New to this whole forum business....not sure if this is the right place to pose this question...
My husband and I just had our baby girl in November 2010. He is deployed until sometime in the summer, though he was here for his 2 week R&R a few days after her birth. I'm concerned about fostering her attachment/connection to him. We Skype frequently and I always have her there with me so she can see and hear him. However, I'm not sure if that's effective or developmentally possible for her current sight and hearing abilities.
She will be 7 or 8 months when he returns, and I would just hate for her to "reject" or resist him. I know he would be heart broken, too...she's the light of his life! Any tips would be very much appreciated!
You posted this a while ago, but I just joined and saw it. My thoughts are that things could go either way, no matter what you do. Try to help him not to take it personally. If she cries or doesn't reach for him, it isn't because she doesn't like him. I'll share our story briefly. My hubs first deployment was in Oct. 2006. Our son was born Nov. 2006. He is adopted and we had started the process just before hubs deployed. When our adoption was finalized, ds was 8 months old exactly and I had seen him once before at 3 months for a week. R&R got messed up so dh hadn't seen ds except in pictures and after an extension, he came home in Dec. 07. DS was days away from 14 months old. DH and I talked often about what to expect when he redeployed. We skyped when we could and ds carried a picture from our wedding. I talked about "daddy" all the time. But, nothing takes the place of physical proximity! DS took a day or two, but these two are inseparable now and were from about day 2.
Now, I thought it might also relate since I picked ds up at 8 months old. At that age, they're starting to "like" people for more than just meeting their needs, but it's still the most important thing. He cried that first night and somehow I felt that it was a "I miss that mom who took care of me" cry, but he still wanted me. I think a lot of it was just him being unsure if he could trust me to take care of him. Day 2 was a new day and WE are also inseparable!
Breathe and don't get too worked up. It sounds like you're doing the best you can to make his voice and face familiar. Just remember that she's going to be used to you and need some time to learn to trust him. On the opposite side, don't be surprised if she drops you like a bad habit and only wants daddy! That's about what happened to us and *I* was the one saying, "HEY, what about me?!" lol
If you ever want to chat about it, feel free to send me a message!
Continue Skyping. Talk about daddy daily, show pics and videos if you have them.
When he gets back, take it slowly. He'll have no idea who he is, but he can/will warm up quickly. There will be a little bit of timidity from your child, but your husband has to understand not to take it personally. If he feels hurt, it's going to affect how he approaches her in the future. (not feeling hurt is easier said than done)
My daughter was 6 months old when I deployed and a little over a year when I got back. (I came home early) It was tough, because my husband had to go to a school, so we were all together for a few weeks and then he was gone for 2-3 weeks. It is tough to see your child get hurt and turn to someone else or when you walk up to them the first time and there's no recognition or excitement at all...It can be overcome, though!
DD is 2 1/2 now. My husband was just gone for a little over 3 months and while his absence did affect her, when he got back it was like he'd never been gone.
Our daughter was 3 months old when daddy left and is 6 months old the day after tomorrow... yes she got 3 months with him before he deployed... but still she seems to recognize him from using Skype... it helps SO much.
Also, she has her daddydoll... which I am using to help her with the sign language for "daddy" when daddy is not on Skype.
Also, I have several shirts he wore before he left that has his scent on them (if you dont have any he can send you some) that we hold while Skyping with daddy because it is CRAZY how much help their tiny little noses are with picking up his specific body chemicals and helping her to adjust back to life with him when he comes home.