D sneaks into our bed early this morning and I snuggle her close.
“Where’s Daddo?” she asks.
(Background info: D starting calling ND “Daddo” after the wedding. Recently, she switched to “Daddy”. We follow her lead on this)
“In the shower,” I mumble groggily, as only the mother of a newborn can.
“I can only call my Daddy “Daddy” because you were with him first.”
Well, I’m awake now.
“Is that what your Daddy told you?”
“Yeah. He said I can call him Daddy because he was with you first.”
“Hmm. Well that might be how your Daddy feels, but I think you can call Daddo whatever you like. Dad, Daddy, Daddo. Anything you that feels right to you.”
“Yeah, I get to choose.”
—-A few hours later, on the ride to school—-
“Mommy tell me again why I can’t marry my baby brother?”
“Well, sweetheart, your brother is already your family. When you marry someone you choose for them to be a part of your family and you get to make a new family together.”
“Oh. Did you choose to be with Daddo and marry him because he was more handsomer than my Daddy?”
Uhhhhhh this is not what I was expecting. And I don’t have enough sleep to think straight. Oh shit what do I say?? Deep breath.
“No… honey… your Daddy decided he didn’t want to be in a family with me anymore. So for a while our family was just you and me. Then I met your Daddo, and I loved him very much so I wanted him to be a part of our family.”
“And he wanted you to be in his family, too?”
“And he loved your little baby to be in his family too?”
“Which baby? Your brother?”
“Well you weren’t a baby, but yes… He loved you and wanted you to be in his family. Remember at the wedding that Daddo gave me a ring and made me a promise? Well he gave you your amulet and made you a promise, too. We’re the only people he made that promise too. That’s how we became a family.”
Silence. Which I can’t stand, so here goes my verbal vomiting…
“So I know it’s hard sometimes to have two homes and two daddies. And I’m sorry that it’s tough for you sometimes. But it is also kindof special. Some kids only have one home, like your brother. But you have two and it’s sometimes hard and sometimes fun, right?”
“Right. Sometimes hard and sometimes fun.”
“Do you have any more questions about this, baby?”
“Yeah. Why did you choose Mimi to be your Mommy?”
“Because I grew in her belly.”
“When she was young?”
“Yes when she was young.”
And that was it. For now, I guess. So very unexpectedly, today was the day that my 4 year old started asking about my divorce. I’m not sure how much she’s been told, or what slant has been put upon the information. But I can tell already that her father is ready to stake territory: over his name, over chronology, and over the details of the story. I’m less defensive than I expected to be, as I’m confident with my choices and my actions. It feels good now to have been level headed then.
So, Internet, at what point will/should I tell her the truth? When prompted? To rewrite a lie? Preemptive attack? When she becomes an adult? When she falls in love?
Where is the handbook for this shit?!?!?
In related news, DB has not been graceful with the arrival of the little one (who has me in awe, by the way. Holy crap did I forget how magical and difficult having a newborn is). About three days after giving birth, he was picking fights reminiscent of three years ago! That, plus hormones, plus sleep deprivation had me off my game a little, but I think I’m back on track now. I still consult my copy of “Splitting” regularly– and it warns me that the narcissist tends to flare when the ex-partner goes through major joyous changes in his/her new life. I’m wondering how much of that flare led to the conversations I had with little D today. The good news is, there is no way I’m letting that flare overshadow my immense joy.