Update August 23, 2020

Hi everyone! Hope you had a good week.

Friday was busy without ever accomplishing anything, it feels. I ran errands and had appointments from 5:30am straight on through till 11:30am, when I was supposed to have an appointment with CPS about J-16. She arrived 45 minutes late, and launched right into a “my hands are tied, nothing I can do to help.” The next hour and a half was spent listening to my dad ramble in such a disconnected way that I left convinced that his dementia is getting notably worse. The meeting was a waste of 2 hours of my life.

The next 4 hours were spent running errands, and then monitoring J-16 as he worked in our yard. Aaron, J-16, and I had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Aaron started out Saturday morning renting a chainsaw to take down the previous retaining wall, which is railroad ties with spikes driven through them. The chainsaw “broke,” and he returned to get a new one. The new one “broke,” and he returned with an electrical one. That worked fine. He did an amazing job working on his own out there while I was inside watching the baby. We had pizza for dinner, and went to a comedy club in the evening.

Sunday started another day of the chainsaw “breaking,” and Aaron running to Home Depot for a fourth one. I got some pictures of him while I was watching IL-20mo on the balcony, though.

I also got some toddler seats ordered for IL-20mo while I was inside babysitting. He is able to open the top clasp on his infant seat, so I guess the time has come. I got a black one for Aaron’s car, and pink to match my car. Sadly, they claim the pink is “girl’s carseat, but 😝 to them.

In the afternoon, J-16, Aaron, and I continued to pull down the railroad ties from the old wall. Those things are heavy! Afterwards, the family went out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse.

Monday was a little disappointing. We had our first appointment with M-8’s ARFID therapist, and it doesn’t sound like he’s ready for the type of thing they want to do. We have already tried their strategy twice – he’s not receptive. However, it’s possible a window of opportunity will open in the future where he will be ready for change. We have decided to focus on getting calories into him, which the eating disorder clinic suggests for times he’s not getting active treatment.

Tuesday started out on a good note – when M-8 wouldn’t eat his Froot Loops because they “looked weird” I managed to reluctantly accept that he has an eating disorder and getting angry wouldn’t solve anything, and I gave him a glass of whole milk, instead. He actually drank it. Usually, once he’s refused breakfast, that’s the end of that. He even managed to eat 6 times Tuesday, like the clinic suggested – 3 meals and 3 snacks. He did a good job.

Aaron and I rented a Bobcat Tuesday to do some hard-core digging. We roughly dug out the area where we will build the wall, though we still have several more railroad ties to pull up. Aaron thought maybe the Bobcat would pull them out. It didn’t, but it loosened them quite a bit. I ended the day pretty exhausted after following behind the Bobcat to do a little digging and a lot of root-removal.

Tuesday night, D-10 was at their mom’s, so we watched the first couple episodes of Flash with M-8.

Wednesday was a big day of digging by hand. My friend Todd came over and helped.

Thursday, Aaron attacked the stumps behind the wall with a grinder. It wasn’t as efficient as I’d have hoped, but it got rid of the stumps that had to go. At one point, I left IL-20mo with the kids for a minute, when I came back, I found this:

No one knows where he got the apple, though obviously I must have left it sitting somewhere within IL-20mo’s growing reach. He sat on my lap and ate until I looked down to find this:

While I was doing my own thing, he’d eaten the entire core. He’s eaten apples in the past without such startling results, so it hadn’t occurred to me he might eat the seeds. I looked on the internet to find that a 70kg man would have to finely chew 500 apple seeds to get poisoned, but I called poison control just on case. They said it was unlikely he’d end up with any problems – at most, a stomach ache.

Friday was a big day for the wall. Again J-16 was here to help, and he and Aaron-with-a-chainsaw pulled out what they believed was the last of the railroad ties that composed the previous retaining wall. That was quite a sturdy wall!

It was a big day for the kids, too, as it started their first day of a week-long stay with their mom, who has been reluctant to take them for extended periods of time without her parents’ help. But she recently suggested that maybe she could take the kids more often, and I told her this coming week would be ideal.

Saturday was a busy day. My dad came over to babysit, and J-16 helped and I helped with the wall. Our main job that day was digging, though J-16 got frustrated with it really early as he felt he was getting nowhere because of the roots (which was true of all of us, only Aaron and I had the patience to sit down and dig roots out with a trowel and then saw them off at the trench’s edge. We had to buy an electric saw. Those roots were huge.) Dad wanted to go out to eat afterwards, as eating out is a huge treat to him. Aaron and I had been eating out all week because we were too tired to cook, but dad was pretty excited. At the restaurant, I was talking to one of the hosts, when dad came in and announced something in his loud, excited voice, while placing his hands on the podium. The other host jumped and snapped “don’t touch that!” Dad didn’t back off because he is 80 and deaf and not great at processing social cues right now. I finally got dad to back off by repeating the request to not touch the podium politely (I tried gently nudging him back, but he was too taken off guard by the host to pay attention to me). During the time I was trying to get dad to back off, the host took off his plastic gloves, pulled out new gloves, and shakily pulled them on. I realized that he was terrified and felt bad for him. It must be terrible being in a customer-facing job when you’re that scared of getting sick. 😦

This week I actually got some reading done – I continued on with Sorcerer of the North. I also watched some of Season 10 of Supernatural with Aaron, watched the first two episodes of Flash Season 1 with M-8 and Aaron, listened to Aaron read a chapter of Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary to the kids, and watched a few episodes of Season 1 of Once Upon a Time with D-10 and Aaron.

Aaron finished reading Grip of the Shadow Plague, and I enjoyed watching Sister Act for the first time in years.

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