++ worried about mom away from toddler - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 2Likes
  • 1 Post By Dad1
  • 1 Post By Dad1
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 9 Old 07-16-2014, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
++ worried about mom away from toddler

Hi there, I'm a dad. Let me know if I'm not allowed to post.

We have a 19 mo and a 4 mo, and wife has gone overseas to visit relatives for 2.5 weeks. She took 4mo with her, and I have the 19 mo toddler and time off work to care for him.

I was actually looking forward to it, because I really love spending time with him and love the idea of my wife visiting her relatives which she loves. The LO is fairly easy to take care of, good on his schedule, but I did not anticipate how much he would miss his mom. He says her name lots, for example when waking up he says 'mama mama' over and over and looks for her in the house, and seems upset that she's not there. His eating is more difficult and says 'mama mama' then as well, pushing away spoon etc. Sleep has not been his usual, he seems to cry in his crib during the night more often.

Anyway the whole thing was tearing me up so I brought him to extended family (wife's family) who he knows well, and he seems to have calmed down and appears happier, and now we are both staying there. He had a solid sleep last night. We have the option to bring wifey back early if we need to, but I'm not sure I should spoil her trip early. Or should I? Are we causing the toddler long-term damage? I was reading literature suggesting that separations of more than a week can be harmful, but those studies seem to focus almost exclusively on folks with lots of other problems (divorce, poverty, other disruptions), whereas our toddler gets consistent loving care from people he trusts apart from DW and I, and lives in upper-middle income household, single provider at-home-mom, traditional household. I can't tell if I'm over-reacting. I'm an oncologist and feel quite foolish about the whole thing, normally I'm uber-rational and unaffected by dying cancer patients all day. Seeming my LO missing his mom though, wow never knew how hard that would be! It's been 4 days with her gone so far.

Opinions?
pokeyac likes this.
Dad1 is offline  
#2 of 9 Old 07-16-2014, 10:13 AM
 
pokeyac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Bay Area, Ca
Posts: 3,407
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Dad1! All parents are welcome. I hope you get some good support and advice here. Thanks for joining in the conversation!



Married to a wonderful woman since 2010. Baby boy C arrived in June 2013!

Check out our User Agreement.
pokeyac is offline  
#3 of 9 Old 07-16-2014, 10:21 AM
 
tadamsmar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 324
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
My opinion is that this is tolerable stress, not toxic stress:

http://developingchild.harvard.edu/k...ress_response/

That's based on the stress model of Jack Shonkoff at Harvard.
tadamsmar is online now  
#4 of 9 Old 07-16-2014, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tadamsmar View Post
My opinion is that this is tolerable stress, not toxic stress:

http://developingchild.harvard.edu/k...ress_response/

That's based on the stress model of Jack Shonkoff at Harvard.
Ok that's somewhat reassuring. If he's having problems that would affect him, would it be something I would notice?
Dad1 is offline  
#5 of 9 Old 07-16-2014, 08:32 PM
 
crazyms's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Way down south
Posts: 1,112
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
I think you would notice if it was something that was going to really affect him. You did say that he has calmed down after seeing other family. Children like routine and schedule. It's makes their little lives more predictable and less stressful for them. With mom being gone he is not getting his normal set up and that can be stressful since he's not sure what's going on at his age. My children are older now but my husband works off and frequently is away from home. The children often stressed when they were younger but keeping them busy and distracted helped. Time with other people they loved or time away from home seemed easier for them since we weren't home where it was strange to not have dad. He'll be okay with mom gone for a few weeks. It may be a little stressful for him but he'll be okay.

* I would say though just to prepare you and your wife, my youngest did worse than my older two with dad going away. When he would return she would be distant from him at first and not want to be as loving toward him as she usually was. I guess it was her baby way of getting back at him for leaving her or trying to avoid getting attached to him afraid he'd leave again. This would always dissipate after a day or two of his return though. My older two as little ones were always just thrilled to have him back though. I just wanted to let you know my experience with the baby though to help prepare you and your wife in case your son has a similar reaction when mom returns.

Good luck! (And yes dads are definitely welcome here just like moms!)

Michelle mom to DD , DS , & lil DD plus and spending my days
crazyms is online now  
#6 of 9 Old 07-16-2014, 09:46 PM
 
MeepyCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 3,676
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
You are absolutely not subjecting your child to toxic or harmful stress, but he probably notices Mom's absence more at home, because he's still following routines that he's used to her being there for. Visiting relatives is a change in routine where he doesn't have the same associations.

It's so hard to say what a 19 month old understands or processes, so it can be hard to know exactly how best to manage trips and things. Did you talk to your son about where his mom is and when she'll be back? Can she call or skype at a set time every day or so and talk to him or sing a goodnight song?
MeepyCat is online now  
#7 of 9 Old 07-17-2014, 05:50 AM
 
tadamsmar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 324
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad1 View Post
Ok that's somewhat reassuring. If he's having problems that would affect him, would it be something I would notice?
I don't think you could notice the results of toxic stress since they appear way down the road. But you can notice that the pre-conditions for toxic stress are not there. According to that web site, it's tolerable stress "If the activation is time-limited and buffered by relationships with adults who help the child adapt, the brain and other organs recover from what might otherwise be damaging effects." It's not chronic stress and you are the buffer.

It might even be considered positive stress by Shonkoff's model, or on the borderline. It's not as mild and the examples given for positive stress, and not as extreme as the examples given for tolerable stress on that web site.

Maybe there are activities that the mom and child engage in that you could also engage in that would make it more like normal. You could skype or facebook mom, I think that would help reassure the kid. Where I live, some of the libraries have toddler story times that my grandkids like. Maybe activities like that would help.

You could run it by your pediatrician, if you are concerned about her symptoms/behavior.
tadamsmar is online now  
#8 of 9 Old 07-17-2014, 08:53 AM
 
sassyfirechick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,526
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
That's a pretty normal reaction for a toddler to have. I'm the primary "caregiver" in our house - I only work p/t and DH is full time, 2 jobs, one of which keeps him away for 24 hours every 4th day (firefighter), so DD is used to him being away and used to having time with me. On the rare occasion I go out for a few hours, he always has a difficult time with her because he's not as used to the routines and she's always asking for me. On the contrary, we can both go out for an evening and have one of the sets of grandparents watch her, and she's perfectly fine, doesn't ask for me at all and goes right to sleep. I think you staying with family is comforting enough to your LO that you should be fine. Don't ask mom to come back unless you reeeaaaaalllly need her there. It's a great chance for you to build that close bond with your LO. Besides, mom is probably enough of a wreck missing her first baby Definitely skype if you can, face time helps and we do that when DH is at work or when I've traveled with DD alone.
sassyfirechick is offline  
#9 of 9 Old 07-17-2014, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Thanks so much for all the responses.

Crazyms - Yes he loves his grandpa (grandma is also overseas with mom) and aunt who we are with now. I think maybe based on what you are saying, grandpa's house was a good choice. We prepared for unexpected behaviour when she gets back, but I think lots of time together as a family should help that.

Meepycat - we actually struggled with whether to skype or not. He seemed not to react very much when seeing her, and was uninterested in skype. He also seemed to almost miss her more after skype, so we have stopped it for now. As for the bedtime routine, fortunately I have always been the bedtime singer so that's no change.

Tadasmar - thanks for the reference. Unlike the medical field, the social sciences have a lot of models and theories which are unprovable, not possible to subject to trials, and with tons of inherent bias. Nevertheless, insofar as it's possible, seems like a decent categorization from that guy. Appreciate the link. I don't think anyone would question that we all need some stress to overcome to develop our potential and become robust, so I would fully agree there.

Sassy - interesting you say that because we previously went on a 5 day trip without him, he stayed with grandparents, and he was completely unchanged and fine. However he was closer to around 12 months at that time. My concern is that absences at 19 months (now) might be more significant given the increased awareness. In fact mom has been a rock and talking me into clear thinking daily. Usually she is the one who can't wait to get him once he is up from a nap after even a few hours!
crazyms likes this.
Dad1 is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off