WWYD Harry Potter or vacation w/ dad?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, here's the situation. My almost 11 yr old son's father lives four hours away (as well as his father's mother, brother, and brother's wife and two tiny kids), and my son sees him fairly often. We were just down there last month for a few days, it was fun. My son's father and i have a great relationship, no problems there. His mother however tends to be a little (ok a lot)controlling and passive aggressive.

So his mother is always planning trips near and far. My son has been to London twice (both times without me), and a bunch of other places. So Grandma planned a trip to the Smoky Mountains with ds, his dad, the uncle and his family (baby and toddler, plus wife)....i said fine, he could go, my son didnt really care one way or the other. He'd generally prefer not to go on vacations or anywhere else with them, only because i'm not there and they have a totally different style then us. (I am more respectful, we're unschoolers, i dont yell at him, etc, plus we have our routine, like reading together, cosleeping, i know what he likes and doesnt like and they are sorta out of touch with all of that. But they are basically ok)...but my son is easygoing and he was going to go. Its only for like five or six days.

The problem is, that the vacation is running from July 18th to July 24th or so. That means that my son will be gone on July 20th.

Do you know what July 20th is??? At midnight??? Ack, Harry Potter release party. We've been planning this for ages (all year), looking forward to it and talking about it for the past couple of months. I mean, its a big deal. Now my son doesnt want to go on this trip that he didnt particularly want to go to in the first place. We had planned on going to Borders for the pre-release party, getting our book that we reserved, and staying in all weekend reading it (while avoiding all media that might post any spoilers)....we've read all the other books outloud, have seen all the movies. We are FANS. This is the LAST book, the last chance to ever experience Not Knowing What Happens.

My son's father was not happy to hear this....mostly because he is afraid of his mother and doesnt want to deal with that fallout. He wants ME to call her to tell her (um, no thanks.) Now i feel like i'm supposed to make my son go on the trip, but i dont want to. At the same time i did agree to the trip...but i didnt realize the dates, and that they conflicted with our plans. Its not like the rest of them can't go, S. just wont go...they can still go and have fun.

So....am I wrong? Should i try to convince my son to go? He goes on vacation with them all the time. He wants to stay here. His dad offered to find a bookstore in TN and get the book for him and everything, but as my son said "its not the same"....

WWYD??

Katherine

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#2 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 02:27 AM
 
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tough one.. sorry, I have no insight.
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#3 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 02:31 AM
 
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How would your ds get to this vacation? Why not just keep him for the first half (so you and he can go to the release party at midnight on the 20th, then read the book together for a day or so) and then take him/send him/? to meet up with the vacation party?
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#4 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 02:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How would your ds get to this vacation? Why not just keep him for the first half (so you and he can go to the release party at midnight on the 20th, then read the book together for a day or so) and then take him/send him/? to meet up with the vacation party?
His father would be coming up to where we live on Wednesday, driving right back to where he lives (so an eight hour round trip car ride), and then they are leaving for TN Thurs. morning (i'm not sure how long it takes to drive there from OH)....there would be no way for me to get him there, other than driving him myself which i am not willing to do because #1 its too far for my crappy little car to go #2 i have to work. I'm pretty sure it would take many many hours to drive from MI to TN. And my son will have missed almost two full days or more of the vacation, so doesnt seem worth it. Although i did think about it.

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#5 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 03:04 AM
 
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Since he can read the book when he gets home I would lean towards the vacation. I think spending time with a parent would be more important than reading a book (and I LOVE to read, although not really a HP fan) on the day it came out.

You could always overnight the book to him.
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#6 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 03:19 AM
 
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i have to go with harry potter...but my judgement gets pretty cloudly when it comes to H.P.....
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#7 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 03:25 AM
 
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I wouldn't make him go, especially if it isn't going to cause any problems with his dad. The grandma can get over it!
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#8 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 04:15 AM
 
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vacation. i actually assumed the thread title was a joke.

it sounds like you don't want your son to go, and that you think his father gets to see him enough. i wouldn't agree.

that part of the family is your son's family too. and while you seem to think that they go on vacation "all the time", it doesn't seem like they actually see him all that much. just down there last month for a few days.. so he sees them maybe a few days each month? that's not that often.

i don't know. maybe your son's father doesn't actually want to be involved in parenting his son. it sounds like he does, though, and you should give him that opportunity. maybe there's more here though that i'm not seeing.

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#9 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 05:27 AM
 
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You and your DS had made plans first. It doesn't matter if your plans and the vacation don't seem equal in some people's eyes. I think if your DS prefers to keep the plans he and you already made, that is perfectly reasonable. I'd definitely go with what he decides.
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#10 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 05:27 AM
 
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ask your ds - i feel the whole hp party for the last book is a once in a lifetime thing, i am going with my ds we are so excited. its not about getting the book immediately is all about the experience and looking back in years to come and being able to tell the grandchildren about it. i wouldnt want tomiss it for the world.

see what your ds thinks.
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#11 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 07:21 AM
 
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true - i guess it is just special for me as i do not get the opportunity to do things alone with my eldest very often, so i guess i am really rather excited about it : it also sounds as if it is very special to the op - she says they have been planning this all year, and that her son is not bothered about the trip.... i just think that even though holidays are important we mustnt underestimate the importance of these other events just because they are not important to other people.
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#12 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 07:47 AM
 
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I think this book release is a one time deal, and that he sees and vacations with his extended family quite often. It also sounds like what both you and your soon want, so I vote book release.

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#13 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 07:49 AM
 
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i have to go with harry potter...but my judgement gets pretty cloudly when it comes to H.P.....
Hehe, I agree. It sounds like his dad doesn't mind, so I would go with keeping him home for this trip and making an effort for him and his dad to get together shortly after.

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#14 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 09:17 AM
 
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Book party! Absolutely. No question about it.

Your son is into it. This is what is more important to him. This is what you do.

The Smokey mountains will be there for him to visit in the future. It's not like he doesn't go on trips with his extended family and Dad all the time. If he's been to London twice I would think the chances of seeing TN again are pretty good too.

IMO a trip that you are not interested in is not something that will necessarily be some thing to tell the grand kids about. Plus as an unschooler you follow your kids interest...that's what kids get the most out of.

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#15 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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vacation. i actually assumed the thread title was a joke.

it sounds like you don't want your son to go, and that you think his father gets to see him enough. i wouldn't agree.

that part of the family is your son's family too. and while you seem to think that they go on vacation "all the time", it doesn't seem like they actually see him all that much. just down there last month for a few days.. so he sees them maybe a few days each month? that's not that often.

i don't know. maybe your son's father doesn't actually want to be involved in parenting his son. it sounds like he does, though, and you should give him that opportunity. maybe there's more here though that i'm not seeing.

xoa
The OP didn't say that the father's side of the family wasn't part of his family, and she didn't say his father didn't want to parent him. The OP said she has a great relationship with her son's father and that he was ok with her ds not going on the vacation....Please don't turn this thread into a "Father's Rights" thread. Maybe read her original post again.

She and her ds made these HP plans before the vacation was planned, her ds wants to go to the HP party, not the vacation, he is 11 and old enough to decide, even in the courts eyes.
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#16 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 11:15 AM
 
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He is 11 and old enough to decide what to do. If he wants to go to the release party, then I can't blame him, I'm going myself dragging along little nursing DD2 as well. : The HP party is once in a lifetime, it's more then just getting a book, it's getting a book at the EXACT same time as everyone else across the country and then going home and reading yourself silly all weekend. : As a lifelong bookworm, I could only imagine how excited I would be as a child, let's just say that I would be not thrilled in the least to have to go on a vacation instead of the book and party I had been planning on all year. Good luck, I can see how this put you in a hard spot.

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#17 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 12:12 PM
 
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I think of the book release party as a vacation for you and DS, one that you had planned well in advance of them informing you of the dates of their trip. It is a special, once in a lifetime event that you both have eagerly anticipated for a long time and the fact that you're not travelling somewhere to do it doesn't make it less valuable than an event that involves travel.

It's perfectly acceptable to tell the ex that you have long-standing plans for those dates and that you'd be happy to arrange another time for DS to be with him. It doesn't sound at all like you are trying to minimize DS's time with his father, just that there happens to be a scheduling conflict on this one weekend.

I bet some of ex's behavior toward you is rooted in his anxiety about having to tell his mother. That's entirely his issue to deal with, it's just too bad that he's taking it out on you.
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#18 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your replies! I'm going on vacation here in a minute (thats another thing, we are getting back from going up north on tuesday, and ds would be leaving to go south on wed...thats alot of vacation!)...and wont have internet there, but wanted to reply.

DS told me last night that he absolutely wanted to go to the book party, but that if i "made" him go on vacation he would go. The reason i'm feeling bad about it, is because i am the one that forgot that "next fri" and "the 20th which is the HP release date" were the same freakin' friday....and they may have possibly picked different dates if i had realized. So i feel guilty about that. And generally i'm one to think "well we made a committment, so lets stick to it"...if it was ANY other year besides the LAST year for HP, i would tell him we'll just read the book when he comes back. Yes, we can read it later, but i'm really afraid the "magic" will be gone, or reduced, esp since his dad isnt the type to look out to avoid spoilers and whatnot. Indeed, he'd be more likely to say "Oh, hey i found out what happened....Harry dies!!!" or some such thing. My son doesnt read the books on his own (although he could), i read them to him. Its a tradition.

I know his dad doesnt see him as often as he'd like...although personally, i dont feel its my fault. He comes up here (four hr drive)as much as he can, which is probably every couple of months. DS goes down there too (which he doesnt really like, but deals with)...and they go on vacations quite frequently. So in his mind, this is just another vacation he didnt really want to go on, and isnt that excited about. The dad didnt particularly want to go either, but no one can say "no" to Grandma (except me: "No, i'm not putting my son in school. No, i'm not following a curriculum. No, my son does not want to go on a train trip across Russia for 10 days. Sorry!") I bowed into them when my son was four, and i let them take him to London for over a week (that was traumatic.) But i digress....

Yes, HP release parties are all about gathering with other fans, waiting til midnight, rushing home and holding that book in your hands. Its amazing to me that all of those theories about "what will happen" will (hopefully!) be answered this time next week. (I Trust Severus Snape!!! )

But i do agree that seeing his father is important for my son---there arent any courts involved or anything, no set visitation, no child support...we just kind of work it out. DS' dad is coming to visit in a couple weeks time anyway, and he's coming with us to the Unschooling Conference in Sept (or so he says), and then we'll probably go back down there to OH in October.

I still feel bad about him not going though, esp since i know that "grandma" is going to be upset, probably offer to fly him down there on saturday...luckily i will be out of reach all weekend, no cell phone, no computer, so she cant call me begging.

We (son, myself, son's dad)have already been to TN once, years ago, and going again is possible. My son has been lots of places...sometimes just with his dad, sometimes with his dad and grandma, sometimes with my family, and sometimes with just his dad and me. He's been on vacation more with his dad and grandma than even me i think. San Fransisco, LA, FL, Mackinac Island, Chicago, MO several times, London, Paris, DC...i'm probably forgetting a bunch. So i'm sure my son views getting the last HP book as way more 'once in a lifetime' than vacation with grandma which will probably happen again next year (actually undoubtedly happen)...

Anyway, thanks again!
Katherine

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#19 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 01:22 PM
 
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i actually assumed the thread title was a joke.

it sounds like you don't want your son to go, and that you think his father gets to see him enough. i wouldn't agree.
: IMO, you should encourage your son to honor the commitment he made and to value the time with his father.
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#20 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 01:30 PM
 
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ask your ds - i feel the whole hp party for the last book is a once in a lifetime thing, i am going with my ds we are so excited. its not about getting the book immediately is all about the experience and looking back in years to come and being able to tell the grandchildren about it. i wouldnt want tomiss it for the world.

see what your ds thinks.


This is the very last time your Ds will be able to attend an HP release party. The smoky mountains will still be there is a few weeks. Plus I have a gigantic problem with people who make plans and don't bother to inform anyone then get all bent out of place if you can't agree to the plans. If someone had called you way back when they were planning this you could have told them you had plans with Ds already. It really was rude and incosiderate on their part to not do this.
My vote? Harry Potter, and DS's dad can tell granny that next time she plans a trip for your Ds she better call first and make sure the dates are OK

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#21 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 02:19 PM
 
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The grandma did confer w/the original poster about the dates. The op was confused and didn't realize that they conflicted. She has stated that grandma would probably have been flexible about the dates if she had been informed. For me that is where the conflict lies. The OP at least tacitly approved those dates and several people went to some amount of trouble to plan a trip around those dates. If I was the grandma it wouldn't really feel like a family trip without my grandson. On the other hand it seems unfair to make her son miss his book release because his mom flaked on the dates. I don't know what the op should do, but it seems unavoidable that someone will justifiably feel hurt no matter what.
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#22 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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The grandma did confer w/the original poster about the dates. The op was confused and didn't realize that they conflicted. She has stated that grandma would probably have been flexible about the dates if she had been informed. For me that is where the conflict lies. The OP at least tacitly approved those dates and several people went to some amount of trouble to plan a trip around those dates. If I was the grandma it wouldn't really feel like a family trip without my grandson. On the other hand it seems unfair to make her son miss his book release because his mom flaked on the dates. I don't know what the op should do, but it seems unavoidable that someone will justifiably feel hurt no matter what.
: i misread and hadnt realised the op had actually been consulted on dates i thought it had been booked up without her prior knowledge. i would talk to ds and then talk to his grandmother, telling her of the dilemma and try and work out a compromise together that will make everybody happy. i hope that his grandmother will be understanding about the problem and work with you to find a solution.
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#23 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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Argh.

I hate when people just assume that something THEY aren't passionate about isn't really a big deal to other people. Harry Potter? Just a children's book, right? Who cares if he reads it a few days later?

Well, clearly the CHILD cares. He already had plans with his mom to read the book. It's a big deal to him. And, seriously, reading the book a week or two later basically means he's going to find out how it ends (which is pretty much the best-kept literary secret of the decade) from somebody else. It's THAT big a part of pop culture.

Waiting that long would be like videotaping the Superbowl and hoping nobody tells you who won for two weeks. A serious fan would never do that.

Same thing here. If the child's dad knows and respects the child and his wishes, he'll totally understand why he wants to skip the trip.
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#24 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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Yeah what the above poster said.

Just because it';s not important to some doesn't mean it isn't for the child and his thoughts and feelings should be taken into consideration over grandma's, sorry. its' an honest mistake to make and if the grandma(extended family) was considerate the still have enough time to possible alter plans to include all.

From a woman who changed her own vacation plans by two days to accommodate this book release date and my Dh completely understood.
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#25 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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I don't envy you the decision.

For me, I would pick relationships over events. I would see it as a call between fostering relationship with extended family over what is essentially a marketing tool - I love HP, but the release party to me is just that, a marketing event.

BUT that is me. You know your child and his life, and whatever you decide, the process of deciding will teach him a lot.

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#26 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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You and your DS had made plans first. It doesn't matter if your plans and the vacation don't seem equal in some people's eyes. I think if your DS prefers to keep the plans he and you already made, that is perfectly reasonable. I'd definitely go with what he decides.
That seems reasonable to me.
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#27 of 122 Old 07-14-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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Your son doesn't want to go as he already has plans.

IMO end of story

When a person has looked forward to something for so longggggg IMO it wrong to change plans unless of course that person wants to.
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#28 of 122 Old 07-15-2007, 05:38 AM
 
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Don't they have book release parties in TN? Could Dad and DS start the book... go halfway through, and then the two of you could finish it together? Then maybe after you two finish the books you can have your own little party or something.
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#29 of 122 Old 07-15-2007, 09:47 AM
 
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For me, I would pick relationships over events.
I see this particular event as enhancing the relationship between the OP and her son. This is a once in a lifetime thing that they both are very excited about and are going to share together. That's a big deal. It's the stuff that memories are made of.

I'd go with the release party. Your son is 11. The HP plans came first and he's expressed what he really wants. Those would be the determining factors for me. Yes, you messed up by not remembering the dates, but that happens and it shouldn't be irrevocable. I would, however, suck it up and call Grandma. You're the one who made the mistake so it shouldn't be on your son's father to fix it.
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#30 of 122 Old 07-15-2007, 10:19 AM
 
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I do think that if you phrased this, "Son's favorite fantasy novel event or vacation with his father?" some of the answers would have been different. That's just a guess, though.

Here are my thoughts.

First, he should have an opportunity to bond with you. But, if I've interpreted this correctly, you have full custody. So it is not as hard for him to find time to spend time with you. So that is one point for him going with dad.

Second of all, I do think that we have obligations to the grandparents of the child. Not only dad but grandmother wants to spend time with the child and wants to share discovery with him. They consulted with you. They had their dates straight. You need to respect that.

Third, in my opinion, national parks are a much bigger deal than a fantasy series. But it's not my choice, so my opinion here is not really the point.

On the other hand, your son has expressed his opinion. He wants to do the release. He would go with his dad, but only if you made him. 11 is old enough to make that kind of decision.

I think that you should call the grandmother (it's your fault that they didn't choose other dates) and your son should speak to his dad afterwards about his decision.

It will be painful and awkward and embarrassing (for both of you) but c'est la vie.

If you are not willing to do that then your son should go with his grandparents. You either take responsibility for what you decide, or you make a different decision.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
EdnaMarie is offline  
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