Friday, December 19, 2014

It's Urgent Now

Neighbours found Mum outside and wandering wearing sandals and not enough cold weather gear last night and brought her back, only to find that Dad had locked the door. I understand they banged on the door until Dad came down and unlocked. Dad locks doors habitually and gets really mad if prevented, so I think if Mum gets out again the chances of him locking her out are very good. I called the CCAC crisis line and told them the urgency had become even... urgent-er, and detailed the situation. I expect a call from them in an hour or two. We can't leave Mum at home another night. The crisis that we tried very hard to avoid is here.

Geoff slept over at Mum and Dad's, and this morning at six-thirty prevented Mum from leaving in sandals again. It's -10C with windchill outside. I'm waiting for word from the psych and the CCAC and drinking coffee, which I hate, but Miriam was restless all night except for a stretch between one and four. So coffee it is, followed by a pot of tea. The children are watching Veggie Tales and I am trying to hold it together while I wait.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Yesterday I talked to a thousand people via phone or email, had a meeting with the CCAC coordinator, and made a list of acceptable nursing homes for crisis mode. I also got roughly four hours interrupted sleep because Miriam was up all night, got up to find my parents' phone was off the hook, waited anxiously for Geoff to go over and confirm that everything was fine (Mum put the corded phone handset in the bottom of a drawer), made cookies, washed the floor, and read Farmer Boy aloud.

Crisis placement happens within three to seven days. We can expect Mum to be out of the home by Christmas. Typing that fills me with apprehension and sadness. This is not how I wanted this to go, but I'm practicing being a big girl and making decisions and not screaming and running away from paperwork, There's a schizophrenic feeling to all this, because I'm simultaneously buying and making presents and making the Christmas Day menu and planning planning planning for all the celebrations,  One part of my brain is saying, "When we get the call that there's a bed available I need to talk to the social worker about transition policy", and another part is saying, "I wonder if I should make doughnuts with the kids when our niece and nephew are here?" and I feel broken into oddly shaped pieces.

Now that I think of it, it reminds me a bit of the weeks before I had all our babies- it was always definitely going to be a time filled with calm joy and preparation, and it was, but it was also invariably a time filled with crazy medical problems and awful medical decisions and nothing like the gauzy sentimental happiness that I'd imagined. I have a crummy metaphor about how Mary must have felt when she was told they had to go stay in a stable, after she'd been joyously anticipating the birth of the Messiah. It would have sucked, right? I mean, you know you're going to have a baby who will be Christ the Lord and you're going to the prophesied city of His birth and you arrive and have to go from inn to inn, getting progressively further into labour, being turned down over and over, and end in a stable. But probably Mary wasn't as idealistically stupid as I am, so probably she dealt with it very well.

I can't get out of that metaphor gracefully so I'm going to end here and go get tea and send Nat out to the dentist and start packing for our weekend trip and and and....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


It looks like Mum is wandering, which, in technical terms means leaving the house in a purposeless way with a side of getting lost. She was brought home twice this evening by a PSW. We're going to be talking about crisis placement tomorrow, because alive in some horrible nursing home is marginally better than dead by exposure or run over by a car.

Today I will do All The Things!

No I won't. Thank You God for another whole week before Christmas. Today I need to buy toffee bits to make pretzel toffee bark (because last night Nathaniel ruined my homemade toffee and also caught hell about it, so I give up on painstakingly handmaking it) and take the boys to the toy shop to spend Christmas present money and do laundry and start meal planning for the hordes that will fall upon us next week...

I feel like every couple of weeks I go out and buy a boatload of food with a really specific plan and then get it all home and it unravels in my mind into a heap of disparate unusable ingredients and leaves me with the overwhelming desire to give up and just eat Cheetos or something, although Geoff says that Cheetos aren't actually a food, they're a packing material. If you don't mind the thing you're packing arriving fluorescent orange.

I should also book tour to two more delightful LTC facilities for Mum, since all of them have turned us down because it says AGGRESSIVE on her file, which is not true and I am speaking to her psych for backup about this.

Today I will speak to my children kindly and firmly about NOT EATING THE CANDY WE'RE MAKING FOR PRESENTS and remind them about the JOY OF GIVING. I expect there will be considerable friction.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Guilt Free Learning Notes: We Did Some Stuff

Because life has been crazy... because life continues to be crazy, I haven't been keeping notes, and I've discovered that my brain doesn't work well for retaining a lot of what we actually did, but this past week has been pretty history and science-oriented. We went to the museum with friends
We had a really good time. We spent a lot of it in the Egypt exhibit, but we also visited our friends the dinosaurs. 
It was chaotic and great fun. We didn't make it to a whole lot of the exhibits, but since we saw the mummies and the dinosaurs, and the kids were chatting about how tooth shape showed us which animals were herbivores and which carnivores, it was very satisfying. It's fun to hear six and four year olds discussing animal physiology knowledgeably. 

We've continued to chug through Farmer Boy with Nat, and he's doing simple multiplication with Geoff, which is fun. He's also learning to play checkers and is working on Geoff's Rubik's cube. I'm thinking we might make a  few visits to Riverdale Farm in the New Year. I had to stop when we were reading about Independence Day to give Nat a very short rundown of the War of Independence, because it's not something we cover at all. I'm also thinking about making cardboard looms, like this

although I might lose my mind trying to teach them to weave. It does seem like a natural outgrowth, though.

We're reading about Advent, on and off, and the Christmas story- we read The Clown of God a couple of days ago, and we watched The Juggler of Notre Dame, which was weird but good, and Nat and Thomas talked a little bit about how the stories compare and how they differ. Oh! I've also put on A Child's Christmas in Wales, because's necessary that they internalize the poetry. I love Dylan Thomas, so they have to endure it.

Since it snowed we had many different experiments on snow, and talked about how it's ice crystals, which are frozen water, water in its solid form. We've also melted sugar and talked about different melting points. I should get out pictures of the different molecular structures of solids, liquids, and gases. The boys will be interested.

I got my old copy of Arnold Lobel's Fables from my parents' house this week. It's like Aesop's fables, and they're fantastic. We've been reading them over and over. I love Arnold Lobel, especially the Frog and Toad stories. and this collection. Such good writing, and not at all smarmy or dumbed down. I'm going to quietly disappear all the superhero books because I hate reading them. If someone put out a decent collection of superhero stories I'd buy it, but all the ones I've read it's like you can hear the underpaid writer slugging back their cheap gin or something to numb the pain. Like Alan Rickman in Galaxy Quest:

That's how I image writers of kids' superhero and franchise books.

Everyone's climbing all over me and shouting for lunch, so I should probably go do that. Have a lovely day!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Trains of thought

Thomas is endlessly conversational, or maybe monologational, right now. I'm wandering around the house trying to do things while he tells me at very great length about his plans to build a Tardis, and I'm trying to remember what the heck I wanted to do, and I'm realizing in a dim way that I can't ever hold a train of thought because everyone is always talking at me. So it's not just that my mind is going- it's that there is never, ever, quiet.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Christmas baking

Today we had an enormously exciting day meeting new friends and going out for lunch and to the ROM, and I will put pictures up as soon as I figure out why the computer isn't recognizing my phone. Because yesterday was so big I think tomorrow is an at-home day, and I think we should start the Christmas baking.

Yesterday we made maple brittle. It was super complicated, because I had to boil maple syrup for ten minutes and then pour in into a pan. I'm thinking I should maybe do a brittle that's half sugar half maple syrup, with possibly... hazelnuts? Or pecans? Not almonds unless I roast them.

We also have cookie cutters, if I can find them, so we should make cookies.

And chocolate pretzel bark. Oooh, we could make toffee chocolate pretzel bark.

And chocolate caramel crack, from Smitten Kitchen.

So, are there any other requests? We could branch out into the oreo truffles again, or make crackers or pita chips. What are other people making for Christmas presents? Also, is my above list insane?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Cheese pie and failed yogurt

So, it would have been good to use something other than honey to sweeten the yogurt before I cultured it. Because, I'm sure you know, honey is ANTIBACTERIAL. Sigh. Well, I've made it into lot and lots of cake and muffins and the children fell upon and devoured, so it's okay. Also I have Greek cheese pie for my own lunch, and sausage for dinner.

St. Nicholas visited last night, so my children are replete with chocolate and oranges, and right now I've pinned them down with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer so I can have a few minutes of peace before folding all the laundry and running around frantically cleaning up all the kids' candy wrappers and orange peels.

Trying to be grateful for the way they all play together now. It's starting to be nice having a tribe. They all play on their own, or with the others, sometimes even quietly, although the quiet tends to mean someone is 'cleaning' the mirror with toothpaste again, or Nat is making weird snacks in the kitchen. I did not prevent him from eating a banana dipped in sweet and sour sauce, but my soul died inside me a little bit.

I can feel Christmas crashing down on us, but it seems much more okay this year. We have parties to go to and family to visit, and we have many many presents already purchased. Plus I'm actually managing to do Advent this year. I have a paper chain and everything. So at this moment, full of preparation and cheese and peace. I'll just go get another slice of pie and pretend the living room isn't completely crazy and there aren't four loads of laundry to put away, and instead bask in the warm glow of actually doing the Advent readings and getting almost an entire night's sleep.