Friend mortified at thankyou text I sent after babysitting.

(43 Posts)
lill72 Mon 22-Apr-13 07:52:59

Hi,
My friends have often offered to babysit DD, so last weekend we thought we would take them up on the offer. They don't have children of their own, our DD is really the first baby they have ever spent time with and this was their first babysitting gig, for a few hours one afternoon. They love DD and have spent lots of time around her.

As we walked out the door, the guy was playing with a doctors kit DD had.
I mention this as it relates later on.

We came back, they had had a great time with DD and all was great. The next day I sent a thank you text. When we had got home DD had been asking DH is he was well and getting out the thermometer etc from her doctors kit - for two hours that night! She was driving DH crazy!! So I thought she must have been playing the game that day with my friends.

so when i sent a thank you message the next day - i asked if they guy (who we call dr even though he is not) if he had been playing doctors and/ nurses with DD as she had been giving DH a medical examination for 2 hours when we go home !! It was just a jokey question as i thought she must have been playing the game.

I find out later that the guy was mortified - and thought i was implying dark, sinister things went on. Ie doctors and nurses. I could not believe it. It was just an innocent question - could have asked did you play in her toy kitchen all afternoon if we had got hoe and she had been madly baking cakes for us.

I was so taken aback as they didn't want to babysit anymore as they think we don't have their trust. I think we have talked them around and the wife of the couple tells me their are things that happened in her partners childhood which would explain his paranoid reaction.

I am just at a loss to think how anyone could read into something so innocent like this. what do you guys think?

Ledkr Mon 22-Apr-13 07:55:31

They are totally over reacting. How ridiculous. Tell them what you meant And leave them to their ott thoughts.

Shesparkles Mon 22-Apr-13 07:56:27

Youve kind of answered your own question really - there are things in the paetner's childhood which has led to him thinking the way he did.
You just need to keep reassuring your friends

Ruprekt Mon 22-Apr-13 07:57:00

Actually, I can see how this could be misunderstood. hmmhmm

I do feel for both sides though.

Did you put lots of smiles on txt? To say you were laughing about it?

Txts are easily misread.

Sorry.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 22-Apr-13 07:58:12

Err, that is quite an established phrase for something non-innocent so I can see why they were perturbed, but I would have thought your additional explanation would have settled it.

vix206 Mon 22-Apr-13 07:58:24

Yes keep reassuring them, poor guy obviously has had problems when he was younger. I think in half a year or so you'll all be laughing about this...

iamabadger Mon 22-Apr-13 07:59:13

Personally I wouldn't be offended, but it is a phrase that can be used to imply adults up to sexual activity; and also to describe curious experimentation between young children. In this case this man sadly has lasting issues from his childhood which have touched a nerve. You should be sympathetic towards the poor bloke, it sounds like the reaction is about his unresolved feelings not you personally.

SoupDragon Mon 22-Apr-13 08:02:45

I can see how it could be misunderstood.

SoupDragon Mon 22-Apr-13 08:03:30

Especially if if was made via text and not with all the laughter and smiles that would have accompanied it in a verbal/face to face exchange.

tazzle Mon 22-Apr-13 08:08:56

I can understand that words can be most definitely interpreted differently by reader than the sender's intentions depending on recipients state of mind and experiences.

Given his past and the "double meaning" innuendo that medical exam can have especially male adult to female child it's maybe not such a huge leap for him to wonder if there was more to your question than the simple one.

Lots reassurance needed for him I suppose and I hope confidence is restored both ways very soon.

imour Mon 22-Apr-13 08:25:19

depends how you exactly worded the txt tbh .

manticlimactic Mon 22-Apr-13 08:30:04

I'd either visit them or phone them just to explain properly. Things can be mis-read on texts because you don't get the tone of voice.

TBH the phrase Doctors and nurses is sometimes used for saying something sinister is going on, so I can see how there's been a misunderstanding.

MammaTJ Mon 22-Apr-13 08:34:29

I normally would not have any patience with a misunderstanfing like this but given the explanation you have of issues from his childhood, reassure a lot, then ask them to babysit again fairly quickly as the ultimate reassurance, emphasising that you don't leave your PFB with anyone you do not trust 100%.

everlong Mon 22-Apr-13 08:36:57

That's why you should never send texts other than yes or no!

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 22-Apr-13 08:37:15

I can easily see how this was misunderstood.

Use phone not text another time.

"Doctors and Nurses" is sexual innuendo, so easily misinterpreted. if one was the patient and the other the doctor, where does the Nurse come into it?. I do think that you need to think about how you say things, but this is partly because of the man's past, also.

Flisspaps Mon 22-Apr-13 08:39:21

I think that given he was playing with the doctors kit before you left, despite the other connotations of the phrase or any past events in his life, they've overreacted. I would think it pretty clear that you were referring to him having been made to play with the same toy for ages, not that you were making accusations.

Surely they have the sense to realise that if you were suggesting anything untoward had happened, you wouldn't be doing it by text?!

LemonPeculiarJones Mon 22-Apr-13 08:41:43

Obviously you didn't mean anything by it, but I can understand how it might be misconstrued. Given the extremely difficult memories it triggered for the guy I think it's best to continue to reassure them.

Have you met up face to face to discuss it? It would be a good idea.

I think this could be an opportunity to strengthen your friendships if anything if you are open and sympathetic.

lill72 Mon 22-Apr-13 08:56:19

Thanks for all your comments. I only found out they felt this way when we caught up with them on saturday - I was heartbroken they would think this and Flisspaps - as you say - you would never make an accusation like this in in a text anyway.

The message did have exclamation marks at the end - to show it was a joke, however upon re-reading it, I guess my choice of words of doctors and nurses andjoke of 'medical examination' were not the best.

In my mind, all I was thinking of was when my brother and I used to play the game 'doctors and nurses' when we were young. I don't really think of it as sexual inneundo - and especially not in the context of a child having a doctors kit. It just never occurred to me.

We had a very long discussion about it - the wife understands and gets where I am coming from. I think we have explained it over and over enough for the guy to get us. I apologised for my possible poor choice of words and we left it as done and dusted - I would think more carefully about my words and he try to be a bit less paranoid.

Although I know he had a bad childhood, I do not know the full extent of it and this has hit a raw nerve. During the conversation, to make him feel better, my DH was going on about how the relationship between DD and our friend is and we love some particular photos of him holding her in the pool on holiday last year. This made him groan - as he was again reading too much and being paranoid about something innocent we said - again thinking we were implying something. This I guess shows you the level of his paranoia/sensitvity.

He also said a comment suggesting he had to build trust with us with DD, but in our minds he already has it. We would never ask them to look after DD if we didn't trust them.

We did and will continue to reassure him and we will ask them to babysit again. It has just created a sort of awkwardness between us.

JerseySpud Mon 22-Apr-13 09:06:17

I think in todays world it is easy to be very paranoid about what people say.

People are alot quicker to accuse now than they were say 20-30 years ago. I used to be the doctor for my grandad when i was 6. I remember him saying when my eldest was about 1-2 that there is no way he would be able to play it with her because its automatically assumed that something sinister is going on, even when completely innocent.

I think you've done the right thing OP in just reassuring them

StanleyLambchop Mon 22-Apr-13 09:18:11

I think as you saw the husband playing with the doctors set when you left, then it would have been safe to assume that they played together and that is where she got the idea of the game from. So I am not really sure why you needed to text and ask, it does kind of seem as though you were checking up on him. Exclamation marks do not always signify 'jokey' comments either, so easy to misread in a text.

Mentioning a photo of them together in a pool- well that was quite ill advised given the way he had reacted to the doctors question, Did you not see that coming?

Next time why don't you just text a simple thankyou, and unless you have any specific concerns, leave it at that!!

Lucyellensmum95 Mon 22-Apr-13 09:25:55

This is a good reason why texts are the work of Satan

nannyof3 Mon 22-Apr-13 09:30:43

The guy had problems in his childhood....

Thats why...

Its a very sensitive issue

BreastmilkCrucifiesAFabLatte Mon 22-Apr-13 09:30:52

I can see how this could have been misconstrued.

I'd suggest you go round to their in person, with no kids but perhaps some flowers, and just apologise.

lill72 Mon 22-Apr-13 09:35:13

StanleyLambChop - they are some of our closest friends - it was a jokey message, definitley nothing more. It was just more my reaction to my DD being obsessed with asking DH if he was well and checking his temperature . We always love to know what DD and DS have got up to with others - whether it friends or at nursery - as you probably do? As it is all about seeing them develop. Just interested tis all.

Again - the pool was such an innocent comment. We have posted the photos refereed to on facebook for friends and no issue was made of it.s a seemingly innocent comment made by my DH. In my mind - it was simply a lovely moment with my DD and one of my best friends.

All quite innocent things, twisted by a text. Agree Lucyellensmum95.

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