Advice and direction for those just discovering their caregiving personality or draw to parent another adult.
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#36
When is it OK to tell them no? Like for some reason I have become a yes man. I should communicate that with her but I don't know how to do that without making her emotional or feel ashamed. Like I throw all her trash away, which I'm fine with, some of it is mine too, but then she wants me to get up every 15 minutes to get her something or make her some other microwavable food. Is it rude to ask her for me time? Or a break? I mean at least I get some me time now because she is asleep and I am wide awake. I just want this to go right. She is more experienced than me and I want to satisfy her while at the same time, satisfying my needs as well. I just am shit at communicating that stuff for some reason. Probably because I am Autistic with severe social phobia.
#37
I understand having issues with socializing properly, but you’re probably just overthinking this and making it into a bigger worry than it is. I think that instead of outright saying “no” or having a conversation specifically about it that could be misunderstood as being lectured you could turn this around to be playful or even more father-figurely. You don’t have to say “no” and risk feeling bad or being faced with an uncomfortable “why” if you change how you respond.

You can replace your agreements or passive acceptance with some more playful, encouraging phrases:

“Let’s see if you can! Let’s go in there together and you can show Daddy what you can do this time!”

“You know what Daddy’s been thinking lately, Sweetheart? That’d it’d be fun to see you make this sometimes! Let’s go, I’ll help you!”

“You know what Daddy’s been thinking lately, Sweetheart? That’d it’d be fun to do these things together sometimes and spend less time apart! Let’s work together this time!”

“Okay, but you come and help Daddy, okay? I don’t want to be all lonely in there without you!”

“Oh, Sweetheart, Daddy isn’t going in there right now. You can try to be a big girl if you want it right now though. Daddy is right here if an accident happens. All you have to do is say ‘Daddy’ if an uh-oh happens.”

“Okay, but you come with me. I think it’s time Daddy showed you how to push the right buttons on the microwave so you can surprise Daddy with this stuff too sometimes, okay?”

“Oh, yeah, snack time, what a great idea! Come on, let’s both go and find us some yummy snacks for us to munch on! I’ll need you to check the cabinets and see if you can find any special treats for us to share.”

“Oh, Sweetheart, but Daddy is very comfy right now. Even Daddies need to relax sometimes too.”

“Right now Daddy is super busy, okay? It might not look like it but Daddy is figuring out big, important stuff right now. I know you can do this yourself right now though. I’ll be right here if anything bad happens and you need me, okay?”

“Okay, let’s clean up now! We don’t want to leave a mess. Sweetheart, do you know the clean up song?! Let’s sing it while we get this place nice again, it’ll be fun...” https://youtu.be/WJ9uhDzN-rA

Try to brainstorm creative ways to redirect or get her moving, even if it’s just to follow you into the room when you have said yes. If she also has to get up then maybe she’ll be encouraged to help you with the task or may even change her mind about what she’s asked of you.
#38
It's very important to have 'me time' in which you can recharge, whether that's reading by yourself, watching a show you like, or doing a craft project. No person can be invested in another person 24/7 unless they set aside some time to recharge their internal batteries-- as my baby likes to quote at me when I'm having difficulty taking that time, 'An empty pot serves no tea'. How you establish that boundary is different for everyone; some CGs set aside some specific time, like during their littles' naptime or during cartoon time, where their little knows they are doing CG things, maybe one room away or so, where they can be easily gotten if they're needed, but they'd like to avoid interruption for a set time- an hour or two hours or so. My little and I don't usually have a very set schedule aside from our meds schedule, so how I take that me time is usually as and where needed-- until I have a stumble and forget to take that time, at which point my baby can usually tell.

We have the unique issue of both being trauma survivors of similar-but-different traumas and abuses, with a host of chemical imbalances between us, so we tend to see problems crop up in each other before we know it's happening ourselves, and we've established a very strong trust over going on 9 years together, so when my baby catches me slurring my words like I'm exhausted and that my face is going pinchy, I trust him and go on to take five or fifteen with some chocolate for my blood sugar so I don't work myself too thin and get growly and angry with everyone and everything. Similarly, when I notice baby's eyebrows gathering up like he's getting a migraine or his hands starting to fidget the way I know means he's scared and bring him the relevant medications, he trusts what I've seen in his body language and takes his medicine for me.

Since you said you're just starting out, you're still learning- and so is your little- where you boundaries are, where your energy level caps, and even what things you either don't mind or actively enjoy doing for your little or helping her do versus what things she asks for help with that you might struggle to provide. One thing I'd take away from your question is that you become upset and tired getting up multiple times after getting comfortable with your little to grab snacks and drinks; a long-term solution might be to see about setting up a nest/bed with a mini fridge and/or microwave close by so you don't have to keep getting up, but as a short-term solution, before you settle in you could go down a short checklist so you don't have to make quite so many trips (which is one thing I have to do for myself AND my little, so I have experience with this sort of mental habit):
Example:
"Okay, I've gotten our blankets all ready to snuggle down to watch our movies, I've made the popcorn and brought napkins. Daddy is always thirsty after popcorn, so I'm also going to get myself a drink, do you want one, baby? I can grab you some apple juice or milk."

"Oooh, milk peease!"

"Of course baby. We might still be hungry after popcorn too, think I should bring some carrots and dip as well?"

"YIS!"

And with many of the desired items gathered before you settle in, there's fewer trips up and down for snacks- some cold snacks might also be a good thing to stock in the house so you don't have to microwave so many items, depending on what your little likes. Mine really loves baby carrots dipped in blu cheese dressing, apples with sharp cheddar cheese cubes, and pretzels with bacon-cheese-ranch dip, so I tend to try and keep those stocked in the fridge for snack time.
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