She was Max's sitter from when he was about 6 months - when I first went back to work - 'til he was about 18 months or so (when Nathan was born). She was my Uncle's girlfriend, and a social worker - so I had a pretty high level of trust in her, and that made it easier to leave my first born for the first time.
BUT - I didn't like leaving him, she kept saying .... welllll.... kinda strange stuff - like how she would like to rub the lotion on him... how it was sensual... and how she brought him to Sears for his first portraits (ones with her!) when I had been planning to do it... letting him jump on the couch when he was just learning to walk and was so unsteady on his feet.... stuff like that. Not MAJOR alert the authorities stuff... but - well - things that make you go "huh?" (I should mention that she has bi-polar... which I'm not sreally sure how much it figures into it or not. I figured it's controlled with medication... so it's fine... but I think her ssense of boundaries and impulse control are probably not the best.)
THen, through the years she has helped me out - but even though she said she "loved" both boys, really favored Max, would buy them (not age appropriate) presents, and if I would say "this isn't appropriate" would say to them: "You Mom says no."
I'd call her up: "Please - no more toys." "Please - no more candy." "No, you may not take Max down to the subway platform to watch the trains." "Please, please, please stop buying them things!" She gave the kids no boundaries, no guidlines - and when I questioned her on this she said "that comes from you - not me, I'm here for fun." And so, so so many things that I would hear that made me question her judgement. And I always, always, always felt ....well... just kinda uncomfortable. Like Max was everything to her. Her world. She'd tell me how she thought about him on her vacation, how all her friends know about him.... and just leave me feeling ever more uncomfortable.
So, in June some time I get a call from the kids regular sitter: "Amy, ES was supposed to pick up Max from the bus, but I see him here with somebody else." I call ES "Yes, I made a mistake. I was late on the subway, panicked & called this woman!" (The woman, incidentally, would NEVER be somebody I would leave my children with.)
When I called ES to talk about it, she wouldn't talk - then left a message asking why I'm not nice to her, that she doesn't deserve it, etc, etc. And she's right. I've been keeping this anger at her in for such a long time. So many times I've wanted to end this - but feel sorry for her, or the Greek Chorus saying "YOu're going through a divorce, Max needs as much support as he can get..." So, against my gut I let her continue seeing him/them.
I called her back & said she was right. No more. It's not healthy for any of us. I become a mean, cold person to her - which is not fair and it's not appropriate for Max. (Jeez, I"m sorry - this is getting so long!) She sends me this letter, saying Max is a "Prince" and she will always remember their time together.
SO - this past Saturday I get a voicemail - she hopes I won't be so cruel as to keep them apart, and how she won't be able to live without him/them, and she can't believe that I really think that she is such, such a horrible person...
Can anybody say "emotional blackmail?"
I haven't called her back yet - because I have about 25 million other things swimming around in my mind... but I'm going to have to. I can either cut her off entirely, or have tightly supervised visits. THese visits would have to be with me, which would throw us right back on that treadmill again...