Our son is 8. Second grade. Ambulatory. Some recent physical decline. Calibrating and adjusting to:
1. changes in abilities, capabilities, and related emotions. And of course the associated disappointments and devastation at school.
2. a divorce,
3. a new care taker, a new care takers home environment, previously unknown to him (on his dad's weeks). In fact, he has never had a babysitter but a handful of times in his 8 years until now. Hence, a significant adjustment
4. recent frequent adjustments/absences to his daily school routine/schedule for the screening/physical testing to confirm his eligibility for inclusion in the Eteplirsen trial. (Cross your fingers and if you pray, please pray he tests as eligible)
5. Number 5 is the GrandDaddy, and the underpinning of my post. In addition to the adjustment challenges associated with 1-4 above, my son is adjusting to a newish 50-50 timeshare between his Dad's house and my house.
The 50-50 is alternating weeks, his Dad's house one week. Mine the next. Back to Dad's. Then Back to Moms. Repeat. Repeat. And Repeat. The week run is Monday to Monday. There is also a
mid-week Wednesday overnight with the off-week parent that I can't decide if I am a fan of yet.
Here's the thing. (What compelled me to reach out to you all). Without fail, every week my son has come home on Monday for my week, and flat out told me, and meant it, usually when fatigued after school, or exhausted just before he drifts off to sleep, sometimes crying "I can't handle the back and forth". "I just can't handle it."
I suspect I know what he means. I feel like I know what it is he can't handle. So please tell me if I am crazy or wrong, My research tells me our sons seek sameness, and have difficulty adjusting to changes in routine, changes in familiar surroundings particularly. His dad and I have very polarized parenting styles. We are doing our best to coparent. But there is little likeness in what our sons life looks like at his dad's, and what it looks like here with me.
When my son tells me he can't handle the back and forth, I believe him. The masses tell me it will take time, he will be fine. I'm not so sure. I am the only one he confides his Duchenne related fears, feelings, anger, sadness, disappointments, stress, anxiety, and tears to. His Dad is no chump, he has my vote for good Dad. And I am grateful for the closeness that has developed between father and son over the (to date) 15 month post separation/divorce process. It's just His dad can't know what I know, because our son thinks he needs to be tough for his Dad, and doesn't share with his dad his anxieties and stress like he does with me.
So back and forth our son transfers and adjusts and readjusts week to week, with the additional transfer and readjustment of the mid-week Wednesday overnight. And to the addition of a child care provider and her unfamiliar home after school on his dad's weeks. (Our son hadn't had a babysitter but for a handful of times his entire life long before this).
Ricocheting between his dad's, the child care, and my house, plus therapies after school and the rigors of Eteplirsen screening (there are 3 overnight, out of towns in addition to the local procedures) all in one week. It doesn't feel right. Our son says it isn't right. So I wonder how much is too much change for a young child that can't adjust to change well?
I suppose I am hoping there are divorced parents reading this who have already sorted out working-well custody/timeshare arrangements "in the best interest" of their son, that will show up/reply to share with me what that arrangement is. Or share with me any arrangement that didn't work out so well.
Or even to tell me not to worry, I'm being ridiculous, and our son will be fine flip flopping back and forth.
What does "best interest" really mean anyway? I have yet to get my head around what "best interest of the child" means exactly. Or who in the Legal atmosphere is best qualified to determine the best interest of our sons other than their parents, for how could they possibly know a day in their lives or their though-life? I feel like Duchenne should have had its own representation at the settlement table. Maddening that I was unable to make that happen.
Nevertheless, looking forward to your replies of insight, experience, thought, or suggestions on how to help me help our son through this difficult time of adjustment.