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I don’t think I can do this.

Jerrysizzler's picture

Which is a ridiculous thing to say after being married 5 years and together for 8. The biggest problem I never realized I would have when I married my husband is the impact SD's BM and family would have on me raising my child. I also didn't expect a damn pandemic in the midst of my daughter's early childhood. Everything was so manageable and easy before I had my own daughter and now I can't seem to deal with any of it. 

When I was pregnant with DD, BM sent SD home to us with fifths disease. She knew she had it, all her kids had it and SD was the last one to contract it. It turned me into a high risk pregnancy, I missed out on saying goodbye to my dying grandmother, I worried every week until my daughter was born that it would impact her in someway. BM argued that it wasn't a big deal based on SD's pediatrician at the urgent care, and all my doctors were idiots. That was my first red flag but it was a little too late to be neurotic. 

We now live in a pandemic. My husband works for one of the companies that made the leading vaccine for covid. SD is 12 and eligible, yet BM is refusing to vax her because her grand babies might have 5 arms. BM also decided to host a party at an indoor restaurant where SD shared a fish bowl of diabetes with 6 kids sucking out of straws, and thinks this is fine. DD is 3 and I have to constantly worry about this woman's judgement and decisions, and what SD brings back to our home. DH will take his daughter at whatever cost, but I can't stand the idea of losing my little lady to BM's bad decisions. School started again for SD and I'm a nervous wreck.

Is anyone else in this world of covid hell coparenting? What's working for everyone? 

Winterglow's picture

"a fish bowl of diabetes "?

I know it's either a typo or an autocorrect but I'm dying to know what it was supposed to be Smile

tog redux's picture

I figured it was a sugary drink? 

OP, if you are vaccinated and healthy, and your child is not medically compromised, the risk of COVID to all of you is pretty low; however, I don't blame you for being annoyed by BM's refusal to allow SD to be vaccinated. This creates a chance you will all have to deal with being sick because of her.   Your DH needs to stand up for you and your daughter. 

Jerrysizzler's picture

My husband and I are vaccinated. My 3yr old is not, and she's who I worry about. BM has 5 kids, 4 school age and the last in communal childcare. I worry about the Delta variant and BM's handling of her sick kids.

Jerrysizzler's picture

Currently weekends. We have 50/50, but we are doing weekends for the school year. If school shuts down and she's not quarantined we have her for home school.

shellpell's picture

Keep DD away from Sd as best you can. From your last post, she seems like a bad influence, bringing negativity (among other things) into your home. Disengage and do things with your DD alone and out of the house when possible. I hope your DH doesn't expect you to parent her.

Jerrysizzler's picture

DH definitely expects me to parent her, and I did for years. As of last year I've disengaged after an ugly round of homeschooling her through the worst of covid. I've done fairly well keeping my space but it's hard with DD because she loves her big sister and is always vying for her attention despite being dismissed. I've been trying to schedule weekends with grandparents to keep them apart but DH wants them to be together. 

Tried out's picture

dad. Figuratively, of course. He doesn't outrank you as a parent. 

shellpell's picture

Why does he make all the decisions? She is still your child. He isn't taking your concerns seriously so you have to take control. Weekends out and separate from skid until he gets the message.

Winterglow's picture

"DH wants them to be together"

Maybe remind him that they have all the rest of their lives to be together.

Also, how many 12 yos want to be stuck with a 3 yo toddler when they could be with their grandparents being spoiled?

Jerrysizzler's picture

I get his stance because it's already been a hard relationship. My little loves her sister, SD mostly could careless. But yeah, I've scheduled so DD is with my parents on the weekends for now. 

Winterglow's picture

I don't think you can do much about SD's relationship with your daughter, I mean, the age gap is big enough for her not to feel much involved. There are things that just can't be forced.

justmakingthebest's picture

What is the custody agreement? Does she have final say on everything or is it joint? 

Personally, and I know that I will get a lot of crap for this, I would vax anyway. Do the J&J so it is one and done. Let BM get pissed. Parents are losing custody for not being vaccinated themselves. In every case I have ever heard of, if one parent is antivax and the other is pro, the kid gets the shots. I think worse case scenario, the judge tells your DH "Don't do it again". 

tog redux's picture

I agree, if he has joint custody. Or take it to court, I bet he would win, especially if they live in a high covid area that is not doing anything to protect the kids who aren't vaccinated. With joint custody, why does BM get to decide?

Except only Pfizer is allowed for 12-18, so it would be two shots and BM could stop the second one. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

If SD were my kid, this would be one of those times where I'd deal with whatever punishment the court dished out. They can't take the vaccine out of SD, so she'd be at least partially protected. I doubt getting a kid vaccinated would result in losing custody, so it seems like a safer bet than most.

ESMOD's picture

Based on the govt mandate stance you are probably right.. though they could come across a judge with a counter view point.. in the end.. the child would have been vaccinated and it can't be undone.

tog redux's picture

Depends where they live most likely. If it's in a conservative area, the judge could be very upset with DH. 

Jerrysizzler's picture

We are joint and heavily considering this. J&J is rather weak and has the most side effects, so we would probably still do the other.

ESMOD's picture

One of the frustration factors of young kids are all the germs that run through them and can sometimes hit adults hard.

I know you are frustrated because you have little control over your SD and there are other issues related to her that make it dificult for you.  BUT... kids get sick.. they pass germs to their families.  You even say that your own Drs were idiots.. and if a DR told BM it wasn't a problem to worry about.. then I guess she couldn't know differently then.

Covid is part because much of the reporting is sensational and magnifies what are in reality not widespread issues.  Have young people been infected and gotten ill ? yes..  but the ODDS? very slim.  Honestly, we might almost be better off if more kids developed the antibodies so the host population would go down at some point!  Even though I know people who have passed (and some vaccinated by the way).. and others hospitalized.. most were elderly or in ill health.  A healthy young person like your 3yo would be prettty unlikely to die from that.

And.. while SD is in your home.. if your child is having any contact with people from outside your home.. she could be exposed to germs they have too.  

One way that this can be managed is to isolate people that are ill in your home and practice good disenfecting and hygiene in the home.  No a 3 yo or 10 yo will not be perfect.. but I clearly recall that if my brother or I were sick.. we were basically confined to our room.. meals and medicines brought to us.  We were not allowed to run through the house infecting everyone.  So, that might be a good tactic when faced with a sick visiting SD... basically quarantining her... it's not being mean.. it's protecting everyone.. and if she is sick.. she should be resting in her bed most of the time anyway!

ESMOD's picture

Yeah.. that was kind of what I meant.  That they get it.. don't tend to get very sick or die and once they have had it.. they do stand a good chance of developing at least some antibodies that could protect them.

We are exposed to many virus's and germs over our lifetimes.. our immune system actually kind of needs to be faced with something to fight and develop antibodies.. that can also sometimes protect for other similar illnesses.  


tog redux's picture

Yes, but not when few people have antibodies, like with COVID because it overwhelms the health care system when so many get sick at one time. In many places there are only a few pediatric ICU beds, and they are already full.  So even though the risk is low, OP should still push her DH to get SD vaccinated. 

ESMOD's picture

If SD is able to be vaccinated and if her DH has that authority over his child.. of course... everyone that can get the vaccine should probably do it.  I have been vaccinated.  I get the flu shot too.. shingles.. etc.. 

Of course, the variants do concern me because there have been many breakthrough infections.. while not as symptomatic in most cases.. I do know a few people who have either been hospitalized or died from covid even though they were vaccinated. (and I don't know but so many people... lol).

But, despite the fact that younger kids cannot be vaccinated.. most school systems around us have returned to classroom settings.  Masking etc.. but that is probably not the most failsafe preventative.. though barring vaccine access.. it's better than nothing.  


Crspyew's picture

More kids are getting sicker and dying because of the transmissibility of this variant.  If we don't get this virus under control who knows what future variants might bring as well as their impact t to different segments of the population.

Exposing kids to COVID won't provide long term protection.  This is a virus that will likely require yearly booster like the flu.   If SD has all the other required vaccinations why won't BM allow this one?  Why does OP have to introduce that risk to her child?  
i think it is very common to encourage others to take risks that have no impact on us.  It's no big deal until it is your kid struggling to breath in an ICU.

ESMOD's picture

Like exposure to the flu.. it's unlikely that any of us can 100% protect ourselves to exposure to people who have it.  Perhaps like the flu shot, there will be some effectiveness that lingers on and protections even if you don't get a shot that includes the exact strain that becomes most prevalent that season too.  

I'm don't think it's encouraging risk to tell people that you cannot eliminate all risk in your life.  Her child stands a better chance of death or injury every time she rides in a car than the risk of covid. Drowning, Homicide, Flu/Pneumonia, cancer, suffocation.. all have higher mortality rates vs Covid for kids.  Do we not ride in a car?  Do we not take kids to the beach or pool? Do we not allow them to be around people period due to risk of getting the flu?  

I'm not saying..."oh well... you should take this risk.. chances are your kid won't die".  I'm saying she should try to look at the science and figure out how to live her life with that knowledge.  We know it's unrealistic to not travel by car for most people.. we have to get places and we aren't going to walk everywhere!  So we make decisions all the time about what risks are acceptable.. and we take steps to minimize risks (following traffic laws, wearing seatbelts, avoiding driving during bad weather).

She can find precautions to apply with her household as well.  It might be limiting contact.. social distancing for the kids.. wearing masks when they are in closer quarters.. not sharing a bedroom and isolating ill members of her family.    

And it's inflammatory to go to the worst case scenario when that is pretty unlikely.  What would you say if I told you that you shouldn't drive because "it's no big deal until you and your family are in ICU in a coma.. until you experience blunt force trauma wrapped around a tree".  Accidents happen.. illnesses happen.. we can reduce risk.. but if we live anywhere normal of a life, we experience risks on a daily basis.

tog redux's picture

But in her home, there is a child old enough to be vaccinated who isn't. So that's effectively like not wearing a seatbelt. No, you can't eliminate all risk. But you can decrease it and that's what the OP wants to do. So telling her antibodies are good is like saying everything is no big deal. 

Crspyew's picture

Every day.  It's part of my job to monitor case rates across an entity of over 40,000 employees.  It is not inflammatory to go to the worst case it is a personal risk assessment that you nor I can make for OP.  She's uncomfortable with the level of risk that routine contact with an unvaccinated person introduces to her home.  
Accidents  are not always preventable.  But we wear seatbelts and have airbags and driver assist technology, speed limits, traffic laws and enforcement.  The best way to reduce the risk of covid is vaccination. 


ESMOD's picture

And OP cannot personally make that happen without cooperation from her DH and most likely BM.  So what's next.. deny visitation?

She has to do the best she can under not ideal circumstances.. and the knowledge that the risk is not super high for a bad outcome and that if her daughter does get an infection and develops antibodies.. that in itself might be somewhat of a consolation or an attempt to at least dampen some of her fears.

Because.. she cannot vaccinate her stepchild.  So, what can she do?  She could leave the house during visitation..she could require her DH to leave with SD instead of allowing her in the home... is it really necessary to go to that extreme? only OP can say.  

Yes... I'm vaccinated.. I agree that would be the best path forward.. but I don't think that she can get that done without the Bio parent's cooperation. (her DH and BM).

I'm not saying, don't encourage the vaccine because the risk isn't that great.  I'm saying that you may not be able to control the vaccination, but hopefully there is some comfort in that the risk is very low and that she can take steps in her home to protect her child somewhat if her DH will cooperate.. including any symptoms from SD means she isolates in the home.. (or isolates from her and DD at the very least).

tog redux's picture

Or she can make it a hill to die on, since her husband doesn't seem to care about his other child's health. You clearly wouldn't because you think the risk is small. Others may not agree. 

ESMOD's picture

If making it a hill to die on is what she wants to do.. then she should do it.  If I were in that situation and felt my DH had the power to make it happen, I would likely make it a hill to die on myself.

Again.. I'm not trying to poo poo the vaccine since the kids don't have huge risks.. or even moderate risks tbh... 

But, I also don't think it's particularly helpful to ramp up her anxiety over an outcome that is very unlikely.  

And if she doesn't want to make it a hill to die on.. then she needs to figure out how to live with that situation as best she can.

Because maybe she doesn't want to make it a hill to die on because it would cause conflict in her relationship and she knows her husband wouldn't take it well.

Or because she is sure that BM would haul them to court costing a lot of time, money and stress over a legal fight about the situation.

I know we are always on here advising people to go to court.. make hills to die on and stick to the CO.  Sometimes in real life that is easier said than done.

Again,  I got the vaccine.. pushed my 90+ yo father to get the vaccine.. my DH got the vaccine.. encouraged both his girls to get it (one did.. and one is a partial afraid to get her 2nd shot).  If we had minor children who were of that age.. and we could make that decision for them.. I would get them vaccinated.  BUT.. if my DH and his EX were at odds... I'm not sure I could hill to die and refuse to let them in the home.. or demand he get it done against his Ex's wishes.

Fortunately, my DH shares my views.. shoot.. years ago, he took his kids out of school early by over a week at Christmas when that last horrid flu was making the rounds.  

Risks are low.. but it's also low risk for people who have been fully vaccinated to die or be hospitalized and I know more than one person in that bucket.. so I get that low doesn't mean none... but if we worst case scenario ourselves through life.. we won't leave our beds... there has to be some balanced thinking that allows us to live even with risks present.  Because seatbelts fail.. airbags fail.. safety devices improve but don't perfect protection.  it is what it is at the end of the day.. 

But YES.. as I have repeated.. if they can get the kid vaccinated they should do it.. but that may not be something they can accomplish with BM so opposed... or if they do it might be a bad situation for them in other ways.  I don't live their life.. I can't make that call for them.

Tried out's picture

have guided everything about the pandemic. Worst case scenarios are the reason we locked down, wear masks and are encouraged to be vaccinated.

It is not inflammatory to acknowledge that a child dying from Covid is a possibility. Because it is a possibility. Logic can go right out the window when it's your kid. 


tog redux's picture

Exactly. And if everyone says, "eh, it's low risk, no big deal", we never get out from under this thing. 

ndc's picture

My SDs aren't old enough to be vaccinated, but BM and the Golden Goose aren't vaccinated themselves and won't allow skids to be when a vaccine for younger kids becomes available. DH won't go against her on that, either. 

At the beginning of the pandemic I really worried about them infecting DD1.5, as they attended in-person school all last year, usually unmasked (BM is anti- mask as well and takes no precautions). I have now resigned myself to it.  The numbers give me some comfort - few kids get seriously ill from Covid, and even fewer die.  I know kids my DD's age and younger who've had Covid and have been just fine.  My skids attended school in person all last year (and continue to do so) and haven't gotten sick. The school is not requiring masks this year, either, except on school busses, where compliance is low. 

I would of course prefer that skids not be out and about increasing their exposure risk, and I'd prefer that they get vaccinated when they can, but these are things out of my control and I've chosen not to live in fear. There *are* kids who get seriously ill and die, but those numbers are very small.  I will do what I can (I'm vaxxed and DD will be when a vaccine is available to her), and I think BM is a selfish idiot where Covid is concerned, but I don't think the current situation as it concerns young children warrants me spending a lot of energy worrying about it, or drawing lines in the sand with DH regarding the skids. 

advice.only2's picture

So what's stopping your DH from taking his daughter on his time and getting her vaccinated?  GUBM's do it all the time and don't consult with the fathers.  

tog redux's picture

Nothing except what stops all of these men - fear of the wrath of a HCBM raining down on his head. 

Dogmom1321's picture

BM was completely irresponsible when the pandemic happened. She's a nurse. We had week on, week off. BUT DH would allow BM to send her to us on short notice. Well, of course BM got COVID at work and had already sent SD to OUR house. She texted DH "Your wife might want to go get tested. I know she's pregnant." We had JUST announced our pregnancy on FB and told SD. This was maybe one/two weeks after. Part of me honestly felt BM was being wreckless on purpose. ESPECIALLY since she claimed to know I was pregnant. I didn't test positive, but it was nerveracking to say the least. Part of me also wonders if BM ACTUALLY got covid or not, but just wanted to stress us out. I wouldn't put it past her.