Monday, November 22, 2010

Not Covering Up For Her Anymore

There was a post I made about not covering up for Jane anymore when it came to the kids. I can’t remember when but I remember writing about how I was no longer going to cover up for Jane if she cancelled. However, I’ve only applied it to times that the kids knew they were going to be seeing her and she cancelled.

Well, FH and I have pretty much decided that perhaps it’s time that the boys were indeed aware of their mother’s choices. We’ve been trying to protect them from the heartache by not telling them when they’re supposed to be seeing her because she cancelled so often. It just seemed easier to make it a pleasant surprise.

To her credit, she actually did see them every week for a good portion of 2010. However, as of last month the old Jane who pulls out any excuse in the book to cancel has returned. She has either cancelled or tried to cancel a majority of the times she was supposed to see them. FH told me that he’s ready to let the boys see who she really is. And now that they all are a bit older I think that it is time to start putting it back on the calendar for them to see when they’ll see her. And if she cancels, then she cancels and they’ll know about it.

**EDIT: I just wanted to add in that we have no intentions of making a big dramatic production of it with the boys. I was reading through some comments I just wanted to clear that up. It's frustrating enough to us to have plans changed, especially since it's our date night when she sees them. And the whole reason we stopped telling them when they were going to see her was because she would go for weeks at a time cancelling on them. But, frankly I'm tired of trying to diffuse it for her. I owe her no favors. And I do appreciate the suggestion of not using the word "cancel" and in saying "you should call her to talk about it" if they want to know more.**

This comes after an angering experience from the last time they slept at her house. Older Boy told us that they slept on the floor this last time because Jane’s guy slept on the queen size pull out couch that they usually sleep on. FH was especially angry, and I don’t blame him. We send the boys over expecting them to be in a good environment (or at least as best as possible knowing their habits). It makes me wonder if we ought to send sleeping bags for them so that they’ll at least have something warm to sleep in. I don’t want to encourage them sleeping on the floor when there’s a pull out bed, but I don’t want them to end up on the floor with just a blanket either.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes down this week when they go over to her house for Thanksgiving. This year is her year to have them and she’s taking them (all 3 boys!) Tuesday thru Thursday evening.

Having Baby J.C. have given me a whole new perspective on parenthood and on the choices I make as a parent. And I know we can’t protect our children from all the heartache in the world. I just never thought I’d have to protect my children from heartache caused by someone that is supposed to love them unconditionally and fight for them. I think having Jane as an example of who not to be has helped make me a better mother to both the boys and to J.C.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What’s the Point?

Jane’s mom Jolie has asked us if she can have the boys a few weekends during the month. This is completely fine with us, but we told her we’d prefer to plan it out each month instead of trying to stick to a schedule of the first and third Saturday of the month. It just seems easier that way since we’re a social family.

This last week I picked the boys up from Jolie’s house. The four of them were outside waiting for me. The boys were playing ball. I got there and Jolie and I greeted each other. I think for the most part Jolie likes me as a person and has been impressed on what I’ve done with the boys so I’m not really intimidated by seeing her. I do have an issue with the conditions of which they live in (It’s a real petting zoo in there and really smells like one.) I asked the boys if they were ready to go and they said yes. Then they started taking off toward the car and I said “Wait a minute. Come say goodbye to Grandma Jolie.” One by one they came back and gave her a hug. She affectionately gave them hugs and kisses back and said she’d see them on Wednesday.

Once we got home FH asked them if they had fun. We got the half-hearted “yeah” from Older Boy and Younger Boy. Middle Boy told us “Not really.” When asked why not he said “Because we didn’t get to play video games.”

It got me wondering about what they thought their visits were all about. Perhaps it was really na├»ve of me to think that they would be excited to see their grandma and mom. I’m not from a divorced family but I was always excited when I got to see family members growing up. I also have wondered what these visits meant to Jolie and to Jane.

A couple minutes later I called the three of the boys down for a quick chat.

Crys: I wanted to know what you think the point is when you go to visit Jolie or your mom?
Older Boy: To get to do extra stuff.
Middle Boy: To play video games and watch TV.
Younger Boy: *Blank Stare*

Side Note: I’m not going to lie that it bothered me that was what they thought the point was. Later on when I talked to FH about it he said that he probably contributed to part of that. But I honestly think that both FH and Jane have contributed to it. Jane doesn’t really do a lot of visiting with them. They go over there and all they do is play computer/video games or watch movies the whole time. Sometimes during the warmer months she will bring them to the pool or the park, but that’s a rare occasion. Since video game playing time has decreased significantly since I moved in FH put a focus that they can go play video games at Jane’s.

Back on track: I told the boys that the point of their visits with Jolie and Jane was to spend some time with them and to see them. That yes they got to play video games and watch TV while at their houses but the point is to spend some time with them since they don’t get to see them all the time.

I then put Middle Boy in the other person’s shoes because it seems to be the only way to get him to understand lately.

Crys: Middle Boy, how would you feel if Grandma Jolie said, “I didn’t have a fun time visiting Middle Boy because I didn’t get to play video games.”
Middle Boy: It would make me sad.
Crys: Well, then perhaps that is something you should remember the next time you go over for a visit.

I realize that I can’t make Jane and Jolie visit with the boys instead of herding them over to play video games and watch TV. I also realize that I can’t make the boys want to visit them either. But, I can at least plant the seed of though that maybe there is more to visiting your family members than just playing video games.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5 Years Old

Younger Boy turned 5 years old last Wednesday. I can’t believe that he is now 5. His growth really makes me stop and think about just how much time and effort and love I have invested in my new life as a stepmom.

He was 2 almost 3 when I first moved in. He was still in diapers. He needed an adult to dress him. He definitely didn’t know how to read, write or spell. And now he’s 5. He can read, write, spell, add, count, dress himself, handle having responsibilities and he can wipe his own butt. He’s grown up a lot in the last 2 years that I’ve been living here.

I was a little bit irked that his mom didn’t call to wish him a Happy Birthday. So I’m going to pretend that she graced him with love and birthday wishes the following Saturday when he went over to celebrate his Aunt’s birthday and spend time visiting with her.

I was absolutely thrilled for him though that he received a couple of phone calls from his other Aunt and grandmas for his birthday. By the time my mom called to sing him the Birthday Song his face was glowing and he had the biggest smile on his face. I decided to bask in that instead of dwell on the ickyness that Jane hadn’t called. I don’t know why I thought she would considering she didn’t call either of the other boys on their birthdays either. I guess I’m just still frustrated that she doesn’t treat her kids the same. It bothers me more because I get hung up on hoping the boys don't notice she doesn't treat them the same either. And then I feel the pressure to put even more effort into them to make sure they don't notice she doesn't treat them the same. And that can get exhausting.

We celebrated the weekend before with a little get together with some of our friends and family. It wasn’t the kid-filled party we had anticipated but we all had a relaxing time hanging out. He wanted a Lego party thus I put some effort into trying to make a fabulous Lego cake.