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To ask if this is just a bit strange or actually concerning?

(122 Posts)
ThePolishWombat Wed 14-Aug-19 17:53:10

Namechanged as it’s possibly quite outing, but I’m a regular poster smile and quite prepared to be told I’m just being a nosy neighbour and to keep my beak out, but I can’t help but think this is weird:

So my neighbours have always struck me as a little bit odd since they moved in at the end of last year. There’s Mum, Dad, a primary school aged DD, a preschooler DS and a baby who must be around 9ish month old by now.
The Mum is a very heavy smoker. Literally every single time I look out of my window, she’s out there smoking. Whatever - she’s an adult, she can do what she wants! But there’s a few things that have got me a little hmm about the whole situation:
1. Even during this monstrous heat wave we’ve just had, I have never seen a single window open in the house. Never. Not even the bathroom. Don’t most people crack a window to avoid condensation when they shower at least? There’s also sliding doors that access the back garden - never ever seen them open. Even during this summer holidays, when you’d think most kids would be in and out from the garden?
Literally zero ventilation to the house.

2. The baby never leaves the house confused and I mean hardly ever. During school time, I see the baby in the pram on the school run and that’s it. During the heatwave, the whole family would spend most of the day in the garden together, kids playing etc same as my family, and I didn’t see the baby a single time. Not once. There’s a clear view from my back windows straight through her back windows, where you can see clearly into the houses, and I’ve never even seen her walking around carrying the baby or anything - even when she was a teeny tiny newborn confused Now I know not all babies are clingy Velcro babies like mine were, but isn’t it odd that this baby has been around for 9 months, and I’ve never seen her be held by an adult or even leave the house except for a 15 min school run (school is a couple of mins walk)?
A couple of other neighbours have voiced the exact same concerns to me, asking me if I’ve noticed it too considering I live the closest and have a clear view into the garden/house confused

3. The preschool DS. He is a “school year” younger than my DC1, and not very verbal at all. I’ve spoken to him a few times, and there’s a couple of clear words, but mostly just babble and pointing. Fine - some kids take a little bit longer than others to master speech right? But what me and 3 other neighbours are very concerned about, is the fact that this barely verbal, very young-for-his-age boy roams the streets around our houses completely unsupervised from very early in the morning during these holidays, just wandering aimlessly, knocking on doors looking for other DCs to play with or just any kind of interaction really. He was almost hit by a car turning into the cul-de-sac the other week and when the driver voiced her concern to his mother about him being unsupervised in the roads, she didn’t seem remotely bothered confused

Is it just a bit weird?
Or would you actually be concerned about the baby and the preschool? Maybe even the Mum’s wellbeing/state of mind? confused I’m not sure if I’m just being a busybody and my views are clouded by my own experiences with two very clingy, unputtdownable babies!!

IAskTooManyQuestions Wed 14-Aug-19 17:58:07

But what me and 3 other neighbours are very concerned about, is the fact that this barely verbal, very young-for-his-age boy roams the streets around our houses completely unsupervised from very early in the morning during these holidays, just wandering aimlessly, knocking on doors looking for other DCs to play with or just any kind of interaction really

You know this isnt right - why haven't you called SS? Just why?

Jemima232 Wed 14-Aug-19 18:00:02

Agree that you ought to contact SS about the child unsupervised in the street. Then all the other concerns you have will be looked at.

It does sound very odd.

ThePolishWombat Wed 14-Aug-19 18:02:04

IAskTooManyQuestions in all honesty, the only reason I haven’t is because I’m actually quite intimidated by the Dad confused I’ve had a run in with him before, as have 2 other neighbours - and that was just about dog poo being left a few months ago confused He’s really aggressive! Still gives me shit eye if he sees me in my garden!

dollydaydream114 Wed 14-Aug-19 18:04:54

The windows thing isn’t really a big deal (although I personally hate unaired houses) and you don’t really know what attention the baby gets inside the house.

However, a pre-schooler wandering around the street on his own and knocking on doors is a major concern and yes, I’d ring Social Services. I’m usually all for kids playing out but at that age? Crossing roads and knocking on doors? No.

ThePolishWombat Wed 14-Aug-19 18:07:38

dollydaydream114 My DC1 is a year older and I wouldn’t trust her playing out alone, especially from a road safety perspective confused

CrazylazyJane Wed 14-Aug-19 18:08:36

I think this a job for SS. You do not need to have worked out whether there's something wrong or not, that's not for you to decide but you ought to report your concerns.

You may be the last neighbour in a long line to raise your concerns and it may be the trigger for SS to pay them a visit.

LeggyLinda Wed 14-Aug-19 18:09:59

Keep an eye on the situation if you are so inclined. But nothing really strikes me as strange on its own. Perhaps all taken together maybe indicative of some problems ... at a push. But they may have air conditioning, baby may be more comfortable indoors and out of the heat and preschooler may be shy, have learning difficulties, not like certain people, or just be a late developer.
Keep an eye on it in case more red flags appear, but I would advise doing nothing at the moment as without evidence you’ll likely come across as nosy and gossipy.

LeggyLinda Wed 14-Aug-19 18:11:55

Missed the roaming the streets unsupervised bit - that definitely is worrying

Lipz Wed 14-Aug-19 18:26:01

Some of it is concerning, some there is most likely a good excuse for. The non opening of the windows, I LOVE my windows open but I can't ! because of cats, wasps, flies etc so keep them closed, I would hate to think the neighbours are discussing this, although I doubt many notice. There could be a reason like this ?

The baby never leaving the house . Are you sure ? is it at all possible the baby is brought out at a time you aren't watching her house ? Could the baby have an illness ? my youngest was born severly disabled, she had no immune system and I couldn't bring her out for the 1st year of her life, could it be something similar ?

You say when you are looking in her windows you can't see her holding the baby, could she be holding the baby in the other side if the house ? if my neighbours at the front were watching me they would think I didn't have children, that's because we live most of the time in the back of the house. Could the baby be napping when you are watching her through her windows ? she may have a travel cot or moses basket and the baby in that, none of mine had to be held 24/7.

All children develope differently, some speak earlier than others, some not at all, could it be possible the child has SN and she is getting them help and you don't see her bringing him to appointments ?

The wandering is awful, although alot of parents allow this, I have read threads on here of children as young as 2 years out un supervised.

The mother had the baby 9 months ago, could she have PND ? maybe she can't bring herself to leave the house alot, maybe it's alot to do the small bit she is doing ?

If it were me, I'd get together with the other neighbours who are watching her and come up with some sort of arrangment, something like dropping off a food dish, or a cake so as to get talking to her and see if she looks like she needs some help. She could be perfectly fine, and you could be missing certain times she does go out, does do things, I remember my eldest only slept during the day, at night I would walk him around the estate, I'm sure neighbours were wondering where I was during the day as I napped too when he did and then they'd see me heading out at 2am with the pram, he had bad colic and the only relief he got was at night out for a walk in his pram.

ysmaem Wed 14-Aug-19 18:33:57

I'm assuming this pre schooler is 3-4 years old and that is way, way too young to be allowed to wonder from house to house searching for someone to play with him. I feel so, so sorry for that child.

ThePolishWombat Wed 14-Aug-19 18:35:03

Thankyou for that insight - like I said in my OP, I think some of it is just a bit odd, not necessarily concerning.
The only reason I mention the boy having what appears to be quite delayed speech, is that he’s spending so much time wandering around unsupervised, it worries me that if something were to happen - even just falling over and hurting himself or getting into a scrap with another child - he wouldn’t be able to articulate that to an adult and no one would have seen it.
And yes - possible PND or something like that has definitely crossed my mind. I’ve only ever seen the mum speak to one other mum on the school run. She doesn’t drive, and I’ve only ever seen her around our very small village once or twice by the village shop in the whole time the family have lived here. She seems to rarely leave the house, which means the baby doesn’t either. There’s a ton of baby/toddler groups and classes etc on offer in our village as we are lucky enough to have a sure start centre and a village hall with brilliant facilities where a few play sessions run every week. I might ask next time I go to one of the groups if they have a flyer or something I could pop through her door, as maybe she doesn’t know about them?

DifficultPifcultLemonDifficult Wed 14-Aug-19 18:41:53

What is weird is you gossiping with other neighbours about this family.

If you have concerns, report, if not then leave it. Gossiping about one of your neighbours in such a way is awful.

Most of what you have said is you being nosy and assuming stuff, if you have concerns about the child being out then report to the school or SS, the rest is just a but silly really. My Windows are rarely open, my dd rarely went outside for a year because she was getting over a serious illness that my neighbours would have no clue about, lots of stuff goes on behind closed doors, it's not your job to discuss it with other neighbours and potentially start rumours, if she has PND or her child is struggling you and the rest of the neighbourhood watch will cause untold damage.

dayswithaY Wed 14-Aug-19 18:51:51

I feel like you and your neighbours are being nosey and judgemental not helpful. Please don't push a flyer through her door - that's so patronising. If you want to help you should talk to the parents, and stop all this passive aggressive nonsense.

weaningwoes Wed 14-Aug-19 19:23:50

The young child roaming unsupervised is an obvious and immediate call to SS and I can't believe you and 3 other neighbours haven't already called them - just too much fun to gossip about I suppose, you wouldn't want to get him help before a real accident happened that you could suck your teeth about would you? [Hmm]

All the other things? By Christ you sound a nosy, gossipy bunch. How you can even find the time to notice what they do with their windows, or maintain 24-7 surveillance on their house (even peering in through the windows!) so you can judge the baby never leaves it, I simply cannot fathom. You and your -coven- neighbours must have incredibly dull lives.

caballerino Wed 14-Aug-19 19:58:50

in all honesty, the only reason I haven’t is because I’m actually quite intimidated by the Dad

Since we're hypothesising, have you considered that at least some of what you describe could be the consequences of coercive control (domestic abuse)?

The isolation it inflicts on people, women being prevented from caring for their children or even comforting them or talking to them, could all result in the kind of stuff you're describing.

Anyway, report if there are concerns. It's not your responsibility to investigate or be certain first - that's for the professionals.

ThePolishWombat Wed 14-Aug-19 20:23:43

caballerino it’s a possibility I guess.
The more I think about it, the more I’m thinking maybe the mum is struggling somehow - because of the isolation mainly, whether that is because the husband is the problem, or something else like PND?!
This is quite a small village, and everyone knows everyone else, it’s a pretty social place - even if it’s just mums having a brew on someone’s driveway by the green while the kids play, but honestly you don’t see this woman except for school runs at all.
But now I’m worrying that it would be really patronising to give her a knock and invite her along to playgroup etc confused Would it?!

I’ll accept that the thing about the windows etc is just me being nosey and thinking it’s a bit odd.

Underworld345 Wed 14-Aug-19 20:35:39

I think you’re being nosey. How can you possibly know they don’t leave the house? Don’t you have a job? Don’t you ever leave the house yourself?

Unless you see anything concerning (like the young boy wandering the streets) just leave them alone and stop gossiping. Next time you see her on the school run, why don’t you try and chat to her? As a genuine want to make her feel welcome in the village, not an opportunity to get some gossip.

HotSauceCommittee Wed 14-Aug-19 20:47:27

Good police officers are nosy. And they protect people. They will be known to at least one of the authorities.
Please contact SS, maybe invite the mum for a coffee, be nosy, but inclusive and protective. There’s nothing wrong with looking out for the families well-being and it does sound necessary in this case.

bobstersmum Wed 14-Aug-19 20:53:41

The little kid wandering around isn't right. But the rest of it, I fail to see how you are able to see all rooms and all entrances and exits to this house to be able to say the baby never leaves the house and is never held by an adult! What an absolute bunch of nosey cretins you are!

Di1979 Wed 14-Aug-19 20:57:30

Have you ever thought of popping round to see this woman, seeing if she wants a cuppa and a chat, instead of just gossiping with the other neighbours about her/curtain twitching?! 🤔

DifficultPifcultLemonDifficult Wed 14-Aug-19 20:59:08

Yes keep an eye on whether her windows are open and, please, continue to stare through them to see if she is holding the baby, then find more neighbours to gossip with it about confused that's totally appropriate.

Op isn't looking out for the families well being she is looking out for more fuel to fire the gossip in her 'social' if your face fits village.

OhBigHairyBollocks Wed 14-Aug-19 21:03:24

Please contact your local safeguarding board (you'll find it on your local councils website) but also, might be worth having a chat with mum. A cup of tea or something, friendly. If dad appears to be aggressive to others he could well be aggressive behind doors..

DisappearingGirl Wed 14-Aug-19 21:24:20

The OP is getting a bit of a tough time here. Which is it - she's a nosy curtain twitcher and there's nothing to worry about, or she should have called SS already?

I would be worried too OP - particularly the wandering preschooler but also the other things when taken together. What to do about it is trickier, when you don't really know the mum and the dad is aggressive.

ThePolishWombat Wed 14-Aug-19 21:40:42

I fully accept that people think I’m nosey! I probably am!
And as for the “gossiping” - it’s not like there’s a big group of us all stood there whispering and pearl clutching and fishing for gossip. When other neighbours have talked to me about it, it’s been on a one-to-one basis and in a more “seeing as though you live so close, have you noticed xyz?” kind of way.
I think my best bet is maybe try and engage the mum, without sounding like a patronising dickhead, and avoid the husband at the same time confused

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