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Main Forums => Visitation Issues => Topic started by: stressedoutmom on Nov 09, 2009, 03:20:23 PM

Title: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 09, 2009, 03:20:23 PM
I need some help and I'm hoping that some one has been through something similar before.  I have a 3 year old daughter.  Her father and I are not together and haven't been since pregnancy.  During my pregnancy I tried to keep him involved by iniviting him to doc appts, etc.  I was induced and tried to get him to be at the hospital for the birth but he was not interested.  After she was born I again tried to get him to see her. 

I got tired of trying and told him to let me know if he wanted to see her.  We ended up getting attorneys involved and got child support established.  During that process I had my attorney draw up and include a parenting plan so that if he decided that he wanted visitation later we would not have to go back to court and fight about it.  Now that she is 3 1/2 he has all of a sudden out of the blue emailed me that he would like to start seeing her.  I suggested that we sit down and talk before that happen and he has an excuse for every time that I suggest. 

Our parenting plan is pretty specific about how many visits he has to have before he can ever be alone with her, etc.  I am not worried about her safety while with him.  He is great with kids.  I just don't understand how you just wake up one day and decide that you want to be a parent now.  My daughter sees other kids' dads picking them up from daycare and at their soccer games, etc.  My daughter told me on several occasions that she doesn't have a dad.  This is from her reasoning in her head not from anything that I have told her. 

When she says this I do tell her that she does have a dad and that he just doesn't live with us and she usually changes the subject after that.  How do you introduce a 3 y/o to their dad who has never been there? 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: asof2005 on Nov 09, 2009, 03:25:00 PM
In my opinion, especially with seeing the children with their dads, the little one would be excited.  Like "I DO have a daddy"  but probably shy and nervous too.  I think if the dad expects an excellent father/daughter relationship right off the bat, he is shooting a bit high.  Because he will still be a stranger to her.  Maybe the first few visitations should be supervised with you there as like an introduction, do you and him get along well enough to be near eachother for a couple of hours while they play and get to know eachother?  Then maybe go from there.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 09, 2009, 03:49:35 PM
Thanks asof2005 for your encouraging words!
 
I can't honestly tell you the last time he and I have spoken to each other.  I really don't have any ill will toward him but I can't speak to what his feelings are.  I'm sure he found it less than pleasant to be taken to court for child support but other than that we really never fought with each other just kind of stopped speaking.  I want to sit down and find out what his expectations are before we start this.  If he even thinks for one minute that I am just going to drop her off at his house for a couple of hours he is surely mistaken.  He is a stranger to her and I hope that he is ready to go in to this with that understanding.  Per our parenting plan he has to have supervised visits in an evironment familiar to her.  I do think that she needs to have a relationship with both her mother and father so I really do find his sudden interest as a good thing although a little odd.  I hope that he is committed to this and not just going to see her once or twice because I'm sure she would be devastated to find out that she really does have a dad and then see him once or twice and never again.  I just want to figure out the best way to make it work out for all involved.  Or are my expectations too high?
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: NYParent on Nov 09, 2009, 06:13:00 PM
Hi Stressedoutmom,

In my opinion, you have every right to be concerned about how your daughter is introduced to her dad, but you should try to make the process as smooth as possible.  My suggestion to you would be to have them meet somewhere that is familiar to her but a place that can be considered neutral for both parents.  Maybe you can go to a park and have BF (birth father) be there....they can be introduced and start playing, etc, while you're there.  Do that a few times and then maybe one day you should take her there and let her be with her dad alone.  Depending on how that goes, then he can start picking her up and taking her to his house after the required number of visits are satisfied from the parenting plan.

Remember, children at that age can handle change better than we give them credit for.  Also remember, your daughter will feed off your energy.  If you act nervous around her dad or uncomfortable, she will too.  I know it's a hard time for you.....but if she can have a relationship with her dad it will be better for her overall. 

I think the fact that he's making an attempt to be a part of her life is a good thing. You shouldn't question why or why now.  Take it for what it is....he had a wake up call of some sort.  Better now than later. 

As far as him meeting with you and having an excuse for all the times you suggest....he might just be hesitant to have a face to face conversation with you.  How about if you write to each other through e-mail.  You can ask him for tell you what his expectations are, etc, and then you can voice your opinions.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 11, 2009, 10:51:27 AM
Okay so here's the update.  So my daughters father had an excuse for every time I suggested we sit down and talk and try to get this figured out so he can start seeing her.  In his last message to me he said to give him so times that I would be available and he would call me.  I have given him numerous times and he has yet to call.  In my previous messages back and forth to him I have told him that I am glad that he had decided that he wants to be a part of her life and I have been very positive and encouraging.  I really don't think that he expected this from me as I can be a major B&$%@ when I want to.  I really do think him being involved in her life would be a great thing for her.  I am open to talking over the phone instead of in person as I realize that I can be a little intimidating at times or at least used to be.  I'm a totally different person now than I was 3 1/2 years ago.  I am taking his lack of getting back to me as a sign that he really isn't committed to doing this.  Am I wrong?  The last thing I want is to introduce him and them have him be gone again.  I've even talked with our doctor about this and she says that to introduce him and them have him visit once or twice and be gone again would be worse than just not introducing him at all.  I really want my daughter to have a relationship with her father and I am willing to do anything I can to make that happen but when he isn't following through what I am supposed to do?
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Nov 11, 2009, 12:33:32 PM
Even if he comes every once in a while..it is better she met her father then grow up..why doesnt he want to see me?
Maybe offer a common area for you all to meet...like chuck-e-cheese. He can meet her as "Dad" but just say some mommy's and daddy's dont live together.
He is probably very nervous to do this and she is a girl...so...LOL
Encourage and offer a time and place. If you dont hear from him, let it go until the next time.

Try not to be one of those people that dont allow their children to love the other side of the family. If it works out then she should be able to see the extended family for holidays and let her enjoy her time with them. Does he have family near by that would be there too? DO you know his parents?
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Nov 11, 2009, 03:11:34 PM
You said:  'In my previous messages back and forth to him I have told him that I am glad that he had decided that he wants to be a part of her life and I have been very positive and encouraging.  I really don't think that he expected this from me as I can be a major B&$%@ when I want to.'
 
It's very possible that the only thing he remembers of you is the 'major B&$%@' (B&$%@'), so being cordial to him might have thrown him for a loop and he's just having a hard time digesting it, who knows.  But if it's been less than a month since you've given him the suggestions of times/dates.  Who knows what or why he's dragging his feet at the moment, but if you feel he was truly sincere in his initial interest to be a part of his daughter's life, don't push the issue.  It's taken him this long to come around and this is not something you want to rush....for anyone, including him.  You have no idea what may be going on in his life and he may have conflicts with family, work, or who knows what.
 
The next time you communicate with him, ask him what would make HIM comfortable:  talking over the phone, e-mail, etc. (for setting up the initial meeting) and what kind of venue would he prefer to do this (Chuck-E-Cheese, McDonald's, park, etc.)
 
Because of the possibility that all he remembers of you is the 'intimidating' part, give him the space and opportunity to feel that the decisions made regarding all this is mutual, that he has some control over how it all transpires as well.  But if he decides that maybe he really isn't ready yet, acknowledge that and let him know that you are always open to him having a relationship with his daughter, but you hope he agrees that he should not commit to this if he feels that he may not be able to follow through with it, as that would be an even bigger disappointment to the child.  So you are willing to be open and listen to him when he decides that is what he want to do.  Keep it all positive.
 
Consider this:  if he decides he is not ready to make that committment yet and tells you that, I would look at this as a good sign.  Better he realizes that he can or can't make the committment then to jump into it with both feet and find out a few weeks or months that he can't handle it yet.  At least he knows what he is and isn't capable of in regards to parenting.....compared to all the kids having kids and not realizing what they've gotten themselves into until they're knee deep in it and past the point of no return.......
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 11, 2009, 03:24:44 PM
My daughter and I have had the conversation about how some mommys and daddys don't live together.  She has commented to me that she doesn't have a dad and I do tell her that she does but he just doesn't live with us.  I do get her involved with his family even though he hasn't wanted to be in her life until now.  I do take our daughter over to visit his mother.  It was not necessarily comfortable for me in the beginning but I felt it was what was best for my daughter.   

To be completely honest I would much rather she not know him at all then have him be around once in a while.  I just don't want her to ever think that he is not around because he doesn't like her or that she has done something wrong.  And if he doesn't know him then him not being around can't be because he doesn't like her or she has done anything wrong.  But more than anything I would love for her to have a great relationship with her father and I'm totally willing to do what I can to make that happen.   

He has finally gotten back to me and he and I are going to talk tomorrow so hopefully that goes well.  And even if it goes poorly, I'll figure out a way to make the best of a bad situation to try to do what's best for my daughter!   I am trying very hard to be positive and encouraging and am totally willing to accept input from him as to how to do this to make everyone comfortable.  I'm excited because I truly think this has the potential to be a great thing but I am also very nervous because I just don't want to see my little girl get hurt. 
 
You all have been so helpful in helping me to see things from all different angles.  Thank you all and wish me luck tomorrow.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Nov 11, 2009, 03:47:37 PM
Good luck tomorrow...hope it goes well...
Just remember he is a man and wont do/say the things exactly how you want to parent her. It will be a learning experience for him too especially if this is a first child. If your child already met his mother, then maybe go over there for the first meeting? or the public place is always good too. If he has another child (cousin or someone) that she can play with at the public place too could be helpful.
A few times so she is comfortable and then if he showed up and did the right thing, give him some time with her alone for an afternoon and build up from there.
I give you a LOT of credit for being positive about this. Realize that by him coming to you is his way of saying he wants to do this. Depending on his job/schooling work around and get a schedule you are both comfortable with. Let us know how tomorrow goes!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Nov 11, 2009, 04:06:58 PM
'......I just don't want to see my little girl get hurt.'

BT, DT........and the honest truth is...no matter how hard we try to keep our children from getting hurt, it ends up finding them anyway.  That's not to say that we can't keep it from happening, BUT.....when/if it does, it is NOT the end of the world, either.

My DS is 20 and has been through more in those short years than many have been through in a lifetime.  We went through a highly volatile LD custody dispute that left him suffering from severe separation anxiety for a very long time (as a toddler).  He then had to fly every summer and EO Christmas to CA from IA, only to have his father die of cancer while he was there for the summer of his 13th year......and things really went downhill from there.  That includes severe ADHD, trouble with the law, a 2 month wilderness therapy program 1800 miles away, juvenile detention, and residential treatment.  He still is somewhat a 'lost soul' and as much as I would have liked to shield him from as much of this as possible, not only could I not, but some of it I realized was the best thing for him at the time, whether I liked it or not.

Protect her as much as you can, but remember that you cannot predict the future.  Because (hypothetically) it makes no difference if he's only in her life for a few years and finds he can't handle it because of his own shortcomings and walks away.........or he devotes himself to her, only to have his life cut short by some unforeseen event.  Either way, it's better she has known him, even if it's for a brief period of time.  And either way, I have a feeling his love for her will be equally as strong......
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: mdegol on Nov 11, 2009, 09:31:07 PM
My son's BF is long distance and doesn't see him very often, so I have worries like you. The conversations that you are having sound good, nice and simple. Your daughter will take cues from you. If you don't make it a big deal, just someone else who loves her and wants to see her, she won't see it as a big deal.  That's how you present it to daughter, even if you are worried about impacts.  Don't let her see it. Treat it the way you would if one of your relatives was coming to visit her. No talk about the future, or any big build ups about seeing him. Just, we are going to see dad tomorrow at McDonald's. It will be fun to play there won't it? (You don't know whether he will play with her or talk to her or what, so don't build up his behavior to her or create any expectations, except to let her know that she should expect to see him) Over time, she will develop her own relationship with dad, and dad will be the one who controls the nature of the relationship. You don't have any control over him and what he does or how often he comes. He will be the parent that he chooses to be. You can only control how you react in the situation. Try not to build yourself up too much either, that way you won't be disappointed.

I know what you are looking for, and I know the ways in which you imagine it might be great. You can try to give him advice, but he will probably just resent it (often what he hears is that you think he is too incompetent to figure it out himself). Just let him interact the way he wants to, and hopefully he will figure it out (unless there are some special medical issues with child that need to be conveyed, ect..). But he will have to figure it out on his own. Even if he doesn't you and she will be ok.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Giggles on Nov 12, 2009, 07:50:15 AM
Goodness...who are  you and why are writing about my life? hehehe J/k.
 
I could have written your post nearly word for word!  My X walked out when I was 6 months pregnant with our daughter.  I was really close to HIS family so I didn't feel completly cut out.  When my daughter was born, HIS sister was in the delivery room with me, she tried to find him, but he didn't show.  He came to the hospital the next morning, spent about 20 min with her then took off again.  I tried working out a plan with him...nothing.  I filed for CS and it took nearly 3 years to get that going becuase he would evade service.  Finally the CS hearing came about and the judge asked him if he wanted visitation, he said no.  But my daughter was very close to HIS family.  She would spend weekends with Grammy and Pappy, birthday parties with her cousins and spend time with HIS sisters.
 
Then Pappy died.  My daughter had just turned 6 y/o and I debated taking her to the funeral because I knew HE would be there.  Because my daughter was so close to her Pappy, I knew she needed to go and say goodbye.  We got to the church and sure enough, he was there.  He came over to where we were standing....said "hi" and asked if we could talk afterward.  I said of course.  When he walked away, my daughter asked "Who was that?"...I just said "I'll tell you in a little while".
 
After the service, he sought us out, I left daughter playing with her cousins and Aunt.  He had his back to me at first and when he turned around he had tears streaming down his face...I thought it was because of the death of his father...turns out he was crying because he realized what a huge mistake he'd made with our daughter.  He said "she is the most beautiful girl he's ever seen".  We talked about him getting to know her and I was relieved!!
 
So we walked back to the area the kids were playing and my daughter came up to me and again asked "Mommy...who is that?"  I knelt down and said "Honey...this is your father."  Her eyes got huge and she looked up at him...and said "hi".  He then knelt down..said "hi" back....she then launched herself into his arms.  I sat there bawling like a baby....because finally...she had met her father.  Now he had a daughter from a previous relationship that is a few years older than my daughter....I was surprised to find out that HE also had gotten custody of her.  So my daughter also got to meet her 1/2 sister and my daughter was thrilled even more!!! 
 
We talked about her seeing him more...he would come by for a few hours a couple times a week.  Then he'd take her out for a couple hours and then eventually led to her staying the night at HIS sister's house (a place where daughter was comfortable).  All of that led to her spending weekends with him.
 
About 3 years after that, I finally met the man of my dreams and got married.  My DH was offered a position that we couldn't turn down and so we ended up moving.  Daughter's father lives in MD and we now live in FL.  I didn't have to go to court because I still maintain SOLE custody...but her father wasn't against my move either.  Now I fly daughter up to him on her school breaks.  She'll be going up next month for 2 weeks, then she'll probably go for spring break and a few weeks in the summer.  They talk on the phone a couple times a week as well.
 
My daughter was 6 when she met her Father....it took them some time to get to know each other...but if you're supportive, then it will be the BEST thing for your daughter to meet her father...it was for mine!!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 12, 2009, 10:05:34 AM
Giggles, Thank you so much for your post.  I needed to hear that things can work out for the best.  I'm sorry that it took a death in the family for it to work out but none the less I'm glad it did. 
 
I am trying to hard to go in to this with a positive and encouraging attitude but still have doubts in the back of my head and trying to figure out what all of a sudden changed his mind.  I may never know that and really its not important.  What is important now is how we move forward.  He and I haven't talked to each other in over 3 years so I'm a little nervous on how everything is going to go.  I am glad that he agreed to meet with me first so that we can together figure out what is the best way to introduce them.  I do want his input on what would make him comfortable and I know what ideas I have as to what would make her comfortable.  The more comfortable he is the more likely he is to continue to see her.  I am also hoping that since he and I are going to sit down today for the first time in 3 years that we can get some of the awkwardness between the two of us out of the way so we will both be more relaxed when they do meet each other.
 
I'll keep you posted with how this goes.  Thank you all for your support! 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Giggles on Nov 13, 2009, 07:36:46 AM
How did it go with the BF??
 
If you are able to have good communication, putting all pettyness aside and really work for the benefit of the child, then anything is really possible.
 
I did want to suggest that once the relationship is established, it might be a good idea to hammer out an incredibly detailed parenting plan.  That way should an issue present itself, you and the BF are covered.
 
Thankfully, my daughter is old enough to tell her father how she feels.  If she feels he doesn't call her enough, she calls him up and lets him have it.  I've taught her to be independent and to express her feelings.  She knows she can talk to me about anything and if she complains to me about her father, I simply tell her that she needs to discuss that with him...she and him control their relationship and that's how it should be!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 13, 2009, 02:38:37 PM
Things yesterday went way better than I ever could have imagined!  I did ask him why he all of a sudden decided that he wanted to see her.  He told me that it isn't all of a sudden and that he's wanted to see her for a long time but he was scared and didn't really know how to ask or how I would react.  He also said he did it now because he wanted to do it before its too late.  I gave him credit and told him that I'm sure it was a hard message for him to write.  He said he had written it many times but never hit the send button.  I still think that there is some other underlying reason as to why he decided to do it now but whatever it is he is he apparently doesn't want to share right now and I'm not going to push the issue.  If whatever it is can bring about a positive relationship between the two of them I don't really care what it is.
 
I told him that I was concerned about his level of committment.  I told him that I don't want to see her devestated because we introduce him to her and then he stops seeing her.  He assures me that he is committed to this and that won't happen.  I have nothing to go on but his word and have no reason to believe he was insincere.  In the past when he would give you his word he would stick by it.  The problem back then was getting him to express what he wanted. 
 
We also talked about how the two of us are going to need to be able to communicate open and honestly with each other so as things come up we can address them together as parents and not be the parents that can't stand to be in the same room with each other. 
 
Overall, I am very happy with the way the conversation went.  I think it was good for both of us to talk to each other and I think it will be beneficial to her.  We have a plan to meet at the park next week, pending the weather cooperates. 
 
My daughter was at her gymnastics class when he and I talked and she had no idea that I was going to talk to her dad.  I was very careful not to say anything around her until after he and I had talked.  So after gym class my daughter and I were shopping and out of no where she started saying things like Where's my dad?  What's he doing?  It's almost like she had a sixth sense or something.  But at least it opened up a conversation between her and I about her dad and if she would like to meet him, etc. 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: NYParent on Nov 13, 2009, 03:53:58 PM
I am glad it went well.  Sounds like you guys are off to a good start.

I hope you guys are able to continue working together for your daughter's sake.  Good luck and don't forget to update us when your DD meets her dad.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Nov 13, 2009, 04:05:45 PM
Wonderful!  I'm so glad everything started off on the right foot!  As for his reasons for waiting so long, consider what he said to be the honest-to-God's truth.  You said: 'In the past when he would give you his word he would stick by it.  The problem back then was getting him to express what he wanted.'  The operative phrase is the second sentence...if men have no clue how women think, then this is the area that women have difficulty with men.  Yes, it IS very hard for them to speak from the heart, because so many of them have had it ingrained in their system that they have to be 'tough'.  Even my DH can have a difficult time expressing himself, if he remotely feels that it might upset me.

And I've also come to understand that many men have difficulty with rejection, so if he said he was worried about how you'd react to his wanting a relationship with his daughter, he spoke the truth there, too.  He was afraid of being rejected for it.  That also may go back to your statement that you could be 'intimidating' and I'm sure that may have been a factor, as well.

But you spoke volumes when you said when he gives his word, he sticks to it.  Take him for his word, because you have no reason to believe otherwise.  Just don't go looking for trouble when there's none there.  Take it slow and steady and enjoy watching your child blossom in this new aspect of her life.

You both have started off on the right foot and I will be praying that all goes well for you all and you are both able to effectively co-parent for her.......all in all, your daughter is the winner here!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 18, 2009, 08:08:47 PM
So I thought I would give you guys the update.  So I've spent the last few days trying to prepare my daughter to meet her dad.  We've spent some time talking about dads in general and then specifically her dad.  So tonight he came over.  He brought her a princess balloon which of course was a good move on his part.  The visit was amazing.  She is usually shy and a little slow to open up to new people but not him.  I don't know if it was just the instant connection between parents and children or if it was the princess balloon.  They laid on the floor and colored together, sang songs together and she even had him crawling on his hands and knees so she could ride him like a pony.  I just kind of stepped back and let the two of them play together but she knew that I was there.  I couldn't have asked for it to go any better.  We all three had smiles on our faces the whole time.  He wants to come over again on Friday.  Personally, I think it is a little soon but I agreed to it because I think she has been without him for 3 1/2 years so if this is what it will take to get their relationship off to to a good start then that's what we will do.  I'm so excited that it went so well, I just hope it continues!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: spitfire on Nov 18, 2009, 08:30:03 PM
I am so happy for all of you that I could just about cry.  I hope everything continues to go smoothly.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Nov 18, 2009, 10:36:50 PM
That is absolutely wonderful!!!!!!!  I am SO glad for your daughter that it went so well!
 
You may think that him coming again on Friday is too soon, but I think that the combination of the first visit going so well and his desire to come back so soon is absolutely what your daughter needs!  And I think you're right.....I think there was an instant connection between them and they have YOU to thank for that because you prepared her in advance and you did it right.
 
Trust your instincts and the lead of your daughter........you are doing great so far and your daughter will thank both you and her father for it.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Nov 19, 2009, 12:16:18 PM
GREAT!!! (and you are doing soooo good!!! Must be hard......but I have dealt with a pycho mother and would LOVE you as the BM)

Going to be rough spots...meeting girlfriends...family....leaving her the first time. BUT your daughter took your lead as was not afraid!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: NYParent on Nov 19, 2009, 01:07:53 PM
I am glad it went so well for everyone.  Congrats!!!!!  You deserve recognition for allowing and encouraging a relationship between your daughter and her dad.  Always remember how your daughter felt that day.....especially when things get tough!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 28, 2009, 10:25:04 PM
So I thought I would take a minute and give an update.  So we had our second visit with dad.  We went to the park for a bit then he came over and played until bed time.  My daughter dressed up in her Cinderella dress and turned on her princess CD and had her dad dancing with her.  It was the most adorable thing and I was able to snap a few good pics.  They were both smiling from ear to ear.  We also had another visit Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I asked him to come over and entertain her so I could bake for Thanksgiving.  And today we went to the zoo.  Everything is going much better than I had ever hoped for.  They are getting along great!
 
While things are going well between them things are weird.  He and I went from not speaking for 3 years to being friendly and being able to talk to one another.  But it is weird for the 3 of us to sit down at the dinner table when he comes over.  And it was definately weird for the 3 of us to be at the zoo together today.  Sitting down to dinner and trips to the zoo are things that a family does together and so it just seems weird for us to be doing these things together since he and I are not together.  I just kind of deal with the awkwardness since I'm trying to make her feel comfortable.  But I think at some point the two of them need to start doing things without me.  I don't want to push him in to being alone with her before he is ready.  So I've just kind of been waiting for an indication from him that he is ready.  He hasn't really said anything about taking her by himself or having her visit at his house or anything to that effect so maybe he's not ready for that.  Any thoughts??
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: teacher98 on Nov 29, 2009, 09:11:55 AM
Wow!  You truly are a great coparent.  I empathize with how you are feeling.  I cannot relate personally, but can imagine that it is an uncomfortable situation.  My DH has a 9 yo son who was born when he was a teenager.  He and BM didn't last much past the birth of their baby. While they were together, they always did things as a "family." Well after they broke up, BM wouldn't allow DH to take the baby on his own. DH asked many times and she pulled back with each request.  I won't go into all of the details, since this post is about you, but things are different now of course.  My opinion is that he may be a bit nervous to ask that so soon.  Even if he isn't 100% "ready", who is when a baby is born.  Parenting is a learning experience that happens along the way.  He needs to be able to have quality alone time with her in which he can learn his parenting style and not just his "play and have a good time style." So since things are going well, I would suggest that you ask him yourself to take her on his own.  He probably doesn't want to push you away.  Many single moms do not react well to Dad wanting time with his child after that amount of time. I am sure he has heard horror stories and just wants to make sure that the 2 of you can be civil. For my DH, if he didn't want a total war with BM, that meant he had to see his son on her terms in her home for a very long time. It still is a challenge even 8 years later. Both are married. She has more children, yet she still hangs on to controlling DH by using their son.  You on the other hand seem to be very logical and willing to work with Dad and that is to be commended. May I suggest that during his next visit you say that you want his time with your daughter to move from fun visits to real parenting time. Depending on your schedules for work and such, he could start with a few hours in his home 3 days a week. But a word of caution--this opens up a whole new can of worms for the 3 of you. His parenting may be different from yours. He may then want overnights and a very regular frequent parenting schedule.  Your daughter could whine to you about how Daddy says no for certain things or let's her do this and you don't.  You have to always remember that you are speaking to a child and only find out information through her dad.  Something to keep in mind for the very near future is to keep a parenting log that goes between the homes. You 2 can decided what you record in it. Nap times, snacks, meal times, bedtimes, bathtimes, tantrums, whatever.  That way you have another format in which to communicate when life becomes real and the stresses of parenting, work, relationships, etc, get in the way. Also, agree upon the major things before she does go with him (bedtimes, # of snacks per day, discipline procedure, etc) She will feel comfortable and familiar with a similar (not identical) routine and expectations in her home at Dad's.  Fun visits are just that-fun.  Real parenting is rewarding, but you know that a child can go from smiles to meltdowns in about 60 seconds and even as young as your daughter is, she will learn quickly the ways of manipulating situations in her favor when she has two homes.  The #1 way to prevent that is open communication which it seems you 2 are doing well at.  Good luck and keep us updated!!!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 29, 2009, 09:52:34 AM
BF and I did sit down and talk before he started seeing her.  We talked about how we are both going to need to be able to communicate and be on the same page and that mom and dad need to enforce the same page.  We both were in agreement about that.  I also told him that for the last 3 years I have made all of the decisions and rules on my own so if there are rules that he thinks are unnecessary or need to be changed that we can discuss them and come to an agreement instead of having two sets of rules.  Right now things are going better than I could ever have hoped for.  He and I are actually talking to each other.  I was worried at first that he would just be the play mate and that I would be the one to enforce the rules.  But when he comes over to visit he does have her pick up toys, etc.  She really is a pretty good kid so she doesn't normally require a lot of discipline.  It's just the whole doing things as a "family" that weirds me out.  I'm not opposed to her going to his house or working up to overnight visits.  But before that happens he needs to actually buy some toys so she would have something to do over there and he needs to toddler proof his house.  I think that I was just so caught off guard that after 3 years he decided he wanted to see her and then that everything is going so well.  I am afraid to bring it up because I don't want to seem like I am pushing him in to something that he might not be ready for and then have things switch from going great to not going so well.  So I guess that at our next visit we will just have to discuss it and see what his response is.  Hopefully if he is ready we can sit down and further discuss rules.  And if he is not ready then hopefully he will be honest and we can work toward getting him ready. 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: NYParent on Nov 29, 2009, 10:10:53 AM
I agree with teacher98.....maybe Dad might be scared to ask you for time alone since things are going great, he doesn't want to rock the boat too much.  I think the next time he comes over you should tell him that you feel confident that both him and DD have gotten to know each other well enough for the visits to happen between the two of them and without your supervision.

As far as parenting styles, it is very likely that you both parent differently.  For example a big issue between me and BM is that she keeps a rigid schedule as far as bedtime....I on the other hand only get to spend 3 days every two months (long distance between us) and so for me it's not as important for her to go to bed at 8pm on the dot.  I mean I don't let DD stay up until very late, but if she goes to bed at 9:00 I don't see the big deal.  I have her for such a limited time that the extra half hour or hour makes a difference to the both of us.  Well one night while we were visiting my family for thanksgiving BM called me at 8:20PM and heard DD up....well sh** hit the fan then.  She started yelling to the point that people could hear her even though the phone was not on speaker phone.  She told me that I was to drive to the airport at that very moment and return DD because I obviously did not know how to parent.  Although I tried to reason with her, there was nothing I could say to calm her down.  I told her she was being unreasonable and that she needed to stop intruding on my time.  Hung up the phone and turn off my cell.  Well that didn't stop her....she started calling my family's home having a screaming fit.  After the third call my sister got on the phone and told her I was unavailable and that she should refrain from calling again.  BM of course said that if I was not at the airport within the next hour with a confirmed flight back she was going to call the cops and accuse me of kidnapping.  My sister told her she should do whatever she wanted and reminded her there was a CO stating that DD was to be with me thanksgiving.....gave her the address again to where the police should come and hung up the phone.....needless to say that no authorities showed up at the house.

This is just an example of on one thing where she tries to control how I parent.  As long as nothing is being done to harm the child (although BM does believe that putting the child to sleep 1/2 to an hour later is great danger to the child) then there's no problem for things being done differently.  The only thing I try to stick with the same as BM is within the foods that BM feeds DD (she's a health nut) because I think its better for DD and because I don't want to change her diet and have her have a reaction to something.  In that case I always ask BM to give me an updated list of what DD is eating when I got to visit (not every time....but ever six months for example).

Honestly you guys don't really need to share too much information.....this will help keep a divide between your time with DD and his.  I do believe that you should always share important things....like if she's sick and how her mood has been.  Other than that, what he does with her and what you do with her doesn't need to be discussed.  I agree with discussing discipline....that's something that should be consistent. 

I think you're doing a great job....keep it up!  Also remember, that at one point or another he's going to want overnights.  Although it might be scary for you at first, you should be open to it.  At that point you should also go to a standard visitation schedule (every other weekend) so that each parent knows when they're going to have the child.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 29, 2009, 11:53:05 AM
Thanks for your help.  You guys are probably right.  He might not want to rock the boat but on the other hand I don't want to rock it either.  Our CO technically says he has to have 8 consecutive visits before he can be alone with her so maybe that's what he is waiting for.  We have only had 4 visits but since all is going so well I would be willing to start now.  He has never been particularly good and saying what he wants.  I've heard a lot of I don't knows and I haven't thought about its over the past 3+ years which is another reason why I was surprised when he actually contacted me to start having visits with our daughter. 
 
On another note, I just got an email from a mutual friend of ours.  Mutual friend said that he had talked to BF and he said that he is visiting now and he told our friend things were going well.   Then our friend asked me if there was a chance that BF and I would ever get back together.  I hope that  is just a random thought thrown out and not something BF put him up to asking.  BF and I are over.   
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: teacher98 on Nov 29, 2009, 06:49:43 PM
I wouldn't acknowledge the friend's email regarding getting back together with Dad.  No need to do the high school drama thing.  Stick to the child.  8 visits sets a strong precedence with the child that Mom is in charge and Dad is all fun (visits) If you are comfortable, then you should move forward and encourage him to take "parenting" time. NYP is right. He will eventually want overnights to feel like he is a normal parent. I STRONGLY disagree with EOWeekend parenting.  It tends to put one parent in the position for all work and the other parent as all play.  A 2/2/5/5 schedule allows more freqent parenting time for the child. It never puts the child more than 5 days away from either parent.  Once her bond is strong and dad and daughter want to be together for real, 2 weeks away from any parent is awful for the child UNLESS distance is an issue. Then traveling every few days is more stressful on everyone.  If dad lives near enough the 2/2/5/5 schedule works well.  M/T with one parent W/TH with the other and then alternate weekends. Both parents get a weekend attached to weekdays which allows both parents to be involved with school/daycare/sports practices/etc.  I know that this is a little bit down the road for you, but it is something to keep in mind since overnights and significant parenting time are something that dad will eventually want.  Keep us posted and try not to be "stressed" any longer. (http://www.deltabravo.net/forum/Smileys/default/smiley.gif)
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Nov 29, 2009, 07:00:01 PM
I wish that you were our BM!!! You are doing great with this whole thing...the three of you. I think you are right...everyone is comfortable and now is the time for daughter to see dad outside the home so she doesnt think this is family time. She needs to learn that she will have two houses...and that you two will be on the same page about the big stuff. Little stuff ...just let go and smile...(like if he brings her home for dinner but they just stopped for icecream...lol).

Dont talk in front of child about the visits. You can start talking to her about going with daddy to the xxxx (park, mcdonalds). First time can be a quick one just so she goes in car with him and knows she is coming back to you. If she is having fun she can call you and ask to stay longer and do something else with him.

I have been on this site for years and years...and your story is a blessing to read...There will be ups and downs but always have the best interest of child and hopefully he will do the same. You dont ever have to go back to court if you agree and do things the way you both want. It gets ugly when one parent doesnt agree or what to do at holidays...

After you see how things go when she goes with him, then sit down and write down a schedule of the year...This way you can give your child a calendar of when she is with mom and when she is with dad. It also gives the both of you notice of when you need to be available for her. (arrange work schedules, vacations).

Great job!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Nov 30, 2009, 03:38:19 PM
You are all so helpful, Thank you!  BF lives 6 blocks away from us so distance is not an issue.  What will be the bigger issue is working around his work schedule.  Our CO says 8 visits before he can be alone and 3 months of consecutive visits before any overnights.  I'm willing to work with that.  Other than that it says the standard one night/week and EO weekend or equivalent days based on BF work schedule.  Since BF is a firefighter and works 24 hour shifts I had the equivalent days part added in because I know that EO weekend is not realistic with his schedule.  I don't want her spending 24 hours at a time with which ever random person he could find to watch her so we also have a right of first refusal included for anything over 4 hours.  He is planning on coming over again on Wed.  He usually stays until its time to get ready for bed.  I think I will ask him to stay until she is in bed and then he and I can figure how to proceed from here. 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 03, 2009, 11:31:50 AM
We had another great visit last night.  Still stuck in the weirdness though.  I'm just afraid to bring up BF taking her alone because I don't want to jeopardize the good (but weird) thing we have going on.  The next visit I'm going to ask BF to say and help with getting her to bed then after she is in bed we can talk about him starting to have her for short periods of time alone.  Wish me luck!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: spitfire on Dec 03, 2009, 02:59:30 PM
I wish you all the luck in the world.  If my parents could behave like you my life would be SO much less stressful.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: teacher98 on Dec 16, 2009, 06:09:21 PM
Any updates for us?  How have the visits been going?
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: sillystring on Dec 21, 2009, 12:59:05 PM
First off - Giggles, your post made me cry.
 
Second of all - Stressed out, thank you for making this post.
 
I actually came here today to make pretty much the exact same post that you did.  I have always wanted nothing more than for my dd to have a relationship with her father.  He completely resisted so I finally gave up and he has not seen her since she was 6 months (she is now 3 as well).
 
Now he is saying he wants to see her after the holidays are over, and I can only hope it will go as well as your visits have been going.  I think it's great that you already have a parenting plan set up which seems to be in the complete best interest of your daughter.
 
I look forward to reading more updates from you.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 22, 2009, 02:09:20 AM
Okay here is the update.  I am so not happy right now.  I am hoping that you all can help.  So visits between my daughter and her father have been going well.  He has been over several times to visit her and we have gone to the movies, zoo and last week went to see Santa.  But has not expressed any interest in taking her on his own unti tonight.  Tonight he sends me a text message at 4:37 asking if he could take our daughter over to his mom's house for dinner.  I have been taking my daughter over to visit his mother for the last couple of years so other than the short notice I didn't have a problem with it.  I asked what time and he said 5 or 5:30.  I was still at work when I got his text so I told him we would be home by 5:30.  I rushed out of work went and picked up our daughter from daycare and was home by 5:30 when he came to pick her up.  My daughter and I had planned to decorate Christmas cookies but I was trying to be supportive of him spending time with her so that is why I agreed.  So went with him and at 8:30 he still didn't have her back so I texted to see when they would be home and they got home about 15 mintues later.  She came home with a present from his mom and this other little snow globe thing.  She kept saying she got this globe from the "eating barn".  I asked him what she was talking about and he said he didn't know.  After he left she kept talking about the "eating barn".  Being totally confused as to what she was talking about I texted and asked if they went out to dinner because she kept talking about the eating barn.  His response was that they did go out to eat but didn't elaborate any further.  So I kept talking with my daughter and finally got the story figured out.  They went to this local restaurant that is attached to the craft store when his girlfriend works and they had dinner with her.  His mom didn't even go to dinner with them.  So I am totally pissed off that he lied to me about going to his mom's for dinner when that is not what happened.  This was the first time he has been alone with him.  She needs to get used to that before you throw in the girlfriend factor.  And I think that he and I should discuss at what point we introduce our daughter to our significant others.   I really want to say something to him about this but I'm too angry at this point.  How are we going to co-parent if we can't even be honest with each other.  I am so mad that I'm awake typing this at 2am. 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Dec 22, 2009, 06:13:35 AM
I understand you are mad but if this went to court you have NO say on what happens on his parenting time. I know he has to do those supervised visits first but he did most of them. Of course he lied to you but he probably thought that you would say no to dinner if he told you what he planned. You can try talking to him about it but he really doesnt need to give you a list of his plans with her. This is all knew to both of you. Your daughter had fun and was happy. The only thing you might be able to do it get "no overnight guests" clause in your papers.

The next step now is do come up with a parenting plan. She did fine with the unsupervised visit and was gone a few hours. See if you can agree to a few full days... If he goes to court with it you wont be too happy because they will give him the every other weekend and midweek visit pretty fast. Breathe....Your daughter did okay. He will have" friends" and she may get a step mother out of this deal but the hardest part if being civil and gettting along. Ask him to be honest with you and you promise to be fair to him.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 22, 2009, 06:50:44 AM
I am even more ticked off now because there were no plans to see his mom.  They stopped by after dinner and she had to wait in the car while he saw if his mom was home.  If he would have told me his plans I would not have said No, I would have said this is not the appropriate time.  She needs to be comfortable spending time alone with him before introducing the girlfriend.  And I really think that prior to introducing the two of them he and I should have talked about at what point we will introduced significant others to our daughter.  I find it totally unacceptable to introduce your daughter to your girlfriend on the first time you spend any time alone with her.  I know that I legally don't have say in what happens during his parenting time but you can guarantee that once I calm down he and I will have a conversation about this. 
 
Am I the only one who things it is totally inappropriate to introduce our daughter to his girlfriend on the first time she ever has time alone with him?? 
 
And just in case you are wondering.  I do know the girlfriend and I actually do like her.  I just think the timing was inappropriate.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: CuriousMom on Dec 22, 2009, 09:33:12 AM
Ocean is correct.  If it goes to court he'll more than likely get awarded the schedule she mentioned almost immediately.  He probably thought you would say no.  If you know her and like her, try to make the best of it in light of what just happened. 
 
I'd work on a parenting plan.  You can still work on a step-up plan without supervised visits now since your daughter is doing well with it.  It's great to hear your daughter is adapting so well!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 22, 2009, 09:49:32 AM
We have a parenting plan.  It says he can have her one day per week and every other weekend.  This is the first time he has expressed any interest in taking her alone so needless to say the one day per week and every other weekend has yet to begin.  It needs to start with the one day a week and work up from there.  I am just so mad that he lied to me about where he was taking our daughter.  The only reason I agreed to it in the first place is because it was supposed to be in a familiar place with familiar people.  Not to mention that I spent time on the way home preparing our daughter for the plan of him taking her to his mom's house for dinner.  Or it would have been different if he would have just said is it okay if I take her for a while tonight.  I'm confident that we won't end up back in court because he won't want to pay attorney fees.  Not to mention that if we end up back in court he knows I will bring up the fact that a year and a half later he has not followed through on things in our decree like adding her to his dental insurance, reimbursing me for child care expenses in a timely manner and reimbursing me for the total % that he is required to pay.  I've just let those things go and not made a big deal out of them but if he wants to go back to court we'll go.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: CuriousMom on Dec 22, 2009, 10:24:46 AM
I totally understand, mine lies almost daily.  Lied himself right into court ordered therapy for it a few weeks ago - our judge wasn't impressed with his lies either (http://www.deltabravo.net/forum/richedit/smileys/YahooIM/1.gif) 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Dec 22, 2009, 01:23:57 PM
If you and Dad have been able to get along so far, I wouldn't upset the apple cart by jumping into court immediately.
 
JMO, but it appears to me that the issue isn't that he took the child out to dinner with his GF, but that he lied.  You even said you like his GF.  I believe the issue is honesty.  I can see both sides of the issue........on his, he may have felt that you would have been totally against the GF sharing dinner, to the point of fearing you would limit his time with the child.  Not saying that you would have, but who knows what he was thinking when he did this.
 
Talk to him.  You both have done well so far in communicating with each other, so don't stop that now.  But make absolutely sure that when you do talk, you keep any anger or animosity out of your voice or attitude, as that will immediately put him on the defensive.  He'd be more inclined to lie in the future, because he might feel that a specific situation would make you mad and refuse his request.
 
Instead of telling him how angry this made you, tell him how disappointed you are in him, believing that you two have had honest, open communication to this point, so you don't understand why he wouldn't tell you about it.  He probably will say he didn't tell you for fear of you refusing, but make sure he understands that you might have, but only to postpone it for the time being.
 
Just a suggestion.........
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 22, 2009, 02:08:04 PM
Kitty, you are right.  No reason for us to jump in to court.  He and I need to talk about this.  I'm slowly getting to the point that I am ready to talk.  I was extremely angry and I can recognize that it's not good for us to discuss it when I am that angry because I would probably just yell at him and he would tune me out and it wouldn't resolve anything.  The biggest thing is definately the lying and the fact that it was a total pre-mediated lie not just that plans changed.  I'm going to start off by asking him why he lied about it.  And I'm sure he will say because he thought I would say no which will hopefully open up a good dialogue.  I really want us to be able to work together in for our daughters best interests but we can't do that if we can't be honest with each other.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Dec 22, 2009, 02:16:57 PM
'I really want us to be able to work together for our daughters best interests but we can't do that if we can't be honest with each other.'
 
Tell him EXACTLY that.....word for word.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: tigger on Dec 22, 2009, 07:14:07 PM
I think the real issue is the lie as well.  His actions not only affected Mom's trust in him but DD's trust in mom.  Mom spent time (at least 30 minutes) preparing DD for something that never happened.  How's DD supposed to trust that mom knows what she's talking about the next time she says anything regarding the child's father?  Really poor decision on his part.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 23, 2009, 04:15:24 AM
Well, the talk with her dad didn't go well.  I asked him why he lied to me about it and he said he didn't.  I told him that he said he was going to take her over to his mom's for dinner and that's not what happened.  He said when he picked her up he tried to call his mom and she wasn't answering the phone.  Ok, that there tells me that he didn't really have this set up with his mom in the first place.  He said he asked DD is she was hungry and she said yes so they went to get something to eat (at the restaurant connected to the store where his GF works) and he told me the names of the other friends that they had dinner with.  I said and conveniently your friends were at the place that you decided to go (those friends live in a neighboring town 20 miles away).  He gave me some story about how they just happened to call and said if he wasn't doing anything he should meet them for dinner.  Could happen but sounds a little too coincidental to be true.  And even if it was true, he told he he was taking her to his mom's and he obviously didn't have that worked out with his mom so we're back to lying.  I told him that he needs to follow through with what he says because that's what I prepared her for.  He said that I don't tell him everytime I take her some where and I said that I gladly would if he would like but I don't have to because I have sole physical and legal custody.  He tried to say we have joint and I told him to go back and read his court papers.  I don't think he understands that since I have sole legal custody he can't make any decisions.  He can't even take her to the doctor.  He said that he trusts me so I don't have to tell him everywhere I take her and I obviously don't trust him.  How can I trust him when he can't be honest with me??  He said fine he would tell me everywhere he takes her from now on.  He was being sarcastic but I just said thank you.  At some point I won't care where they go and what they do but he just waltzed in her life a month ago and so right now I do because I don't trust him.  I know I don't get a say in what they do when he is with her but just don't lie to me about it.  Being open and honest with each other is so important so we can stay on the same page especially as she gets older.   
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Dec 23, 2009, 06:47:54 AM
Sole custody is the every day decisions and medical/educational. He still has rights...take to ER, get school info, be at all childs events, and have parenting time.

I understand you are mad and should be. You told him your feelings and will see what he does in the future. He really can take her where ever he wants and see who ever. If you child is doing good, then you just prepare her for "it is dad's time to pick you up, have fun". He is your ex for a reason and you wont totally trust him. He probably was trying to get in visit before the holiday. Maybe half his story is true because why wouldnt Grandma want to see her too? Your child had a good time, he lied but was not neglectful. Now is the time to go by the court order or come up with something you both agree to so you know when she goes, what time she will be back.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: teacher98 on Dec 23, 2009, 04:51:20 PM
I know the honesty is the biggest issue here, but due to the circumstances, you are really going to have to just take his word for it in everything.  Word of caution, STOP asking your daughter questions.  Kids of all ages can totally sense moods and attitudes of their parents.  She will learn very quickly if you two don't like each other or if you two don't agree and she will learn to manipulate that OR start taking sides.  It's not a fun situation.  My SS is now 9 but even at age 4 he was playing sides to protect both of his parents and to get want he wanted.  If you have questions at all about what they did you need to ask DD's dad and just ask her if she had fun.  DO NOT probe for details from her.  Even if you are curious.  It makes things worse. 
 
Another issue I see creeping up is the issue of control.  I know that you have been in control since the beginning, but you must keep your focus on becoming a coparent.  That is a HUGE thing to have to do, but coparenting and being a TEAM for you daughter will truly pay off in the long run.  It cannot be you against him. It has to be a united front.  On paper it may say you have legal and physical custody, but who cares.  He is the father and now is better than never for him to step up and have all of the responsibilities that come with parenting. That includes making decisions for her and having her for continuous periods of time away from you. 
I agree with ocean. Just prepare your daughter for his parenting time by saying it's time to go with Daddy.  I will see you soon, be it tomorrow or 3 days from now.  Kids are super adaptable.  She will adjust to everything that she sees you comfortable with.  SHE will not need to talk to you at night before bed as much as YOU will need that.  SHE will not feel the need to give you every detail of her time with Dad as much as YOU will feel the need to know.  SHE will not need 5 four hour visits away from you before staying overnight. YOU will need that.  Parenting plans are more for parents than they are kids.  The one thing kids do need however is FREQUENT and CONTINUING contact with both parents where both parents are able to actually parent for extended times and NOT just play.  Good luck and keep us posted.  We are all here to support you!!!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 23, 2009, 08:23:01 PM
Thank you all for your support.  It really helps to get advice from others who have been here or in similar situations.  And you are all right, the major issue here is honesty.  I don't feel that he was being honest with me.  This is a big adjustment for me.  I have been the only person making all of the decisions for the past 3 years and it is going to take some getting used to to have another person involved.  I really wish that he understood that.  I prepared myself that he was going to do things that I didn't like but I guess I just hoped that we would talk about those things and work them out.  I never prepared myself for him to lie to me.  When he approached me about seeing her in the first place we agreed that we don't want to be those parents who can't be in the same room with one another.  Its very hard for me to give up some of that control to someone that I don't trust and right now I don't trust him.  I am trying very hard but I don't. 
 
I do want to clarify one thing.  When I said I kept talking with my daughter when she was talking about the eating barn I was talking to her about that place specifically.  I was asking her questions like if it was somewhere we had been before or what it looked like.  I was trying to figure out what she was talking about so I could tell her the correct name of where ever it was.  At that point I figured they had gone out to dinner with his mom.  Then I asked my daughter if she had fun with her dad.  Then she started with yeah we had fun.  We went out to dinner with daddy's friends, got this snow globe, went to grandma's and I waited in the car while my dad went to see if grandma was home, etc.  I didn't go probing for those details.  I simply asked if she had fun and then she went down the list of what they did.  It wasn't she went in to those details that I figured out what had happened.  I didn't ask her any more questions about it, I just said I was glad that she had fun.
 
And now I have another issue, opinions please.  DD and I always to go my parents for Christmas and do the whole big family Christmas with aunts and uncles, cousins.  My parents live about an hour away.  In past years we have gone Christmas Eve.  This year I had decided to wait until Christmas day to go to my parents so that we could do the whole Santa thing on Christmas morning now that she is old enough to really get.  Per our court order he gets Christmas Eve and I get Christmas day, always, no alternating.  Trying to be nice and make this whole thing work (and prior to this whole fiasco) I had invited him over on Christmas morning.  He is a firefighter and works 24 hour shifts and he has to work Christmas Eve.  So I invited him to come over Christmas morning when he got off work.  Well the weather here is nasty and continuing to get worse.  It rained all day today and it will freeze now that its night time.  Then it is supposed to start snowing tomorrow and not stop until Saturday and we are supposed to get 12 inches.  I am debating leaving tomorrow instead of Friday morning to make sure we are able to get to my family Christmas.  I sent her father a message last night giving him a heads up that we may change our plans due to the weather and we may not be here Christmas morning.  I didn't get any response from him.  I actually just sent him a text a few minutes ago asking if he would be mad if we changed our plans.  I do want him to know that changing plans has nothing to do with our fight and everything to do with the weather.  I feel stuck and don't know what to do.  Do we go tomorrow or do we wait until Friday morning like we originally planned and take the chance of not making it there.  I'm not trying to get back at him or keep him from her on Christmas, the weather just sucks.  What to do?  I feel like I'm getting pressure from my parents too for us to come tomorrow.  HELP!   
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Dec 23, 2009, 08:29:11 PM
Maybe offer him a full day next week when you get back? or offer him New Years Day? I can understand if he is upset..first Christmas eve..prob planned things...family there...I would call him and explain it ...hard to here emotion in text and see if he would be willing to switch the day due to weather...
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: teacher98 on Dec 23, 2009, 08:54:53 PM
I agree with ocean.  Call him and explain the situation. See if he has any ideas. If not, offer him a full day as soon as it fits in his work schedule. 
 
I am sorry if I seemed agressive in my earlier post. Did not mean to be. As I read it again I could feel my emotion but hard for someone to receive that on a screen. (http://www.deltabravo.net/forum/Smileys/default/smiley.gif)  I was just warning of the vicious cycle of questioning that could happen.  No worries and don't feel like you have to explain yourself on this board.  We are here to help not judge.  I still totally understand how you feel about the lies.  It's not a good way to start this journey, but I am sure if you continue to show him you are willing to do what is court order (and even more) he will feel confident as a dad. 
 
You probably feel like he has a lot of proving of himself to do to you. You were on your own for so long and here he comes waltzing in wanting to be dad.  Maybe not so exciting for you. You may have resentments, but this is really a great thing for your daughter.  Always remember that and always try to make sure that you two are working to give her as much acess to both of you as possible with your schedules.  You will appreciate it in the long run. Think long term. (dance classes, school, sports, plays, friends parties, etc) And even short term-a whole weekend to yourself!!  It is nice to have someone to share the parenting burden with. 
 
Give him a call tonight or tomorrow and see what he thinks about switching the schedule.  Maybe even offer him an extra holiday or Christmas Eve and morning until 10am or something next year in order to make it work for this year.  Keep us posted.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Dec 23, 2009, 09:03:01 PM
I live somewhere in that same storm system you're in........we're supposed to get rain tomorrow, then the temp will drop and it will turn to snow, with poss. freezing rain in between.
 
He's a firefighter...........I can guarantee you that he's been on his share of MVA's (motor vehicle accidents).  I'm an EMT-B and we do not work an MVA without the fire dept. there.  I do not see why he would be upset about you having to change your plans due to the weather and the last thing he would want is for you and your DD to try to navigate through the mess still to come.  Like the others said, offer him New Year's or whatever you can work out together, to try to make up for it.
 
Compromise and negotiate...........compromise and negotiate............
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 23, 2009, 10:05:40 PM
Ok, I have decided to stay home until after opening presents on Christmas morning is over then we will try to make it to my parents.  If the roads are too bad at that time we will stay home.  If we don't make it, it will be the first Christmas ever that I haven't spent with my entire family and I will probably cry the entire day.  I tried to ask him if he would be mad and he didn't respond to me.  And really if it did make him mad it would not have really mattered.  Christmas Eve is his day and Christmas is mine so its not my fault he has to work and the CO makes no mention of any switching or make up.  So inviting him over Christmas morning in the first place was me being nice and trying to make this work.  I did text and let him know that we will be here as scheduled.  He is supposed to be off work at 7 and said he would be here around 7:30 if he gets off work on time.  Unfortunately, I'm not going to be very patient if he has to work late and that's not me being a b&*$#, it's me wanting to try to get to my family Christmas and hopefully he can understand that. 
 
Teachers98,  I didn't think you were being aggressive.  I know that there are parents out there who do probe their children for every detail that happens when they are with the other parent.  I really am not like that.  I really was just trying to find out what she was talking about so I could help her to learn the correct name of what she was talking about.  And really if when I asked him what she was talking about if he would have just said we went out to dinner at XYZ and maybe that's what it is, I would have just went with it and not thought anything of it.  For a long time after she was born I was very angry at him for the way he was behaving not wanting to see his daughter and telling people that I would not let him see her when in fact I tried to encourage it and he didn't want it.  I was angry for a long time and I did have a lot of resentment toward him.  But one day I just finally realized it was not good for me to carry around that anger.  I realized that I did what I could in trying to get him to see her.  I realized that there was nothing I could do about it, it was up to him.  And he would have to get to a point to where he was ready to accept responsiblity and be a parent and I prepared myself for the fact that it may never happen.  But through it all I knew that my daughter would feel loved with or without him.  He doesn't owe me anything (ok he does owe me $) but he owes her 3 years worth of not being there.  And I'm not going to say that there haven't been times when my feelings have been hurt when she says I miss my dad when I've been the one there since day one.  But this is a good thing for her.  She needs both of us and I realize that.  My dad wasn't around up until the time I was 5 so I do know that this is a good thing.  But it's not easy.  And not being completely honest with each other doesn't make it any easier. 
He and I had our fight and now I think we need to make up so to speak.  We both need to acknowlege that we both played a part in it.  He should have been honest with me but I will say that I probably didn't handle the situation the best when I tried to talk to him about it.  I started off with why did you lie to me which automatically puts him on the defensive.  And I need to learn to trust him.  That being said we need to say ok we had a fight, now how do we move forward from here so we don't end up in the same situation again.  I do find it a little ironic that our first fight occurs when were were not together.  When we were together we didn't fight and when I got pregnant we just sort of stopped talking to one another.  I wanted to talk about what was going to happen since we were having a baby and the only answers I would get from him were I don't know and I haven't thought about it.  I got tired of hearing it so I stopped trying.  He got tired of having the same conversation so he stopped trying and we just stopped talking to each other.  So apparently communication is an area that we need to work on. 
 
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!  If you are traveling, be safe!  If you are in the midwest and traveling, GOOD LUCK as we will all need it!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Dec 23, 2009, 10:52:43 PM
Stressed, have you spoken to him at all since making the arrangements for Christmas morning??  Because if you haven't, I strongly suggest you call him to discuss this.  Court order or no court order, no one can intervene with Mother Nature.  And like I said, I know he's dealt with his share of MVA's as a firefighter.........he would be the first to tell you to not even attempt traveling if they're forecasting that much snow.  Do NOT put your or your DD's life in that kind of danger!
 
I said compromise and negotiate........regardless of the CO, whatever you two decide and work out between you, like trading days or whatever, does not go against your CO.  I bet there is something in there that states something to the effect that whatever both parents can agree to can also be constituted as part of the order.  DH's CO has that and it's fairly common verbage, meant to get the parents to work together to compromise and negotiate
 
Don't text him....CALL him.  One thing to keep in mind..........this is the busiest time of year for firefighters and with this major storm barreling through, Lord only knows what they might have to deal with.  I can guarantee you that if you get any ice or significant snow whatsoever, they will be extremely busy.  Call him, and even if you have to leave a voice mail, give him time to call you back.  ASK him his opinion on how you both can deal with this safely, now that the weather has turned everything upside down.  WORK with him..........but DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT to travel if they are forecasting any significant snow or possible ice.  DO NOT become a statistic!
 
 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 28, 2009, 04:14:33 PM
I hope everyone had a good Christmas!  We did!  We were able to make it to my parents.  The roads were fine in the morning when we went, only a few spots with any snow on the road and there was no ice.  So that was good.  BF came over in the morning after he got off work as he said he was going to.  I let DD sleep until he arrived.  I couldn't believe that I actually had to wake my 3 year old up on Christmas morning.  So BF had texted me the Sunday before Christmas to ask what DD wanted that I had not already gotten her.  I gave him a few ideas.  And then when he came over Christmas morning he did not bring her anything.  Don't get me wrong, there was no shortage of presents at our house.  I actually had gone a little overboard anyway.  But I couldn't believe that he didn't bring her any thing after he bothered to ask.  I could even understand if he would have told her that he had gotten some things for her to stay at his house but he didn't say anything.  I was really kind of annoyed by his whole visit (not because of the present issue) but he sat on the couch and hardly interacted with DD at all.  DD had requested blueberry muffins for breakfast so I was in the kitchen after she opened presents.  I figured that this would give DD and BF some time together without me sitting right there.  And he didn't even talk to her unless she talked to him first.  I was in the kitchen and she was bringing me toys to show me and for me to open.  I kept directing her back to have her dad help her or for her to show him to try to get him to interact with her.  And she kept asking him to come in her room so she could show him something and he just sat on the couch.  And looking back now its kind of been like this for the last couple of times he has visited.  If this is how much attention he is going to pay to her when I am there how much attention did he pay to her when they were out with his friends.  In the beginning when he said he first wanted to see her I was skeptical but I thought it would be a good thing and I think I had lofty ideas about how we would be able to co-parent.  I think reality has set in and I'm pretty sure its going to be a mess.  When he left on Christmas he made no mention of when he would like to see DD again.  I feel like he is the one who wanted to start seeing her so he should be the one to give me his work schedule or days when he would like to have her and he's not doing that.  I don't feel like I should be the one to hound him.  I am sure he is probably still mad at me from the whole incident last week.  I did send him an email and apologize for the way I handled the situation (not for being upset).  I told him that I did not intend for us to get in a big argument.  I did tell him that he was right when we were arging when he said I didn't trust him.  I told him that I am trying very hard to and that it is difficult when I feel he isn't being honest with me.  And as far as I am concerned that incident is done and over with and we need to put it behind us and move forward.  I'm really trying not to be the crazy BM that so many of you have to deal with and I thought I was doing a good job until the whole incident last week. 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Dec 28, 2009, 08:13:34 PM
Just my opinion, but I think you're reading too much into everything you're seeing.  It hasn't been very long and they are still getting to know one another.  He could also be intimidated while in your home.  You don't mention whether you're in a large metro area, but considering you're already said he works 24 hour shifts...........to me that tells me he's part of a larger service.
 
I mentioned to you that I am a volunteer EMT and I live in a very rural area, so we don't have the volume of calls that larger metro areas can get.  Regardless, DH knows better than to question me about anything if I come home from a call with 'the look' on my face.............it usually means the call was incredibly stressful or went very bad.  DH knows that it takes time for me to unwind from calls like that.  I'm not making excuses for him, but I completely understand what a firefighter or law enforcement officer can go through in a shift.  If he's not opening up to you, or giving you one to two word answers, he may have a lot on his mind from his job.
 
Maybe you did get your hopes up, maybe your expectations were completely different.  Again just my opinion, but I think your only hope should be that he wants to be a good father to her.  When you build up expectations, those expectations are from your perspective, not his, and I can guarantee you will be disappointed every time.  What all three of you need is time...LOTS of time.  It's still way too soon to jump to any conclusions as to what kind of father he will be, or even the kind of mother you will be.  Parenting is a constant work in progress and changes constantly..........it has to, because the child is constantly changing and a parent has to be flexible and open-minded.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 28, 2009, 09:21:13 PM
Thanks Kitty for your insight. 
 
He does work for a large service and we live in a suburb with a volunteer dept that he is a member of as well.  I volunteered as a firefighter/EMT also so I know what comes along with the job.  It can be the most rewarding and the most discouraging all at the same time.  And my hope is that we will both be good parents to DD.  I do try to be flexible and I think I have been.  I have accomodated every time that he has wanted to see her.  And some of those times including changing plans that we had already made.  I am working on being more open minded.  For the past 3 years I have been the only one making the decisions and things were the way I thought they should be.  So I definately have to work on how to compromise when we have differing opinions.  I do realize that this is all new and we do need time.  The other thing that I think we all need is consistency.  We all need to have a consistent schedule.  With his work schedule I know he will never have her every Wednesday and every other weekend.  But I think we do need a schedule where he has her Tues one week and Wed the next (or something to that effect) depending on his work schedule.  Right now it just seems like he just wants to see her when he doesn't have anything better to do and he never plans more than a day or two in advance.  Parenting is not something you do when it is convenient.  Tonight DD was asking where he was.  He hasn't contacted me to set anything up so I wasn't really sure what to tell her. 
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: ocean on Dec 28, 2009, 09:48:23 PM
You are doing good....
If your daughter asks for him, let her call him and leave a message. I think you are right though, next step is to get that calendar out and maybe plan the next month with him so you all are on the same page and she knows when she sees him next.
He probably doesnt want to even ask since the last time it went bad so maybe just leave him a message stating daughter asked for you and you think it would be a good idea to set up the next month so she knows what is going on. Ask him to call you back when he has time to discuss it/work schedule.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: stressedoutmom on Dec 29, 2009, 03:39:29 PM
When DD does ask for him I do always ask her if she wants to call him.  She always says no but I always put the offer out there.  The last visit didn't turn out as either of us had hoped but hopefully we have both learned from it.  Hopefully he has learned that it is better to be honest with me.  I have learned that plans didn't happen as he led me to believe they would and my daughter was not injured or traumatized in any way and she said she had fun.  But the next time can't turn out better if we don't plan a next time.  We have some plans for the rest of this week so I think I will send a message next week and see if we can get a plan made.  It is easier for DD if she knows when she will see him again.
 
I am beginning to think I may have over-reacted about the whole thing.  I was upset that I felt he lied to me.  But its not about me.  Its about DD and she was fine and had fun so I need to just let it go.  I still think we need to be honest with each other though.  And this is why I shouldn't discuss things when I'm angry.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: Kitty C. on Dec 29, 2009, 04:38:02 PM
'I am beginning to think I may have over-reacted about the whole thing.  I was upset that I felt he lied to me.  But its not about me.  Its about DD and she was fine and had fun so I need to just let it go.  I still think we need to be honest with each other though.  And this is why I shouldn't discuss things when I'm angry.'
 
You're doing great, stressed!  You recognize the issues and are dealing with it appropriately...good for you!  Like I said, you all just need time.........time to get used to the newness of the situation, time to get used to each other, time to get used to a change in schedules.  Personally, I think you are handling this very maturely and being open-minded and honest (especially within yourself) and that you're off to a great start.  Certainly there will be 'fumbles' at times, but consider them 'learning experiences' and keep moving forward.
 
And I know I don't have to tell you.....but the winner in all this will be your daughter and there will come a day when she will be thanking you BOTH for caring so much about her.
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: teacher98 on Dec 29, 2009, 06:47:57 PM
Keep up the good work!!!  Someone always has to be the bigger person in these situations and it looks like you are being that person.  I agree with the other posters.  Arrange a parenting plan with him.  The court orders are just a fall back point for parents who disagree.  If you and dad feel a different parenting plan better suits your work schedules and the needs of your daughter, then create that one.  I would suggest emailing him (that way it is in writing) and asking him to give you a preference of the mid-week overnight he would like and then tell him you would like to begin the the new parenting schedule. 
 
I agree with not jumping to conclusions about his parenting.  My DH has a bad day at office work and he is a bit detached from all of us. He doesn't talk much but always does the big things like bedtime stories and tucking in. 
 
Right now, Dad is a visitor in your home. From everything you are saying, it is definitely time to let him parent away from you. Even if that means you tell him it is time to start. Be very frank and tell him that he is her parent and it is time to parent her on his own. Set the schedule that works for you two and remind him that it is his time to be her dad and that you will be making your own plans and have your own things to do and that he can't just call you last minute and decide he can't "make it." Obviously, work schedules have to be worked around, but he needs to know that your daughter will be expecting to see her dad and he will need to learn to arrange for child care (like his mom) if and when something comes up.
 
DH and I rarely do social things without SS on our weekends with him. He has learned to schedule his "off duty" social life around his parenting plan. Our friends picked up on this quickly and if your daughter's dad is a social butterfly, this will be a big change for him.  Hold strong. This will be a bumpy road for a bit, but your committment to making it work will help or things to be much smoother sailing for all of you!!  Keep us posted!
Title: Re: First visitation
Post by: mdegol on Dec 29, 2009, 10:37:41 PM
Your approach has been very noble, but you are simply running into the same problems that everyone seems to run into at some point.  You guys broke up for a reason and aren't going to be on the same page. 

 That's why it is best for you not to know all the little details, because something will tick you off (just like if I knew all the details, I would get ticked off, bedtime issues or where they go, diet issues ect....).  In the beginning it drove me nuts (my child was just a baby so I couldn't ask him and BF would never say anything except that everything was wonderful).  It was good though, because I learned not to worry about what he was doing or knowing any details.  It is actually a big stress reliever to let go of the control.  Because the truth is: you have absolutely no control over his parenting time.  You really don't.  The more you try to control, the less you will have.  Once you accept this, the situation will vastly improve emotionally. 

 Just like you had to figure it out, he has to figure it out for himself.  He either will, or he won't.  I wouldn't call at this point, let him call and let him know that you need a schedule that your daughter can rely on.  Time to get the little bird (him) out of your nest, and parent separately.  And get it down on paper so that there are no arguments.