Monday, July 20, 2009

A 12 year old on a detox diet...

I know not all BMs are thoughtless and evil. However, this certain case causes me a great deal of concern.

Today, the girl told the love of my life that she is doing the Lemonade Detox Diet. Um....she's 12. You should not be already filling her head with ideas or putting her in situations that can later turn into a full blown eating disorder. Does anyone really think it's appropriate for a 12 year old to be on some kind of Hollywood diet? I really hope everyone's answer is no... the problem is that her own mother seems to think it's a good idea. Is the girl a little overweight...yes, but most of that is normal hormonal changes going on in her body right now. Could she stand to eat a little less bad food and get more exercise? Yes. Who couldn't. It seems like a pretty drastic measure from a pretty ignorant woman to do this to their own daughter.

From growing up with many friends that have had and still have eating disorders I don't exactly have the warm and fuzzy about this whole situation. On the other side of town what can the love of my life and I do? He tried talking to the BM. All she basically said was, "I'm a good mom, mind your own business." Mind your own business? Is that what the dad is supposed to do just because he doesn't have full custody? Should he still not be involved in medical issues surrounding his kids? Let me also point out that the girl is on other medication right now, and I doubt that having her starve herself is going to help with taking those pills.

This makes me think about society in general and when/how eating disorders happen. Does it happen during these most vital pre-teen years? My opinion would be yes. Do girls not have enough peer pressure to push them into drastic measures for weight loss? Do they really need their own mothers to push this crazy shit on them? Honestly? It boggles my mind. Let me make it very clear...this BM is by no means the picture of health. She is not in shape, she smokes, she is not a healthy eater (but claims to be the expert on everything food related), and she looks seriously unhealthy. Taking advice from her would be like taking advice from a seriously overweight personal trainer. You just don't do it. How do we get across healthy eating habits to a 12 year old who only wants to listen to what her mom tells her? I don't want her growing up with all of these body issues or ending up with a full blown eating disorder.

I plan on having a private conversation with her about how she feels about her body, and giving her other ideas on how to be healthy and not always focused on weight alone. Hopefully she will be able to take a little bit of what she learns from us, and mix it in at home or push back on unhealthy weight loss ideas.

Wish me luck!

Week 3 of summer more to go!

What an interesting week indeed!

First we told the kids about our engagement and since that went over nice and smoothly we just moved right on to our normal weekly activities.

One night this week, the boy had his extracurricular activity (yes, the one where he keeps failing his tests). So, he was retaking the test for the 3rd time. “PLEASE pass this test…PLEASE” I kept telling him. We really did not need to continue his grounding further, especially since the last and final week of our summer is going to be a nice “family” vacation. No time for grounding. Well, the love of my life gives the girl an option to go with him and very briefly stop by her mom’s work to pick up something and then wait for her brother or go with me to run some errands and see a friend and have dinner. She decides that she would rather go with me knowing that she won’t see her mother. Well, at some point the BM finds out that she isn’t coming to see her and starts asking a bunch of questions. Here is what happened next:

The girl: "you still have to go to the store right?"
Me: "yes, I have to get a few things there, and a gift for the baby. Why? Do you need something from there?"
The girl: "um, can we go to the store on the other side of town?"
Me: “Why? Is there something specific you saw there that you wanted to get? I'm sure we can get it over here"
The girl: "no...that's by my mom's work"
Me: "ooookkk, we're not going up there, we have plans and if you wanted to see your mom you could have gone with your dad"
The girl: "I know, but he said I couldn't hang out with her."
Me: “ Isn't she working? Do you really think the 3 of us are going to hang out?"
The girl: " could drop me off and then do your shopping and then come get me"

At this point I start laughing my ass off.

Me: "that's a good one honey, but we aren't going up there. Not only do we not have time, but I'm not driving you to see your mom when you just got here and there is no emergency"
The girl: "but wouldn't you see your mom if you had the chance?"
Me: "um, you had a chance with your don't have a chance with me"

Seriously? I get that you now feel like you should have gone to see your mom to spare her feelings (I’m sure the BM was not happy that her daughter decided to hang with me than to see her for 2 seconds), but come on. On the other side of town. Hell no, this is not happening. I make it known that it is a ridiculous idea and that it isn’t going to happen. I figure I’ve put this issue to rest.

We go to my friend’s house, have a nice evening, and go to leave around 8pm. The love of my life and the boy won’t be back until about 9pm. In the car…she asks AGAIN!

The girl: “can we go now?”
Me: “go where?”
The girl: “to see my mom?”
Me: “no, it’s still the same distance as it was earlier and we aren’t going”
The girl: looking at me like I’m the devil

Later, when the love of my life and the boy get home, the first thing the boy says is, “nice job girl, you lied to mom and then she asked me where you were”

Turns out that she told her mom some tall tale about how dad wouldn’t let her see mom, and so she HAD to go with me. Later when we look at her cell phone we see the texts back and forth with her and mom.

The girl: "mom, don't forget my stuff. talk to you tonight when you get off of work"
BM: "aren't you coming with your dad?"
The girl: "sadly, no"
BM: "why not?"
The girl: "well, dad said I could only run in and get my stuff and say hi and not hang out"
BM: "well, you could at least say hi"
The girl: "is there a store by your work?"
BM, "yes, why?"
The girl: "I have an idea"
BM: "ok, hope to see you"
The girl: "me too"

Ok, rule number one…don’t try to play me. You will always lose. Especially if you are a kid. Rule number two…don’t try to lie about what is really going on, and then continue to lie about to anyone you think will listen. We all know it's a lie already...give it up.

The boy was getting all kinds of questions from the BM about the wedding and the ring. He tells her, “it’s got a bunch of small ones and then one huge one that’s like BAM…in your face big”. Gotta love him! Of course she wants to know what’s going on because she’s trying to add up how much money she thinks she should be getting instead of her ex having some. She wasn’t saying a word to the love of my life about any of it though. At the end of the week, we quickly found out why. Apparently the BM has had her boyfriend of 4 months move in with them. She’s going to work part-time and go back to school. Uh huh…yeah…for a 3rd degree that won’t even get used. That’s nice that you have 3 incomes coming into your house, but you can’t buy the kids any clothes or take them to the doctor when they really need it. I’m sure this new guy will either get baby trapped shortly or he’ll realize the kind of money grubbing woman he’s dealing with and bail. I’m sure that right now though he thinks he’s hit the goldmine with all the money she’s getting, and all he has to do is help pay some bills and watch her kids. I guess whatever it takes for her to do the least amount of work to get money, and have men pay for her. I think there is another word for what she does, but I know you all know where I’m going with that so I don’t need to say it.

The rest of the week was pretty normal and uneventful. We watched some movies, went out, and had a fun family night out on Friday where the boy met a girl. He’s so excited that he now wants to go back and see her again this coming weekend. Ah, to be 13 again…

Before they left I did have a total meltdown about the house not being clean enough, which wasn’t all that big of a deal aside from the fact that I was still pissed about the money grubbing BM so I was already more irritated than usual. In the end all was made up and the house got cleaned. The kids finally went home and we spent the rest of the weekend registering for our wedding and playing Guitar Hero…yes…Guitar Hero! That game rocks!

Until next time…when I tell you all about how our first “family” vacation goes while staying with my family! Thank god they love to drink wine (my family…not the kids)!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Reaction!

I spent the day at the spa enjoying my engagement and preparing for our announcement to the kids. When I got home the love of my life tells me that he accidentally left pics of our trip out in the bedroom they stay in so the boy saw pictures of my ring. Doh! Weren’t we trying to tell them together in person? The boy asks him, “So…why is she taking pictures of a ring? Did she get a new ring?” Um yeah, she got a new ring alright. They didn’t continue the conversation, but when I arrived home about 30 minutes later, the first thing the boy says, “so, I see you got a new ring.” I’m like, “yeah, nice huh?” He’s like, “did you get that on your trip?” “Um yeah.” Finally we decide to just make the announcement and start the conversation.

The boy’s first reaction was, “I knew it! I knew it! I knew it was an engagement ring!” He proceeds to tell us how he knew it was coming and he’s totally cool with it because it’s not much different than things are now with us living together. Very true…smart kid!

The girl’s first reaction was to go back into the house and not really talk about it, but NO WAY…the love of my life wanted this out in the open. He has her come back outside to talk about it, and she finally says, “yeah, it’s kinda weird, but I’m not surprised”.

We talk for awhile at dinner about the wedding, when it will happen, and the love of my life tells them how he would like for them to stand up in the wedding also. He asks the boy to be his best man, and he is through the roof excited. “Can I plan a bachelor party? Can I drink? Do I get to make a speech?” Um, first of all…you are still a young teenager so you won’t be planning some kind of stripper bachelor party or drinking booze. Nice try though kid…I give you props for asking. He will get to give a speech and he’s so excited. I think he’s words are, “this is awesome…I get to be the best man!” The girl is excited because she gets to be in a wedding, loves dresses, and realizes now that she gets to help pick the wedding cake. A personal favorite food for her, and she is more than willing to lend a hand with that job.

Overall, the conversation and reaction are all WAY better than I imagined.

Then they call the BM to tell her. The girl spends very little time talking to her and says, “I told her you are getting married, but I don’t want to tell her too much and hurt her feelings.” Smart kid too, and this is great because the less the BM knows…the better. I know the BM is going to start adding things up in her head trying to figure out how much money we are spending on things, and how much she thinks she should be getting in more child support and alimony. Because all this BM cares about is money…and let’s be very clear that she gets more money per month than she deserves. The boy gets on the phone and very excitedly proceeds to tell the BM all about how awesome things are going to be, and how happy he is about being the best man. She then asks him, “so, did you say yes?” “well of course mom…it’s going to be awesome!” Points for us!

A very interesting night, but all in all we got very good reactions from them. No telling what’s to come…

Friday, July 10, 2009

When changes get made to the visitation schedule...

I'm not a very religious person, but someone told me a joke once..."How do you make God laugh?" The answer..."Plan ahead". I think this also rings true for any kind of family where kids are involved.

Anyone who knows me knows that I live by my calendar. I love to have things planned, and I try to make sure I have everything scheduled accordingly...
  • The weekends we have the love of my life's kids
  • Our summer schedule of when we have the kids
  • Their school events or other events that involve the kids
  • My work travel schedules
  • The love of my life's work travel schedules
  • Social events
  • Work events
  • Birthdays
  • Holidays
You get the picture. Before I plan anything, I have to consult the Outlook calendar to be sure it doesn't conflict with any of the previously mentioned things. Almost always it has to revolve around the scheduling of when we have the kids and when we don't have the kids.

As most stepmoms will tell you, having a schedule can prove to be a big waste of time. Just when you think you are getting the kids on a Friday night, you find out that one or both have other plans they would like to make. Usually the BM has a conflict in whether or not she can pick up or drop off the kids and when. This week was already going to be tricky because we have them for our 3rd week of 4 weeks of summer visitation (a total of 7 days). The girl was going to come a few days after the boy since she has a sleepover she wanted to attend, but now of course 12 hours before the boy is supposed to get picked up...he too has something he wants to do and not come until the next day. We were all ready to start telling the kids about the engagement, and as the time started to anxiety has been on high. Only to now have 2 more days to wait to tell them.

I should be 110% happy about this. I get 2 more nights alone with the love of my life before having the kids for a week straight. Not to mention that I will be gone the day (at the spa celebrating my engagement) they are now supposed to arrive (removing my irritation of the BM being late). This also helps that we will be able to tell the kids together at the same time now instead of one before the other. It seems like it all works out. However, it still bugs me a little. We spent yesterday making sure that we had the grocery shopping done in time for their arrival, and now next weekend we will have them longer than planned to make up for the lost time.

I look forward to when the kids are coming. It's the strangest relationship to me sometimes because we spend so much personal time together when they are there, but then when they are gone...I don't talk to them the entire time. As much as I get excited that they are coming...I also have to mentally prepare for their arrival. Because of the fact that we don't talk for generally 2 full weeks they bombard me the second we see each other. "We have to tell you this" "let me tell you that" "listen to me" "look at me" "talk to me" "let me follow you around like a puppy dog". I'm happy they are so excited to tell me things and show me things, but it can be overload at first when you've had a house full of silence for a few weeks. From the second they arrive they expect that you will be entertaining them 24x7 for the next however many days they are there. Going to bed early (10pm...which is NOT early for me given I have a day job) seems unacceptable to them. Best are their circus act. Preparing for them to arrive is like I'm preparing for a big family visit. What food do we have? Which nights am I going to make sure I have plans outside of the house so they have time alone with their dad (and time away for me)? Which nights will we commit to doing something particular with them? Because trust me...they will want to know exactly how the week is planned out the minute they walk in the door. In this respect...maybe they are like me. Always wanting to "have a plan". I can respect that. What drives me crazy is that everyone else can change the plan at a moments notice...and I'm the one who is just along for the ride. If the love of my life called the BM or the kids to tell them that plans had to be changed because of me...OMG...WW3 would bust out.

I just really want to tell the kids about the engagement. I'm ready. I'm more than ready. I'm nervous, excited, anxious, worried, scared...but most I just can't wait to see how it all plays out. Just a few more days...a few more!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We're Engaged!!!

I am so excited that he finally popped the question, and it is really official that we are getting married! He asked me during a romantic getaway, and of course I said yes! I have never loved someone like I love him, and I couldn't think of someone I'd rather spend my life with. He's loving, thoughtful, a great dad, someone I can always count on, treats me with love and respect, honest, outgoing, trusting, and most of all my best friend. So, he has a couple of kids and an ex-wife. I've met men with worse baggage...

The only thing I'm nervous about now is telling the kids the news...

This should come as no surprise to them considering that we have been talking about it for at least 7-8 months in order to get them used to the idea. We never wanted it to come as a shock to them, and generally a first reaction isn't going to be the best. It has taken time to warm them up to this idea. LOTS of time. At first it was an outright "NO, we don't want you ever getting married again". Not because it's me, but of course like so many other things...because I'm not their mom. However, over time they have warmed up to the idea and recently said, "we've thought about it, and it's really not going to be any different if you get married than it is now. We're ok with it." I have to point out though that they made sure we knew that they are not yet ok with the idea of their dad having more kids...with me. That will be the next challenge...

So, with that said, we are waiting to tell them in person when the love of my life has them for our 3rd summer week. We have our ideas of what kind of reaction we are going to get. From the boy..."yeah, ok, whatever". From the girl, "um...ok...I need to call mom".

This is the part I'm not looking forward to. The BM's reaction, and her communication to the kids about it. Will she change their feelings about it? Even though she most likely won't be shocked about it, she will have some kind of reaction that I mostly guess is not going to be positive. Cue the self-pity and poor me crap. Somehow she'll make our happy moment about her and how horrible things are for her, or better yet try to take him to court thinking he's got so much money because he bought me a ring.

I love this man with all my heart, and know that no marriage or life is perfect...but sometimes I wish there wasn't always some BM in the background ready to make judgements or try to dictate things. That's why I'm glad that we've been able to enjoy our engagement for a week in private before calling in the stepfamily circus :)

I'll blog again with the actual reactions soon...