Goodbye 2008

I finally listened to the messages. My voicemail was entirely full, so I was starting to worry about missing important calls. Rooferman called 10 times alone on Christmas, professing I was a heartless b**** for not letting me talk to his daughter on HIS day. This is from a man who has NEVER called to talk to LB EVER. All of a sudden on Christmas he turns into a martyr. He also said he’s filing contempt papers on me.

I had my meeting with Lawyerdude, who is kindly holding off on charging me a retainer up front. He says there are a few things we can do before our court date in February.

#1 I’m going to write up the Parenting Plan that I think is reasonable and bring it in to him to review.

#2 He’s going to send Rooferman a copy and ask him to come into his office if he has any objections.

#3 Lawyerdude will ask Rooferman to go back to Mediation, explaining that our new judge is going to be no different than our old judge, and he wants the MOTHER and FATHER to work this out before he has to make the final decision.

I asked him about being in contempt. He told me that it looks like there were two orders made in our case, but I only received a copy of one. He told me to go check out the file, which I did.

The only orders in our file are the judge granting the Motion to Recuse, and one from Child Support Enforcement, which consolidated our child support and custody cases into a single case number. No order for specific parenting time. No order that I’m in contempt of.

Blondie slammed the door in my face again last night, but at least LB wasn’t crying this time. The puppet master gave me a snide look and growled “We’ll be there at 8:30 am to pick her up on Thursday.” Since daycare is closed all week, Team B&R thinks they can have ALL DAY with LB instead of the usual evening visitations.

I’m not going to fight them on this. They are trying to get me angry. This situation has become so polarized, both of us think that we are all mighty good and the other party is Satan-incarnate. The only thing I can do is keep my sanity, stay grounded and be there for LB.

Rooferman still hasn’t shown his face. Since his insane message-leaving marathon, we’ve only communicated through text messages. He’s computer illiterate, so we can’t email.

So today, I’m working on my Parenting Plan, cleaning house and preparing for the New Years Eve Party I’m hosting. All my nearest and dearest will be there, and LB will open her 5th round of presents (crazy). I’m going to make Modern Single Mama’s hot buttered rum and Jiji is going to grace us with her traditional Navajo tacos.

I’m apprehensive for the new year. I wished for a kinder, gentler 2008, and I got a sadistic dominatrix instead. I’m not wishing for a gentler 2009, I’m wishing for Peace, Justice and Goddess-like Strength.

Here’s to all of you who’ve left support and comfort on my blog. Thank you for your virtual friendship. Cheers 2009!

Digging his own grave

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I invited Rooferman to the Christmas Party at LB’s daycare. He didn’t show. LB gave Santa the lazy eye the entire time, so I’m thinking she knew it was her teacher from the start. I tried to convince her that Santa was “Scott’s Grandpa” so she wouldn’t be so suspicious. Still haven’t bought a Christmas tree.

Rooferman also was 5 hours late to pick our daughter up on Sunday. He was an hour late dropping her off. Apparently his truck broke down on the way home. At this point, I’m just going to let him dig his own grave. Bitching and complaining and withholding visitation just makes me look bad. I added ‘Lack of reliable transportation” to my list of concerns to submit to the court when we go back next week. It still proves that once I start relaxing and letting him rearrange the schedule, and generally act nice to him, he’s like a kid in a candy store. I swear I should use some of the Toddler Love & Logic techniques on his dumb ass. 

LB had another tantrum at the pool this weekend. I told her when she was ready to stop screaming I would listen to her again. She stood there in the wading pool and howled like a banshee. Kids kept walking by her and staring at her like a leper. Lifeguards kept giving  the “should I rescue her?” look. Parents glared at me.  The pool is a pretty noisy place anyway, so you really couldn’t hear her except when she hit the high pitched screeches, but I felt terrible, just watching her stand there and cry.

Finally she calmed down and stopped screaming. I went over, hugged her and asked if she wanted to swim some more or go home. She just looked really sad, like she couldn’t beleive I would humilate her like I just did. She told me she wanted to go home. I felt like the biggest s***head in the world.

I really have a lot to say tomorrow in my parenting class. Love & Logic is making me feel like the worst mother alive, but the tantrums are slowly getting smaller. I just don’t want to be traumatizing my daughter who is already going through a confusing, scary transition period right now. I’m her safe place; her home. She knows she can always count on me. Am I ruining that delicate sense of  security?

Other than that one incident, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment I had with LB this weekend (plus the added bonus of spending Sunday morning when her dad was doing God-Knows-What). I love the person my daughter is turning into, even though its very obvious she’s shedding more baby skin every day. She sings almost constantly, and I can have real mini-conversations with her now. She’s funny and brave and smart and creative. I love catching up on all the things I’ve missed while she’s at daycare.

Thanks for everyone’s comments on the Love & Logic. Its nice to know other moms opinions and get some perspective.

Cause & Effect

Rooferman bailed on LB yesterday. His “other daughters” were sick. He asked if he could see her today instead. I had agreed to work at a school last night, so as soon as he called, I flipped a U-ee  in the middle of the road, hauling ass back to daycare.

I was already late to the school, and I was frazzled and pissed, so I said, “Yeah, whatever.” I caved. I let him get away with ditching his daughter and making up for it like nothing happened. UGHHHH Why? Why? I need to learn how to think rationally while driving under stress.

At least LB will be happy. At least it makes me look flexible and understanding in court, and it makes him look unreliable and prioritizing other things over his daughter. It also still proves I’m a spineless Pisces, squirming under the thumb of her ex.

I used major Love & Logic tactics on LB last night. She was whiny, grouchy and pissy all evening, so I put her in her room for a little “alone” time. She screamed for a full hour. Love & Logic says do NOT open the door until they have stopped crying for at least 3 minutes. 

 Her bedroom door does not lock from the outside, so I stood for an hour holding the the handle to keep her from escaping. She practiced her tried and true (since birth) method of screaming for bout 15 minutes, taking a 30-second breather, and continuing the pattern until I was reaching lunacy. It was awful. Every time I was on the brink of opening the door a reasonable amount of silence, her crying would begin again.

LB is crafty, she knew what would get to me.  She alternated  between “I have to go potty!” and “Mommy help!” I almost broke down when she started screaming “Its yucky!” I pictured a poo-smeared LB on the other side of the door, fully traumatized from any further potty usage. I pictured my daugther running around Kindergarten in diapers.

Finally the moments of silence began to lengthen. I could hear her sobs turn into quiet hiccups. I threw the door open after 3 minutes, my hand beet red from clenching the door handle. My poor child was sitting bare-assed on the floor, wrapped in a blanket. I looked for the poo. Where was it? I couldn’t find anything. The training pants she had flung in a corner weren’t even wet.

Sneaky little Gemini gave an oscar-worthy performance for her soft Piscean mother. I took her to the potty, gave her lots of hugs and we read some books before bed. Magically, she didn’t get up after I closed the door.

The “Mommy don’t leave” and “I’m scared” statements have been pretty consistent at bedtime. A few nights ago, she woke up at 2 am screaming hysterically about “Spiders in my bed!” I know she’s got some separation anxiety and some fear issues, and I’m trying to deal with them the best way I can.

I like Love & Logic, but sometimes I wonder if it was created to work with the “ideal” family. Where the kids aren’t abandoned by one parent and thrown in and out of confusing custody situations at a young age. Sometimes I think about how ‘giving your child choices to avoid power struggles” only applies if you have choices to give them. What if you only have one clean shirt for them to wear in the morning? What if you only have one option for dinner that night?

The teacher told us that she uses “Would you like to shower upstairs or downstairs?” option to get her kids into the bath. I only have one shower.

Either way, I think the class is good for me. Its giving me faith in my daughter’s resiliency and her ability to face cause and effect. I think its harder on me, actually.

In other news, 35 people were laid off at my mom’s job. 10 people kept their positions and my mom was one of them. Some of her very close friends are going to be unemployed at Christmas, so she feels horrible, but I’m just glad she survived the lay-offs.

Its scary out there right now.

Love, Logic & Laughter

I had a great time last night at my parenting class.  I’m definitely the only single mom, but I’m kind of bonding with some of these strange, married creatures. We get free pizza too, which I’m sure the Over-eaters Anonymous group REALLY appreciates smelling down the hall.

 We were presented with a situation where a 3-year-old refuses to eat what his mom has made for him, even after being offered two different dinner choices before the meal was cooked. The 3-year-old now wants a peanut butter sandwich instead of Mac n Cheese.

The Love & Logic teacher aksed us, “Do you get up and make a peanut butter sandwich?”

“No!” All the parents said confidently.

“Correct!” the Love & Logic Maestro answered. “If he doesn’t want to eat it, then he can wait until breakfast for his next meal.”

One pregnant mom shook her head. “I’m totally guilty of this. I ALWAYS give in and make him something else. He ends up eating corn dogs every night because he won’t try anything new. I just can’t bear the thought of sending my little boy to bed hungry!”

“Soy corn dogs,” Added her hubby. “All he eats is soy. He’s like a pillar of soy.”

We looked at them sympathetically and our teacher joked, “Its ok if he doesn’t have soy for one night. He won’t starve, just keep him hydrated.”

 “We could just hook him up to an I-V,” the dad laughed.

“You mean a Soy-V?” I suggested.

Everyone cracked up. Score! I made people laugh! I got a major buzz off that one. Can you become addicted to making people laugh? I really don’t want to be that moron in the room who’s always telling desperate stories. I don’t want to become a joke junky.

 Meinwhile Rooferman was stuffing our daughter with ice cream and candy, so I was unable to successfully install any newly aquired Love & Logic bedtime techniques last night. She bounced off the walls until about 10 pm, when she finally crashed, crying and holding her tummy. I broke down and rocked her until she fell asleep.

I may have been the class clown tonight, but I definitely failed at my homework. 😛

P.S. Churches really are happening places on weeknights! The parking lot has been PACKED every time.

Guitar Hero Parenting

Yesterday as I was driving Boo Boo Bear home from daycare, I heard this coming from the back seat:

“Sloww Wide….Tekkit Eassyyyy”

I commenced full-on hysterical laughing, much to my daughter’s delighted confusion. I asked her if “Spot” at daycare had taught her that. “Spot” is what she now calls her teacher, instead of “Scott.”

This morning I jokingly asked “Spot” if they were showing Dazed and Confused as the afternoon movie. He laughed and said “I think some of the kids’ parents play a lot of Guitar Hero, because they are always singing that song in here.”

I had to laugh again. Freaking Guitar Hero? I thought I was bad, coming from a generation who associates “Slow Ride” with Dazed and Confused, rather than the actual band. Now its not even the real song, its from a video game. LB’s generation may not even know that songs come from a real person.  My parents, the music-loving hippies would be mortified.

Where is “Single Parenting” Magazine?

I used to buy diapers off the Internet, and since I was such a fabulous customer (whatev), they also gave me a free subscription to Parenting Magazine. How much do I hate this magazine ? Let me count the ways.

  1. You tell me that being a “hot mama” consists of stealing your teenage daughter’s hot pink nail polish. (Red is just too aggressive).
  2. You preach vaccination scare tactics
  3. You preach general health-related scare tactics
  4. You insist on perpetuating battle of the sexes stereotypical articles like “Are girls easier to raise than boys?”
  5. Your single parent articles consist of widowed dads and parents who live together, but aren’t married.
  6. Your target audience is upper middle class, white, stay-at-home (maybe part time working), heterosexual moms who have nothing better to do than make cookies for the soccer team.

I mean your magazine is BORRRRING. Honestly, with all the information available on the Internet, do we really need another article on how to keep your kid healthy during flu season? All your letters from moms around the country make me want to gag. Can’t you publish any real letters, not just sappy kiss-my-ass crap?

With 32% of babies being born to single moms, cant you adjust your target audience just a little? Or are we “not the magazine reading type”? Thank god for my fellow single mom bloggers, and the kick-ass ladies at Iheartsingleparents.com. You give the army of single parents something worth while to read.

OH P.S. Parenting, your pregnancy magazine sucks just as bad. Its what drove me to read “Misconceptions” by Naomi Wolf, pretty much the most depressing/honest pregnancy book out there. THANKS.