Category Archives: Co-parenting

Co-Parenting

Today I am grateful for my spouse, S.  This afternoon was one of those where, for no good reason, my tolerance for toddlerhood was at a minimum.  The hours of negotiations had worn me down and I was just done by about 4:00 p.m.  That was about 15 minutes before my chiropractor appointment where my child decided to stack all the child-size plastic chairs in front of the door so that exiting patrons had to traverse some sort of Sesame St. minefield.  M really is an easy kid, I just couldn’t hang today.

I am grateful for S because in her, I have a true partner.  I knew that I could come home, open the front door, say “I’m done” and she would pick right up where I left off.  I called on the way home from the chiropractor and asked S to chop some veggies for dinner.  This is not something I normally do because she is basically inept at all things culinary.  (Sorry, babe.  It is just the truth.) I walked through the door to water boiling for pasta, chopped veggies and a willing smile.  Not only did she want to be with M because she missed him all day, but she also wanted to give me a break.

I am grateful for feeling like I am totally in this with someone else.  Not just someone else, but with S.  I don’t know how single parents do it.  I think I would implode.  I am grateful for having a partner in the true sense of the word.

-Betsy

Kids Say the Darndest things

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While hanging out at a friend’s house, her 4 year yelled from the top of the stairs, “M’s mom? M HAS TO GO POOP!”

I turned to S who had recently arrived from her workday and told her “not it”.  Once she reached the top of the stairs where the kids were playing, the following exchange took place:

“Where’s M’s mom?”
“I’m M’s mom,” S replies.
“Huh?”
“He has two moms.”
“Where is his dad?
“He doesn’t have a dad.  He has two mamas instead.”
“You should buy him a dad.”
“Buy him a dad?”
“Yes.  You know… a robot dad. That can fly.”

Sometimes, life is just so simple.

-Betsy

Date Night

We had a DATE!  An actual kid-free, no errand running (save a quick little trip to Home Depot), a glass of wine, a movie – a DATE.  It was the first time we have been out on a real date in a long time.  I can’t even remember the last time to be honest.  Last night was great AND we were home by 9.  That was the best part.

I got a haircut today for the first time in about a year.  I found myself talking to my new stylist telling her she should go see this musician I really like.  I went on and on about what a great live performer she is and how much I have loved to see her in concert.  When my stylist asked me if I was going, I laughed out loud and said, “No way.  It starts at 9.”  Holy shit.  That is what I actually said so that someone else was able to hear me.  Does anyone remember when you couldn’t get to the club before 1o:30 or 11 because no one would be there?  Home by 3 a.m.?  If I am awake at 3 a.m. now I am pissed off because some pint-sized alarm clock woke me up.

Does the fact that we went to a 4:30 movie make us seem like  grannies?  Maybe.  But I am ok with that.  I am ok with us being two of four people in the otherwise empty theater.  I am ok with texting home during the movie to find out if my boy ate all his dinner.  I am ok with rushing back to the house after dinner to try to be asleep by 10.  I am ok with all of that.  It was still a date.

-Betsy

Twinship

There is a term I learned in graduate school: twinship.  This simply put means the search for commonalities in another.  For instance, the bonding that might take place when you are far away from home and meet someone from the same area or when you share a poem you wrote about how much you hate beets after you discover your new girlfriend has written a song with the same theme.  Twinship.  I will come back to this.

The other night when we were out to dinner (we don’t really eat out that much), I had the experience of feeling really gay.  I felt like I was wearing pride rings and a shirt that said “HEY!  I am super gay!”  I find that this feeling overtakes me sometimes since moving back to the south.

So, we are in this restaurant where we have been often and never had any issues and I suddenly felt like everyone was looking at us.  I could almost hear their internal dialogues, “That poor child.  I think those women are…dykes.”  Of course no one said anything.  People were probably actually thinking about how well behaved and beautiful my son is.  At any rate, I got up to go to the salsa bar.  As I was returning I noticed this big, white biker dude with black and gray tattoos all up and down his arms.  In that moment, I knew that if I just found some twinship with him, common ground, he wouldn’t kill us or cause a scene.

“Your work is really nice,” I said on my way back to our table.  “I made the mistake of getting full color tattoos.  I like your black and gray so much more.”

The funny thing is, I like my full color tattoos.  I pulled some bullshit out of my butt because I wanted that guy to think I thought he was better than me.  Somehow, this made me feel safer and made me feel like I was protecting my family.  Disingenuous twinship, but twinship just the same.

The whole way home, I kept thinking about how not only did that whole scene feel really forced, but it also made me feel a little bit dirty.  I don’t like to lie.  I never have.  Today, three days later I am still wondering why I did it while that guy, who barely grunted when I paid him a false compliment, probably has no memory of me or that entire scenario.  He was too caught up in his 3000 calorie plate of enchiladas.

It is a peculiar feeling, to feel like a flashing neon sign in a dark room.  Peculiar, yet not too unfamiliar.  I bet that dude with tattoos has felt the same way at some point.

-Betsy

Explain This

Since the day my son was born, I have been biologically tuned into him.  This manifests, to this day, as me waking up 3-6 minutes before him.  Almost every time. Even though there is no regularity to his wakings.  Nap time.  Night time.  It doesn’t matter.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who said she thought it made sense.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  It makes sense for S, who is literally biologically connected to him, to experience this.  For me, it seems a little crazy.

Anyone else (who did not gestate or birth your child) ever experience this sort of connection?  Just curious.

-Betsy

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Last night, my terrible sleeper slept from 7:30pm until 6 a.m. OH MY MOTHER F***ING GOD!  Really!  He did that! For the first time in his life, my son slept through the night.  I know I shouldn’t be writing about this because I am sure to jinx us, but I couldn’t help myself.

The irony in all of this is that I have had more consolidated sleep the last two nights than I have had since he was born and I feel exhausted.  It is like my body now remembers what it is missing and it is pissed.  Last night I was asleep by 9.  Tonight, I am writing from my bed and it is not yet 8.

Tonight is night seven of sleeping training.  While I have been the trainer the previous six times we have attempted to trick our son into sleep, S seems to be the one in charge now and I like it!  I can sit back while she makes him cry.  Sometimes I put headphones on, just because I can.  That way, I can detach myself from his angst.  Tonight, after S moved further away form his bed as he attempted to put himself to sleep, he became very upset.  He was jumping in his crib and yelling for ‘Ima’.  After a couple minutes of hootin’ and hollerin’, he says, “I am very frustrated.”  My two-year old (just turned two, by the way) identified that he feels frustrated.

He is just about asleep now, if the damn squeaky door hinge would stop waking him.  Right now, I feel proud.  Proud of us as parents for listening to our son and to our guts all those other times we tried to sleep train and it felt like too much.  Proud of my baby who can tell us how he is feeling, in a full sentence no less.  Proud of myself for surviving up until now.  Just proud.

-Betsy

PS. Please remind me to grease that hinge tomorrow!

The Saga: Continued…

When I say ‘saga’, I am referring to the inability of my young son to sleep a reasonable amount.  We are back to sleep training.  This must be the eighth time.  And, once again, I am exhausted.  Now, he is going to sleep easy, but waking at 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30. HOLY SHIT!  Will it ever end?  I assume it will.  In the meantime, I hate everyone (especially aforementioned crappy little dog) and want to crawl into one of those sleep caverns that only happens when you are an adolescent.  You know, the ones where you wake up at 1:00 p.m. having to pee, then promptly get back in bed until just before the sun starts to set.  I think I am having a craving for adolescence.  THAT is how you know the delirium is starting to set in.

-Betsy