Friday, April 13, 2012

Firetrucks and Tears

One of the many things I never anticipated when I decided to have children with The Firefighter was just how much those children would miss him when he was on duty.  I expected they would be sad, maybe even shed some tears  - but never did I expect how deeply they would be affected.

Miss Chatterbox is her Daddu's Girl!  And, yes, I did mean to spell it that way.  She pronounces it, dad-dew.  I have no idea where it came from, but it doesn't bother The Firefighter and we think its kinda cute, so it's here to stay.   BOY, does she miss him something fierce, when he's not home, though.  She will ask for him, incessantly.   She begs to go see him at the fire station, starting the moment she wakes up and realizes he's gone.

And it breaks my heart (and his too!).

Now don't get it twisted, Y'all.  I know she loves me.  I'm not in the least bit jealous of her adoration for her daddu.  Hell, I adore the guy too.  In fact, I support it and even prompt it because I believe little girls need a strong relationship with their fathers to learn how they should be treated by men when they get older.

But I am at a loss.

This issue has persisted for almost a year now.  At first, I thought she didn't understand "where" daddu went when he wasn't at home.  So, I made a point of making sure to bring her to the station everyday he was on duty so she could "see" where he went.

Yeah, ok, it's an old pic, but it's still precious.  My new pic uploader on my phone isn't cooperating.

But it didn't help.

I thought maybe she didn't understand "when" to expect him home.  So, I made a color coded calendar and a daily schedule that includes "when" mommy and daddu are going to leave and when to expect us home.


It helped reduce the anxiety in the daytime, but didn't stop the problems at night.

I'm enormously glad we live 3 minutes from the station because I've made umpteen bazillion emergency trips to there in the middle of the night when Miss Chatterbox has woken up screaming and can't be comforted by any but her daddu.  The Firefighter, in turn, has made many trips to our house during the day with the firetruck and his whole crew, just to check in on her while I'm at work and our poor nanny is stuck with her begging for daddu.  She also enjoys visiting with her "uncle" Jerry, but that's a whole 'nother post.

But that doesn't always work, especially if he's on a call.

I've given her pictures of The Firefighter in special frames to keep next to her bed, but she usually ended up sleeping with them and they would get ripped or slip between the bed and the wall.  Then she would wake up wailing looking for her picture.

I'm also not a believer in letting them CIO.  No matter how frustrated I feel that she's crying again, or how much I may want to ignore her crying at 3 am and roll over, pretending I don't hear it,  I can't.  I believe if a child is crying, they are crying for a reason and to deny that or invalidate her feelings would be harmful to her and our relationship.  My girls need to know that mommy is here for them and trust that I will help them when they need it.   Do I second guess myself, wondering if I should be tougher or stricter?  Yep.  All.The.Time.  But at the end of the day, all I can do is what feels right and forgive myself on the days I'm not the parent I want to be.  Perhaps, it's better that my kids see an imperfect mommy.  Maybe, it will save them from having unrealistic expectations of themselves.   At any rate, my kids will know any mistake I made with them was made out of love.  


Two nights ago,  amid yet another toddler tearfest, I had a brainstorm.  Miss Chatterbox continually asks to "snuggle" with daddu.  Even if he isn't home.  So, I took one of her dolls, cut The Firefighter's face out of a picture and glued it to the doll's face.  Almost immediately, she got "snuggly" with her "baby daddu," calmed down, closed her eyes and slept the entire night peacefully.

Now, originally, I used one of her plastic ballerina style dolls, that in true toddler form, was naked except for a pink, glittery tutu and toe shoes.  Not gonna lie, I got a pretty good guffaw out of seeing my Boo in a tutu.  But, the glue didn't last and by morning, the picture had fallen off the doll.

Kinda cute or kinda creepy? 

So this morning, since I suspected it was the plastic causing the problem, I got one of her all fabric "first baby doll" and glued his face to that.  She was still carrying it around when I left this morning.

Hey, whatever works, right?

Here's to hoping I everyone gets a peaceful nights sleep, tonight!

Awwww! So sweet!

PS- I'm not holding my breath since I'm  transitioning The Bun from the pack and play to the crib, but hey, at least it's the weekend, right?

How can you be mad at this face?

Random poll - Would you ever get a "mommy" tattoo?


  1. I love the idea. Scent is also a strong bondng scent. You might want to have daddy sleep with the daddy doll so it smells like him. We had a special doll for that purpose when O was in the NICU.

    PS - I can't see any of your pics. :(

    1. Great idea!! We'll do that next. Thanks for letting me know about the pics. I used a new uploader and I wasn't sure if it was showing up - I think I fixed it.

  2. Glad the doll finally did the trick.

    I'm doing a mommy tattoo of sorts for my 40th next February. Big back/shoulders piece that is my Native American sign. But will have two feathers in one eagle claw for my kids and a halligan tool in the other for hubby :) It's definitely not going to be the traditional "mommy" tattoo lol

  3. So sweet! Right now FireGirl kinda expects FireMan to not be home. And that makes me sadder than any crying has. He's worked several doubles, plus late nights on his 2nd job, so she hasn't seen him in 5 days. And while she does ask when he'll be home, she just says "maybe Daddy will come home tomorrow", and moves on. Like it's no big deal :( I want it to be a big deal when Daddy doesn't come home.

    And please (for my sake), don't ever take for granted how close your firefighter's firehouse is. FireMan's is an hour away from us, so visits are limited to weekend days when he's on shift and we have nothing else planned, and can spare a minimum of 4 hours. Needless to say, it doesn't happen very often.

    Now, for your random question - I wouldn't get a mommy tattoo, but then again, I'm not much of a tattoo person to begin with :)

    1. Don't worry, I sure don't take it for granted!! But I wish I could say fire station assignments are permanent around here, but they are not and even though we made the choice to rent a place a near this station, they could transfer him, on a whim, at anytime, to the other end of the city (which is an hour or more away from here). Luckily, he choice to be at an "undesirable" station (i.e.The less busy Daniel Island proper - jokingly called "island of misfits") to make unlikely he would be transferred since so few actually request to be out there.

      I don't have any tattoos either - I'm a chickenshit- but keep thinking I might like one..

  4. Awe that is so sweet! I had a daddy-doll made way back when The Smoke Eater was active duty Army and was deployed. It did help. Its never easy to comfort your child when you're not the parent they want. It does get easier though. (At least it has with Pooka, Peach is too little still.) We live about the same distance from our station, and between shifts, school, and training, we HAVE to go to the station for five minutes of family time, or the kids might not see him for a week. Its just hard sometimes.

    Random question, random answer: I want a mommy tattoo! I already have one tattoo, but its not very big. My husband and I got cheesy matching tattoos done for our 5th anniversary (a small verse from Solomon's Song of Songs.) It was my first tattoo and if you can push out a baby, you'll scoff at tattoos! I'm not a show off my ink kinda gal, simple and small is more my style. I want a small gaelic mothers knot with two circles for each of my little sirens. Dunno where I want it, but I want it!