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DDs Dad has her over dinner time but saying he won't feed her....(24 Posts)
Things in the contact book have gotten a bit... stressful. Dealing with my ex partner who was abusive and master manipulator. He had started being all nicey nicey and saying he's happy to meet up to discuss parenting stuff with me, when I didn't respond to that and only stuck to things about DD, he got nasty after I said neutrally that it would be good if we were on the same page about her sleeping in her own bed/without other adult guests sleeping in her room with her so she could sleep properly, as was discussed between lawyers and he assured that she would to encourage independence & continuity between the two homes.
This came after DD made comments to me that Daddy takes her into his bed even when she was asleep and cuddles her and she gets too hot, tries to get away from under his heavy arm but he pulls her back into cuddle - not appropriate as she is 4, not his own personal comforter..she has never co-slept unless ill etc. She also said that her Nanny slept in her room when she came to stay - she comes to stay often - and that Nanny was snoring and woke her up lots of times & Daddy kept having to rush in and tell Nanny to stop snoring. She doesn't have to sleep in DD's room but just wants to.)
Because of that comment I made, he replied in contact book in a defensive/accusatory way saying I have been manipulative to DD, undermining him, wrong-headed, controlling, that I should not tell him what to do regarding his routine with DD etc (same old what he has always said over 3 years & a year in court he has not changed or gotten calmer or more civil - it's only an act & then as soon as he doesn't get what he wants he turns nasty and accusatory/paranoid again, making it all about him) Then he said that whilst we're talking about 'differences' he thinks I let her watch too much TV, that I deny her sweets to a unhealthy degree which has made her obsessed with them, and that it is my fault that she is not eating much at school (not because she's just a fussy 4 year old who doesn't like things mixed together) it's in his view my fault because I have 'limited her choices' by insisting that she doesn't eat meat (she eats fish) - this was a compromise we came to and agreed in court order, yet he still holds all this blame over me saying I am projecting my 'eating issues' (being vegetarian) on DD, projecting my fears and worries onto her etc etc. Always the same story - gaslighting me and manipulating to avoid any light being shone on his bad behaviour. Blaming me for everything and creating drama.
Now to 'punish' me (it feels like) for trying to keep boundaries and not engaging with him/meeting up with him like he keeps pushing for he has said/ told me in the contact book "have her dinner ready at 5.45 unless you want to pick her up from my house at that time instead"
Background: He has her after school every other Weds from 3.20pm - 5.45 this is in the court order.
Her usual dinner time, as I have told him many times (I was main carer most of her life until recently) is 5pm so she can have time to eat, wind down, bath, bed etc. She gets very overstimulated and has sensory issues so she needs a solid bedtime routine even more so than the average child.
She often does a poo before/after/takes a break from dinner to go to toilet so dinner time can take a while...hence why I start her eating at 5pm.
With her having just started school and only just being 4 years old, she needs to be asleep at 7pm so she can get a proper night's sleep and not wake up too late in morning for school especially since she still wakes in the night sometimes. He always argues and says no he feeds her at 5.30pm and he puts her to bed at 7.30pm. He lies and says he never has any issues with her, no tantrums, no night waking, she eats well, always get ready for school on time and perfectly in the morning.
He lives half an hour away from me, whereas I live a 7 min drive from her school, so if he takes her to his after school and I pick her up at 5.45 (or my Mum does as I don't do handovers) then we won't be home 'til 6.15 and if she hasn't finished eating her dinner (or if she's on the toilet as she often would be at that time !!) then will have to wait for her, and will get home later.. She would fall asleep on the 30min journey home & then... either that's a very early bedtime and I have to carry her in the house up 2 flights of stairs and put her to bed in her school uniform? Or she wakes up when we get home & then won't go back to bed until 10pm.
Basically he's refusing to give her dinner - usually he'd take her to a nearby softplay and gives her a little supper there or nearby cafe/picnic in summer in the park. He's saying (telling me) I should have it ready for her at 5.45 (meaning she has to wait for dinner til then..?) When we've tried that before he'd given her loads of snacks to keep her going as she's so hungry and then I've cooked a dinner for her and timed it right etc, and she's not eaten any of it or she's been propping up her head with her hand & too tired/fractious to eat by then.
He gets annoyed and angry/blamey about me seeming to be telling him what to do with her/have a routine and he's said her routine needs to be agreed between us and that's why we need to meet up and talk... but if I say the sky is blue he says no it's not it's green. That is how petty and disagreeable he is. All he wants is to cause drama and trouble...he got his outcome that he wanted in court but he still won't let things lie and just focus on DD's wellbeing first and foremost. He still wants to stir things up.
We have had shuttle meditation, separate waiting rooms in court etc as seeing him/talking to him gives me PTSD flashbacks and intense anxiety for days/weeks afterwards - I have tried in past to co-parent with him and be civil but it just doesn't work and he always uses DD or issues surrounding DD to get at me, make digs, get control, play power games, get attention/narc supply from me etc.
Perhaps I should just ignore him telling me what to do in the contact book... and write down in my own notes every time she comes home from him on a Wednesday she has not been fed by him at dinner time and is hungry. But that will be the truth of it !?
I don't want to be petty I just want things to work for DD but he is the most impossible person to deal with and it's causing me so much stress and anxiety. Everything is much better when we have no contact at all & he has no way of getting to me but now he's been awarded shared care that is really hard
Imo your contact book sounds like a dictator's manual.
Your dd's df is allowed to parent her as he sees fit in his time.
Same as you are.
Unless court ordered obviously.
What part of what I said in contact book was dictator-esque in your opinion ?
I said "it would be good if we were on the same page with DD still being left to sleep in her own bed/encouraged to sleep in her own bed" (as he assured me through lawyers she would - but she complained to me that this wasn't what is happening and that she felt uncomfortable)
Do you think it's ok for him to not feed her during mealtimes just as long as he is "parenting as he sees fit" ?
You are trying to insist she has a poo at your designated time!! Dc with 2 homes are most naturally going to have different routines and different poo times I would imagine!!
He is doing it to get to you. Maybe you will have to accept that when he has her on a wed the routine will be muddled and stop stressing about it.
I don’t think (legally or any other way really) you can enforce him feeding her at a specific time you’ve decided.
Might be worth going back to Court to change visitation to full days or something so he has to feed her as well and your evenings aren’t interrupted? But it doesn’t address the time she goes to bed and you’d lose overnights with her.
As for the sleeping thing, again, I don’t think you can enforce how you want him to parent her when it’s his contact time legally.
falulah I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t feed her at 5pm, the same as I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Sometime between 5pm and 6:30pm to me is a typical dinner time for a four year old. He’s trying to be difficult but I doubt a court would find him unreasonable if you see what I mean.
There are 2 different issues here.
1. The sleeping- that does all sound a bit odd if im honest and I would be annoyed if my kids were sleeping in daddy's bed at his house, as we have agreed its not good for them.
2. The eating. It sounds like you're a bit obsessive with her exact routine of eating/toileting........I'm not entirely sure you can dictate to him exactly what and when she eats when she is with him ie no meat, no sweets etc. I think I would have to leave that to dad to decide when they are with him.
Just my opinion
He sounds like a horrible man-child but I don't think this level of information being shared is good for anyone. It shouldn't be a huge deal if she eats at 5 or 5.45 or when she has a poo. Any kid with two homes is going to have to accept different routines; in this case it seems to be the less you know about how each other does things the better.
He sounds arsy, but you might be best to let it go with regards the dinner. Go and pick her at the designated time with a lunchbox ready in the car. She can then eat whatever she needs on the way home and you can start the bedtime routine as soon as you get in.
You need to go grey rock on him big time.
I would take a packed tea with me when I went to collect her, she gets fed, stays awake and you can stop being engaged in him trying to control you.
Yes I know I need to go cold grey rock AGAIN. I always get lulled back in to niceties when he changes to the "good guy" act. And quickly snaps back to the bully when he doesn't get the attention he wants.
Good idea re: packed tea as that will make sure she stays awake in the car... and I know my friend does this for her kids when they are picking up older kids from activities late.
@Aprilislonggone - I am not trying to dictate what time she goes for a poo - I said she usually goes for a poo either before or during dinner - because that's when she NEEDS a poo, not me telling her to go then. Her own natural bowel urges ie. she is eating and suddenly she needs a poo so her dinner is kept warm whilst she goes to the bathroom then comes back and eats the rest. She has had an issue with holding in poo in the past and then it coming out when she is asleep and very distressing for her so I let her natural bowel urges dictate when she needs to go she goes and it's usually around dinner time like clockwork. Nothing I can do about it and this is why dinner time/bedtime routine often takes ages, hence starting to eat at 5pm. Most children after school are ravenous by 5pm & I think it is unrealistic for him to insist she waits until 5.45 just to be difficult & make a point that he thinks he can insist on whatever he wants & tell me to have her dinner ready by 5.45 instead of take care of it himself. Of course I am happy to have her dinner ready by 5.45 but I have already outlined the problems with this above. He feeds her snacks to keep her going as she's ravenous & then I make a whole dinner and she doesn't eat it or is too tired to eat properly at that later time. I know it's only 45 mins - 1 hour but it make a huge difference to her.
Re: going back to court - I would prefer he has her every Weds overnight but this is what he wants and he has insisted and had it ordered by court that he has her Weds & Thurs night week 1 and Fri, Sat,Sun nights week 2 with after school time on Week 2 Weds. Very complicated and DD is struggling with this back and forth. Before he moved closer to us and took me to court she was very settled with my house being her main home and she saw him regularly every other weekend & facetimes in between, but not back and forth overnights like he is insisting on now. I agreed to it in court to save the judge making a decision like 1 week with Mum/ 1 week with Dad as I knew DD would cope even worse with that arrangement.
I do not insist on anything except the parenting agreements we already made through mediation and in court order. I try to collaborate with him by sharing with him what her usual routine has been.
(He perceived this as me TELLING him what to do but...that's his perception because he is a misogynist & has a lot of anger and bitterness towards women, me in particular for leaving him after he was abusive & telling the truth about how he treated me. So he sees everything through these coloured lenses of bitterness. I am just trying to communicate what DD seems to need right now. He of course can do whatever he wants and ignore this information. Maybe I shouldn't communicate with him at all but I've tried to for DD. It benefits DD to have a consistent routine (especially because of her sensory issues) & she will be the only one who will suffer if he makes her wait for meals when she is hungry at 5pm. Eg. not co-sleeping with adults unless absolutely necessary eg. she's very poorly.
Oh end bit of my last post wasn't supposed to be there "eg. not co-sleeping with adults unless absoutely necessary..." That was supposed to be copied and pasted further up. As in, that's all I was wanting to be stuck to... as it's what we agreed in court. It is court ordered/agreed that she is fed a pescatarian diet. Because she didn't eat meat or like meat, hasn't done since she was a baby and he had been saying he would respect this & then secretly trying to feed her bacon which is incredibly salty for a child, and unhealthy. A group 1 carcinogen.
Regardless of whether anyone thinks that is controlling to prefer she doesn't eat meat, because that is my lifestyle choice & what I think is healthier for her, that is what was agreed in court and written in court order and was a compromise we came to.
I haven't told him what sweets to give her or not to give her as someone has assumed here. He was just "telling me off" as he thinks I deny her sweets - I don't - she ate a veggie percy pig on the way home from school today and a mini ice lolly. He just wants to find any excuses to find fault in me and blame me so that he can look like the good guy & he can paint me as a crazy controlling ex... his tactic to deflect against how abusive he was. Point finger at me and discredit me to everyone we knew instead. Just so many lies etc.
So these issues are just another way of him getting hooks into me and it's really sad and stressful when I just want what's best for DD and for him to leave me alone.
You do sound very controlling. He obviously knows how to upset you.
You need to unclench and not let him get to you.
Let him parent her as he feels fit as long as she is safe and cared for.
I suspect a lot of the contradicting the CO is just to get at you so go complete grey rock, stop rising to the bait and he'll either get bored of it or do something utterly stupid that you end up back in court.
I'd take photos of the contact book just in case it ever disappears...
He wants to feed her meat when she won't eat it - let him waste his effort.
I see your point, I know I need to unclench and not let him get to me but it's really hard. He has so many tactics and if I ignore one tactic he tries another. If I shut one avenue he'll find another way.
I think one becomes controlling by way of trauma - as a protective thing. In my relationship with him it was a rollercoaster of jekyll and hyde, abuse, power games, mind games and chaos when he was spiralling into bipolar mania and addiction.
So yes I probably became quite hyper vigilant and controlling in order to survive/desperately try and keep some boundaries and sanity.
To be honest OP, you sound incredibly controlling about food. When your dd is on his time, he can choose to give her dinner whenever he wants. And sweets too if he wants. He’s her dad, Just let him get on with it. As long as she is fed, that’s all that really matters.
“You LET her natural bowel urges dictate when she goes” . She’s 5, what do you expect? Also v controlling.
The sleeping arrangements are more of a concern. Perhaps you could suggest that if nanny is staying, your dd could have an air bed on the floor rather than share her df’s bed.
Just don't discuss anything, nothing he is doing is putting her in harms way even if you don't like it. When you say you both need to be on the same page what you actually mean I see you need to be on your page. Get rid of the contact book if it's causing stress.
DDs dad drops her off, I ask if she's eaten if not I do her some soup or beans on toast and he tells me if she's been feeling unwell. Things we actually need to know. I tell him when we are due to be on holiday and when dance shows, Sports days and nativity are and it's up to him if he turns up. I don't feel the need to discuss anything else. DD has adapted and manages to live perfectly well having 2 routines at 2 different houses. He feeds her what he likes, in fact he often feeds her things I don't like and I'm glad she has a varied diet.
I completely understand how past trauma can make you anxious and need to try and put in boundaries. But I think in the examples you’ve given you will have to let it go, certainly with the food. Just take a packed tea with stuff she likes; that will solve the problem of her eating late and keep her awake in the car. As she gets older her bedtime will get later anyway so it’s only a temporary thing.
You aren’t going to be able to make this man reasonable toward you I’m afraid, so you’re just going to have to find a way to make it work for you and DD.
The sleeping thing is a bit odd, yes.
But the rest... you need to let it all go. I’ve got a dd aged 15 who has been going to my ex since we split up when she was aged 8 months. You have years and years of this to come and for your own sanity you need to let it go. If she’s happy, safe and alive (!) then basically everything else is unimportant.
Most people would struggle to feed a child dinner at 5pm, it’s a very early time especially for someone who is having their child for contact for that evening and doing stuff with them.
When your dd is on his time, he can choose to give her dinner whenever he wants.
Well, he's not giving her dinner at all, is he? Just handing over a hungry, tired child after two hours of fun Daddy time. What a peach.
This is very hard, OP. It's all very well for people to say that you can't control how he parents her as long as she's safe and happy, but she's only four, you're her advocate and she's telling you that she's unhappy with the sleeping arrangements at least. But I think you know that trying to argue with him will only make him dig his heels in further - he clearly enjoys the reaction.
I don't have any good advice, I'm afraid, but I don't think you're being unreasonable. When you say he was abusive, I believe you. I can't imagine having to hand my little girl over to somebody who had treated me like that, and having to have faith that he would do right by her.
According to op, he takes her to soft play and gives her a little supper there, or goes to a cafe, and gives her snacks if she’s still hungry.
That sounds like she’s being fed to me.
Seniorschoolmum - I said he usually would give her supper at a soft play or wherever he takes he after school. He is now saying he won’t feed her and telling me I should have dinner ready for her at 5.45 unless I want to pick her up from his house (30mins away) at 5.45 and then and only then will he feed her.
I’m not sure how you made my statement that I let her natural bowel urges dictate when she goes to the toilet as me being controlling ? My wording meant I just let her get on with it rather than some parents will encourage their child to try for a poo before bed for example. My wording of “I let her” was also as a response to you assuming I was telling her or him when she should poo.
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