Today was the end of my latest five-day stretch with Alvie Bean. I’ve been in my own place for almost four months now, and Mr. Bean has adjusted to having two houses quite well.
I’m not going to lie – the first few weeks were a bit rough. It was hard for me, and I knew what I was doing and why. For the not-quite (at the time) four-year-old, it was exceedingly confusing. There was a lot of dealing with “I hate you mommy and I wish you would die!” and crying at daycare pickups because I wasn’t his daddy, and tantrums at home that had me pulling my hair out.
But after a few weeks (it seems like forever at the time), things started to mellow. It’s not perfect – he is four years old, after all – but it’s getting better. He has nightmares from time to time, but those are dying down a bit, too.
The custody schedule is 50/50 and is arranged so that I have Bean for 7 out of every 14 days. It’s a 5 on/5 off; 2 on/2 off schedule. There is room for flexibility and there are minor adjustments (for example, on holidays the custodial parent might pick up an extra day or two), but it’s pretty consistent, and Alvie is really getting the hang of “2 days with mommy and 2 days with daddy; 5 days with mommy and 5 days with daddy.”
This last long stretch was really the first that I felt was everything was going to be okay. We just had a fantastic time. Again, he’s four, so there were minor meltdowns on both of our parts and he got sent to his room more than once, but overall, it was great.
I love this kid – he’s just turning into such a cool human being. (“I am not a human bean!”)
Alvie is smart (his therapist that I took him to see a few times when things were not going particularly well said that he is “socially intelligent” which I’m pretty sure is child shrink speak for “manipulative”) and generous and affectionate and loyal. We had a great weekend playing with friends and helping in the garden and getting hurt (and narrowly avoiding getting hurt).
We read stories together every night, and his favorite books currently are Anatomy (aka the Brains book), Black Hills Trains, Castle, and Coyote. He isn’t reading yet, but loves to spell and count to one hundred, and ask a million questions about how everything works.
He is funny, although not nearly as funny as he thinks he is. His comic timing could use a bit of work. He loves to race, and no matter who gets to the finish line first, I never, ever win. If I put on that final burst of speed to leave him in the dust, he will declare that we both win, and there’s just no way to argue with that…
I dropped him off at daycare this morning and he announced to his teachers that he was going to start missing me as soon as I walked out the door. When asked why, he said, “I am going to be at my dad’s house for six days and that will be fun and we will have so many fireworks, but I will still miss my mom. She will miss me more, though, because I am great.”
True story, Bean. True story.
I am so proud of what a great kid he’s turning out to be and although I’m excited to see him continue to grow and develop and level up in awesomeness, part of me wants him to stay small enough to pick up and cuddle for a long time. (Disclosure – he’s barely small enough for me to pick up at this point, no matter how much both of us regret that.)
I’ll miss you kid…see you after six sleeps.