++ 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.