Death by A Thousand Nibbles

Emails! This is what my life has been like lately. Well, not all of it. But imagine Franny raging and crying and her grade school graduation being missed (hint: not by me or by P. as I was running it) and EMAILS, ENDLESS CHAINS OF EMAILS. At the 11th hour we finally agreed on a summer schedule. SeaFed INSISTS on taking her to and from school for her last two days next week, a 60-mile round trip.

I predict this is just more of fuckery that is to come. What do you do if you have a kid in one place, and her other parent is attempting to scooooch her life 30 miles away suddenly? Again, I’m sure the timing of the child support case being open is purely coincidental in relation to all these emails and the DEMAND LETTER I received last month DEMANDING that we revert back to a schedule we have not followed since 2005. I’m spending a lot of energy trying to keep things stable right now for her.

Since the summer schedule has just locked into place, and I should say it’s two weeks on, two weeks off, like the past few summers (I gave him the last half of each month this year since in mediation in 2007 he complained it was TOTES NO FAIR that I had the end of the month, meaning I sometimes got the massively epic 31st, giving me GASP 16 days with her), I had to ask him to take her to an already-scheduled critical dentist appointment. The dentist is something I do, gladly, because then I know it happens.

Did I ever tell you about the time back in 2005 when we were all uninsured, and he and I were separated, and so I sent him her dental bill and asked him to pay half? Not unreasonable considering that our parenting plan says we are responsible for sharing these costs. I think it was about $150, which I really did not have just laying around at the time. What I got in response to the bill was a check for $12.50, which was his “estimated cost of what half a co-pay might be if we were insured.”

I told his wife this story once when she said I should ask for help with the bills and she just stared at me. I would stare too, I guess. What do you say to that? So there’s a history here, of course.

Hi SeaFed,

Franny has a dental appointment on the 29th at 10:30 at the office in XXX. This appointment is critical because her sealant is cracked on one of her molars and she might have a cavity. If she needs a filling, I give my consent for it to be done. If they ask, you can tell them the insurance information is the same and if they have further billing questions they are welcome to call me.



If you don’t have any objections, I’ll have Dr. XXXX transfer her records to our dentist [in our city] and see if they can schedule the procedure during her time here. Let me know if that’s a problem.

And me again:

Yes, it’s a problem. Dr. XXXX is her dentist. If she has a procedure, I’d like the dentist who has seen her since she was three to take care of her. Thanks for understanding.

This is sort of like an attempt at being gaslighted by a park bench or something. Am I just supposed to sit her and pretend I don’t notice that after 3+ years of me taking care of everything and her living here over 80% of the time that there is suddenly a burning desire to change the schedule and switch her dentist when she has one a couple of miles from my house who she’s been seeing for 7 years? Really, this is the response to “your daughter has a dental appointment”?

I tried to map out this thought process and I still don’t get it. If I was a kid I don’t think I’d want to be taken to a brand new dentist for the first time to possibly get a filling, when I had a dentist I knew.

The latest word is that in the fall when his fourth child arrives, Franny will be sharing a room on her weekends with her two preschooler halfsibs (one of them under two) as the baby will get the other bedroom. Franny has started borrowing her friends’ eye makeup (which means I need to get her her own), and has determined that she wants to start wearing makeup for middle school next year–the kid’s growing up. Good times ahead. At least nowadays the harm can just be measured in months in therapy instead of all the negligence injuries of the old days. In the old days I protected her body, now I am trying to protect her mental state.

P.S. My camera is broken. I am half a diarist without one.

8 thoughts on “Death by A Thousand Nibbles

  1. I can NOT wait until Franny turns 18 and can tell SeaFed to GET STUFFED if and when she wants to.


    That poor kid. Gawd. A kid is not a bubble gum machine prize to squabble over. Decent parents put the needs of the child first, like you do, and don’t make the poor kid act like some sort of sad yo-yo.

    He wants all the benes from having a kid and none of the responsibilities or cost. WHAT. A. TOOL.

    Give her extra hugs from The Internetz (if she’s not at that “Ew, cooties!” phase yet). She knows she is loved and valued and very important, but it never hurts to say it MOAR.

  2. I cannot fathom the thought process of someone who thinks that way. It’s almost as if he sees Franny as a non-human pet, not as a human child. Or a trophy – “here is my child, let me show you it, now let me put it away when it becomes inconvenient.”

    Franny is definitely going to suffer in the midst of all of this – it is incredibly painful for a child to realize that one of her parents isn’t really interested in her at all as a person. You are doing a fantastic job of providing her with the love and support she needs.

  3. So, I mean, is there a REASON he wants to get all control-y over Franny right now when he’s been so hands off the past few years? Does he want full custody so he has in-house childcare or something?

    He’s such a creeper.

    Poor Franny. I’m glad she’s got you in her corner.

  4. GRRRR. This makes me go all tunnel-vision Angry with a capitol A…. She’s a person not a fucking pawn! I’m so sorry this is going on. Still. Really, he’s going to travel 30 miles to take her to school on time, then pick her up too? I’d plan on taking Strudel to/from just to be on the safe side in case he doesn’t bother showing up.

    He is totally creepy. He better not be planning on putting her into indentured servitude in childcare, she is not old enough for one thing (11 year olds do not need to be doing the heimlich or baby cpr!) and for another it’s just mean to do that to the oldest sibling.

  5. How old does she have to be before she can have a say in her own custody hearings? I’d imagine a judge would want to hear what her impressions of life at casa SeaFed is like.

  6. What what what the fuck. How lovely to read about this on Father’s Day. My love to P, I am sure today is challenging for him this year. You should have been named Constance, for that is what you are for your girls.

  7. Dorrie: Thanks. He had a good Father’s Day, I think, but we missed F. Hope yours was nice.

    V’s: I hear it’s 11, which she will turn this fall.

    Brigid: I really think it’s about the child support claim and trying to look “good,” but who knows, maybe it got lost in the mail and it is a TWINGE OF CONSCIENCE.

    The outcome of the dental appointment is that he told me to cancel it and reschedule it for my own time with her, btw.

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