Major Setback

A month after I moved in with Jackie, I finally got the chance to set up my computer on a corner of her desk in the spare room. After time consuming gymnastics, where we moved the desk around and tried to get the wiring in some semblance of order I was faced with the reality that my computer had turned into an electronic brick. My hard drive has completely crashed and I fear that I lost my whole history of work and life in the past two years. Unfortunately this came at a very critical point of my existence. I am just battling to keep my head over water personally and financially. I am trying hard not to get the resentment against my boy’s father get the better of me, but today I lost the battle and I experienced a complete meltdown. I am ashamed to say that I called Ron to dump my misery on him.

Ron told me that he has his own blog. I am sure he will have plenty of time and space to spin the story of his victimhood online, but I do not have this luxury. I don’t have the time to keep dwelling on his negative personality traits and the ways he ruined my life with his stingy and self-centered approach to life.

In the end I only got myself to blame. The realities of the person stared me in the face for seven years, until I could take it no more. Three years ago I left him and came to Cape Town with nothing but a suitcase and a few crates of books. But even then he still had the power over me. He spun a tale that my heart believed and I could not break free, not completely. My mind wanted to, but my heart couldn’t. To be honest I wanted to believe, I made excuses for him, to explain why he left his first wife and two children. I turned a blind eye when he complained about the few cents of child support he paid them. I pray for forgiveness every day, because I was indirectly party to this. I never told anyone that when I went ahead with marrying him, he was still technically married to his first wife. I briefly met the woman once, and it wasn’t pleasant. She gave him a piece of her mind, calling him a coward, because he was uncomfortable visiting his children. At the time I just brushed the outburst aside as the ramblings of a foul-mouthed, bitter and jealous female. Now I am thinking otherwise.

Financially perhaps, the first wife had a better deal than me. She had the support of her family, she made a home for her children in a first world country and I do not think she needed to work to make ends meet. For me, things are hard at the moment; I rent a room at a friend’s house and my salary from part-time work just pays for babysitting. Ron’s “generous” maintenance does not cover my other expenses. My computer was my livelihood, it earned me some very good money in the past two years. I invested most of it good naturedly in what I thought was my “reborn” marriage. I will get some of it back later. But whatever I invested in the first seven years is water under the bridge, of course. That includes the salaries I earned working at the garage, which went into my husband’s personal account. He says they paid for the house that I will end up getting, but I doubt that this is the way things work in a divorce. A wife who does not financially contribute ANYTHING is still entitled to half a share. But now I came at leaner times, when the stingy man’s wealth has diminished, and he doesn’t have the promise of a cushy expat retirement in his future anymore. I have to bear the consequences. In time things will improve, I will get money out of the divorce settlement and the sale of our assets. Financially, I will never be rich or even comfortable, but my life as a mom is so much richer and more rewarding.

Ron bargained with me long on the settlement of our divorce. Almost everyone I know tells me that I let him off easy, but I have no desire to waste my time, and sue him for every cent he owes me. I can walk away from the bitter feud, and spend my energies on my little one. Robert made me touch my deepest resources of love and commitment, while the demands of raising him exposed the critical flaws in his father’s soul. He simply isn’t father material. My own fortunate childhood has brought me here, I suppose. Because I was unable to understand that some parents have no qualms in putting their needs first. I did not think for one moment that Ron will turn his back on the chance to be a parent for a second time, because I believed that he regretted doing so in his first marriage.
My life has fallen apart completely, but I can still find strength and purpose in my son. Although at the moment I don’t know how this will be possible, I will turn my life around, for my son. I will give him the life and the childhood he deserves.
His dad can go on with his social life, live for the sole purpose of finding his solitary happiness. He was never happy, and I won’t be surprised if he never gets there. He may go on into a new relationship, but he will keep his egocentric priorities. I will teach myself to stop hurting, and stop caring for his fate. The only part of him that I care about resides in the same room with me.

One day I will re-read the early entries of this blog, where I never stopped singing the praises of a transformed and changed Ron, and I will forgive my gullible stupidity. As I write this I question the wisdom of keeping myself open to him and his family through this blog, when as early as January he started to close up on me, confide with close family and hang out with a constellation of “friends” I know nothing about. Then again I tell myself, I have nothing to hide.

I only ever had one face to show to the world, it is my true face, and my true colours. He is the one who keeps trying to play a part, convince himself that he is somebody brilliant, somebody misunderstood, and just a little bit down on his luck. Some other poor soul will take pity on him, as I did, and this person will be blinded into believing that he hasn’t diserved to reap what he had sown. He can go on doing this, indefinetely if he wants. As for me, I will keep my wounds open to the wind. Better for them to heal, and for the bleeding to stop. In fact, it already has.

Teething Pain

The first week of May was mostly associated with the pain of teething, it is also my first month on my “special” work schedule, where I don’t have to drop Robert off at his dad’s.

I almost wanted to miss my first full working Saturday, because Robert had a fever in the morning. I suspected it was an ailment associated with his inflamed gums, but I was still worried as I went to work. I phoned Lucy several times during the day to inquire about Robert, especially since I have been having problems feeding him. He didn’t have great appetite for cereal or solids, and did not take much of his bottle either. When I returned home Lucy reported that he ate well, and I was relieved. She says that he eats very well with her, which makes me somewhat jealous. This time she cooked him some vegetables with little pieces of chicken. The chicken -more specifically granny Jocelyn’s roast chicken- was a great hit with Robert. He enjoyed gumming it and was ready to open his mouth for the next big juicy sliver, while he was still busy chewing on the previous bite.

On Sunday morning we had company. Friends came for tea and cake, and we had an enjoyable morning. Our friend Monz came with her little daughter Olivia, who is a sweet little baby of six weeks. I would have enjoyed the visit even more if Robert wasn’t acting up because of fever. On Sunday afternoon he had a runny tummy as well, and I needed to change his sheets and sponge the mattress. I suspect that Robert’s first tooth finally cut through on Saturday (May 3rd). The fever however did not completely break, and he was still in pain. While previously he used to gum and bite everything in site, during these few days he couldn’t tolerate anything to near his swollen gums. He would stiffen and cry and not even allow me to rub them with soothing gel. During this trying time I kept him on a routine of pain drops, and tried in vain to give him some food, but he just accepted breast milk.

I did not expect to continue breastfeeding this long, but I still enjoy it. It is also much easier to give Robert his nightly feed from the breast rather than fiddle with bottles and formula at dawn. I always thought that once his sharp teeth start causing damage I will have to stop, but Robert seems to give mom some consideration in this respect, and there weren’t any biting accidents so far. My nanny said that she breastfed her older children until three years of age, I cannot see myself doing that, but as long as we both enjoy it I won’t stop. It is not an inconvenience for me at all, it is rather a special pleasure.

Today Robert had a specially bad day, he was tired and cranky. In the morning I had to deal -again- with a huge mess. Robert’s nappy had leaked and soiled his clothes, his sheets, and his mattress. I had to put him in the bath, and wash all the bedding and the mattress. During the afternoon I had to put him to bed on a make-shift mattress of blankets and towels. He finally went to sleep after a long crying session, with Canuck as his pillow. Later, when I put Robert down for the night did I noticed that something was not quite right with Canuck. At first, and in the dim light, I thought that Jackie has given him a new ribbon, but then I discovered that the pattern on the ribbon was dried up nappy mess from this morning. Disgusting to think that I allowed Robert to sleep with his face next to that filthy toy. Canuck had to be washed ! In fact he remained outside for a few days taking in rain and very little sun, until he finally dried a week later. Due to these washing disasters I had to enlist my ex’s help with laundry, he wasn’t too impressed. It is really hard for me to ask him for help and endure his sour reaction.

Robert is showing steady development with his motor skills. He tries to stand independently for a few seconds or lifts his butt of the floor from a sitting position trying to stand. I am starting to notice more emotional and social development. I think he is at the stage where he observes stuff closely and tries to learn how things fit and relate to each other. One day this week I was amazed at his interested reaction when I put my large hand next to his small one on the side of the bathtub; he examined them intently for a short period of time and then proceeded to examine the large hand with his tiny one. Most of the time I try to give him free reign as he discovers things; even when his journeys of discovery mean rearranging our room into a total mess. Sometimes the simplest object catches his attention; he might spend a few minutes examining the waste paper basket, a pamphlet, or the all time favourites: cell phone and keys. Sometimes he just spends time scrutinizing the tiny letters on a the label of his baby oil bottle, but to my disappointment he still hasn’t found great interest in books. I read to him often, but the colorful pages often end up in his mouth. At the end of Moms and Tots Class, the teacher always reads a story, and he shows some interest but he is rarely captivated long enough by the pictures in the book. The text of the story is only a mimic of animal sound to accompany their pictures. In addition to songs and story, there are many activities that we get to do with the little ones during Moms and Tots class. I get a lot of ideas for games and exercises to do with Robert. He also gets a chance to interact with other moms and babies, which is very important especially in our current circumstances.The pictures shows Robert in one of the moms and tots activities.

Blogged with the Flock Browser