Bug,  Moody Blues,  Super Dad

Missing Toby

gloomy tuesday

Okay. I admit it. I think we are finally missing Toby. The fun of eating out at restaurants that Toby doesn’t like and moving furniture around (something Toby hates) has run out. The mice are bored now.

talking to Daddy on the phone

I think I realize why divorce and separation is so hard on kids now. I am the major care giver in the family but you wouldn’t believe how many times Baby Bug has asked for Toby. Every time we come home from an errand or a walk to the beach, she runs back to his office to see if he is there. Every time she is disappointed.

Yesterday, I left the phone on the couch accidentally and she found it. I heard her beeping the buttons and saying, “Are you there Daddy?” into the phone. It nearly broke my heart. He may not change her diapers or help with bath time or even read her stories at night but he is a huge part of her life. She really misses him.

It’s getting harder and harder for me to think of ways to explain that he won’t be home for a while. Does she understand “a few days”? Does someone who counts by skipping from five to thirty understand how long “six more night-nights” is? I don’t know.

I think it’s mostly my fault. I need to get out and do stuff and keep us busy. But you know how it is… pajamas are so cozy when nobody cares what you wear all day long.


  • a madhouse wife

    That first photo is heartwrenching! What is you got a mark-on calendar and then prettied up the day he was coming home and marked off days with her? My 4 year old has no concept of time and thinks everything happened “yesterday.” Even stuff that was, like, a year ago.

  • Jummy

    Don’t be hard on yourself, SAJ! You do a lot to keep BB occupied. I know many wish they had your imagination and spent as much time with their kids as you do with her.

    (To help BB understand, maybe you could set up an advent calendar sort of countdown thing so when she runs out of treats then that’s the day that daddy’s coming home?)

    Take care…

  • bluejaye

    Find a count down ritual that will work for you and her. X off the calendar after each breakfast. Can he leave a message for her on a tape or the answering machine before he leaves next time? The kids both have a little picture frame with a button to push that plays a message the old man made for them when they were little. It says, ‘Night, night. Daddy loves you.’ They still play it more than 10 years later.
    The cousins learned to subtract with bites at dinner time and how to read the clock because I was tired of telling them what time Power Ranger was on. They ended up miles ahead of everyone when they got to school.

  • jd

    I’ve heard of some military families making paper chains, and then taking off a link each day. Breaks my heart.

  • Jamie

    I know what you are going through. My little 2 year old, Lorelei, goes through the same thing everyday. “Where’s Daddy?” “I miss Daddy.” My husband is in the military and has been gone since last May. Good thing is, he is finally coming home in about one week. Yayy! Good luck and good wishes are with you both. :)
    BTW your Baby Bug is too cute for words!

  • Jennifer

    Make a paperchain with the same number of chains as days until he comes home. First thing in the morning, cut one off. That will help her visualize; and it’s fun! Since she so little and still naps, you could even double the number so she takes one off each time she wakes up. Sometimes it’s difficult to know that we are in the same day after a nap. I’ve heard preschoolers say, “Remember yesterday when we were painting?” When they really mean before I took my nap.

  • Holly

    my husband and I separated in November and even though we have a decent after-marriage relationship and even though daddy sees the kids every week and has sleepovers 2 weekends a month, it’s hard. for everyone.

    my advice to you is to do what others have suggested – mark the calendar, count sleeps, paper chains, etc…. We do it for weekends with Daddy and I’m sure it will work for your situation as well.

  • sizzle

    Her hair in that first photo is so adorable. It makes me giggle.

    It’s hard when one parent is absent. It’ll be a great reunion when he returns!

  • OMSH

    Okay, that first shot of her hair is cracking me up. And the second shot is both precious and sad … “Daddy!”

    Toby will be so glad to know he’s missed, and of COURSE he’s missed!!! He’s the daddy after all, and as much as we girls love our mommas, the daddy is IMPORTANT.

    I used to help Meredith understand a full day with a picture of the sun coming out and the sun going to “bed”. When the sun went to bed, we’d mark off that block and then we’d count 1,2,3,4,5 MORE DAYS!

  • Gramma

    Some great solutions appeared on your comments today…so understanding time is really very difficult for toddlers. The chain bit is visual and easier. Also marking the calendar is a good idea. Maybe she could draw Daddy driving a 3-D car. Make a road and each day let her move the car closer to home.

  • Lori

    I have never commented before, but my husband also travels….We say how many more “sleeps” until daddy comes home. I LOVE the idea about the paper chain, I will try that one!

  • Michelle

    I was going to suggest the paper chain or marking days off on the calender too….you could also use a big sheet of paper, draw him life size, then draw another picture of him life size and have her color in or paint the shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, hair, glasses, etc., (cut out those pieces of his clothes, etc. that she colored or painted and each day she can put something new on daddy, and the last thing she puts on, is the day he’ll be home :o) – You could have him holding his camera too, so that she makes the connection of daddy is working…..

    I also loved your grammas idea of the car on the track – that was genius! Hang in there – I know it’s hard when dadddys are gone.

  • Glenda

    What? You don’t got out and drive around town in your PJ’s? I do it all the time and just pray I won’t get in an accident or something because I’d be a little embarrased!

  • Kim

    I would always make an X on the calendar and a large circle around the day daddy would return. My girls are now older, 9 and 11, and their dad has a terminal disease so I don’t think the Xs will work anymore.

  • Spandrel Studios

    Like Lori, we told my niece that it was 2 “sleeps” until Mom and Dad would be back from a weekend trip. She seemed to get it — although I was a nervous wreck that she’d count naps and expect to see them by 4 in the afternoon!

  • Gingermog

    Good morning, very sorry you and the Bug are feeling lonely without Toby. Dress up picnics, building carboard forts and sandcastle building are two of my ways of making the days go quicker when I used to look after my nephews when their mum and dad were away. All stuff you can do in pj’s. Even the beach, yes, beach pyjamas! :)

  • Kuky

    That’s sad. I know Isabelle misses her daddy when he’s gone for just a few days. When he returns she’s so happy she’s running circles around in the living room. I can imagine how much we’d miss him if he were gone 2 weeks!

    Your readers always come up with such good ideas, things I’d never think of. I know we’ve never met before but if we lived closer we would so come over and play with you in our pajamas!! :)

  • Starryprincess

    Oh my heart is aching for Bug and you watching Bug being sad. My hubby doesn’t work away but when he went into to hospital recently for a couple of days, a sad melancholy settled over all of us.

    All very good ideas, children need to ‘see’ something to understand it.

  • web obsessed

    My husband hasn’t had to travel lately, but he has been working really late. It seems to really be hard on my 2 year old too. My older daughter misses him, but the younger one seems more sad that he is gone. It must be something about the age that makes it extra hard. They are old enough to understand they are sad the person is gone, but not quite old enough to really comprehend when they will be back.

    When my husband came home the other night my 2 year old was so excited she started shaking all over, screaming daddy and jumping up and down. You would have thought he had been gone for years.

  • BeachMama

    Awww, it is so easy to put on a brave face, but eventually we all have to admit that we miss our Hubby’s when they are gone. Sending some hugs to make it through the next six sleeps.

  • Dori

    That first photo is soooo cute! I love the way her little ponytail is sproinged forward..it says it all. There’s also something incredibly expressive about those toes…

  • Kaydee

    Poor baby bug. That is precious.

    I don’t have any kids of my own yet, so I don’t know if this will work. But maybe making something to help count down the days until daddy comes home would help. You know like a paper chain (links) and you take one off for every day, or maybe something that hangs on the frig and you move a magnet to count down the days. Make it something fun that she can do herself. =)

  • carrien

    A calender and stickers works for us. A big picture of the expected event and then one sticker for each day until he comes home. We always did the stickers just before bed, we’d cross off another day. I helps, a little.

    Also, making daddy one card or present every day until he comes back can be a fun way to mark the time too. Once you have x number of cards he’ll come home.

  • Plumwin

    LOVE your blog and have been lurking for a long time. This post finally got to me. You have to explain the allure of Toby. I just don’t get it. I mean you clearly state that he doesn’t change diapers or help around the house or do anything beyond earn a paycheck. He hates all your creative outlets and it sounds like you spend half your time worrying about interrupting his work or bugging him. You sound like a wonderful person and I can tell you are a great mom, but really, do you want Baby Bug to think he’s normal?

    SAJ says: sigh… “normal”… What is normal? Toby may not be normal in my book or in your’s but he is the only dad Baby Bug has and she loves him very much. I love him very much. He’s like a fine wine or strong coffee or even stinky cheese… He takes a little getting used to but once you do, you appreciate him more and more.

  • ioi

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments this time, so this might have already been suggested. We do ‘buttons in a jar’ to manage a count down. We have 20 1″ wooden buttons (the kind you use to plug bolt holes in furniture in order to hide the bolt) and I put one button in for each day that must pass. Every day at a set time (like after breakfast, or just before nap etc.) we take one button out of the jar. I like to have the last button come out of the jar the on the actual day we do whatever it was that we’ve waited so long for. We keep the button, that came out of the jar that day, beside the jar so when they want to ‘take a button out’ (to make the time go faster probably) they can see that one already came out for that day. On the days that the kids forget to take a button out.. I do it for them after they’re in bed. It really does seem to help them understand the time that needs to pass. http://www.widgetco.com/1-wood-buttons

  • Annabanana

    I am so not looking forward to next week. Dave will be gone for 5 days. Nothing compared to 2 weeks. I feel like such a wimp whining already and my sister will be here the whole time. PMS sucks, oh ya that is probably why I am such a bag about it right now.
    I love what you said about Toby a few comments up, that sums up my Dave. What you said makes so much sence, he is like a fine wine, sigh I love him, baww, I should go do my own post!

  • Gingermog

    Hi, just checking into say hello. I saw the film Persepolis in the cinema last night and thought it was beautiful, but sad. I don’t know if your familliar with the graphic novel’s but the story is about a fiesty little girl who loves Bruce Lee growing up in Iran during the 1980s and you see the war and it’s aftermath though her eyes. Although the underlying theme underneath everything is the strength of spirit of the Iranian people.

    I was wondering if you would like it, the graphic style anyway. You can check out the website at http://www.sonypictures.com/classics/persepolis/

    Meanwhile as I know you like cats here’s a happy film :)