For whatever reason (I don't know, maybe it's becasue he's FOUR) he's now learning the finer details on Being A Boy. Unfortunately, these lessons are coming to him thanks to the insecurities of parents who think that allowing boys to to experience and enjoy whatthefuck they want even if it's pink or has ribbons and bows will make them gay, and Daniel has started sprouting propoganda like "Pink isn't for boys, it's for girls. I don't like pink" when pink has long long LONG been his favorite colour, and "The Fairies is for girls", which sucks because I took him to The Fairies show last year and he lost his mind with love for the show.
Daniel wanted a pink sparkle balloon that day too, and the girl selling them looked at me with concern and sidemouth whispered "Is that okay?". Yes. It is. Except now, and probably forever, he's all "ew, pink is for GIRLS, and so is bling. Ptooey, yech, etc".
On the more traditional macho side, he LOVES Thomas the Tank Engine, and so does my friend's little girl. So there. Daniel gets up at night yelling "THOMAS!" in his sleep, and reports Thomas dreams pretty much every morning. Can we say "obsessed?" Or maybe it's just "four". Or, "boy". Or "Jury's still out on that gay thing".
His father's presence in his life is still sporadic, which makes things easy for me on the one hand, and harder on the other because it's screwing with Daniel already, and that makes my heart hurt.
On Daniel's birthday, Strep showed up at the front door after seven (S.E.V.E.N) months of no contact at all. Daniel ran around like an excited puppy, and I've never before or since seen such a show of (awesome, am weepy writing about it a whole three months later) Look At Me! as a thin disguise for what it was: Please Love Me.
When he left (him: "can't stay, the dog is in the car". me: "The DOG is in the car? Daniel's happy to see you and you have to leave because the DOG is in the car?" and that's when I let him have it. Right in front of his daughter too, but not in front of daniel who'd scampered off to find something else to impress his father with. ) Daniel had his second asthma attack ever. He'd had NO symptoms after hsi first attack: no cough, no wheezing, no shortness of breath after exercise, spring pollens, cats, NOTHING affected him. The doctor said then it was quite possible the emotional upheaval had triggered it, and then Daniel had a cough that lasted for another month, and it THAT ended up being his unresolved second asthma attack, and he needed preventor medication to get rid of it. So, really, that awesome paternal drift in drift out again experience cost Daniel six weeks of optimal lung function, and now several weeks of extra (steroid, so not yay) meds.
In that seven months, I contacted his father because sometimes you have to be bigger than the pissiness that gets me thinking "fuck that" because it's not about him or me bla bla BLA. Anyway, the calls and texts were ignored, and, well, fuck that. Let the ass shoot himself in his own foot. Which essentially means let him mess with my son's head. Repeat this in your own head over and over until your own head is being messed with. Actually, think it over once and reap the benefits.
It's a difficult place to be because there's nothing I can do that isn't like choosing which door to certain doom I'd rather Daniel took. So I do whatever might suck maybe slightly less than the other, but maybe not, good luck with that, suckah. If I tell Strep "Nope, too bad, If you can't commit to your own son, then piss off", which is what I WANT to do, then it's likely that, when Daniel is older, he'll feel I deprived him of his father. If I don't do anything, then it's likely Daniel's going to feel rejected, and he'll likely assume because of deficits in HIM, not his father.
Still though, Daniel is one of the happiest kids I know. He's secure and confident and makes friends easily and just loves to laugh. Everything is fun for him, and BECAUSE he's so nice and easy and funny and chatty, his life is a series of positive reinforcement from pretty much everyone he ever meets. I'm always impressed at how, even at four, he's so INCLUSIVE. If there's a kid in the (MacDonald's. Don't judge) playground, he'll make sure they're not left alone. He's a real protector too, and sensitive, and so kind. I've never (NEVER) had to drag him outside to force an apology to a sobbing victim of his preschoolerness. (You all: " and does he shit gold too?" Me: "well, now that you mention it...")
Which isn't right, but neither is PMS, so I guess it all evens out somewhere in the universe.