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Last week’s posting was missed due to being sick and tired—literally—a combo cold/GI virus for DD1 (ewwww) which I caught, and then had to travel for work. Fun times. Both girls are better from their colds after some TLC, thank goodness.
I was hoping all would be well, but all is not well. The ex is like a heavy tide, incoming with full moon/Halloween madness, and while I’m feeling better about it today—I’ll describe a little bit about how I got here. Note: a random gift of a chocolate chip cookie from a concerned friend helped boost spirits, immensely!
A couple of weeks ago, my DD1 came home from her dad’s saying she wanted to buy a training bra with him. Yes, my alarm bells went off, because of the recent bathing issue, but I remained calm and responded neutrally—i.e. oh, well, gosh, you have training bras here, sweetie, and I notice you don’t wear them? I know, she replied, but I want to buy a training bra with dad. I murmured a noncommittal response, because even though my alarm bells were ringing, maybe I was overreacting. And then over the course of our week end, we ended up putting a training sports bra in the cart at TJ Maxx, and I thought well, life moves on.
Then, this past Saturday, DD1 told me on the phone, ‘today, I bought a training bra with dad!’ I didn’t know how to respond to that, completely surprised, so just said—gosh, well, now you have one at dad’s house and some at mom’s! And moved on with the conversation.
My alarm bells continued ringing because—1) I remembered that DD1 told me her dad still helps her with the bath a few days before they went over this past week end, 2) while DD1 was sick last week, she was better on Friday, and her dance studio was having a special rehearsal for their upcoming exams on Saturday, but her dad said DD1 was ‘too sick to go.’ 3) instead of going to the dance rehearsal, he took DD1 along for the ride for DD2’s gymnastics, then they went out shopping all day, 4) on more than one occasion, DD1 has told me “I don’t want daddy to take me to dance,” and in further conversations says she’s “uncomfortable” with dad taking her to dance, 5) over the last two years, the Ex has made it clear that he thinks DD1 doesn’t want to do dance anymore (read he doesn’t want her to do dance anymore), but once I footed the bill for it all, his protestations stopped, 6) at every phone contact with the girls this past week end, they clearly didn’t want to talk, at one point, DD2 started crying, said she was missing a movie that they were watching to call me (relating to the whole, you have to talk long to daddy because I don’t see you as much, but talk short to mom because she sees you all the time, BS). 7) so !@#$!@#$!@#$ tired of him putting himself before the children! Knowing full well if I pulled 2-6 of this on him, he would be screaming from the rooftops.
So, how I tackled all of this.
1) Got really upset and tried not to cry.
2) Drank two glasses of wine.
3) Emailed the play therapist, called my therapist, emailed the co-parenting counselor
4) When the girls came home, we had a nice night of fun, painting pumpkins and eating one of our fave meals the girls like (local style pork ribs—not processed, thank you very much WHO), and then I had a little talk about who the phone calls were for—NOT mommy and NOT daddy, but for THEM. And it was fine with me if they wanted to talk with dad long or short, I know they love me no matter how long they talk to dad. And if they talk long or short with me, it DOESN’T mean they love their daddy any less. That if they want a short call, that’s fine with me, the short call will be—tell me three things about your day and I’ll tell you three things about mine. Because that’s good phone manners for a short call, but of course they can talk as long as they want.
And a couple of hours later, before bed time, I asked them, so who are the phone calls for again? Us! they said. Yay. Let’s hope the message sticks.
5) I heard back from the play therapist who is more concerned about the bathing situation (than the training bra, phone calls, dance situation), because DD1 is developing and she needs learn about body privacy.
6) I heard back from the co-parenting counselor who said that she will continue to talk to him about the bathing situation. That he has a need to be a ‘super-involved’ parent to make himself think he is a “good parent.”
7) I asked for clarification from the co-parenting counselor on how to empower DD1 to maintain body privacy—how will she know she’s entitled to privacy, if the Ex is so “super-involved” he makes it feel normal to be bathing her, and there’s no one else talking about the fact that she is entitled to body privacy and is supported in having it?
8) Play therapist also reminded me that Ex is just digging his own grave about the phone calls.
9) While DD1 will likely give up dance soon, due to the changing schedule being on one of the Ex’s days, she has expressed interest in another activity (tennis) and I’m happy to have found a SUPER affordable class where three of her little friends will also be attending, could it be any better for a 9 year old?
10) I will not have to put DD1 in the middle regarding her dance anymore—if she really wants it, is really talented in it—she’ll be back. And it frees up our Mondays to be a lot less hectic at home.