Comfort Food

Bread PuddingFebruary is a hard month for me. Five years ago, I spent eight months taking care of my mother as she died. She spent thirty days in ICU and the step down unit. I didn’t realize she was dying. I figured it out on the twelfth, took her home on Valentine’s Day, and she passed early in the morning of the sixteenth.

Normally, if I have Peps* and chocolate, I am good. This time of year, Peps* and chocolate are not enough. Today I made my mother’s bread pudding. It was what I needed.

I would love to share the recipe with you, but this pudding never had a recipe. I do not think it was ever made the same way twice. My mother would make it for breakfast on shopping days. What was in it depended on what was in the house before she went shopping. She started with eggs. She used all the eggs, up to six, she had left. They were beaten with a whisk. Up to a half cup of butter, softened,was beaten in, She added up to a three quarters of a cup of white or brown sugar. Some days it was a combination of brown and white, and often less than half a cup. She used up to three cups of raw milk, cow and/or goat milk. I have no place to get raw milk, so I replace a half cup of the milk with heavy cream. Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract were added. Sometimes, she would throw in raisins or currants. Whatever bread was left was ripped into small pieces and placed in a butter casserole dish. The egg mixture was poured over the bread pieces and a fork used to make sure all of the bread absorbed the liquid.

My mother put it into a 350 degree oven and baked it until it was done, forty-five to sixty minutes. She served it with milk, cinnamon sugar, jam, or syrup depending on what she had left. Once in a great while, she would make a bit of whip cream.

I am sitting watching the snow, eating a bowl of bread pudding. My kitchen smells like my mother’s kitchen did and, for this moment, I have peace.

 

 

No More Twirly Skirts

GB came home from school yesterday agitated. Her speech was pressured and she couldn’t make eye contact. I couldn’t understand most of what she said. There was one phrase she kept repeating and I finally caught it. “No more twirly skirts”. It didn’t make sense. GB loves twirly skirts. GB and I went through her breathing exercises and I prompted her to hold on to the twirly skirt thought. She did.

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GB said that her first friend in her new class, S, said they couldn’t be friends if GB was a “goody-goody”. I asked what a “goody-goody” was. GB said they wear twirly skirts, sit by the teacher, and never get their “cards” pulled. (Cards are pulled in her class when a rule is broken.) I pointed out to GB that she loved twirly skirts and hated getting in trouble. She answered that if she wanted to be friends with S, she would have to change. I tried talking about the difference between trying not to annoy people and trying to change who she was. I confused her. She told me S found goody-goodies annoying.

I asked her the difference between real friends and people who just say they are your friend. The blank look on her face told me it was time to stop. We will revisit this with her therapist tomorrow.

A Word From Our Sponsor…

I haven’t posted in a while. I have been writing. I have not been sharing what I write. I have been contemplating why I share my writing here. After taking a break, I have found an answer that I am willing to sit with for now. I write because it helps me clarify my thoughts. I share because I do not want to be alone.

To sponsor something is  to support an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. My writing is my product . I am supporting my sanity. It sounds overly dramatic. Living in a place/space where the word “normal” has no meaning makes it easy to lose sight of the road you travel on. We are in the middle of change. The girls have each faced their own challenges… challenges made more difficult because change in its self is difficult for them.

 

GB is in a new class. The old class wasn’t working and was beyond what I could fix. Even though there was only eight students sharing the teacher and the two aides, the teacher was unwilling to have her working at her speed. While I was trying to determine why this class was no longer working for GB, I found out that in the two and a half years GB was there, the end of the year reading scores were not data based. It was the teacher’s best guess. Since GB’s IEP was based on this information, her IEP did not satisfy legal requirements. The school is anxious to meet GB’s needs anyway they can. I have not yet figured out what I want them to do. The class GB is currently in is larger, with thirteen other students. On the plus side, four of the students are girls and GB is developing a nice friendship with one of them. Her anxiety level is subsiding. Most days she is relaxed and happy. The downside of this class is its academic level. None of the students are close to functioning on grade level. Right now, GB needs what this class has to offer socially and emotionally. It is not a long term solution. I plan on leaving her there for the rest of the school year, so I have time to look for something more permanent.

Hope has not had a good month. She has taken the physically aggressive rages into the school. She bit one of the classroom aides. The spike in unacceptable behavior was accompanied by Hope feeling sad for the first time. This is a huge development. Hope has a new therapist. Besides working with Hope, she is helping us develop a treatment plan. She also insisted on us defining where the line was that would put Hope in an RTC. She reasoned that by defining it a head of time we would avoid making a rushed decision in a crisis. Hope’s treatment plan is still being constructed. We are working to keep everyone safe while Hope tries to deal with her very difficult feelings.

There is a lot more to share, but there is time. Nothing needs to be rushed. I wanted to end on a good note, so I am closing with this picture: GB’s favorite activity in her new class is learning to play the recorder. “Hot Cross Buns” never sounded so good.

GB practicing the recorder.

GB practicing the recorder.