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BM taking SD6 for christmas for the first time.. Help?

sunshinex's picture

We've had custody of my 6 year old stepdaughter since she was 2. BM had visitation every other weekend, but by 3 years old, we moved away for work and BM's visitation became summers and march break. She has never really been that involved until recently (coincidentally, when we had our son 13 months ago). 

This year, she asked for christmas. She lives 5 hours away, so she would be taking her from the 22nd to the 29th. We left the decision up to SD as we felt it's only fair to let her choose. She chose to go. We're kind of feeling pretty heartbroken and unsure of how to handle this going forward. 

We assume she'll take every other year from now on, so how would you handle this with one biological child here? My sister in law mentioned waiting until she's home but that will be DAYS after christmas, so I'm totally not ok with that. Does anyone have a similar schedule/routine they could share? 

I'm thinking our son has christmas as usual and when SD gets home a few days later, she gets to open her presents then. But then that leaves my son feeling left out, although I guess that's life sometimes. 

Focused_onourlife's picture

I've never been in this particular situation. I would probably go along with Christmas with your BS and leave two gifts or so for BS to open when your SD is there opening hers. He's 1 so he shouldn't really feel left out (at 1 he doesn't know the difference), especially if he will have a few gifts to open along with SD opening her gifts.

tog redux's picture

Well - 6 year olds shouldn't make decisions. Not saying she shouldn't go with her mother, but it should be a decision that adults make and tell her about. And realistically, if BM went back to court, they'd probably give her every year, considering how little visitation she gets. You don't want SD6 thinking all visits are her choice, because they aren't.

Anyway, yes - open the majority of gifts with your son on Christmas, maybe save one or two for when she comes back and opens hers.  But honestly, at 13 months, he won't care all that much.

SteppedOut's picture

I agree a 6 year old shouldn't be making visitation decisions. What does the court order say (if there is one)?

Also, I definately wouldn't wait to celebrate. If you start that now, it will always be expected. Not such a big deal at 13months, but 3, 4, 5 and so on..it will be huge. 

sunshinex's picture

I think it's only fair she makes the choice in this scenario. Obviously DH and I would automatically say "no" because we want her. But what SHE wants matters more than what we want. We don't let SD run anything around here and we make all the decisions we, as parents, should make but this just felt like the only fair way was to let her choose. 

The court order says BM gets every other year but she's never taken it or even asked. She's never even CALLED on christmas before. So we never thought this would come up. 

tog redux's picture

If she had said "NO", you'd have fun explaining that to a Family Court Judge when BM took it back to court.

Sorry, 6-year-olds don't make any kind of important decision.  Visitation with her mother is not her choice. Granted, this was outside of the court order, but still, giving her a choice gives her way too much power and it's not healthy in this situation. It's the foundation of kids feeling they can treat their non-custodial parent with disrespect because "Dad said it was my choice if I come visit or not".

sunshinex's picture

Oh jeez, yeah, that's a good perspective we didn't think of. Thank you! We will keep this in mind. We definitely don't want her feeling like she can treat her BM with disrespect because it's her choice. We just didn't want her to feel pushed away on christmas, when she's always spent it with us. I could imagine being told "you're going to your moms" when we have a 13 month old now would feel like we've replaced her or something. 

tog redux's picture

Well, you don't say it that way - you say, "Great news! Mommy wants to spend Christmas with you this year! But Santa will come here too, and all your gifts will be ready when you come back".

Oftentimes, custodial parents give kids too much weight in these situations, even if it's well-intentioned.  But she needs to see BM as an equal parent to you guys, not someone she can see if she wants to.

Disneyfan's picture

If the court order says mom gets every other year and this was her year, then there was no need for any discussion.  

NCPs do not have to take their visitation, but CPs can not withhold the kids.

sunshinex's picture

I almost feel like saving a couple for him to open with her is kind of sheltering him from unfairness that's part of life, no? Should I just tell him to suck it up when he gets older and gets upset? 

Focused_onourlife's picture

At 1, I wouldn't look at it as sheltering him from unfairness but letting him dig in and tear open gifts with his big sister as a fun thing. I would also use this year and the next year or 2 to see how consistent your BM plans to be in regards to being a BM to her DD. I think you are a great SM and mom and will be able to determine how you should proceed with handling Christmas going forward with your BS once he is 3+. At that point I think you would have to start thinking about the sheltering, planning how you (well your DH and you for that matter) will approach your family dynamics where your SD is concerned, etc. from that point. This is a new situation for you and i know you're tryng to be fair and covering the basis are a concern for you. And that is great by the way but I wouldn't worry or stress to much about it this year. Make the best of it with your sweet baby boy and DH!

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

He has what she never will have: an intact family and a mother who isn’t a piece of merde. That is priceless. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Don’t be heartbroken about your sociopath stepdemon leaving before Christmas. Be overjoyed! Do NOT delay Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or Christmas dinner or anything like that for a stepbrat, EVER. 

I refuse to sacrifice my real kids’ normalcy for stepdemon’s existence, ever.

Why do you lose sight of your stepdemon’s joy at your son’s suffering and tormenting him??? I haven’t! She IS her heartless and cruel mother’s daughter.

GoingWicked's picture

We did this with SD every other year until BM moved nearby.  I just put SDs presents in her room until she got home.  My kids didn’t care when she opened her presents.  There’s absolutely no good in making your own kids spoiled brats trying to keep up with the skid.

GoingWicked's picture

Oh yes, and the best part of doing SDs Christmas later is the day after Christmas sale, I took advantage of that and got her some neat stuff.

sunshinex's picture

Yep exactly what I was thinking. I don't want to spoil him by giving him presents when she gets hers! 

Livingoutloud's picture

My DD was never with me for major holidays or school breaks as those were dads times. We survived. World didn’t end.  I missed her but was not heartbroken.

You are heartbroken that SD (whom you dint even like) is wuth her BM? Seems like extreme reaction to me 

sunshinex's picture

We've always had a good relationship. It got rough when she was going through some jealousy with my son when he was first born until about 6 months or so, but once he started being more aware and noticing her, she started loving him and I guess my heart grew a bit for her lol. 

GrabitAndGo's picture

What have I missed?  You refer to this child in some pretty derogatory terms, and seem to be waiting for the 666 to show up on the back of her head and her horns sprouting.

sunshinex's picture

She was quite strange when we initially had my son. At his 4 month appointment for needles, she said she was excited to see him get them and smiled. Just odd little things. I think she was very jealous and heartbroken that she didn't have a mom like he did, her dad was busy with him a lot, and she was feeling out of place. I definitely don't think she's evil or anything. 

ETA: She adores him now. She's always protecting him. If he falls, she's the first to run over and help him up again. If he does something cute, she giggles and says LOOK HOW CUTE. She loves him. 

justmakingthebest's picture

Santa happens at what ever house the child wakes up at (look at this as your guys saving a ton of $$). Family gifts can be exchanged another time. Maybe you start a tradition of family gift exchange for New Years on the years that she goes with BM? 

lieutenant_dad's picture

Remember, SD is getting Christmas on Christmas with her mother. It's not like she isn't getting a Christmas. No need to prevent your DS from having his one Christmas just because SD gets two.

Jcksjj's picture

^this. Dont set the precedent of catering your schedule to SD at everyone else's expense. We started out doing that and it was a big mistake. Added to her thinking that she is the center of the universe. DH also seemed to legitimately think no one else wanted to celebrate if she wasnt there and they were all just as devastated as him. Now if shes there shes there, if she is not the day still goes on. Works much better and it's more fair to the other kids. They shouldn't have a delayed xmas when SD is at her moms having xmas herself.

ESMOD's picture

I agree with the posters who said that a 6 year old really shouldn't be given a choice.  It is something that should be decided upon by the bio parents.. or dictated by the CO.  Now.. yeah.. of course you and your DH wouldn't want her gone for Christmas.. but I am awfully certain that you are both mature and intelligent people who know that sometimes what is good for our kids.. isn't what we "want".  Barring some extreme circumstances.. kids NEED to spend time with both their BIO parents.  You know she needs to have time with her mother.  You both also know that her mom hasn't had a turn at Christmas in quite a while. So.. the fair and right thing to do for the child is for her to take a turn with mom this year.. and probably going forward.. it would be a good idea to figure out how these major holidays will work.

I don't agree with putting off the child in your home's Christmas until a later date.  Right now, he won't notice much anyway.. or remember much.  I don't see anything wrong with doing a little Pre.. or Post Christmas celebration for your family.  and I don't think it's sheltering him from disappointment to save a few family gifts for everyone to open on this other day.  part of the fun of giving gifts is seeing the reaction.  When he is old enough to give gifts and she is old enough.. it would be nice for the siblings to see each other open stuff up.  Obviously the older he gets.. the more he understands that he already or will in the future get more gifts.. so the couple that are saved for the alternate Christmas is going to be fine.

Please ignore the responses that are marginalizing and throwing of negative vibes at Skids.. your SD may not be the demon that others deal with.  Some people can't help but project their own negative onto other's situations. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Her SD derived pleasure from the suffering of her baby half-brother. I mean pleasure when he was in pain. I wouldn’t let that kid around a hamster. She lacks empathy which is chilling, if you ask me.

Her mother also lacks empathy, compassion and I think, morals.

Even typing that made a cold chill go through me! My daughter doesn’t derive pleasure from others’ pain. :O

ESMOD's picture

It's absolutely not abnormal for siblings to have jealousy and to act out.. up to and including hurting their siblings when they are upset.   This happens between FULL bio sibling.. they are hurting and they get satisfaction (not the same thing as pleasure) by seeing someone else hurt too.. It's complicated but there is a world of difference between a young child who might hurt a sibling.. push them down.. throw a toy at them.. steal a toy to make them cry.. and an older child or teen that is doing a similar action.  Sounds like OP's stepchild may have gotten past this point per her words.

I mean.. my DH's grandson has bitten plenty of kids in preschool.. and been bitten too..  doesnt' mean that he or the other kids are spawns of satan.  Kids do bad stuff.. sometimes because they don't know any better.. sometimes they know better but they act out because they can't express their feelings in other ways.  It's a parent's job to correct and model their behavior.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Yeah kids fight. They get mad and lash out. This is different. OP’s baby son was sick and almost died and had to get shots and the SD seemed to derive great pleasure from his screams of pain as I recall.

As much as I despise my stepbrat he would never display pleasure at my kids in pain I don’t think. Anyone with a modicum of morals, empathy would not.

OP’s details on the Biohag lead me to think the Biohag is a sociopath or something. She abandoned her baby and rarely sees her daughter and does not care. She doesn’t stay away due to guilt and shame like normal people.

Genetics matter and Biohag’s spawn is exhibiting the same lack of compassion which is beyond creepy.

ESMOD's picture

OP has posted that that phase seems to have been short lived.  I know it's not totally unusual for a young child to be "happy" to see someone hurt.  They lash out and hurt a parent.. another child.. they are externalizing their pain.. and it's like

"I am hurting... so I am glad to see another hurting as well"... it seems that once the baby was more of a "person" to her... she shifted from being so hurt.. maybe became more secure. 

Shoot.. my mom would tell me and my brother to go to our room whenever we pulled the "mulling around in a funk and doing annoying things when we wanted others to be as miserable as we felt ourselves"..  I can see how a young kid might do this kind of thing.  Now.. not saying it's OK.. or that it shouldn't be corrected.. just that it in itself doesn't mean the kid is the 2nd cousin to the devil himself... without redemption at 5/6 years old.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I guess but with her BIOLOGICAL mother’s attitude and behavior I think the odds the SD is going to have a conduct disorder or killing kittens or something is not minuscule.

if the mother ditches the baby after the baby has bonded with her and ignores the kid for years, combined with genetics. Yikes! 

sunshinex's picture

My god, would you relax? She's a child. Yes, her strange lack of empathy drove me crazy when my son was young and I was hormonal. But she's a child! She was jealous and upset. She's not a sociopath. Just a confused kid. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

It’s not relevant that she is a child. Children don’t see a baby screaming in pain and find it pleasurable.

Jealousy is normal but my stepbrat pouted, sulked and interfered with my relationship with my children - his half siblings. He didn’t display glee or pleasure at their suffering.

You tell me to “calm down” when I’m concerned for the welfare and safety of your precious son.

Think I’m overreacting? You’re underreacting. Psychopathy has a genetic component and with her mother ditching her is exactly how the psycho gene gets turned on. It’s how serial killers are made. Don’t believe me? Read this:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5607565/

 

sunshinex's picture

She did not see him screaming and find it pleasurable. She heard he had to get needles and smiled and said she was excited. More than likely, she was hurting really bad and thought "hey, finally, the reason i'm hurting will feel it a bit now, too" You saw one bad post from when she was going through a lot and put on the backburner, quite honestly, as her new little brother fell ill and things were focused on him. 

What you don't see is the little girl who, at 4 years old, prior to her little brother, sat beside me at the hospital when I was having some miscarriage symptoms and we went in - bringing her - because we had nowhere to drop her off. She didn't fully get what was happening, but when the doctor told us and I burst into tears, she handed me tissues and rubbed my back and almost cried herself.

At 4 YEARS OLD. She didn't complain ONCE about being there for 8 hours. Just consoled me the best her little brain knew how. Told me things would be okay. This little girl has empathy, I can tell you that much. She yells at her little cousins when they so much as sneeze near her brother and says "NO YOU'LL GET MY BABY BROTHER SICK, COVER YOUR MOUTH" 

She's nowhere near a sociopath. 

 

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Normally the CO outlines even and odd years... You should have just stuck to that and calle dit a day.... No decisions made by either party, just following the CO.

Steppedonnomore's picture

If SD spending every other Christmas with her mother then that will be "normal" for your son.  He will likely ask about it when he's a little older but, if it is what he grows up with, it won't seem odd to him that SD opens presents when she returns.  Who knows, maybe she will return with a little something for him to open when she gets older.

Rags's picture

Really? First, what adult lets a 6yo make Custody and Visitation related decisions? Then gets all butt hurt and “heartbroken” over it?????

smh

Second,  as the CP household you take priority and it is your DH’s responsibility to be the adult and hold BM to the visitation schedule by no allowing her to interfere in his time.

All IMHO of course.