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SO, DN drops the kids off at 7pm, after a weekend in Other City with their grandmother, DN, aunt and cousins. He called when he rounded the corner on our street, so I could meet him outside and carry the kids in (they were asleep).

BF and I get out there to get the kids, they wake up and start crying. Of course they do – they are confused, tired, hungry as hell if the amount they ate for dinner 20 minutes later is any indication and Her Bootiness was soaked. I can't even imagine the last time she was taken potty or had her pull-up changed.

Anywho, boo-hooing and clinging to Daddy from Q and tantrums all the way up the steps….and they stop crying when DN drives off. Just stop. Her Bootiness remains moody until dinner is served, but Q perks right up, wipes away his tears and starts to play with the new toys DN let them bring inside because they were crying. It was a show, for a specific person, and when that specific person left, the show ended.

I ask Q later why he was crying – he said because he wanted to stay with Daddy. I say that's okay, I know you have fun with Daddy, and he's going to pick you up on Tuesday for a couple of days. Isn't that great?!

“But I always have fun with Daddy.”

“I know, but you have fun here too.”

“Just sometimes. I always have fun with Daddy.”

Stab. Heart. Thanks.

<sigh> I know people keep telling me that eventually the kids will see right through the DisneyLand Daddy act, and will appreciate that Mommy takes care of them and all the details. Intellectually, I can see this. But DOG DAMNIT I do not know how long I can take this. It's a knife straight to the heart. I get the dregs of their lives, the nights spent holding feverish kids, the days spent potty training, the “it's time to go to bed now”s, blah blah blah. DN gets FUN HAPPY DAYS, financed by his mother even, and then gets to drop them off wet, hungry and tired. Fan-effing-tastic.

And why do they throw these fits? It's almost like they are….trained? Expected? to do so. Maybe it's just because Mommy is all business – it's time to do this and it's time to do that – that they don't throw fits on me. I don't know. I know DN probably sees it as “proof” he's a good dad, since the kids don't want to leave him, but I really think it's just a show the kids put on for Daddy so they can have fun again. I mean hell, I wouldn't want to leave Fun and Games 24/7 either.

And yes, everything I manage to read on the subject says it's normal for kids to have stress at kid-swap time, but eff it. I spent a good half-hour sobbing after the kids went to bed. I don't want to know it's normal, I want to know how to make it better for them.

Bah-humbug to it all.

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