Hmmmm. Where to start......... Three weeks I've watched the behavior ect of katie, her husband, and the family as a whole unit. And believe me, I've been watching big time. Katie is working her tail off, worrying herself to death. She's the one who holds it all together, she does 99 percent of everything an adult would do as a wife, mother, parent. Her husband (M) is as much a child as the other 3 kids. I don't say this to cut him down or to be mean. It's just a simple fact. Think developmentally delayed........and I'd place him on a good day at about 16, on a bad day about 10 yrs. Seriously. On top of this I suspect (and for those who prefer politically correct terms sorry but I've got to be blunt) that he is mentally retarded, as in seriously low IQ. He may or may not have dyslexia. But even people with severe dyslexia usually can find ways to cope with reading and learning to read ect. Nichole has a severe form of dyslexia......she's never had any extra help with it, but she developed her own coping mechanisms out of necessity. She struggles much more than the average person, but she can function quite well. And I don't base what I think his IQ is at simply due to the fact that he is illiterate. I happen to know many people who are illiterate (common around here) who are also very smart people. One doesn't necessarily have to do with the other. I'm also suspecting he "might" be on the autistic spectrum......if he is he is at least Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). But the whole being really really slow in intelligence makes that a bit harder to judge. Katie does not have a husband. She has another child, and I mean that literally, in an adults body. I don't say these things about M to be mean. Oh, he can be a jerk......but that is usually because he's acting about 10 yrs old and picking fights with the kids or instigating them between the kids or some such that makes me want to strangle him. He is more their big brother than anywhere near a father figure. And what is worse, the kids treat him as such. I feel for katie. This is her husband : 1. 44 yr old man who dresses like he's a gangsta teen. Yes he looks ridiculous, but has not one clue that he looks ridiculous, even if you comment about it. 2. He is obsessed with computers to the nth degree. It is all he talks about except for rare occasions when he brags what a tough guy he is or that he "trained" under a 5 star chef (yeah right, sure he did lol) He does not stop talking about computers, how he loves them, how smart he is with them (seriously he isn't, I know more than he does and I don't know that much) how much he wants one right now, how he is going crazy without a computer, and omg he all but drools over mine that is password protected and he is not allowed anywhere near. He's even taken up asking for one for xmas and his birthday (dec 2). Uh, no. Sorry about your luck bud. I don't get MY grown kids presents for their birthday when I'm worried about keeping a roof over my head and the bills paid......I can't think of even once I bought easy child's husband a birthday present, because duh.....he's not my kid. I don't even get xmas presents for adults if the budget is too tight. lol 3. M has no concept of money. He knows what it is, what it does. He has no concept of how much it is, how long a certain amount can last.......Ok think the 6 yr old who thinks you get money because the bank gives it to you. Budgeting is waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond his ability. It would be like asking Aubrey to budget. Not kidding. I'd say Darrin, but Darrin budgets his money wisely. lol 4. He does not get social cues. They sail right over his head. You can look him in the eye. You can out right say something to him and it zips right past him. He does not get it. 5. Of course the whole child thing, which is huge as it affects the entire family. Katie attempts to parent with him behaving like a 10yr old and undermining everything that comes out of her mouth or deliberately instigates to make the kids behave worse.....just like a sibling might do. (especially a difficult child sib) 6. He has not one clue about responsibility. Not one. When I made them return to the motel he could not grasp that husband and I simply can't afford to have them here. All he sees is the big house, the nice furniture ect. It doesn't dawn on him that along with that comes a house payment, bills, and the like. Katie tried to explain it. I tried to explain it. Nope. Zip........bang. 7. He soooooo totally did not grasp what we were trying to explain to him about doing volunteer work to have something to do, to meet people for both references and potential job leads. After 45 mins on the subject both katie and I gave up. Right after that he said he wants to put in apps at all the places I've been trying to get him to go to. So, looks as if he saw it as I thought he wasn't trying hard enough........when that wasn't what either of us were saying. (even though he isn't lol) That is M in a nut shell. I have to limit it to that as I could write a book. So........................ How do you discuss with your daughter that if she has any hopes of a future at all for herself and her kids that she has to dump her husband who would probably fit in nicely (and qualify for) the halfway house for MRDD across the alley from us?? Her husband is not a horrid person. He is a severe difficult child with multiple issues of which make him incompetent as both a spouse and a parent. The "man" drives me nuts consistently..........but it is the same way Travis drove me nuts at 12 yrs old.......only on many levels worse. It is so bad that if something ever happened to Katie, we as a family would have to go to court to prevent him from having custody, as it would endanger the kids. Yeah. That bad. And I've watched him for 3 wks very closely just to be sure. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if his IQ were many points below Alex's. Sad, but true. (and alex's is pretty low) Ok. Now to be fair......... Katie: 1. Parenting skills are right up there with easy child's and Nicholes. Does have some issues treating both Alex and Evan as if they are much younger than their ages and with consistancy (some of that is due to her husband) but over all is making me proud. She's come a very long way in this area. 2. Is responsible. Knows what needs to be done and works hard to get it done, from getting all the info for welfare, jobs, the school ect to paying the rent at the motel.....attempting to manage the money her mom gave her and the food stamps (you should hear the fights over this whew) 3. Is not only parenting 3 kids alone, but also parenting her husband who due to being an "adult" refuses to listen to anything she says, simply ignores her when she tells him to stop ect. (some of this applies as the social cues thing too) 4. Her migraines are due to being stressed beyond the max, worrying herself to death over having a roof over their heads, feeding the kids, being a good parent, clothing the kids, dealing with the school..........and all the rest that goes with being the head of a single parent household. She will feel fine. Then you put her with her husband and the kids and 15 mins later she's got a migraine. Yeah......well sometimes they give me one heck of a headache and I'm not around them 24/7. This is awful. But if katie wants to turn her life around and offer her kids a brighter future.......the only way I can see that she has any hope of doing that is by getting rid of her husband. I know that once he was gone, and he accepted he was gone for good (cuz he's the type that is going to bug the hades out of her for months at least) her migraines are going to decrease dramatically. The children's behavior is going to improve drastically due to consistency of real parenting. Their lives will stabilize, which will be a new thing for the kids. If she does not get rid of him..........she will continue the futile effort of spinning her wheels. Homelessness will always be knocking at her door no matter how hard she works or tries to keep it at bay. Kayla is now old enough that she has noticed her dad is not like other dads. He frustrates her beyond belief, embarrasses her. As she grows older that is going to get worse, a resentment will build up toward not only her dad, but katie as well, especially due to the conditions she's been growing up in. I see her in her teen years trying to find a way to escape the situation which puts her at high risk of latching on to someone worse than even her dad by getting pregnant at a very young age in a desperate search for some sort of security and stability.....something she has never known. Alex and Evan may never get it about their dad.. (do to their own gfgness).....but their own potential is going to be stunted because M is a major player in treated the boys as much younger than they are while treating and depending on Kayla as if she is an adult. So? How do you tell your kid she married a person who doesn't have the capacity to be considered an "adult" in any sense of the word other than age? This needs to be discussed, and fairly soon, if she hopes to build a life here. But I'm not quite sure how to go about it without her taking offense that I have it in for the guy or her going to his defense. I know that she was very close to leaving her husband behind in Mo and only changed her mind at the last minute when he begged her to let him "prove" himself to her. I don't have a clue how sincere he was, but in all blunt honesty........even if he put out 100 percent effort, he doesn't have the mental capacity to function as an adult. That part is not his fault. That is the hitch. He can't help that he is both develpmentally a child and mentally slow. But it also isn't right to put their children at risk because he is a difficult child either. I think, I may be wrong but if I'm reading body language right (which I'm good at), Katie sees he does not act like an adult. But the key is, does she realize that he can not / is not nor never will be capable of being an adult? That is the losing battle she has been fighting all these years. I think Katie is torn between: He is a person I care about, he is the father of my kids, he's not horrid. Yet I am not married to a "man", an adult. Instead I face each day mothering the person who is supposed to be my partner but who is instead is as dependent on me as our children. Due to this we've never known security or stability which has driven me to the brink. It can be rough in that position. It's one I've faced many many times with husband being autistic. Many things about himself he simply can't help, it's part of who he is as a person. It took me many years to understand that you can love a person, but not be able to live with that person as your partner. And I've been fortunate that when I draw the line in the sand, husband is able to "get it" and change the behaviors enough that I can tolerate it. But I still have to ask myself daily, Is it worth it to keep trying? The day it isn't husband will find his bags packed. Because I've finally realized that although I may love him, my needing to have a real partner, having security ect is just as important. I just don't know if katie has come that far yet. So we'll keep kidnapping her and getting to know her better and when I feel the time is right we'll have a heart to heart. Oh.......and by the way.........I know it's not Katie spending the money from her Mom. While we were at the outlet mall I put her to the test. Now the katie I've always known and loved is a shopper at heart. One of the stores had 60.00 jeans (nice ones and she needs them really bad) on sale for 10 bucks in her size. I pointed them out to her. She even carried them around for a while. Then put them back. Now honestly, I wouldn't have faulted her for spending 10 bucks on a pair of jeans when she needs them so badly. But she passed the test with flying colors. The Katie from 10 yrs ago would've snatched them up like yesterday's news and grabbed several more that weren't nearly as cheap. Then tonight M when with husband to the store for something to drink. He came home with a case of pop that cost 6 bucks at least (store they went to is close but expensive). Now this was paid for with foodstamps and still katie went ballistic on him and told him he's not allowed to go to the store anymore she's had it. Well, that's one worry off my mind anyway. If she was also into spending money like water they'd really be in trouble.