Friday, May 1, 2009

Keeping Perspective

Captain Underpants is having a real hard time with his mummy and daddy having two separate houses right now. After nearly 6 months the novelty has worn off and he just wants his daddy to move 'home'. Last Sunday he asked to come back to me early and of course I agreed. When ex left, after the usual round of smiles, hugs and kisses, the Captain started to cry. "I need to give Daddy one more hug", he sobbed. Captain Underpants has been blessed with the biggest baby blues and when they well up with tears they convey the deepest heartfelt longing that he is probably still too young to articulate with words. So we called Daddy and the instant ex picked up the phone Captain Underpants starts to quietly sob and simply says the following words, "Daddy, I just want you to live with me again. All the time."

I feel my heart sink in my chest and my throat starts to constrict. I will myself not to cry along side him. Ex immediately turns his car round and comes back. We all hang out for another half an hour and ex talks quietly to Captain Underpants, assures him that he is loved beyond words and that these feelings are natural. And that we are so, so sorry he is so sad.

By the time he leaves again, Captain Underpants appears a little happier and more accepting of the situation, but of course he isn't really. He is such a good boy. He is really trying to be brave and on the outside, for the most part, he is as sweet, loving and good natured as ever. But internally there is a lot of angst and thank goodness he is able to verbally express at least a small part of what he is thinking and feeling.

On Monday morning he wakes at 4.20am and can't get back to sleep. He looks like death warmed up. He has always woken early - but even more so when he is unsettled. I feel helpless and frustrated and knackered. But decide to approach this situation with a more proactive mindset rather than be overwhelmed. So by 6am that morning I have emailed his teacher at school to give her an insight into things he is struggling with at home. I have left a message with the child therapist we consulted prior to the separation, requesting a follow up session. And I have emailed a mum friend who owns a Chinese medicine practice asking if she can give me so advice on whether there are any homeopathic remedies which might help Captain Underpants right now.

There are underlying issues that I am having with ex, which I know have been winding me up but I have been too intimidated to address. I know both boys are far more perceptive than I ever give them credit for and decide to try to resolve some of these issues, so that I can be at more peace and can radiate that in some unspoken way to the kids. I agonise over what to say and how to say it. The last thing I want to do is to instigate any animosity between us. I finally find the words and approach the issues with care - and miraculously ex responds in kind and a weight is lifted.

Captain Underpants is still waking before 5am every morning. I find it hard to be patient and calm at the crack of bloody dawn, but I am really doing my best. Despite all the recent shennanigans I try to wittily relay on this blog, most of the time I am just mum dealing with two high energy children for most of my day. We have all started taking the recommended homeopathic remedies and I am determined to remain optimistic and to have faith in my vision that we will all be happier and better off in the long run. And in the meantime, these upsets are to be expected, are perfectly natural and can ultimately be overcome by keeping a sense of perspective in one hand and a whole bucketful of love in the other.

One kind friend suggested I create some one-on-one time with Captain Underpants each week so on Thursday I picked him up from school and, instead of immediately charging across town to pick up his brother, we went for ice cream. We had a perfectly lovely couple of hours and when I told Captain Underpants we were going to do something special like this every week he jumped on his toes with excitement and his whole face shone.

Which is the same reaction his dad got when ex revealed he had cancelled part of a business trip so he could attend Captain Underpant's school assembly on Friday morning. We have been practicing for the assembly for what feels like forever and in Captain Underpant's world it is a Very Big Deal. For ex to recognise that and put his son before business is also a very big deal. Long may it continue.

So the week had ended on a high note. Captain Underpants made me tear up during assembly, because I am such a sap and find it impossible to control my emotions in those situations. I can see that I am going to be such an embarrassement to him as he gets older. Oh well, it's just going to have to be a cross he is going to have to bear.

And finally, tonight in the bath, whilst performing a particularly challenging underwater Jacques Cousteau manuevere, Captain Underpants lost his first tooth. Oh the joy.

Which reminds me - better go and play tooth fairy whilst I remember.


  1. How difficult for you all, but lovely that the week ended on a high note.

  2. Oh, I really do feel your pain. It's unbelievably hard for the children in the months/years after a separation but the only thing you can do is exactly what you ARE doing. Being a loving, caring mum and showing your son how much he is still loved.

    I think the time alone with each child is a great idea, something I also did/do and they do get a lot from it.

    Keep doing what you're doing - and remember, it's still very early days. 6 months is a very short time for your sons to get used to the new arrangement of mum and dad living separately. I really do wish you all the best. x

  3. I think you're being incredibly brave about all this. x

  4. GOd that all sounds so hard, but amazing that you're being so proactive about it. You sound like a lovely mum

  5. You are amazing. And I'm glad his Daddy was also able to see the importance of being there for that assembly.