Man, this stuff with Kane and Jude is consuming me, has consumed me all day long.
If we make this change that their mom wants to make, they will be with her for every week day during the school year except for school holidays and every other weekend during the summer. The rest of the time they will be with us- every weekend during the school year, every holiday and day off from school, and all summer except for the every other weekend when they're at their mom's.
The reason that this is a big deal is this: Jason and I both HAVE TO work full time in order to afford our mortgage, our bills, our food, etc. We both work five days a week; sometimes Jason works six. I ALWAYS work Saturdays, and Jason ALWAYS works Saturdays and Sundays. We both work in retail, so we both always work during school breaks and holidays. At Christmas time, for example, we are off on Christmas day and that's it.
Kane and Jude's mom and and stepdad, on the other hand, DO NOT HAVE TO WORK. Neither of them work. At all. Period. EVERY DAY IS AN OFF-DAY. So when the kids stay with them on weekends and holidays and in the summer, they have the ability to go to movies, the McWane center, day trips; they go on vacations and camping trips and road trips. They have a brand new swimming pool at their brand new apartments where they go swimming every single day in the summertime. And they can all sleep as late as they want to, every single morning.
That's why this arrangement works out pretty well- we are on a fairly strict schedule, and Kane and Jude's school schedule just slides right into that schedule. We never go to the movies, we never go swimming; we very, very rarely go on vacation and when we do, it's a weekend at a friend's house a few hours away, not anything remotely exciting for a kid. At our house there are rules about bedtime and how much time can be spent watching television or playing video games; at their mom's house there are no such rules.
So if this swap happens, they will be at their mom's house for the school week, and then they'll be at our house on the weekend while Jason and I work and they do nothing but sit in the living room. I'm not exaggerating- there will be nothing for them to do. Then during their awesome-ass summer, they will stay with us for several ten-day stretches during which Jason and I will work, and they will sit on the couch. During all the excitement of spring break and Christmas vacation, they will sit on the couch while Jason and I work.
Granted Jason and I are home at night, which means most days we'll get our whole three-and-a-half hours with them before bedtime, during which they will watch television and play video games since that's the only time we allow it. We don't feel like we can move their bedtime back because besides the fact that THEY need the sleep, Reed, Jason, and I need the sleep, too. Their bedtime is just one step in a progression of steps every night that lead to Jason and I falling into bed.
This is all besides the one big flashing neon sign of a reason why I don't think this can work: I'm not convinced that Kane and Jude are old enough to be left home alone for eight or nine hour stretches for several days a week. When Jason told their mom that we didn't have anyone to keep them on those days, her answer was "You better work on getting those days off." Right. Jason will just phone on in that he's going to need to be off from May 28 until August 8 this summer. Thanks for the advice. Even if his employer would go right along with it, that would reduce his paychecks from 80 hours of pay to about 16. The good news is that we have all these piles of money all over the house that have been just DRIVING ME BATTY, and now we can finally put them to good use. Again, THANKS FOR THOSE JEWELS OF KNOWLEDGE, YOU SHINING EXAMPLE OF A PARENT, YOU.
This is all really just an big indicator of what I'd been fearing recently- that their mom is still, for the most part, mentally unstable and totally self-involved. And delusional. And assy.
So, we're exploring our legal options. I think two things are possible. Either someone will wave something shiny in front of her and this will all be forgotten, or it's going to get a lot uglier before it gets better. Right now I'm praying for the first and counting on the second.