I am, yet again, shaking with rage.
It happens every so often, and the trigger is generally the same. If you’ve been regularly reading my blog, I’d hazard you can guess who it is.
I’m trying. I’m trying so very hard to make everything simple. I break down every transaction, I use small, easy to understand words. I analyze each transaction and based on his previous behavior, try what I think will work this time—what will make it easiest for him.
I take deep yogic breaths and on the exhale chant what has become my co-parenting mantra – “This too shall pass.”
It’s not working today. I’m still shaking.
At the beginning of May, I started the process to register the children in an after-care program at their school. They were both in the program last year, but as I’ve been on leave this year with Bae and my ex doesn’t require care because of his work schedule, they weren’t in this year. As I’ll be back at work by September, they’ll need to go back in.
The registration process should (really) just be a matter of filling out all the forms and providing payment. And I’m sure for 99.9% of the people who register the children for the program, this is true.
I am, unfortunately in that 0.1%.
Registration has always been difficult
I have court ordered primary custody of our children. We have 50/50 joint custody, but I am the primary parent designated by the courts. This means that I am responsible for the day to day things like medical care and registrations for programs that children participate in while in both our care (like after care). And despite this, the Goblin King consistently f@ks it up.
There was the time that he wanted to register the children for a summer camp through his work. We’d agreed that we’d each have the children in the summer camp of our choice, and I agreed that on this one occasion because it was his work, he could complete the registration.
Two weeks before the camp was to begin, I contacted the camp to ensure that I was named as an emergency contact on the forms in case there were any issues. I also wanted to make sure that the medical information about Puck’s asthma and Flower’s allergies were noted on the form.
Admittedly, I wasn’t incredibly surprised that he’d “forgotten” to provide that information. According to the form, no mother, just a father. No medical issues.
But that wasn’t all. He hadn’t just forgotten that information. Apparently, he’d forgotten that he has TWO children. And he was supposed to register BOTH children for the program. Because if he didn’t we didn’t have care for BOTH children while we were BOTH working.
He’d registered Puck. Flower was not mentioned. He hadn’t provided payment for her either. He initially tried to suggest to me that the program had lost some information, but I have a copy of the form. It allowed you to register both children. On the same form. And provide one cheque for both of them. And he’d told me how much it cost to register each child in the program, so there was no way he could have thought paying half of that would cover both children.
We were lucky that time—they still had room for Flower. I got the registration completed and he provided payment the next day. But this was one of those “previous behavior” moments I noted above. The ones that I consider the next time I attempt a joint program. One that I actually considered before registering the children in soccer. That time, given my previous experience, I involved our parenting coordinator. Made sure that there were clear expectations and timelines. And he still f@ckd it up.
He can’t handle the responsibility
It took two parenting coordination appointments to agree on the activity. At the third appointment, we agreed specifically that if he would provide me with his cheque by a specific date, I would register both children and provide his payment along with my own. If he didn’t get it done by the date specified, I would pay for the program and he’d have to reimburse me so the children didn’t miss out. I reminded him several times leading up to the date.
Surprise! He didn’t provide payment. I advised him by e-mail that per our agreement, I would be registering the children. I copied the parenting coordinator. Then I registered the children online. The next day, he went into the program office in person, registered only our son (again, the favored child I guess—but that’s for another blog), and provided them with a cheque. So there was a duplicate registration for my son. That actually wasn’t complete because it didn’t mention me again, and didn’t include the medical information about his asthma. And my credit card had already been charged for both registrations.
I had a very long conversation with the financial coordinator and sorted it all out. They reversed one of the children and, just for fun, allowed his cheque to pay for our daughter.
But you see, the thing is—he’s told me (while with the parenting coordinator) that he wants to develop “a relationship” with the children’s care givers. The parenting coordinator asked him how his actions have furthered the “relationship” any more than attending the program with the children and actively engaging with their caregivers and coaches. He wasn’t able to provide a coherent response but somehow believes that by providing a cheque or form in person, he is furthering that relationship. The parenting coordinator and I both pointed out that he is actually hindering the relationship by making himself look like an idiot (she didn’t use that word, but that was the gist of it).
The long conversation with the financial coordinator that I had? I may have incredulously suggested that not only had he “forgotten” that his children had a mother, he had “forgotten” again, that he had a daughter. I told her the whole story. That I had already registered both children, he knew it, and still went ahead. She had an ex too. She felt my pain. And I’m sure if she ever saw him in the mall, she’d turn to her spouse and say—”that’s the guy!”
Although, quite frankly, the administrators of the program are NOT involved in the care of our children. They’re just the paper jockeys. It doesn’t give him any street cred at all to speak to them. Especially the way he deals with them. But I digress.
I’ve given up
Quite frankly, I’ve given in. After the soccer fiasco, we had a discussion about shared programs and I said that since this had been an issue for quite some time (no, those weren’t the only two occasions), I would not be registering the children in any shared recreational activities as past experience had shown he was unable to cooperate with a joint registration. I tried to get him to agree just to provide me with a cheque after I paid, but that was no go. The “relationship” thing.
Our 50/50 alternating bi-weekly schedule means that we don’t have the children on the same days every week. That makes it hard to register them in a program on just “my” time—as most programs are weekly. And I acknowledge it’s not fair for the kids, but I can’t keep doing it. I can’t. Because I end up (like today) stressed out and shaking. So for recreational programs, I find something that can work with my time, and they miss the days they’re with their dad. Like the soccer program they’re in now. It’s eight Saturdays, but because one of them was a “holiday”, I have them five out of eight. So they miss three. Or the swimming program for Puck. It was $38 for eight lessons—and he missed four. But given the price, it was a deal. Gymnastics or dance class for Flower? Too expensive if she’s missing half the lessons. I keep hoping for a city run program that’s inexpensive. I’ve also discovered a number of drop in programs—rock climbing. Zumba. Yoga. The price per drop-in is a little higher, and they don’t get the camaraderie of a team, but at least they’re out there.
As for the other things, like the after care, that I can’t avoid involving him in (he’s court ordered to pay for half) I’ve been allowing him to provide his own payment and monitoring to ensure everything is completed. I fill out all the forms, provide my payment, and provide him with his form and specific instructions on where it’s supposed to go, when it’s due, and, often the advisory that if he doesn’t provide it, I will have to pay myself and pursue payment through court. I trust the program to put everything together.
On this occasion, for the after care, I provided him with the payment form and instructions that he was to provide it directly to the program (as all the other parents do). I provided the registration and my payment, and all they had to do was attach his payment info so they can deduct it directly from his bank account. The forms were due by May 31st to guarantee a spot, but as I had provided them to him in the first two weeks of May, I was hoping there wouldn’t be a problem.
Just over a week ago, on the 17th, after two requests for confirmation that he’d filled out the form and provided it to the program, he e-mailed me saying:
“Yes, I did register the children for the program at present for September, last week?”
(Yes folks, as explained before, that’s the way he writes).
I didn’t question him. I took a deep breath and assumed that he had done it. After all, he said he did. Right?
But then, today, I got to thinking. About all the incidents like those above. And just to make sure it was done, I called the program this morning to ask if he actually had provided it.
You’ll never guess what happened
The children’s care provider for next year (the same one they had last year) advised me that she’d asked him twice. And he wouldn’t give it to her. She suggested the implication he’d given was that he didn’t trust her with his void cheque. Apparently, he told her he was going to provide it directly to the head office. And the head office (surprise), hasn’t advised her that the forms are in.
So now I’m in limbo. Shaking. Upset. Again.
Lucky for me, the care provider dealt with him for a year. So she understands what I’m dealing with.
But I just don’t understand. He trusts this woman to look after our children. But he doesn’t trust her to attach his payment information to a form and provide it to head office. Instead, he has to make a special trip, 5 KM out of his way, so he can (in his mind) look like a big man and provide his own payment. WTF?
And now I’m waiting for the head office to confirm that he’s provided his payment. I’m not sure what I’ve learned from this one. I think next time, I may just provide the payment myself and pursue it through the courts. Trying to do it jointly on my own is too stressful. Doing it with the parenting coordinator didn’t work. Will court be easier? I don’t know. I have documentation of the incidents above, as well as others. Maybe I can convince them. I just don’t know anymore.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
This too shall pass.