Friday, August 26, 2011

No news is good news?

Is that really always the case? I belong to a credit monitoring service thing through one of my credit cards and every month they will send me an email that says no news is good news. I suppose the point is to reassure me that nothing that they are monitoring has changed. Yet in life, is no news really always good?

I know, deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon.

Anyway, the point is, that I really have nothing new to share right now. Things are pretty stalled on the counselor front. The two lawyers are arguing back and forth about two people who have the exact same qualifications. Why is one better than the other? You got me... We have someone we would prefer based on the recommendation of Zack's previous counselor. FoTB's lawyer has someone... well who knows how he chose him but they are sticking with that person just to be difficult I assume.

So until they decide on a counselor, the visits will not increase beyond 8-5 every other Sat, Sun. Which, right now, is just fine with us. We are having enough trouble controlling his behavior after what little time he spends with him. Let alone allowing him more time and/or overnights.

FoTB has asked me twice now to switch his Wed night visit to 5:30 - 7:30. I have refused twice, sighting the fact that we were more than willing to work with them at mediation and instead of compromising and working with us they went in and told lies about us. Their answer has been that they didn't lie... they gave their opinion. Well in that case... my OPINION is that your visit ends at 7:00.

My lawyer tells me that this could come back to bite me if I ever need to modify a visit but thinking back, historically, the amount of times we have needed to modify a visit vs. them needing to move/change one is like 1:1,000. So, I feel pretty comfortable in my bitchiness right now. I'm entitled to it after all of the crap I have put up with. (Or at least that's what I'm telling myself right now... )

Other than things with Zack, Jim and I have begun the "family building" discussion. It is complicated by the fact that we are unsure as of yet, that my body ovulates on its own. It did not when I conceived Zack and so I had to be on clomid. For that reason, I have been off of birth control for two and a half years now. Some months I am positive my body has figured it out... some months I am equally positive it has not.

This month I just monitored with a cheap ovulation test. I debated on calling my doctor for a day 21 progesterone test but second guessed myself when I THOUGHT I saw one line getting darker than the other. It is now day 26 and I am kinda pissed I didn't call because I'm pretty sure that darker line was all in my head.

Next month I am going to call the doctor and just do the test. Then we can go from there. At least then I will know.

Things with project puppy potty training are also moving right along. As long as we continue to take him out rather frequently we are fine. He is a piddler, so any time he gets too excited or thinks he is in trouble we get to clean up but otherwise... I suppose it is just like when I did this with Zack. Some days are really good, some days we think we can do this and other days... well you will take him out one minute and 10 minutes later he is peeing on the carpet.

Come to think of it... that is not at all unlike my four and a half year old... except yesterday it was the garbage can. Why yes... as your final departing laugh for the weekend I will leave you with this. Yesterday my four and a half year old urinated in the garbage can at daycare. For what reason? He can not tell me...

Stop laughing... it would not be nearly as funny if it was your kid....

Ok, so maybe it would.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Deal with the devil....

I've been thinking for two days about how to explain to you what went on at mediation on Monday and the closest think I can use to describe it is what I told to Jim on Monday night. I feel like we made a deal with the devil.

The lesser of two evils was negotiated.

He came in to mediation and basically spent the whole time saying poor me... I'm a victim here. He did not worry about Zack once. His demands and desires were solely for his benefit. Even though we had talked about Zack's stress at overnights and even though he had originally agreed that he would do whatever needed to be done for Zack, once he was in the mediation room overnights were off the table. He was keeping them, Zack would need to adjust. They would put him to bed earlier or they would limit his fluids.

I never wanted to face punch someone so much as I did right at that moment. Luckily we were in two separate rooms for mediation so all I could do was sit in my room and fume.

In Iowa, we heard from three different lawyers, it is almost impossible to get overnights taken away if a parent is currently clean. As far as we know, he still is. (I think we will be testing him again next week) So our only option was to give on something so he would give on overnights. That something ended up being supervision.

I am sick to my stomach....

We also had to agree to take Zack to a new counselor. He said we picked this one and the counselor was on our side. That we had told him everything and he already didn't like FoTB before he ever met him. This will be the third counselor my son has had to see in 4 1/2 years.

Our side of the agreement, from now until the foreseeable future he only has him every other Saturday 8-5 & Sunday 8-5. No overnights until the new counselor says that she or he feels it is appropriate. I'm hopeful by that point he will be five. Maybe five and a half and more able to cope with what is sure to be the added stress of having to stay over there again.

If we are lucky she or he will never recommend overnights. Or FoTB will decide that this person is mean to him too and that they don't like him and then we will have some more evidence against why he is a crappy parent. Not that we don't already know that. Heck, the mediator met him for 3 hours and she knew that. She all but told us that... right before she said but unfortunately, in the state of Iowa you have to lay more groundwork. What he has done is bad but it is not bad enough and here is how you lay the groundwork in case he fails at this too....

How is it that someone who only knows him for three hours can know that but the family court system in our state can not?

A deal with the devil.... the best we can do... and now we pray....

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why not termination?

I had a question from someone yesterday wondering why we had switched from termination to limited visitation and questioning if that was really what was best for Zack.

I suppose, as is likely to happen, such things go on outside of this place and I don't really explain them fully here so it looks like maybe this was a rash or quick decision on our part. Trust me when I tell you, the decision to allow visits has not been an easy one. I have lost many hours of daytime and sleep time to worry over this. To concern that I was not doing the right thing. That we were making the wrong choices or that perhaps there was another option. But there is not.

In reality and in a perfect world, we think that termination is what is best for Zack. He still has a lot of anxiety around FoTB. Anxiety which doesn't really seem to be lessening. He saw him for two hours on Wednesday. I was there the whole time. Last night it was 9:45 and he was still lying in his bed, staring at his ceiling.

However, in the great state of Iowa, none of this makes one ounce of difference. In Iowa if a biological parent is sober and wants to visit their child, they are allowed to. Regardless of how negatively that visit affects said child. In this case, said child happens to be my son.

Our lawyer puts our chances of termination right around 1%. Maybe 2%. There is a clause for habitual drug offenders but since he only failed one drug test and has passed several since then the judge is likely to say, look he turned his life around..... Termination is hard and we are not millionaires. We have already spent over a grand on a lawyer and we are not even to court yet. This has all just been for preliminary stuff.

So, we have to work towards what we know we can get. We have to fight for the things that we can make happen and right now that is to limit visits as much as we can. FoTB goes back and forth on whether he wants to be part of Zack's life. He didn't call for two months and then called for a week and then when I called him out on just trying to impress his lawyer and his girlfriend he stopped calling again.

Zack doesn't miss him. On Tuesday night he played baseball with Jim for 45 minutes. He would have played longer but we had to get him dinner and get him to bed. On Wednesday the first thing he told me when I picked him up was that he had a good day and one more good day and he could play baseball with Daddy (Jim) again. Last night they were out playing again.

Zack has a dad in his life. He doesn't need long stretches with FoTB for father/son bonding time. He doesn't need weekend visits to have a good male role model. So, since our state refuses to take away all visits, we are going to try to limit them as much as possible. It is not a perfect solution but it is the hand we have been dealt and we are trying to make the best of it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thoughts on Visits

Did you have fun?

Yeah.... Mom?

Yes buddy...

Dad didn't make any bad choices when we were at the beach.

Well that's good.

Did you have fun playing at the park?

Yeah... it's good that you were there.

Yup, I told you I would stay the whole time.

But he didn't do anything bad at the park.... if he would have I would have had to tell you.


Mediation is on Monday. I'm torn. Zack has wet the bed both days after his nine hour visits. FoTB hasn't called to talk to Zack since last Friday. And even then, he was calling to talk to me... Zack was sort of an, if he is there.

Last night he had a visit at the park that I supervised. (He didn't want to do it... he wanted to move the visit so he could be at his house sitting on his couch. I made him show up at the park and interact with his son.) I had to tell him what to get for Zack for dinner. When I told Zack what he was bringing him this was his answer:

Mom, did you tell him to go to McDonald's to get the chicken nuggets? If he gets tacos did you tell him Taco Bell? Did you tell him what I like on them so he gets the right stuff?

Even at four and a half he knows his dad does not know those things about him. If Jim was the one bringing him food he never would have even questioned me. That dad knows what he likes. That dad knows him, the other one visits him.

Once he got to the visit and they ate he looked confused on what he should do next. I made him leave his girlfriend's son at home so it was just him and Zack. One on one time and he looked positively out of his skin on how to handle it. (We have figured out that for the most part Zack goes there and he sends him off to play with the other little boy or takes him to his mom's to play.) Finally he just started following Zack around. He was the only parent of a child over 2 in the play structure, just following him around doing whatever he did for an hour and a half.

When we got done Zack said to me:

I wanted someone to play with, so I just played with him.

He is an uncle, a playmate, a guy to hang out with. Not to be trusted, not to be alone with, but ok to be around for awhile.

And here is where I am torn. Zack doesn't trust him, he doesn't want to be alone with him and he doesn't want to be with him for long periods of time but he does seem to want some interactions with him. So I am back to feeling like it is in Zack's best interest for him to at least have some contact with him.

I know FoTB will fight me on this. I know he will want to go back to every other weekend, (no overnights) but in all reality, thus far 9 hours on a Saturday has been too long. Wouldn't it be best for Zack to see him five hours and be happy than 18 hours and be miserable? How do I make FoTB understand that?

I am hopeful that Monday will bring some answers but I am not holding my breath. This could still be a long road...

Monday, August 8, 2011


Meet the newest member of our family. Jim loves him. Zack adores him. He is slowly growing on me. Consequently he has picked me as his favorite and follows me everywhere. He is determined to win me over. Don't tell him but it might be working.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I told you...

This weekend we were watching TV and an infomercial came on for a pen that is supposed to fix scratches on cars. This product... if you're interested....

As we were watching Zack turned to Jim and proclaimed with all seriousness that we NEEDED that product. That it was very important that we get it right away. (As a side note, he is four, we need EVERY product they sell on TV according to him....) Consequently, we just told him sure, whatever and moved on with our weekend.

Then last night, as I was pulling out of the parking lot I turned the corner too sharply and clipped a rock that they were using as landscaping. When we got to daycare today I remembered it and was on the passenger side of my car assessing the damage when Zack came up.

"What are you looking at?"

"I hit a rock last night and it scratched my car. See right there?"

"See!! I TOLD you we needed that thing from TV!! If we had that we could fix it!!"

It's a good thing my four year old knows everything, I would be lost without him.