How do you deal with differences in parenting when your ex refuses to communicate or take your concerns seriously? I realize I have very little control over how ex parents, but there are a few safety issues I'm concerned about with the summer here. I am now doubting whether these are serious enough issues to pursue (which will definately create more animosity in an already difficult pending custody/divorce case). I don't want to be seen in a negative light by the court, but I want my kids to be safe!
As a bit of background, my toddler seriously burned his hand last summer on ex's hot motorcycle exhaust pipe, which was in his backyard. DS is very active, fast, and curious. With two small children, I know how fast they can get away from you.
My most serious concern right now is the backyard swimming pool at ex's house. It is an above ground pool in the very back of they yard with a partial deck and no gate. Our county requires a self-latching gate at least 48" high. It makes me so nervous knowing that DS is running around in the backyard and it would take him less than a minute to climb this deck and fall in the pool . I sent an email to ex and followed up verbally asking him if there was a gate yet and if he could please put one up and he said "I could give two sh!ts about your concerns". I am trying to be flexible on so much but I feel like I have to draw the line on this. Would you call code enforcement? It's his parent's home if that makes a difference, and I'm not on good terms with them.
The other concerns are still the motorcycle in the backyard--burns and is it possible it could tip over and crush DS?? There's an RV back there, I don't even want to think about that thing and if DS could get locked in it with the heat. There's at least one, maybe two 'hot rods' back there and I think they also have a boat back there now too, though I don't know what kind. I am worried he will take the children out on the boat without age/weight appropriate life vests, and I don't think he or his parents even have a boaters license. I asked him about all of these things as well and got the same response as above.
I am not trusting my judgement right now and would just like some feedback on these concerns before I pursue them further. Please no flames, I am just a worried mama trying to do the right thing.
"I sent an email to ex and followed up verbally asking him if there was a gate yet and if he could please put one up and he said "I could give two sh!ts about your concerns". I am trying to be flexible on so much but I feel like I have to draw the line on this. Would you call code enforcement?"
Heck, YES I'd call code enforcement!!! Perhaps you can explain you'd like to keep it anonymous, but that a small child is in the vicinity. Heck, even print out the email with your ex's delightful and caring response.
Do you have a legal visitation/custody arrangement? Because I wouldn't be comfortable about any of that stuff, either. Do you have a lawyer to run this by - who perhaps could write him a letter stating that he needs to have a legally suitable environment for your child, that he needs to follow county codes. I would put your concerns in writing and say it's an addendum to whatever legal agreement you have in place. Take it to court if you have to (easier said than done - but it's concerning that he has NO caring about safety). Don't be afraid to wave his nasty email around. If you don't yet have a legal agreement, it needs to put that stuff in writing. Advice from a lawyer should help - if they try to make it sound like you're nit-picking, then find another one. Because your child's safety is of utmost concern!
I would call code enforcement about the gate in a split second. That simply is not safe. A friend of mine's little two-year-old sister drowned when her mother turned her back for just a moment -- it can happen so fast. So fast.
I wouldn't make a big deal about the motorcycles, but maybe that's because I grew up around them and it's easier to know how to treat something respectfully when it's around than when it's not. Genuine accidents do happen, and not just because a parent is being neglectful. The RV, the boat -- I think you have to let these go. Yes, terrible things could happen with any of these things but they're still reasonable to have around, and the risk is small. Aside from the life jackets. Provide them yourself so you at least know he has them, but don't make a stink unless you find out that he wasn't using them -- it sounds like he's the kinda guy who'll do something just to piss you off.
But definitely get on the phone with code enforcement ASAP.