Monday, May 16, 2011

Toddlers and deployments

I think sometimes military kids get lost in the shuffle.  I think your average US citizen doesn’t realize the sacrifice people give to be in the military.  I know I sure didn’t before I married Mark.  And I REALLY think that most people have no clue how the military lifestyle affects children.
Our daughter, Abbie, is 2 years old.  Well she will be turning two this week anyway.  When my husband is around, he and Abbie are pretty much inseparable.  He is very actively involved in raising her when his job allows it.  He gets home from working 12+ hour days, and then he plays with Abbie pretty much from the time he gets home until the time she goes to bed.  He generally does her entire night time routine, including giving her her baths, getting her in her PJ’s, reading/ singing with her and putting her in bed.  When he is home, he wants to spend as much time with her as possible and they have an amazing connection.  I know how blessed I am to have such an involve and active partner to raise children with and Abbie will someday realize how lucky she is too.
Today Abbie was being an absolute bear.  She was terrorizing the dogs, getting in to everything she knows she shouldn’t, and she was whiny and crabby.  You could just tell she was upset about something, but since she’s (almost) 2, she still doesn’t know how to communicate her frustrations.  I knew something was bothering her, so I sat her on my lap and asked her what was wrong.  The first thing she said was “talk to daddy?”.  (Often Mark calls in the morning so she gets to video chat with him while she eats her breakfast and he wasn’t able to call this morning.)  So we had a discussion about how daddy was busy at work and he was flying, but we’d talk to him soon.  Granted, she didn’t understand everything I was saying, but she understood enough for it to make her feel better.  After we had our little talk, Abbie was 100% different and back to her happy-go-lucky two year old self.  She went and played by herself for a while and read her books, didn’t terrorize the dogs anymore and wasn’t whiny.  I think she just needed someone to validate her feelings.
I should have picked up on the fact that that was what was bothering her since when she got up this morning she ran to her bedroom door (which has a life sized poster of Mark on the back of it) and said “Good morning daddy” and kissed it.
This deployment has been relatively easy so far, with the one exception of having to watch Abbie deal with this separation from her daddy.  We’ll get through this, I just wish I knew how to help her through this better.  Unfortunately, it’s a new experience for both of us.


Anonymous said...

You may be improvising, but it sounds like you're finding the right tune so far. Sampson and I don't have any of our own yet, but military kids amaze me with their resilience. Their mamas inspire me with their dedication to helping those children deal with something that isn't exactly a walk in the park for full-grown humans.

Anonymous said...

Chaplin Barnes says "kids are the most resilient people and the best thing you can do is love each other" Obviously you do and just by communicating that to her put her at ease. Hopefully she will get to talk to him soon.

Reccewife said...

To me so far, after 3 kids and three deployments at differnt ages, I still thenk the toddler years are the hardest. Because you're totally right, they go through the whole thing MAD but unable to really see WHY they are mad. And it's hard, as the mom, not to get wrapped up in your own frustration with them for the way they are acting. It sounds like you are doing the best you can - loving her like crazy until daddy is back.

Jessica Lynn said...

oh wow. it's amazing how perceptive they are even at such a young age. I hope you guys will hear from him soon!