Monday, October 11, 2010

Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream

Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream. My mom, grandmother and I went through a slight obsession with Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream. I think it was back in the 90s, probably one summer when I was home from college and my grandmother was visiting. My grandmother always had a bowl of ice cream every night before bed. After my grandfather died, I daresay my grandmother went on an ice cream diet - I think she only ate ice cream for a few months before she settled into her nightly ice cream routine.

As a devout chocoholic myself, I was more than happy to indulge whenever in my grandmother's presence. My father was a big fan of buying Breyer's ice cream flavors for his ice cream habit (he usually preferred to buy the vanilla fudge swirl, but occasionally he bought the neapolitan, too). Since my grandmother only ate chocolate ice cream, I think he bought a whole thing of chocolate one time when she was in town visiting. It has this beautiful rich flavor...clean, heavy chocolate, soft, with a touch of graininess that adds a beautiful textured sensation in the mouth. In an instant, we were all in love.

My grandmother continued to buy Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream when she returned home - every time I visited for years to come, I could always count on a half gallon of Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream in the freezer. And my mother and I continued to feed our Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream obsession, too. It became this joke...we'd look at each other and whisper "Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream" and laugh. My father would pop into the room and tell us he was running to the store and ask if we needed anything, and we'd whisper "Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream."

In recent years, my mother and I have been very good at controlling our ice cream indulgences. I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought or ate Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream. Ever since she started the gourmet food plan at the hospital, my mother has renewed her ice cream habit. She has been eating chocolate ice cream daily (well, sometimes twice daily) for about a month now. When we arrived at the nursing home, we discovered they keep little ice cream cups in the freezer for the residents, so my mother has been able to continue her ice cream habit. The ice cream is good, but it is no Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream.

Today, the nursing home was out of the chocolate ice cream cups, and my mother was stuck eating plain vanilla ice cream (we didn't even have chocolate sauce to try to fix it up!). Every time I go to the freezer, I see a half gallon of Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream that one of the residents keeps their for personal use, and it always brings back memories about the beautiful Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream. So tonight, I'm thinking about Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream, and trying to convince DH that he should run out to the store at 2:00 am and buy it for me. That kind of a negotiation was FAR more effective when I was pregnant. I think it is time for me to finally give in and go buy that half gallon to keep up at the nursing home for my mom...and me. I'll have to pick it up tomorrow (or maybe I'll run out to the store tonight), and when I bring it to her room, all I'll have to do is whisper "Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream" and I know the big grin will spread across her face.

This morning started a bit early...Maya woke up at 7:15. I asked DH to quickly and quietly get the baby and hand her to me before she woke Micah, but in typical DH fashion, he sat there comatose for a few minutes as the baby's cries grew louder. As I started to get out of bed and walk around to get her, he finally decided to move and get the baby. After handing her to me, he thudded loudly across the room, made a loud grunting noise while he stretched...and woke Micah up. Yes, at 7:15, Micah was busy yelling "Mommy! Daddy! Out. Out. Out." I told DH that since he woke the beast, Micah was his responsibility for the morning.

DH tried to bring Micah into bed for us, but he was in no mood to keep quiet or still and let us all nap. DH eventually gave up and took Micah downstairs for breakfast while I stayed upstairs and nursed Maya. My mom called around 8:30 to tell me she was awake and sitting in her wheelchair while she ate breakfast, and she wanted to know our plans for the day. I told her that Dad would be coming up before lunch, and that we wouldn't get there until 1:00 or so because Micah had swim class. She was in good spirits and said she looked forward to seeing us.

Maya and I eventually came downstairs around 9, and I spent the next hour getting everything organized for the day. I packed the things I needed for the hospital, I got the kids' outfits for the day together, and I packed up the swim bag for Micah's swim class. At 10:45, Micah and I left for class.

Micah is starting to do really well in swim class! He is not afraid of the water - he loves to splash and play, he regularly puts his face under water, and he knows how to blow bubbles and kick. He still gets a bit nervous when I have him floating on his back, but we do seem to be making progress. Today he demonstrated that he can climb out of the pool all by himself! He also worked on floating and doing arm strokes, too. He was responding faster to all the prompts, and he loved the songs we sang in class, especially "Wheels on the Bus." He was actually so brave this time that he did some walking around the pool on his own. I do think he is learning a lot of great pre-swimming skills, and I think he'll pick up swimming quickly over the next year.

After class, I got Micah showered and dressed, and we headed home to get DH and Maya. DH made Micah lunch to eat in the car (what a mess that was!) and the four of us headed up to the nursing home. When we arrived, my parents were sitting by the front desk on Mom's floor. For the first half hour or so, Mom was great - she seemed alert and in good spirits. Her room was very hot - the nursing home apparently shut off the air conditioning last week when it was cold...and now everyone is roasting in the latest heat wave. Luckily, my mother's roommate had her husband bring in a fan for the two of them, so that is helping. On top of that, Mom's bed is broken...the stupid thing keeps beeping, and no one can seem to figure it out. We put in the request to have it fixed on Thursday shortly after she got it, and all day Friday they told us they were working on fixing the problem. The noise continued all day yesterday and today, and no one can figure out how to turn it off.

After half an hour, my mom suddenly wanted to go back to her sweltering hot room and get in bed. I wish she would have stayed up longer. I know she feels compelled to go back to bed, and she says she doesn't have the strength to stay up, but she stays in her chair for 4-5 hours a day during the week, so I know she is capable of being up longer than an hour. I think that the minute she is in the nursing home, she feels this compulsion to crawl in bed, and it becomes impossible to keep her out of bed. I told her that it was a beautiful day outside, and suggested we take her out to a courtyard to get some fresh air. She declined and said she wanted to go back to bed. I pointed out to her that if she went back to bed, she wouldn't be able to spend any more time with Micah, and that her room was too hot and too crowded today for me to go in there. She didn't seem to care...and she went back to bed instead of spending time with us.

Over the past three weekends, I have been unable to keep my mom out of bed long enough to get any pictures or video of her with her grandchildren (other than Maya who can be plopped into bed with her). I told her today that I probably will not bring Micah back to the nursing home again, unless she is able to start spending time in the wheelchair during the visits. It is just too hard to keep him controlled there, and if I have to sit with him in the hallway when my mother is in her room, well, it isn't much of a visit. Micah gets very upset if I leave him in the waiting area, and then he starts yelling and upsetting the other residents.

It was actually a quiet day for my mother - no therapy and no visitors. While my mother was in her room, I went over to the hospital to visit my friend and her new son, Zachary. He was adorable - tiny little thing. He slept soundly the whole time I was there. It was a nice (but quick) visit. They will be released from the hospital tomorrow, so I won't be able to visit them again.

After my visit, I returned to the nursing home to find DH out on the playground with the kids. Micah was very busily steering a truck, and we kept them outside for another half hour. Around 4:45, I decided it did not make sense to stay up there any longer if we were not visiting with my mother. We went back to the room to say goodbye. I helped my mom set up a few things before I left, and I was able to stay there while she ate dinner. Micah was busy running up and down the hallway yelling, and I felt terrible that he was causing such a ruckus.

While we were there, we received a phone call from the rental agent for one of the houses we are considering. I *think* it may be ours, but we are meeting with her tomorrow to sort it all out. The house is really lovely - it is a 6 bedroom. There are 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a living room on the entry level. Downstairs, there are two more bedrooms, another bathroom, and a huge family room and rec room (with a walk-out to the backyard). The backyard has a lovely stone patio. I think the layout of the house is perfect for us, and the extra rooms and finished basement will be good for us. My father and I are meeting there tomorrow morning to finalize things.

We finally left around 6 (my father stayed behind hoping they would come to fix the bed). Micah was funny on the ride home - he sang with us. This is a new trick for him...he is only recently starting to say the words with us while we sing. He sang some of the ABCs, "Wheels on the Bus" and a few other songs. His favorite song, by far, is still the Hebrew song "Mayim, Mayim" - he LOVES the "hey, hey, hey, hey!" part, and he shouts it out and pumps his arms in the air while he sings. We made it home on the late side, and quickly fed Micah dinner. By 8:40, both kids were asleep! Maya woke up briefly again at 9:15, but she was back out a few minutes later.

My mom called a few times this evening, first at 10 to tell me she was waiting for breakfast. Since they started giving her steroids at 10, she has been getting confused. She falls asleep earlier for a few hours, they wake her up to give her the pills, and she thinks it must be morning. She told me she was waiting for her breakfast again, and I reminded her that it was 10:00 pm. She said she remembered, wished me a good night, and told me she was going to try and go back to sleep. At midnight, Mom called again - she was in pain again. I feel awful for her - I'm so frustrated that the therapy department has put her on these new no-lift restrictions because it is messing up her intestines again. We are going to have to figure out how to deal with this tomorrow. I hope she is able to get to sleep tonight.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to figure out how to bring her some Breyer's Chocolate Ice Cream - perhaps that will bring a smile to her face. I have to figure out the logistics of that, since I'm not going straight to the nursing home. Maybe I can stop off at a grocery store on the way back to the nursing home from the hospital.

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