightmare.  As he reminded me in the comments yesterday, it got to the point where my dad had to go to the junior high school with him to help get him under control.  (Embarrassment works!)
Despite the prediction that Ricky wouldn’t even finish high school, he managed to put himself through college.  He’s found a career that he loves and a beautiful wife that he loves even more.  To complete things, they adopted the second most adorable girls in the world last year. 

He may still be a big huge pain (what brother isn’t?) but I’m proud of my baby brother.  His road hasn’t been easy, but he’s “done good”!

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10 Responses to Ricky

  1. pastorrick says:

    WOW! That brother of yours seems like a real loser!
    I know you are not talking about me. ARE You?
    Now I do remember some of what you are saying but it seems as if you have added a little no make that you added a lot. I think to be fair I will need to make some points
    THINK I DID! I know you don’t believe me but the truth
    must be said.

    2. Mom did a wonderful job, Baking bread, making beef-jerky, granola, homemade candy, getting me my very own ice cream and on and on it goes.

    3. Oh I forgot when I had special class parties mom would bring me my own special food which I must say was way better than what the other kids were eating. Way to go mom!

    4. Dad did not have to go to class with me because I was being bad. No I did not want to tell you this but Dad and I wanted to spend some father and son time – you know male bonding. We did not want to hurt your feelings so we had our plan. Really, I know you are shaking your head “NO” but it’s the truth well kind of the truth ????

    5. Seems like you should know about this, my speech was not all messed up it was my way of making you feel useful

    Well I could go on and on but I do have work to do.

    But one thing you did get strait is you are a WONDERFUL SISTER

    Wow I hope this makes sense to someone because I am not going back to look it over.

  2. Jay says:

    LOL … Oh this is going to be fun. Watching you two go back and forth. I think I’ll go pop some popcorn and sit back and wait for the next round. LOL

  3. Betty says:

    Whatever his problems as he was growing up, he seems to have become a wonderful brother now.

  4. Lynne says:

    Good on brother Ricky for overcoming the odds, especially since he had an OLDER sister like I did. Older sisters can be such prima donnas! LOL … 😉

    Funny thing is, my sister is named SUSAN too!

    In all seriousness, way to go Ricky!

  5. pastorrick says:

    Now see what you have done Betty thinks I had problems as a kid, at least I have tricked her into thinking I turned out to be wonderful now.

    Jay I hope you don’t put to much butter and salt on that popcorn.

  6. Dorky Dad says:

    But how did the buns taste? That’s what I want to know. I can definitely see positives in homemade hamburger buns: you could make the exact number you want, not what some cheeseball marketing geek THINK you want. Plus homemade bread makes the house smell great. Yup. As long as they taste good, I can’t think of any negatives.

  7. Patsy Ann says:

    My wonderful children! Can you all believe that I had thoughts of flushing them both down the toilet. Maybe I will write about them in my own blog. And tell the story as seen by one of the primary adults in the situation. Susan and Richard are both wonderful, caring people; they love children; animals and each thinks the other was adopted. Mom

  8. Tink says:

    It’s a comment war! 😉

    All: If you all haven’t gone and looked at the pictures of Ricky’s kids, you should. They are the most adorable little girls.


  9. barnmouse says:

    LOL @ Rick’s comment “just my way of making you feel useful”!!! That’s hysterical!

    So blogging is a family affair? How wonderful is that?! I can barely get my mom to read mine! LOL


  10. Craig says:

    For those wishing to try the Feingold Diet, my wife and I have put together a website (The Asperger’s Store at http://www.aspergerstore.com) that lists all of the Feingold-accepted foods available through Amazon.com.

    Our 7-year old daughter has an autism-spectrum disorder (Aspergers), and this diet has helped with her attention and hyperactivity over the past three years.


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