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Advanced at Mom's, but not at Dad's?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I recently had a 25+ minute long conversation with my DD's father.  I knew things had been quiet for far too long.  Short background is that he tends to be quite emotionally/verbally abusive.

 

At home, DD takes everything in.  She just turned 20 months and has been speaking in sentences since about 14 months--but ONLY when she wants to/has a purpose.  She flat out refuses to talk, sometimes, which makes it hard to guage her capabilities.  Her vocabulary is upwards of at least 200 words and she has a sense of "I", "you," and "me," with their differences.  Sometimes she babbles like she is carrying on a conversation and others she carries on conversations.  One example is when she got water in her nose/mouth while blowing bubbles in the bathtub at about 16 months, she told me, "I din mean to do that."  I can hear her practicing at night and early morning when she thinks no one is listening.  She doesn't like to say things in front of people unless she thinks she has it perfectly.

 

She plays, pretends to read while throwing in a letter or a couple words, here and there, that she IS reading (from books we may not even have read yet).  She has already started learning some of the motions to many of the children's songs.  She usually is very social with other children when with me, and has been playing short songs, like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," from hearing them, on the keyboard.

 

At her father's, however, he and his mother describe her as, "having a glazed look, sometimes for 3-4 minutes, then going back to normal," and "not talking."  He says something is "seriously wrong," and is concerned at her walking on things on the floor, "like they aren't there," (she has always walked on things, but she also tries to do it).  His mother compared her to a dog they used to have that had seizures and they want to drag her all over the place for a second opinion.

 

Any thoughts or recommendations?  Even my counselor can see that DD is incredibly bright and happy.  I'm unsure what is going on.

post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 

Oh...forgot...they also say her 4 year old sister keeps saying she thinks DD is sick because she doesn't talk.

post #3 of 27

I would consent to a doctor visit without them in the room just to placate them. If you don't do it, it'll be a major fight that will last for years I'm guessing. If you take her in, the doc tells dad personally she's one target or advanced you'll have given them their "say" and hopefully you guys can move on.

 

It's an awfully sad situation. I suppose there isn't anything that can be done about the custody.

post #4 of 27

I, with the ex present, would take her to the doctors.

 

It is his child as well.  There is no harm in going in and having him hear a professionals opinion.

 

If he turns into a hypocondriac who wants second and third opinions,  deal with that then.  I would try to prevent that -  but you are not there yet.

post #5 of 27

The problem with the ex present though is, if he is abusive and causing the kiddo in question to close up and appear glazed and behind (and sick according to 4 year olds) then that will still be the case at the doctors for an evaluation.  She would need to feel fully comfortable and safe to get a proper evaluation of her abilities.

 

However, if I thought the issue were abuse, I'd be looking for clues to make that a case and try to change custody.  That is a dramatic difference to go from speaking in full sentences and reading to appearing as if there is something seriously wrong with you.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I, with the ex present, would take her to the doctors.

 

It is his child as well.  There is no harm in going in and having him hear a professionals opinion.

 

If he turns into a hypocondriac who wants second and third opinions,  deal with that then.  I would try to prevent that -  but you are not there yet.

post #6 of 27

Unless there is some sort of backstory I am unaware of - why shouldn't the father be there?  He is the one with the concern.

 

I really think it is usually better that both parents be at a meeting so you do not get into mixed messages/miscommunications.  

 

I also think it is quite likely that the father will not believe anything he does not hear with his own ears.  

 

________

 

another thought, OP.....can you record your DD behaviour at home?  Showing it to the ex may make him realise that she really is fine when she is at your home - and that there is maybe something in his environment causing her to clam up/act unusual.

 

My sister has a child whom she did record because he always acted one way at home and another in front of the doctor.  I do not know if it changed much in the long run for her, but it did give validation to what she was saying at the time and that was important to her.   

post #7 of 27

The whole point is the child is not acting normal when father is around. I've seen first hand when I taught preschool how totally changed a child can be when one parent is present over another (or when they are both absent.) If dad is present, it's likely the results will be scewed and result in diagnoses and procedures that aren't at all neccessary.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Unless there is some sort of backstory I am unaware of - why shouldn't the father be there?  He is the one with the concern.

 

I really think it is usually better that both parents be at a meeting so you do not get into mixed messages/miscommunications.  

 

I also think it is quite likely that the father will not believe anything he does not hear with his own ears.  

 

________

 

another thought, OP.....can you record your DD behaviour at home?  Showing it to the ex may make him realise that she really is fine when she is at your home - and that there is maybe something in his environment causing her to clam up/act unusual.

 

My sister has a child whom she did record because he always acted one way at home and another in front of the doctor.  I do not know if it changed much in the long run for her, but it did give validation to what she was saying at the time and that was important to her.   

post #8 of 27

If I were separated from from my husband, and I thought there was an issue with a 20 month old and my ex didn't, I would want to be present at the doctors meeting. There is a strong possibility I would not trust what my ex says unless I hear it first hand. Even if I do not think the ex is lying, I would question what info they gave the doctor, exactly what the doctor said, etc.

 

I think this is a real concern.

 

If the father does not trust her to relay information correctly, then he is going to keep on hounding her for a a second opinion, keep believing there is something wrong with the child, etc.

 

I do hear you that if they both go to the doctor with the child, the child may clam up. To me that is a smaller risk than the likelihood that the father is going to want to be present at the meeting and will not accept what the OP has to say.

 

Now if the mother is going to the doctor simply to know for herself whether there is an issue, going solo is fine. but that does not sound like what is going on to me. To me it seems the mother is quite certain her DD is fine, and she would be going to the doctor to relieve her ex worries/stop the ex from badgerring her.

post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 

Back history:

 

The father isolated me, then us both, from my friends and family, kept saying they were bugging our house and phones after I kept trying to tell him that I wasn't talking to them for only a couple minutes here and there and offering him phone bills to see the proof.  He kept insisting I was fantasizing about someone at work of whom was giving me huge issues.  He kept telling me how depressed I was and guilted me finally into having sex with him a couple weeks after I had the baby, which caused the stiches to grow back through my skin and an infection.  He would show me places where he said people supposedly committed suicide, then tell me that they were murdered and how easily it could be covered up.  He threatened suicide, himself, as well as that he would take custody of both children (one is not mine).

 

He is on record phoning human resources at my job to try and get information about me.  He asks people who come into his work establishment for information on me, gets the rumors from work, tries to use them in family court, then was phoning my work, as well, trying to get the woman who told him all this stuff fired for telling him, since she is a supervisor.  He texted me less than two weeks after we got a court order to keep conversation about the child (because of multiple documentations that he could not do that), to say he had full custody of the other child (he lied).  He keeps telling me to sue the supervisor at work and how I can use his pro-bono lawyer to do it.

 

He kept saying my mother and he had problems because my mother, he says, has something sexual for him.  He told me shortly after I took DD and left that if my phone kept cutting out (this was not too long before our frist court date) that I need to dial 911 immediately and tell them I am in serious danger.

 

When we were there, he would "nap" on visitation days with his other child as soon as I got home from work at noon or he would be so focused on screaming and yelling about the other child's mother that he wouldn't hear simple requests, such as his older daughter asking for a drink, so that I had to stop feeding DD and go get the other one a drink.  He would drop DD and I off at a park when he took the other child home and when he picked us up, he'd start screaming if I didn't have DD hooked back up in the car within a minute or less and would not pull over for me to check on her when her older sister was trying to feed her pretzel sticks (DD was 2 or 3 months old at the time).

 

I went through early intervention because of a small delay in motor skills (she has surpassed the benchmarks on them, now), when she was 10 months.  They found her well above in speech and literacy skills and only a month or so delay in gross motor skills only.  When we had a combined meeting, DD's father started going off about everything under the sun and said how there was something wrong with her ankles and/or hips.  He then proceeded to harass the staff there for over a month, saying he was reporting them to the state and they would lose their licenses, as well as doing the same to the attorney for DD.

 

Things have been very quiet and civil for a month, so I was enjoying it, but cautiously waiting for the next thing to happen and here it is. 

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

As far as videos go, I offered them videos.  At first, neither wanted anything to do with the videos, but now they want me to drop them off.  I don't feel comfortable going there, but I suppose I will have to.  I also think it would be wise to take one to the pediatrician's office in case I can't make the appointment.

post #11 of 27

I would schedule an appointment with the doctor to have her evaluated - without her father there.  I would then schedule another appointment for discussion and follow up with the doctor with the father there and the child not present.  The father could discuss all his concerns with the doctor and the doctor will have had the opportunity to evaluate the child without him present.  You will be on record as following up on the father's concerns.  You will have a professional's opinion to back up your impressions of your daughter.  I would tell the father that you have made the appointments and that the doctor will evaluate her without either of you present - then you can both be present to discuss issues and findings. 

 

I'm so sorry you are going through this - it must feel like walking on eggshells to deal with someone like this.  Please document every little thing you can with him.  If things get worse it can help with custody situations later.  

 

My daughter would totally shut down when she was a toddler around intense people.  They didn't even need to be angry with her, and in fact even if they were just too intensely pleased and/or interested in what she was doing she would stop and tune out. 

 

((((hugs)))))

 

post #12 of 27

Unless someone has already suggested this, why not have Mom take the child to her regular pediatrician for a check-up and explain the situation, then schedule an appointment soon after, with both parents?  If Mom is concerned her daughter won't talk in front of the doctor because she doesn't know him well, she could take a short video or two, on a digital camera and bring the camera with her to the appt.  An experienced pediatrician will realize a child that young may behave differently around a relative stranger than when she's alone with her mommy.

 

But this way, if her behavior is different when dad comes to the appt., the doctor will see that and can say so to both parents.

 

I agree that dad is unlikely to believe mom, if she says the doctor told her everything is fine, if he's noticing odd behavior at his house.  And, yes, he has a right to communicate with her doctors and seek medical treatment for her.  But it'd be better if Mom were there to hear what the doctor says, too.  The fact that he's behaved abusively in the past does not mean he's always abusive (evidently, he's allowed to spend time with his child) and it certainly doesn't mean he'd abuse anyone while in the middle of a doctor's appointment.

 

Given the history, some concern about what's going on at his house is reasonable.  But a child that young could also act differently simply because she's away from Mommy; or because Daddy doesn't know how to be as stimulating to a toddler as Mommy does.  This is not clear evidence of abuse.

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 

One other thing:  Vistation is sporadic.  Usually when he's in the middle of one of his "episodes" he doesn't pick her up.  She is 20 months old and he has missed about 8 of those months or more, here and there, over a month being all of December and a week into January.

post #14 of 27

This situation is different though than one parent being concerned simply because children are a bit different around different people.  The child in question might be behaving around him the way she does because he is abusive to some degree.  If that is the case, him being at the doctors with her while she is being evaluated could lead to skewed results that lead to unnecessary interventions despite the OP insisting that that is simply not how the child is.  more importantly, it won't lead to helping the child with the real problem (if it is the real problem.)  Having an abusive parent around a child for any type of evaluation is like trying to do marriage counseling with an abuser.  Most people will tell you it doesn't work, and more importantly, can make things worse.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

If I were separated from from my husband, and I thought there was an issue with a 20 month old and my ex didn't, I would want to be present at the doctors meeting. There is a strong possibility I would not trust what my ex says unless I hear it first hand. Even if I do not think the ex is lying, I would question what info they gave the doctor, exactly what the doctor said, etc.

 

I think this is a real concern.

 

If the father does not trust her to relay information correctly, then he is going to keep on hounding her for a a second opinion, keep believing there is something wrong with the child, etc.

 

I do hear you that if they both go to the doctor with the child, the child may clam up. To me that is a smaller risk than the likelihood that the father is going to want to be present at the meeting and will not accept what the OP has to say.

 

Now if the mother is going to the doctor simply to know for herself whether there is an issue, going solo is fine. but that does not sound like what is going on to me. To me it seems the mother is quite certain her DD is fine, and she would be going to the doctor to relieve her ex worries/stop the ex from badgerring her.



OP, with your added history, I think it is a good idea to start filming your daughter and also discuss the issue with your lawyer.  Your ex could be seeing a child who is a bit uncomfortable without mom and therefor quiet as more exaggerated than it is or he could be doing things that scare her into behaving how he sees her and doesn't realize it.  Even trying to force her to talk more could lead her to shut down so it doesn't have to be anything big.  see what your lawyer things about how to handle the situation.

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

Tree,

 

Thanks and yes, that is what I was told about counseling before the ex even suggested it.  All he has done on visitation days in the past, when I was there and it was just the other child visiting, was screaming and yelling and calling all over creation talking to "specialists," and doctors and police and you name it, and since he said he wasn't going to change, I doubt that has changed, except now he has another target to yell about, of whom is me.

 

I have film of her talking outside in the snow, in the car, and even in Walmart with us on a grocery trip.  She's just a bright, happy child, except around vistation days, and, as I said, she practices saying things when she thinks no one can hear, trying to perfect them.  DD's so funny with things like that.  She plays her keyboard, pauses, thinks, and plays some more, sometimes coming out with an actual song she hears (music giftedness is in our family hugely).  My counselor said, months ago, that she could tell how bright DD is just by the way she acts and how she looks around, examines things and people, and responds (actions or words) according to the situation and this is a licensed psychologist.  I also got DD on video with that "glazed look," and she was past due for a nap, so I noted the time on the video and that we had to grocery shop and then nap, besides that she also yawns.

post #16 of 27

Oh my goodness, OP.

 

My earlier responses were without knowing the back history. 

 

I think the appointment with the doctor, plus a follow up with both parents when the doctor discusses his finding, may be the way to go.

 

Hugs and strength to you,

 

Kathy

post #17 of 27

Take your child to the doctor and get her tested to rule out Petit Mal seizures. It doesn't sound like that's actually what's going on. She's 20 months (absence seizures are more common as a person gets older) and he's saying these spells last several minutes (typically these kinds of seizures only last a few seconds). It actually sounds like her father is a bit of a hypochondriac. A little information can be a very bad thing.

 

However, these spells COULD be seizures. One trigger can be the child being over tired. You said yourself that you've noticed your DD having these spells  when she's tired. She could be having more seizures in her father's presence due to environmental triggers. Does he smoke around her or allow others to smoke around her? Does he give her  soda or other beverages that contain caffeine? Does he let her cry it out or is she upset around him to the point of hyperventilation?

 

Even if she does have epilepsy, that wouldn't mean she's slow in any way. It wouldn't mean she's not advanced. Typically these kinds of seizures have no impact on intelligence.

 

It's easy for a parent who spends the majority of the time with a child to miss certain signals. A less active parent can be more prone to notice changes and they'll be more willing to suggest possible problems b/c they're not the "primary parent" and it's not their "fault". But it should never be a blame game.

 

Anyways, suggest the father  record one of your DDs absence spells and take him with to the doctors.

post #18 of 27

Honestly, given what you describe, I'd suggest a therapist appointment for DD to be evaluated, at which time you can describe your perception of Dad's behavior and its role in causing the emotional shutdowns. Then Dad can see the therapist separately, and hopefully you'll wind up with 1) a child deemed to be typically developing and 2) a written record that an impartial medical professional thinks Dad is a few boards short of a treehouse. 

 

I wouldn't suggest that Dad take her to an appointment, because the visitation is sporadic and he's unstable. He shouldn't be taking your DD to any public-display-of-parenting event - no appointments, lessons, playdates, parties. Those are chances for him to meet members of your social circle, and as your daughter gets older it's going to embarrass her horribly for other people to know that her Dad is unstable, stalks Mom, etc. 

 

It is possible that he'll get better as he gets treatment, gets older etc. But you are the second woman-and-child pair he's treated this way, so it doesn't make much sense to plan on him turning into somebody you can effectively coparent with. What makes sense is Iron Curtain-style boundaries, and it sounds like you've been working on putting those up. 

post #19 of 27

This may be a better issue for the Single Parents Forum, but one parent choosing a therapist may not have as much weight because the other parent can just claim the therapist was on "their" side because "they" hired the therapist. It may be better to have one selected through the courts.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

Honestly, given what you describe, I'd suggest a therapist appointment for DD to be evaluated, at which time you can describe your perception of Dad's behavior and its role in causing the emotional shutdowns. Then Dad can see the therapist separately, and hopefully you'll wind up with 1) a child deemed to be typically developing and 2) a written record that an impartial medical professional thinks Dad is a few boards short of a treehouse.

post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 

Emme:  Thanks for the suggestion.  A mod already moved it here, so hoping for not yet another move.

 

Cervices:  She had a CT done awhile back because her head is...well...above 95th percentile, so...big lol, so hydrocephaly, at least, has been ruled out.  He could possibly be picking up something I'm not, but he's sworn there was something wrong with her eye: took her to the eyedoctor and that was ruled out and he wanted a second opinion, then, but eventually put it to rest, seeing that the doctor was right (he's an extremely credible/well-known pediatric eye doctor).  Then he swore there was something wrong with her hips/ankles, and again, was told no and has seen there isn't.  Now he thinks there is something else wrong.  Inbetween all of those, it's been his comments and notes to me and long rambling on the phone about things that really don't make sense--to me, to the law guardian, to the early intervention people, to his older child's daycare, pediatrician, etc.

 

Smithie:  The law guardian wanted him to have a full psych exam, however, since he did not publically display his behaviors until after our custody agreement was made, it was dismissed.  She says there is just something she can't put her finger on.  Numerous people involved say he rambles and doesn't make sense.  The judge told him in the last hearing, concerning harassing people from my work and concerning that someone told him to leave the one lady at my work alone, that what does he expect when he is harassing these people and that he needs to stop because he will be the one in trouble, not them.  I can't stop him from taking her to the pediatrician, however.  The courts wouldn't like that one.

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