Fidget Spinners and other problems(19 Posts)
DH and I have a two year old and he has two DD 10 and 8 who come to us every other weekend. They have fidget spinners which they bring from their mum's. We've had a few occasions where the little bits have flown out and we couldn't find them etc. With all the things going round about kids choking on them, I kindly asked this morning that, given this, my DSDs didn't bring them to the house. I work Saturdays and DH has the kids - he leaves the older two looking after my daughter if he has a shower or is doing something in the kitchen. He is a good dad, but does miss things and is generally a bit more lax than me. I explained that I'm worried about my daughter choking.
I'm 11 weeks pregnant and have perinatal depression and so my anxiety is heightened at the moment.
I expected him to say, yeah, no probs, if you're worried etc. But the look on his face told me he didn't agree with me. He begrudgingly agreed, sayng the chances of that happening are one in a million and that I was being controlling by expecting him just to agree with me. That the kids would just have to be careful. I'm really upset because I don't think there is anything controlling about this at all. Isn't this just me asking him to help me with my worries? I don't want a yes man, but I do want someone who cares enough about how I feel not to have to make it into a big deal.
Unfortunately, there have been other instances over the years where I have tried to put in a reasonable request with something to do with his kids - eg - bedtimes - and he responds defensively, claiming that it's me being controlling. This aspect of our marriage is really getting me down.
I know that I'm anxious at the moment, but I would have thought this a reason for him to want to allay my worries.
Denying completely reasonable things to one of your children, so as to prevent a one in a million chance to another is horrible, it's not a reasonable request at all.
Yabu, explain to the older kids why it is important to not leave any small items near the little one, I'm sure they don't want her choking any more than you do. The little bits that fall off a fidget spinner make it unbalanced so you'll probably find that they pick them up straight away and reattach them, my 7 year old does anyway.
Children that age will have toys that have small prices. If you also have smaller children you and the older ones need to be careful about not leaving small pieces where the little ones can get them. It's completely unreasonable to ban them.
*small pieces not prices obviously
Do you deny lego, hama beads, lookm bands, and other sort of beads, rubbers, pen lids, sticker.... and plenty of other toys that older ones love because of the choking hazard?
Because I would put fidget spinners way down on that list of hazards.
It does come across as very controlling and not fair on your older ones.
I get the impression that you consider yourself chief parent, and don't have enormous respect for how he wants to parent.
Sorry but I don't think it's reasonable to ask them not to bring them at all. The spinners are annoying - but that's life with two different ages of kids. Tell the kids to be careful or ask them not to use them around the baby (DS is always dropping his - that would be my worry!)
They don't work properly when the bits come off so SDC should be motivated to find all of the loose parts and keep them together anyway. Your toddler is much more likely to choke on something like a coin or a pen lid, items which are commonplace in homes and which can be dropped without noticing. Although at two most children are past putting everything in their mouths.
It sounds like the problem though is a lack of openness and communication. It's almost as though you're seeing this as two separate things - your daughter and his kids. Why not "our family"?
I think your heightened anxiety is clouding your judgement. Explain your concerns to the older two and ask them to help watch out for the toddler putting things in her mouth. Make them feel grown up - 'when I'm not here and dad's out of the room, you're in charge of the toddler and I know I can trust both of you to keep little toys out of her reach and really watch her carefully.'
Plus, consider the fact that in 2 years time you're going to have a 4 year old, with a variety of toys with small pieces, and a toddler. Are you not going to let your own child bring small toys into the house?
Thanks for your replies - much appreciated.
Kits - I think you're right. I expect my anxiety is clouding my judgement here. It's very hard as I'm not on medication and I can't see the wood for the trees sometimes. Thanks for the tips on what to say.
Bertie - thanks for your advice - maybe I'll ask them not to use them when they are alone with the toddler?
I just saw something on facebook about a kid choking last night and it freaked me out. People saying that the toys aren't safe and fall apart easily. etc.
We are a lovely blended family and have no issues and I certainly dont see myself as chief parent.
From your replies it looks like my anxiety is getting the better of me.
Thanks for the effort to respond
Get the fidget spinners shaped like a wheel - no small bits fall off.
School have requested that try aren't bought it, so at home is the only place.
And your 'risk assessment' logic, is ...... ridiculous!
I do have to agree with your DH. It sounds like you are quite controlling about how to parent correctly and that you are chief parent.
Your DH has managed to rear children and get himself to an adult age so he can't be that incapable!
Maybe time to let things go a little and try some mindfulness or hypnosis to help with calmness and worry?
I don't think it is a "chief parent" thing, but I do think that it's a common issue with stepparents (particularly stepmums but any situation where the SDC usually live elsewhere and the stepparent didn't have children before) thinking of the SDC as unrelated-to-them visitors who can be fun or cute or charming sometimes, but mostly, if they are really honest, (especially once they are over the "cute" stage - about 4) feel slightly resentful of them encroaching on their time with their DP and, later, on their time with their new family.
Of course, they'd never express this to the SDC, and I really don't think it comes from any place of malice or is even actually that conscious, perhaps it's even a source of guilt, but it does cause problems because it's like she puts a barrier up to actually interacting with them, isn't really invested in putting in the boring work of getting to know children in that in between age (you can't instantly charm them like toddlers, you can't chat to them on an adult level like teens) - perhaps, again, not because of any conscious resentment but just because the relationship doesn't come as easily to her, or even a sense of not wanting to try and take over as "mum" when they already have one, or respect for not wishing to encroach on their DP's time with his children, who he obviously does have a relationship with which he will put time and effort into (hopefully!) And this can work to an extent for many years although there will be occasional clashes over the way he deals with them, but it is usually minor in the scheme of things.
Where this causes issues long term is if and when the stepmum and the new partner decide to have children together. If the disparity is not resolved, it can lead to a strange situation for the stepmum where she ends up feeling almost left out or pushed out of her own pregnancy and new motherhood. Her partner has been here before, but it's all new for her. His parents/family are perhaps less excited than hers are or than she'd like which is suddenly disappointing. His children are expecting to be around and involved with the new arrival whereas all of her friends having children and everything she reads about having your first baby emphasises the importance of private time to establish your new family. She has a different task which nobody talks about: that of blending her new motherhood (which is a profound change as I'm sure any mother will agree) into an existing family which she's never really felt was "hers", which she's always been on the fringes of, which, perhaps, she has never felt really existed and yet here it is, invading into that space.
I think stepparenting is hard whatever the situation, FWIW, but this particular set up makes it harder because of the constant cognitive dissonance of the SDC being both part of her partner's family and not part of her family, where she and her partner are the family. To release this and make things easier (not easy, but easier) it's important to accept the SDC as being "hers". Not her children, of course, as they already have a mother, but hers in the same way that her nieces or nephews or godchildren are hers: They are important children for her to develop relationships with, they are members of her family directly, not just through somebody else. Instead of being a mother of a new baby with some siblings, she's a mother of the third baby in a family and needs to approach family life in that way. It does mean that she misses out on many of the experiences of the first baby thing, which can of course be difficult. It does mean that she has to accept that her partner is likely to have different discipline standards to her (though this is an issue for all parents, I promise!) and has the added complication that he's likely to have been enforcing different discipline standards for years before the new DC came along which can be hard to change. It's also difficult to appreciate as a mother of young DC how things can change and your standards can wane as the DC get older - you don't get that slow slide into more TV and fewer vegetables with stepparenting, because your partner has already gone into those habits while you're still in the idealistic pre-parenting or new-parenting state of "MY children will never... etc etc" and that can be difficult to adjust to.
What's important and what will make the situation easier - Open mindedness (willingness to see how things work out), being more laid back than you'd need to be in a more traditional set up, accepting that your own DC are one of three or four rather than one of one or two "plus extras", and embracing that even if you didn't want a large family, putting time and effort in to build relationships and get to know SDC personally, spend one on one time with them, grieve privately for the experiences you miss out on by doing it this way, expecting it to be hard, and not beating yourself up for that! If you're struggling with still seeing them differently try asking yourself "When my 2yo is 6/8/10, imagine he has a baby sibling. How would I deal with the situation then?" You can end up with the best of both worlds by embracing the large family thing when they are there and then being able to appreciate the simplicity of a smaller family when they aren't, but it does take work and effort to build a relationship with the older ones in a meaningful way, and you can't get too hung up on worrying about encroaching on their time with DH or being seen as trying to replace their mum. You'll never replace their mum no matter what, and time with DH is now time with you, and with their younger siblings, too.
Sorry OP I got a bit carried away - doesn't sound like you do have any major issues with DSC but yes perhaps anxiety is a problem?
Just asking them to be aware of the baby and actively telling them look, these bits can be a choking risk should be fine. My 8yo would be aware of that once it was explained to him and he'd be like a little sniffer dog making sure nothing even got near the baby
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