Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What would you do?

If you had reason to think (via blog stat tracking info) someone you considered a trusted friend (specifically a friend on Facebook) told your ex to read a blog post written by your significant other that (albeit rightly) refers to the ex as a douchebag (though it wasn't the subject of the post), would you "unfriend" said person(s) on Facebook right away or ask them whether they said anything first? Though I don't care if he reads the post, it feels like a betrayal to tell him to read it without even talking to me, so if they did, I would remove them from my Facebook friends. Do I trust them to answer me honestly if I ask?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Topic-less...

In an attempt to cover a wide-range of topics without the effort required to write several posts, I give you the bullet list:

  • No dishwasher in house with three adults who eat most meals at home, two 5 year-olds who don't understand how to reuse a cup for water, and a baby who plays a game of taking dishes from the cabinets to the floor a few times a day = Need. New. Dishwasher. STAT!

  • Cagey's Boobie Beatdown post got me to read the two women's posts in discussion and to really think about the issue up for discussion...cross-nursing. Since I'm not a victim of Twitter (still holding out, though I believe it may be to blame for not winning that mini vibrator), I didn't get all the stories, but I read the main two in question, and I think the Daily Blonde was a bit short-sighted on her take of the situation and her decision to post her opinion. If she really wanted to leave names out of it, then she should have generalized the topic more than just not publishing the women's names. It could have been a thoughtful, hypothetical post on the topic but did seem very judgmental and personal-attack-like instead. I can fully appreciate some women not being comfortable nursing another woman's baby and even more so not allowing another woman to nurse her own baby, but the idea of this should not be gross or icky or shameful for any women who are comfortable with cross-nursing. The comment on Her Bad Mother's post by Jenny, the Bloggess is priceless and pretty much sums up my thoughts...milk from another human? Can't see how we're frowning on that practice and not being more critical of other nutrition sources.

  • My littlest baby celebrated the exciting 1 year milestone last Thursday. We went to one of those paint-your-piece-and-we-fire-and-glaze-it pottery places to celebrate. I think everyone had fun; we had cupcakes and an Oreo ice cream cake to place us all in a deep sugar coma for the remainder of the evening. We'll see how talented we all are later in the week.

  • My Flickr Pro account is expired, and I'm not sure I want to renew. I love Flickr, but I'm not really sure I need to be paying for online photo storage/sharing. There are free options out there that don't have the limitations of Flickr's free account, and I feel like I've got better ways to spend my money.

  • Speaking of photos...since I'm not unlimited with Flickr any more, I am going to try to be better with posting pictures on Facebook. If you're a regular reader here or a blogger I read and want to be Facebook friends to get all the picture goodness (and other frivolous updates), let me know via email.

  • The situation with IFKAMH is still infuriating and frustrating and stressful. I have an appointment with a counselor later this week to hopefully bring me back to a more peaceful state, either peaceful in that I'm over-reacting and can relax and stop worrying that he's ruining my children or peaceful in that I'm on the right track and can feel confident in my decision to take whatever steps are necessary to make changes.

  • I need to come to terms with the fact that Private Practice is just not a show for me to watch. It often hurts too much to watch that show, and last week's episode really hit too close to home. I remember seeing that lifeless baby on an ultrasound and feeling that same disbelief, making that same claim that my baby was moving. A fictional television show shouldn't leave me feeling so sad; I cry enough over real life...I'm not watching TV for a good cry.

That's enough for now. I've got more, but not more time. Thanks for the support and understanding...always;>

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Free toy - adults only...

Miss Britt had this super brilliant idea to start a review blog. But, it's not a "mommy" review blog. Well, it sort of is, but not like the ones we're used to reading, the ones that review "mom with infant/toddler" products and don't ever get around to reviewing stuff that the mommy might want that has absolutely nothing to do with her kids...except that maybe the kids have made the desire or need for the product more prominent.

To get things off with a bang, she's persuaded the PR folks (aka, Drew) at Eden Fantasys to give away one of their most expensive vibrators.

And, I'm only telling y'all about this because it earns me another chance to win. Otherwise, I'd hope you never know about it, so the drawing pool wouldn't increase in size, rendering my chances to win lower. I've even pondered joining the Twitter masses to up my chances even more. I'm not quite there yet, but if that doesn't prove how much I want to know what makes a mini vibrator worth that price tag, convincing you to refrain from entering this contest for yourself (I promise to report back), then I don't know what could.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I tried, but I don't think it's working...

I know I've seemingly dropped off the face of the blogging planet. I've had some unfortunate luck with my laptops. Long stories short, I am without my personal and work laptops and have been for weeks. I have a currently non-functioning loaner laptop for work and an appointment with the repair tech tomorrow for the other one as well as a new power supply en route for mine. Hopefully, something starts working again soon.

Since I last posted, IFKAMH and I had our court hearing, which went basically as my lawyer said it would. The judge didn't throw the whole thing out but went with the suggested plan I submitted, allowing him one overnight visit per month with the boys for three months and then three months of two-night overnight visits at which point it is expected we will have reached an agreement for implementing a plan suitable for the boys as they enter school in the fall.

I was okay with this, really and truly was. Until it actually happened. The boys had their first overnight visit with him and his mom last month, the night before the hearing. While they seemed in good spirits when they were dropped off the morning of the hearing, they whined about having to go to school (a reason I said they shouldn't miss school for his visits even if it isn't "real" school...but, what do I know, right?), and when I took them to school, M clung to my leg and didn't want me to leave. He was nearly in tears as I convinced him to sit down and draw me a picture for when I came back in a few hours.

I'm going to offer some minimal background info since I haven't really blogged this drama as it's unfolded in the past year or so. When IFKAMH and his mom came to Virginia for the first visit with the boys, I met with them the night they arrived, before they saw the boys, to cover some "ground rules", for lack of a better term. I just wanted us to be on the same page, for them to understand my point of view and how much thought I'd given this situation, and I was pleasantly surprised by their reactions. Part of the ground rules was that we would introduce him to the boys by name since they have bonded with NS as a father-figure and no longer remember him as a father or as a part of their lives. He did not offer any other suggestion nor did he refute my reasoning.

We ended up going to mediation the following February at his insistence. The majority of the four hours we spent with this mediator focused on him wanting the boys to call him dad. We eventually "compromised" and said, in writing, we'd refer to him as father around the boys. Not that the boys are required to call him this, mind you, just that we are to refer to him as father. I have tried for more than a year to follow this, but I will not force the boys to call him anything, and they have continued to refer to him by name.

He (and his mother) have repeatedly ignored this aspect of the mediation agreement.

As they dropped the boys off at the conclusion of that January visit, they were referring to IFKAMH as dad. The boys didn't say anything about it, so I didn't ask them anything about it. The only response I got from IFKAMH when I expressed my concern (via email later that night since I don't think the boys should be exposed to our "discussions" about parenting or custody...a point he can't seem to get through his bull-headed skull) about how confusing this is likely to be for the boys was that he never had to agree to be called anything other than dad. While he may not have had to agree to be called father instead of dad, he did and should honor this. I still don't think he should be called anything other than his name since the boys do not have that type of relationship with him. I don't honestly care what they call him, but until they are old enough to understand how he is related to them and decide if they prefer to call him dad or father or pop or what-the-fuck-ever, then I think it should be a non-issue. If we're talking about best interests of the children, as we should be, his not being called dad or father or whatever he wants doesn't harm them and actually makes things less confusing for them at their age. If they don't care to know who he is in relation to them, then it's difficult to try to explain. And, without an explanation, I think calling him something they've called NS since before they have memories is one of the worst ideas I've ever heard.

My initial cause for upset was about what explanation he gave the boys for being called dad that he didn't clue me in on. I found out that wasn't the reason I should be concerned.

So, when the February visit this past Monday was about to begin, as I was driving the boys home from school, my heart broke as M confessed that IFKMAH had said they should call him dad. This conversation went on for most of the drive home, approximately 10 minutes. I asked them if he'd said why they should call him dad. They, both of them, said no. I asked if they wanted to know why. They didn't. I got more and more disturbed as this went on. I told them they could call him dad if they wanted to and felt comfortable with it but they didn't need to call him dad. This was countered by J, stating IFKAMH told them they had to call him dad. And, then it was M, saying he tried to call him dad but didn't always remember to. I told them to try not to worry about it and just call him IFKAMH (his name, not Idiot, I hope is obvious), father, or dad, whichever they were most comfortable saying. I tried to assure them they would not be in trouble for this and if they ever had any questions or wanted to know why he would suggest they call him dad that they could ask me, and I would answer them. They said they would try to do better this time about remembering to call him dad. I was so sad they had been made to feel so concerned about this.

It sounded as though they are constantly being corrected if they don't call him dad. And, while they may not be telling me the whole truth (maybe he did explain why they "should"), they are obviously telling me what they perceive to be the truth. And, it's a fucking awful, selfish thing to put a child through. Why the hell should they be so worried about this, about what he wants to be called?!? They shouldn't be bothered by that at all. Since he lives in his own version of reality, I presume he believes it's fine because the boys must magically remember him from their infancy and just know he is their father. In my version of reality, I think he's setting them up to be unreasonably submissive to adult males and leading them to believe it's acceptable to call any adult male in their lives dad, especially if told to do so. It is beyond idiocy now. Dad is a term of endearment that should come naturally to a child and should be reserved only for a man who genuinely cares about the child more than himself. No one forced the boys to call NS dad, and I am appalled at the thought of IFKAMH trying to force the children to call him dad when they are clearly not ready to do so naturally.

I have only grown more anxious about the boys' time with him and his mom since they returned from their visit. They were not as happy as they usually are, not as talkative about what they did, which may be because this is the first visit that didn't involve toy shopping, but I can't be sure. M was still actively trying to correct himself when he failed to call IFKAMH dad. J sat silently on the couch, playing with his Leapster. After talking with M, I tried to ask J if he'd had fun. It took me three tries, increasing the volume of my question each time, to get his attention and response, which was a "yes" that he shouted at me in an angry tone. That anger is not something I've ever experienced from him, and so I asked him if he was okay; I couldn't get him to say anything was wrong, and he returned to a relatively normal state about an hour later, so I had to let it go. I've started wondering if they actually enjoyed the visit or if they are saying they did because they think I expect them to.

The next morning, when I told them it was time to get ready for school, they said they weren't scared to go to school because it was still in Washington. They weren't afraid to be away from me when they're in Washington. Where the hell did that come from? I can only hope that it was some weird and random coincidence and not a result of an idiot and mother of an idiot suggesting they should go somewhere outside of Washington without me. They are definitely more intent on being in the same room with NS and me instead of spending countless hours playing in the basement family room with all their toys.

I don't know what to do or what I can do, but I'm seeking answers from a legal perspective and possibly from a family counselor as well in the next few weeks. I am trying not to ignore my mother's intuition and instinct this time since I am regretting more with each passing visit not going with my gut a couple years ago to take steps to keep him out of the boys' lives until they are much older.