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Archive for May, 2011

Missing Daddy

Blake is in Africa for a month.  He’s building a school in South Sudan.  (You can read his updates from the field on Rebuild Sudan’s blog.)  He’s been away almost two weeks now and I’m adjusting to single motherhood. Exhausted.  Single parents are saints, I tell you.

Overall, Milo is doing okay with Daddy’s absence, but he’s definitely not the same.  On the day Blake left, we took Daddy to the airport and said goodbye.  Milo didn’t understand what was going on until that afternoon, when he looked for Daddy in every room in the house, but couldn’t find him.  It was a distressing moment.  Daddy, one of Milo’s most important objects of permanence, was no longer here.

Now, Milo won’t let me leave his sight.  Friends and family had lined up to help during this month of Blake’s absence, but having someone else babysit has been traumatic for Milo.  Previously, he’s been okay as long as he was familiar with the person babysitting him.  (The one exception has been my mother, but that’s for another post.  Tiger Grandmother, anyone?)  Last week, a friend was watching Milo so that I could go to a yoga class.  It was the mom of one of Milo’s playmates, someone he saw a few times a week.  Thirty minutes after dropping him off (and 10 minutes into the yoga class), I got the call: Milo is freaking out.

In general, Milo is definitely more sensitive than he was when Daddy was around.  Previously, he was pretty easy going.  Other moms noted that he didn’t even cry when he fell down.  He would just pick himself up and keep going.  Now, he’s much more prone to weepy outbursts.  Falling, tripping, moments of frustration normal to toddlerhood–any of these now set him off.  And it may be something in my reaction too that feeds his sensitivity.  I’m perhaps a bit too eager to pick him up and hug him these days.  Who knows?

One thing I’ve noticed is Milo’s increased attachment to Baby, his doll.  (See previous post, A Doll for Milo.)  Before Daddy left, Milo would hang onto Baby only around naps and bedtime.  Now he carries Baby around everywhere.  He wants to take him to the store, to visit friends, to the sand box, to potty.  Today, he even wanted to bring Baby into the shower.  Baby has become a new object of permanence.  But he can’t replace Daddy!

Blake does call when he can and Milo enjoys listening to Daddy’s voice over the phone.  We did managed to skype once.  Milo kept kissing Daddy’s face on the computer screen.  In the meantime, we’re keeping busy, doing fun things: lots of play dates, bowling, a trip to Boston’s Children Museum, Milo’s first parade.  We will be visiting friends who live on a farm this week.  Next week, Grandma comes for a visit.  We’re so proud of Blake and all his work building this school in Sudan.  But if Milo could count, he’d be counting the days until Daddy comes home.

Milo and Baby at the Memorial Day parade in Nashua, NH.

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