My husband and I are in limbo at the moment. He is looking for a house to move into, but there isn't a big hurry since things aren't contentious in our relationship and it saves money to stay in the same house for a while. We weren't going to tell our daughter (she is 4.5) until he found a place so that we could give her concrete answers about when daddy is moving and where he will be, etc. I figured this would be sometime closer to November or December. It could be sooner if he finds a good place, though.
But DD clearly knows that something is up. In the last week she told her grandmother that her baby doll's daddy lives someplace else and she has been making up the words to a song about family calling it "daddy I hope you come to visit" (the song doesn't actually mention dads specifically in any way). But then tonight when STBX came home for dinner she said, in her joking playful voice, "daddy doesn't live here. He lives in another house. He doesn't live with us. He just spends the night here 5 days a week".
It is clear that she knows what is up, although we have really tried to keep it from her. There are times that she picks up on my thoughts about other kinds of things, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. It was just so direct, though! And I just am not ready to have the talk with her yet.
I am not sure how to respond to what she is saying. Tonight, although she said it playfully, there was also that tone in her voice she gets when she is weepy about something. I think she was basically asking us the question without being able to actually ask, what is going on? Is daddy moving out?
He doesn't have a place yet. He may not for another month or two although he has already been living in another bedroom for years. We are getting along fine and everything on the surface seems normal. We plan to make his move to a new house a family affair. We will all help him move and pick out new things for the house, etc. And he will still come over for dinners and bedtime. We really want to minimize the impact on her as much as possible, and we felt that making his move a family activity and doing it gradually could help. It is just that we don't know when that will happen.
Is it better to just not discuss it until we have more concrete answers about where and when it will be? That is the main advice I've been given for talking to kids about divorce. Or, since she already is suspecting things, is it better to talk about it so she can deal with her feelings about it.
I'll add that we have a new baby, so her world is already turned upside down... in a good way, she LOVES her baby sister, but it is still a big adjustment.
Uggg, telling her that her daddy is moving out is the part that I most dread of everything in this whole ordeal!!!! I would do anything to not break my little girls heart. I know it will have to come sooner or later, but I'd rather it be much, much later......
I would just let her know as much information as you do have but only what pertains to her. No need to discuss your relationship with your STBX, or any adult stuff like that. Kids know what's going on, and it freaks them out when we (the grown-ups) are weird and secretive about it ;-) "Daddy is finding a new house to live in. You're going to have dinner/breakfast with him on X days & have Daddy time on X days." etc. She just needs to know where everyone will live (to the extent that you know) and who is going to be caring for her and the baby when & where. That way, she knows everyone is thinking of her and that she'll be taken care of (along with the baby).
Robin~ single, work-at-home momma to my Wonderboys
BigKid (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)