DH travels abroad for a degree program every couple months and the absences are very hard on DD(&me for that matter!). The last couple times, she spent the absences waking crying and screaming between 3-5am and being awake for 1-3 hours. Consolation was very tough especially in the beginning. Once papa returned, she stopped this type of waking immediately.
Here is what I do to talk with her about his absence:
A few days before he leaves, I start explaining a bit that papa is going to Italy to be with Nona for a few days. He will be back in a few days and he loves her very much. Mama also loves her very much and mama always stays with her. I keep this up during his absence but try not to talk about it alot to not steer her away from being happy and enjoying what she's doing. Every time she calls out for papa, I explain. We talk with him every couple of days or so.
Are there other ways of helping DD emotionally during the day that would ease these nights?
I thought about charting the days and covering each with a sticker so we see we are getting close at the end but Im not sure the 18 month old mind would get this, particularly because a day probably seems like an eternity.
We had my sis visiting for a couple days past DH departure but yesterday she left, the buffer is gone and she woke screamung and crying at 4 and coudnt sleep til 5:30 despite barely being able to stand she was so tired. I wonder if there's anything I can do to reduce our nighttime suffering for the next few day?
DD is not a fabulous sleeper anyway and I now realize that we may have some sleep regression going on as she turns 18 months but because this particular nightwaking pattern hasny happened since his last absence I thikn its that.
Thanks for any recommendations you may have!!
Picture book of daddy with pictures of them together, have daddy record songs and stories she can listen to, have him write a few notes to read to her while he is gone. Special item to sleep with that is from daddy, maybe something he can bring back from a trip and tell her about how he missed her so much but this item will keep them close even when he is gone.
Can you have him record something on the computer, a movie, where he talks to her and tells her where he is and whehe'll be back? Or have him read a story to her. That way she can see and hear him, and hopefully watch him until she settles down and goes back to sleep.
these are great ideas! I will share them with DH and we will get some done. Maybe we will sit down with a photo album every day in the meantime. she was asking for him over and over before bed- poor LO.