Friday, February 01, 2008

Suggestions Please

Exhausted. Working 10 hours a day, coming home to be sympathetic and understanding to Pat, then crashing. My best times with the Little Dude are when the Big Dude brings him in to work to have lunch with me.

Although I did teach him to do somersaults this week. He was very excited.

Has anyone else noticed that, when the career is going well, the home life unravels, and when you finally have the Mummy act down well, your career is turning to crap?

I am guilt and worry-wracked about leaving him for three whole days next week. We have never been separated for more than a day before. I have always been home for dinner and story time.

By big worry is that he won't understand, as the days wear on, that I am still coming home and haven't left him. Apparently today, as the afternoon wore on, he said confidently, "Mummy home soon". But does a two year old understand that a Mummy who doesn't come home for three afternoons in a row is still definitely coming home to him?

I'm thinking about ways to make it clear that I'm coming home. Phone calls, obviously. Perhaps a calendar, marking off the days till I return?

These are the times when my inexperience as a parent really shows. Suggestions, please.


Anonymous C-Marie said...

The calendar is a great idea! He can put a sticker on those days leading up to your return. Plus it can teach him a little bit in time capacity.

You had the best idea after all!

6:57 AM  
Blogger Sailor said...

It'll be harder on you than him, I'm betting; but the calendar is a great idea. Give him crayons, or stickers as C-marie said, and make a game of it.
You can even start marking days together, now, make it a game.

Good Luck!

7:32 PM  
Blogger hasarder said...

I don't have kids, so I might be talking out of my arse here...

I think both of your ideas are great. I wonder, though, if you start a calendar now the way Sailor suggests, he may think that Big Dude is just taking over mummy's calendar-marking job; ie starting it now it might not help him see that it is a tool to keep track of when you return. Unless you make it overlap your trip by several days on either side, and mark the days you will be gone in a different colour.

This may be an obvious point, but I think you need to prepare him well in advance for your trip away (well in advance only needs to be a few days for a two year old). Really impress on him that you are going away for three days, (repetitively saying things like 'How long until mummy comes back again? One, two, three days. Can you count them on your fingers, one, two, three days' etc.) and maybe you and Big Dude and Little Dude can all sit down together and draw up a calendar, so he sees it is a collaborative effort. Make it sound like something exciting and not something the grown ups are worried about, therefore not something he needs to worry about. Then if he forgets and says 'mummy home soon' Big Dude can remind him to count how many days until you come back.

I've seen a few cases of people who say nothing and just try to sneak out the door, that's a far more traumatic and disorienting approach for a child.

It could also be good to think of a specific small present you can bring back and tell him about it before you go (it doesn't have to be something from where you are going, just something he will like, so you can even get it before you leave), to help impress on him that you are coming back and to give him something to look forward to. Then if he frets Big Dude can remind him of it.

I totally agree with Sailor that it will be harder on you than him. And after this trip, you probably won't ever have any problems if you need to go away again, because he will be confident that you will come back eventually.

Good luck, and have a great time!

1:29 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I think kids can grasp a lot more at 2 than what we give them credit for. I'm sure he'll do fine.

Your ideas are good ones. Talk to him about it. A phone call on occasion. He'll understand, kids are quite resilient. It may be rougher on you than it is on him!

8:36 AM  
Blogger freebird said...

Hi Emily!
Sorry, it's been a while since I looked in and I've got a bit of catching up to do on earlier posts.
But I think (as everyone else seems to agree) that Sailor got it right with "It'll be harder on you than him, I'm betting". But hey, as you know, I'm in no position to comment on parenting!
Take care - you've been extremely kind in looking after your friend, now look after yourself.

2:40 PM  
Blogger akakarma said...

Great advice and thoughts in your friends comments! I have an 8 year old and I work full time- I remember well those days of angst. All I can say is they do integrate the schedule pretty quickly and they seem to enjoy the diversity of whatever they do without you. Also, there is very little sweeter than a child running to the door with a huge hug of a greeting and joy all over their face!

5:59 AM  

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