Ss still has the same attitude today as he did last night. Dh
straightens him out. Then dh leaves to pick up my daughter.
I yell up at ss, "You doing homework?" cuz that's what he
was supposed to be doing. He replies yes. I
ask, "What is your homework?" He hems and haws and
exclaims he has a lot of homework.
I persist, and walk upstairs to find him taking out his homework to
work on it for first time. He claims that when I say, "You doing
your homework?" that means he's to start his homework.
He says he has 30 problems in math, and drama. He declines to tell me
what the drama assignment is and reluctantly admits it won't take
I said, "Why did you say you have a lot of homework?" He
exclaimed, "Because that's a lot of math!" I said, "What
number are you starting on?", got the answer, and told him I'd be
checking every 10 minutes to see how much he's accomplishing.
*shaking my head* I just remembered what ss complained about to
evaluator that was in her report, "My stepmother doesn't let me get
away with anything!"
Dh has been diagnosed with
diabetes. My 13yo daughter has the highest cholesterol in the family. We
switched to diet sodas only. I buy sugared canned sodas for the
teenagers lunches - a compromise.
Ss a couple of weeks ago threw
a fit that he should not have to have diet soda while at home. He
insisted that sweetner used in diet soda is dangerous. He demanded we
buy him sugared soda. He threw a tantrum over the issue. We stuck to our
guns, we're buying diet soda, he can drink water. He defiantly drank
I suspected it was another
attempt on the part of exwifefromhell to intrude. It smacked of an
incident from '99 when dh won custody. Bm and her mom tried to convince
that we were doing something terrible treating ss's allergies and colds
with sudafed. (Ss's mouth dropped open in amazement when the doctor
recommended the same treatment).
We received a letter from
exwifefromhell demanding 3 floating weekends. According to the court
order, she must ask for the floating weekend 30 days ahead of time. We
have 7 days from the postmark date on her letter to respond yes or no,
and supply her with alternate weekends. One of the weekends she was
demanding was 2 weeks later. Another was during the LA Robotics
Competition. One of the weekends was ok.
Dh had to be out of the house
when bm was picking up ss. Ss is supposed to have his stuff ready and
outside before bm is to arrive. Since nothing else has worked, he does
something else that I'm only now catching on.
When I ask him if he's packed
he says yes. When I give him advance notice that he has to have his
stuff downstairs in 10 min, he says he will. He very reasonably asked me
if he could bring it down later cuz he was late getting ready. I said
ok. I then waited and waited for him to come downstairs. Getting
suspicious I go upstairs. He's playing with the computer. He refuses to
come downstairs to be ready to leave. He demands that I sit downstairs
watching for his mother. We argue briefly, and I call his dad. Ss smiled
smugly thinking he would be winning this one. He always seems to think
his dad will think I'm being unreasonable. Suddenly while talking with
his dad ss got very cooperative. I didn't know that dh had told him
either you get downstairs or I'm taking back the Sun (some very cool
computer stuff dh had given ss).
Ss sat downstairs enraged at
me, badgering me over and over with WHY?WHY?WHY?. I ignored him. Dh came
home to pick up my daughter for robotics. To my surprise he sat down
firmly telling ss that I don't deserve to be put in the middle, that ss
is responsible for being downstairs ready to go and to answer the door.
Dh firmly lectures ss at length and ss relented. Ss had to return 2xs
upstairs for things he'd realized he'd legitimately forgotten.
One of the reasons we want him
ready to go was bm liked to stand at our open front door demanding ss
get "something else" while she snooped.
Dh had taped the letter that
must reach bm by Mon regarding floating weekends on ss's suitcase handle
for his trip to his mom's this weekend. Ss had ripped it off and planted
it on the side of his suitcase, saying it would "bother" him
on the handle. I hadn't said anything. Dh noticed, confronted ss who
promised to hand the letter to his mom. Dh relented. Dh left.
Bm finally arrives. The letter
on the suitcase is facing me. Bm doesn't see it. Bm picks up the other
stuff and turns to leave. Ss picks up the suitcase, the letter flapping
in the wind. He doesn't notice. As I saw him turn to go down the balcony
stairs I called dh on the phone, "I don't think bm got the
letter" and I explained to dh. He asked me to look. Yep, there it
was on the stairs, luckily ss and bm were still across the street
packing the trunk. I yell, "You forgot the letter!" Ss,
confused, looks at me and holds up his maternal uncle's greeting card
saying, "No I didn't." I yelled, "Not that one!!!"
He realizes, retrieves the letter, and comes back in the house to get
the blue sweatshirt bm is insisting he must have.
When dh picked up ss
exwifefromhell furiously came out to yell at dh about his refusing her
the weekends. He kept repeating 30 days, our family had plans (robotics,
the exchange student arriving...) and eventually pointed out that he was
sick and tired of her exclaiming that she's being victimized by denial
of visitation because of all the years she didn't even put ss on the
plane when she had custody. She responded aghast that she never denied
him visitation unless ss was sick. *yeh, that's why she lost custody
summer '99* She doesn't seem to remember allowing perhaps 3xs a year
visitation for 5 years to dh when she had custody. She doesn't seem to
remember the judge angrily telling her off '96, and the judge himself
writing an ironclad visitation order. She didn't notice '99 how angry
the judge was at her, and how quickly he was willing to change custody
because of her behavior. The conversation finally ended with dh pointing
out that it was now 6:11pm and he was already supposed to have left with
ss according to the court order. (we always have him ready to go out the
door, she always leaves dh outside waiting when he's there to pick up ss).
Exwifefromhell angrily gave up and went in to her home.
Once ss was at our home he
threw another tantrum out of the blue - he MUST have the calculator back
from his stepsister. At the beginning of the school year 3 teenagers
needed graphic calculators. We bought the cheaper version for my 2
girls. It turned out to be too difficult for her to use. Ss already had
a particular calculator that was easier for stepsister to use. He could
use the one we'd bought stepsister - cuz he's the one who programs in 5
Dh said he could have it back
at the end of the year. Ss continued the tantrum, yelling he'd be taking
the calculator cuz he paid for it. Dh said fine, then I'll be taking
back all the computer stuff in your room that I bought.
Dh eventually went upstairs to
resolve things. Dh told him we'll buy him the more expensive version at
the end of the school year. Turned out exwifefromhell had instigated
this one too. Dh pointed out that his mom just wants dh and his son to
be fighting. Ss doesn't believe it.
While talking, dh pointed out,
"Why are you wearing the robotics tshirt? Your mom says you hate
robotics." Ss hemmed and hawed. He said finally that he's just sick
of being in the middle regarding arguments regarding robotics. Dh
pointed out, "If it wasn't robotics it would be something
else." Ss, we believe at his mother's insistence, is insisting with
dh again that he will NOT be participating in robotics next year.
Well, yes he will. Cuz this
year dh is now an advisor in robotics spending just as much time at
robotics as 16yo ss is. It's a 6 week intensive commitment. The TRW
engineer pointed out that ss, under dh's care, can become a most
important part of the robotics group thruout high school cuz he'll
understand all the parts of it, and be the only student understanding
and doing the programming part.
And my 17yo daughter is
involved. She doesn't have the technical mind, but she loves the
challenge and is willing to do anything. Cuz of her attitude, and other
leadership/negotiation qualities that have made an impact, she's being
strongly considered for president of robotics next year. Meantime, since
dh got involved, he's noticed the group also needs a taskmaster
coordinating and making sure new students, or current students, are
working and protecting themselves while working - and not playing. I'm
on call for that position.
There goes ss's long standing
continuing argument that robotics takes up too much of his time and he
can't possibly get his homework done, for instance. We're all involved.
His stepsister is having no problem juggling a part-time tutoring job,
robotics, full-time junior year school, a little volunteering at the
hospital and a boyfriend.
Of course she has parents who
support her activities, rather than a bm who wants to sabotage anything
good going on.
BTW, I've share before that we
insist the teens have 2 extracurricular activities - important for
college. At his counselor's suggestion, ss has always volunteered 3 hrs
a week at the school's ISP. Ss and bm have always tried to say that was
worthless and taking up too much time too.
A couple of weeks ago ss was
legitimately and sincerely crying in despair that others had been
promoted at the ISP, and he never would.
He was promoted a week ago.
He'll be getting paid to work at the ISP this summer. Suddenly he wants
to spend time at the ISP.
In so many ways exwifefromhell
is not anywhere near the problem she used to be. *shaking my head* It
seems to leave her with what she sees as no choice - she must find any
and every other way she can to intrude, no matter how small and
*rhetorical question* Why
doesn't bm and ss notice that we feel no need to intrude at her home?
I think ss and bm are taken
aback by the sure footing of dh. He's found his voice, found his
boundaries, picks himself up and apologizes to his son (or me) when he
needs to. He's nearly always calm, firm, excellent with words these
days. All these years I used to be the one behind the scenes finding the
words, the boundaries and confronting issues. These days I'm learning