S.M. asks from Hampton, VA on June 16, 2007
Daddy Deploying soon...help!
My husband has made 3 deployments in the Navy, 2 single, 1 married, but this is the first with kids. He is scared the kids will forget him. They will be 1 and 3 when he leaves. I am also scared about the single mom thing because I work full time and I don't know what to expect. Please help!!
So What Happened?™
Okay, So nate has been gone for about 6 weeks and our house is in upheaval. Mackenzie is coping well, but we had a problem with Potty accidents and middle of the night bed wetting. Peyton is kind of oblivious. 4 days after Nate left, our 10 year old Boxer, Niko had to be out to sleep. He was Mackenzie's best friend. We made the video tapes before Nate left and are making the paper chain. The boat had a port visit for Thanksgiving and Nate got Mackenzie some presents that got here last week, and she makes him pictures everyday. We are doing better now, but it is taking a lot out of me. I miss him and it is so overwhelming when I am laying in bed at night alone, thinking about bills, and how I am going to get through tomorrow. He will be home the beginning of June. It seems so far away right now, but it feels like he left yesterday.
Thanks for all the advice! Keep it coming
C.W. answers from Norfolk on June 25, 2007
Before my husband went to Iraq we had videotaped him reading a few of our sons favorite stories. We also bought a small tape recorder (one that uses regular sized cassettes) and my husband took it with him. My husband recorded himself talking to our kids and me, like a talking letter. Some tapes were just specificlly to our son so that he could play them on the music player in his room whenever he wanted. My husband also called and left messages on our answering machine that we never erased but played over and over whenever we wanted to hear daddys voice.
We never ordered one, but there is a company that makes "Daddy Dolls" they are 17 inch tall pillows that have the deployed persons full length photograph on it and the pillow is shaped around the shape of the photograph like a persons shape. But I'm sure a local company could apply the photograph onto some material for you that you could make into a pillow on your own. http://daddydolls.com/products.php?PHPSESSID=14f60982aee1...
Something we wanted to do but never got around to doing in time (We only had 2 wks notice before daddy deployed) was we wanted to go down to Build a Bear and make a bear with daddy recording a special message for each of our kids. They put the recording inside the bears and you can squeeze them to play the recording.
Some people make a paper chain to count down the days until daddys return. We made a candy chain. We got plastic wrap sections about 2 feet long (long enough so that each section was 2 weeks of candy increments) and cut them down the middle lengthwise. Then we took small individually wrapped pieces of candy and spaced them out along the plastic wrap. THen we rolled the plastic wrap up with the candy inside, jelly roll style. THen we took 6 inch lengths of curly ribbon and knotted between each section of candy and curled the ends. We tied each 2 week section together so that there werent any gaps in the chain. We hung the chain up around the walls in the playroom. My son cut off a piece of candy every day to mark another day closer to daddy coming home.
My advice would be to use a variety of candies, assorted hard and chocolates. Also include small items in addition to the candy such as party favors or tiny gum ball machine toys. My son actually got tired of candy and didnt want to eat it every day. He still cut the candy off, but put it into a jar 'to share with daddy' when he returned.
N.O. answers from Norfolk on June 17, 2007
My husband was gone when our baby was born and is going to be gone again here soon too. The thing we did was keep lots of pictures of him out. We talk about Daddy and when he calls I put it on speaker so she can hear him. They also have this program called United Through Reading where they'll tape a sailor reading a book or whatever else to his family and send the tape to them. We've watched those tapes a whole bunch of times. That has worked for us.
D.C. answers from Miami on June 17, 2007
I had my husband video tape himself reading bedtime stories. Our son was only 6 weeks old when he left, but when my husband came home when he was 5 1/2 months, he recognized his voice and had no anxiety at all. I played them for him at least once a day sometimes twice. Now when he leaves during the week or for a couple weeks, I have him kiss his picture (he is 1 now). Message me and let me know where you are, I'm looking for little boys for my son to be friends with. :o)
E.Y. answers from Norfolk on June 18, 2007
My husband had the same fear when he left for his deployment last year and our daughter was only 3 months old. He made a couple home movies of himself reading her stories, looking at family pictures, and just talking to her. After he went underway, his boat started doing a program called United Through Reading, where parents can be taped (on VHS or DVD) reading to, talking to, or whatever with their families. I mailed him some kids books I bought at the thrift store to read since they only had a few to chose from, then he donated them when he was done reading each book. It was really cool to see her turn her head and smile at his voice whenever we would watch his movies together. It broke my heart a little bit though when she said Daddy for the first time and started patting his face on the TV. If his boat doesn't have a program like this, you might ask the Ombudsman if there is any way they could start one-it is an AWESOME program!