Monday, January 30, 2006

Just Say Hello

The phone rings. Caller ID displays the familiar number which I have learned to dread.
It's 10:30am.
Neither Hubby nor Cinderella are home.
She never calls this early.
I decide to answer the phone instead of letting it go to voicemail, as usual.
Hi. How are you?
Fine, thanks. And You?
Oh! I'm good, thanks.
Her tone tells me she is surprised that I seemed interested in how she is doing. I remember that this is the most we have spoken since my coming into Cinderella's life so she doesn't know what to expect from me.
She has no idea this is part of my normal telephone etiquette, and that I really don't care how she is doing. I am simply being polite because I was taught to be.
I was also taught to be respectful. But I have learned to be resentful.
I was taught to be forgiving. I have learned to hold a grudge.
I was taught to be trusting. I have learned to be cynical.
I now must unlearn all that I have learned.
The slate must be swept clean.
For now, I will
just say hello.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Mommy, I feel like I have to go pee-pee!
I hear the words but I do not respond. I sit for a moment staring at The Boy in disbelief, trying to absorb the meaning of his declaration.
So this is what the experts have been talking about.
This is that magical moment when he decides he is ready willing to go potty, after months of bribery encouragement on our part with minimal success.
Snap out of it you ninny. Get a move on. Your son is telling you he wants to use the potty and all you can do is sit there like a deer caught in the headlights all wide-eyed and motionless and shit.
I come-to and escort the Prince to his Throne whilst I plant myself on the cold tub edge because he needs me to sit with him. His eyes light up and smile along with the rest of his face as he feels the aforementioned bodily fluid come forth.
Task completed, I teach him the finer art of wiping dabbing because, shaking? EWW. And then proceed to squeal with delightful pride over his accomplishment and do my own celebratory pee-pee dance.
Who knew that bodily fluid could be so exciting?
My dance-a-thon is cut short to attend to The Mouse who has had a Total Ass Explosion. I am amused over how little this affects her as she "a-goos" and contorts herself with, as Amalah so brilliantly describes as full body smiles (you know, where they flail and scrunch up their arms & legs in a fit of happiness?) all while I wipe the offensive malodorous material from her arse, back, neck and arms with the evil cold, COLD wipes.

Motherhood is so glamorous.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Enemy Mine

The familiar silver compact SUV pulls up in front of our home.
She gets out and walks up front walkway. Her hair glows auburn in the daylight.
It is the shade of auburn my hair used to be. A color that has now lost its appeal partly because of time and partly because of her.
I have been asked if I think she changed her haircolor to be more like me.
God I hope not.
That would be crazy.
I hear a soft knock on the glass window of the front door. She is mindful, as a mother herself, of The Mouse and that she could be napping this time of day.
I open the door to let her in.
How are you?
Fine thanks.
Smiles are guarded. Words awkward but polite.
We make idol chit chat in the livingroom as Cinderella puts on her shoes and coat.
Thanks for letting me borrow [hubby] last night.
I realize that everyone but me had advanced knowledge of his visit to help her tape a reality show that was once part of a Tuesday night ritual with Cinderella but that she will now have to tape in order to watch with her on one of her new visitation days.
I find myself growing increasing angry over hubby going to her house. He's trying to keep the peace for Cinderella's sake and I admire that but boundaries still must be set.
He is the only man in her life right now.
She has noone else to turn to for the stereotypical "man chores" like fixing a broken fax machine or teaching her how to use the VCR.
Too bad. He is not her husband anymore. She needs to find someone else for these things.
At least for now.
The wounds are too fresh.
Thanks for letting me borrow [Hubby] last night. I really appreciate it because I know for him to do that means taking time from you. I remember what that's like.
Like me she is searching for common ground and finds it in the form of my Husband.
Her EX-husband.
He's a different man in so many ways since being married to her but he's so much the same.
We have frequently made jokes at his expense over the last several weeks in some desparate attempt at breaking the ice and opening some kind of dialogue.
My smiles and chuckles are forced. I quietly seethe with anger.
I am angry at her for the last 7 years. Angry at the lies, the manipulation, the recent threats and accusations.
Angry at her spiteful attempts at ruining him. Ruining us.
I'm angry at Hubby for letting her get away with it and not being more of a Man and putting his foot down to stop her.
Angry at him for not exercising his parental authority sooner.
Most of all I am angry at myself for not being more supportive and for putting up with it at the same time.
I must let go of my anger.
Stop looking at her as the enemy. Somehow reach out and learn to become her

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ending the Innocence

Mommy I want to play outside.
The Mouse is sleeping and I have chores to do, so I bundle up The Boy and send him toddling out to dig for dinosaur bones in the side yard.
Mommy can't come out with you right now, but I'll be right here if you need me.
The yard is surrounded by a 4ft picket fence and the kitchen window looks out onto the play area, so I have always felt safe letting him play outside by himself.
He is 3 years old.
Still a baby in some respects but a big boy in so many others. He can be trusted to play safely outside without needing Mommy or Daddy hovering close by.
He knows to not open the gate or go into the front yard without adult supervision.
That's the beauty of having a fenced in yard, I have always thought.
But what if a grown-up were to come to the fence?
What if a stranger were to start talking to him while he was in the "safety zone" of the side yard?
Would he know what to do?
I am downstairs in the office when this thought creeps in.
Here, there are no windows. I cannot see The Boy as he plays, let alone hear anything that might be taking place outside... in that safety zone.
Would he know what to do?
I am paralyzed with fear over the answer to this question.

I go upstairs and check the window. He is digging away. Innocently searching for the fossilized remains of a T-Rex or Velociraptor. These are his favorites.
Once his excavation is complete he comes back inside.
I decide it's time to begin the awful task of teaching him about
Stranger Danger. I dread these talks because they challenge the innocence upon which he views the world. It opens his eyes to the harsh reality that the world is not always a happy joyful place.
Not everyone is nice.
There are people in this world who might want to hurt him, take him from the safety of his parent's embrace.

Despicable people.
It is later in the day when I pose The Question to him.
What would you do if a stranger came to the fence and asked if you wanted to take a walk?
His response is quick and honest.
I'd take a walk.
A wave of panic comes over me.

I feel my pupils dilate, my heart jumps into my throat as I try to inconspicuously catch my breath.
The "what if" scenarios begin ricocheting in my head.
Fuck the what ifs. They haven't happened yet.
Focus. Be a responsible parent and teach your child the right answers to these questions.
Don't blow it.
Don't look back on this moment with regret.
No, baby. You never go for a walk with a stranger. You come and get Mommy or Daddy.
But a stranger would never hurt me Mommy.
His brow is furrowed.
His innocence is being challenged.
He knows it.
I know it.
He doesn't like it.
I don't like it either.


Help protect your kids:

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Custody Wars: A New Hope

A long time ago in a court room far, far, away...

It is the end of civil war.

Much to our surprise and delight the 2 year custody battle with my husband and his ex is now over. The trial never happened. Instead hubby and his ex were able to settle the issue through 2 days of mediation. The outcome was exactly what my husband had hoped for: his ex agreed to give up joint custody (not that she had much choice as the forensic reports gave every indication that she would have had it taken away had it gone to trial), attend parenting classes, as well as family therapy sessions with Cinderella, my husband and myself which will also include sessions alone that might end up in her being referred to individual therapy. Hubby now has SOLE custody of Cinderella, now lives with us M-F and visits her Mom every other weekend.

I have mixed feelings about this decision. I am thrilled to think that this bitter battle has ended; overjoyed that my husband and his ex have agreed to bury the hatchet and work towards better communication. Cinderella needs this. I want nothing more than to be able to open up a line of dialogue with bioMom and establish a relationship better than what we've had for the past 7 years. It'd be great if we could be like Jann and Sharyl
. But I am skeptical. I find myself doubting her sincerity and am unwilling to trust her motives. After 7 years of manipulation, lies and deciet should I be expected to forgive? How can I forget? I am also curious about what this means for Cinderella and me. Our personalities are completely different; she is borderline ADHD so some days with her can be exhausting and I find myself to be somewhat lacking in patience.

However, I remain hopeful that as I gain some closure with her bioMom and find a way of embracing her into my life, that my relationship with Cinderella will continue to flourish.

If today's horoscope is any indication, there is some good news on the horizon:

"Goals that may have seemed unreachable lately are finally starting to come
into focus, dear Capricorn. It could be that you have been neglecting your
dreams because every time you address them, they only seem to move backward.
Have faith that your luck is starting to turn around. Be patient and you will
find that even your wildest fantasies will start to come to fruition. "

In the meantime, I have welcomed this woman into my home on several occasions and, as she put it yesterday, "shared" my husband with her as he fixed her fax machine and her VCR on two separate visits to her house over the past 2 weeks. YES, it's a bit much and there are some boundaries that must be set. I have no doubt that there are many challenges yet to face, but am trying to remain positive that we're all headed in the right direction.