Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

It’s Been a Long Time

It has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here.  Things have been crazy busy and sometimes just crazy.

I started a new job back in June, which I love.  It also pays a lot more than my last job.  I’m back to making what I used to 5 years ago before the market went south, I got laid off, and had to take a 17K pay cut.  The extra $$$ coming in, as well as what Lorraine brings in had make a huge difference.  Not only have I got to the point where I’m not struggling to get from payday to payday, but we now have extra to get things we need but haven’t been able to.  Not only that, but we’ve been able to get somethings we actually want as well!

The biggest thing that I have been dealing with is my son.  I explained some of the issued he was having in an earlier post.  Things just got worse from there.

Since then, things have just gotten worse.  It was strongly recommended that he be placed on Boys Town, which has and excellent residential residential programs for kids like him.  I’ve been working tirelessly since June to get him in there.  There have been multiple visits to doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, as well an intervention by family crisis workers as well.

In August, after a psychological evaluation he was finally accepted to Boys Town.   The problem is that, after what my insurance would pay, they would still need $5000 at admittance and then $400+ a day!   For the minimum 6 month stay that would be $25,000!  Needless to day, I don’t have anywhere near those resource.  I figure I’d have to be making at least $200,000 a year to be able to afford that.  If we were official poor, then medicaid and other government services would pay for it.  It’s the old catch-22; not remotely rich enough and not poor.

I called the assistance county attorney who know Alex from his truancy issues.  I explained the situation she recommend making him a dependent of the state.  That became official three weeks ago.  At that time, the state was ordered to gather all the evidence and make an official recommendation for a level of care.  He was assigned a case worker from CPS and another from Nebraska Family Collaborative, a non-profit that are the ones responsible for making all the arrangements for getting him the court ordered level of care.  The next court date was scheduled for the following week.  Kelly, from Nebraska Family Collaborative, called me and told me that she would be at court for that date and that she’d have all the paperwork needed. He was also assigned a guardian ad litem who will represent his best interests in court.

At the next court date, Kelly was not there.  There two people see sent in her place did not have any of the paper work needed.  The judge was not happy with this at all and order another date as soon as possible. This was on a Thursday afternoon.  I called and left messages for Kelly as well as three different supervisors at Nebraska Family Collaborative and never received a call back from any of them.

The next court date was schedule for this past Wednesday at 8:30am.  This time Kelly was there and had the paperwork.  The judge order that Alex be placed into Boys Town and that the state had until November 22nd on which date he would be removed from the home.  If they can’t get him into Boys Town by that date then they must place him in a suitable temporary facility that provides the ordered level of care.

The level of care that the court determined that he needs is one in which he has 24×7 supervision and guidance, that will give him the psychological and behavioral therapy as well as medical needs that he requires.

I spoke to Kelly yesterday (after leaving numerous messages for two days).  She said that Magellan denied to pay for the level of care that the court ordered.  She said that her supervisors were working on it.  I asked her about temporary facilities and she said that she had applied to several.  I asked her what will happen if she can’t get him into any of these by Tuesday (this was on Friday).  She said that she could try to find a foster home.  This, plainly, is bullshit.

I will refuse to give up physical custody if they intend to put him in with a foster family.  The whole point of this is that he be where he can get the level of care he needs.  If I can’t provide that 24×7 level of care, how in the hell can a foster parent who doesn’t even know him?

I plan on contacting the county  assistance attorney and let her know about the situation first thing Monday morning.  If these people at Kelly’s organization can come up with something by Monday afternoon, I will insist on a hearing with the judge to allow me to keep Alex in my home until the state gets their shit together.  I also will petition the court to order the state to get in into Boys Town within the week or ask that they be held in contempt.  I am also going to call around to lawyers who handle cases like this and if I must, I will sure CPS and Nebraska Family Collaborative, for force them to pay to have him put into Boys Town.  This is my son and I will not let anyone stand in the way of what is best for him.

On the bright side, Lorraine and I are engaged to be married!  She and her some moved in with us in July.  My kids really love her and she is just wonderful to them.  She is such an honest, caring, and down to earth person.  She is also intelligent, strong, and self-assured.  In addition to that, she is an excellent cook and a talented crafter, making t-shirts, crocheting and other things like that.  The wedding is scheduled for this coming May with a honeymoon in the Poconos.

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Single Parenting in Times of Crisis

My son has been having one life crisis after another.  Last week’s was the most serious.  I won’t get into any details in order to protect his privacy, but I will say that there have been multiple therapists, counselors, doctors, psychiatrists involved, as well as an emergency room visit.  All this has taken quite a toll on myself and my family.  

As for me, besides the stress of dealing with his issues, I still have to work and I have no time off left for the rest of the year.  Almost all of it was used dealing with issues with my son.  I can’t afford to take FMLA because, unlike in every other modern, industrialized country in the world, I don’t get paid for FMLA type time off.  No one does.  All of these visits with therapists, counselors, doctors, and psychiatrists involve appointments, usually for at least an hour.  An hour appointment off work for me means at least two to three hours, depending on travel time to and from.  Add to this a couple of court dates which require half to whole days, and things are extremely difficult and stressful for me.

The one very huge silver lining in all this is Lorraine.  Not only does she support me by just being there for me; giving me a shoulder to lean/cry on; an ear to listen; and a refuge from the world, but she also has made herself available to watch my son, who can’t be left alone at all for now.  If it wasn’t for her, my son would be in an inpatient program because I’d have no way to watch him while I’m working.  

My son’s mother is absolutely no help at all.  She says that she can’t take time off work (as if I can).  Her husband works evenings, as far as I know.  She also works some evenings as well so you would think that between the two of them they could take him for most of the day during the 5 day work week.  As I tole his therapist, his mother makes no effort to help with her son, or even spend time with him.  The only time she does is when I mention to her that she and our daughter spend a lot of time together and they go to lunch and dinner a lot without our son.  Then she will take him for a few hours.  She also buys our daughter things all the time while our son gets nothing from her.  

I can deal with this because I know she’s a lying narcissist who doesn’t want, or can’t, deal with the issue our son has.  What gets me absolutely livid is the effect this has on our son. After every time he sees her, or his sister and her go out without him, he becomes depressed and angry and that’s when the outbursts happen.  Granted, this is just a part of his stress, but even though he doesn’t say so, it is obvious to me that he is terrible hurt and feels abandoned by his mother.  Given that he had a bad relationship with my second wife, he really hasn’t had a good relationship with an adult female since he was little. I don’t expect Lorraine to fill this role.  It may be that she eventually does, but right now my son is too hurt and angry to let his guard down.  He has, however, requested a lot of hugs from Lorraine and he obviously likes her a lot, so that has to be helping a little.  

For Lorraine’s part, she’s more than willing to help however she can.  Given that she has a son who has very similar development and behavioral issues as mine, she has a real understanding of my son and how to deal with him, unlike my last wife or even his own mother.  But, I refuse to make her responsible for my son.  It isn’t her job.  I gratefully accept any help she offers because my son responds well to her and because it is either that or put him somewhere in an inpatient program.

Happy Mother’s Day?

I got to go to lunch with my kids and their mom. It wasn’t my idea, mind you, I was looking forward to a day by myself. Her car wouldn’t start and her husband is at work 60 miles away in Lincoln, so I got invited to lunch since I have a working car. She claimed that she was going to invite me anyway, but we know that’s bullshit since it was never mentioned until her car broke down.

We went to a Mongolian grill. It was OK. Nothing to write home about. Conversation was decent, mostly with the kids. Still, there was a level of comfort there that hasn’t been there before. Still, I don’t like her much, but at least I can stand her.

When I went to drop them home, she asked our daughter to come spend the rest of the day with her. She told my son she’d have him over some other time. wpid-steaming-2011-05-8-13-51.gif This has become so common that I don’t even know why I let it upset me. Oh, I don’t know , maybe because it’s fucking MOTHER’S DAY! wpid-pissedoff2-2011-05-8-13-51.gif

She blows him off all the time. Whenever I try to talk to her about it, she makes bullshit excuses. It’s enough to make me want to wpid-puke-2011-05-8-13-51.gif

Why do I suddenly have this urge to get high? wpid-weed-2011-05-8-13-51.gif I haven’t smoked that stuff in decades. Gagh!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you baby bearers out there. I’m sure you truly deserve the best today, unlike someone I can think of.

My Divorce Story

I talk a lot here about my first divorce, or at least the fall out from it.  I thought it would be a good idea to give you the whole story so you might have a better understanding of what happened and why it was so traumatic for me.  This is also posted to my personal web page.

It’s a sad, strange story and, if I hadn’t happened to me, I’d never believe it.

If I have learned anything from my marriage, it is that I let my wife control me with guilt.  For the two years before we split, she had held the implicit threat of divorce over my head, made me feel like everything wrong in our marriage was my fault.  She used my guilt over what she supposedly sacrificed for me to manipulate me so that get into a relationship with this man.

First it was on line, they met on this site we all belong to, I think I’ve sent you the url before, www.deviantart.com.  His ex-wife (his wife at the time all this happened) also is a member, for a while, we were all buddies, commenting on each other’s work and such.  Then, after a while, his ex-wife, Jan, started accusing him, Kevin, and my wife, Holly of having a cyber affair.  Holly told me that she was nuts, that she had a history of mental illness.  She assured me that they were just friends.

I accepted that, because I had also made a good friend on that site, a woman from New Zealand.   We were just friends.  I never hid it from Holly.
 I was open about it and told her that if it bother her that I talked to this woman, I’d stop and never talk to her again.  Holly assured me that she wasn’t jealous.

So, the stage was set.  Holly told me she wanted to fly to Nebraska and visit a friend she knew there.  That she had been stuck raising the kids for the past 9 years and deserved it.  She said that she also deserved my trust.  So I let her go.  I even took vacation time so I could take care of the kids.

Well, she called from Nebraska and said that it was really nice here and that the cost of living was better.  Her family was also giving us a really hard time, and I was feeling trapped at my job so it seemed like a good idea.   I found a good job here in Nebraska and we moved.  I don’t regret that, I love it here, the kids love it here.

Anyway, after we moved, this friend of Holly’s, who’s name is Kevin, would stop by  about once a week.  He’d come over to visit.  He seemed like a really nice guy.   It was could tell that they were attracted to each other, but I was trying hard to work on our marriage and hoped that we could work things out.  At the most, I expected him to divorce his so-called crazy wife and then figured Holly would ask for a divorce.  I was ready for that.  I could have dealt with that.

What I found was betrayal, manipulation and lies, all to satisfied their wants at the expense of everyone else.   I still don’t believe it, but I know it’s true because I have proof.  Pictures, videos, blogs, messages. Holly told me that she has come clean, that there was nothing else she was hiding, but I keep finding more, I keep catching her in more lies.

I finally met Jan, his ex-wide.  She’s not crazy, she bitter and hurt by 17 years with an unfaithful husband.  She filed for divorce a few years ago, but withdrew it because he promised to get therapy for a sex addiction.

Well, it turns out that the nights he was supposed to be going to therapy, he was visiting us.  It wasn’t long before Holly began asking me to take the kids to the movies and swimming while he visited.  I still thought his wife was nuts and so I figured he needed some time with a good friend. Well, it turns out that the were having sex in my apartment while I was with the kids.  Not only that, they were broadcasting it over our web cam.

I didn’t think it could get any worse, but it did, and in a way that I could never, ever have imagined.    Jan found CD’s that Kevin had hidden in their garage.  One of them has pictured of Holly having sex with another couple.  Another had a video of Holly having sex with our dog!!!.  Jan turned the video of Holly with our dog over to the police. They came to the house, took our computer and cited her for Lewd Behavior with an Animal. She ended up pleading guilty and got a fine.

So, you can see why I now have custody of the kids.  She has serious problems.  She sees them once or twice a week, but not nearly as much as she could if she really wanted to.  It’s probably better for the kids in the long run, although it is very hard on them.

I was stupid and blind.  Maybe I just didn’t want to let myself believe what I feared was true.

Well, anyway, that’s the story of my divorce.  

Helping Your Child Deal With the Pain of a Breakup

My daughter’s boyfriend broke up with her yesterday.  She’s known him for a while now and they usually just go to the park or to a game store and hang out.  She really loves him and cares for him.  This isn’t the first “boyfriend” she has had break up with her.  What made this so traumatic this time is that after constantly telling her how beautiful and wonderful she is, he told her that he was breaking up with her because he really loves her best friend and wants to go out with her instead.  The best friend, to her credit, told him to go fuck himself, as she would never do that a friend.  

A drama on Facebook played it’s self out with the boy posting to his status that he is a terrible person who should burn in hell for eternity (ah, teen drama!).  This sentiment was immediately seconded by all of my daughter’s friends in comments to his status.  I told Olivia that she can not try to ease his guilt because he needs to learn just what can result from his decisions.  

Olivia said that she felt that if she had just been able to spend more time with him, she could have kept him from wanting to go out with her friend.  It was time for a big life lesson.  I told her that she needed to know and understand right now that you CANNOT change anyone.  I told her that all she can do is be the best friend that she can be and give her love freely. People will only change when they, themselves, decide to change.  

We had a very long talk about this because I wanted to make sure she really understood.  I used her mom’s and my relationship as an example.  I told her that her mom never really seemed happy when we were married, dispite the fact that we loved each other very much.  I said that for years I thought that all I needed to do was to try just a littler harder to make her mom happy.  It never worked.  I explained that I finally discovered that it wasn’t within my power to make her mom happy; that her mom needed to discover why she was unhappy and then decide what to do about it.  Unfortunaltely, what made her happy was being with someone else who gave her whatever it was she felt she needed. I told Olivia that, even though that was very hard for me to deal with, I had to accept the fact that it wasn’t a failing in me that caused her mom to leave me; it was her mom’s decision.

I let her know that, even though it sucked that she was hurting so badly, these things will happen and that what she needs to do is to learn from them.  It was better than she learn this lesson now, at the tender age of 13, than much later, after years of marriage, as I did.

I think I got thorugh to her.  I will continue to gently reinforce this important lession.  

I’m Not About to Win Parent of the Year Award Anytime Soon

I lost a bazillion good parent points and gained at least as many asshole points today, all before noon time.

Today started out great. I got a good night’s sleep and woke up in a great mode. I had a nice, relaxing shower, got dressed and talked to the kids. Liv was hungry so I told her I’d make one of everyone’s favorite breakfasts; hash browns (made from plain, frozen, shredded potatoes), sausages, and melted cheese which we warp in tortillas. Olivia asked me if i could drive her to a park to meet her boyfriend and Alex wanted me to take him to sell his PS2 so he could get the final amount of money he needed to by a PS3.

I put the potatoes in the skillet with the sausage, covered it and took the dog out. When I get back Olivia asks if we could go to the park. Now. I told her that breakfast was still cooking and we”d go after we ate. She got all whiny about how she can only see Jeremy for an hour or so and she hasn’t seen him in a week. I repeated what I had said about breakfast. She started begging and saying how she’s not hungry anymore and can’t we just go.

Normally, I’d just tell her to chill and that would be that. Instead, for some (scary) reason, I lost it. I told Alex to get his stuff together because we were leaving now. I unplugged the skillet. Utensils were thrown across the kitchen. There was much swearing and raging. Now Olivia says she can wait, I tell her that we are fucking leaving NOW!

We can’t find the park she’s supposed to meet him at. Why? Because no matter how many times I’ve asked her on the drive to ask Jeremy exactly where it is, all I get is a general location, like “not far from downtown. I pull over and insist on an address. Finally I get “Corner of Hallack and Monroe”. I tried putting that into google maps. The app keeps closing on me as I typed. I tried the GPS navigation app and it, too, keeps closing on me. Mind you I NEVER have problems with these apps. After the 4th attempt to figure out where this park is, I totally lose it. I toss the phone across the car, hitting Alex on the elbow and making the back cover of the phone go flying. I drive to the main park in town and tell her to have him meet us there. In 45 seconds Jeremy is there. Why? Because the park he was talking about is right fucking next to the main town park! Thanks for mentioning that the dozen of times I asked for better directions!

I’ve calmed down some by now. I apologized to both kids for my unacceptable behavior and wondered what in the fuck caused the outburst of rage over nothing.

I take Alex and he gets his PS3 after which I hit Walmart for a few groceries that I forgot on Friday. We get home. I turn on the skillet and resume cooking. Seven minutes later, it is ready. I eagerly fill a small bowl with yumminess and at that exact moment the phone rings. It is Olivia needed to be picked up. I ask her if she and Jeremy can wait a little bit while I eat. She tells me that he already left and can I come get her now. Blind rage! Why? I have no fucking idea. I tell her I will be there in a few minutes, and after more swearing and slamming of cabinet doors, I leave.

On the drive I blast deathcore metal as loud as my speakers will allow and take deep breaths and wonder what the fuck is wrong with me? Where is this anger coming from? Even with the drama with the kids, it has been a pretty good week on the whole. I just can’t figure it out.

I pick up Liv and we go home. The food is cold. I open the microwave and go to put the bowl in to warm the food up. I see the tortillas that I put in the microwave that I was planning to heat up all curled up and dried out. Blind rage! Kids disappear to their rooms, dog runs for cover.

I rarely lose my cool like that. I almost NEVER fly into a rage for any reason. Now I know exactly how my son feels when he loses it and says and does things that he regrets. I just want to curl up into a ball and die because I’m so overwhelmed with remorse. I am also scared. This isn’t like me at all. My stress level is way down from what it has been. I’m feeling good about where my life is going. I have the best kids and best friends anyone could ever what. Why did this happen?

When I was raging, there was a pat of me that was watching myself and thinking, what the fuck are your doing? Just stop! I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. It was like I was watching a performance of myself in a movie. In spite of the fact that I desperately wanted so much to stop, I couldn’t. I had become completely disassociated from what was happening and I was helpless to stop it.

I am the least violent person I know. I normally have patience to spare. This is very, very scary because it is just not like me at all. I’m left wondering what the fuck my problem is. It looks like my therapist and I will have plenty to talk about this week.

Kids, Sex, and Real Respect

My son, who is 16, and I were talking about sex today. It started off as a talk about safe sex, but soon veered off into a discussion of how to please a girl/woman. I explained that he needs to make sure that he takes the time to kiss and touch her a lot. He said that he already does that. He said that he is romantic and loves doing things like kissing a girl’s neck. I told him that he must get that from me because I am very romantic.

The conversation moved onto oral sex, which he says he’s never had, but had given. I told him that I was glad to hear that (well, the part about him pleasing a girl orally). I told him that it is sort of my specialty (at least to the degree that I love doing that more than just about any other single act). He immediately smiled, gave me a hi-5 and and said, “I guess we really are a lot alike”.

He’s almost 17 and I find it wonderful that we can have a serious, adult conversation about these things. I’m so happy to see that his focus as far as sex going seems to be at as much on pleasing his partner as it is on his own pleasure. The really interesting things is that is exactly what I was like when I was his age. For me, pleasing the girl was the central theme of all my fantasies and still is to this day.

I feel like I’ve had some success as a parent because I’ve instilled in him a respect for women, a real honest concern for the girls in his life (they change fairly often, as teens are want to do). I’ve seen him with his girl friends and he is always complementing them, praising them, holding their hand or putting his arm around them. It is very tender and very sweet. Sure, he gets into trouble a lot and we are working on those things, but at least I know he isn’t growing up to become one of those guys who feel like they own the women in their lives and seek to control them.