What a morning. I dropped Miss M off at school and then headed to the Child Therapist (CT) the Ex and I have been seeing for the last month. I had some concerns and wanted to get a neutral part involved to help us solve our issues. The Ex and I don't communicate well, especially when it comes to issuse concerning her (lack of) parenting. One of the primary reasons we got divorced but that doesn't mean the issues go away. Most things I can let go of, but there are two that I really needed help on.
1) The Ex's lack of time with Miss M when she is scheduled to have her. Ex leaves the house every morning at 5 am to go to the gym, goes to work and doesn't come home until 6 PM. Miss M either spends the day at school (2 1/2 hours) or with the nanny. Ex has also been checking Miss M into "Friday Night Pajama Parties" at her gym from 5 PM until 9 PM on the Fridays she has her after not seeing Miss M since Tuesday night. Miss M has lately begun telling me things like "Mommy go gym I cry" which break my heart. I tried speaking to Ex about this but to no avail and as usual, it only ended in a fight.
2) Ex has been dating a married man who still lives with his wife and has 9 month old twin girls. She says since it started last fall after we separated. One of her former friends told me that Ex was cheating on me with married guy, so admittedly that more than upsets me and gives me fuel, but I have to look forward not back. That's just another confirmation that I did the right thing by leaving her. She still denies it to this day. What upsets me is that Ex has introduced married guy to my daughter as her "boyfriend." I've addressed this with my lawyer and there's not much I can do legally. I've contemplated approaching married guy and simply stating that whatever he does with Ex is his business, but if I hear of him going near my daughter, I'm going straight to his wife and business partners (Ex was a patient of his while we were married. Complete breach of ethics for a doctor). After talking to virtually everyone sensible I can think of, I've decided to take the high road and have CT address this issue.
Nothing stresses me out more than being around that woman and having to discuss things that are potentially contentious. I've never met a person in my life who can get me more turned around in an argument than her. Keep in mind that I've worked in finance on Wall Street for 10 years and have negotiated deals with schmutzy lawyers worth more than the GDP of some small countries with no problem whatsoever. No emotion tied to those though, so I guess it makes sense that I have a hard time here. We start out talking about the issue at hand and end up six tangents to the left, I'm completely confused and frustrated, and all I can do is bite my lip to keep from screaming and running out the door. Having a referee in the room helps HUGE but it is still a very painful experience.
Bottom line, CT has made great progress on both issues and at least for now, has told Ex that she must spend time with Miss M in the mornings and on Friday nights and if she doesn't, Miss M should be with me. Ex was visibly upset by this but agreed to this and some time during the days as make up if she can't. Second, married "partners" are inappropriate to introduce to your child at any point and this should stop immediately. CT worded it much more eloquently but Ex agreed (and hopefully isn't lying which is always an issue). We'll see how that goes.
With that, my two biggest battles have been won. Ex had some complaints of her own a)that she thinks I put Miss M to be too late (8:00 pm instead of 7:30) and b) that Miss M has told her on occasion that "Daddy mean." The first one, whatever. If I get a bit of peace with Ex by putting Miss M to bed 30 minutes earlier so be it. Small price to pay. For the second, I explained that yes, sometimes Miss M does call Daddy mean:
"Daddy, want popcicles for breakfast!"
"No baby, popsicles are dessert for after lunch or dinner. Not for breakfast"
After throwing herself on the floor: "Daddy mean!!!"
And numerous other like scenarios. Those of you with kids older than 2 can relate I'm sure. CT explained that this unanimous among kids that age once they learn the word "mean" and also asked me if Miss M has said before that "Mommy mean" which she has. Regardless, it becomes tit for tat there but at least the issues that are really important for my daughter's well being have been addressed by a highly reputable child psychologist. Ex has yet to agree to leave Miss M with me on occasions when she will not be with Miss M but we're working toward it. Somehow she fails to see how that's in Miss M's best interest. Keep in mind that we live in Manhattan and are only 20 blocks apart (1 mile). It's a 3 minute cab ride.
When we were married I felt like I had two toddlers (although the true toddler was much more pleasant). Now I have two part time toddlers...
Going to need a lot of meditation tonight. Another round starting Tuesday morning.
Looking forward, Miss M and I have a fun weekend planned! Playdate with our friend Jason Saturday, our friend Ava Sunday, and then, THE CIRCUS!!!! Yes, Manhattan is one of those weird places where you have "playdates" prearranged by the parents. Where I grew up, I walked out of the house barefoot, knocked on the neighbor kid's door and asked, "Can Charlie come out and play?" New York is unnatural on lots of levels but for now it is home.
Crappy weather in NYC this weekend but we'll make the best of it. The apartment will be covered with paint and crayon by the time we're done.