Thursday, September 18, 2014

Well, everything's off

As far as I know. After a miserable roller coaster of a day, the conclusion is that my parents aren't moving. We don't think. In the morning my mother told me to go ahead and get started on the paperwork, and by mid-afternoon was phoning me in incoherent terror about being moved to a place that we eventually figured out was a home for veterans with PTSD that she's just seen on tv. She thought Dad would turn into a soldier, or something, and everyone would be hitting each other? I'm not sure. And then my father pleaded with me not to make them move, and told me that Mum would be much worse if they did, and that what would happen if she wandered off?

And I yelled and cried at him and told him things are never ever going to get better, and they're bad now, and you can only manage staying home if you can do the cooking and the cleaning and make Mum take her medication. He said he could do most of that, and I said it wasn't happening now. Mum is partly off her meds and her memory is worsening and there have been moments when I think she's sliding into bipolar. And that would just be completely terrible.

So after work Geoff went over to their house, and had a very large fight with them about how we're terrified and they aren't coping, Dad is slowly, incrementally starving, and that we think they've made a bad decision. He also told them he'll be going over every evening after work to check on them, check if the have food, and count Mum's meds. They were understandably insulted. He said, "You can't reliably use the phone, and you won't move somewhere where people can keep an eye on you, so we are going to be checking."

We can't make them move, short of having them declared incompetent. We don't want to make them move, we want them to agree to do it. So now what we're faced with is waiting for the emergency. We don't know what it is, or when it will come, but eventually one of them will fall, badly (probably in winter)or they'll have a fight and start hitting and throwing things at each other, or Mum will leave the stove on and the house will burn, or she'll start wandering and need to be put in a locked ward immediately, . And we'll have to move Dad fast to any place we can find that's got openings.

And in the meantime, we sit and wait.

I am so sad and so angry- at them, at their diseases, and at our inability to help. I am exhausted and so scared that I am having minor fantasies of something manageable going wrong, so we can start the process and Geoff and I don't have to live in fear waiting, knowing that they're malnourished and off their medication. I've spent the entire last year trying to figure out how to help, and I thought I had a solution, and now it's gone. I want very badly to pull back and stop supporting and taking the terrified phone calls and providing the meals, but that would be anger, and they're my parents, and it's my duty to take care of them. I am just so sad.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Still plugging along

Generally, and with life. I am really enjoying the Fall weather, I am feeling guilty about the lack of seat work with Thomas, and then pointing out firmly to myself that he's only four. Still, we may trace one or two letters today to salve my conscience. Farmer's markets and small trips and a return to the homeschool drop in. I think I'll be very brave and take the girls as well next week, if the stars align. It will be more hair-raising but if we do some reading and quiet things in the morning I should be up to it. I am a little astonished about the science and history that I've been doing with Nat, when I take the time to write it down. It's in tiny little increments usually, but it just seems very advanced for first grade. Not bragging, I'm just surprised.

Today we have friends coming for dinner, and we were out at the market yesterday, so I think we'll stay home and putter and I'll bake bread. The girls got up at the relentless hour of six again, so I've broken the no screen time rule so I can have some relative quiet, although the tv will go off after this one movie/mother's cup of tea/dishwasher unloading time...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Guilt Free Learning Notes

Sept 7- it's a Sunday, so didn't do much, but in the evening Nat flipped through an Eyewitness book about the animal kingdom and we read parts together and talked about the spine and amphibians and reptiles and the different parts of an insect and how some lizards squirt blood out of the eyes. Nat, "That is nasty". After we read the first chapter of The Story of the World, about nomads and the Fertile Crescent and the invention of agriculture, and Nat really liked it and asked that we keep reading it, as well as plugging away at The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.  Of course we'll do both. Should do some Khan Academy with him tomorrow.

Sept 8- read some picture books aloud, managed to make smoothie and feed everyone breakfast and then Nat got sick and retired to bed, so we watched Wild Kratts about caracals . Nat perked up at lunch but had a blood sugar of 27 and was shouty. Did Starfall math with Thomas, girls watched.

Sept 9- Farmers Market day. On the way there picked up acorns and talked about where a plant will grow and where it won't, running down the list of sunlight, water, earth, air. The kids think acorns are exciting because of Tototo.

 Out at the library getting a stack of books. Sadly, the children's section is still flooded out but they've moved some of the collection up. Back to the market for brisk running around, ran into the wife of my second cousin and her two kids and chatted. Dropped the books and fruit off at the house and went to get bread at the grocery store. In the way home stopped to watch two honey bees pollinating flowers. Pointed out the pollen on their legs.

Home and wiped. Two hour hike pushing both girls and ten pounds of books.

In the evening Nat and I read a couple of chapters about Egypt and the uniting of the upper and lower kingdoms, the double crown, hieroglyphs and cuneiform. Also mummies.

Sept 10- no storybooks in the morning. Off to my parents in the morning, and then the ROM in the afternoon, very bravely. Dragged the protesting children in to see cuneiform tablets and Mesopotamian money and then parts of ancient Egypt, but everyone freaked out at the mummy. Caught Miriam trying to climb Queen Hatsheput's funerary wall with security glaring. Thomas really alarmed by Ancient Greece and started crying but Nat and I found Zeus and Athena and Apollo, then headed down to the kids section and stayed there aside from a brief stop at the dinosaurs. 
Blurry canopic jars

Mesopotamian lion

Real cuneiform

On the way home Nat was telling me that the mummy was okay because it wasn't real, and I probably made it worse by telling him that yep, real dead human. Went that colour because it's really old and also the drying out made it brown. I was sort of at the other side farther from the mummy and reassuring the children without going near the thing.

I really hate mummies and also the inorrupt saints. I am a wimp.

In the evening read another two chapters of Story of the World to Nat, plus Khan Academy and Turtlediary.

Sept 11- very tired. Read aloud for almost an hour, assorted picture books. Looked at random things in the Nature Encyclopedia. Told Nat briefly about Sept. 11th but didn't go into detail. Mostly avoided the children all day, although I think we did another few chapters of Story of the World, and got Nat through into the story of the Israelites.
Thomas helped clear the dishes
Sept 12- I was gone practically all day doing things for my parents, and various people watched the children. I figure that with all the ancient history plus the hours and hours of stories aloud we're sort of ahead. Thomas is showing more inclination to count higher than five, which is great. Nat read aloud from A Light In the Attic for at least fifteen minutes.

Sept 13- spent all of today in a haze of worrying-about-parents misery, although Nat insisted on doing a lot of complicated geometry, much too high a grade level, on Turtle Diary. It was asking him for something about tetrahedrons. I don't know anything about tetrahedrons. Bah, it's the weekend.

And so, tomorrow, nothing on purpose educational, and start again on Monday!

And then...

Then they had attacks of anxiety and paranoia that reason currently isn't shaking. Going to continue to pray and revisit the decision with them on Monday.

Friday, September 12, 2014

They liked it!

Okay now everyone pray really hard that we can get the process started and get them moved in without anyone completely losing their minds.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This is why clearing out my Dad's workshop fills me with terror

Mim and Mum

Note that this is explosive

Now imagine clearing out all those drawer

And now go have several drinks

Today's plan:

I will finish eating breakfast, throw the children into their clothes, and take them to visit my parents. After that, junk food lunch out, and after that, museum. We're going to look at the hieroglyphs and the mummy, or rather, we'll look at the hieglyphs and I'll hide from the mummy. I am not brave.

If I survive it will be because I did the Mass readings aloud for the kids three days running. I am ascribing magical protective superstitious powers to it because I need that belief to get me through today. Okay, going.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Got tired of the black

Not sure about the aggressive flowers, though. Feels a bit like Day of the Triffids. What does everyone think? I am also rubbish at anything to do with computers so anything complex I will try to foist off on Geoff and fail.

Guilt Free Learning Notes

Sept 1- no screen time all morning. Read about eight board books plus ten pages of nursery rhymes. Talked about the legends about Qalupalit, and about the Inuit women's parka called an amauti, for baby carrying. Looked at where the Inuit live and told the kids about hunting and eating seal and polar bear. Blew everyone's minds telling them about how the sun doesn't set at the North Pole in summer. Nat is unconvinced. Watched a video about the Qalupalit, which are Inuit monsters that live under the ice and steal children in the spring. Nat did Khan Academy and Raz Kids at night, maybe ten minutes worth of each. 

This is a pretty creepy book

Sept 2- read Nathaniel Willy to the girls, read a bit about passenger pigeons to Nat and Thomas. Pointed out where settlers came from and why the pigeons are all gone. Play date and free play, lots of Lego.

Sept 3- Miriam vomiting. Beatrix Potter videos all day after reading a few picture books. Nat did Khan in quiet time at night, I think with Geoff.

While I was on the phone Miriam covered her whole body in butter

Sept 4- read about Cronus eating his children, read two versions of Cinderella and talked about similar stories. The French Cinderella and the Micmaq version called Burnt Face that I heard from a storyteller when i was little. Explained about dew and condensation, or tried to, when we walked past a patch of grass. Tried The Reading Lesson with Thomas but didn't get anywhere. We had a park day during the morning, which was really nice.

Sept 5- read James and the Purple Stranger aloud, plus about Zeus and Hephaestus and Aphrodite and Eros and Ares. Plus legend of Io. Watched Beatrix Potter and Wild Kratts. Looked up the D'Aulaires and started talking to Nat about the Norse people, we looked up where they lived. Told him and Thomas that Viking means sea voyage. Read a little about Odin and Nat put it together that if Wednesday is Wodensday then Thursday is Thor's Day. Looked up Friday, it's Friggasday.

Talked a little about people in Central Asia making flatbread because it cooks quickly and fuel is scarce. Not a lot of interest from the kids. Watched Where The Hell is Matt and told the kids a little about some of the countries he visited. Good homeschool day.

Sept 7- it's a Sunday, so didn't do much, but in the evening Nat flipped through an Eyewitness book about the animal kingdom and we read parts together and talked about the spine and amphibians and reptiles and the different parts of an insect and how some lizards squirt blood out of the eyes. Nat, "That is nasty". After we read the first chapter of The Story of the World, about nomads and the Fertile Crescent and the invention of agriculture, and Nat really liked it and asked that we keep reading it, as well as plugging away at The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.  Of course we'll do both. Should do some Khan Academy with him tomorrow.

Sunday, September 07, 2014


I'm having an intense burst of sentimentality about moving, which hasn't even begun yet. But- this is the house where we've been for five years, the house that I brought Thomas and the girls to as new babies, the place where we lived with Stuart. Every time we move I feel like a snail taken out of its shell, except without the bit where I die, because you can only push metaphor so far. I am intensely physical about my spaces. I don't feel home until I automatically reach for things where they are now, until I breathe in in different rooms and can identify them by smell and the feeling of the air. I love the community we have here (hi, Jocelyn! I know you're reading this!), and I'm dreading going through the years-long process of meeting and learning about the neighbours.

Geoff and I spend part of every day telling each other the good things about moving, as a bulwark (at least on my end) against the sadness. "Hey, we'll be close to a Target! The LCBO (the store for wine and general alcohol) is only eight blocks away! Hey, there's a park within walking distance!". And it's good, and there will be good things about it, but until we go I'm going to be prone to bouts of touching the walls and crying as I remember the sunlight on the bricks of the chimney as I held Thomas the week after he was born.