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Not to want my kids without heating or hot water

(74 Posts)
NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 09-Dec-12 18:05:53

DCs (6 and 3) due to go to their dad's on weds until Sun. we have shared residence and a court order stipulating contact. His boiler has broken. It has not worked for over a week. He has no heating and no hot water. Hasn't even got an electric shower. His house is huge and detached and in the middle of nowhere. It is freezing at the best of times and DD feels the cold badly. He has said the repair men have no idea how to fix it and he doesn't know what to do to get it fixed now.

AIBU not to want kids to go? He has a couple of electric heaters but TBH they don't do a lot in that massive draughty house. They are at school in the day during the week but there is no way of having a wash or anything. And it will be freezing overnight and all weekend. He won't get it looked at again until nxt weekend because he is at work all week so no chance of it being fixed by the time they go.

I can't stop them from going because of this tho - can I?

Itsnotahoover Mon 10-Dec-12 15:14:32

I have no heating or hot water at the minute. Boiler has been on it's last legs for a month or two but, until this week, I've been working 7 days a week so not been able to be home for a plumber to come. Now it's packed up completely and I have the plumber moving tomorrow morning. It is a pain, but you survive! We've got electric heaters dotted around, plenty of warm clothes and a kettle for hot water. It is driving me insane though!!

NoNoNoMYDoIt Mon 10-Dec-12 13:41:55

It isn't a week. It is 4 nights. To be fair I don't really want to stop them going as I know it is important for them. And it would cause far too much anger from him if I tried to stand in the way of it. Plus they would never forgive me as they have 5 days of advent calendar chocolates at his waiting for them since they last went grin. I suppose if we could compromise on them coming here after school for a bath and some tea in the warm, they could then go back and sleep overnight and would probably be ok. The weekend worries me too although hopefully they will be out all day. And it is really DD I worry about. DS will be fine

As a baby, DD wet through her sleep suit one night in February as she had an explosive teething poo. When I got her up in the morning she was absolutely freezing. Blue lips and mottled skin. Took two hours to warm her up slowly. And that was when I lived there and we heated. I know she isn't a baby now but she really doesn't thermo-regulate well even now.

Anyway - nothing I can do except hand them over and make my offer of warm baths here.

AfterEightMintyy Mon 10-Dec-12 13:15:28

He sounds like an absolute arse to me if he is going to insist your dc come to him in those conditions. Truly an arse. Why can't he miss a week ffs?

NoNoNoMYDoIt Mon 10-Dec-12 11:54:13

Ah well. I have polarised opinion and am either NBU or precious. Will have to let them go anyway or he will go absolutely nuts. I will offer a bath each night after school which he will refuse. I only live .5 mile from the school and he lives 10 miles away so it isn't a hardship to pop in after he picks them up from wraparound care.

whois Mon 10-Dec-12 10:42:10

Or tell him to go out and buy a portsme oil filled radiator for each of the DCs bedrooms. They're great.

whois Mon 10-Dec-12 10:40:39


Send them with warm clothes and a fan heater!

They can have a splash in the bath with a few kettle fills of hot water and a bit if cold.

Honestly, how precious!

StatisticallyChallenged Mon 10-Dec-12 10:39:27

I think YANBU. We live in an old house, no adjoining neighbours. Our heating has been disconnected for the last 9 days (builders are in doing work to convert garage). We have a 2.5 year old - and we have moved out. I was in the house at the weekend doing some pretty heavy physical work and I was still freezing. After 9 days with no heat the house is unbearably cold and there is no way I would have my DD living in it while I have a better available option. It's always been a chilly house but I was shocked at just how much colder it has become.

And the fact is there is an available option - it's different if your heating breaks and you have nowhere to go.

expatinscotland Mon 10-Dec-12 10:20:11

I totally agree, Quint!

The Victorians coped. There's plenty of evidence they didn't. Open fires that don't draw well still kill plenty of children in the world via respiratory illnesses, too.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Mon 10-Dec-12 09:49:21

People die from not having heating in this country.

I think the British are pretty silly in their lack of respect for the damaging effects of the cold weather.

In Scandinavia, people heat their houses night and day, and promote and even temperature to keep healthy. But here, people try to be stoic and put themselves and their children to cold damp houses in what is literally an island climate which is cold and damp whatever way you look up on it. It is utter madness. No wonder kids have green snot and coughs and cold throughout the winter months in this country. I am still amazed how we managed to live 3 years in Norway and our two sons had a perfect attendance record in school, they were not ill even once, despite the cold temperatures. It would not have been possibly without adequately heated houses.

Can you not try and discuss an alternative time for visitation due to the lack of heating? Or insist that he gets a couple of electric heaters for the main rooms?

forevergreek Mon 10-Dec-12 09:48:55

I think it will be fine. Give them a bath wed morning before they leave. And they can strip wash for a couple of evenings.

They will be at school for a few days so will be warm there, plus maybe he will take them out ( cinema or something) over the weekend.

Get them to have a few warm drinks, and tell them to wrap up warm overnight.

You can greet with a warm bath and heat on Sunday

choceyes Mon 10-Dec-12 09:42:58

I agree with Chipping YANBU. I wouldn't send a 3yr old with a nasty cough to a house that's not been heated at all for a week in Dec.

We don't have heating on at night either, but the house is still warm from the heating during the day and we have hot water, so that is a huge difference.

Can you send just your DS?

ginnybag Mon 10-Dec-12 09:42:13

I wouldn't be sending an already sick 3 year old, no.

That said, you can buy a decent little fan heater in argos for around £17. It works very well, and even has a setting to switch on and off to maintain temp. Worked very well in my DD's room when my boiler had issue a few weeks ago.

It's not your electric, so I'd send them with one of those and say he either use them or you'll keep (at least) DD home. Get a medical note if you need to.

It's not the fact that it's cold that's bothering me, it's the fact that he doesn't seem to care that his DD is unhappy.

ChristmasIsForPlutocrats Mon 10-Dec-12 09:26:38

If he thinks it funny, he is an arse.

Has he put that hilarity in writing?

<crosses fingers>

Silverlace Mon 10-Dec-12 07:15:34

YANBU. I, like others, here grew up in an uncentrally heated house, ice on the inside of windows etc.

I now live in an old farmhouse and our boiler has been broken since last Wednesday and it is damn miserable and we have an open fire, emersion heater and electric heaters. Just the act of moving from one room to another is a pain.

When an old house gets cold the temperature really drops, everything gets damp and cold. It can take ages to heat a room and the heat goes so quickly once the heater is turned off.

If he was going to make every effort to keep them warm then I would say OK but it doesn't sound like he is set up for it. If one of your DC has a chest infection I would use that as an excuse not to send and negotiate a longer stay once the heating is fixed and an icy blast from Siberia isn't forecast.

HollyBerryBush Mon 10-Dec-12 05:44:35

TB H with you they wiill be fine. Even on week long residential trips with school we parents were told not to bothr with a toothbrush or underpants bacause boys never bath anyway and they have better things to do like swinging from trees, to be be trying to march them to the showers every morning grin.

sashh Mon 10-Dec-12 03:34:22

Do you have a tent? A tent in a room is really cosy.

A boiled kettle can be used for hot water to sponge bath.

Not ideal, I think the only thing you could do is contac SS, but I don't think this is enough of an emergency (not because it isn't good, just because there are children worse off).

TapirAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 10-Dec-12 03:05:36

6, not 5.

TapirAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 10-Dec-12 03:03:50

If it were older children, then I wouldn't have a problem sending them off to a cold unheated house - even one that hadn't had any heating for over a week, so likely to be just as cold inside as out.

Not so for 3 & 5 yr olds though - it's all very well saying about wrapping up warm etc, but children that age don't deal with the cold as well as us adults/older children would, especially when one child already has a cough.


ChippingInAWinterWonderland Mon 10-Dec-12 03:00:44

They are 6 & 3 - you can't expect them to be able to layer up properly and I don't get the impression he will make sure they are warm enough as most of us would if it were our boiler that had gone.

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Mon 10-Dec-12 02:58:53

There is a huge difference between a house where the heating goes off at night, to a house where they heating hasn't been on in over a week. Where there is not hot water & precious little other heating.

It will be freezing.

I wouldn't let them go and I'd tell him to take me to court if he doesn't like it, but that they wont be going until it's fixed. Why the hell should they? It's not to their benefit - shared residency is meant to be to the benefit of the children, not the parents.

MyCannyBairn Mon 10-Dec-12 02:57:18

I grew up without central heating and didn't have heating in my bedroom for years as an adult. I had ice on the inside of the windows in some winters.
No way would I be happy for a 3 year old to have no heating and no access to a hot bath in Winter, no way. This is 2012 ffs.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Mon 10-Dec-12 02:47:32

I don't see it as a reason to stop them from going to their other home.

And I say this as a 'cold' person. I feel cold constantly when other people claim to be warm, but you have to learn to deal with it. The house has to be heated to near tropical temperatures for me to feel 'ok' temperature-wise. And I can't afford that.

All you can do is talk to your DC about how to layer up - send them with vests, and leggings or tights to go under jeans and pyjama bottoms.

And central heating is not that good for you anyway if you have a cough or asthma.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Mon 10-Dec-12 02:39:13

I never heat my house overnight. We just wear fleecy pyjamas from primark, and fluffy socks from poundland, or onesies.

Hot water bottles or wheat bags help, as do layers of blankets. We usually use a wool blanket with a fleece one on top.

They'll be fine with strip washes - I don't smell and I've not had a bath or shower in eight years, I strip wash twice a day. Can't use a bath due to epilepsy and Housing Association won't let me fit a shower, so no choice.

They will be fine.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 10-Dec-12 02:18:21

oh i've just seen that DD is 3 and so probably wont know to just put on extra clothes and wrap a blanket round her if she's cold unless she is told to/helped. which it doesn't sound like your EX will realise she needs to. in that case i would just say DD is going to stay at home as she has the chest infection and really feels the cold. let him go to court over it. the judge will agree with you.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Mon 10-Dec-12 02:12:46

send hot water bottles and lots of layers and cosy PJs, extra blankets. have you any spare heaters or electric blankets? i would also offer to bath them at yours.

if he layers them up well, feeds them good filling warm meals, porridge and tea for breakfast, gets the main room they'll be in warm with the heaters and has plenty of blankets on the sofas they'll be fine. electric blankets or hot water bottles in their beds, a heater in teh room for an hour or so before they are ready for bed. boil the kettle for strip washes infront of the heaters.

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