Skiing lessons vs basketball...continued
Yesterday, BM sends DH an email informing him that both kids are playing basketball and giving him the dates of the games. She is sure to say "you got emails from the school about this, so you should have known about it." Um, the emails DH got were "youth basketball registration is open". Neither kid has mentioned basketball and BM did not say "hey, the kids want to play basketball, so I'm going to register them. Many of the games are on your weekends, is that ok?" BM also includes the receipt and tells DH how much she paid for basketball.
For some backstory - Last year, DH decided he wanted the boys to learn to ski. They both loved it. Last year, BM had also registered one kid for basketball without telling DH. We scheduled our ski weekends around basketball games. We scheduled the third lesson on DH's last weekend in February with the kids, after basketball had ended. We told the kids that we had scheduled it and said "next time we see you, we'll be going skiing." Then three days before the ski lesson, BM texts DH to say she's signing the kids up for flag football, which begins...that same weekend. DH said that they couldn't go to flag football because he had scheduled a ski lesson. BM said "well, can't you reschedule it, it's only one day." Well, no, we couldn't reschedule it because flag football was going to be every weekend from that weekend through April. DH said "fine, I'll ask the kids." They both said they wanted to ski, but then one called back later and said he wanted to do flag football. So, one kid went skiing and skipped flag football, while the other skipped his final ski lesson (meaning we lost the $130 we paid for it) to play flag football. After that, DH told the kids on multiple occasions that if they wanted to play a winter sport, that was fine, but they would have to choose that or ski lessons, because the schedule conflicted. This year, neither boy mentions basketball, but both have repeatedly asked, "when are we going skiing this year?" and also asked specifically about taking lessons.
So, after DH gets the email from BM telling him that the kids are signed up and directing him to the dates of the games, he replies and says, "well, I had planned to take the boys to ski lessons on my weekends for the winter, so now we have two options: 1) make the boys choose if they would like to do basketball or skiing; or 2) we switch weekends, so I have the boys on all the weekends over the winter where they don't have basketball. Also, if you want me to contribute to basketball that's fine, but I would expect you to contribute to skiing (and he provides the amount ski lessons will cost)."
BM replies - "I don't think it's fair to make the boys choose. How was I supposed to know that you wanted to take the boys skiing, you never mentioned it to me. You're now just trying to force me to take on all the responsibility of taking the boys to their activities. I don't care if you pay for basketball, I'm done trying to get you to comply with the parenting plan." Her response was much longer and more histrionic, but that's essentially what she said.
A few things:
1) I don't think it's terrible for kids to choose one activity or the other. You can't do everything and because DH only has them every other weekend, adding another sport makes it impossible to get ski lessons in.
2) DH doesn't need to tell BM what he's planning to do with the kids on his weekends, but she sure as hell needs to tell them if she's going to sign the kids up for something that will happen on his weekends. DH actually wanted to sign the kids up for the six weeks of skiing lessons, but I pointed out to him that only four of the weekends in that program fell on his weekends, so we didn't schedule it. If we had followed BM's lead, we would have signed them up and told her she had to get them there. (What DH really wanted to do was have the kids on extra weekends to take them to skiing lessons, but BM still would have said no.)
3) If she signs the kids up for something without telling DH, then yes, she should expect to be responsible for taking them to all of those activities. As it is, in his compromise, DH said he would take two weekends when the boys had games and get them to their games, but under the current schedule more of the games fell on his weekends. How is that "fair" (since BM always loves to say things aren't fair) for BM to sign the kids up for something and then tell DH he has to make it happen. He could easily say "tough sh%t, it's my weekend and I won't take them." In the past, BM signed the kids up for baseball camp in her town (40 miles away from DH at the time) on one of his summer weeks with the kids.
4) Last year, DH told BM he wanted to sit down at the beginning of the year and work out a budget they could both agree to for sports and activities and a plan for those activities for the year. I realize that things come up, but I think when you're a divorced parent, you have to put a little more planning into being a parent, because you are co-parenting. That's your responsibility, especially if you - like BM - wanted the divorce and demanded that you be the CP. Any time DH tries to have a discussion with her where they work together on a solution, she views it as her opportunity to veto DH's plan, without offering her own plan. She just vetos. Last year, in the summer, DH presented his budget, which was reasonable and for which BM had no counter budget to offer. I even helped him worked up a proposed cost spreadsheet to share with her. He told BM that he planned to take the boys for skiing lessons because we had taken them skiing once and they both loved it. BM's response "they've never mentioned skiing to me and I refuse to pay for it." DH said, "that's fine, I'll just subtract the full amount of ski lessons from my budget for the year and when my budget's gone, I'll be done paying for any more sports and activities." Because BM makes so much more than DH, they split the cost of extras 70/30, with DH being responsible for 30% of the cost. Needless to say, skiing ate up our entire budget.
5) BM has decided she doesn't want to demand that DH pay for basketball, because it's less than 1/5th of the cost of skiing lessons. So, she'll just pretend that DH "never" pays. Last year, she wanted DH to buy football cleats for one of the boys. He said, he could do that, but wouldn't be able to buy them until the following weekend. BM screamed that, that would be "too late" and then - because she's totally disorganized - she ended up buying them the weekend DH had said he'd buy them and had to deliver them to the child at the game. After that, she gave DH a receipt for the cleats and some "fruit chews" her husband had purchased when he purchased the cleats, wanting DH to pay her for 100% of the cost. This was the same weekend she wanted him to give her, her child support check 2 weeks early. The following weekend, DH gave her a check for 30% of the cost of the cleats - in compliance with their parenting plan. BM sent him a long handwritten letter about how he was "wasting her time" and sent his check back. We still have the letter and the check. We also have emails back and forth reminding her that DH had said he would pay 100% for the ski lessons, but that would come out of his budget, so yeah, if she wants to go off and say he's "out of compliance" with the plan because he doesn't just hand over money, she can do that, but we can prove she's lying.
6) In their parenting plan DH and BM have "joint decision-making" over medical care, education, and sports / activities. BM never includes DH in any of her decision-making. He's lucky if he finds out about something after the fact. But of course, in her mind, he's the only one out of compliance.
So done with all this BS.
She also ended by saying that special snowflake SS11 has "mentioned to me several times" that he feels that you only say something to him when you have something negative to say, but never praise him and that makes him feel bad. According to her (and yes, this is a quote), he said, "I don't feel like I can feel proud of my accomplishments, because Dad never tells me he's proud of me." Seriously, I almost barfed when I saw that. DH is always hugging both of his sons and telling them how much he loves them and how wonderful they both are. Also, he tells this SS all the time how "you have a great arm for football." He also goes to every game and video tapes every play that SS is in and plasters it on facebook and talks to SS about football all the time. How is that not showing pride in your child? What he doesn't do is give out random "you're so wonderful praise." He does call the kids to tell them they need to hand in their homework (when they don't) and doesn't accept the trade of an A in gym class for a C in some other course, because homework wasn't turned in. He also gives them helpful parenting pointers - like, "when you're on the sidelines in a game, make sure you're paying attention to what's going on, on the field and listening to the coach. that will help you learn about the game and also show the coach you're dedicated to the team" or "when you're learning to ski, it's going to be difficult, but you can't give up, the only way to get better is to work hard." Whenever he says those things, both SSs, but especially special snowflake, say "Dad, why are you always picking on us?!" I sometimes say, "he's not picking on you, he's trying to help you get better. You both need to stop thinking everyone's picking on you." Of course, they spend most of their time with BM who thinks everyone is picking on her and with her DH who believes every crazy crackpot conspiracy theory known to man, so good luck to us. Seriously, though, how will I stand this kid when he's an adult and still crying that daddy didn't give him enough praise.