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DH away - DS playing up - what to do about it?

(14 Posts)
Bozza Thu 26-Feb-04 10:15:02

DH went away on Tuesday and will be late back tonight - so in effect as far as DS is concerned he will be away for 3 nights. And DS has been awful. He wasn't too bad on Tuesday because DH is quite often away the odd night but Wednesday morning, evening and this morning he has been awful. To the point where I'm really dreading tonight. I think he's been OK at nursery (I work Tues-Thurs) but he's really been playing me up and crying about the most trivial things. And keeps saying "I want my daddy". We've rung DH up and he's spoken to him on the phone - although once he refused to speak to him. Examples of trivial things are (crying because I pulled the plug out of the bath when the flannel was still in, crying because not all his bath letters came out of the tub, because I threw last night's juice away this morning even though I'd already given him a fresh cup, because he's got a stalk on his raisin etc etc ). I've also been having trouble getting him upstairs because at 28 weeks pregnant I don't want to carry him.

While I handled it all quite well last night I got really cross with him this morning. Its all so time-consuming and with DH's absence I'm under extra time constraints because he normally does nursery drop-off. How much of this is related to DH's absence, do you think? And is there anything I can do to make it easier for DS to understand that Daddy has to work away but will be back soon?

Bozza Thu 26-Feb-04 12:46:28

Nobody any ideas how to make it easier for DS then?

LIZS Thu 26-Feb-04 12:55:17

I'd say probably much of it is related to daddy being away and a break in normal routines. he may well also be aware that you cannot pander to his every whim and tries it on accordingly. I'm not sure how old he is but could you make him some sort of calendar so that he can see how long it is, in nights or "sleeps" until he will see him again. ds is now old enough to understand and to some extent dd who is 2.5 picks up on that confidence but we still spell it out for her. Also I'm careful to point out when daddy will be there in the morning as I find it hard to get them to sleep especially if they are aware he will come back after they are in bed.

ds is almost 6 and has only recently started to speak to any great extent on the phone although dd will talk a stream of consciousness to anyone !


Bozza Thu 26-Feb-04 13:14:34

Fortunately Lizs getting him to sleep without a problem is one thing I can rely on. Thanks for mentioning that because it now occurs to me that things could be a LOT worse! DS has jsut turned 3 so maybe introducing the calendar thing might start to help. DS is very variable on the phone sometimes does the stream of consciousness thing, other times says very little and nods but DH is good with talking to him on the phone.

Alandlew Thu 26-Feb-04 19:42:54

my dh works away for 2 weeks at a time and has done it since before my 2 ds were born. It is difficult and my 2 age 9 and 10 will sometimes seem to try to push me as far as they can. They say they miss their dad and I just try to make things seem positive by saying that all the good things we have like holidays abroad etc are because dad works away. We have also done the calendar especially more so when they were your dss age. When they were younger they used to draw pictures for their dad and make cards for him. Now
they are older they will speak to him on the phone but they still really miss him even though he does 2 weeks at home and 2 weeks away all the time.

ScummyMummy Thu 26-Feb-04 20:32:11

Oh poor you, Bozza. I expect you're both missing dh's input and support. Doing everything yourself for 3 days solid without a break must be tough at 28wks pregnant, I'd have thought.
I guess Ds might be pushing you that bit extra because he's checking the boundaries are still there when things feel different and he's missing his daddy. I think that tightening up on rules and routines and being very clear about what is going to happen when sometimes helps when things feel a bit difficult. I think that it lets kids know where thay are when they may be feeling a bit unsure about how the world works. In other words try being a kind, firm sergeant major for a few days, with very clear plans for each segment of your time together and rigorous, calm application of any family rules (OMG I sound like a Fordie!). Also go very easy on yourself- now is definitely the time to break out the ready meals without guilt if cooking is not a pleasure and if ds can't tell the time yet and you can't stand another minute I wouldn't hesitate to pack him off to bed an hour early. In terms of talking to ds about his dad's absence, I think the calendar is a great idea and also maybe "imagining what Daddy is doing right now" kind of games.
I hope this is all unnecessary waffle and that you and ds are feeling better and that dh is home soon.

juniper68 Thu 26-Feb-04 20:57:07

is there any chance your ds could be coming down with a bug or has been poorly? It's just it sounds like my two boys when they are. But you'll soon know if it is.
hope he calms down soon for you as it's stressful coping with a fractious toddler.

Bron Fri 27-Feb-04 10:06:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatkat Fri 27-Feb-04 16:20:50

Bozza, you could make dh's absence into a kind of game, as I have done. Say something like "Daddy is on a sleepover, so let's you and I have fun together. We'll stay up really late, and watch a bit of telly, or read some extra books. . ." [I never actually put ds to bed later, I just pretend to, as he can't tell time.] I find that when ds thinks he's having special time with me, or getting something extra out of dh's absence, it eases the sadness for him.

I've been away from my dh for 4 months now except for the odd visit. The children miss him, but their nanny and I keep them busy and they don't seem to notice his absence quite as much anymore, at least not on a conscious level. But still, dh tells ds a bedtime story every night (by phone), and both children are in the habit of speaking to him once or twice a day, even briefly. I find that making daddy seem "close" even when he's far helps a bit. Hope you find this advice relevant/helpful.

Bozza Fri 27-Feb-04 21:45:44

Thanks everyone for your input. DH is back and DS was quite giddy about it. Think DH actually felt a bit guilty about being away - silly really because unavoidable work commitments but then why should mums have the monopoly on guilt.

Juniper I think you may have a point. It was DS's birthday at the weekend and he was pretty busy, missed naps and, I think, ended up overtired so was catching up a bit during the week.

I will try out some of everyone's ideas next week when DH is away (only one night though) and see how it goes. DH has had nights away ever since DS was born though so I was surprised it should have hit him like this must be an age thing. Definitely going to try some kind of calendar thing and you lot are all right - I can manipulate the time as I wish.

Bron - he does that "i want my daddy" when I tell him off and vice-versa. Sometimes when we are presenting a united front and he is getting really desperate we get an "i want my grandma".

Tallgirl Mon 01-Mar-04 13:46:03

I have a similar problem next week as DH has to go to Italy from Sunday until sometime later in the week. Dreading it a bit as although DS (2) is generally good he is a really daddy's boy at the moment. He is OK when it is just us two but generally whenever DH is around (or he expects him to be i.e. first thing in the morning) he tends to want him. I am in early PG so getting really tired and not looking forward to doing it all myself. Also have to get him ready and to childminders for the first few days of the week - which is usually a joint activity. DH was away the other week and one morning when i felt awful with dreadful cold etc (of course couldnt take anything!) went in to get DS and he started saying 'Daddy do it, Mummy out the room etc' and we both ended up in tears!!

As he is that much younger (2 years 3 months) dont think the calendar thing would work - any other ideas?


Bozza Tue 02-Mar-04 11:17:09

Sympathy tallgirl but not much in the way of ideas. Didn't have the problem with DS at that age. DH went to Germany last June and DS was fine.

I think the routine thing is part of the problem with DS - ie the parts of his daily routine which normally involve DH. Also the morning has always been a struggle when DH is away and DH doesn't actually do that much! I think get as organised as possible the night before especially if you might not feel well due to pregnancy.

DS was a bit put out when DH went to work yesterday and quite excited (more than normal) when he came home. Went running to the door with an "I missed you daddy".

Tallgirl Tue 02-Mar-04 14:07:06

Thanks for your reply Bozza - will definitely try to get organised and do stuff the night before - will also get up earlier (groan!) so can try and get ready before DS wakes up. Am probably making it sound worse than it is as DS isnt that bad really once he's got over the fact that DH isnt there. I'm just not sure if it is worth trying to explain it to him at this age or if he is just too young?

Anyway - i'm sure we will cope and we will get lots of nice prezzies back from Italy!

Bozza Wed 03-Mar-04 10:05:52

Tallgirl - I think its the being pregnant bit that just makes it that much worse. If you could get up and have something to eat so you start feeling better it might be less of a chore.

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