3 yr old, does and donts, like and dislikes and my high expectations?

(152 Posts)
weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 16:30:52

I recently was given the chance to look after my niece for first time. She has NEVER been away from her mother and I mean never away. She has always been in same house / flat as mum so this was a huge thing for us all. She is 3. It has taken 2 years to reach this point - where DN would be allowed to be with other people, without her mum there.

This was part of being a support/ help to my SIL whose 2nd baby is due in a few weeks and was to mean that on labour day and possibly some other times - we could have DN.

DN was originally meant to come to ours for a play date at the weekend. Her mum emailed through a list of advice and instructions for the 2 hours, detailing what dear niece (DN) likes / doesnt like, does do / doesnt do, what we are to do / not do.

The list said that as DN
doesnt like lumpy food - it has to be pureed
doesnt like to feed herself - prefers her mum to feed her
doesnt like teeth brushed - they dont do it
doesnt like car seat - dont use one
doesnt like to sit in a chair - roams while eating
doesnt like getting face / hands washed - they wait until she is in bed at night to do it
doesnt like to be reprimanded - dont do it
doesnt like other children - not have any others around when she is with us (my own dd is ok, she can stay)
doesnt like adults - make sure there is no-one there but myself
doesnt like to hear the word no - dont say it.
doesnt like public transport - dont use it
doesnt like sharing so better for all if she can have what she wants

The list goes on ....
I thought over the past 2 years we had got to a point where we might get a chance to get to know our niece and spend time with her. I am not so sure.
I said that with those all those conditions- i would find it hard to follow them and look after her. I said I was unsure how they thought i would get her to our house and back as they dont use a car seat and I refuse to drive a child around without one and she isnt to go on public transport as she doesnt like it and it is too dirty with germs.


They have come back to me and said that i have too unrealistic and high expectations of a 3 year old's behaviour.

I am now questionning if i expect too much. I dont think i do but maybe??

MeMySonAndI Mon 17-Feb-14 22:02:16

I have been reading this thread with interest as your niece and her mother, remind me of a father (and his boy). I know well. I have been watching him babying his child to the point that he is really stunting his development (ie. not allowing him to run or go up or down stairs standing up until he was 5) so I feel your pain, BUT... While reading this thread I have thought all the time what Quiet has put in words.

You need to back off, it is not normal you are getting to this level of involvement about someone else's child. I really don't think you care as much about the child as you care about proving her mum wrong.

So now the HV is involved is a good time to back off, and let the things rest.

weeonion Sat 15-Feb-14 11:58:13

I too hope they get the support they need. Some, such as quietly suggests, may think my own behaviour is really strange and meddling. Others, such as HV, think it is enough to warrant a intervention. Felt validated by HV who agreed patterns of behaviour over past 3 years would suggest some issues.
Thanks to all who have given constructive ideas, feedback and support. It helped to clarify alot and i appreciate it. I think this thread has reached its end. Ta folks. X

frugalfuzzpig Fri 14-Feb-14 19:17:49

You've done what you can now weeonion, I'm glad the HV was supportive. I hope she managed to find out what's going on when she visits thanks

quietlysuggests Fri 14-Feb-14 18:44:11

I think its 2 things that you are mixing up-
1) you have concerns about her safety: so report them to SS
2) you wish to know your niece - well tough you don't get to.
I actually think you are being really meddling here.
Getting your husband to go round there and complain that you want a relationship with their child - that was really strange.
Really.
They clearly do not want you involved.
Whats with all this "we've been working towards this for 2 years" stuff - that's odd, it really is.
And if her family are backing her up and saying you are interfering, I bet there is some truth to it.
Because the truth is - she is not your daughter to raise. And if your SIL wants her at her home birth, thinks she is the most special child in the world, doesn't say no, washes her face at night, and plans to homeschool her - that's actually 100% her prerogative.
The absolute only thing that is totally and utterly wrong is them not using car seats - if this is true then report it and move on.
You are not welcome in this child's life, and I think you should report to ss, then back off.

puntasticusername Fri 14-Feb-14 17:55:49

Thanks for the update. I hope the HV can manage to help them. Well done on what you've done and on rising above the abuse!

Jess03 Fri 14-Feb-14 17:13:35

Ah sorry to hear that, that's what you get for trying to help someone eh? Well, they're cutting off their own noses as you could have been a great source of help to them.

weeonion Fri 14-Feb-14 16:11:44

Hi folks. Last update!
I spoke with SIL HV on Wednesday. She was really nice and took alot on board. She is relatively new in post and is going to contact SIL to ask to meet her , as part of her getting to know her families. She also said DN is due developmental check and wants to arrange that. She is not going to say that we have been in touch.
So - its over to then now realy. We have had a few texts this week listing all their concerns about me as a parent. Interesting read but letting it flow past me. FIL and DPs have been giving DP a hard time as well. Funny how they are now all involved and banding together. We are very much cast as meddling nosy fools. Ah well. Thank god we have my side of the family to count on!

roweeena Mon 10-Feb-14 19:15:17

Agree that HV and SS are unlikely to be massively interested but I would recommend you writing to her health visitor anyway (once they have written documentation they will have to follow up). Ask them to keep this in mind when they do the new baby check.

annielewis Mon 10-Feb-14 15:37:14

Hi weeonion - just been catching up a bit on thread - sorry you had a difficult time - unfortunately I suspect she is blaming you as you are the 'outsider' in terms of she is not directly related to you/you are not a blood relation of her DH (if i've understood the family relationships correctly).

Fascinating that she was so critical of you in your early days as a mum as well - she really seems a tad narcissistic to be honest and I suspect you are being blamed because you are not playing along with her version/the role she thinks you are meant to play.

To be honest I think there is not much you can do other than remain as neutral as possible if you want to be allowed to be in your DN's life at all.. she will totally cut you out otherwise - you DP may be allowed in still but you will not.

I speak from being cut out bu a Narc in my DH's family. If you don't fit it she will exclude you.

Tough choice for you to make really now. I am not surprised HV and SS are not that bothered - they have not caused any actual harm to the child yet and to be honest SS and HV are so stretched they will be far down the list of priorities at this point.

Good luck. sad

Jess03 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:05:06

SIL is a nutcase. I'd be tempted to reply that she needs a life but obviously that wouldn't be grown up. What can you do but retreat, while dp making it clear to BIL that you'll back him up if he wants to make a stand.

matana Mon 10-Feb-14 11:22:57

I have been equally gobsmacked and frustrated by this thread - frustrated by sil/ bil reaction and unwillingness of any other 'family' to step in. Tbh if this was me and I'd endured the shitty comments you have op, knowing all the time that bil had confided his concerns, I'd drop that little bomb shell and retreat to your own, perfectly normal, functional and functioning family. Seriously, I would tell everybody what bil said to your dp, including your sil, tell them you don't care what they think of you, and then concentrate on what is the most important thing - your own family. I admire your courage, concern and good intentions. But there comes a point when it's just not worth the aggro.

MrsOakenshield Sun 09-Feb-14 20:20:13

really sorry to hear how it went, though if I'm being honest and from the distance I am from it all, I'm not surprised. But I can understand how you would want to try and sort it yourselves first of all. Interesting to hear BIL's side of it, but unfortunately it's a child we're talking about here (his child!) who is being neglected and unprepared for the world she lives it, and he has to take 50% of the responsibility for the situation.

Well, I guess ring SS tomorrow and take it from there. Yes, they'll know it's you but right now that's a side issue.

so sorry you're having to go through all this. Have some wine and thanks. DN is so lucky to have someone like you and your DH in her life, who are prepared to stand up and be counted for doing the right thing.

AveryJessup Sun 09-Feb-14 20:13:16

They sound like nutcases to be honest and if the FIL and your DP's brothers aren't supporting your DP to intervene then it's pretty hopeless. All you're doing is setting yourselves up as the bad guys to be blamed for upsetting SIL with your 'interfering'.

It's sad to say but I do think you need to just move on and let it go. Leave them to it and make sure BIL at least knows that the door is always open. SIL clearly doesn't trust you any more so offering help etc will be refused.

It's sad for your DN but she is probably 'happy' according to the freaky parameters set by her mother. The car seat thing is the only issue that is life-threatening so you could, as someone else said up thread, report their license number to the police for driving without a car seat. Other than that there is just nothing you can do. Make sure DN and BIL know your door is always open and keep up presents,family occasions, basic communication and just leave them to it. If the neglect of your DN ever comes to the attention of anyone, a HV or school teacher, it can't come from you now that your SIL distrusts you so much so there's no point in worrying yourself any more. Eventually your DN will start to know her own mind as she gets older so that will be the ultimate challenge to your SIL and her nutty ideas.

weeonion Sun 09-Feb-14 19:14:30

Herena - if you this think this is made up - please be assured it really is true. I have sought advice / opinions on it before and believe me - there are other things i haven't gone into here.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 09-Feb-14 16:30:51

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RevoltInParadise Sun 09-Feb-14 16:24:53

Yes!!

Or even a baby in the car with a free range toddler shock

RevoltInParadise Sun 09-Feb-14 14:58:05

This is a sad thread. What are they going to do with the baby if they need to go in a car? What did they do with the dd? Or did they never leave the house when she was little. The thought if a tiny baby in a car with out a car seat sad bad enough a child of three, but a baby makes me shiver.

puntasticusername Sun 09-Feb-14 14:27:42

Oh heck, so the very existence of the new baby is - once again - ALL ABOUT DD? I should have guessed confused

I would imagine that SIL probably won't feel too conflicted when the needs of her two children clash. She'll continue to put her elder child first, as she always has.

Great, now I'm worried for the baby too sad

DumSpiroSpero Sun 09-Feb-14 12:47:06

I really wonder if SIL may have a break down, she is going to be so confilicted which ever child's needs she tries to put first at any given point in time.

Totally agree - it's inevitable I think that this is all going to come crashing down at some point.

To some extent I wonder if it would be advisable to back off and play along for a bit - at least if SS do get involved at a later date there is a possibility that you can be there for the children if needs be.

MeMySonAndI Sun 09-Feb-14 11:17:08

I think you have to step out of it. You have contacted the HV and expressed your concerns. The status quo is going to change anyway when the new baby arrives.

You know you are right, just decline taking care of her and respect their space. You have done what you could do, at least for the time being.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 09-Feb-14 11:01:20

Oh that's made my heart clench.

Of course when we have second children, a lot of us think "won't it be nice for DC1" to have someone to play with" but in this instance it seems so much more..I dunno...sinister almost. I know that's an odd word but it's like this baby is only for their DC1. DYKWIM?

RandomMess Sun 09-Feb-14 10:55:41

It's just sounding worse and worse tbh, they don't seem to realise that this baby is a human in it's own right which will have needs that are equally important as DN sad

I really wonder if SIL may have a break down, she is going to be so confilicted which ever child's needs she tries to put first at any given point in time.

weeonion Sun 09-Feb-14 10:05:35

Planned - when they told us about 2nd prgnancy , it was so DN wouldn't be lonely growing up.

TallGiraffe Sun 09-Feb-14 08:31:52

I think I would be tempted to write to the HV/SS listing every single one of the crazy behaviours. If they see it all in black and white it might come across more effectively than a phone call when they just switch off after a couple of "oh some 3 year olds are like that" examples. I'd put in all your fears for the birth too.

Be prepared for some horrible fallout, we unfortunately had to report a family member to SS and they were shown all of our allegations (despite us requesting anonymity) but I think in this case, like us, you have to do what is best for the child in the long term.

Now is the best time to do it, as your SIL is presumably accessing some care for her pregnancy? I'm really hoping she isn't going for an unassisted birth. I think I would also mention the BIL concerns and stress that if possible they need to speak to him separately, although t is a long shot that he'll open up to them.

I've been thinking about this poor wee girl a lot, not least when my 16m old was sitting in his highchair, chomping away on his curry and apple last night, before having his teeth cleaned sad

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