My dear Chickadee–for a brief period of time–delighted in telling me lies about her time with Daddy, because it frequently (okay; always) evinced a negative reaction and she was looking for some power and control. I thought that phase was finished.
Only today, on our way down to Daddy’s for their weekly afternoon with him, she started telling me that she never rides in a carseat in Daddy’s car anymore, and in fact when they went to the zoo last weekend (a long trip from here, through Boston traffic) they just brought some pillows and blankets and she lay down in the back.
I remained reasonably cool. I reminded her that lying to me is a poor choice, and asked her to reconsider her story and tell me again when she was ready to tell the truth. But the more adamant she became, the more my agitation progressed. Finally I told her the conversation was over; I would ask Daddy when we got there and if I found out she was fibbing she was gonna be in big trouble, missy! We rode in steamy silence while I wondered what had triggered this regression and she fought back tears.
Well, please pass the asshat tiara. Thanks. There is only one thing that makes me angrier that blatant dumbfuckery, and that one thing is blatant dumbfuckery that seems so beyond the realm of possibility that I actually end up disbelieving my child because I can’t believe my ex is that stupid.
The tiara? Yeah, I didn’t believe he’s that stupid. But he is. THAT stupid. And worse, would you like to hear the brilliant excuse he placated me with? Of course you would. He said:
Lemme tell you, I felt all better after that. (Whaaaaaaaaaat??)
He forgot what? He forgot that our children are precious cargo and they are much safer in carseats? He forgot that the shoulder strap crosses her little neck in such a way that even a fender-bender could snap her spine? He forgot that you cannot wear a seatbelt while laying down on the seat and that this might be both illegal and a bad idea, say, in major metropolitan traffic????? (“She was wearing the lap belt and just kind of sideways,” he mumbled while studying something of great import on the wall.)
The dicey part is this: legally, Chickadee doesn’t have to be in a booster. It’s recommended, but in our state the law only applies up to 40 pounds (she is 5 pounds past that); after that, it’s merely a recommendation. But according to the Law of Rabidly Protective Mama of Skinny Girl, it’s mandatory, get it?
I am very proud of myself for 1) not making a scene, 2) apologizing to my daughter for not believing her, 3) not raising my voice, and 4) not ripping his head off with my bare hands. And he kept saying that it wouldn’t happen again, he knows it’s not a good idea (that admission makes me feel worse, by the way), so I was approaching normal blood pressure levels and headed back to my car when he said, “You know, I can only take one carseat when we fly to my Mom’s.”
Dumb.F-U-C-K.Er.Y. Let’s assume, for a moment, that this Ivy League educated, doctorate-holding man is really stupid enough to think this is okay. Just assume, for the fun of it. Okay. Now. Even if–after all the preceding discussion–he still thinks this is a dandy way to operate, he would have to have never once MET me to think that now TELLING me this is in any way, shape or form a good idea.
I stopped. I turned. Very quietly, I said, “You need to figure out how to get two carseats there, and use them both. Check one with your baggage. It’s not optional.” Then I said good-bye to my kids and drove back home, wondering how I am going to handle this without putting my innocent child in the middle of yet another power struggle.