Monday, February 28, 2011

Different Boys In The Photo

We had dinner at Allison’s last night (Jane’s sister who has adopted me as her own family). I noticed some of the photos of the boys that Jane had gotten done with their little brother Trevor. It made me kind of sad and curious.

We’ve had quite a few family photos done and in all of them (for the most part) the boys are smiling and look happy and sparkly. (By sparkly I mean full of life and not covered in glitter.)

In these photos only Older Boy and Trevor were the ones smiling. Middle Boy and Younger Boy had these miserable, sad looks on their faces. I couldn’t tell if it was boredom, disinterest, true feelings coming through or a mixture of all of the above.

I always have a little chat with the boys before we take our photos where I kindly ask them to smile happily. And then throw in "Please smile pretty for your grandmas' because we're giving them these as a gift." (Which is entirely true in addition to the fact that I'd like a nice family photo of everyone smiling.) Younger Boy was the only one who acted up at our last family photo shoot but the photographer got him to smile for the photos.

I guess I was mainly surprised by a few things:

1) by their expressions. I've been in my new instant mom lifestyle for almost 3 years now. I’ve seen the three photo outcomes of the photoshoots that Jane has had done. In the first year after Trevor was just born (and after the divorce) it was Middle Boy who had a forced smile on his face. Older Boy and Younger Boy both had decent smiles on. But the last two years are the ones where Middle Boy and Younger Boy look miserable and unhappy.

2) the fact that these are the outcomes she’s getting for photos. They just look so completely different from the photo outcomes that we have gotten. I personally would not pay for a photo like that, not would I be happy if that was the best of the photos.

I consider that there are many different opportunities at play here:

Perhaps I just happen to schedule good photographers who care about the result of their photos and know how to make children smile.

Perhaps my kindly asking them to smile happily before hand makes a difference.

Perhaps the difference in our family photos just shows a reflection of the differences in our two homes.

Perhaps to Jane it doesn’t really matter and it’s more of a formality then a family keepsake.

There’s plenty more but I just was completely confuddled at the complete turn around in the comparison of the two photos. The most recent photos we had were just a day apart too. Jane had the boys take photos the day before we were taking our family photos. It’s just striking to me how different the boys look … even the smiling Older Boy lacks some of the glowing luster that he has in our family photo.

Or maybe it’s just the lighting of the studio and the fact that I put thought into the colors and clothes that the boys are wearing and Jane doesn't.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fighting For Younger Boy

I was hoping now that Younger Boy is 5, and older, and in kindergarten that perhaps Jane would give him more credit and want to include him more. However, I got myself in a little tizzy, which I was able to calm down from but it still pisses me off.

Jane informed us that they’ll be going down to a wedding at Disneyland and wanted to invite one of the boys. I suggested that FH have Younger Boy go because 1)He’s the best at handling long car trips and 2)He’s young enough to really enjoy Disneyland still. Jane’s son is going to be 3 this year so I assume they’ll be going on the age appropriate rides in Fantasyland. Older Boy is (and has expressed from past trips) that is just far too old to go on those rides, and Middle Boy is on the brink of wanting to go on the older kid rides and that the Fantasyland rides are for babies.

Back to the story … Jane shot down the idea of Younger Boy going because “She already has to deal with her son she doesn't want to have to deal with Younger Boy too.”

I've been trying to fight for Younger Boy since the first time that she intentionally voiced a request that left him out. I know that at this point I’m more of his mother than she is, but in his eyes she is his “Mommy” and he gets excited about going to her house still.

However, I’m going to assume that perhaps this is one fight not worth going after. We’re most likely going to send Middle Boy down with her and then treat Older Boy and Younger Boy to a special weekend out at one of the theme parks out here so that no one is left out on the fun.

It still, however, makes me so frustrated that she’s seems to have this stigma against including Younger Boy in her life. Perhaps it’s because she didn't raise him and doesn’t feel that connection to him that she does to the older boys? Who knows how her mind works, because we all know it’s not hardwired that great in the first place. I just tend to find myself thinking that out of all three of them he gets the raw deal the most.

I tend to bring him along with me on a lot of outings. And before he started preschool he was the one who got to go on a few trips with me because it was easier to bring him along then to find someone who could watch him while the others were at school. I can really only do so much to help him out emotionally, but I hope that by the time he’s a teenager it will have made a positive impact on him.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Do You Deal With a Concern

There is one concern that I have when the boys go to stay at Jane’s overnight. There isn’t anything I can really do about it, and I try not to think about it so that I’m not sick with worry, but I feel it is a legitimate concern.

OK, technically there is more than one concern for when they stay at her place overnight but this one is a big one.

It’s the car that they have. More specifically, the lack of safe seating in the car they have. Legally and safely the car she has fits 5. More specifically, it safely fits two car seats in the back and a boy in the middle and two people up front.

When they’re over there, and the whole family goes out there are two boosters, one infant seat, one child that can sit without a car seat and two adults. Are you seeing my concern here?

When I moved in with FH and the boys I inherited his mini-van. As much as I dislike and love to hate on the mini-van I am thankful for it. It fits all of us safely in a seat of our own.

Middle Boy is technically not heavy enough to not use a booster according to California Car Seat Law, but he’s really close to being at that weight. So if it has ever been a situation where someone had to be out of a booster it’s usually him. However, even if that were the case, I just don’t understand how you can fit six people in a car that is supposed to sit 5 … especially when one of them is an infant.

I know in hard times you can’t just go out and get a new car to accommodate a bigger family, but it truly bothers me that the boys’ safety is somewhere being put at risk.

I guess my question is, does anyone have experience in how to deal with a concern like this. Is “Just not thinking about it” the one way to go about it? Or what sort of things do you do to help yourself not think about such a concern when the kids are at risk?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Just Don’t Give a Darn

Twenty Eleven is already different. I don’t know what caused it or what specific action caused me to change my perspective of Jane. But so far into 2011 I just don’t give a darn about her anymore.

I realized it last month. First she called off sick. Then some other reason came up. It was about 2 to 3 weeks that she didn't see the boys. FH was rather flustered that she wasn’t calling back and that’s when I realized I didn't care about her anymore. I told him to just let her call him back. When she wanted to see her children she’d call back. There was no use in us getting all upset because she’s a crappy mom.

I believe after a week passed by he did call her back and amazingly she called him back. However, she canceled called in sick again right before FH and the boys were about to drive out to her last week. Luckily they hadn't left yet. Instead of getting furious like I normally did I found myself shrugging it off thinking "oh well, her loss."

We still try to set aside the one day of the week that she hopefully will be seeing them, but my anger toward her incompetence as a responsible, caring mother has lessened to where it’s only going to spark if she has physically harmed them. I can’t imagine what sort of emotional harm she’s done, but my job is to make sure that we’re loving and supportive of them in our home. And to make sure that no matter what she does we’re consistent and provide a good stable, loving home for them.

It also could be that FH is suspicious that she is pregnant again. The man has seen her pregnant four times now … I wouldn't put it past her either now that I gave birth to the daughter she’s always wanted. In which if it turns out she is I’m absolutely disgusted with her, but if I continue to distance myself from her then my personal well being won’t be disrupted with her sad choice making.

My family and home come first before I stick my neck out to worry about her feelings anymore. In the past 2 ½ years her actions have shown me that she’s in it for herself, and not for the boys. Older Boy and Young Boy’s actions toward her are already indicators that she’s continuing to dig her own hole.