Friday, October 31, 2008

small things

When a baby can't swallow on his own, is grizzly with pneumonia,and attached to a feeding and breathing tube, it's sometimes hard to think beyond today and be hopeful. The competence and kindness of the nurses in the intensive care unit, the distance to the hospital, and the comfort of an established routine are very important. Right now we're struggling to help my nephew stay right where he is rather than being moved to a 3rd hospital, as some insurance caseworker would prefer. We are lucky that we all have different strengths--and one of my mother's is a firm grasp on how to cope with organizational bureaucracies like insurance companies.
update: it looks like we won this battle after my brother spent many hours on the phone this morning with the insurance company. The baby should stay at this hospital until he's discharged. Whew. What a relief.

In this ever smaller focus, our family reminds each other about who picks up my other nephew from nursery school, who takes care of dinner, (we are overrun with food from friends) and what tomorrow will be like. In this space, small things make a big difference.

Sleep: As everyone knows, your average 2 or 3 year old will have a meltdown without his afternoon nap. We had a big meltdown yesterday, with no less than three grownups trying to calm things down, but frankly, the adults are all operating on the same principle...exhaustion is a real problem. Sleeping a lot is necessary when coping with such big stuff.

Maintain Habits: It took me several days to realize that I hadn't taken a walk. Not once. So, yesterday I walked a mile in the brisk sunshine. It made a big difference. I also spun on my new wheel. I blocked another project for my book. Small steps to maintain normality.

Splurge: This doesn't seem to be a good time to worry about one's diet. The other night I made my family pear bread pudding with hard sauce (vague recipe details below) and gosh, that sweetness was a good and positive distraction for a little while for all of us!

photo caption: (the knitting looks better than this photo) When my almost 3 year old nephew saw this tank top project, he said, "That's very pretty!" (no kidding. He's a smart cookie. :)

Pear Bread Pudding

Fill a 9 by 13 inch pan with:

Toasted leftover bread, cut into chunks (old challah works well), 4 pears, cut into small chunks, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans or hazelnuts, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup milk, 4 eggs

Combine the wet ingredients (beaten eggs, milk, vanilla extract) and dump over the pears, nuts, cinnamon, sugar, and bread.

Bake at 350 for a while. 45 minutes or so? You may need to cover the dish with foil for the last few minutes to avoid burning any exposed bits.

Hard Sauce:

1/4 cup cognac or brandy or bourbon (the hard stuff), 1 cup confectioner's sugar,1 stick of butter,1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, salt to taste (optional)

Melt butter in a saucepan on low heat with the sugar, alcohol and nutmeg. Add salt to taste. Stir as you heat this to make a smooth sauce. This tastes good over the bread pudding. Add vanilla ice cream as necessary, depending on the day's news.


Blogger Mary in VA said...

Mmmmm, I'm a big bread pudding fan but I don't think I've seen a pear variant before. Must give it a try.

Like with oxygen on planes, you can't help others if you don't help yourself first. So good to you for realizing that. And speaking from past experience, every little thing you do to help make nephew #1 maintain a little normalcy in all this I'm will be a big relief off the parent's mind.

October 31, 2008 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger knitalot3 said...

Take care of yourself. You are in my thoughts and prayers. LisaK

October 31, 2008 at 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Deborah Robson said...

I'm glad you have your wheel and took a walk.

And that your mother and brother apparently got the bureaucracy to listen to reason.


October 31, 2008 at 9:56 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

Kudos to your brother for hanging in there. And your nephew is too so far, he's his daddy's little boy. My prayers for all.

November 1, 2008 at 8:04 PM  

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