Ugh. Now she's saying she wants Hailey to wear a mask whenever she's in my home.
A commitment but to what end? The effectiveness of my mask would fade the longer I am in close contact with her anyway. Plus it seems like it would be just giving in to my ex’s need for control.I mean, doing that would definitely demonstrate your commitment to her safety, sooo...
I absolutely see it. In fact I saw it when Sarah and I were still together. We had issues with the kids. Sarah seemed to think the issues were worse than I thought they were. But yes, any issues we had seemed very clearly based (at least partially) on the fact that it was she and I taking care of 4 young kiddos and overextending ourselves. When we separated my ex immediately brought in the new boyfriend and within a few months had In Vitro Fertilization to get pregnant with her 5th child. So not only did the problems likely persist but they likely have gotten worse.Just saying this as an outside observer - it sounds like she's acting like an 8 year old that has probably less time with her mom with that many people in the household vs the time she gets to spend with you doing stuff in your much limited time together. If your ex is complaining about a "rebellious attitude" at 8, whatever is she going to do when your daughter becomes an actual teenager? (for some context of this post, my wife and I are still together, but our son is going to be 13 this year and is generally starting to be a teen in that type of attitude for a large portion of time)
I have yet to hear of the child of Hailey and Li'l Z's age group that DIDN'T do this at some point. As diligent and responsible as he has been about online learning, there were a couple of times I caught Li'l Z switching over to the school-supplied math games or the virtual library when things got a little boring. The result was he lost tv in the afternoon on those days. There was one time he lost his weekend nightime Switch privileges because I caught him playing math games and doing the bare minimum on his creative writing. But he also doesn't have a full household, so I can see that how that can contribute to Hailey losing focus.She told me that Hailey wasn't physically leaving the computer but was switching to a browser to play games. When I asked if we had her on parent controls Sarah specified that the games were the educational games on the school site she uses for her classes. So I guess she could get bored and start playing one of the games, like a kid doodling in class or daydreaming.
Hell, 90% of my time spent in meetings is this. I have spent so much meeting time in Freecell or Hearts it's sad.Honestly, I'm pretty sure 95% of all adults on telework/remote work/home working have at some point read an article, played a game, checked Facebook ,or whatever during a meeting or a boring call. I know I most definitely do.
I mean, it's not behavior to be encouraged, I get that, but it's not like playing a school-supplied math game is terrible. During some of the quieter moments at my work I was playing Diablo III on my PC just keeping an eye on my work computer so it didn't go into idle mode
When she tells you fine, you can take her because I cancelled my plans, your reply should only be "Great, thanks."Spring break is coming up. I thought maybe I could ask for a second overnight (Sunday) this coming weekend, so asked a week in advance. Sarah replied and said she had plans Monday and Tuesday. I asked if it would be possible to drop Hailey off Monday morning in time for those plans. Was told she wants to leave early (7:30am) and didn't want to rush Hailey out the door. I asked if maybe, due to the special occasion of Spring Break, that I pick her up Friday after school. No reply until a few days later.
"You can take her on Monday. I just canceled my plans. I will tell you that this is very frustrating for me that you request short notice changes and then are basically requiring that I cancel plans that I made months ago to accommodate your wants. You were aware of this schedule and if this was something you were interested in you should have mentioned it in a timely manner. I am upset by this. Additionally I am requesting that Hailey not have any electronics time at your home this weekend. She is grounded from electronics as she went off and played during school. Since you are taking her this is now a request that you must follow up on. No electronics this Spring Break which includes your home."
I never asked her to cancel anything. I was hoping for some extra time as a curtesy and nothing more than that. I don't know if the two alternate options I asked were too much, but when she shot them down I never argued it.
When I referred to the "grounding" in a reply back she corrected me and said it was a "loss of privileges" and never a "grounding". Called the electronics free weekend a request but made it a demand in a single sentence "Since you are taking her this is now a request that you must follow up on". No say in it. Just what she says goes.
I mean two days without electronics isn't a big deal or anything. I don't have as much to do at my place but we'd manage for two days. I initially told Sarah we could make it happen. But then I started asking questions about why Hailey was losing privileges for an entire week when, personally, I think a week is a pretty long time for an 8 year old.
Sarah answered a few questions for me. She told me that Hailey wasn't physically leaving the computer but was switching to a browser to play games. When I asked if we had her on parent controls Sarah specified that the games were the educational games on the school site she uses for her classes. So I guess she could get bored and start playing one of the games, like a kid doodling in class or daydreaming. After those few questions Sarah shut me down and told me
" I have answered all required questions and what you do in your house is up to you. I requested that she be restricted in your home as you have her this weekend for extended time as this was requested last min and was my time and thus has impacted my family and my agreement already in place with Hailey. Now that is the only reason I requested this of you. No further communication is required on this topic as it was already resolved"
After speaking with Hailey's teacher today I got the impression that Hailey does well, has an infectious enthusiasm, loves to read and participate, and yeah can be found being distracted at times. He also mentioned that he felt one of the issues was that its such a busy house over there (3 adults, 4 kids, and a baby) that Hailey doesn't have privacy that provides the best suitable working environment. But, with a nice set of headphones that the school is about to donate to her, hopefully it makes a difference. Her teacher was also going to reach out to Sarah to make some recommendations.
So after this I thought about it, and I wrote the following back.
" Since we are in agreement that it is my home and my rules I will let you know that I have decided on allowing Hailey some electronics time within reason during her normal visiting time with me. I have spoken with Hailey's teacher and received some good information including links for Hailey's independent learning work. Per his recommendation we're going to spend 15 minutes or so on that per day. There will also be the reading time and extended screen free times that I initiated during her last visit. You had intended for Hailey to be electronic free upon returning home from my place originally so, if you still allow Hailey to stay until 10am on Monday, there will be no electronics for her beginning 6pm on Sunday evening to begin her electronic free week as you intended. "
Sarah is going to flip for sure. Probably accuse me of not co-parenting with her. Accuse me of undermining her authority in this situation.
Originally I was going to go along with the electronic free days but then I started worrying about a few things. Sarah didn't demand that I take away electronics until she begrudgingly gave me more time. She was clearly frustrated in her tone in that email. I started to wonder 1) would she had said anything about the "loss of privileges" if I didn't ask for anything? and 2) is it possible this punishment was more fueled by Sarah's hatred of me than off of anything that Hailey ever did?
It also doesn't help that this is yet another matter that Sarah has decided she is the "rule maker" and I am the "rule follower". She complains I don't co-parent but I barely get a say in anything that goes on with Hailey's life unless I really pester the hell out of her about it.
I think I could have worded my email a bit better but, with all of these worries about what this is really about I can't bring myself to punish Hailey with it.