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Single Dad in need of a bit of advice

(22 Posts)
Slackbladder22 Wed 20-Jan-21 11:08:51

Hi everyone, first time poster so be gentle with me! It might be a bit long too so sorry about that and thanks to anyone who reads it all.

I’m a single dad with a 3 year old girl, after my beautiful DW sadly passed away last summer (fuck cancer).

Things are generally going pretty well, I’ve had amazing support from family and friends (allowing for covid obviously), DD is totally gorgeous and adorable (except when she is tantrumming and being a pain in the bum!), just so full of life and enjoying nursery and making friends etc, so I’m not overly worried about things.

But there are a few minor things that normally I’d have discussed with DW, obviously that’s not an option so though I’d post a message on here. DW used to use this place, which is how I know about it, she’d never tell me her username though!

Number one is toothbrushing and I guess by extension wanting me to do things for her that I know she can do herself. We’ve defo gone though phases with this, at first she loved it, then we had to watch the Hey Duggee song every time to get her to do it, then she learned to brush her own teeth and was happy doing that. But in the last few weeks she’s really resisted it and most of the time asks me to do it, which I cave on just so I can get her to bed or out of the house to nursery. So I guess my question is should I be caving or should I be firm with her and tell her to brush her own teeth, even if it causes a tantrum and poorly brushed teeth?

Number two is diet. She is really resisting vegetables at the moment, she used to love broccoli, sweet corn, peas and carrots but won’t eat them now. She does eat a lot of fruit though so she is getting some good stuff inside her, but do I keep pushing veg at her until she eats it again?

And number three is sleeping related. Every night for the last four months or so she has come into my bed to sleep at some point during the night, after going to sleep in her own bed. The time varies, occasionally it’s six in the morning, occasionally 10:30 at night, but I guess its normally about 1:30ish. At first she used to wriggle really badly and keep me awake but I got annoyed with her and now she is very still. In fact it’s got the point that I barely wake up, she just climbs into bed, we cuddle and are both back asleep in about 30 seconds and sleep through till morning, so it’s not causing any real issues with work or anything. Now I’ve let this slide as its been a difficult time for us both and actually I miss cuddling my DW loads so it’s nice to snuggle with DD. But how long do I let it go on for? It’s going to be messy whenever I start making her go back into her own bed but do I need to start doing it sooner rather than later?

That’s it, thanks for any advice!

OP’s posts: |
Frazzle76 Wed 20-Jan-21 11:18:46

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your lovely wife.

1. You should be brushing her teeth for her until she can tie her own shoelaces. (About age 6). Best way is lie on the bed or floor with her head in your lap - you can get to the back teeth easier without hurting. And 10-15 secs each sextant, try to cover top and sides of teeth. Songs are your friend.
2. Offer the veg, don't make a fuss if she doesn't take it. Sometimes if you put it as a help yourself they are more likely? Often just a biege phase. You can worry yourself sick over this but ultimately its just not worth the battle IMO. My 3 year old has suddenly started eating raw carrots, cucumber and beans after 2 years of veg refusal. So there is light.
3. Have the cuddles. You are both still very early on in grieving and it hurts. Who cares that she's in your bed - you are her favourite person and she's your favourite person. That's not going to change. (Well it will when she's a teenager but hopefully will come back as a young adult!)

Finally - you're awesome and I bet your wife would tell you that too!!!

WellIWasInTheNeighbourhoo Wed 20-Jan-21 11:19:14

Dont worry about the toothbrushing too much, no one ever grew up and still needed their parent to brush their teeth! Perhaps go with a middle approach, she brushes her teeth in the morning, but you help at night when shes tired. Consistency and clear rules help with tantrums.

Children do go on and off foods, it usually doesnt last. Have you tried raw veg, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, celery etc with hummus dip? Mine preferred the crunchy texture at that age.

You are both going through a terrible loss, so I would be gentle with both you and her for now. Don't worry about the sleeping, its great she is sleeping and doesn't wake you anymore. Just go with what makes you both happy. Does she have a 'big' girl bed yet or still a little one. The move to the bigger bed can be a good time to transition to sleeping alone. But I have a tween who will still occasionally climb into mine if sick or upset!

Im very sorry for your loss flowers

iamtheoneandonlyyy Wed 20-Jan-21 11:24:12

Enjoy the cuddles, you obviously love each other very much and she feels safe and happy with you.
I'm sorry for both of your losses thanks

Pebbledashery Wed 20-Jan-21 15:11:42

Echo what others have advised and just want to also say you're amazing and sure your DW is looking down feeling proud of you xx

nicknamehelp Wed 20-Jan-21 15:30:53

Number 1 Do them for her if she won't but if she will just give them a finish off brush

Number 2 offer them make it fun. I named broccoli little green trees, sprouts footballs. Hide Veg in food ie pasta sauces. And make sure she sees you eating it.

Number 3 let her she will one day stop and sounds like you both need the comfort.

ShimmyAndShine Wed 20-Jan-21 16:53:06

You're doing great and brilliant that you thought of asking mumsnet and using the hive mind of mums!

On the teeth cleaning-check out Colgate Magik toothbrush and app brillaint.

Don't worry about the veg-try a sneaky veg sauce with lasagne or bolognese or some in a smoothie?

She's lost her mum; let her sleep in your bed for a bit. In a few months maybe you could only allow it at weekends etc and make some boundaries with it? Wouldn't worry too much though

Slackbladder22 Thu 21-Jan-21 11:05:39

Thanks for all the nice messages and the advice.

Ironically last night she actually ate some stew with lots of vegetables in it! smile Gonna try corn on the cob tonight and see how we go.

I'm glad you all seem to think that the sleeping thing is not a big issue, think I'll let it carry on for a couple more months and see how we're both doing.

On the toothbrushing it seems to be not massively concerning, I'll just not make a big deal of it and clean her teeth for her, with maybe a bit of encouragement to try it herself now and again.

@ShimmyAndShine I'll check that app out, thanks.

Brilliant, thanks everyone

I'm sure I'll be back again with more issues for the hive mind!

OP’s posts: |
notthemum Thu 21-Jan-21 11:18:30

Hi OP, didn't want to read and run, just popped in to say, I am so sorry for your loss and so pleased that you have each other. Sometimes MN can be a great source of support so don't forget that we will be here for you.
You are doing a great job.
Maybe for her birthday or christmas she could have a princess bed. Google them. IKEA do them. Might make it a fun thing for her but not until you are both ready.
Look after yourself, she needs you and as a pp said you are the most important person in the world to her.
Best wishes.

Uncomfortablynumbed Sat 23-Jan-21 23:55:50

Nothing to add to the good advice already given. I just wanted to say you sound like a wonderful dad and i am so sorry for your lossflowers

Please please don’t stress about her being in your bed though. You both need the comfort and it’s totally natural that she wants to be with you. Wishing you both all the best.

NovemberR Sun 24-Jan-21 00:01:50

Will she eat home made soup, OP?

I have a teenage boy who won't touch vegetables - but will eat any kind of blended vegetable soup 😀.

I echo the others on how sorry I am to hear of your loss and you sound like you're doing brilliantly with your daughter. Don't sweat the small stuff. 🍷

Exitstrategist Sun 24-Jan-21 00:12:47

You are so amazing and such a brilliant dad! So sorry for all you’ve been through- you’re doing a great job. Sounds like you both need each other at night so don’t sweat that. Lost track of the amount of food fads my kids have gone through so also wouldn’t worry about that. Share the toothbrushing- she won’t be doing it properly at this age so you need to help but also help her to become independence.

Slackbladder22 Sun 24-Jan-21 08:08:16

Ow thanks for the nice messages again everyone flowers. It was six months yesterday since dw passed away so I got a bit teary.

Dd is sat next to me in bed right now playing games on the iPad, just happy with the world. Totally helping me get through it.

OP’s posts: |
Slackbladder22 Sun 24-Jan-21 09:48:30


Will she eat home made soup, OP?

I have a teenage boy who won't touch vegetables - but will eat any kind of blended vegetable soup 😀.

I echo the others on how sorry I am to hear of your loss and you sound like you're doing brilliantly with your daughter. Don't sweat the small stuff. 🍷

She won’t eat soup at all at the moment, but I’ve tried the blended pasta sauce thing and that works quite well. She’s got better with veg in general this week though, I’m sure there will be ups and downs.

OP’s posts: |
Moonface123 Mon 25-Jan-21 14:42:02

I am very sorry for your loss,
I agree with replies above,
I also found WAY, Widowed and Young forum very helpful,
I am sure this is something your daughter will grow out of when she is ready. You are her safe place. I think this is totally normal behaviour to be honest.
Not long after my husband died I rehomed a couple of kittens, they are almost 8 years old now, and made such a positive difference at a very difficult time.
Good luck to you and your daughter.

Rob32 Mon 25-Jan-21 22:18:36

Hi guys first post so please be gentle I'm a single father of 7 and am struggling to get to grips with there mum not wanting to be a part of there life to make things worse she lives 2 doors away she breaks there hearts all the time it breaks mine to see theres break everytime too they love there mum and just want her to love them back but whenever they knock her door it's I'm busy,later on . So on so on shes currently pregnant with her 13th child but only seems to care about the one that lives with her and the one shes pregnant with how do I protect my babies from there own mother with her being so close

Slackbladder22 Tue 26-Jan-21 09:02:09

Hey Rob you might want to start your own thread to get advice, your post is likely to get lost in this thread. Sounds like a very difficult situation for you.

OP’s posts: |
Bunnyteam Tue 26-Jan-21 20:10:10

Agree with all the advice here and just want to say how sorry I am and you are a good dad to little one

TimeIhadaNameChange Sun 31-Jan-21 00:53:13

@Slackbladder22 - so sorry for your loss.

Echo the thoughts re brushing (do it for her) and bedsharing (now't wrong with it at all). A thought re the fussy eating - could she be trying to gain control of something? Her world shifted abruptly and everything changed - food is one of the few things she can have some say over. I lost my dad at 6 (as you say, fuck cancer!) which was about the time I went off fish. No idea if it was coincidence or not, but I still can't stand it. My mum always turned it into a big deal which was the wrong way to go around it.

beachlife9 Tue 02-Feb-21 08:46:48

Hi @Slackbladder22, I'm so sorry for yours and your daughters loss. It sounds like you are a great dad and your daughter is lucky to have you.

I tend to brush my dd's teeth while telling her what we are going to do that day (or the next day) just to distract her! It seems to work (she hates having them brushed!).

As for bed sharing, if you are happy with it then that's all that matters. There will come a time when she will want to sleep in her own bed, I say make the most of the cuddlessmile

Lilactimes Sat 06-Feb-21 21:03:30

I’m so very sorry for your loss. It must be so difficult and it sounds like you’re doing an amazing job.
I agree with all the other posts...
I brushed my daughters teeth until she was at least 6 - or helped her or she finished off.
I persevered with veggies - fun names, made patterns, puréed them in tomato’s sauce and mixed them with pesto..
My daughter also crept into my bed especially when I was at work a lot. I think they miss the company and want to cuddle. She stopped eventually!! If it brings you both comfort then it’s lovely. Wishing you the very best x

Teentitansonloop Sat 06-Feb-21 21:32:19

My DD is nearly 5 and still sleeps with me. She'll move into her own room when she's ready.

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