DEAR ABBY: My ex has primary custody of our young daughter, “Kayli,” and is with her 99% of the time. I have Kayli every other weekend. Her mom has been dropping her off with a bag filled with wrapped presents. These presents are marked by day and hour. Along with the presents, my ex has created multiple alarms in our daughter’s phone to let her know it’s time to open the presents.
I have asked her to stop doing this, as it is a huge distraction and disruption that interferes with my time with Kayli. On multiple occasions when my daughter and I are eating dinner, her alarm goes off and she gets up and leaves the table to open a present from Mom. Sometimes, she’ll delay leaving the house if she knows it’s almost time to open a present.
Sometimes, I turn off the alarms and silence Kayli’s phone because if she’s not reminded about them, she doesn’t care about the presents. However, what also happens is that Mom will text or call our daughter to see if she has opened the presents. She has refused to stop this practice and replied by saying she will continue because it makes our daughter comfortable.
Kayli has been visiting my house for 10 months. This practice only started three months ago when my ex and I finally settled on a custody agreement. Besides turning off the alarms and silencing her phone, is there anything I can do to limit Kayli’s mom’s interference during our time together? — DISRUPTED IN THE EAST
DEAR DISRUPTED: There is plenty you can do. Contact your lawyer and put a stop to her intentional sabotage. Your ex is trying to prevent you from building a close relationship with your daughter, and it isn’t healthy for you or for Kayli.