Sunday, July 23, 2006

Feeling week

"Daddy will be home in one week."

I've heard Bud say these words at least 75 times in the past 36 hours. My husband left yesterday to visit family for a week, as he does a couple of times every year. Bud has typically handled these trips well, and though he misses Daddy he looks forward to him returning with a present for Bud in his suitcase.

This time, though, the experience is entirely different for Bud. The Absence of Daddy is the primary thing on his mind. We've charted out the length of the trip on Bud's calendar so that he can mark the passage of time. We've talked to Daddy on the phone four times. Despite that, he perks up at every sound he hears - a car driving up the road, the wind rattling the windows, the clunk as the washing machine changes cycles - and exclaims with a smile, "Daddy's home!"

"No, sweetie. Daddy is at Grandma's house."

"Daddy will be home in one week."

"That's right."

"Daddy will be home when I wake up?"

"No, honey. Not tomorrow."

"Daddy will be home in one week."

"That's right. One week. Seven days."

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Daddy comes home."

"That's right."

"Daddy will be home in one week."

"Yes."

Pause.

"When is Daddy comes home?"

It's going to be one very long week.

10 comments:

Kari said...

My lil guy loves looking at his calendar, but also likes a moving passage of time: Do you have an oven (or otherwise) timer that can handle such a long time?

Good luck handling the next week. May there be plenty of distractions!

Kristina Chew said...

I can hear Bud's voice saying those words---"Daddy's home"----and Charlie's too. I've had to start telling Charlie "Dad's coming home" no more than a half-hour before Jim returns from work or the same happens.

One thing I've tried that kind of works is, every time Charlie has used a phrase repetitively ("swimsuit" 30 times in the car) is (if I'm not driving, of course), I write down the word and everytime he says it, he has to point to it. This has not always brought Charlie's repetitions of the phrase to a halt, but it does seem to allay his anxiety some.

Could you add some of Daddy's activities each day of the week to the calendar and have Bud point to and talk about those?

We'll be thinking of you all week!

Jannalou said...

JE's dad went away for a couple of weeks last year, and the boys' older sister stayed with them (she's in her twenties).

JE handled things fairly well, but he did get teary periodically and at those times he definitely was missing his dad. "Daddy coming home," was the main thing coming out of his mouth, in a plaintive voice.

And all we could do was sit with him and tell him, "Yes, Daddy's coming home soon."

(These are the moments that make me wonder why anyone questions the ability of autistic people to care about others.)

Tara said...

When Littleman gets "stuck" asking the same question, I tell him to please ask me a different question.
This sometimes works well. As we move away from the original topic, it gets easier to redirect him.
Good luck- a hope the week goes well for you both.

LJCohen said...

When the boys were small, I had to go out of town on a business trip for 10 days. I made a 'daisy chain' of construction paper links, each with a little message from me in it, one for each night I was going to be away (with one extra just in case!). Each night, the boys opened one link. They could see as the chain got smaller, that i would be home soon.

It really helped--even more than the days on the calendar.

I'd love to take credit for coming up with the idea, LOL! But it was something I saw on some parenting site on the net.

best,
Lisa

andrea said...

Crossing days off a calendar, or breaking paper chain links works for some kids, but then you get the odd one (like mine) who gets into a kind of logical thinking + magical thinking and believes that X'ing off all the days or breaking all the links now will make Daddy walk in the door right away ... then there's the resulting meltdown when that doesn't happen!

Mom to Mr. Handsome said...

Poor Bud :o( It must make your husband feel good that he is missed so much. I liked the calender idea for keepimg track of the days your husband will be gone.

Kristin

Kaethe said...

Both the Spouse and I have been away for a week each this year. The 7-year-old is very blase, but the 4 1/2-year-old just doesn't grasp a week.

"Is it tomorrow yet?" is one of her most common questions this year.

Good luck with Bud-as-earworm.

kyra said...

fluffy does a similar thing! usually, dave will go out on errands and five minutes after he's said goodbye, fluffy will race down the hall to show him something, shouting, DADDY!! daddy's out, honey, i'll tell him. oh. then ten minutes later: racing down the hall again, DADDY! I WANT TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING!

so sweet that our little guys love their dads so much!

Julia said...

We got a "countdown to baby" clock for my first pregnancy. One of those, properly programmed (that's the tricky bit!) might work. Days, hours, minutes, maybe even seconds rolling down.

Just a thought.