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I have put my foot down.

(24 Posts)
Carmenere Sun 05-Aug-07 17:20:57

Dp has a 8 yr old daughter who lives in France(this is apart from his other 3 who live in the UK and my dd)and she has recently started coming to visit us after years of her mum being reluctant/difficult. She is a lovely child and we rub along ok BUT she doesn't speak english and my French is pitiful. Normally dss translates for us but he is away for the summer.
Her mum just left dp a message to day that he could have her for two weeks at the end of August. I have said no, just one week. I cannot spend two weeks with a child I cannot communicate with whilst dp works all day everyday(he cannot afford to take more than one or two days off). Dp doesn't have a clue about how much extra work a child you can't speak to is and frankly he does none of the work as he is always working to pay for all his children. I have my own work and dd to look after too.
So I am left to take up the slack.
He thinks that her mum is going to get the hump and say she can't come at all if it is not for two weeks. I have just drawn a line in the sand. She is a good kid, I do like her but I am not a doormat and he has to realise it.

tribpot Sun 05-Aug-07 17:25:09

My god. I found having a non-English speaker in the house for a week stressful enough, and his mum (fluent in English, Swedish and Finnish) was there the whole time and he's only 2.5 so needs are somewhat limited!

Think you are being quite reasonable. I assume you don't know any local families who also have French speakers, who could make things a bit easier? (Btw, perhaps this is outrageously anglocentric but surely the mum should be encouraging your dsd to learn to speak English? I know she's only 8 but sacre bleu - can it be fair to her to be sending off to the UK reliant on someone else to translate?)

floopowder Sun 05-Aug-07 17:26:55

How do you think she feels, being in a foriegn country with people she can barely understand and rarely sees. You should look at it from her point of view to, not just your dh, his exp and yours. The poor girl I would of been petrified to be thrown in to that situation if I was 8.

meandmyflyingmachine Sun 05-Aug-07 17:28:14

Um, so how would being there for two weeks rather than one be helpful then?

Carmenere Sun 05-Aug-07 17:31:53

Floo she has stayed with us 3/4 times before, she does know us well and she is very welcome. My post has nothing to do with how I feel about her, I am very fond of her but it is to do with dp taking me for granted. He just said she could stay with his mother for a week.
I will not allow that as she doesn't know her, doesn't even have rudimentary French and I wouldn't put the poor child in such a position just so dp can win a point off his ex

floopowder Sun 05-Aug-07 17:41:43

Can't you learn french, if your dp had a french wife, then surely he could help you learn.
I have to say, your op came across as if you resented your dh for having kids frankly he does none of the work as he is always working to pay for all his children.
If my dad who I had come to visit was always at work, then I say again it would be scary to be in a home with other people who I didn't know to well and couldn't understand my needs, wants, fears.

Charlottesweb Sun 05-Aug-07 17:44:21

I think she should come for the 2 weeks as planned.

It's not really your place to decide if she can see her father for one week or two, is it? Sure, he has to work, but whilst he is working, can't she bond with you & her step sister?

I think if it were me, I would buy a french dictionary & try my hardest to be able to communicate with a little girl who is among people who are not fluent in her language.

Have you thought about helping her learn English? That could help the 2 weeks go pretty fast

Carmenere Sun 05-Aug-07 17:51:37

I don't have a problem with her coming at all. I don't resent dp's dc's at all. I love and look after them, if anyone has ever read any of my posts re my dsc's they would know that generally I get on really well with them and they are genuinely fond of me.
I do have a problem with dp abandoning me with dsd for a week longer than planned. I was very happy to have her for one week as planned. It is the extra week I have a problem with.

And I will point out to the decrier's here that dsd would never have even started to come to stay here if it wasn't for me. I facilitate her visits, they wouldn't be possible without me.

Carmenere Sun 05-Aug-07 17:53:42

Actually this should be in relationships not step-parenting.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 05-Aug-07 17:57:31

I have rudimentary GCSE French, I'd be stumped at spending two whole weeks with an eight year old who only speaks french too.

I'm sure learning French would work out in the long run, but in the short term, this little girl is supposed to be spending time with her dad, not with her step mum who doesn't speak French...also can one learn French immediately on tap and unless one is aware of the pronuciation a French dictionary wouldnt be much use ime.

I think Carmenere, if your dh wants his little girls to spend a fornight with you, he should take time out and spend the fornight with her. I cant imagine sending either of my girls to stay with someone for any length of time if they were unable to communicate.

Carmenere Sun 05-Aug-07 18:04:01

Absolutely Fuzzy. Dp wants her to come but he wants to pretend that it is ok for me to take up all the slack. It's not. He needs to realise that it is important for him to spend time with her (he has only basic French too).
I have a wonderful relationship with my 4 siblings, really it is incredibly valuable to me and this is what I want for my dd. I want her to have a great relationship with all her siblings and I am really happy to have French dsd to stay and to foster this relationship. But I just can't communicate with her. This will change, she is learning English, her mum speaks fluently as does her big sister and she will too, probably sooner rather than later. In the near future this will not be the problem it is now.

Judy1234 Sun 05-Aug-07 18:06:01

I think you an dyour daughter should go away that week and leave her with her father who will benefit from one to one contact with her. If he can't afford time off work he'll have to get his parents to do it or hire a French speaking au pair but he shouldn't not have her. She is his not your responsibility of course.

floopowder Sun 05-Aug-07 19:49:09

Ok, if you don't like it, but like her, then maybe you could help her and your own dd. You could get your dd, to make up a dictonary of pictures of every day thing
ie. a ham sandwich, a door, a drink, anything that she might need to use to make her life easier in the uk, you could write what it is in english and she in french and practice the language with each other.

Carmenere Sun 05-Aug-07 21:21:08

Yeh I do help her with her English when she is here as I said this won't be a problem in the near future but remains one atm.

catsmother Sun 05-Aug-07 22:17:13

I think Carmenere is suggesting a very reasonable compromise considering that she is being expected to care for a child she can't properly communicate with for probably 8 or 9 days out of 10.

I don't think her posts come across as unwelcoming but she is DP's responsibility and it seems very lame to me to insist that she stays for 2 weeks when he'll only see her for 1 or 2 days (plus 1 or 2 weekends I suppose).

Whoever they are, trying to communicate with someone who doesn't share a language would be stressful for most people to cope with, but TBH, it would also actually scare me to be left with sole responsibility of a child to whom I could not make myself understood (plus another child) - and vice versa too of course.

Helping her with her English is of course a good idea but no-one could do that solidly for 2 weeks, especially when there's another child to care for too. I do think DP shouldn't be so quick to "volunteer" your services and should be doing whatever it takes (don't know if this is possible, but eg. overtime before she comes) so he can help care for his own child.

floopowder Sun 05-Aug-07 23:15:54

I think all my posts have been resonable. I have read Carmenere's previous posts on her other stepchildren and I feel for her I really do, specifically hereand yes I think her dp is asking a lot, but ... the girl is EIGHT and wants to see her dad and is in the scary situation where she doesn't speak the language. As well as that Carmenere's partners exp has messed him around re access in the past, so, if it was me I would put my self out. By the way, I also think if her dp has a child whose main language is French HE should of learnt French by now.
Sorry Carmenere I can see that you don't like what I have said, and while I can see your point of view, please believe me I am not siding with your partner but with his daughter.

Anna8888 Mon 06-Aug-07 09:02:59

Carmenere - you are being perfectly reasonable.

This little French girl is your DP and her mother's responsibility, not yours, and neither of those two adults should be foisting that responsibility off onto you, whatever the circumstances, and particularly not to teach her English (because I suspect this is part of the deal).

EscapeFrom Mon 06-Aug-07 09:08:23

Carmenere you are, I agree, being perfectly reasonable. It is not your responsibility. Some people will always give responsibility to any woman who will accept it (ie my friend who, when her daughter escaped her father's grasp and ran off, blamed ME for giving him his daughter!)

YOu have the right to say no. YOu have the right to say no without any ramifications of guilt, either.

Carmenere Mon 06-Aug-07 21:12:06

Update- so we have come to a resolution, she is coming for the two weeks ad dp has organised for dsd1 who is 20 and at a loose end to come and take care of both girls for the second week. he is going to pay her which is great because she needs the cash and I have to work that week and am going away at the weekend. So everyone is happy

floopowder Mon 06-Aug-07 21:27:25

So all are happy, good news.

catsmother Mon 06-Aug-07 21:29:24

Good to hear it's worked out.

Judy1234 Mon 06-Aug-07 22:23:57

I'm glad you didn't end up landed with someone else's responsibility. My 19 year old often looks after the 8 year olds and it works well and is nice for the siblings to bond etc too

dragonstitcher Tue 07-Aug-07 00:51:46

Ummm, if she is visiting, why isn't your dp taking the time off of work?

Carmenere Tue 07-Aug-07 10:48:21

He is taking a couple of extra days off the first week as planned(he is self employed so he needs to work as much as he can). It was the second unplanned week that was the problem.

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