Thursday, May 20, 2010

Daddy's home and she's still missing him...

Confusing I know... but then, that's life with a preschooler going on pre-teenager. Our daughter is getting very confused by many things in her life right now and I feel constantly at a loss as to how to help her. She's turning 4, becoming a real Big Girl! She is at a very vulnerable place in her life though.

Her father, my ex-husband, recently decided to enter the picture and try to integrate himself into her life. We had to slowly walk her through how special she is to have a Daddy and a Father, not just one like most of her friends. Right now she has one visit with him every other week and I'm not in a hurry to change that. He's been late a few times and she has had a total meltdown being worried that he wouldn't come and she'd never see him again :( Sadly she hasn't developed a trusting relationship with him yet and isn't sure that he will be there the next time he says he will be.

While I was pregnant, we were planning on a homebirth and talked to her often about what could happen to try to prepare her. She was really looking forward to seeing her baby sister come out and even wanted to help wipe off the baby and investigate the placenta. Sadly many things contributed to us not being able to have the birth at home safely and then we had to stay in the hospital for a few days afterward and she still talks about how much she missed us all when we were in the hospital.

We have frequent trouble getting our son on our weekends with him. She misses him terribly when he isn't here and wants him to be involved in many things that happen when he's gone. She doesn't understand why 3, 4 or more weeks pass and "it's been forever since I saw my brother..." The adult issues involved are too much for us to want to explain to her. Things come up and he's busy is about all we can tell her. I mean we explain what it is most of the time: baseball, school, his "extra" family... but she still misses him and wishes she could see him everyday.

So to have Daddy go to work all day is hard on her, but to have him travel and not be home for dinner and to tuck her into bed is horrible! He was gone for a week, home for a day and a half to leave for another day, home for dinner and then took 2 days off to stay home with us.
Her desire to snuggle with him, help him, sit next to him, and just know exactly where he was made it difficult for him to get much done while he was home. So we had family time! We just hung out and had a couple of those relaxing days where you don't do anything. The days where you stay in your pajamas all day and no one cares :)
It was worth it, to catch up on what we feel like we've missed out on in the past couple months with him travelling, uninterrupted time with Daddy!
So today he headed off to "little work" and had to promise her that he would be back for dinner and he would put her to bed again tonight. He left and she had to run outside to wave to him, and walked back in sniffling that he was gone. A few more reassurances that he will be back for dinner and bedtime before breakfast, some more while eating, and even more after breakfast.
She needs to know that her Daddy is coming back, she needs to know that she will see Big Brother soon, she needs to know that I won't leave her again, she needs to know that we can keep Baby Sister, she even needs to know that she will see each member of her extended family again someday.... and then she needs to be reassured, again, that Daddy will be home today.
As I write this, she's snuggling with me and still asking about him... and everyone else... and again Daddy, "is Daddy coming back tonight? I miss him soo much"

So how do I comfort her and reassure her as much as she needs me to? without spending all day snuggling on the couch again? How can I be enough for her to get through the day until Daddy gets home?
What can I do to help her through this time where all she seems to see is the time she misses with those that she loves? How to I help our daughter to stop missing out on life because she misses the people who aren't with her today?

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