SS11.5 arrived yesterday. He has been a perfect angel and settled back into the household with little issue, despite being away for 5 months. He has helped with chores, been wonderful with DD, and not made a fuss about anything.
I did notice when SS arrived last night, that he was wearing his smartwatch. I immediately became uncomfortable. I told DH that I noticed it and DH replied "So what? Does it really bother you that BM can track us at Target, Costco, and the grocery store?" It's not about that - it's about the principle. BM has this kid 46 weeks per year and we never know what he is doing and all contact with SS has to be scheduled with BM and uses BM's phone, yet when SS is here, he now has a watch that he can text BM on whenever he feels like it and BM can know where he is at all times. It's the frickin double standard. I looked into the watch - it is controlled via a parental dashboard and the "owner" parent controls all contacts and it texts the child's location to said parent every 30 minutes. So even if DH wanted to be able to contact SS via the watch, he would have to get BM's permission, which she would never give. From what I saw today, SS only texted BM once, asking her to check something at home. He also took the watch off, turned it off, and left it here after 1 pm, so it isn't like he's on it all day, which I guess is good.
And BM already texted DH tonight, asking to talk to SS tomorrow. I get it is Christmas Eve, but he has been away from her for 48 hours at that point and she has had him all to herself for 5 months. We get 2 phone calls per week with SS because we never see him; it is the only way to maintain the relationship despite the distance, yet SS will be here for 8 days and I know BM will expect and fully take advantage of her two phone calls. DH told her we are busy tomorrow, but that can call on Christmas at 8 pm, after all the festivities are over. She was satisfied with that.
I know it's all stupid, but it's this kind of stuff that makes me feel like the Aunt/Uncle household while BM and GF are the Mom/Dad household. And again, no punishment to SS or judgement toward him on this, he has been perfect. But I hate that it's even a thing with BM and GF. And maybe it's innocent, maybe BM didn't know he had it on him until he texted her, but given our history, I always assume manipulation and control. Everything has been quiet with BM, there hasn't been fighting in over a year and all communication has been civil, and she has offered flexibility, yet I still don't trust her and still believe she has the worst of intentions.
I asked DH how we should handle the watch. I know asking SS to leave it off or to take it away will make a bigger issue out of it. To SS, it is just a watch and he wears it daily at home, so asking him to put it away and not use it may alienate him further, since its normal for him to have. He may not even see the issue with it. Yet, allowing him to have the watch, allows BM to track and communicate. DH said it'll be even worse when SS eventually gets a phone, since it's not like you can tell a teenager to not use their phone for a week. I just feel like we are in a lose/lose situation. I think we are going to see how it plays out - if the watch becomes and issue, DH will address it. If he uses it a few times but mostly leaves it at home, we won't bring it up. DH said next time, he will tell SS at pick up to leave it home to prevent it from "getting broken."