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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Mum and her marshmallows

Today up at the nursing home I had a couple of fairly strange conversations with mum. The first was to do with a pink packet of marshmallows that I noticed sitting in the basket of her wheeled walker. "I've got these big, round things in there," mum began, gesturing to the walker. I immediately picked up on what she wanted to say, and I said the world 'marshmallows' to her. "Yes, that's right," she said. "How did they get in there?" I asked.

"Well I didn't pinch them," she said confidently. "Oh you must've," I said. "No I didn't," she affirmed again. "I bet you saw them on a trolley and thought, 'Ooh they look good'," I said. "No I didn't," mum said again. I didn't insist but I can't think how otherwise she had come by them. She said at one stage in the conversation that she had gone out to the store to buy them, but I reminded her that in the nursing home she wasn't allowed out by herself.

Then she told me she had no handbag. "Yes you do, it's in your room," I told her. "No, I don't have one," she said. "It's in the nursing home," I insisted. "I don't like that one," she said. "What's wrong with it?" I asked. "I don't know, I've just taken an intense dislike to it," she continued. "Oh mum stop it," I said. "You don't need a handbag. I'll get you a calendar though." "Yes a wall calendar tells you what day it is and what week it is, and all that very useful stuff," mum said, having completely forgotten about the handbag, let alone the marshmallows. "I need to have that," she continued. "Especially when you don't have a memory," I said cheekily. "I remember a lot of stuff," she countered. "Yeah, especially where you got the marshmallows," I said. "Well if you didn't have these little snippets what would you have to write in your letters and things," she said presciently, just possibly anticipating that I would write this blogpost about our conversation.

I am not sure that mum has any idea what I normally do during the day. I will sometimes go into her room when I arrive to visit her and she'll soon enough ask me what I've been doing and usually I will say "I've been online a bit." But whether she has a conception of what "being online" means in real terms I can only guess. I suspect she doesn't. But she is quite happy not knowing what I do during the day, because she feels quite at home in the nursing home.

"Little snippets," I repeated. "Yes, little snippets of what the hell mum said the other day," she said, laughing. Our attention was at this moment taken up by the whereabouts of the dogs in the park. I take mum out to the park to watch the dogs and often while out there I will run a Periscope broadcast of our conversation. Dogs continued to occupy her mind however, as I found when we finally gave up our position on the second seat and headed back to the main building. "I thought about getting a dog. But I would have to collect it every day," she said. "Where would you keep it?" I asked. "Yes well that's the problem," she answered philosophically.

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