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10:56 a.m. - 2011-01-15
She deserves a break today.

I wonder what non-divorced parents do when they're desperate for a break from the kids? Call in Grandma? Cleverly start a round-robin of sleepovers amongst the kid's friends and go through one night of sleepover hell and get three or four nights off in subsequent weeks when the kid goes to the other parties? Beg their own friends to take the kid for an evening in return for your helping them to move and/or paint their garage? Because I can tell you from my own experience that teenagers don't babysit anymore. Somewhere in the last 30 years teenage girls (and those few boys) decided they couldn't be bothered to sit on someone's couch, eat their food, talk on the phone, dial up a pay-per-view and be paid handsomely for it all in exchange for keeping an eye and an ear on an already slumbering child while his physically and emotionally exhausted parents stumble away from their home to go a movie and then a diner for a piece of pie and the chance to speak to each other without being interrupted. Today's teenagers do not babysit. Ever.

My sisters and I made pretty good money babysitting during jr high and high school. We even advertised on the bulletin board at Shoprite. The hook was there were three of us and amongst ourselves we made sure at least one of us was always available. Then as we aged out of sitting our youngest sister, Gidget, inherited the roster of our steady customers and really raked in the dough. We had a rep for being reliable and parents trusted us because we never drank their booze, made long distance calls or had boys over. And we'd sit on weeknights too provided we were home by midnight. Easy peasy. Sure, occasionally you'd get a creepy dad who made inappropriate comments when driving us home or some warty horror kids that weren't worth ANY amount of money, but we had enough business we could dump those people as clients.

Anyhoodle, I've wandered off topic. What do non-divorced parents do when they've had it up to here with the kid and can't pack him off to Dad's? Because that's exactly what I did yesterday. Recently Wolf has been working overtime to burnish his rep as The World's Most Obnoxious 13 Year Old EVER. Really working the Aspie thing too. Huge honking surprise, the ex had dropped off the Earth and had spent exactly one evening with Wolf since Christmas day. And that only because I sent Wolf out of the house to go to his dad's so Mick and I could have a fight. At that point I didn't care if Mike was home or not, Wolf could mind himself in his dad's lair for a couple hours. Hell, Wolf could make a pig mess of his dad's place and use his computer to surf for porn for a change. Mike was home that night, but whatever. The point is the fabulous Disney Dad hadn't given me a break from our offspring in almost a month and I was going bonkers. And poor Mick (who hasn't had 25 years of dealing with these horrible Aspies and become somewhat inured to their assholery) was nearly vomiting from his frustration with Wolf. The surly attitude. The wretched smart mouth. The boneheaded "Uh, I forgot" in reply to whether he'd completed wildly complicated requests like to please brush his teeth or move his shoes out of the middle of the front hall. Lying. Sneaking. Screwing up at school. I've been to more meetings and fielded more phone calls than the President lately.

And where's Dad been? Oh yippee-skippying around in his own little universe as fucking usual. Coming and going like a breeze. Not even a phone call to ask how the kid was. Wolf could have gone in for a kidney transplant or been arrested for robbing a bank and that asshole father of his couldn't care less.

So yesterday I got on the horn and TOLD Mike that his son was coming up for a pajama party tonight and would be spending the majority of this weekend with HIM. No ifs, ands, buts or excuses. I didn't care if Mike had a job at a leaky nuclear reactor, Wolf was going with him.

The whole bloody point of Mike having a place out back was so that he'd be around to parent. So he and his boy could spend more than the average divorced dad time together. But apparently Mike thinks saying "Hi" every couple of weeks when they ran into each other in the back yard is sufficient.


It's tough enough to be my kid's mother right now, I don't need to be my ex-husband's mother too.

Upshot being I had Wolf pack a bag and beat feet up to his father's. Mick got home and he and I had a conversation! A quiet, sane, occasionally amusing conversation! With each other! Then we cooked dinner together and sat at the table and kept right on talking. We scrupulously avoided talking about Wolf's antics and the even touchier subject of Mike reneging on not just his fathering but on his financial responsibilities as a father and co-contributor to the household. Instead we spoke of fun things, important things like how we're going to manage to replace the beat-to-hell and nearly useless stove (the broiler door broke clean off the other day, I have cold weld to stick it back on but it's a temporary fix at best), we talked about his work and my job search, and the news. And not once we were interrupted with a soliloquy about the merits of Captain Falcon's firing capacity and other excruciating video game crappy. Wolf wasn't there to lie in my face about his month overdue book report. I didn't have to tell Mick to sit up straight or to stop wiping his hands on his clothes for the millionth time. I didn't have to hear about the evil Cody and Wolf's elaborate revenge fantasies. I didn't have to try to speak of my own thoughts only to get a snort and an eye-roll and another rambling discourse on why someone thinks he should be allowed to watch R-rated movies. Mick was able to reach over and take my hand and say he loved me and how much he was enjoying the food without sarcastic gagging noises from the peanut gallery.

Then we spent a quiet evening just chilling alone and together as our whim dictated. Of course there was also some grown-up time that didn't have to wait until the dead of night and be done on the sneak so as not to be overheard. Followed that with a late snack and more wonderful "Hey! I remember you! You're my best friend!" conversation. Then a good night's sleep until awakened by the need to pee and not by door slams and thundering elephant feet going down the stairs. The dog got walked and the cats fed without it touching off a tong war and an hour of dirty looks and sullen muttering about how much I suck and how mean Mick is.

Teenagers. Oy gevalt, teenagers.

Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years. ~Author Unknown

I'm going to go beat my head against my broken stove now. It'll be soothing. ~LA

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