Long weekend … thankfully!

Don’t even feel like there’s been a weekend passing through here.  Might be due to not getting my time alone on Thursday and Friday, and an intensely busy week where it feels like each day is a whirlwind.  Would like to get it to a gentle breeze.  AH turns up Saturday morning to drop Master 8 and Miss 5 here, while picking up Master 10 for his football.  Master 8 apologises as soon as he walks through the door for his behaviour yesterday.

Tell AH that I’d like a code word that he and I know and, once I use it, he needs to say his goodbyes and leave without any drama.  Straightaway, he says he doesn’t agree to it.  I explain the kids get upset when they hear me telling him to go and he comments ‘so do I’.  I tell him if he is overstepping boundaries, I have every right to ask him to go.  He angrily questions ‘so that’s fine for you here, but what about if you’re at mine’.  Well, durr!  Either have your own word, or feel free to use the same one.  I say “cactus” is my chosen word.  He neither agrees nor disagrees – just walks out.

I ask AH whether he’ll be back to take all three kids as they’re still on his time.  He’s eyes are flaming wild and his face is firmly set “well, it’s not like I’ve had my weekend with them, it’s all been complete shit”, like it was my fault somehow!  He let Miss 5 come with me yesterday rather than stepping up and saying ‘no’ to her.  He asks Master 10 if he’s going to go with him after football and unfortunately he umms-&-ahhhs a bit too long which pushes AH over the edge: “That’s fine.  I’m done.  I’m not begging you to spend time with me.  I’ll drop you back here and won’t ever take you to football again”.  On a scale of 1-10 (1 being calm, rage being 10), he spoke to his 10-year-old son who had counselling this week as he’s struggling with the separation at about an 8.  I only wish I could have got it on camera.

He goes out to the shed to get some of his papers.  Face like thunder and attitude to boot.  I tell him his 10-year old son needs a daddy right now so he needs to stop being so reactive (can’t say it often enough), to have a calm discussion while they’re out and to grow up. He’s calmer when he gets back.  We even manage to have a nice conversation, and he comments that he’d like to be able to converse like this – and I agree that it’s my wish too.  He showers the kids while here and I help with hair drying.  They leave and the house is finally quiet.

Both AH and I are attending the same party (but thankfully he’s decent enough not to swing invites for his bro/GF).  He’s already there when I arrive but I have no desire to speak with him.  We manage a ‘hi’ as he goes past at one stage.  It’s a nice party, but I’m driving so can’t get nearly as wrecked as he’s starting to do.  Actually look at him and he looks shorter and plumper than usual.  He starts to do his thing on the dance floor and, again, what used to make me smile, only made me cringe.  I imagine a brown-eye was about 30 minutes away, judging by the way he was acting.  There’s a single mum there who seems to be sniffing around him and he’s clearly enjoying her company too.  Good luck to them.  I leave at 12:30, but end up speaking with the friend who’s stayed with the kids until 4 am!!

Am feeling pretty knackered now and have enjoyed not having to see or speak with him today. It’s Queen’s Birthday bank holiday tomorrow and no idea if he wants to spend some time with the kids, given he doesn’t have to work – he hasn’t commented that he’d like to see them.  Have plans for the evening though so if he thinks he’ll be getting dinner, he will be unplesantly surprised. Today’s positives:

  1. baking while Miss 5 had a successful playdate (first time her friend had come by herself to a play);
  2. new wig purchased from the US – looked good last night and got many favourable comments;
  3. that great chat into the early hours of this morning with a good, supportive friend.  It’s difficult to talk to many in the social clique that we both roll in, but it’s great that I can say things to those more impartial and hear that I’m not expecting too much from AH.
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Lack of balls

Boy, Master 10 moves a lot in bed.  He was very excited to get in my bed last night (after all, his brother and sister have had the pleasure and he’s felt somewhat left out).  He enthusiastically gets all his jobs done in the morning in record time.  He even grabs my hand to hold on the way to school.  How many ten years old are still doing that ?!

I go to work for a couple of hours before having to go back and get Master 10 for his counselling.  He’s not nervous and looking forward to getting some tools for managing his anger.  She starts off with both of us, then a 1-on-1 with me, then some time alone with him before a quick close with both.  Said how articulate Master 10 is (“wouldn’t get many 10 year olds being able to speak about his emotions”) and how good it is that I have recognised that he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to fill his daddy’s shoes and ‘parent’ the younger two.  Also said some cardio exercise (trampoline, boxing bag, quick run round the block) would help with the anger.  Interestingly, and our previous marriage counsellor NEVER brought this point up, AH’s reactiveness and the way he only takes anything I say as a dig, will go all the way back to his upbringing … so if he can’t get help to deal with those ingrained issues, he isn’t going to ever be able to change.

Call AH and give him an update on Master 10’s counselling (for which he thanks me), to check up on Master 8 (who vomited this morning so hasn’t gone to school), and to make a plan for picking up Master 10 later .  As I’m off to my Friday drinks, he is coming with me.  AH is concerned that the other two will want to come, as we always enjoy it (and he’s always hated it as we’re having fun without him).  Say that they will just need to not speak about it.

Get a text from AH half-an-hour before I’m due to pick up Master 10 saying the other two “want to go to [friend’s] too so u will have all of them”.  Excuse me!  It’s your day.  Master 8 was vomiting less than 12 hours earlier so still needs to be resting and you’re TELLING me that I’m taking them.  Not asking if it would be ok.  Not saying please.  When I point out these things, he says he doesn’t want Miss 5 to go and that I’m not doing him a favour, just pleasing [your] daughter”.  You ungrateful, spineless shit.  Man up!  Parent!!!  If you don’t want her to be with me on your time, then say ‘no’.

I text that he needs to let her down gently that she can’t come.  Arrive to pick up up Master 10 and both the others come out and get their boots on.  “Sorry guys, what are you doing?  Daddy was meant to have explained that you’re not coming” (in particular Master 8, who stubbornly refuses to listen that he is still sick).  AH brings the kids’ school bags to the car along with all their washing.  What the?!  When did I sign up to being the laundry lady?  He also asks about how much I’m contributing to a 50th birthday present whip-around (which I’ve organised), as he wants to put in.  Why can this man not ASK, rather than just demand?!

Miss 5 cries that she wants to come and, as AH has not had the balls to be the parent, I say it’s Daddy’s day, and that he hasn’t any manners and hasn’t asked if I can take her.  He must hate it but does ask with a please.

He walks back into the house leaving me with Master 8 breaking down as he is still effectively in quarantine.  He even gets in the car, before finally getting out – not without ‘you’re not the boss of me’ and calling me ‘ugly’, ‘stupid’, ‘worst mum ever’ and ‘I don’t love you’.  Just told him ‘thank you’.  AH finally gets his useless arse back out and Master 8 goes in.

This should never have been my problem to deal with.  It’s his night with the kids.  Master 10 tells me that AH asked the other 2 if they wanted to come to the friend’s place.  If that is true, then he’s caused the whole damn kerfuffle.  They should never have been asked.

So, to bring it back, today’s positives:

  1. being back at Friday drinks; been too long!;
  2. that I don’t have to go stand on the soccer sidelines tomorrow as Master 8 won’t be playing;
  3. Crusaders beating the Hurricanes, which helps my team 🙂

24 hours later …

After finishing yesterday on a bit of a high (not just down to the quiz win, but as AH and I hadn’t fought), tonight was back to normal.

My day starts with talking to the school office to ensure they know that the brother’s GF does NOT have my authority to take the kids from school (it’s AH’s day and couldn’t be sure if they would respect my request, which we’ve still not actually discussed).  Send through her photo for ease.  Master 10 also knows that, should the GF be the only one to do the pick-up, he is to call me and they are not to go with her.  The office staff all support my stance (I’m right to keep someone who’s being poisonous with my kids away from them).

Again, no contact through the day and I felt on a high after my day at work, a walk home on a gorgeous late autumn evening and a purchase of some new gloves :).

He gets home with the kids about 5.15 pm and starts making dinner (I actually thought he’d be here getting dinner on when I got home).  I pop out to get a friend’s car that I’ve arranged for tomorrow/Saturday.  At dinner, I mention the car I’ve borrowed and he ask who’s.  I say, in the way that he would, “why?”.  Probably a bad move on my part as he goes from nought to 100 on the pissed-off scale.  He clearly forgot that, when I asked who had arranged the housesit down the road from here, he refused to tell me.

He leaves the table while the rest of us are all still eating.  Hear him holler from the linen cupboard “which single sheets can I take”.  Ummmm.  How about ‘none of them’!  AH has known all week that he is moving into his new pad.  He’s ordered the bunks.  Brand new bunks.  Yet the evening before getting the keys, expects he can just take the spare linen from here?  Strong sense of deja vu!

He comes back in extremely shitty.  Apparently he wanted to take Master 8’s pjs from here as, with him not feeling 100%, AH now realises the onesie he brought will be too hot.  (Well, durr!!  That’s only one issue I have with onesies, which is why I’ve never bought them for the kids).  The kids rightly said to him they had to stay here, which he’s not happy about.  “You won’t let anything be taken out of the house” he spits with venom.  Master 8 starts saying ‘stop, stop’ and I tell AH to put a list together of the things he needs and I can look at that.  Unfortunately what AH refuses to see is that:

(a)  I need spare linen/clothes here in case there’s any accidents and the kids need a change; and

(b)  he cancelled the agreement on the rental, which is the reason we need extra sets; and

(c)  he’s purchasing non-essentials new, rather than going to Briscoes and buying some much-needed necessities.

He forcefully questions why his brother can’t have the kids, as they’ve told him they can’t be left alone with the GF OR the brother.  I tell him they’ve got that wrong – I have no issue with the brother, just the GF.  He asks why and I say I’m not having that conversation now with the kids around.

Say goodbye to Miss 5 and Master 8, then have lovely evening with Master 10.  Got a book from the library re anxiety so start reading that with him.  When there’s options in the book suggesting talking to Mum or Dad, he regularly states that he wants me to be the parent he talks to.  Feel I might be doing something right!

AH texts asking for the address for Master 10’s counselling tomorrow as he’d like to be there too.  I say ‘no’.  Based on this evening (and many other prior evenings), it would be detrimental to Master 10.  He questions if I will be sitting in on it.  I don’t bother replying.  He doesn’t deserve it.

Positives:

  1. Beautiful autumn day – good for the soul;
  2. borrowing the friend’s car gives me some more freedom without relying on AH;
  3. tomorrow’s Friday.  Yippee!!! 🙂

Happy humpday!

Another day where I don’t stop.  Boys had crosscountry in the morning so put dinner in the slow-cooker in the half-hour gap between the school drop-off and their start.  Spoke with one of the dads, who I trust highly (as does AH), about whether he might be a mediator for us.  I mentioned that AH has some really bad counsel at the moment and we agreed on the two names who are causing shit … and he also thought the brother wasn’t helping either.  I said that, had they not moved here, getting back together could have been on the cards, which seemed to surprise him.  Master 8, who’s usually a contender, didn’t even manage one lap as he was struggling to breath.  AH turned up as I saw him being helped back and, whilst he was friendly, I was only interested in making sure Master 8 was ok.  He stood right by where we were so we chatted a little, but mostly left him to his own catching-up, while I did mine.

Master 10 did well but, due to the freezing temperatures, said goodbye and scarpered as soon as he was done, and headed to work.

AH turns up at the house a bit earlier than the past few evenings, which at least shows some respect for my routines.  We’re friendly.  We speak about the plan for tomorrow over dinner: he’ll pick up the kids as he’s meant to, and will drop Master 10 back here after his football practise.  Boys are not being nice to each other and AH tries to console them – to no avail.  He’s not far from leaving when he clicks that I’m going out to the quiz night.  He asks who’s babysitting and I tell him a dad from over the road (would LOVE to see him complain about that!).

All-in-all, a perfectly fine day.  No nastiness or attacks, and that’s an improvement.

Positives:

  1. hearing Radiohead’s OK Computer – been too long;
  2. Master 10 coming 12th in his Year 6 race; and
  3. winning the quiz night! 🙂

Riding the power & control circle!

Get a text from AH early asking if I’m getting Miss 5, will the boys also be with me?  No honey – that’s not what you wanted last night.  You checked that you’d have the car remember so you’re meant to be getting them from school and taking them to swimming?

I call him and say he needs to get the boys as I’m only getting the girls.  I want to get things calmer between us so ask if it would help if I got the boys as well (he’s meant to go to the head office so likely to only get back after 4).  I let him know we need to get things more amicable between us so I’ll do it, and I won’t bring it up again as he claimed I do.  He agrees it needs to improve and asks what I want from him in return.  Despite still wanting to do quiz night tomorrow, I say I want nothing.  I’m not doing to get one in the bank; I’m doing it to get things back to a better place.  He suggests we meet up and I agree it’s a good thing to do.  Just not yet.

He takes the boys to swimming and I invite him to have dinner when they get back.  I don’t want him to stick around after yesterday so want to take all 3 kids to Master 10’s judo but Master 8 doesn’t want to and won’t give it up.  AH asks why I’m so keen to take them and I let him know.  He wants to stay and I can’t be bothered fighting anymore with Master 8 so I leave them home – and hope he doesn’t use the time to swipe stuff for his flat.  That’s how little trust I have in him now.

Positives from the day:

  1. found a babysitter for tomorrow, so Cinderella still gets to go to the … quiz;
  2. good playdate for Miss 5 (could’ve gone one way of the other with one of the equally-dominant friends);
  3. Master 10 is REALLY excited about having his time with me this week.  I feel special!

How to burst a bubble!

Miss 5 is invited for a play so had a nice afternoon with the boys getting some homework and chores done (so, nice for me; probably not utopia for them).

No word from AH the whole day.  As he’s not shown up when I’m dishing up (at 5.15 pm), I put his plate away as he’s clearly not having.  He arrives at 5.30 pm and comes overly exuberant into the kitchen.  Seems mildly crazed.

Whilst it’s his turn to pick up the kids tomorrow and take them swimming, I’ve arranged a playdate for Miss 5 so let him know I’ll get her.  He questions how he’s meant to get the boys to swimming and I tell him I was planning on walking.  I ask what will happen on Thurs/Fri as Master 10 will be sleeping here, and I’ve no idea what format his new plan is meant to take.  He asks what time on Friday Master 10’s counselling is/when I need the car, as he’s picking up the keys for his new place.  I ask what place he’s taking (NOT Master 10’s preferred option).  He said the bunks are being delivered and I ask where he’s getting them from.  Get the look of death but he tells me BigSave, which shouldn’t amaze me, but it does.  You see, he’s complained for many years that I overspend – yet he’s splashing out on brand new furniture for a place he can’t afford.  I’d be looking at TradeMe, the Sallies and doing what I could to save money, but not AH.  Whilst he’s being generous with the private arrangement we currently have for household bills, I’ve had $5 to my name for the past 5 days.  He’s fought over paying the car registration, the fireplace serviced, getting shoes for the boys – yet new furniture is perfectly ok.  No wonder he came into this relationship with debt, while I came in with savings.

Miss 5 is still eating with AH beside her and I let the boys know it’ll be showers soon, as I start doing the dishes.  AH starts saying to Miss 5, “so Mama going to shower you”.  She says, “no, Daddy”.  He says it again and she repeats her wish that he showers her.  “Well, Mama will have to shower the boys then”, he says.  It’s his form of goading and is the start of his retaliation for my demand re the brother’s GF.  It’s a ‘I’m just here to say hi, then to leave you with everything else’.  So I calmly ask him to say his goodbyes and to leave.  Miss 5 starts crying while he plays the ‘I’m the victim here so feel sorry for me that mum is such a bitch’.  No, that’s not it.  You’ve overstepped the mark and no purpose is served having you here.  So go!

I had an interesting chat with a single dad yesterday who said males can become immature during this process.  I asked his opinion on what I was meant to do when that happened and he said put my boundaries in place, and if they’re overstepped, put the hand up and take no more.  So that’s what I did.  I am not going to be treated like that.

As he’s about to leave, he tells Master 10 that he will be able to stay here on Thurs/Fri but after this week, he’ll be expected to stay with him as “those are his dates and he wants his time with them”.  It’s said forcefully and sounds like a threat.  I go to the hall and tell the kids to go to the lounge but figure they should know so let them hear: it’s not up to daddy and if they feel that they are not being heard, they will be entitled to a lawyer who will make sure their voices are heard.  AH will NOT bully them into a situation they don’t want to be in.  I can only hope that it’s not me they feel obligated to be with and try to get away from.

… coz that would kill me.

So, despite it being a great day until 5.30, I’m finding it hard now to see the brightside, but:

  1. Blocking AH, his brother and the GF from Facebook;
  2. chancing upon ‘Find Me a Maori Bride’ – quality Kiwi tv; and
  3. lunch with other mums – one of whom’s divorce is recently became official.  Sad that one piece of paper can say so much.  But good to have their support.

Glorious Sunday!

Beautiful day, despite being woken by the two smallest joining me in bed at some stage of the night and leaving me with about 1 inch to move.

Master 8 had a school trip a month back to a local working farm and came home raving about it and, seeings I’ve never been, been wanting to go so today’s the day.  Master 10 wasn’t happy with the plan – he’s struggling with the other two coming into my bed and sees it as favouritism over him.  Said we all needed some fresh air and reminded them of the fantastic jelly bean YouTube we’d watched (showing how many days the average person lives and how each are eaten away by sleeping, working, etc).  I want to use my remaining jelly beans properly!

It’s a great, easy walk and all three kids enjoy it, as do I.  Head to the library after for them to choose some books, then drop the boys at a play.  Bake with Miss 5.  Feels a really successful, relaxed day.  Not least of all due to no contact with AH.

He calls to say goodnight to the kids at about 5.30 pm.  Phone is on speaker so hear LOTS of questions about what they’ve done, have they eaten, where they’d been, etc.  Also hear him say he’s looking to move into the original rental next Friday (not the one they saw yesterday that Master 10 says he wants him to take as it’s closer to me.  Tell Master 10 to speak to AH as I can’t discuss that).  I’ve loved the lack of contact with him and wonder if my counsellor might be right:  having him in the house every evening isn’t helping me.  Unfortunately, if I was to say he can’t come at the moment, he’d flip and either demand more time with the kids or reduce the money he’s paying.

I’m wondering if I should suggest that we look at getting a 1-bed rental again, given that the boys don’t seem to be dealing too well with the moving homes (not least of all coz of the lack of beds/bedrooms), and given that he/we can’t afford to run two 3-bed homes.  I like that this isn’t his place anymore though and that would take it back a step.  But it’s not about me!  Dilemma!

Three positives:

  1. Getting out and just ‘DOING’;
  2. baking with Miss 5;
  3. how it all just seemed to fit today!