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(<i>This is an off-shoot of another post, which hit on this topic, but was primarily focused on something else...</i>)<br><br>
Right of First Refusal (<i>basically, the right of either parent to care for the child outside their normal parenting time, rather than the current parent arranging other childcare</i>) is part of our state Parenting Time Guidelines. Thereby, it's presumed to apply to all divorces with children, unless the couple's custodial orders make an exception. In fact, <span style="text-decoration:underline;">even if a couple <i>doesn't</i> have orders</span> (say they're separated, but not legally): If a dispute over access to the kids gets taken to court, the judge is supposed to say that in the absence of agreement between the parties, they should have followed the PTG.<br><br>
I understand CPs who like the peace of mind that comes with knowing <i>your</i> time with the kids is <i>yours</i> and you can make whatever arrangements for them that you want. But based on my family's experience, <b><i>I</i></b> find it frightening when ROFR isn't automatic. (<i>Another member lightheartedly suggested it was frightening that ROFR is standard, where I live</i>.)<br><br>
A large part of the reason my husband now has sole custody of his son (from a previous marriage) was that his ex - after using every excuse in the book to deny his visitation while she lived <i>here</i>, but getting little or no support from the courts - moved across the country and essentially said, "Think you can tell me what to do? Try enforcing regular visitation from 2,500 miles away!" My husband spent a fortune traveling to see his son. He'd be out there one week a month, every month. And he sent her a schedule of his visits at the beginning of each school year, so she always had plenty of notice. Some months, she gave him <b>no</b> parenting time while he was out there. <i>At most</i>, she'd give him 7 hours <i>total</i> for the week; never more than 4 hours in one day, never more than 2 total days of his visit, never 2 days in a row. Meanwhile, the kid was in after-school childcare an average of 14 hours/week and frequently babysat by her parents. Once, the ex went out of town on business for 4 days while my husband was visiting. She left the kid with her parents the whole time. So my husband could have tripled his time with their son - <span style="text-decoration:underline;">or more!</span> - simply by parenting him during the hours the Mom <i>wasn't with him, anyway</i>!<br><br>
Beyond that, it sent an atrocious message to their son, who was at an impressionable age: It's not just your Mom who doesn't like your Dad. <b>The court</b> decided she is your only real parent and he is just some guy you should check in with every now and then. But even when he flies across the country to visit, you shouldn't spend much time with him. He doesn't even rank as high as your daycare providers, in terms of who should take care of you.<br><br>
Our state guidelines do instruct the CP to contact the NCP and <i>offer</i> extra time with the child, before other childcare arrangements are made. But <b>which principle is the critical one?</b>:<br><br>
> The NCP can't have the child outside his regular parenting time, <span style="text-decoration:underline;">unless the CP <b>invites</b> it</span>? (In which case, she can sidestep his ROFR, simply by failing to offer it to him.)<br><i>OR</i><br>
> The child's chance to be <b>parented</b> - by <b>either one</b> of his parents - <span style="text-decoration:underline;"><b>always</b> takes priority over other forms of childcare</span>? (In which case, the NCP can walk into daycare and pick up the child even if the CP is hostile toward this.)<br><br>
In my husband's case the court ruled emphatically for the latter.<br><br>
I wholeheartedly agree with that legal principle. Custodial laws throughout the first world generally trend toward trying to approximate the life the child would have led if his/her parents hadn't split up.<br>
* Child support tries to quantify how much of the parents' incomes would've been spent on the child, if they had remained combined.<br>
*In determining things like whether the parents have to <span style="text-decoration:underline;">share</span> the cost of private school, courts often explore the likelihood that the child would've attended that school, if the parents had stayed together.<br>
*Visitation is trending away from EOW and toward incorporating the other parent into the child's weekday life, as would be the case if the parents still lived together.<br>
*More clear and stringent guidelines on the NCP's access to school, extra-curricular activities and the child's records are also predicated on the idea that both parents would be aware of/involved in these things, if they were still together.<br><br><b>Well</b>, in an intact family, if Dad got off work early, none would question his right to pick up the kid from daycare early. And he'd be trusted to communicate with his wife about it, so she wouldn't worry. <span style="text-decoration:underline;">So, I like the idea of making divorced Moms prove why their exes should <b>lose</b> that right... instead of making <b>every</b> divorced Dad prove he deserves to keep it!</span><br><br>
As with a lot of things in divorce, ROFR does work better in the absence of conflict... but it's arguably more <i>important</i>, when there <b>is</b> conflict.
 

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I have to say, I agree with you. We have a child at the daycare I work at who just turned 3. Before now we usually only saw mom. Dad worked odd hours (as a firefighter) so he usually didn't do pick up or drop off. Now their divorce is finalized and the dad has REALLY stepped up. Apparently he has pretty much standard visitation (EOW plus 1 night a week). But he picks the boy up from daycare maybe 3 days a week (sometimes more if he can). Why? ROFR. The mom is at work so puts the boy in daycare (typically he gets there around 7:30). Dad comes to pick up the boy between 8:30 and 9:00 (after I give him breakfast). He spends the day with dad and goes back to mom once she is off work. I think this is wonderful for the boy. He has actually blossomed a ton after his dad started doing this and he really looks forward to these daytime visits. I don't understand why they continue to pay so much for daycare when they only use it 1-2 hours/day.... but that's not my business <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> I guess it's a small price to pay if they can't do an exchange without stress.<br><br>
Ex and I don't live close so this doesn't really affect us, but if he were to start getting unsupervised visits (overnights/weekends) you can bet I will be staying in town and insisting Owen come back to me when ex has to work (he works in a restaurant so his days/hours are all over the place). If ex were to suddenly show up here.... there really would be no opportunity for him to take ds. I drop ds off at school, I pick him up after school. He's not in any daycare/afterschool program. Very rarely do I leave him with someone else.
 

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I agree with ROFR, as long as the parents live close enough for it to be practical. I also think that the parent should get the child over the stepparent. Some courts don't think that ROFR applies when it is a stepparent caring for the child.
 

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I agree with you.<br><br>
In some situation I can see were ROFR shouldn't be allowed. There will always be those types of situations.<br><br>
But, IMO, it should be the defacto situation. I hearing more stories were mainly mom's are hurting themselves because they insist on daycare when dad is more than available. We have several friends that are laid off and ex is insisting day care even though dad is home all day or if not dad can take over to his parents.
 

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I think it's a good idea in theory and great with reasonable co-parents but I can see it being really bad without there being an "awful" enough reason to get it legally removed.<br><br>
If my x had picked my kids up from daycare frequently and extremely early I would have been kicked out of the daycare which would have been disastrous for both the kids and I. ...and what about the child's activities and visits to family members? Can the other parent decide that those aren't going to happen too? I can see ROFR being abused and used to manipulate and control the CP. Totally sane, appropriately behaved co-parents...great! Otherwise....eek!
 

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Decent daycare can be very hard to come by. If the child is pulled in and out depending on what is going on with each parent that could be really bad. I would not have allowed my x's parents to take my children over daycare. Daycare was a better situation and more reliable which I counted on to be able to work. The CP who generally carries the larger financial burden should not have their life turned chaotic for ROFR. I don't think it should be default.
 

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In the situations I am talking about it with grandparents watching noncustodial are laid off and the grand parents can see the school outside their door.<br><br>
Dad nor mom has problem letting grandparents baby sit. Well see didn't until she could no longer justify higher child support for day care. Dad wants to use grandparents to save money mom can't give a valid reason why not to.<br><br>
As for activities, if a child has a scheduled activity the parent should take them.<br><br>
Schedule visits to relatives are different than letting Grandma watch the child instead of the dad. Like the above situation, she asked grandma to watch the child on the week end instead of dad since it wasn't his time. That is wrong.
 

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I think ROFR is essential. My ex used to take the kids and drop them off at his parents and go and do whatever (fishing, etc.), when I was home and available to have our kids. Just to hurt me, just because he didn't want me to have them. And he admitted that outright, pretty much word for word what I just typed. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I can see ROFR going either way. But in this particular situation with your husband's custody case, it seems like the sensible thing to do would have been<br>
going back to the judge and getting an amended custody order reflecting the fact that his child had moved out of state. Am I missing something there?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>*MamaJen*</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437241"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I can see ROFR going either way. But in this particular situation with your husband's custody case, it seems like the sensible thing to do would have been<br>
going back to the judge and getting an amended custody order reflecting the fact that his child had moved out of state. Am I missing something there?</div>
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She says he has custody now. I think it boils down to there is a process. When a parent moves out of state, depending on state law, this can add to the process.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jeannine</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15436390"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><b>Well</b>, in an intact family, if Dad got off work early, none would question his right to pick up the kid from daycare early. And he'd be trusted to communicate with his wife about it, so she wouldn't worry. <span style="text-decoration:underline;">So, I like the idea of making divorced Moms prove why their exes should <b>lose</b> that right... instead of making <b>every</b> divorced Dad prove he deserves to keep it!</span><br><br>
As with a lot of things in divorce, ROFR does work better in the absence of conflict... but it's arguably more <i>important</i>, when there <b>is</b> conflict.</div>
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"He'd be trusted to communicate with his wife about it, so she wouldn't worry."<br><br>
That's talking about a married couple - not a divorced one, right? I think it's a huge leap and assumption that the same courtesy would be extended to an ex following a divorce.<br><br>
Again - glad I don't live where you do. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
I find it scary and unsettling that my ex could potentially waltz into school/daycare and pick up the kids w/o telling me.<br><br>
And then I show up and they're arbitrarily gone?<br><br>
So if he leaves them with his parents - I can just show up there and take the kids?<br><br>
Where's the line? I pay for summer camp that my dd wants to go to - he can show up and take her?<br><br>
She's at a friend's birthday party - he can show up and take her?<br><br>
I think it's essential that ROFR should be established, but not assumed, and that the NCP can prove they can abide by the guidelines. Not the other way around.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>*MamaJen*</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437241"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But in this particular situation with your husband's custody case, it seems like the sensible thing to do would have been going back to the judge and getting an amended custody order reflecting the fact that his child had moved out of state. Am I missing something there?</div>
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Goodness, what you're missing (what I didn't say) could fill a novel! Certainly, the visitation orders changed when she moved across the country. Aside from the standard visits during school breaks, my husband became entitled to "liberal parenting time" whenever he traveled out there to visit. But during the 1st 4 (or was it 5?) hearings, the judges (2 different ones!) basically ruled that the ex couldn't be found in contempt for denying liberal parenting time, if no one had defined what that was. She felt 0-7 hours in a week was compliant, so who were the judges to say it wasn't? The complicating factors:<br>
1- The cowardly judges were reluctant to go ahead and define liberal parenting time, for fear of appeals and potential precedents for other cases. And certainly, in <b>most</b> cases it would be better for two people who live in separate states to negotiate what works for them individually and not be hampered by precedents that were set based on other people's lives.<br>
2- The ex was under a Permanent Injunction to comply with all aspects of their custodial orders or serve 30 days in jail. So no judge was willing to find her in contempt <b>for anything</b> and thereby invoke that penalty. It <span style="text-decoration:underline;">just</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">isn't</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">done</span>, here. Fathers who fail to pay child support actually serve jail time, sure. But not mothers who deny access to the child. If threatening a mother with contempt and injunctions doesn't scare her straight, <i>nothing else will happen to her</i>... until a judge finally gets fed up enough to take away custody of her child! And that's what happened to my husband's ex.<br><br>
As far as ROFR, it was written into their custodial orders, but it's <b>not</b> standard in the state the ex moved to. So, even when presented with copies of my husband's court orders and reminded that <b>our</b> state still had jurisdiction over the child's custody and that the federal Uniform Child Custody Act required Mom's state to respect the orders...the after-school daycare director, the principal and the school system attorney <b>still</b> refused to let my husband pick up the child after school without written permission from the Mom. And she wouldn't give it. And she's nothing if not cunning. Each time this came up in court she said, "I have no problem with him picking up V. after school and I've never failed to comply with our orders. Each time, it has been <b>school staff</b> who decided not to let V. leave the building with him. That's not my doing or my responsibility. Clearly, he must have behaved in some threatening or dangerous way that made them think V. wouldn't be safe with him." Then the judge would clarify - verbally - what my husband's rights are, or even admonish the ex to write the necessary note. But the judge(s) refused to issue new <b>orders</b>, since the way she presented things made it sound like she had no argument with my husband's position and it had all been some misunderstanding. Sometimes that bought her several months <span style="text-decoration:underline;">to continue with the same old noncompliance</span>, before my husband could get a new court date. After 18 months or so, the <b>third</b> judge basically said this was b.s. and gave my husband custody.<br><br>
So, again - it would've been simpler if California recognized a NCP's ROFR <span style="text-decoration:underline;">unless the CP has a court order proving it's been revoked, in their case</span>. Then again, all these problems eventually led to my husband having custody, which I find much nicer, of course. So does he. It's much more complicated for my step-son to say so, but I think <b>he</b> prefers the current arrangements, as well.
 

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I can see where their are applications for RoFR that seem reasonable and fair, and indeed in the best interest of the child. However, I can see a lot more abuses of RoFR--namely what others have suggested.<br><br>
Before my divorce was finalized, I had to attend a court-mandated parenting-through-a-divorce seminar wherein the two Friend of the Court caseworkers suggested plainly that RoFR, 9 times out of 10, is used as a way for one parent to manipulate or control the other. The potential for that seems, to me, obvious.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Ceinwen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15438106"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I find it scary and unsettling that my ex could potentially waltz into school/daycare and pick up the kids w/o telling me.<br><br>
And then I show up and they're arbitrarily gone?<br><br>
So if he leaves them with his parents - I can just show up there and take the kids?<br><br>
Where's the line? I pay for summer camp that my dd wants to go to - he can show up and take her?<br><br>
She's at a friend's birthday party - he can show up and take her?</div>
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Certainly, any of these abuses could arguably be justification for terminating the ROFR. None of them are <span style="text-decoration:underline;">in the best interest of the child</span>, which is supposed to be the top priority.<br><br>
To me, the essential debate here is should we <i>assume</i> a NCP is going to be a bad parent and make him prove he won't be, or should we assume he will be a good parent and start revoking his rights <i>after</i> he abuses them? Or, to put it differently: Is the CP <i>necessarily</i> the better parent, or is one parent often assigned to be the NCP simply because <span style="text-decoration:underline;">the details of their lives, work schedules, the kids' ages, tempraments, etc.</span> make it impractical for the kids to spend equal time with both parents?<br><br>
I think it's easy for us women - who generally expect to be the CP - to feel cavalier about making men prove they deserve the same parental rights we take for granted... <span style="text-decoration:underline;">not because they've done anything yet to call their parenting into question</span>, but <i>simply because they didn't get primary custody</i>.
 

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As someone whose ex has definitely done things (and *not* done things--vital things) which have called his parenting into question, it's hard for me to imagine ROFR working for dd. I could see it working for others, for sure.<br><br>
But some things cross my mind when it isn't just a matter of a "babysitter" being called in for a day here and there while the NCP could be caring for the child. What about the child's need for stability and routine? As the parent of a toddler, I just can't imagine it being in her best interests to be bounced from mom to daycare to dad to daycare and back to mom again in one day, especially if this happens at random days and times, and unpredictable intervals. I also think that, while we don't consider daycare to be on par with the care a child receives from their parents, that the relationship a child has with their daycare provider is still an attachment relationship, and it needs to be respected and nurtured for the child to feel truly secure and comfortable.<br><br>
I'd say, random babysitting times longer than a couple of hours would be fine for ROFR, but regular daycare, maybe not so much, or on a "as agreed on by both parents" basis.<br><br>
Not intending to hijack, but another issue that this thread reminded me of is the flip side: what about those NCPs who cancel their scheduled visits on a whim (in my case, it's usually because he has a social engagement), leaving the CP having to cancel their plans? Should the NCP in such situations be ordered to pay any extra child care costs incurred if the CP has already scheduled activities during this time and needs to hire a sitter?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>PoppyMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15436553"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it's a good idea in theory and great with reasonable co-parents but I can see it being really bad without there being an "awful" enough reason to get it legally removed.</div>
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I think treating anything in child custody as a black and white rule doesn't usually work well in practice. There are just too many variables in case to case.<br><br>
I'm going through this now, and simply because STBX doesn't have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol nor has actually ever physically hit me or the kids, everything goes as normal as far as standard custody laws.<br><br>
It sucks. Right now he could essentially pick up DD anytime he wanted to, and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. Talk about feeling defenseless.<br><br>
So yeah, in theory where you are dealing with two sane good co-parents, ROFR shouldn't even have to be spelled out... they likely are respectful enough to each other to handle this logically. In other cases... who knows who is going to abuse it to whatever icky means.<br><br>
Unfortunatley, not every adult looks out for the the best interest of the child. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> And unfortunately, it seems not all laws do either... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">
 

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There is no way I would agree with giving my ex the right of first refusal. He barely comes around, she sees the people who lead the monthly Y sleepovers more often than she sees him, and when he does show up he is patient for maybe an hour if that.<br>
Each parent should be able to decide where they want their child to be when it is thier time for custody.<br><br>
A parent moving away without the other parents written permission is different. The parent is still responsible for getting the child to the parent with visitation rights, in our state they even have to foot the bill and the non-custodial parent can block the move if they know about it in advance or get a court order for the parent to move back if they don't. Moving away is different from having a child in daycare or with a sitter that you trust while you are at work or on a date.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jeannine</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15438279"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it's easy for us women - who generally expect to be the CP - to feel cavalier about making men prove they deserve the same parental rights we take for granted... <span style="text-decoration:underline;">not because they've done anything yet to call their parenting into question</span>, but <i>simply because they didn't get primary custody</i>.</div>
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To address this point - I realize that there are some different scenarios - but women generally expect to be the CP - because the majority of the time (even in a married couple - they are the primary caregiver.<br><br>
I don't know a single couple where (whether SAH or WOH parent) the father is an equal parent in terms of child care, booking and going to appointments, etc.<br><br>
I work in an emergency dept. and can count on one hand the number of times a father has brought in an ill child - it's always the mother.
 

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i didn't read the entire message word for word. i brought this right of first refusal thing up to my STBX on saturday. i planned a brief vacation to see a friend in june. told him about it about 1.5 -2 months before so that i could see if he wanted to watch the kids or if he wanted me to find someone to do it. he agreed he would watch them.<br><br>
on sat night he basically told me that i TOLD HIM i was leaving and he was watching the kids and he had no choice. i reminded him that i gave him the choice and if he wanted me to find someone i would. i told him about the ROFR and he was like " oh i don't care about that, that is so not what this is about." he basically sent me an email that he didn't want me farming out our kids to randome people to fit " my agenda" and that he doubts i'm going to see my friend that i'm going to see.<br><br>
what do you do in a situation like that? where you're trying to do the right thing and it's getting all mangled up??
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>vocalise</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15438747"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What about the child's need for stability and routine? As the parent of a toddler, I just can't imagine it being in her best interests to be bounced from mom to daycare to dad to daycare and back to mom again in one day, especially if this happens at random days and times, and unpredictable intervals. I also think that, while we don't consider daycare to be on par with the care a child receives from their parents, that the relationship a child has with their daycare provider is still an attachment relationship, and it needs to be respected and nurtured for the child to feel truly secure and comfortable.</div>
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I think it really depends on the child. The child I wrote about in my earlier post is absolutely fine with the arrangement. Just this morning his mom dropped him off at 7:30 this morning, I fed him breakfast and dad picked him up at 8:30 for the day. When mom gets off work around 5:00 dad will bring kid to her house for the night. I absolutely think that, IN HIS SITUATION, it is way better for the kid to be spending so much time, though unpredictable, with dad rather than at the daycare. We love him, he's been with us since he was 6 weeks old (he just turned 3 years), he's very attached to us. But he's more attached to his daddy. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
For my son, that would never have worked. My son thrives on routine and anything unpredictable is enough to throw him off for the entire day. Not cool.
 
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