When Dad's The Bad Guy
February 29, 2012
JD has entered the superhero phase of life. I do my best to encourage his new passion. He has a cape with a "J" on it. He got a Batcave and Batmobile for Christmas. He now has at least 13 superhero action figures. I know some of their names.
The green ones, are, I think, Green Lanterns. The one with snake hair (purchased at a Dollar Store is, um “Snake hair man.”) The one with wolf claws is Wolverine! Yellow, beefy one with blue (fab) denim shorts is called "The Thing" according to Uncle Bri. And of course I know Batman and Robin. As for me, I am Glitter Girl—holla! I have Glitter power, obvi. I have a button on my wrist. When I push it, I declare, “Beep, beep! I am Glitter Girl," then I do jazz hands and sprinkle fake glitter on JD. He’s Fire Boy and sets me on fire and tells me I’m dead—"Pssst, Pssst, I deaded you, Mom, Boom!" It’s fine. There’s a lot of running, laughing and tickling involved. I try to nix the dead talk. Ha.
JD used to love taking his cars into the tub, but now he likes to bring in these guys. The other night something happened that made me feel really sad, mad and on the verge of dialing JD’s father and screaming! Glitter Girl was about to emerge with 1000 pounds of glitter to dump on his head!
I did not. But, single moms, if you have these moments of rage rest assured you are not alone. This is OK. It’s normal. But, get them out. Talk them out, blog them out, dance them out.
JD was in the tub. I was sitting on the rug filing my nails. All of a sudden JD started role playing with Batman and some other guy. “Come on Dad, play with me!” I looked up. “Let’s go Dad!” JD said and then dove both action figures under the bubbles.
“What are you doing bud,” I said. Now, just one figure was in his hands.
“Playing bad guy!” JD said.
“Well who’s the bad guy?” I asked.
“The Dad! Because he keeps gooooooing away!” JD said. He said this in a silly, matter of fact way with a big grin. It was odd. He wasn't sad, but he was almost like, Duh, Ma, I know my Dad isn't here. I get it, Ma. Duh.
There is no badmouthing JD’s father allowed. This is stressed to my fam, friends and his teachers. If someone wants to air a comment, they can do so to me, when JD is far away in the sandbox or sleeping.
This "bad guy dad" comment unfortunately came from his 4 year old brain. And ya know what, I didn’t sugarcoat it. I didn’t dwell on it, but I let my kid feel his feelings. This isn’t something I wanted to push under the peach fuzzy bath mat and it’s something I never will. JD can make up his own mind about his father and I guess his first memory of this man is “bad guy dad.”
My consistent memory of my Dad is rock, fighter, gentleman, kind human being and someone to this day who says “I love you, Chrissy,” whenever we chat, which is frequent. Stings to know my kid associates his dad with “bad guy dad who keeps leaving”—despite he doesn’t keep leaving. He just never showed up. Even worse? I bet his half-brother, 1, considers JD’s father his hero. His wife adores her man. They have every right to love this guy. But in NJ, in reality, there's a little boy in the tub and a single mom on the peach fuzzy bath mat, working through this "bad guy dad" talk together. It's hard, I admit, but I'm Glitter Girl and JD is Fire Boy. We shall prevail. ZAP! Jazz Hands.
Note to my JD: Life is grey, not black and white, so rest assured you'll understand the grey area one day. And it will be OK. Right now, feel your black and white things, I've been there, doll.
Do your kids talk about their absent parents? Do they say bad things?