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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??

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 17:46:38

bertebotts - they do nothing as a couple. they dont go out. ever. They have never even had so much as a coffee together as a couple since she was born.
drbartlet - there are no developmental delays as far as i am aware.

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 17:48:49

Your DN is going to have the shock of her life when her sibling is brought home. And I imagine that the baby is going to have to be well protected from her sister.

What is your SIL going to do when the baby grows up a bit and she has two of them with possibly conflicting demands?

My goodness your SIl has a seriously skewed view of what is acceptable. I am not surprised there have been arguments in the past. Stick to your guns OP.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 17:59:40

tinytwotears - i agree. That is why i have been really trying to be allowed to build a relationship with DN so she could / would have others to give her attention when baby 2 comes. DN likes my DD but poor DD (who is 6) finds it hard as DN is quite demanding of posessions / toys etc. In the past SIL has taken DD's things from her to give to DN when she has wanted them. I of course intervened but hat ended just as well as you might think.

Poor little girl sad She's going to have her entire world turned upside down and nobody's thought to try and explain/prepare her for it. Not that they could by the sounds of things.

Either the baby is going to end up neglected in favour of princess PFB, or she's going to end up abandoned (not literally, you know what I mean) in favour of new shiny cute baby! sad

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 18:06:09

Could you say to your SIL that you have a list of rules in your house that need to be followed otherwise it isn't fair to your DD?
I appreciate that it won't be as easy as that but as another poster said, children do get used to different rules in different houses. I would definitely be enforcing the use of car seats, toothbrushes and sharing.

ChilliQueen Thu 06-Feb-14 18:10:45

I echo MrsOakenshield regarding SS - at least consider it. This is actually quite horrible to read. It is cruel in the scheme of growing and learning. What is going to happen when she goes to school? Or perhaps she won't be going to school. I dread to think what will happen when another baby enters the scenario.
At 3 she should be eating normal meals (big lumps!), using a fork and spoon, she should be feeding herself, and she should have some friends to play with. It's really horrible. As for the car seat... words fail me. It's all wrong.

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 18:13:40

I would definitely send some house rules back and tell your SIL she either has to meet you half way or this isn't going to work.

OK, feeding her mashed food, not washing her hands and face, no tooth brushing - doesn't really matter for a weekend visit.

Car seat, sharing, sitting down to eat, being reprimanded if necessary - has to happen, non-negotiable.

Also agree with others that this set-up is bordering on neglect, causing emotional harm, and that the family need some kind of input from HV/Surestart/Social services. I think it will get worse when there is a new baby.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 18:14:49

tinytwotears - have already explained that it wouldnt be fair to DD if whole other set of rules apply. That didnt matter to SIL.

Anyhow - It isnt going to happen this weekend as I wouldnt be able to follow their conditions and, as I have now actually said that - SIL has said that she doesnt really see it happening in future now as she couldnt trust me not to break their rules.

it really does make me want to cry at times. She is our only niece. sad

WholeNewProblem Thu 06-Feb-14 18:17:25


Is there any chance you could borrow a Kiddy car seat for her visit? These are a different style to a 5 pt harness.

I just hope that a sharp-eyed HV picks some of this up when they have the new baby.

sparklystar27 Thu 06-Feb-14 18:17:42

Honestly? id be having a convo with her about social services or getting your dp to do it. Awkward I know but I would be close to reporting to police or as over the car seat. How are you going to feel if god forbid something awful happens???

You seem lovely and want to help. I think you need to be firmer some how... I sont, know how to go about it but I think you and your dp need to do something... Are there other family members, close friends you could talk to and gang up on her so to speak nicely?!

I worked with a girl who was six who admiteddly ate a lot of crap but didn't like her teeth beofng cleaned so wasn't made too. She honestly looked like a pirate. Half of her teeth were properly black.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:18:34

Poor little girl. I actually second what others have said, that you might need to think about a notification to SS. This is a family who have lost all perspective and who are clearly massively, massively struggling to parent their current child, never mind two.

Some of those things (like pureed food) might be appropriate in a child with developmental delays, phobias, etc. But the big list is a big, big red flag. Some are downright illegal and others are bad for her health (like not cleaning her teeth) or her development (like never being told no or never learning to sit still on a chair, even for short periods).

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 18:19:12

If they are planning to stop you seeing her now too, I really think you need to flag your concerns to the HV. If they're not really allowing their DD to be around any other adults and she's not going to nursery then you are the only one who is aware of the extent of what is going on.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:20:26

Yes, can you work out who the HV team for her area would be, and maybe speak to them about your concerns and send an email? If the new baby is due in a few weeks then the HVers will be round soon anyway and might be able to work checking out the situation with your niece into the process? Someone has to look out for those poor children.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 18:20:27

I am not going to go into all the other things that happen / have happened in the past buti have spoken to her GP / Health Visitor way back about some concerns i had about PND not long after DN was born. It was very hard time for SIL as her mum died just after the birth.

SIL and BIL went ape at me and it was one where i was labelled as interferring / nosy / a bitch etc. It took a long time for them to speak to me. DP was very supportive of me and he has tried to talk about this with them but was told to f**k off bascially.

I do want us and DD to have a relationship with our DN. I fear that when new baby comes along - we wont get to see any of them.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:20:58

Sorry, not 'an email', I mean a copy of 'the' email, just to show how serious it is in black and white?

ChilliQueen Thu 06-Feb-14 18:21:10

Can't her face/hands etc be washed in the bath? Make it a game? Does she have a daily bath? Electric toothbrush sometimes makes teeth cleaning more fun. She should have been to the dentist by now too.... I'm assuming not. A total nightmare for you to have to standby and watch.

Jess03 Thu 06-Feb-14 18:21:44

I think they need a talking to. Is there anyone else in your family that they are close to that could reinforce you? It worries me that people could be so idiotic, I pity that child's teacher. And SIL and BIL are awful to not be using a car seat. I've seen your other posts, doesn't sound like they've gotten any better.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:22:09

Honestly, I think that there is a big risk that, sooner or later, they are going to cut you out anyway. If you went via the HV they wouldn't necessarily need to know you'd done it because they will have an excuse for being there with the new baby?

MrsOakenshield Thu 06-Feb-14 18:22:45

right, then I would definitely speak to SS about your DN, I would have grave concerns for her safety, and also the safety of the new baby - any toddler who has never been disciplined or reprimanded in their life is going to be a danger to a newborn.

Or, if you think it would work, tell her that unless things change you see no option but to do this, as your DN is being failed by her parents in too many ways to ignore. But I'm guessing that would be a no-go.

To be honest, once she gets to school they will probably pick up on a lot of this anyway, but that's leaving it too late as far as I can see.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:23:34

And it's far too late if she's in even a fairly minor car accident in the meantime....

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 18:23:49

If you're not really having a relationship with them now, then speaking to their HV isn't going to do any harm and it might get them the help and support they need.

Hebburnisaplaceonearth Thu 06-Feb-14 18:25:41

Raise it with health visitor please. That is some very strange parenting. They hv must never mention you said anything, but will know to look for certain things when she is visiting new baby.

VelvetGecko Thu 06-Feb-14 18:26:01

Totally agree re ss or HV. That list is shocking.
No solid food or teeth brushing? Wtf
And just shock at no car seat.
They are failing to provide basic health care amongst other things. Poor wee girl.
They need help OP, do you think you could get the ball rolling?

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 18:26:02

It sounds like you need to stage an intervention or something. And I'm not surprised with her reaction to your rules. She is going to be hard pressed to find someone to stick to those rules.
I would feel as sad as you weeonion, this new baby might be the catalyst your SIL needs to open her eyes to this madness. Then again she may just be just as unrealistic with two children.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:28:26

The problem is, with a second to worry about, she may be even more tired/overstretched and less inclined to face the battle that changing things is likely to entail.

In some ways I feel quite sorry for the parents, I totally get that they are unreasonable and their behaviour to the OP sounds really quite horrid, but they are also obviously struggling so, so, so badly.

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