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Dd , 2, says when she visits Daddy they 'play at going to bed'

(26 Posts)
pod3030 Mon 03-Feb-14 10:03:57

Just sounding this out really. Dd's dad is a ea and now i have as little to do with him as possible.
He showed no interest in dd, indeed, he resented her for taking attention away from him. Now she can talk and do things he can get attention through her so he has her one day a week. (I know this sounds very bitter, but i am resigned to the fact that he had a very abusive childhood and this is the extent of his parenting he can manage, i've made my peace with this).

However, my dd has been very unsettled at night, suddenly wanting to come into bed with me, telling me her and daddy play 'going to bed in his big bed'. She doesn't stay over at his, just a few hours in the day. Am i just thinking the worst? I just feel in my gut it's weird. My mummy spider-senses are pinging all over the place. Can someone help me get perspective? thanks

PsychoCynic Mon 03-Feb-14 10:12:25

Hi Pod, this would ring alarm bells for me personally. As she never stays the night at his, I cannot see any viable reason why she would need to be in his bed. Even if they were playing a game the way you have described it, doesn't sound right.

How old is your DD?

PsychoCynic Mon 03-Feb-14 10:13:46

Sorry just seen age in thread title. Was your ex abused as a child?

TheNightIsDark Mon 03-Feb-14 10:14:16

Is he trying to get her to nap? It would ring alarm bells for me but trying to think of other options rather than that one IYSWIM.

piratecat Mon 03-Feb-14 10:15:47

this is difficult, as it could be that they have a rest and a cuddle, play on the bed. dd and i have always done this if I happen to be in my room.

Wearegoingtobedlehem Mon 03-Feb-14 10:16:35

Having read your post through twice, I would have concerns. Could you get advice from the nspcc or child protection- although I suspect it would be difficult to just get advice in this situation?

Would he be open to supervised contact?

Happiestinwellybobs Mon 03-Feb-14 10:17:08

I would rely on my gut feel. Only you know him.

But I would also say that my nearly 3 year old plays going to bed at my parents house. She has stopped over a few times, but quite often when I am there during the day she will climb into the single bed and call one of my parents up to read her a story. She claims the bed and the room as hers.

How old is your DD?

PsychoCynic Mon 03-Feb-14 10:17:52

Actually TheNightIsDark I agree with the nap thing, he may not have a bed suitable for her so puts her down on his.

OddFodd Mon 03-Feb-14 10:19:24

The OP said she's 2 in the title.

My spidey senses would be tingling at this too. How does your DD seem in herself?

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 03-Feb-14 10:20:51

It wouldnt automatically ring alarm bells for me. More like he is trying to persuade her to nap so makes it a game but trust gut instinct always. You know him, we dont.

GlitzAndGiggles Mon 03-Feb-14 10:21:50

Are you sure it's not a game? DD and I play a "go to sleep" game where one of us goes to our room and pretends to sleep then jumps out on the other one and chase each other around. More fun than it sounds! But 2yo dd calls this the bed game

SadFreak Mon 03-Feb-14 10:23:59

I would think he is just trying to get her to have a nap and maybe because he does not have a bed for her and he misses being with her he lies down with her too or perhaps he lies there with her too until she drops off, to encourage/demonstate that its nap time.

However, if your instincts are telling you something else then you really need to act on them.

Showy Mon 03-Feb-14 10:27:39

If my 2yo ds told me that he'd been playing going to bed with daddy, I'd be completely nonplussed. Lots of dc like playing games which pertain to routines they are familiar with, such as cooking, feeding a baby, going to bed, cleaning etc. I also lie down with 2yo ds when he needs a sleep, as does dh.

The game in itself is unremarkable. But nobody knows your ex or anything about him and only you can assess whether you feel there's a problem.

hootloop Mon 03-Feb-14 10:34:52

Hmm well I would think this is totally innocent, I have plaued a going to bed game with both my children when they were toddlers, it went like this, get in my bed both both pretend to be asleep, toddler pretends to be alarm clock 'beep beep etc' I pretend to have been startled awake, toddler laughed hysterically.
But you know your ex and if you have reason to think it is suspicious then maybe it is.

pod3030 Mon 03-Feb-14 10:38:09

Hi , thanks for your replies. I thought about nap time and it would make sense, but dd has never napped in a bed, only in the buggy out for a walk. But yes, he could just be claiming back the closeness he missed out on when she was little.

dd is a happy wee thing but after seeing ex she is awful- which is a little to be expected, as he can't maintain the boundaries and she arrives back home tired, over stimulated and over fed with treats. i've made my peace with that too. She hits me, rejects my cuddles, seems angry and won't do any of the things she usually does nicely (put on coat and shoes etc) it goes on into the next day. At night she has suddenly been asking for more cuddles, more rocking and wanting to come in with me, where before she's been very independent.

I know that ex experienced emotional abuse and perhaps physical. I don't know any more.

I don't know.

pod3030 Mon 03-Feb-14 10:45:01

Yes, i would in other circumstances think it was an innocent game.

But he has had no interest in her up to now, has nothing to do with the day to day of her life, no enquiries in between of how she is, no skyping when he's away, no worrying when she's ill, no interest in her friends or activities. He is not an involved dad, so this sudden intimacy is just weird to me. He never showed interest in holding or cuddling her.

but my judgement regarding him is weighted heavily so i feel i can't see it objectively.

CatAssTrophy Mon 03-Feb-14 10:46:22

Just trying to think of innocent explanations.

The change in her attitude might be because of the two different routines/parents/houses each week. i.e. my 6yo dd goes to her grandparents for a few hours every Saturday. She's spoiled rotten by them. So when she comes back after dinner time, she's hyperactive, a little naughty and takes forever to fall asleep.

When she was 2yo, we'd often go into my bed for a rest - in the vain hope she might go for a nap - or just to snuggle, look at a book, play tents, turn all the lights off and make shadows with our hands and a torch. We still do this now actually.

Of course, if you have any doubt at all that this is innocent, you should take action.

How verbal is your dd? Is there any chance you could find out more from her without actually probing/upsetting her?

Would you phone one of the child abuse numbers for advice?

pod3030 Mon 03-Feb-14 10:53:58

She's quite verbal, i didn't want to push too much as i didn't want her to think it's bad if it's just innocent , or scare her.

I suppose the oddness of it strikes me. He has been quite reserved with her up to now, and all of a sudden he's cuddling in bed.

Thankyou for your responses. He's away for a month now (with no contact at all as is his way) so i have some time to think.

SauceForTheGander Mon 03-Feb-14 10:59:11

I would call the NSPCC for advice on how to direct / not direct conversation with your DD about this and see if there is more to it.

My DD said something very odd once but there was an innocent explanation.

But you've got a month to ascertain whether her behaviour changes back to normal.

Other than this do you think unsupervised contact is the only way - could you insist he only sees her at your house?

RonaldMcDonald Mon 03-Feb-14 11:02:25

pod I'm sorry that you have had an abusive ex

To bear in mind though...sometimes we personally read more into situations and behaviours than are there. Try very hard to see this from your daughter's pov and in her best interest.

Is your tiny D really behaving worse after a short visit to her father's or would you like this to be the case <maybe sub consciously?> and are attributing any mal behaviours to the visit.

Also I know that it must have been very hurtful for you that you ex had 'no interest' in your d. He does now and importantly, although that earlier time was dreadful for you, hopefully your D will never know about it or experience anything like it now she is older.
I hope she never finds out.
Some people find it difficult to bond with babies. I did. I am much better with toddlers.
Also when relationships breakdown sometimes it is difficult to keep things level and reasonable as adults. Perhaps you ex didn't know how to behave. Perhaps you didn't know how to appreciate the efforts he was making. Maybe the relationship breakdown brought out the worst in him?

I think that you are suggesting that he might be sexually abusing your D. If that is a real concern then you must take her to the GP.
Think hard before making that suggestion to him. Imagine how you'd feel if he were suggesting the same thing about you...

I think that you are hurt and upset but try to keep those feelings from boiling over into behaviour that will damage your daughter.

KitsVegetable Mon 03-Feb-14 11:04:14

When my ds was that age he instigated a going to bed game with me in my bed. I was quite surprised as he had never slept in my bed (I always get in with him).

But given your ex's background and behaviour I understand your concern. The unsettledness could just be usual contact stuff though.

Helpline is a good idea for advice.

I would keep a diary of her behaviour so you can show a pattern of being unsettled after she has seen him.

Also you could take her to the GP or HV to get your concerns recorded in her notes. If it's nothing, no harm done just a wasted appointment, if it is something more, the more evidence that you can get from others the better. Do you have a local children's centre? They might have a member of staff who could advise you.

TiredFeet Mon 03-Feb-14 11:09:40

I agree with sauce it might be good to get advice on how to ask a few more questions. Like many others I play various going to bed games with ds, he likes to pretned to tuck me in and sing lullabies to me for instance. And sometimes if I am ill I would try and get him to cuddle me and nap in our bed rather than going out in pushchair. But equally if your instincts are making you feel unsettled by this then I agree you shouldn't ignore them.

Dh looks after our son 1 day a week while I am at work and at 2 our son would try and get me to play games he played with dh when I wasn't there, and I was able to slowly get him to explain how the game worked (eg get him to show me what happens)

curiousgeorgie Mon 03-Feb-14 12:01:39

I used to put my 2 year old in bed with me for a nap... And sometimes say it was a game so she wouldn't fight going to bed & to sleep...

Not sure this would bother me to be honest, but you know your DD x

cestlavielife Tue 04-Feb-14 11:49:57

give her some dolls / teddies and get her to show you what she means

cestlavielife Tue 04-Feb-14 11:50:34

"oh that's nice, show me how you play going to bed with daddy - this is daddy bear and this is you" use a toy bed etc

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