Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy, happy, Halloween!

I am so looking forward to go trick-or-treating with the girls later—hurray!  They were so excited about Halloween that they got up all by themselves.  I let them wear their costumes to school (well, DD1 has a school contest, but that meant DD2 got to wear hers, too, but to be packed away once we go to preschool…which took a lot of effort, lol.)  I just love the holidays!

On a happy note, DD1’s PTCs went great.  Her teachers said she is hard working, takes her schoolwork seriously, always wants to do well.  She is reading two grade levels higher (proud mommy!!!) and doing great in math.  She could be eligible for advanced math in the future, but she is doing excellent where she is now.  They say she loves reading, especially poetry, so I think I need to invest in some Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic, etc.  They are so happy with her—that she is a good student who always wants to help.  Seriously, my heart couldn’t be happier.

Because…it’s validation that DD1 is growing and thriving.  That despite all the drama behind closed doors, it isn’t affecting her—or if it is, it’s not affecting her ability to learn and love learning.  I’m shielding her as best as I can, and apparently the shields are working as best as they can.  She is loving school, doing well, loves her friends.  I left her at school smiling with her little pals, excited for Halloween.  I couldn’t be happier.  Yay!  :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Update on the Even Keel

Well, after I agreed to his original “option #2,” he now wants to swap the entire week end for some time in the future.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for us, as we have plans already.  It is also quite disruptive to our schedules, period.  So after meditating on it, I replied with a very short email: I’d like to stick to the original offer of swapping Sundays.  Sincerely.

What I really wanted to say when re-reading his email (which was full of poor me, I have to pack for a business trip, so I can’t spend time with the girls), was:  I am so tired!  Of this crap!  Of being vigilant of boundaries every single second of the day!  Blah!  Blah blah blabbity blah!  And what really gets my goat is that his mom picks up the slack for everything anyway, whereas on my side it’s me, constantly me, doing every single little thing.  (Actually, that’s a wholly different post, one that both shakes my head at the enabling and at the same time accepts the help she offers, because anything she can do to lessen the stress of the schlepping, directly increases the likelihood that he will behave himself and not act like a complete jerk face to the girls.)

But back to the blah blah blabbity blah.  There’s been other things afoot—my taking the girls to the school carnival this year due to the fact that he took them two years in a row—was such a huge sacrifice on his part (um….he was at work…the entire time?), that now he is fighting tooth and nail to have the ‘make up’ time be different than the time frame as the fair.  Because he works.  Really?  Who doesn’t work in this co-parenting situation?

Actually, I’m giggling (a bit insanely) right now.  It’s so ludicrous.  Like here I am reading the headlines (School shooting in Washington State--when will this damn needless violence END already?  More Nigerian girls kidnapped and the original #bringbackourgirls are still missing, I am seriously standing at the WTF WTF world station), so I can understand that my problems are just…that.  Problems that will be and can be dealt with.  It’s a big pain in my a$$, and I get weary, and I get triggered, and when I have to meet a potential new attorney to discuss our case, I’m PTSDing all over the place.

But I have to remember:  that it’s going to be okay.  Crossing fingers, I have DD1’s PTCs this week and everything will be okay.  As long as she is thriving and growing, that’s what matters.  His behind the scenes shenanigans do not matter.  His grasping at control, does not matter.  It’s a sign, actually, that I’ve won.  I’m in a better place.  He has to grasp at straws, because he can’t grasp at me any longer.

Yesterday, the girls and I came home and hubby was still at work.  And like we do every day, we leave cute little messages for each other (yep, go ahead and barf, lol, remember we haven’t yet been married a year!), and DD1 read the note hubby left for me:  Darling, I love you with all my heart and you make my life brighter.  DD1 said, oh that is so sweet mommy!  I love that she is getting exposed to little, random acts of kindness that hubby shows me.  And later when he did come home, there was lots of laughing and giggling going on as I was cleaning up and getting everything ready for bed.  And the demands to be tucked in.  And ever watchful, the girls listening to hubby and I talk to each other.  And it’s not yelling.  It’s mostly mush.  Sometimes, DD2 will demand that we “kiss on the lips!” and then shriek and giggle with delight when we do.

This morning, I carried a sleepy DD2 as she woke up and got ready for our day.  DD1 was quite grumpy due to the early morning rise, but we somehow all made it out into the car, lunch bags, backpacks, snacks in tow.  DD2 announced that I hadn’t zipped up my dress all the way (yay early morning working mom, getting everyone ready except myself), clearly proud of herself for noticing, so I got out and stood in front of the back seat and let DD2 zip it up.  I then gave her a kiss.  I could feel DD1 getting slightly incensed at being left out on the attention spectrum, so on my way back to the driver’s seat, opened the backdoor and gave her a kiss too.  Which she accepted quietly and thoughtfully like she does when she mulls over just about anything and everything.  Then, off we went for our crazy early morning drop off so I could race myself and get to work on time. 

And you know what, I have a confession to make.  In all of this schlepping and trench work of parenting, sometimes, I feel like a total crappy a$$ parent.  I do not feel noble for getting us out of a crappy a$$, abusive household, because when I’m bogged down in the morning commute or that evening rush hour of homework/dinner/clean up/bedtime, I feel my imperfections sprinkling about like rain. Sometimes, I yell at them.  When I have to tell DD2 three times to stop whacking her food with her spoon (which is resulting to rice getting splayed on the dinner table), yes, I raise my voice and boom, she is in time out, and she is crying her eyes out.  Yes, later she understands that mommy asked her to stop, and she didn’t stop, and that’s why mommy got upset.  But really?  Do I have to yell?  When I had to tell DD1 five times this morning to move her giant water bottle off the table and put it next to her backpack, yep, I yelled on the sixth.  I felt like a complete and utter crappy a$$ parent, because in that moment, DD2 covered her ears.  Clearly, I have to figure out how to take on the challenge of selective hearing (for both girls), and I’m trying.  And failing, when it’s 6:05am and we have to get out the door in 10 minutes.

Is “just trying” enough?  Every day, I tell myself—especially after I haven’t seen them for a week end or an overnight, that today I will be patient no matter WHAT.  Some days are awesome.  Everyone listens, mommy isn’t at her wits end, we are all giggling and having nail polish parties and making home made pizzas and laughing.  Other times, I feel like I’m having a mental wrestling match with DD1 just to get her upstairs and into the bath.  RAWR.

But right now, I’m thinking of us all cuddled up last night, reading a bed time story, the girls’ heads resting on my shoulders, all of us under a warm fuzzy blanket, their breath on my cheeks.  Their little hands pointing at the book, or DD1 giggling because hubby made a joke.  DD2 asking to be carried to bed.  Re-arranging miniature furniture in our fairy bowl, in case any mysterious fairies decide to play and pay a visit while the girls are sleeping (after all, the tooth fairy can’t be the ONLY fairy in the universe).

So a little prayer goes out into the universe from my heart, one that I say nearly every day:  Dear God, please help me be a more patient mommy, and please keep my little girls safe and protected.  Please help us be kind and loving to each other.  And please let my girls always know that their mother loves them.  All day, every day, always and forever.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Even Keel

I’ve received an interesting inquiry from the Ex.  It has to do with a pending work trip for him, which would cut short his week end with the children.  He is proposing a few options, swapping week ends altogether, cutting the week end short and swapping just one of the days, or just having grandma watch the children (?). 

Here’s the irony:  a while back, I also had a work trip, and who simply stood his ground and said he was providing childcare, and no swap?  Then tacked on his two weeks summer vacation when I was supposed to return from my work trip, so effectively tried to keep the children away from me for three weeks in a row?

It was after some master finagling with the coparenting counselor and myself that gave it a wee better ending:  1) I cut my work trip short, and 2) negotiated that I at least had the week end with the girls before they went off for two weeks with him.

I’d almost like to say Karma is going to bite you in the a$$, jerk face.  That I was told, too bad, so sad, and simply lost time with my children due to work obligations, and don’t you just love how that works out for you now that you’re in a similar situation?

Except, I’m not a jerk. 

And, after thinking this through:  life moves on.  There may be a work trip coming up for me out of the blue.  Or, hubby and I may plan something and maybe we will need the Ex to be flexible in the future.  So if I’m flexible now--with a kind reminder that this gesture is much different than the response I received in a similar predicament, and so that by agreeing to this, we expect it will be impetus for him to also be flexible in the future, it will be better for everyone (especially the girls).  (and yes, I cannot control if he will actually abide by this, but at least I’m doing my best to work with him.  Being a role model for the girls, even though they won’t know all the gritty details).

I’m considering doing the one day swap—picking up the girls early.  Our week ends are completely booked through the end of 2014—funny how the holiday season and sleepover plans, etc can fill up on the every other week end schedule.  So I will propose a swap for that one day sometime in early 2015.  And hope this will be an impetus for him to act more kindly towards schedule changes in the future.  But if not, at least I’ll go to bed knowing I did the right thing by the girls.  I hope.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

On a happy note

DD1 had a great “DD1-only” night the other night.  It was so sweet, actually, while she was doing her homework, her tooth fell out, so the tooth fairy made a visit in the wee dawn hours (me suddenly waking up at 5:00am thinking—oh crap!!!!).

I cooked DD1’s (and now hubby’s) favorite dish—homemade bbq ribs and she ate it up with gusto. Then, because Ex had let us know he wouldn’t be home to facilitate the phone call with DD2, we called grandma’s directly.  At first, grandma hung up.  But we called back again, and she couldn’t resist “Hi grammy!” from DD1, and put DD2 on the phone.  To which DD2 said, “Hi DD1!  I was just telling grandma that I wish DD1 would call me, and you did DD1!”  Oh man, heart about melted in a puddle.

After clean up and shower time, we had a slumber party DVD watch, DD1’s pick—the original peter pan, which we watched for about an hour.  Then, when I put her to bed, we snuggled a little bit before she fell asleep.

p.s. the only downer to this, yesterday, DD1 told me that when she told her grandma the tooth fairy came, she said grandma told her the tooth fairy didn’t exist.  That’s why grandma gives her 2 dollars, but daddy gives her 5.  Really?  Part of me wonders if they are really that strange over at their house, the other part of me wonders if DD1 is doing some secret investigative reporting on the reality of the tooth fairy, lol.

I told her that maybe the tooth fairy doesn’t go to dad’s house, but she definitely comes to ours.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Drama: A Day in the Life

I get an email time stamped at 1:27am this morning (Monday, yay, first day of the work week!) saying that no, he is going to pick up DD1 today (legally not his day), and what’s up with an ultimatum about getting a response from him by Saturday at noon?

Context:  Today is a holiday for DD2 but not for DD1.  When a holiday is attached to a week end, the parent who has the week end, has the holiday.  He had this past week end.

Over the past year or so, I’ve kindly offered to keep the children together in similar situations, as I thought it would be best for the girls to be together.  Normally this has worked.  Then, last week, when DD1 was on fall break and DD2 wasn’t, the thoughtful Ex defensively stated that he would NOT be taking DD1 to her extracurricular activities, thank you very much, and then blamed my lack of informing him about the classes as the culprit.  (Rewind to August, when I informed him twice about the new ballet school and rewind four days before activities when I informed him again—which is how I learned he wouldn’t take her).

So…last week Thursday, I kindly offered that if the Ex would take DD1 to her activities today, I’d offer to let her stay over with DD2, so the children could be together.  To please let me know by noon on Saturday, otherwise I would follow the court order per DD1’s school schedule.

And…of course he doesn’t respond by noon on Saturday, so I followed up around 2pm on Saturday, informing him that I planned to pick up DD1 and follow the court order per DD1’s school schedule.

Is this too confusing?  DD1 is in school, DD2 is not.  DD1 could go over if Exie would take her to her activities, but Exie need to respond by noon on Saturday.  That was his message.

And my reasoning (which I didn’t state in the email, because it’s useless and he doesn’t care and would likely make him react even more crappily):  1)  I had to plan ahead to get her to where she needs to be, if he wouldn’t take her.  And more concerning 2) Because he didn’t take DD1 just last week, I wouldn’t agree to a change in the decree without confirmation that he would support DD1 and her activities.

But!  Nothing like an act of kindness (i.e. have DD1 for an extra night, all you have to do is support her activities!) to bite you in the a$$.  Because in at 1:27am, I’m told I am confusing him and he was absolutely going to pick her up, or I could take DD1 and then return her in time for dinner (???) and blah blah blabbity blah.

I responded simply that my email was clear and because he didn’t respond as requested, I had already made arrangements to pick up DD1.

And in the meantime, consulted co-parenting counselor, friends, attorney as to what to do—which is—go get DD1, and if he shows up, say no thank you, and if he gets cranky, call the cops.  Also, notify the school he would be in violation of the family court order if he shows up today.  Great, because having police involvement at the school is really in DD1’s best interest, right?  Also, thanks for the opportunity to air my dirty laundry to the school.  (But to be truthful, when I talked to the school, they merely responded not a problem—and did I hear a slight roll-your-eyes-camaraderie smile in her voice?--made me wonder if they’ve seen all kinds of !@#$).

A few hours later, I received a contrite email asking me to ‘please reconsider’ and blabbity blah.  Also a lovely misquote from the court order. 

I managed to keep it classy:  I responded that I had reached out last week about today but did not hear back until 1:27am this morning.  That any decisions in the past to arrange scheduling that was different than the decree were mutually agreed upon well in advance.  That I looked forward to coming to agreements ahead of schedule in the future, should the occasion arise.

Sick of this crappity crap b.s. nonsense, mom.

p.s. but i am looking forward to having a DD1-only special night.  We had a DD2 special night last week when DD1 was at a sleepover.  And...DD1 seemed excited at pick up that all the attention was going to be on her tonight...  <3 br="">