Saturday, September 08, 2007

How to treat a bully

So, yesterday - as if the Hebrew School thing wasn't enough, X tells me that I should drop the kids off at his place in Sunnyside every other week. It's not fair, he says, his coming to me to pick them up. (Did I mention that he was the one who decided to move away?)

Usually, on the weekends he has the kids I go right to J's place in Manhattan - from my job (also in Manhattan). So, my doing that would mean schlepping back home, schlepping to Sunnyside... then back....

J was like: No. No way. You're not doing it... He doesn't abide by the rules, you don't. But how can I? I don't bring the kids, he doesn't come? Who suffers? Then he tells the kids "Mommy won't bring you... so I can't see you." I don't want to get into that. He only cares about himself - so he doesn't worry. I, on the other hand, have a bit more on my mind.

BUT - in saying that - I can't let him go blithely around doing whatever he wants. We have an agreement. We have certain standards of behavior.

He calls me up yesterday, yelling: "Max is going to Hebrew School on Tuesdays, too! That's crazy! I didn't agree to that! You never told me!" I told him exactly where and when I told him (because I remember him comparing it to a Muslim extremist Madras...) and then hung up on him.

J says to me: "You know, you don't have to tell him. It says in the agreement that he agrees to it. That he agrees to verbally support it. That's it. You don't have to ask him every time." AND he went on to say "Why do you even ask him when you do other things? Why include him?"

I made some sort of comment about co-parenting... and it being only right that he's included & J just looked at me. "Do you think X is a co-parent? Does he do anything besides play with the kids every other weekend & then can't wait to get them back to you Sundays? You do it all. You're the parent. He's only involved when there's money & even then he doesn't want to..."

And he's right. I'm still clinging to this image/idea of how we said it would be when we spilt. How he says he wants it to be. But he can't. He can only think about himself. He may talk to the talk, but he sure as shit doesn't walk the walk.

J's like - he's a bully. Just ignore him. Do what you want... And maybe he's right. And maybe I'll try... but I can't help but feel that two wrongs don't make a right, you know? And how can I expect certain behavior from him if I don't do it myself? And how can there be any standards?

I've left a message for a lawyer. We'll see what happens with that. Meanwhile I have to get through the rest of this month... Nathan's meds, Nathan's blood test, new sitter, new teachers, more homework, back to school clothes, shoes, haircuts, tennis lessons, play dates, kids who don't want to go to school, etc, etc, etc.

Is it Christmas break yet?

Friday, September 07, 2007

I've been outted!

Ok, just finished a nice, good cry. I don't know... been feeling much more overwhelmed lately...

Losing my sitter was big. This sitter did everything. All the details that I forgot. All the little dots on top of the i's? She did it. Left something on the floor? She'd pick it up. Something in the sink? She's wash it. Linen closet looking really messy? She organizes it. So ok, I was a little spoiled... but it's not like I asked her to do this? Or hired her to do it? She just did. And I gratefully accepted.

But now. She's gone. And I have to do all these things... things I was never especially good at doing, anyhow. I mean - making the bed?!?! Why? You just get back into it! Why put that toy away - they're just going to take it out again! Honestly, I like a nice clean place with made beds... but to get my busy/lazy/busy self to do it is another thing.

So now I have this new sitter & all of a sudden.... Oh. I have to have dinners for the kids, don't I? I never did it before, since the sitter just morphed with me from babyfood, to finger food, to whatever they happen to eat... And I'm not a cook. I like to. Sometimes. But for little people who don't really eat...? Max will, finally, eat mostly anything. Nathan... welll Nathan lives on air. His diet consists of yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, cream cheese and if I'm lucky sometimes some pizza or chicken nuggets/french fries.

So in showing the new sitter what they eat, it's basically: here's the freezer. Open it up, pick something out, stick it in the microwave & give it to 'em. Ummmmm..... errrrr..... no. I guess I don't really cook.

So I'm feeling a little less than adequate in the parenting department. And in thinking about that, I realized that that is probably one reason why I like to read parenting blogs. I like to see where other parents fall short. So I don't feel so alone. Don't feel like I have to always be perfect. I don't know so many moms... so it's so great when I read a blog and somebody says: "Gave my kids nuggets again for dinner!" Hooray!

And also - Nathan has to go on synthroid for about a month. His thyroid tested low. (He's small and is being followed by pediatric endocrinologist.) Then, at the end of the month has to go for a four freaking hour blood test. FOUR HOURS! He has to fast before, then I bring him in & he has to sit. With a catheter in his arm. For FOUR HOURS. They have a video machine there...but. So I'm freaked out that I'm giving my son this weird medicine... and how upset he's going to be going through this...

AND, this morning he was crying, crying, crying. Did not want to go into school. "It's so big! It's so long! I want to be with you!" Ugh. I know, I know... he'll be ok. But. Ugh. And then figuring out this do I walk them to school, put them on the bus? Pick them up from school? Have them take the bus?!?

It's the little shit. But it's really starting to feel to me that it's all the little shit that's really the tough stuff.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And on to other things...

Can I just say how much I love my "Internet friends"? Can I? You guys are great (esp the face punching part!)

I contacted the mediator who says she does not feel comfortable recommending an attorney. So, I called a woman I work with - an elder law attorney I recommend to many of my clients & she's going to call a few friends to see if they know anybody.. at least somebody for me to talk to. She will also tell them of my income restrictions - since she knows I'm an underpaid social worker! Soooo... we'll see what happens.

And oh. X is surprised I'm pushing for this... since I apparently value family so much... why would I keep the boys from him. Then the next sentence he says his girlfriend wants to move to Brooklyn to get a two bedroom (so the boys will have their own room.) Brooklyn. No car. So I just asked X: "Why is it when we first split you said you would live nearby? See the boys often? Help with homework? And now you're moving to Brooklyn? What about Little League on Saturday mornings? That's quite a subway ride..." He hasn't answered. Putz.

BUT!!! NEW BABYSITTER!!!! AMAZING!!! This girl is absolutely great. She just started her junior year in HS & while I was worried about her youth -- it's really turning into a benefit.

She plays with the boys, asks them questions, makes everything a teaching opportunity. Yesterday Max did NOT want to do his homework book report. He was overwhelmed from the day & just kept saying "I can't do it." We got into this whole power thing & nothing was happening. I left the room, then hear him laughing. She is sitting with him & within a half hour the report was written!! No joke!!

I called up a friend and said that I feel like a burned out old hag. All I can do is yell, try to convince, bribe or threaten. I feel like I've forgotten everything else. Sitting. Laughing. Thinking outside the box....

She was like "Well, that's why you hire somebody else!" But still. I don't know... it's just kinda depressing that you get to the point with so much on your mind, so many stresses... that you lose that part. Or, I shouldn't generalize it -- that *I* have lost that part. At least I feel like I have.

This morning both kids went to school at the same time. It swelled my heart to see Max take Nathan's hand and talk to him about school. Then when they were going in, he put his arm around his shoulder. He introduced him to people. He said "Don't worry, Nathan - I'll show you where to go." I left feeling very secure. His brother will be there to look after him.

OK. So maybe I'm a burnt out old hag, but I guess I'm doing some things right...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

F**kin, F**k, F**k, F**k, F**K!!!!

So yeah. I'm a little.... how should I say it...? Irate? Frustrated? F**kin' pissed off? YEAH! That's it!

Those of you who know me back from the other blog know that a lot (a LOT) of it is the chronicle of my frustrations with X. Dealing with him missing his days with the kids, dealing with him not wanting to contribute to things for them, dealing with working out our divorce agreement, going to mediation, writing and re-writing that damn agreement until we both came up with something agreeable...dealing with his jabs, dealing with his crap, just dealing.

But, we worked it out. We hashed out an agreement & now we're divorced. And actually, things have been pretty calm. Pretty normal. But... this is X. I should have known it wouldn't last for long.

I sent him an email to let him know about stuff coming up for September: I'm having the kids two weekends in a row because of the Jewish High Holy Days, Max is signing up for tennis lessons, and his first day of Hebrew School is this Sunday.

X emails back: "I'm sorry but I can't do Hebrew school any more. It encroaches on my special time with the boys. I like going out with them-- doing different things, museums, playing at the park, dogs, etc. I am not going to do it anymore. I have little time with them: I'm not going to kill one of my two days with them because of Hebrew school. "

So I say to him: 1) This is in the agreement. Father will transport to Hebrew School two out of the three times he has them (I gave in that one. I said I'd come in from Manhattan, go to Sunnyside, pick them up, bring to Forest Hills, bring back to Sunnyside... because it's important. Because it's what you do...) 2) If you want to see them, if you want to spend any more time with them - all you have to do is ask. Get off work early & want to take them to dinner? Be my guest. Want to have them an extra weekend every once in a while? Be my guest.

He says: "I will take them two out of every three weeks. Just not on Saturday or Sundays. And I'm glad to support Jewish education; hence, I'm not protesting them taking the two weeks for Yom Kippar or Rosha Shanna. I'm sorry but I refuse to give up my time with the children. It is easy for you since you have them 24 x 7. Not for me. "

Again I repeat that it is in the agreement. We talked about all this before. We hashed it out before. Spent money on a mediator, had it put in the agreement... he can't do this now!

He says: "I disagree. We discussed from a cost perspective.... Also, it is tough for me to see the boys beyond the weekends. I have a job that requires a lot of responsibility that pays your/boys' rent-- and I often stay at work until about 6 pm. So that is nonsense. I can't let you kill the precious time that I have with my sons. It is not good for me, nor them."

I point him to the exact section on our signed agreement.

He says: "I disagree. And I can't believe you would want to deny your children time with their father. In year's to come, the boy's will cherish the greater time they spent with their father... (their attitude to Hebrew school will be like you and your sister's...ho-hum) You are denying me of my fundamental right as a father. I won't stand by idly..."

So, I contact the mediator & she says that he is in violation of the agreement.

So? What do I do? Do I tell this poor, poor man who sometimes has to work 'til 6:00 pm & thus cannot take his kids out for dinner? Or see them an extra weekend? Or? Remember when he was eating down the street from them? And didn't want to see them because he was in "friends mode"? Do I tell him it's ok? It's in the agreement, but it's ok. They'll miss every other week of the Hebrew School that I paid for? On my own - because you won't contribute?

And I said to him - Ok - let's say you won't bring him -- but at least bring him to the first! This Sunday! It's important to go to the first class, so you learn what's going to happen, everybody is introduced... etc, etc.

He said no. So selfish.

I'm just so, fucking, fucking pissed off. I mean, I don't want to get a lawyer. It seems so silly - for just this. But I hate that he gets away with this!! I mean, what is the sense of an agreement then?!?

And I know plenty plenty of families where the parents do not agree about religious education - but then present a united front to the kids. Because that's what you do. And even if you're divorced, in theory - and according to what X says he believes - that is what you do.

So, I have to decide if I'm really going to fight this...and if fighting it means going to court? And does that mean involving the kids? Or swallow my anger and just let it go. Max will miss every other Sunday. I"ll take him Tuesdays and the other Sundays. I'm not going to involve the kids. i won't.

Guess I'll end up sucking it up. But man, sometimes I just want to put a hit out on that guy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

They're gone

And? Funnily enough - I miss the little buggers.

I mean, they are cute, sweet tempered, happy dogs... but just not for me right now. Too jumpy. Too hyper. Too many walks.

X came in to get them & Bill, the older one, would not go near him. He just kept barking and barking at him - in this deep bark.... It was so obvious: He was angry. "Why the hell did you leave me here! I had no idea if you were coming back for me or not! I was so scared! You didn't talk to me, you didn't prep me! Nothing!"

You think I'm sounding a bit carried away? I tell you - if you could have seen that interaction. And X was freaked out. Apparently Bill has NEVER acted like that with him before. Never.

Then, as he was walking with them down the hall... towards the elevator... they kept looking back at me.

Poor dogs.

Monday, September 03, 2007

What Nathan Said Tonight:

"Mom, I'm really nervous about school. Will it be hard? Will the teacher be nice? Will she show me what to do? I hope I get a Black teacher. Will the principal be nice?"

Wait a minute! Whoa there! Hang on a second! What?? Black teacher? What??

"I don't want a White one. I want a Black one."

But, but....?!? Why? You had an Asian teacher last year? A White one the year before? It doesn't matter what color a teacher is!!!

"Yes, but that was when I was a baby. I want a Black one."

I have no idea. Maybe it's something to do with his sitter for the past four years, who he was absolutely attached to - (who he is pining after) who is from St. Vincent?

But heck, man ... the things that come from their mouths.... you can't make this stuff up.

And I know. I have to write about the Weekend Of The Dogs. (They're still here. X supposed to pick them up around 11 tonight. J telling me I"m crazy that he won't pick them up. Me telling J that if X does not pick them up tonight X will no longer have a life worth living.)

You know... they are very good dogs. Very smart. Very sweet. Great with kids (and you should see what my kids have been doing to them!) but... they are TWO PUPPIES! What?!?! Was I crazy?!?!? (And to answer the question as to "Why I did this...?" I did it - for the kids who love them, for me who loves dogs [no longer!], and for the concept.... all of us here...w/the dogs... won't it be fun? What a fun adventure! Next time - remind me about this.)

They jumped over the gate (had them gated in the kitchen when we went out. X said they do this all the time. He didn't tell me they could jump the gate. Max told me later "Oh, they do that all the time." They chewed a hole into new comforter. Pulled out stuffing. (And Hooray! X will give me money for new one!! I liked the comforter/bedding set - bday/chanukah present from my parents -- but it had to be DRY CLEANED each time it got dirty. Who gets a dry clean only comforter for a parent w/two young kids?!? So, now I can get a new one! (Insert smug grin.)

And, the absolute best part was waking every morning to a kitchen filled with pooh and pee... because being walked three times a day was not enough for these little crap machines...

Bah! I'll post photos and write about some of the good stuff too. Promise.