Okay, so the cousins are painfully cute and tons of fun to watch. They don't exactly play together, but they do interact and occasionally give each other hugs and kisses that make the grown-ups in the room just keel over and die from the ridiculous adorableness.
On the flip side, it's been tough to watch my mom and grandma as they struggle with the physical and mental challenges that come hand in hand with their health issues. My grandma has made great strides since we were here two weeks ago, but it's still not clear how much of an understanding she has of what happened to her or where she is. As her ability to speak has returned, she's definitely able to express a strong desire to go home. We're staying with her in shifts at this point so that she always has family in the room with her while she is awake, but I don't know how long we'll be able to keep that up.
Even though it doesn't require much physical effort to hang out in a nursing home room for a few hours a day, it still seems to take a real toll on my mom. She becomes increasingly passive and non-responsive over the course of the afternoon and by evening, it's really difficult for her to participate in the bedtime routine. She's also showing a lot more resistance to accepting help from me and I've been seeing more flare-ups of anger and resentment.
Intellectually, I know not to take these words personally, but it's still hard to know what to do when this happens. I just can't leave her half-dressed or tangled up in the sleeves of a shirt even when she tells me she wants me to go away and leave her alone. And I understand her resistance to letting me assist with the most intimate parts of her hygiene, but if she can't do these things and she won't let me do them...I don't know what to do. Sometimes I can deal with the situation by helping her to take a shower right there and then, but last night we'd just gotten the babies to sleep, so that simply wasn't an option.
So, that's where we are right now. Mornings with the babies getting everyone fed and dressed, afternoons at the nursing home watching tv, trying to engage grandma in conversation and chasing after bored toddlers and evenings scrambling around for dinner and getting everyone bathed and to sleep. (And for some of us, that amorphous fourth shift of late night wake-ups, feedings and screaming fits.)