Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Daddy Days

And I don’t mean a day where a father takes his child to a Wacky Warehouse or McDonalds.

I mean.

When kids just want their dad all day long, for whatever desire, body function and whim they have.

This isn’t limited to fathers at all. I know children will want certain people, or even other children, otherwise you get the water works.

But my child has had a few days when only his dad, moi, will do.

I’ve actually tried to limit this in my offspring, and also in myself.

I know we’re always going to be important in each others lives, the most important I hope, but I didn’t want either of us to become over-reliant on one another.

It was one of my fears that I would raise a child that I could either, not be without, or be living through, and said child not be able to function without me physically by his side.

There’s a real limit to this sort of thing, and I hope I’ve got it just right.

Max is generally comfortable in the care of others, and we spend a healthy amount of time apart, doing our own thing.

Overnight stays elsewhere are reasonably regular and I even went on a five day skiing trip earlier this year, and that seemed to go well for both of us.

That is until a little over a week ago, and we were leaving one of our fairly regular outing places, and I innocently read out the come back soon sign aloud.

This triggered a crying explosion in the booster seat next to me, and it took some extended interrogation to discover why.

My young son thought that I was ‘leaving and coming back soon,’ rather than us, as a collective, to the museum.

“Like when you went skiing daddy, I didn’t like it, you went away,” he informed me.

Strange that he remembered and associated the two, and it’s the first time he’s complained about me going away, delayed reaction and a bit random indeed.

Then this week, he’s been a bit clingy. Usually a sign of him being unwell or coming down with something. But as yet, there has been no other signs.

Being totally honest, I think, or hope, he’s being quite perceptive and realised that daddy has needed a little extra affection.

I’ve been a tincy-wincy bit stressed with the whole build/theft/move combo. So, lets just say, or type, it’s done me no harm in this instance.

And, as a positive I think it will actually work in my favour and help with the move. Max should enjoy being in charge with his dad.

Wow, that’s a much longer post than usual, my apologies, if you’ve actually got this far.

Now, be off with you. Share/Save/Bookmark


The Dotterel said...

Certainly not! There's so much more to say, like how Sally (my daughter) goes through the same cycles even though her mother hasn't been around since she was three. Naively I thought that she would grow up regarding it as normal, but she hasn't. She still gets clingy/weepy after all this time. I've come to think it's normal, and expect it every now and then. Sometimes she can cope without me, other times she can't (and there seems to explanation). Btw, your LSJ course - any good? Would you recommmend it?

Single Parent Dad said...

Hi Dotterel, thanks for your comment. I'm glad I didn't bore you! And I too think it is normal for a child to act in this way, from time-to-time.

The LSJ course was pretty good, I enjoyed doing it. It has quite a broad range of assignments. But I would say it simply gives you a framework for experiencing different areas of freelance writing, rather than offering a bank of expertise.

ACG said...

I'm pretty new here and just been poking around you blog and the blog of the home you're building - which is beautiful!

Maybe he is perceiving the up coming move. Not that it's negative, just sensing that a big change is coming. Everyone gets anxious when they are moving - changing their entire environment - but as an adult we can recognize it and articulate it, kids no so much.

Just an observation... cause from everything I have read you seem like a pretty great dad.

Kori said...

May I say here that not only is it normal, but also healthy to have these days? No matter whether it comes from death or divorce or any other circumstance in which one parent is not present, the kids are left with a lot of adult-type fears that the other parent is also going to leave. I think. I mean, my middle son is 9, and his dad is just-not around. Hasn't been for the past 4.5 years in anything mroe than a transient way, and for the last 1.5 years not at all. Of the four kids, HE has the biggest issues, the clinginess, the insecurity, and the swells of emotion where he is just.so.needy all of the time. I think that the key is to recognize the fears, validate them, but still live your own life. By that I mean to still do the things that you do-have your time apart, go on your skiiing trips, etc...because the only way they can deal with the fears on a gut level os to know that you won't leave. At least that is what I have been trying to do, and it seems to help him to be able to verbalize that he is, in fact, afraid, or sad, or scared, but also to learn that I will be back and I won't leave him, you know?

Single Parent Dad said...

ACG - Thanks for your comment, and you are very welcome here btw. I think you could well be right. He's really not old enough to understand the whole concept of moving home, and maybe the natural reaction to being a bit unsure is to not want to be far from your parent(s).

Hi Kori - I think I know what you are saying. Sympathise or empathise, but don't let it influence you in a way that could make the whole situation worse in the long-run. I've always told my son that I'm leaving but will be back. I'm not one to sneak out when he's gone to bed, or when he's engaged by someone else. Think it is the only way to be, otherwise you're leaving you kids to second guess where you are and when you might be back.

Penelope said...

My daughter is 12 and still has these days! (My son doesn't notice whether I'm there or not - heh!)
The thing is that they get all grown up and independent so quickly that you should make the most of days when he just needs you. It's perfectly natural and you'll wish for it when he's older :o)
Why do I suddenly sound SO old?!

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I love the idea that he is in tune with you and can sense you need a bit extra yourself.

It actually really does my head in when I see people sneak out on their kids.

I can distinctly remember that really upsetting me as a child, but then again I was a whinger!

Single Parent Dad said...

Penelope - Indeed I shall, and I don't think it makes you sound old.

Xbox - Me too, and maybe your were a whinger because of being ruefully abandoned like that! ;-)

Roads said...

Kids are pretty good at this kind of thing. Emotional revenge. Not that it's meant in any kind of wicked way - but it's a form of basic Darwinian survival programming, I think.

It runs like this.

Dad goes away. I'm good whilst he's away. And when he gets back, I'm good as well.

Then, later, ... much later ... I torture him for it, just a little.

Why ? So he won't go away again. Or at least so he'll think about it a bit before he does, next time.

I never would have worked this out if I hadn't seen my sister's little darlings behave exactly the same way. And they always had two parents. It's not situational - it's just how kids are.

And as I said, they are really very good at it. Bless 'em.

Single Parent Dad said...

I agree Roads. It really isn't situation specific, kids are just basically the masters of mind games!

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