Wednesday, 14 January 2015

I'm tired of people saying/thinking that I'm cruel and selfish for not allowing L to see her Dad. That I am punishing her in some way. I know she's clever, but she's still only a baby - she's happy and healthy and around people constantly who love her. When she is older, she will be told the truth. But the fact is, I have not stopped G from seeing her, just taking her. He can see her here at her house and spend time with her where she is comfortable. I'm not around as I don't wish to see him, but my Mum is as this is her house. She stays out of the way but still keeps an ear out for what's going on. She will even offer him a coffee.

He's visited her 3 times in the 3 months we've been separated, for a total of 2 hours. He's asked on 3 other occasions - once, I set a day and time and he agreed and then on the day asked if it could be at his place instead. When I said no, it was to be here as previously arranged, he declined. The next time was after he threatened mediation and publicly scoffed about getting to see L in a place he wasn't comfortable and being supervised and how that would all change soon. I told him since he'd initiated it, he could wait until after mediation to see her. I mean, isn't that what it's for? The third time, he asked to take her to a first birthday party and I was insulted on L's behalf and said no.

In the beginning, he said he would contact me everyday and ask to see her. Well he hasn't done that. Another day, he wasn't working (which I didn't know) but was coming over to see her and would let me know what time. He spent the day babysitting his friend's kids, before finally deciding to come and spend time with his daughter.

I'm trying to keep L safe and protected. G wants to be in control of everything and call the shots, just like when we were together and I'm not going to let that happen. I've seen things and I know things and I don't trust him or his son. And now he has a girlfriend with 5 kids of her own. His son has driven cars over L's head when she was very little thinking no one was watching him, made comments about putting his finger in the soft spot of her head and killing her, bitten an adult and not been told off. I'm not sending my daughter somewhere where I don't feel she'll be safe. That wouldn't make me a good mother. I'm also not his ex, who will just let him have their son whenever because she can't deal with him or has something to go to.

I know Dads have rights, but those rights should be based on circumstances. At the moment, a man still has a right to see his children regardless of if he is paying child support or not. Regardless of if he kicked the mother and children out despite them having nowhere to go. Regardless of if he didn't show interest in them when they were living with together. How is that fair? If a mother moved out and left her kids or kicked the father and kids out, she would most likely be seen as a bad mother who didn't deserve her children.

G called himself a single Dad when I met him. I'm sorry, but that to me that implies he had custody of his son. He was actually a single man who had a son who he looked after some weekends or maybe for a week on special occasions. What I would basically call a glorified babysitter. I originally fell in love with the fact that he could take care of a little person, but it wasn't until I had L that I started to notice things. His son had no rules and there was no discipline. I understood that it was difficult to set rules when he was only there for a couple of days and then would go back to his Mum's where there were none - no set bedtime or teatime etc - but felt like he should speak to his ex and sort something out to make it easier. Instead, he would let him go to bed whenever he wanted, play around while eating food, jump on the furniture, wipe his dirty hands on the furniture.... Sometimes he would say something but not often enough to let him know that he was serious. Then would buy him a toy even if he hadn't been good enough to deserve it. This went against how I wanted to raise L. As a baby, she needed more toys as she started to learn new skills, so every few months I bought her something. Now she has to wait until her birthday or Christmas. I don't want her to grow up expecting something every time we go to the shop. I was also told you can't have nice furniture when you have kids. Bullshit! What happens when you take your kids to visit someone who doesn't have children? I want to teach L respect so that I can take her out and not have to apologise for her jumping on the lounge with shoes on or spilling food everywhere. They will also have to follow rules at school too and listen to someone who isn't their Mum or Dad. The earlier they learn respect for other people and things, the better. They can't always have their own way.

L is in some sort of routine that she set herself. She either has one or two naps, depending on when she wakes up in the morning and how she's travelling throughout the day. If she hasn't had the second nap by a certain time, then we skip it as then it's harder to get her to sleep at bedtime. Her first teatime is around 5 or 5:30 and then she eats tea with us again at around 6:30. She has 3 bottles of half formula and half milk - one in the morning a bit after breakfast, one in the afternoon and one before bed. I've tried dropping one but she's not ready yet. After tea, she then has play time until 7:30/8:00 and then she has a bath. The time depends on if she skipped the afternoon nap or how long she slept for. Then she has a bottle and goes to bed, or if I can see she's not quite ready, I let her play for a little bit until I see her tired signs. On the VERY RARE occasion, she may still be awake at 10pm - usually because something is bugging her, but most often she is asleep by 9.

Of course no two days are ever the same and we plan outings around nap times. If I know we'll be going for a long drive, I make it for around the time she should have a nap, knowing she will sleep in the car and won't be grumpy during whatever we're doing.

My point is, if this loose routine is not followed, everything snowballs. If her second naptime is too late, then her bedtime will be much later. Then she may wake up again in the middle of the night. Or she may keep on sleeping past teatime and well into the night, all ready to be up and play at 3am! This doesn't affect just one day, it could throw off the next few days or even a week. G never followed the routine when we were together, so I highly doubt he'll follow it now and this worries me. He'll do things his way and I'll get back a baby who is out of sorts and have to try and get back to normal, only for it to happen again next time. I've heard of this happening even with older children - a weekend spent with their Dad who has no rules, they get spoilt and are naughty and rude when they are returned to their Mum. After only 2 days! I don't want him buying toys for her every weekend, for them only to be left at his house. I think that's very unfair to a little child. Or for him to be seen as the fun parent and me as the mean one. I know there's really not much I can do about it and it really, really worries me. This is not the life I want for her! He's also already stated to me several times that he can't spend too much time with her when his son is around as he wants the attention. We never really felt like a family on the weekends when we were together - it was him and his son doing what they liked. If we were going out somewhere, he would make sure they were both ready and then play until I was ready and had L ready (which wasn't always quick and easy). I would have to give her a bottle before we left, make sure I had her nappy bag packed etc and get ready myself while keeping her entertained. A little help would have been nice! But mostly they would go out by themselves - "oh we're going to blah blah, you can come if you want". I know he only got to see his son on the weekend, but it was no longer just the two of them, he had a family. I should have been included in the decision making. There were times when they didn't even come home for tea, or G wouldn't if he was dropping his son off. It was nearly as if L and I didn't exist on those weekends, or only when it suited him.

So under these circumstances, I'm not punishing my daughter by not allowing her Dad to spend time alone with her. I'm not a cruel, nasty, heartless person. I am just looking out for her safety and wellbeing. She will always be my number one priority.

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