AIBU in being fed up and think this has only started since I told them I was depressed? (long)(52 Posts)
This is going to be long so I can avoid drip feeding.
Background: DH is armed forces and works 40 miles away, commutes daily. He has been put on a shift pattern of 2 days, 2 nights, 4 off, from Sept 2016 to March 2017. We have 4 children, dd7, dd6, ds3 and ds2 and 3 dogs. I was diagnosed with depression March 2015 and have been on anti depressants since. It took a while to sort out the dosage but I finally felt “right” December 2015. Last September My doctor reduced it for a month ( I was having strange dreams) but I asked to have it put back up as I wasn't feeling great on the lower dose.
Ds3 started at the local nursery( which is literally next door) last April and he hated it. He kicked off numerous times which usually resulted in them calling me to pick him up. I had a meeting the end of June with the nursery manager to discuss what we were going to do about his temper. She mentioned that the nursery was being taken over by a charity in August and that all of the nursery times would change (from 15hrs over 3 days to 15hrs over 5 days). I told her about my depression (my husband was away March – July) and how I was coping on my own. She thought it that it was best to keep him off until the term finished and we could start afresh in September.
A couple of weeks after he went back in September, the nursery manager wanted another meeting. He was doing loads better, not kicking off at drop off and they didn't have to phone me to fetch him. She then commented that a couple of time he had come in smelling of something that they couldn't identify and asked if I needed any help. I stated I didn't', I apologised and said I'd look into it. We changed our fabric conditioner as a result.
We had a further meeting at the end of October where she said that he was still smelling of something, but not dirty, unclean or unhygienic. She asked if my depression was affecting me keeping on top of things at home. I stated it wasn't , I was coping fine. She then asked me to consider seeing the Armed forces support worker,( SAFFA) who she was really close with. I refused as I have had a bad experience with them in the past.
Then at the end of November she called and said that her boss wasn't happy with me keep refusing help and that if I didn't agree to meet with SAFFA that she would phone social services about my son smelling. We agreed to meet with the nursery manager and SAFFA at the nursery the first week in December.
On the day of the meeting my DH got a call from work asking him to start work earlier. He calls to reschedule the nursery appointment only to be told by the manager that if we didn't meet today then she would call social services. She agreed to phone SAFFA and change the appointment with them too.
When we get to the nursery, we drop our son off and go to the meeting with ds2. The nursery manager says she was unable to get in touch with SAFFA and that the health visitor (?) couldn't be there as she had a prior engagement. She then goes on to say that the nursery have informed us numerous times about Ds3 smelling and that the only reason she hasn't called social service is because we are such good parents with our children. Again we ask what he smells of and she says that she will fetch my sons room leader to explain as English isn't her first language/
Room leader says that he smells of animal, bo and wee, she says she has noticed that we all smell like that and that we need to accept that we clearly have a problem. They try to get us to do something called family star, where you are rated on different aspects of your parenting ability, then it is sent off to sit in front of a board which then decide what kind of help you need. We refused to do it and she said that she would be calling social services. We then asked to take our son home with us and that he wouldn't be attending nursery any more.
About 1hr later SAFFA lady shows up on our doorstep, she says that she has stopped the nursery manager from calling social service if she can come and see us next week. We arrange an appointment and she goes back to the nursery.
SAFFA lady come to our house the next week, she says it smells a bit of dog, but not offensive! (we have 3) she offers to arrange a carpet cleaning for us in the new year, which we accept. She mentions that the health visitor, who we have never met has said something about us smelling ( we had a new one) She then goes on to pressure us into sending ds3 back to the nursery e.g its close, they already know him, he won't have to settle in, he loves his key worker, he won't get any social skills at home. We reluctantly agree as he goes to school September 2017 anyway. She asks us if we would be willing to send him for the last 4 days of term, she even asks him if he wants to go back.
The next day SAFFA lady knocks on our front door and says that the nursery manager would like him not to attend until after Christmas “so we can all calm down and start afresh in the new year” she also says that before he goes back they want a meeting to discuss what we are going to do. Ds3 was really upset because the lady had said that he could go back and we weren't letting him.
Then the next week (Friday) we get a phone call from the SAFFA lady that we miss so she leaves a voicemail on both our phones. Saying that she was coming on Monday with the health visitor at 11am. My dh is at work so he phones her to ask her if we could reschedule it for when he is off. She tells him that she is ok with just seeing me on my own, that it is the only date that both she and the health visitor can do before christmas and it needs sorting so she will be round then and put the phone down on him.
So I phoned and said that it wasn't convenient for her to come on Monday and she told me that she would have to tell the nursery manager that I have stopped them from coming around and that the nursery manager might phone social services. She said they would be around over Christmas and it would ruin it for everybody. She said that we really need to sort out help for us and that she couldn't guarantee that she could protect us from social services.
During all of this going on I've been to the doctors once a month and he is really pleased with me on my anti depressants. He was worried about my BP and I had to have a 24hr bp machine fitted ( which was fun!) The results said that my bp was only raised in the daytime but not on a night which can indicate stress!
I know people can become nose blind when it comes to pets but we have plug ins, we clean our carpets once a month, we hoover everyday ( sometimes twice) dogs are walked at least twice a day and are fully toilet trained. Kids and us have shower/bath everyday, use deoderant, etc. No one else who has been in our house has commented, Even my MIL says she can't smell anything and she would tell me if she could, She's very blunt. She tells me when the boys need their hairs cut.
AIBU to be fed up and think this has only started since I told them I was depressed?
Sorry for the long post.
How horribly stressful. It sounds to me as though SAFFA, the HV and the nursery have all been winding each other up towards the point of daft hysteria, and that the alleged smell of DS3 is probably a side-issue to other 'concerns'. I think you are right to insist that your DH is present at any meeting between them all I'd advise going in there aware of your rights and ready to take notes.
The saffa person should never have claimed she can protect you from social services.
You do not need protecting from social services, they are there to help. It is very unprofessional of her to be using them as a threat.
They are massively over stretched and they are not going to 'swoop and steal' your loved, safe children.
So stop panicking about that and let them make a report if they want.
To address the issue of smell I would suggest looking at;
even in the winter it's worth opening at least one at each end of the house for a bit to get some fresh air in. I try to do this each day, if I have t remembered in a week I definitely notice a foosty smell.
Where are you drying your clothes once washed, are they in a high dog traffic area?
- storage of clothes,
Are they being stored on a chair by the dog bed before being put away, could you put the away straight away?
Where do the dogs sleep? A dogs bed always smells like a dogs bed, if one of them sleeping on his bed?
If none of the above works can you just febreeze him on his way out the door?
Let them call Social Services then. They'll investigate and realise the nursery is barking.
If you clean your carpets that often could they or the underlay be damp?
I personally would ring social services myself and explain situation that they are threatening you because your kid supposedly smells. Would they like to come round and talk to my children etc. then these busy bodies have no whip to threaten you with. sounds like PP said they are putting 2 2 and getting 5. hope you get this sorted soon OP sounds horribly annoying situation
I agree that this does sound a bit hysterical on behalf authorities involved here. I'm really sorry you are being put through this and that it's been dragged out for so long already. You have every right to have your husband with you for these meetings. And it does sound as if they've taken your depression and a smell and added 2 and 2 together and come up with 10! The threat of involving social services just seems over the top and I do wonder if you should phone them yourself and ask for some advice. Might but your mind at rest.
Personally if this was me, I'd remove my son from the nursery, and tell them that their 'help' is not needed. But I would also really try and get to the bottom of the smell, something is not right there, even if it means restricting where your dogs can go?
I wonder if it would be easier just to let them call SS. At least you would be dealing with them, rather than having nursery, SAFFA & HV all trying to pressure you with threats of SS. It sounds as if you are doing your best and your children are well cared for. Let SS see that. I also think you have the right to have someone with you at the meetings, don't let them pressure you into agreeing a meeting without your DH just because it is convenient for them.
I air the bedrooms evey morning and leave the window cracked in the dining room and living room overnight. I do have to be careful in summer as Dh gets really bad hayfeaver even with tablets from the doctors.
Tumble dryer is near the washing machine so it gets washed, gets dryed and then put away or i'd have washing everywhere.
Dog beds get washed once a week, we actually rotate them weekly. The washed ones get stored in an out building thats attached to our house. ( its not damp or anything)
We even started letting him wear a mild deoderant as I was worried about him sweating and it smelling. We even bought him his own bodyspray, ( which he doesn't put on himself) in october.
I honsetly don't know what to do, what makes it worse is that the SAFFA lady and the nursery manager are close friends.
See it's this kind of nonsense that prevents people with MH issues from seeking help when they have kids.
Feel for you OP, I too would contact SS myself and invite them round.
I agree with chocolate. Call ss yourself. They are not something to be feared unless you are doing sometning wrong. Which you are not. Have details of the saffa person and nursery to hand and let all concerned know that they have your permission to discuss with the social worker. Maybe even check with gp that they can confirm to ss that you are doing fine with your medication.
Arrrghh! I just types a long reply and now I've accidentally lost it!
The short of it is this: get legal advice. Not necessarily from a solicitor, but from some sort of organisation which deals with this sort of thing. You are not powerless and you do not have to comply because this woman threatens you with SS. You might want to call them yourself- if there is no problem and SS have said so then that takes the wind right out of Nursery Woman's sails.
I've been in a very similar position. I was also very vulnerable due to the recent death of one of my children. The nursery manager felt better about hating me for being a bad mother than resenting the reminder that sometimes babies die (she was pregnant). She (with the HV) poked about and eventually found a couple of minor things which they tried to escalate to needing SS involvement. Fortunately SS told them to run along, but it was still very stressful.
I had help from someone with a lot of experience (our priest, he was amazing and literally saved my life). You need outside support. I'm afraid I don't know which agencies/support groups are best, but your padre might.
I'd be ringing SS too and explaining. Even if there is a bit of a smelly problem (which I'm not convinced is the case) they can help you without it being any sort of big deal. It sounds more like an overreaction from the nursery is being increased hugely as they gossip amongst themselves - I wonder if they're "enjoying" having something different to get involved in and getting off on the power trip??
Could you get your MIL to be there with you in your DH's absence whenever someone connected with this visits? It sounds like you could do with the moral support AND if its the same people (i.e. not SS) they might see that they can't push you around...
Could you perhaps ask for a home visit from the health visitor or GP even? Gp knows treatment for your depression is going ok, so won't be looking to peg anything on that.
As much as I agree that the OP has nothing to fear from SS involvement, I would suggest that she doesn't call SS herself. There's always the risk that even unnecessary SS involvement would intensify the panic and hysteria, as the HV/nursery/SAFFA could interpret or twist her approach to SS as evidence of heaven-knows-what.
a bit of a smelly problem
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I agree with other posters.... its very disingenuous, and frankly manipulative for these so called professionals to use contacting Social Services as some sort of threat. Especially when their only complaint seems to be 'a smell'.
As others have stated - social services are there to help people. And to be quite honest, if they got a call about a smell its unlikely they would do anything at all. They would be wanting to discuss with the nursery what other concerns they have and they've already admitted to you they have none.
To be honest with you, the way you have described the whole way they are operating comes across as indimidation and an abuse of power. They should all be trying to help you, not demanding things of you.
I would do what others have said - remoge your aon from nursery if it's not necessary that he go to that exact one, and maybe phone social services yourself and explain you are being threatened with them over a smell. Perhaps see if you can have a more sensible conversation directly with the professionals.
I agree, ring them yourself and tell them they're being used constantly as a threat. They aren't a body to be feared like that.
Then this threat is removed.
I definitely would be finding another nursery.
I agree, let them ring ss. It doesn't sound like you have anything to worry about and it seems as though they are using it as some sort of threat. If you require ss support/intervention then they should have cracked on with letting them know already! I wouldn't send my ds back to the nursery either though and would find another one.
I agree with the others, I'd let them call Social Services. If they come out and say there are no concerns, that would put the issue to bed.
Another though - after taking legal advice, could you email the nursery, SAFFA and HV? By asking them directly what their concerns, why they might merit SS involvement, and how/why SAFFA might protect you from SS involvement (which is clearly bollocks) you will be forcing them either to own up to their agendas or to admit, via their refusal to do so, that it's all just gossip and unfounded twaddle.
You could also make a FOI request to see any notes of conversations between the three of them which might (and of course won't) have been placed on your file.
(I was advised to do this once when a HV started on a "I'm so worried about your parenting but it would be inappropriate for me to tell you why" malarkey. I found out, essentially, that she simply had a bee in her bonnet based on her own issues.)
I would ask the nursery for a copy of their procedures, stating you feel they are making non-substantiated claims and will be raising their handling of this situation with ofsted. Either there is a concern and they call social services or there isn't.
How horrible for you OP and what a ridiculous over reaction from nursery & other parties. Please speak with your GP and mention this to them, they may be able to help.
No wonder you are paranoid about smells and doubting yourself. Do you have a close & honest friend that could visit and give you some feedback?
Lastly, just to say that my friend is a SW (and another is a child psychologist) they are the least judgmental people I know, they went into their careers to help people. Those that mention SS as a threat should be ashamed. My friend is too snowed under with genuinely tragic cases to rush into removing children from a loving home.
Good luck OP.
OP, do you trust your GP? See them or the practice nurse and ask them if you or your child smells. Get their answer in writing.
If not then complain to ofsted about the nursery. Its harassment.
This sort of thing happens. When I was involved in this kind of work, I would insist on everyone separately writing down any concerns and then work out if there was actually anything concrete to be concerned about. People (particularly not tremendously well trained people) wind each other up and make mountains out of molehills.
I second seeking other help. SS or the GP for preference.
For what it's worth, I don't think your son smells, Without actually having a sniff you can't be sure, obviously, but I think this is a bullying issue rather than a parenting one.
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