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How to help dh bond with dd?

(20 Posts)
BeanyIsPregnant Tue 29-Jul-14 13:58:04

Dd is 18mo, and dh is struggling to connect with her. He's super hands on when he's home, gets her up in the morning, gives her breakfast, changes her bum, brushes her teeth then goes to work. When he gets home he gives her dinner, tidies up from the day, gives her a bath, does teeth, gets her ready for bed and settles her.. He's amazing, and I'd say we probably end up doing 50/50 weekdays

But at the weekends it's harder, he wants to 'do it all' himself, so I can have some time off (preg with dc2!) which is lovely, and I want them to bond as much as they can, but he doesn't really understand her cues, if she's screaming hysterically he won't think 'oh, she hasent had a drink yet today' or 'maybe she's bored as I've been doing the washing up/ cooking, il get some toys out' he just gets fustrated that she's crying and angry he doesn't know what to do

I'm not really sure what I'm asking, but is it possible for dh to pick up these cues and it become second nature for him like it is for me?
It's really getting him down, and he's starting to give up sad

CMOTDibbler Tue 29-Jul-14 14:04:03

Of course its possible - he just needs to spend more time on her own with her to make his own decisions

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 29-Jul-14 14:06:51

He won't understand the 'cues' until he's had chance to fathom it out for himself. They just have to get to know each other a bit better and that's going to involve a little enforced frustration all round. No-one's going to come to any harm if a drink is late or they get bored for a longer than normal. Reassure him that he's not doing anything wrong and resist the temptation to pitch in.

BeanyIsPregnant Tue 29-Jul-14 14:08:06

Do you think it would be easier if I made myself scarce so they had proper alone time? Most of the time I'm around but he's 'in charge', he's said a few times he feels like I'm judging him, which I'm not, but it's hard to bite my tongue when I think I probably know what the problem is!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 29-Jul-14 14:17:57

Definitely make yourself scarce. Take yourself completely away somewhere so that there are no tongue-biting, eye-rolling or similar pits to fall into. A weekend with a friend perhaps? BTW when you said you didn't think he understood her cues you were, to all intents and purposes, judging him. smile

BeanyIsPregnant Tue 29-Jul-14 14:30:38

Oh I'm not denying that I sit there getting wound up by it, it's not intentional, he knows that, but it's obviously not helping!!!
Equally I don't think I'm too pfb with her, she doesn't always get what she wants/ is bored probably a few times a day because other things need doing!

So I just need I bugger off more and let them muddle through?

NewtRipley Tue 29-Jul-14 14:33:45

18 months is hard

He sounds bonded and committed, but not expert. I was a SAHM to two toddlers and I found 18months hard

Maybe buy a book and leave it lying around?

Little Angels is good

CMOTDibbler Tue 29-Jul-14 14:41:04

yep - book a haircut, a pedicure, go and shop for dc2, anything that takes you out for a few hours, and then sometimes he can take her swimming/to the park/zoo for some time together.

But just don't jump in with 'she's bored' or 'she needs a drink' when he's dealing with her - unless she was very distressed

NewtRipley Tue 29-Jul-14 14:42:58

Does he ever ask for your help?

Thurlow Tue 29-Jul-14 14:44:44

I'd leave the house too and let them get on with it!

I do get your concerns on forgetting to give her a drink, for example, and 18m is a hard age for that because the language skills just aren't there to say "oi, dad, get me a drink before I throw myself down the toilet". But little things like that you can solve by just leaving a full cup where your DD can see it.

And then you leave the house and let him work it out. It's what most parents have to do at some point, but I'm sure it is harder when one parent is around so much more during the day than the other.

BeanyIsPregnant Tue 29-Jul-14 14:47:24

I think it's hard because I don't jump in or help or pass comment... But that's so unnatural for any parent I think it's putting us both on edge! Il start setting up some more one on one time!

NewtRipley Tue 29-Jul-14 14:48:42

What would happen if you just breezily said "I think she might need a drink" ?

BeanyIsPregnant Tue 29-Jul-14 14:50:03

Sometimes newt, and I've always said if he asks il happily help/ give my opinion etc, but the trouble with this is 9/10 I can solve the issue with something he hadent thought of so in a min or so she's happy again.... Then he feels like a failure because he didn't think of it!

Branleuse Tue 29-Jul-14 14:51:40

It sounds like hes got a lovely bond.

NewtRipley Tue 29-Jul-14 14:52:31

He sounds sensitive. Maybe a book would help kickstart ideas

BeanyIsPregnant Tue 29-Jul-14 14:57:46

They do have the most amazing bond in my eyes, but not in his, and that's moreso the problem. I think he's the bees knees and he's lacking confidence more than anything because occasionally he doesn't think to try something else- trouble is, he never sees me struggling with her which I obviously do on a daily basis! because if he's home he wants to be doing it..

NewtRipley Tue 29-Jul-14 14:59:50

Aargh, I love to give him a shake! It's a waste of time feeling crap about parenting a toddler (been there)

Deliaskis Tue 29-Jul-14 15:05:49

The other thing to understand is that your DD may just react differently to him than she does to you, and so he will build and form a different relationship with her than the one you have. So e.g. when DD was 18 months DH always had a nightmare trying to get her down for her daytime nap, and admitted he even felt nervous about having to do it on his own if I was out, as she would just fight sleep with him and get more and more wound up, whereas for me, I wandered upstairs with her, hummed the first line of a song, and she was out for 2 hours. If he tried to 'be me', it didn't work, he had to find his own way.

Now (at 3.5) the differences are even more apparent, she still massively messes him around at bedtime, and is mostly a dream for me, but will shout for him for various things she likes him doing better than me.

I have always shared with DH things that I thought might be useful (like, oh 'I've got that sunshade up on the car window and it has stopped the grizzling on car journeys', or 'I found an amazing new way to clean her teeth where she laughs instead of screaming'), but not the 'you're not doing it right' type of stuff.


BeanyIsPregnant Tue 29-Jul-14 15:06:26

I've tried to tell him that I have all the same problems he does, but with different issues, and he just thinks I'm trying to make him feel better!

Ie- we had a week from hell last week, and I only noticed yesterday she's cut half a tooth... With no calpol or granules or sympathy because i just didn't think of it :/

Anomaly Tue 29-Jul-14 15:13:03

I think his issue of feeling like he doesn't know her is his issue. I'm just coming out of that frustrating age when kids can't verbalise what they want. Having someone else tell you what they want doesn't mean you're a bad parent not responding or ignoring their need is what makes a bad parent. I tell my DH what they want because I understand them best sometimes DH tells me. My DD was mid meltdown the other day and my mate figured out what she was trying to communicate. I think he needs to get over himself a bit and realise he's doing his best in what can be the most frustrating time to be a parent.

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