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SS11.5 Arrived

CastleJJ's picture

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." 

Comments

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Eventually SS will get tired of being helicoptered. Since he's 11.5, that will probably happen in 4-6 years. It sounds like, even at his young age, BM and GF are "a lot." 

CastleJJ's picture

BM isn't helicoptering SS with her though. He has access to her, her wife, their families, and their/his friends whenever he wants. At BM's house, he can mostly do whatever he wants. The helicoptering only applies to DH, me, our families. I don't think SS sees an issue with that or sees the double standard in the parenting dynamics. 

Yesterdays's picture

If she's using it to track her son while he visits that feels like a huge privacy issue because you're entitled to live your lives without the queen almighty overlooking your every move as a family... And you certainly don't need to tell bio mom every single place you go.. Even if in another city...

I find it sad that people operate this way putting a kid in the middle 

Is it possible she doesn't know about that function or do you think she's actively using it 

Smart watches do seem like a privacy weird thing.. Especially with kids..... All I have to say is uggggh. I hate this kind of thing! 

thinkthrice's picture

She's jealous of CastleJJ's family  and she still wants to maintain complete control of SS "just in case the CastleJJ family tries to abscond with SS." (TM)

I know that if they had smart watches that track kids movements back in the day when Chef's ferrals were young, the Girhippo would be the first to get it and have StepDaddyBigBucks set it up for her (she's a moron).

Yesterdays's picture

I find that utterly disgusting.. To track someones family 

I feel like I would leave it at home.. 

CastleJJ's picture

This is the second time that we have dealt with a smartwatch as it relates to SS. The first time he showed up with one was right after our custody battle. GF told SS that she was concerned about "human trafficking" during our visitation and wanted SS to take it with him to ensure he was safe. After he told us why GF sent it, we made him take it off, turn it off, and leave it in our pantry until the visit was over. BM and GF never sent it again. That was in Summer of 2021.

We haven't seen or heard anything about the watch outside of SS talking about it during casual conversation while at BMs, during our twice weekly phone calls. We've had a dozen visits since then and he has never brought it back. Well, on Friday, he showed up wearing it. We can't confirm BM and GF are tracking him, but given her history, I would assume they are. I can't confirm that it was intentional or malicious, whether they knew SS took it or not, etc, but given how high conflict she has been for most of this, I have to assume the worst until she proves otherwise. I'm not letting my guard down. DH and I are going to see how often SS actually wears it or uses it, and if it becomes an issue, we will ask him to leave it home. 

It's so hard because BM used to direct all conflict to DH directly, openly fighting with him and sharing every opinion she had of him, his life, and his parenting. The courts told her she couldn't conduct herself that way and that is was inappropriate. Well, as soon as a judge said that, she changed her tactic, having all that conflict go through SS. So we often hear from SS "oh my Mom said I can't do that" or "Mom said I need to make sure you apply sunscreen or bug spray." Now, all of BM's messaging to DH is subliminally delivered via SS. I don't know what is worse - directly dealing with BM's abuse or having to navigate these situations with SS in the middle. 

thinkthrice's picture

"So we often hear from SS "oh my Mom said I can't do that" or "Mom said I need to make sure you apply sunscreen or bug spray." 

Rags's picture

Catch a squirrel and put the watch on it as a collar.  See how freaked out BM and GF get with that.  Better yet, put it on a migratory bird.

Diablo

Just kidding of course. Mostly anyway.

Winterglow's picture

OMG, that is absolutely brilliant! My vote goes to the squirrel.

GAWD, I love this!

Rags's picture

"Good thing your mother isn't here and has zero say over what goes on in our home."

Lather... rinse... repeat.  

Highlight mommy's bullshit and make sure the SKid knows his mother is an idiot.  Not in those exact words, but with clarity.

 I would.

Nea

BethAnne's picture

You could try going out today and buying him a (regular non-smart) watch for Christmas that will appeal to him more and then he will hopefully wear that one during your visit and not the BM-tracker. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Send that damn thing on a field trip. I would be tempted to mail it somewhere or even drive around with it to a weird place while he is in the shower (the local nightclub, a garbage dump, a church for an obscure religion, etc.) 

Yesterdays's picture

I was thinking that too... Send it with someone else on a journey or take it somewhere weird. If she replies I would tell her stop stalking!! 

CastleJJ's picture

Knowing our luck, it would get lost in the mail and we would owe BM money to replace it. Thank God, he hasn't touched it once today and it's sitting turned off on his bookshelf. 

Winterglow's picture

I'd be curious to know how long he's had the watch. Bet he got it less than 2 weeks before he got on the plane. 

Is he still (according to BM) too uncomfortable at your place to spend several weeks at the time? Do they still send him with stuff drenched in their perfume.

CastleJJ's picture

He has had the original smartwatch for several years. They just upgraded him to a new smartwatch sometime in November or early December. We had a phone call with SS the day he got it and SS mentioned BM and GF were setting it up. 

The conversation about SS spending more than 2 weeks with us hasn't come up since last summer, when BM most recently mentioned that he was uncomfortable. DH doesn't push it because he knows even if SS wants it, BM will never allow it, and we aren't going back to court for it. Luckily, the perfume covered stuffed animal stopped coming when SS turned 11. We don't know if SS asked BM to stop sending it or if BM just stopped sending it. 

CastleJJ's picture

UPDATE: So far today, SS hasn't touched the watch once. It's sitting turned off on his bookshelf. It's in the same exact place he had it last night. We went out to run some last minute errands this morning and he left it home. We are hoping that continues.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

I would hate the idea of being tracked by BM, so I completely understand your feelings. It is telling the watch got upgraded before his visit. Hopefully he stays so engaged with you guys that he continues to forget to put it on!

Rags's picture

I would not give a shit what BM, GF, or SS want regarding the smart watch. It would go in a secure place the second he arrived and I would not give it back to him until I dropped him off at the airport for the return to WombLand.

No discussion, and zero response if any of them said one word about it.

Nea