It takes a village…inside a tent…with fake trees, and assorted out-of-proportion accoutrements…

And it is now less than a week to the First Day of Christmas and inflatable Snoopy is gone, the Humble Bumble and Snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are stored away, and J is now actively participating in all the other bells and whistles of the season.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, J has accepted the tree stand, has hung an Advent Calendar of sorts (it is handy dandy and he puts things in it to extract on Christmas morning,) and the Christmas stockings are hung on the bedroom doors.  Thunderbirds are go!  Or partridges in pear trees…French hens, turtle doves, and so on and so forth.

We are hoping to bring a tree into the house tomorrow.  Preferably a Christmas tree.  But any tree will do if J is happy and excited about his favorite string of holidays.

This morning we spent some time making bake-clay Christmas trees for a mobile we’re hanging on the stairway leading up to the bedrooms.  J was very happy with this project.  It might be because it was fun, or it might be because it wasn’t a chore.  Either way, I’ll take his enthusiasm and run with it.

We go back to the psych on Monday.  The med is working, and what we see of SIB is rare and reserved mainly to the time previous to J’s bath.  He doesn’t hit himself hard.  It is more reminiscent of a display of OCD than of wanting to actually cause himself pain.  We have, however, heard more grunting from him, and this is unsettling.  The sound, guttural and sudden, startles us every single time.  The only other thing that he seems to be obsessing about is how tight the straps of his wrist brace are.  He comes and asks for help with this, and I can figure out if he is tightening them too much.

In general, J is in a much more pleasant and responsive state of mind.  He listens when I talk to him, and he seems more relaxed.  He will be impatient from time to time, but he no longer acts like a caged lion.  This is progress, yes, and we hope to -slowly and steadily- find better ways to guide him back to a spot where he doesn’t feel he needs the bandaids and wrist brace 24/7.  The cut he had between thumb and forefinger has healed, but he wants Betadine applied to the area, and Neosporin.  These are, obviously, unnecessary and effect nothing, but they soothe him.  He hasn’t complained of headaches for a while, and has just had issues with the dry air that results from the central heating running more frequently.

All in all he is doing well, but the pill is most definitely making him eat more.  He is open to negotiation, though.  I have managed to get him to eat less of certain things, and more of others.  He no longer has to have all the cookies in a serving, and he accepts that there are days when he will skip his yogurt, or some other snack because he had had something else.

The system is not perfect, and I don’t expect it to be.  The system will work as best it can, and we will address all the complications arising from this alteration in what was “normal” as time progresses.  We are, because no one else has the ability to do this, cutting ourselves a sufficient amount of slack so we don’t get too discouraged, or become ineffectual because we feel like we’re failing.

There is a cold snap heading our way so we are adjusting our weekly schedule to make sure J gets to go out, and we get our errands run in what is healthier weather for him.  Instead of an evening outing, Dada will be taking J out to do his shopping tomorrow morning while I am at a medical appointment.  This should be something that J enjoys because Dada is a lot less adept at knowing what is already available in our pantry and J can be like Scrooge McDuck with his supplies.  The only thing they ever have issues with is Orville Redenbacher’s Cheddar Cheese Microwave Popcorn.  Dada hasn’t managed to master the art of steering J away from it, and that thing -forgive my bluntness- stinks up the house so massively that I often find myself agreeing to some other horrid snack just to get J to accept Orville Redenbacher’s Naturals Simply Salted instead.  It was in this way that we ended up with sizable bag of Skittles, but they get dispensed at the rate of two red, two green, two yellow, two orange and two purple a day.  No more, no less.  If it’s in a small plastic container with a lid, regardless of how small the amount, J accepts that it’s a snack.  Plus I remind him that he gets one Pixie Stix for each dose of med he gets each day.  I think the trade-off is fair.

The trees are mostly bare.  The wind is cold.  The sun shines, but it’s not warming up anything in a way that would inspire us to stay outside for prolonged periods of time.  When it rains, my bones and joints scream at me rather rudely.  Winter is a couple of weeks away, but it clearly is announcing that it means business.

This probably figures prominently in J’s willingness to get “into Christmas.”  His Christmas village is quite adorable.  The train tracks are still under construction, trees are added sporadically, houses find their way into corners, and Santa Claus is hiding towards the back.  J turns on the lights in the morning, and makes sure they get turned off before bedtime.  He learned the lesson of how cats will nest in there if he leaves the door open, and now he closes the door when he heads up to bed.

We are getting there.  We are closer.  It won’t be like other years, but we are finding yet another new normal, yet another groove, yet another all right, good, awesome, this feels good.



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