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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back Home

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post. Your comments have now been published. I was in the UK all week for work and found that my blackberry would not let me publish your comments and was too cheap to hop on an Internet cafe computer at 1 pound per 10 minutes which is roughly $2 for 10 minutes.

Pictures to follow. Dave and Ellie got on so well without me was a bit disconcerting... ;-)

This is one of the ways I definitely notice that my kid is NOT typical. When I can leave for 7 days and not have them really show any emotion that I am leaving, am gone and then am back. I would ask to talk to Ellie on the phone and she would intone messages to me and that was great. But there was no disruption to her that was really visible (and thanks to Dave who did a great job looking after her on his own even through the third set of casts that she got on Monday). So her calmness speaks to that and that is a good thing don't get me wrong. But emotionally for me there is a but...

I guess that I am assuming that a typical 5 year old might be a bit more vocal and obvious about the fact that mama is not around and that their emotions would be high at the actual point of departure and the point of return. A typical 5 year old would be able to talk to me over the phone. At 5 almost 6 if your kid is typical you get to have conversations with them. But there was none of that. And you know what, that hurt. Not that I want her to be sad, but I would like to be a blip on the radar - even a tiny one. I would have liked her to at least be asking Dave for mama or for her to want me in particular when I got back. But no.The moment I walked in she indicated that she wanted me to help her change her video. At first I thought she was requesting to sit on my lap (which made me feel like she did miss me) and then realized that she was pointing to the magna doodle on the chair that had video choices on it.... sigh.

It's the little things sometimes that are the most painful. And my heart is a bit crushed to not even be a blip on her radar because the entire time I was away from them, though I got on with things, it was really hard. I really missed them both. Mama's can have needs too though this whole thing with Ellie has been an exercise in putting my own needs aside. I find the other-centeredness of parenting to be really freeing though I am not totally without ego or need.

Is this why people in middle age become so decrepit? They are just valued for their workhorse capacities and not much more? Versus the petulance of one's 20's where beauty and love are the main themes? If so, I can't wait until I am 80.


Anonymous said...

Decrepit in middle age?! That hurt.

I'm probably over sensitive because of my age.

Still, I appreciate your blog. Looks like you are gaining a following. Barbara

Kathryn said...

HI Barbara - That was my perspective looking at my parents and their friends when I was young. So not directed at you or anyone else these days. Also, since I am now officially "middle age" I am a bit poking fun at myself too. So no hurt intended toward you or anyone else, just relating my experience and trying not to become as decrepit as my parents seemed at this age to my preteen and teen eyes.

Bird said...

Perhaps Ellie is unaware that you can really be separated.

Or, perhaps she's fantastically well adjusted and did just fine. I'm assuming you told her you were leaving and that you'd be back. She's pretty smart-perhaps she's also mature.

Yes, it hurts that you can't talk, but you never know when that might happen!

Anonymous said...

[chuckle] No problem, Kathryn. [The tip of my tongue returns to midline.]

I sincerely understand your crushed feelings over Ellie's reaction. Reminds me of my teenagers. Maybe Bird is right, she's mature for her age.


sarai said...

I have one "typical" five year old, and one used to be typical five year old.

The older one went on a five day trip with Daddy without me at the age of 4 1/2. She behaved much the way you described Ellie. She did not seem to miss me, although, she could of course talk on the phone. She was glad to see me when I got back, but not clingy or anything, more just wanting to tell me about adventures with her cousins, and did not act the slightest bit distressed.

Her brother, now, I have never left for that long, nor do I plan to for quite a while. THAT would be quite a drama. He hates it when I go to work, even though we have had the same nanny since his birth, and he adores her. (He cries when she leaves, too) and even though I only work part time.

I'm not sure there is a typical five year old.....come to think of it


Kathryn said...

Sarai, I can't tell you how immeasurably better that makes me feel. That is the kind of information I was wondering about behind all this, i.e. - would a typical child act this way? So that is one answer to that question. I think you're right - there is no typical five year old. And Dave did do an excellent job and Ellie had her favorite and most long standing nurse on looking after her when Dave was working - so maybe she was just cool about it all.

Thanks for your comment.

Christine said...

Hi Kathryn-
I've been reading your blog for some time-can't even remember how I first came across it, but I love your writing and Ellie is just so cute with those ponytails!
I have a "typical" 3 year old and travel about 4 times a year for work. For me, every trip is a huge drama and it never gets any easier. For him, it really depends. He does have periodic meltdowns of missing mommy while I'm gone, but half the time when I get back he doesn't show much reaction,or at least not the one i was hoping for! These little people have their own ways, and just when you think you've figured them out, you realize you havent.