My B.F. has his daughter for two weeks this month as a
The daughter's mother (I can't say ex-wife as they were never married because she is B*t Sh!t crazy - see my other post on that for the scoop), is an alcoholic. She is on the downward spiral, so you would imagine that just about anything would be better than where she is at now. I am not yet convinced that Daddy Day Care has been much better.
She is enrolled in horse camp for both weeks so she has somewhere to go during the day. Bonus activity for Dad as Mom would have left her at home, unsupervised. Horse camp is an awesome adventure where she gets to learn to ride, groom and care for a horse and many of the other animals located in the petting zoo of the facility. To me it sounds like free labor under the guise of instruction, but hey, what do I know? As a 10 year old girl, I would have absolutely done anything to go to horse camp.
Anyway...the trouble is in her daily routines away from camp. She is outside sweating all day. First order of business at the end of the day should be bathing, followed by clean clothes and a relatively nutritious meal. Instead, she goes to work with Dad for the last hour of his day, sits on a showroom sofa eating junk and watching movies on TV. That is followed by a run through the nearest hamburger joint followed by more watching of the TV and passing out into the bed, still unwashed from the day's activities.
I have tried as delicately as I can to explain to him that personal hygiene starts at a young age. Mom gets her in the shower an average of once per week, which is unacceptable in my book. Dad swore up and down that it would be different at his house. Well, it is different, I don't think we have hit once per week yet. UGH! The daughter has really thick and beautiful hair, if she takes care of it. If not, it is curly and she ends up looking like Bozo the Clown sans the red. Sufficient to say, Bozo is in town and she's staying...
Meal options are also a HUGE issue. I gave him a long list of relatively healthy snack options that I send with my daughter to school that she also happens to enjoy. His daughter is very selective in what she eats and if it is healthy, she will pass. So, instead he got a variety pack of chips, sodas, cookies and a long list of other JUNK that she doesn't need to eat. She already has issues with her weight, so IMHO it is his job to provide her with healthy options and then follow up to ensure that she chooses wisely. If he doesn't help her to learn this process now, she will definitely be an obese girl very soon.
I really had high hopes for how he was going to handle his time with his daughter. He had asked for my advice beforehand and was even crazy enough to ask my opinion on how he was doing. I had to tell him that I was disappointed in how it was turning out so far. That lead to a long discussion on how our lives are all about CHOICES and our jobs as parents are to teach our children how to make the right choices for their lives. Someday we are going to have to let go and we can only hope we made a big enough impact along the way.
I really must be a Pollyanna because after our conversation, I just KNEW he would steer her in the right direction. Make her shower, give her healthier choices, be an actual parent that says no, but was I wrong. It turns out that my home actually does have a buffet line and it includes one very large, very fatty piece of steak that was consumed in its entirety by one 10 year old girl. I had a nice k-bob with some veggies grilled all together, he had Italian sausage grilled to an ugly char and she had fatty steak topped off with Olive Oil just in case it tried to crawl back out on the way down. I stared at him in disbelief as he put the entire steak on her plate. This was at least a 16 oz. steak. Add a baked potato with real bacon pieces and a vat of butter on top and I almost couldn't eat. My arteries hurt just watching her consume her supper. She ate every bite and was STILL HUNGRY.
Now, I understand that he wants to be the good guy, but in this situation, as a parent, we don't always get to be the good guy. If he really wants to do right by his daughter, he is going to have to help her make better choices. Heck if I don't hear "I hate you" from my kid periodically I figure I am not doing a good enough job of leading her in the right direction.
Don't get me wrong, I am NOT a perfect parent. There are times I do stuff that makes me shake my head wondering how in the world I thought that was the right thing to do. We all make mistakes. We all let stuff slide. In the end, the right things have to outweigh the marginal things and the marginal things have to outweigh the bad things. It is our CHOICE to parent our children in a manner that will help them make the right choices without us.
Dang it, now I sound like an after school special. I think I hear The Family Channel calling...