Thursday, August 24, 2017

Of secrets, tennis shoes, field trips and anything else

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The girls came home from a week end with dad, excited to share that they went fishing and eagerly explaining how they caught so many fish and had to scale them.

When we responded wow that sounds like fun, where did you go?  They responded swiftly with: it’s a secret!  We can’t tell you!

I took that in stride and glossed over it, marveling again on how much fish they caught, then proceeded to finish dinner and do our normal goodnight routine.  DD1 had huge amounts of homework to do.  So when DD2 brushed her teeth, and I was helping her get ready for bed, I asked her, how does it make you feel to keep a secret?  She hugged me close and said, not good mommy.  And, we went to the pier but don’t tell DD1, or A or daddy I told you.  So I hugged HER closely and said that I was glad she had a good time, that fishing sounds fun, and that it’s okay to do fun things with dad.  I also said, and you know some secrets are fun, like a fishing spot, and also I’m your mommy and it’s okay to tell me anything.  Especially if there is a secret that makes you feel even just the tiniest bit funny or weird.  It’s OKAY to tell your mommy.  DD2 seemed fine and since it was early, we picked two books and read them and off she went to sleep.

As for DD1, who is standing firmly in tweenhood, her response was quite different—although to be honest, I’ve had the “secret” conversation with her when she was DD2’s age as well.  Anyway, this go around her response was rolling her eyes and that “I LIKE having secrets from you mom,” and “it’s fun to have secrets, and besides you don’t understand everything anyway.”

To which I responded, you know when I was growing up, I didn’t want to tell Grandma G everything too.  But it’s also my job as your mom to tell you that it’s okay to tell me ANYTHING, even if you feel frustrated or think I won’t understand.

Her response, of COURSE you won’t understand and a big dramatic sigh and throwing a blanket over her head (since she was going to bed).

Okay, honey, I said, but it’s still my job to be your mom and be here for you for ANYTHING.  This elicited more monosyllabic sighing.  Although after I said goodnight, she came into the bathroom where I was getting ready for bed to talk about her iPad use the following day, and I took this to mean that she was just trying to be near me.  And the following morning when she was getting ready, she wanted me to sit in the bathroom with her while SHE was getting ready, so I’m just riding out this “push-pull” tween thing this week.

I did try and re-cap my approach to “secrets” and that it’s okay to tell mommy ANYTHING on the way to school, to which DD1 rolled her eyes and said, I KNOW YOU’VE TOLD US A THOUSAND TIMES ALREADY. 
(me: trying not to laugh).

So onward to the field trip and shoes.  The next night the girls had their weeknight overnight. After which I was accused of not returning DD2’s shoes and all the problems wearing flip-flops instead of his shoes to school presented—as I was endangering DD2 by letting her stub her toe and having some kid run over it with his rolling backpack.  Also for neglecting to send along the information about DD2’s field trip since she didn’t tell him until the morning and they needed to pack her lunch and she needed to wear her shoes (which he took another opportunity to tell me I hadn’t returned them). 

Hmm…the shoes that were in DD2’s backpack; clearly someone forgot to look before sending me a scathing email.  As for the field trip, reminders were sent home and put in DD2’s daily journal which someone clearly didn’t look at the night before, either. 

And so it goes.  Onward, forward.  Deep breaths.  It makes me feel like doing the monosyllabic sighing that my tweenster does when frustrated.  To be honest, I was super upset earlier this week, but now feel quite zen about it.

The good news is that the girls are home for the rest of the week so I’m looking forward to having some girl time with them.  Most of their extracurricular activities don’t start until next month, so it’s a mellow week end ahead.  Hurray!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Back to School Co-parenting Blues

image here

And so it begins.

First of all, let me just say I’m so happy my girls had their back-to-school night last night, met their teachers, settled in with their desks and all their school supplies, we are good!  This is the first year that DD2 is attending the same school as DD1 and she’s REALLY excited about that (transferred her from her little private school, think she’s ready for the big leagues, lol).

Since DD2 is a little older, the first of the graduated visitation has set in.  So this is the first time the girls have been on “his” time on back-to-school night.  I’ve always invited him on back-to-school nights prior however.  And he would stick like glue.  The difference between this back to school night?  He kept hurrying the kids and I along so they could say goodbye to me.  /eyeroll.  The girls felt like they couldn’t walk with me all the time (I encourage them to talk/walk with him when he comes to events on ‘my’ time, but whatever).  DD2 was sweet and loving and effusive; DD1 was more reserved and didn’t even look at me to say goodbye.  /cry

So a couple of things leading up to this:

Last week end, DD1 had another sleepover, and it was on dad’s week end. She wanted to bring her electronic device, but I wasn’t comfortable with sending it to day camp and having it sit in her backpack in a giant cafeteria all day, so I worked it out with her BFF’s mom that I’d drop it off, and then pick it up from their tennis practice the following Monday.  DD1 was ecstatic because there were five girls total who would be there and they’d all be doing Minecraft.  (I know, I know, a big deal! Lol)

All went well.  Until this past Wednesday, at bed time, when DD1 told me that dad said he wasn’t comfortable that I brought the iPad to her sleepover on “his” time, and that the next time we do that she has to run it by him.  And I was like, sweetie it’s not okay for you to have to be the messenger; we’re grown ups, and if dad has an issue he can talk to me directly.  And she got super defensive and was like, NO MOM, you’re missing the POINT.  I just have to tell him, so he knows if he’s supposed to take it home or not or what.  And I was like, sweetie, I talked with YOU and Aunty that we were going to leave it with her since we didn’t want it going to day camp on Monday.  And the thing is, we’re grown ups so if dad has issues he can talk to me directly.  She got super agitated some more about me missing the point.  (Now I just feel bad.  I should have said, how does that make you feel or something.  Ugh. Mom fail.)  Anyway she was just exasperated at me, but we still had a pleasant good night.

Okay, so back to back to school night.  The school has been emailing for weeks about how you can check the lists posted at the school during business hours to find out which classroom your child will be in.  Since I’ve been in touch with the school about DD2’s transfer, I called and asked, they let me know over the phone.  I email Exie a couple of times about how to handle back to school night, let’s meet up at DD2’s class first, since she’s new to the school, then go to DD1’s class after.

All is fine until the day of, when he insinuates by email about how I must be keeping school communications from him, as how did I know what classroom DD2 is in and he does not?  (How about, thank you for letting me know about what classroom she’s in?  Or call the school yourself?  Ugh.)

So cut to back to school night, it’s “his” night, and I think that’s why the girls were acting squirrelly.  I see now that he has made a huge deal about “his” time, and the girls know they are to behave accordingly.  DD2, in her effusiveness, forgets, and bounces around like a jumping bean and is all cuddly and cute and friendly, and then suddenly remembers and is back at clinging at his side.  DD1 is a tween now, so it could just be tweeniness, but her behavior is also a result of his making her feel responsible for his “comfort.”  And it makes me sad.

At the end of the day, I have to remember that the kids are all right.  They seem happy and are doing well in school, learning, love to spend time with their friends.  I have to find a way to not let his nitpicking get to me and some days I’m great at it.  Last night, I went home super upset.  So I decided to channel my frustrating into lifting weights.  It helped for a time, lol, but now i'm sore on top of feeling a little blue.  DD1 and DD2 I love you with all my heart, I hope you can feel it.