1. There's a fruit fly infestation in the kitchen right now, which is gross. I should be cleaning it, but the house is quiet, with Nathaniel and Geoff over taking care of our neighbour's cats and three of the kids in bed. So I'm blogging as a way to process.
2. This morning we watched Weird Al's new video Foil and then the Walk Off the Earth version we're familiar with, and since we were off and running I tried to explain what a parody was and I didn't have a lot of success.
We followed it with the kids' favourite Les Mis parody, One Grain More:
For tomorrow, or when Nat gets back from cat visitation, a parody is an imitation of a style of a particular artist, usually with exaggeration for comic effect. So, fine.
3. Today was the first day without my mother-in-law (hi, Marjorie!). She was here for a week to help while I went to many appointments and tried to process what I should do about my parents. Mum had a geriatric psych appointment on Wednesday, I looked at a retirement home and a long term care facility yesterday, and I am reading The Thirty-Six Hour Day about caring for people with Alzheimer's and feeling pretty deep grief. It's hard to make myself do the necessary research because I am so sad about my mother's decline, and so swamped in small children and general demands. So it was marvelous having my mother-in-law here, and it was also marvelous having my step-mother-in-law go with me to the homes and show me what to look for. It's still so very hard to make decisions about what is best for them, because I am terrified of being wrong and hastening their decline, but I am also terrified of them staying home and becoming more and more anxious and isolated.
4. So I tried to take today mostly off, and did some homeschool planning. A little. I also announced to Nathaniel that as of August we're going to do up to half an hour of school a day. Last year it was about ten minutes a day plus the whole Education is an Atmosphere thing. I've been looking at Memoria Press (can't afford) and the Ambleside Online curriculum, and I think Nat is about at a late grade one/early grade two level, so that's what I'm going to plan for. We're going to have a spine of math and reading, maybe add copywork, and then continue with the myth reading, history, and sciences. It's all very loose but I have firm goals for the year that I'm going to visit over and over. I'm pretty confident, since last year we surpassed all the goals and it was pretty much the Worst Winter Ever.For Thomas, I'll see if he can start The Reading Lesson, but if he's not ready I won't push. He's asking about letters and can count to ten, so that's pretty good for four years.
5. Thomas continues to have a deep interior life of mostly planning picnics. He is the most hospitality-minded, physical, caring of our children. He wants to take care of people, and he is going to do it by force-feeding everyone and hugging them into submission. If Nat makes a Lego machine it's a destruct-inator. If Thomas makes a lego machine it's a sandwich-inator. It's so cute and they're so different.
6. I have promised to teach Nat to cook. I haven't told Geoff. Geoff is going to die of stress, but Nat likes making things, and I want him to be independent. He's six and a half and I trust him to use the microwave with supervision and to fetch and carry, so I think he can learn to prep vegetables to steam and set up the crock pot. I think this will be a big win after I've done some teaching.
7. This past week wasn't a bare minimum week because I had my mother-in-law. Right now I feel like I can just about cope with the minimum of food, outside time, video time, lego, drawing, and occasionally reading books aloud. Because trying to make decisions about how to deal with Mum's Alzheimer's and Dad's Parkinson's and agonizing about decisions and the change in relationship and everything makes me want to lie down in a dark room and not be bothered, and then it makes me feel selfish for wanting it. So I am praying and breathing and cuddling my toddlers and talking to Nat about weird physics and managing his blood sugar and breathing. And thinking about the inescapable reality of suffering.