Friend mortified at thankyou text I sent after babysitting.(43 Posts)
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?
Thanks everyone for your opinions and thoughts. I have done all I can to reassure from my end and will continue to do so. It is the end of it from my end in terms of explaining. It is now up to him to take in what I had said and move forward in our friendship.
Whatever happens, my DD comes first. Ah, such a tricky situation.
Sorry, all that was directed at the OP not the last two posters
It was a misunderstanding. You clarified what you meant. That should have been the end of it. I would`t ask him again because he has created a siutaion whether you will be afraid to query anything that goes on when he is with your child. Imgine how much he would flip out if there was an accident and your child was injured. It is sad that he had an abusive childhoon but your priority is your child. You should be able to out for a night without worrying about potentially offending the babysitter. To be honest he sounds like he doesn`t trust himself.
Ah, I misunderstood. Thanks for clarifying.
I wasn't suggesting he 'gets over' a big and difficult experience.
I was saying he needs to accept the fact that his long standing friend never ever meant to suggest something inappropriate happened between him and her child and that he needs to accept her apology and move on.
To not accept it and now refuse to babysit is ridiculous.
FBMum - I agree. I don't have kids of my own yet but I teach several children (and adults) the piano. I am very careful what I do lest it be misconstrued. I remember my piano teacher when I was a child getting down on the floor and moving my pedal foot for me, but I wouldn't dream of doing that with my pupils because I'm aware of how it would look if a parent walked in at that moment! Your poor friend may just be worried for the same reasons - that in the current climate, something very innocent could be horribly misconstrued. I don't see it as suspicious but a sign that he cares about safeguarding your DD.
Well that applies to most of life's big and difficult experiences, doesn't it? Rape, cancer, surgery, the deaths of our parents, miscarriage, stillbirth, betrayal, being made redundant, the loss of a home etc etc. We just need to get over it.
Alternatively if someone is a close friend, we might try and go that extra mile to help them when we have - quite inadvertently - triggered some old and deep distress.
I can see both sides of this, I'm not an overly patient person either and accept he has issues but I really don't see how what you said, in relation to a child, could be interpreted in any other way. It's his sinister mind that is warping it, through no fault of his own, but I do have a few alarm bells. Maybe spend more time as a group where he can interact with your DD when you're around but I don't think I would be overly comfortable with the babysitting until he has addressed some of his own issues which are obviously at the very forefront of his mind, I would want to know why?
Well you have apologised and explained that you didn't mean to imply anything untoward happened. Not much else you can do. He needs to get over it.
One of the things that regularly worries people who have survived childhood sexual abuse is the idea - put forward in some articles, books etc - that they are statistically more likely to become abusers themselves.
Some people who have been abused in childhood are frightened of becoming parents themselves, perhaps because they are so aware of how vulnerable and powerless children are.
I hope you can turn this one round - it might just need a little more time. Perhaps ask the bloke if there's anything else you can do or say that would reassure him. Or if there's anything he wants to tell you - in confidence - then you'll do your best to listen.
I would agree with FBmum, even now after 3 DCs of my own I am not comfortable around other people's children. If someone were to question, even in jest, an aspect of my care of their child then I would probably be extremely worried and run a mile from future child care situations.
I agree with Lemon... too many protestations. Maybe just leave the babysitting aspect out of your friendship?
Ah - I wrote a long reply and it got deleted....
LemonPeculiarJones - thank you for your reply. It is worth exploring all angles. It is so hard for me to see what angle he is coming at it from, as my upbringing was very different from his. As I do not know exactly what has happened in his past, I don't want to jump to conclusions. I did not really know or consider that the cycle can continue - I don't really know much about this area.
His reaction was extreme to me, as in almost laughable, to me. But I am not coming from the same place as him.
Things I think are seemingly innocent to me are loaded to him. Things like as soon as I mentioned changing nappies, he immediately said he wouldn't do that, it was his wife's job. He has always says he does not want kids at all and they will never have them.
I understand your 'doth protest too much' comment, but I sort of hope he may feel as I sometimes did with other friends children, like FBmum says. For instance before children, I offered to babysit a friends children and they looked at me like they did not trust me - even know I had practically being a nanny for a 1 year old, babysat for years, taught sport at schools and done countless holiday programs and after school care.I had heaps of experience with kids!! Even with this, I still felt it was not my place to touch friends children at all, or only when necessary. I can see that guys may be even more cautious.
I guess I will tend to err on the side that all is ok, that he is just paranoid. He mentioned that I must always have my radar up to this sort of thing, which again I was surprised at. I always have my radar up for the safety and whereabouts of my child, but more sinister things are not at the forefront all the time if you know what I mean. I guess i just have to keep reassuring him and see how things go. We spend a lot of time with them, so I don't want it to be strange.
FB mum - he admits he is paranoid about lots of things. I have seen it and his wife would say it too. Again, must be all related to his upbringing. You have to feel for the guy.
YourHandInMyHand - thank you for your reply and thoughts. I am sorry to hear that you have suffered abuse in your childhood. Your comments are interesting and good to think about. As I said, these are things I have not even considered.
Ah - this is one situation I never though I would find myself in.
Very often, people without children are overly cautious about contact. Before we had children, we babysat for a friend regularly but were very conscious that my DH did not bath the child or was alone with her - and kind of needed the parents to know that we were being careful in caring for their child - in fact, the parents trusted us completely and couldn't have cared less whether DH was alone with their child or not, but it was important to us. Maybe there's an element of that with your friend, combined with his own experiences, which would make his cautiousness seem like paranoia?
LemonPeculiar I agree with your post. I just want to say I was abused as a child and I am not offended by your post, I would be thinking the same TBH. For him to be going on about it seeking reassurances and going on about earning your trust seems odd to me OP.
Erm, I posted earlier saying he just needs extra reassurance, it had triggered an awful experience for him....
But something about your further posts - about just how much you had to reassure him, and his reaction to your comment re the pool pic, makes me think that this issue is a live issue for him. Something about it all concerns me.
Before everyone jumps on me, I know that not all abused kids go on to abuse, and I am not suggesting he is a threat.
I just think this has had a huge impact on him (not your fault) and that maybe he finds intimacy with children more loaded than those who were lucky enough to have a childhood free of harm.
There is slight 'protesting too much' factor. You might get yourself in a situation where you feel you have to prove you trust him completely, leaving him alone with DD etc.
Please, I would hate for anyone to think I am judging anyone who has suffered in this way, who is understandably having a hard time processing their memories as adults. I'm not, truly.
All I am saying is this - his extreme reaction is telling you something. It could just be that he is tackling this stuff for the first time (may have repressed before). But if I were you I would reassure him but become more watchful for a bit.
I'm sorry if that's offended anyone - and I don't know your friends, you do, so please tell me I'm completely wrong to even consider it in this way. I'm just reading this and turning it over in my mind. I'm sure he's completely trustworthy and all is well. Just felt moved to offer up this possible angle.
Eek, lots of !!!s do not mean joke so coupled with mention of doctors and nurses.
Probably the only way to show you really trust them is to organise yourself another childfree and get them babysitting again soon.
Win-win as you get a night out, they feel trusted and your daughter gets to play with her pals.
I can see how this arose as there is an association between kids playing doctors and nurses with them looking at each others bodies as it's what kids do sometimes. (I remember me and a toddler friend doing this.) The text could imply that your dd was recreating him acting out carrying out a medical exam on her for ages, even though you didnt mean it this way. There is a lot of paranoia about this sort of thing nowadays, even if your friend didn't already have issues from his childhood. Mentioning him holding her in the pool wasn't the best move, although again i know you didn't mean it. It sounds like you've done all the reassuring you can and you'll just have to hope it all blows over.
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.
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.
The guy had problems in his childhood....
Its a very sensitive issue
This is a good reason why texts are the work of Satan
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!!
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
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.
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