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Impending longer separation from 4 year old

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  • Impending longer separation from 4 year old

    My daughter's father and I have been living apart since she was 2-1/2. At that time he decided to take a job in another city. He makes a huge effort to come visit her every weekend and recently graduated to two overnights during weekends. She is still nursing at night, but we don't mind skipping nights so she can be with her papa.

    Now he wants to take her for a nine day trip and I don't know what to do. It seems like way too long for her to be away from me, but I'm not sure if that is because of my own attachment or her best interest. I know she loves her papa and has a great time with him. I also know that she misses HIM after a few days, and imagine that she would REALLY miss me, her constant companion these 4 years.

    What I'm looking for is outside support for his point of view or mine. By the way, he is unwilling to compromise on the amount of time he wants to be gone.

  • #2
    wow, this is a tough one. i think it's really going to come down to what YOU think is best b/c no one knows you or your family like you do. and it's not like you're sending her off w/strangers, it's her DAD! i know i would personally be miserable w/out my kids for that long, and they would probably equally miss me, but if they were w/their father i know they'd also be safe and have a great time. still, 9 days seems like an eternity to a four year old. is there really no way you can say, 'hey, i think it's a great idea to go on a trip together, why don't we ease her into it? let's start w/4 days?' are they going out of state? out of country?

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    • #3
      Thanks. I know I have to trust myself, but I don't want to stand in the way of Indigo's relationship with her father. He is very stubborn once he sets himself parameters so will not consider a shorter trip out of state. He asked me why I have the trump card and I guess it's because I'm the one who spends most of the time with her. When she's older she can be away from me for longer.

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      • #4
        do you have full custody? can you make these decisions w/out it becoming a legal battle? why is he insisting on going out of state?

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        • #5
          We have a mediated agreement for joint custody with a 5-day 2-day split. I can make these decisions without a legal battle, because I'm pretty sure he won't actually go to court, and if he did I'm pretty sure I'd get full custody. I try to keep it out of the realm by being accomodating and so does he. He wants to take her to two family reunions - a perfectly legitimate reason for a trip out of state.

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          • #6
            Okay, this may not be possible, but could you maybe take a vacation at the same time to the same state? Not that you'd attend the family reunions, but maybe to be able to spend some time with her every few days? Or maybe go for a weekend trip in the middle of the 9 days, and see if she could stay with you for a couple of nights in your hotel, just to break it up a bit?

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            • #7
              Reading your post takes me back 10 years to the first extended visit Kaitlynn had with her father. While I do not know what will work best in your situation, I will tell you that my daughter was able to handle visits at that age. I was living in Maine and her father was in Florida so it was quite a trip. There is a balance to be found between time away from you and time with her dad. Only you really know where that balance should be. I'm sorry you even have to make a decision like this.

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              • #8
                Wow that sounds tough. I agree that its you that knows best, I wonder if this is just a little mama's separation anxiety. Nine days is a long time, and I know how hard it can be to separate your APed child. Just throwing it out there. I don't know you or your dd, so I could be way off.

                I left my ds for 5 days for the first time at 3 years with his dad and he did wonderfully. Another thing to consider though is that he was left at home with his (our) bed and his own toys. Would travel, new faces and places, AND being away from you prove to be too much? Sorry, I probably just made it harder on you. Just my random thoughts
                Last edited by aidansmom; 06-01-2008, 10:02 AM. Reason: typo

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                • #9
                  Hi, haven't been on here in a while. I recently went through the exact same thing with my ex husband and our (at the time) 3 year old daughter. Here is what I did:

                  Planned something nice for myself while she was away.
                  I sent little wrapped gifts for each night night for her to open. (books, stuffed animals, stickers, etc...)
                  I called her everyday and we talked on skype several times during her visit...which really helped.
                  I sent a handkerchief with my perfume
                  Pictures of she and I together and her cat.

                  She really missed me. We have joint custody also and my ex is very difficult (he has since left the scene...another issue to address) He would not agree to a shorter time either.

                  I have to tell you I was very anxious before she left and during her visit. We've had other issues which intensified my fears (she had told me he had been hitting her...called CPS and that seemed to stop that.) When she returned she was so happy to be home. She appreciated being home so much more and seemed so grateful for the little things. We slipped right back into our "routines" and although she stayed closer to me at night and nursed a bit more she actually did okay. Her Dad use to only come once a month...so I am impressed with how well she handled her 8 overnights with her Dad in another state!

                  It all depends on how well you prepare her and your attitude surrounding her visit. Make a coloring book that she can color in with you while you read her the story..."Your visit with your Daddy in..." each page showing what fun things she might do and draw each night away. And show you calling her or talking on the computer, show each day show him picking her up and him returning her to your house. This really helped my daughter. And she loved that we did it together. We read "her book" every night for about 4 nights before she left and she took it with her.
                  Hope that helps.
                  And hope that this comes in time for you.

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