While Juan travels the globe for the next two weeks, I’m taking care of Thing 1 and Thing 2. Pray for me.  This will be the longest I’ve ever been on my own  with the boys. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done this before.  How hard could it be, right? I’ve got resources at the ready:

  • Toy Story 2 DVD…check
  • Pack N Play with unscalable walls…check
  • Chocolate chip cookies…check
  • Michael Jackson’s Beat It video bookmarked for quick access and repeated play…check
  • Neighbor’s daughter as Daddy’s Helper…check

As of this morning, days 1 and 2 of single parenthood are just a memory.   The first half of Day 1 was a little rough, but I chalk that up to all of us needing to recover from our week-long vacation. Those six days spent on an island – lovingly mooching off family and friends – were simultaneously relaxing and exhausting.   By the time yesterday morning arrived, I think the exhaustion had gotten the best of T, Lucas and me and the day got off to a shaky start.  We had little patience for each other.  Lucas cried every time I put him down and T managed to channel the spirit of every possible drama-queen.  If I even looked like I was going to say no to one of his many demands, he would stomp his feet and fall to the floor in a heap, wailing as if I had beheaded his favorite teddy bear.

By midday, I knew we had to get out of the house, so I packed the boys up and we went to the mall.  Normally, I hate malls almost as much as a I hate crunchy peanut butter, coconut flakes and morning talk-radio, but this mall has a play area that we frequent often.  It comes in handy when we are too tired – or too lazy – to figure out what to do with T.  There’s nothing all that special about the place.  If you’ve ever been to one of these play areas, you know the flavor – rubbery play structures, bench seating, kids screaming and running amok, parents grateful for a few moments of relative peace.  The one odd thing about this play area is that it is in a room, instead of an open area of the mall.  That used to bother me, but I got over it.  As long as Thing 1 can burn off some energy and be nap-ready, that’s all that matters now.  Three hours later, I pulled up to the house with the boys sleeping in the back and ready to be transferred upstairs for nap time.

The rest of the day was a breeze.  The baby sitter arrived around 5pm (boys still napping) and relieved me from duty.  I spent the next five hours taking advantage of the State’s tax-free week.  I bought clothes for me, which was an amazing feat in and of itself.  I am rarely the beneficiary of my shopping excursions.  I’ve been wearing the same Fall shirts/sweaters for a good 5 years now.

Yesterday we hit up a birthday party at a fire station, followed by an afterparty at the kid’s house.  The firemen took the kids and parents for rides in a fire truck.  They also did a show-and-tell about the uniform and equipment. The talk was a bit over the heads of 3 year-olds, but I understood the goal of helping kids to not be afraid of uniformed firemen.

So it’s Day 3. Lucas is in his Pack N Play, pissed that I’ve put him down so that I could actually do something without him attached to my hip, so I think it’s time to head out into the world. We have a jam-packed agenda for the day.

Ty’s caseworker came by last night.  He told us that DSS has made the decision to do a “show cause”.  A show cause is the first step toward termination of parental rights (TPR). In the show cause process, the clinical team (caseworker, supervisors, etc.) submit a packet of documentation, forms, etc. to a committee (I think of them as risk management in a way) that then reviews the packet and either says Yes or No to the request for TPR.  The packet has already been completed and submitted and the review process takes place on Sep 1, the day before the next court hearing.  The caseworker anticipates the outcome of the Sep 1 review will be a yes.  On Sep 2 (assuming a Yes), DSS will file a petition for TPR at the hearing.  The caseworker is going to inform the parents this week of the decision.

There is no certainty that The Court will grant the request.  The Court might tell DSS to provide more services to the parents, but given some recent events, that direction is less likely. So this doesn’t mean it’s over.  Juan and I are extremely cautious about hoping, but things have never gone this far and in this direction.  And even if it is granted and TPR happens, the parents could appeal/contest.  We’ll cross that bridge-over-troubled-waters when we get there though.

So, that’s the news.