Saturday, July 2, 2011

Difficult Drop Offs

I mentioned in my previous post that we had a hard time picking up my stepdaughter from her mom’s house for a while. Well, not surprisingly, we also had some rough times when she was dropped off or picked up at our place.

Days where she was dropped off, SD’s mom would make her departure a long, drawn out performance, telling Stepdaughter that she'd miss her, making SD "come give me one more hug," and so on. As you can imagine, the whole process only served to whip up SD into an emotional frenzy. Then, after BM had finally left, I was the one who had to deal with her inevitable, screaming meltdown.

Then her mom started spending longer and longer at our house when it was her turn to pick up or drop off. Even if SD had her coat on and was ready to go, her mom would come in and sit down in the living room for a while.

It made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing when she was here. Much of the time my BF wouldn’t even look up from the computer when she came over, or he would say hello and then turn back to his video game. This left me wondering if I had to play hostess and make conversation while she was here. At the same time, though, SD’s mom seemed to mostly ignore me....but in an elephant-in-the-room kind of way. It was just awkward all around.

I remember one day when SD just wasn’t into her mom’s drop-off performance. She happily walked in and sat down next to some crayons I'd laid out on the coffee table. So what did her mom do? She came in, sat down on our couch, and proceeded to color with SD for almost half an hour.

It was like watching a train wreck in my living room.

I tried talking to my then-boyfriend about it afterwards, but he wasn't much help. His take on it was, "Well, what am I supposed to do? Tell her to get out?"

When that didn’t work I tried slyly opening the door just enough to let SD slip through with the premise that I didn't want to let the cat out (actually true). That didn't work, either--she just pushed her way past me.

Finally I decided that the smartest thing was to just remove myself from the situation. Rather than answering the door and collecting an armload of toys and blankets from BM I hid in the bathroom when I heard her knock on the door. BF was forced to get up and let them in. Then, since he would immediately get back on his computer, BM was left sitting alone with SD in the living room. After a while the drama faded away and her drop offs and pick ups started going smoothly for the most part.

Have any of you faced anything like this? How did you handle it?

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