Sunday, December 21, 2008

Daily constitutional

At breakfast on a Sunday the boys practice their cutting skills on their pancakes. It’s a once a week practice session, also duplicated with the occupational therapists. How to hold a knife? How to hold a fork? Generally they eat with their fingers or a spoon. It is quite remarkable how many foods fall into the category of ‘finger foods.’ It’s just another one of that self formulating habits that I need to address. It should be daily. It should be every meal but for the time being I already have too much on my plate. I would dearly love to shoot the person who said ‘every opportunity is a learning opportunity,’ mainly because I know they are right. For the time being it is a weekly tackle, sacrosanct.

We gently prompt the usual. Prompt and redirect. Find a plate. Prompt and focus. Find a knife. Prompt and remove distractions. Find a fork. Prompt and encourage executive function. Transfer pancake from the stack to your own plate. It takes forever but we have gift of time on a Sunday. I turn my attention to the ringing telephone, always a mistake. By the time I return Nonna is busy at the table, carefully cutting two sets of pancakes into bite sized squares for her grinning grandson’s, who are smug with satisfaction. I bite my lip and my tongue as Nonna enjoys her role as helper.

How will I ever get the balance right between so many competing needs? There are currently far too many ‘shoulds’ in my life, so I make do with ‘good enough.’

Whilst the boys struggle to dress upstairs, I wander the house downstairs, with Nonna, as she does every day. She notes all things of interest. Everything is of interest and effectively new and novel every day. I am unsure if this is reassuring or merely more confusing. She pauses at each weigh station to enquire with the same queries. I make the time. 20 precious minutes to accompany her, just in case. As long as the boys emerge eventually with some sort of clothing on their bodies, that will just have to do.
“Dat’s new!”
“Yes, we didn’t have that on your last visit.”
“Wot it is do?”
“It’s a motion sensor. Every time it detects movement it switches on to light the corridor, helps save accidents when people can’t find the light switch.”
“Ooo……very clever. I like it.” I’m glad that she like’s it as much today as she did yesterday and the day before. I’m glad that the unfamiliar corridor is safe for her nocturnal wanderings.
“Wot is dis ting den?”
“I’m knitting a bear.”
“Ooo dat’s so soft. Are you going to stuff it with cotton wool?”
“Too heavy. They recommend some ultra light filling but I’ve not been able to track down a supplier yet.”
“Is it a present?”
“Yes. A Christmas present.”
“Christmas. It is Christmas?”
“Not yet, Thursday, today is the 19th. 5 days to go. You can see it on the children’s tick down chart over there.”
“Ooo dat’s nice, you made a chart for dem. Did you do dat today?”
It’s a labyrinth. 19 days yet each one is effectively the same.
“Wot does dat say den?”
At last something really new!
“It says ‘chocolate pudding.’”
“He wrote dat himself?”
“I see he is reversing his ‘ds’, he wrote ‘bs’ by mistake,” she chuckles with indulgence. She draws a finger through the air to demonstrate. It’s a hurdle that all children must overcome those tricky b’s and d’s. I swallow hard and blink hard. He’s written it perfectly. She reads every day, it is her main occupation, the classics, the contemporary, the Christmas cards, the same ones, every day, the humourous children’s cartoon book that I’ve failed to put away so that she comes across it at 20 minute intervals and so reads it again, just like the first time, so funny and amusing, each new time. I could weep but of course that would be foolish. Nonna is perfectly happy. I should be too.


Almost American said...

Oh Maddy, that's the first post I've read about Nonna where I've realized what's going on with her memory. So long as she is happy that's good. You do have a lot on your plate though!

Niksmom said...

Oh, Maddy, you do have the patience of Job! And, yes, sometimes "good enough" is, well, good enough! xo

Marita said...

God bless her, and god bless you for being such a wonderful person.