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This is a test, this is only a test.....

 
 
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 06:36 pm
So I'm leaving for a little get-away tomorrow morning, meeting my sister for some girl time. I'm going to be gone for three nights.

Believe it or not, this will be the furthest and longest I've been away from Mo since he moved in with us nearly 8 years ago.

As some of you know, Mo has some "issues". For those of you that don't know, Mo has some attachment issues. He thinks when people leave that they don't come back. Over the last 8 years we've made some progress, a lot of progress really, but I can tell that he's starting to freak a bit so I'm starting to freak a bit too.

Mr. B will be home with him and I've given the school a behavior BOLO but I have to admit that I'm getting nervous.

I really want to go and relax and have fun. I need it. The trip was a gift from Mo and Mr. B -- they know I need it. And, frankly, we need to know what the heck will happen so we're floating this balloon is a safe manner to see how it stays afloat.

But I'm a wreck because Mo's getting wreckish.

So tell me traveling parents.... is there any way to make this easier? How do you stay connected while you're away? Should there be limits or should there be no limits. Keep in mind that we're talking about a kid with some.... delays... and some serious emotional issues about gone-ness.

Thanks!
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 06:40 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
So tell me traveling parents.... is there any way to make this easier?
I was the stay at home dad, and the first time that we went away for the week-end after having kids was many years after we started to have kids. It was very strange for me, I always wanted to call home, but mostly resisted. Dont know anything that would help
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 06:43 pm
@hawkeye10,
Mr. B is staying home so things aren't completely nuts here, thank goodness.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets nervous about such things.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 06:47 pm
@boomerang,
K has always been my velcro child. Still, at 20 years old, she calls me almost every day to make sure I'm ok. She'd get anxious when Mr B and/or I traveled. We'd ping her when we landed/arrived so she'd know we got there ok. We'd also be sure to call every night before bedtime to check in and to say goodnight.

On the home front, the caregiver (other parent or MIL if we were both gone) did their best to keep the kids active and distracted. One thing I did at first was make sure that there was a schedule of everything as if I was home. I quickly gave that up because everyone (caregiver and kids) were getting stressed out trying to make everything NORMAL. It wasn't normal. It was different so, other than key things like appointments and after school practices, I let them figure it out themselves. Some of their 'figurings' made for some funny evening updates.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 06:48 pm
@boomerang,
Call home, Skype, let him know you are having a good time and will be home soon. Let him help you prepare for your trip. Ask him to help you find some sightseeing opportunities so you have something to talk about when you call. If he shares in your adventure, it will be his too.
0 Replies
 
Tai Chi
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 06:53 pm
Maybe if you have a set time when you'll call home? Then he won't be anxiously waiting "in case" you call.
Butrflynet
 
  0  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 06:53 pm
Mo likes it when you read to him. So, the two of you could decide on a short story to read together while you are gone. Each of you has a copy of the story and when you phone home each night before bed time, you read it together.

If you have two laptops with video cameras, you could Skype video each night. That's how the Obama's kept in touch with their girls while on the campaign trail.
0 Replies
 
ragnel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:07 pm
@boomerang,
I don't know if this would help, but when my son was small he would really freak out if I wasn't around. Gradually he accepted my having to go to work, his having to go to school, etc and once these were established habits it was okay, but anything out of the ordinary was fraught with danger.

He had to go on a three-day camp with his school. He really wanted to experience the adventure but was sure that once I was out of sight he would never see me again. I solved this by writing him three letters - one to be opened on each of the three days. I talked about some fun thing we had done together, and asked him to make a journal of his trip so that he could tell me everything he had seen and done. I selected "special times" for him to watch out for, eg - "at 11 am I will lie down on the floor and bend my right leg so I can balance a cup of water of my foot. I will try to straighten my leg so it is sticking up in the air, without spilling the water. Do you think I can manage this trick? Close your eyes and see me doing it." A few of these imaginary games (the sillier the better) did the job.

I know there's no instant or sure-fire solution to the problem, but good luck and I hope your get-away replenishes your energies. Enjoy!
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:13 pm
Thanks all!

We're pretty low-tech so we won't be Skyping or that sort of thing. Mo is really low-tech, practically no-tech.

He helped Mr. B plan the trip and he's helped me get ready so we've covered that base. Of course I'll be calling home but I worry that if I call too often or spend to long on the phone that it might make the separation seem even bigger. Plus, I have some tickets to shows and dinner reservations and that sort of thing -- so I might not be available at bedtime. I certainly don't want to make promises that I can't keep.

I had planned on calling in the morning, after school and before bed with a quick hello. Maybe that's not enough. I know if I make a big deal out of being gone that he'll make a big deal out of me being gone.

JPB, that's too funny about making notes trying to keep things normal. How did you know I was doing that? I'm off to rethink that note!
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:16 pm
@ragnel,
Those are some great ideas! Thank you.

It might be a bit late for me to write letters and I won't be gone long enough for him to get postcards but I could leave some little notes for him to find.

I love the "at this time" game. I know I can come up with some of those using our special words, codes and habits!
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  4  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:18 pm
@boomerang,
well Boomer, I'm certainly not a child psychologist with a specialty in attachment disorders however I would opine that the less an issue is made about your "vacation" the less of an issue it will become. "normalcy" is normal.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:18 pm
@boomerang,
Sozlet has gone away sleepovers and short trips (camping with E.G.), never more than one night though. It always seems to help that she's the one off doing something new, rather than the one who is in "normal life" except I'm not there. I haven't gone on any trips and left her at home, yet.

But to carry along that thought, making the time you're gone especially positive for Mo might help. I know "eventful" might not be the right thing, since routine is so important to him. But Mr. B can have a lot of fun stuff up his sleeve, if only movies to watch together at home. Something that makes it more special dad-and-Mo time rather than where-the-heck-is-mom time.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:26 pm
@dyslexia,
Unless there is something unusual already afoot - I agree. Kids many times take their cues from adults around them. Act like it's no biggie.

Cause, it's no biggie.
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:29 pm
After reading "attachment issues," I guess it wouldn't hurt to tell him you'll call him around bedtime (cause you're interested in what he did that day - not to pacify him), and call...so he gets used to being gone not = disappearing.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:30 pm
@Lash,
I missed that... I do agree.

I get the urge to go ahead and figure stuff out here so one can take a deep breath and then go ahead and act normal, though.
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 07:35 pm
@sozobe,
Agree!

Definitely don't act teary or wobbly in front of him. My opinion, anyway.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 08:07 pm
I think we've done a good job of not making a big deal about it. He's not in full mode freak out. Just a bit clingier than usual and a quite a bit more argumentative.

I've given him some extra responsibilities for while I'm away (feeding the pets, getting his school snack together, that kind of stuff) and he's feeling pretty important about those things. I think that's good. But it's also bringing up some other questions that are a bit harder to deal with .... like... "Why am I still in special education? I'm pretty smart and responsible."

I don't know....

Life is so confusing.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Tue 2 Nov, 2010 09:22 pm
@boomerang,
When Jane was around 9 years old, I went for 4 days to NY and she was left
home with her grandparents. I called her every evening and we talked quite
a while about what she did and what happened in school etc. She was looking
forward to my calls and I could feel that she missed me terribly, but in the end,
she was fine and it was a little step towards getting more independent.

Well, Mo is right - he's getting more responsible and he's smart. I'd tell him that
special education is there for him to learn things at his own pace and not be rushed through it, so he'll get smarter as he will grasp the subject even better.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2010 07:20 am
@CalamityJane,
That's a great answer to the SpEd question, CJane, thank you. We've told him that there are all kinds of ways to be smart and everybody learns at their own pace.

We've also told him that if anyone calls him stupid that he can respond "at least I'm not mean".

How did you handle it when you could tell that Jane was missing you. What did you say to make her okay?
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Nov, 2010 07:47 am
Mo will handle this as well as you do - so keep talking about things you both are going to do when you get back. Let him know you expect him to be OK.

When you do get back - please go away more often for less amount of time. How about an overnight away from him once in a while.? You will do him a great favor by helping him to get a handle on his clinging feelings. He needs to get the strength to feel OK when you are not around.
 

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