“My daddy takes me to Walmart.”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
“And my daddy takes me to Chuck E. Cheese.”
“I’m sure you two have a lot of fun there, baby.”
“At my daddy’s house I have lots of toys.”
“Yes, baby. You have toys at Daddy’s house. Daddy loves you very much.”
“… At my mommy’s house I have toys, too. You took me to Chuck E. Cheese. I went to Chuck E. Cheese at my mommy’s house.”
“It’s our house, baby. Not just Mommy’s. Son Son, you live there, too.”
Divorce is not something I speak of often, seeing as it came as a welcomed relief. But, the above discussion is repetitive. I hear it at least once a week.
Did I institute the Mommy’s house v. Daddy’s house game? Um, no.
Try explaining that to someone whose greatest need is to hear a child say, “I want to stay with you.”
Unfortunately, in my life, Mommy’s house v. Daddy’s house is a game. A sick, twisted game. I try to thwart it, I try to not let it bother me. Heck, I even try to drill into my child’s head the idea of “our” and “home.”
Because, to me, the idea that my child gets shipped between a Mommy and a Daddy is wrong. The fact that I lose my child every other weekend is nothing short of heinous. Tiny Tot has never been a burden, he’s never been a chess piece, and he’s definitely not an ego booster on a bad day.
That being said, I do get irritated at the fact that I am fighting a year-long battle–starting when my child could speak full sentences–on the Mommy’s house v. Daddy’s house game. To me, it’s a disassociation for the child of having a place to call home.
Children need a home. They need a place in which to call home. Whatever bad thing that may happen during the day, home is the ultimate safe haven. It’s the place of unmitigated love.
My tiny human, at the age of three, has no idea of the aspect of “home.”
In this twisted little game of, “Who’s house do you like better: Mommy’s or Daddy’s?” my child is losing the fact that he actually lives in a happy, loving home.
Okay, okay. That is definitely the anger speaking. I’ll move a few steps back, and redirect my train of thought.
The fact that this game is played outside of my house is not in the least surprising. Before becoming a divorced, single mom, I was a married mom and stepmother. Every other weekend, this silly game ensued, and I was forced to watch it play out. Well, I didn’t just sit. Baiting a child is highly disturbing, and when I see it, I refuse to stay silent. So I would speak out against the idea of pitting one parent against the other. It confused my step son at the time, and he inevitably ran off in tears.
“Who do you want to stay with? Daddy or Mommy?”
“All right, if you keep up the whining, you’re going back to Mommy’s house. You don’t want to go see Mommy, do you?”
“It’s time to go see Mommy. Do you want to go home to Mommy’s house, or stay here, at Daddy’s house?”
Sick. Twisted. Game.
Because, what happens when the child says they want to go to Mommy? Clearly there is only one right answer. But, when the same question is posed several ways, the child never knows how to respond. When upset–or in trouble–and asked who they want to go see, of course it will be the opposite parent. And then where does the baiting game end? How does this egotistical game benefit the child?
What happens is, the child becomes afraid of the response, because fifty percent of the time, the child will “choose” wrong.
So, after everything was finalized in my divorce, and visitation set into place, I vowed that I was going to thwart this game, in order to negate the idea of M. v. D. The only theory I could come up with to push the idea of home, was to push the idea of home. Yes, there can be a Daddy’s house–which has never established by this wildly opinionated woman–but there is going to be a home. Our home. A home belonging to Tiny Tot, and his crazy mother.
With an excessive sprinkling of love.
Somehow, though, I find myself going about this the wrong way. After Tiny Tot spends a few days away from Mommy, the M. house v. D. house debacle begins anew. And drives me absolutely batty. Can you tell?
Perhaps it is the fact that a new year is beginning, or the fact that I am absolutely exhausted when it comes to dealing with the father of my tiny creation, that makes me want my child to see that he has a home.
Not even just with me–though I really am selfish, and will be crushed if my child thinks spending six days a month at his paternal grandmother’s house is his “home.” However, should Tiny Tot decide that his heart belongs there, I will eventually come to accept it. With tears.
Lots and lots of tears.
But, I want my tiny human to know that he has a place where his heart resides, with one–or both–of his parents, and that is his home.
So, this being said, I am going to start battling this Mommy’s house v. Daddy’s house game with a new strategy. I’m pretty good at chess; I’m a thinker. I believe I can do it.
So move over, Daddy’s house, this is Tiny Tot’s home. That’s right; Mommy’s house no longer exists. I’m taking it out of the equation.
“Mommy, are we going to your house?”
“No, Son Son, we’re going to yours. We’re going to Tiny Tot’s house.”
It may actually work. I may be able to retrain my three year-old into knowing he has his very own place to call home.
Which is all I have ever wanted.