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First visitation

Started by stressedoutmom, Nov 09, 2009, 01:20:23 PM

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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!


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!


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??


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!!!


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. 


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.


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.   


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.


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!


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.