Saturday, March 18, 2006

What to do when Papa is away ...

It is Saturday afternoon, the sun is blazing through the living room window and the sky is clear and cool. His Holiness is sleeping in my bed and the apartment is as quiet as I have ever known it. In one week I’ll be on a plane back across the Atlantic and recent days have been filled with preparations. HH is now aware of my impending departure but I am certain he has no sense of the duration. I had planned to make a short film of myself reading “Big Red Barn” by Margaret Wise Brown but I haven’t done it and I don’t know if I’ll get to it next week. I don’t have any real plan for staying connected with him besides calling and hoping he won’t just switch off the phone immediately after saying hello, which he does with unfortunate callers now and then.

Those of you who visit these pages have often been the source of some great advice and I would appreciate some of that wisdom here … your strategies for dealing with a long, long trip away from a 2.6 year old.


Blogger Sarah Mackenzie said...

We use Apple's I-sight. Our son speaks for hours with his grandmother this way. Something that he couldn't do on the phone. But don't worry, time doesn't mean much to little kids. You'll be back before he realises. And just hearing your voice on the end of the phone will give him all the comfort and solace that he needs. You are going to be the one with the pangs of heartache and loneliness.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous spaghetti said...

Both of my kids love to wear one of Dad's t-shirts at night whenever he is away.

Also, when my kids were about HH's age they just loved for their Papa to leave individual messages for each on the answering machine. I had to replay the soundbites again and again and again, and again...

7:44 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Will it be at all possible to have a web cam? If not, what about getting him a teddy bear from the Build a Bear workshop and recording your voice saying goodnight or singing a song. I know they have these shops in Germany, but am not sure if you would have the time or chance to check it out. I travelled quite a bit when my son was around this age, and it did not affect him at all (although I was a mess). For him, he just wanted to be assured that I would return and that I was going to bring him a present. It would also be very useful for you to have a calendar for him to look at in his room and cross off the days until you come home again. This will help him to visualize the time. Or perhaps you could make it together and he can have some special stickers to place over the days. Or you could make up a little advent type calendar with the dates of your time away and little boxes for him to open each day (too Martha Stewart, I know, but I am full of thses things...please let me know if you would like me to elaborate or you would like a link to a particular site.)

12:25 AM  
Anonymous lillian said...

Cathy said it all. Great advice !

2:37 AM  
Blogger Signora B. said...

Richard ,this is going to be very hard on you and my heart goes out to you .
Cathys ideas are great.
When I babysat with one of my grandaughters ,while her Mama went away ,she opend a little present from her Mama every morning and then crossed the day of the calender.We had marked the day when Mama returned and that helped.
I still think ,if you have the time ,reading HH his favorite story on a cd or tape ,so he can listen to it at night and hear your voice.
Our little one realy missed Mama at bedtime .

5:51 AM  
Anonymous megan said...

lots of letters, filled with polaroids... but what about for you?

9:29 PM  
Blogger Chloe said...

i think MSN or any other IM service with a webcam is great for that. Cathy said it all. I just want to add keeping a little diary of the things you do or see maybe and reading it back to him when you return, as a bedside story. You'll be the hero of the story of course.
And what about a video camera that records things you see?
And of course presents, they make everything better.
Don't worry, he'll be okay. He is going to miss you but he knows you'll be back and he's going to have something to look forward to.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...

Sarah ... You are right - I already loosing it!

Spaghetti ... A great idea but did you use a clean t-shirt or a used one with a little "papa" still on it?

Cathy ... Thank you for all those ideas - if I get to using even one of them it will be great fun. You are a dear!

SB ... I am going to try to make that DVD or short film - even if I have to make it in NY and mail it back to him.

Megan ... I don't know the answer to that one yet... Beer maybe?

Chloe ... Webcam unfortunately isn't going to work ... but presents - yes, and all of this has given me an idea ... Maybe I'll mail him something every day or so, a small gift, something addressed to him that he can open each night. There is a post office right next to my office.

Thanks all ...

1:01 PM  
Blogger Berlinbound said...

Cathy ... I ordered a "Build a Bear" today with a personal message ... Thanks so much for the suggestion.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Yeah!! I'm so glad!
You'll have to post a photo some time :)
And don't worry; enjoy your travels and work; HH and mama will be just fine. Really.

12:39 AM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

using skype or isight is best for sure! At least he can see you via the webcam...

I hope you arent away from him for too long because you two are part of each others daily life.

Good luck and don't get down...time passes fast and hopefully before you know it you will be with each other again.

9:05 PM  

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