Book Buzz: Showering with Nana

Giggling my way through Cathy Sikorski’s memoir, Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial (Killer) … Caregiver, I recalled hearing an old Irish proverb that goes like this:

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.

Sikorski, who cared for her 92 year-old grandmother and two year-old daughter Rachel simultaneously, would undoubtedly agree.

Showering with Nana

Co-opted to care for Nana for six months, Sikorski entered this agreement with a mix of apprehension and acquiescence. This was her beloved grandmother who  had taken care of her and her five siblings for decades with total love in their multi-generational home. As an elder care lawyer, Sikorski was attuned to the needs and rhythms of the nonagenarian demographic.

But nothing could have prepared her for what was to come.

Showering with Nana

In a diary format, Sikorski takes us along on this bumpy ride in which every day presents a challenge or five. Early on she discovered that toddlers and nonagenarians actually have a lot in common.

  • They wear diapers. And poop in said diapers.
  • Naps are a daily necessity.
  • If all else fails, ice cream is an effective bribery tool.
  • They must be watched constantly. Or else all hell can break loose.

Which is precisely what happened.

There was the time Sikorski came upon Rachel playing happily in the bathtub while Nana was in the process of scrubbing it (the tub, not Rachel) with Comet. In horror, Sikorski saw her daughter covered in the caustic powder and sucking on a toilet brush. Nana in her equanimity looked at her and said, “See? Now the shower’s clean and so is the baby. A double duty.”

And then the trip to the mall. What better way to occupy a toddler and an elderly person for a couple of hours? Only Sikorski lost Nana during the two minutes she looked away and had mall security doing a shakedown.

Or the time when she noticed Nana and Rachel munching on a snack and discovered it was dog food.

Funniest of all are the episodes of diaper stories. When you’ve got one of your charges in Huggies and the other in Depends, there is a lot of sh*t happening. It was one of these predicaments that led to the title of the book. But you’ll have to read it to find out.

Through it all Sikorski learns a lot about patience, inner strength and what it means to be tired all the time. But most of all, she learned that whenever possible, laughter is the best recourse.

Showering with Nana is a funny book, but it also pulls the heartstrings. Sikorski is a terrific writer and communicates her range of emotions, from frustration to tenderness to anger and then back to frustration. She writes dialogue so well, I could hear Nana calling her “honey girl” and I could hear Rachel’s sweet little toddler voice announcing “I find Nana’s pottyboot.” (pocketbook)

For anyone going through a difficult time, especially with aging parents or grandparents, this book will lift the spirits.

And show us that when life gets tough, the tough figure out how to laugh.

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68 Thoughts on “Book Buzz: Showering with Nana

  1. Sounds like a great book, Helene. I so agree with having a sense of humor about these things. Often, it will save you when nothing else can.

  2. A reminder to self: do not allow your children or any relative to care for you when you are old.

    • hbludman on May 26, 2015 at 9:24 am said:

      You would be in good hands with the author of this book. She is an amazing caregiver.

  3. This sounds like it is really funny – and poignant in a way, too. Thanks for the great review, Helene. I always enjoy reading your take on books.

  4. Robin (Masshole Mommy) on May 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm said:

    As my parents age, this sounds like it would really hit home. My mom can’t take care of herself like she used to.

  5. A miilion thanks. Helene for your kind and thorough review. You are an amazing reader and found every bit of humor I was trying to convey! Hope your readers enjoy my memoir!

    • hbludman on May 26, 2015 at 9:26 am said:

      You are a funny and talented writer. When will your next book be out?

  6. Another fabulous review Helene! Cathy is SO funny in person too. I had the opportunity to listen to her ‘live’ the other night. I will be reading her book this weekend, I cannot wait!

    • hbludman on May 26, 2015 at 9:26 am said:

      I bet she was amazing live, Doreen. I hope I get the chance sometime.

  7. Cathy (“Squared”) is funny in person and her bubbly personality is sure to come through in her book. I can’t wait to read it. It sounds like a winner!

  8. I really enjoyed your book review! What a great topic for a novel! I had to help care for my dad during the last ten years of his life, but he acted like an unruly, juvenile delinquent (and, yes, I have started writing a memoir about it)!

  9. I was reading through this laughing all the way…then I thought oh no, this will be my life in a few more months when my daughter goes back to school and I have to watch the twins! I have to read this!

    • hbludman on May 26, 2015 at 9:28 am said:

      You have your hands full, Rena, but hopefully you’ll have time for this book!

  10. This sounds like a hysterical read! lol I can only imagine some of the circumstances! I think sometimes I might be a little bit like Nana! lol

  11. This book sounds like it would be great for people who have to take care of a close family member. Laughter is one of the best forms of medicine.

  12. Isn’t it funny how we all come full circle in all things?

  13. Oh my this sounds like a great read! It’s so great how things work out and who end up caring for us! The photo is a riot!

  14. I bet there are a ton of things we can all relate to. This sounds like a really fun read!

  15. This sounds like a laugh out loud book. I would love to get a copy so I can laugh along.

  16. This sounds like a great book. I have older in laws and they have a caregiver. I’m sure she can relate to these stories.

  17. This does sound like a good read. As a former caregiver I can attest to much of it lol. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Sounds like a funny book! Topics that are definitely realistic!

  19. This sounds hilarious! Humor is definitely the best way to deal with challenging situations and people – like children and the elderly 🙂

  20. This sounds like a really interesting book! Definitely a laugh through tears kind of story it seems!

  21. Shauna on May 22, 2015 at 11:09 pm said:

    I never, ever want my kids to go through that with me… ha! This book does sound quite funny though. Thanks so much for sharing.

  22. You had me at ice cream and naps! Sounds like she’s on to something.

  23. Oh Helene, this looks like a delightful read. Sounds so funny, although I don’t think I would appreciate the humor of taking care of a 92-year-old and a 2-yer-old simultaneously.

  24. Aging parents is challenging. This book looks like a lift sprit one and a great read

  25. This sounds like a fab summer read – I will add it to my check it out list.

  26. Haha, I love the ice cream line. Totally true! Looks like a good read at this point in my life.

  27. Mary Jane Wagner on May 24, 2015 at 8:13 am said:

    I can’t wait to read it!! Thanks for the great review!!

  28. After working in senior care for four years, I have GOT to read this. I can already relate just to the snippets you shared.

  29. Watched constantly is the key. Seriously my kids are in to everything. Looks like a good book to read fully of laughs

  30. Pingback: Showering with Nana: Confessions of a Serial (Killer)…Caregiver | HOPress-ShorehouseBooks.com

  31. SO true, we need to learn to laugh at the hard times

  32. Sounds like a good read – I am always looking for good books and new authors!

  33. That cover is clever! I think it sounds like a good read. Will need to check this one out.

  34. It is a sad situation sometimes but I think caregivers need to smile. Sounds like a great book.

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