How I See Him

Mommy's being gone for an hour led to a very worried Captain.

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Yesterday was one of those days that reminds me that attachment is a journey, not a destination! I had to be away for an hour at 7:00 a.m., and due to unforeseen circumstances, our 13-year-old, Sunshine, had to take on child care by herself. She’s a savvy sitter and very fun. I wasn’t worried.

The Captain, age 4, awoke in a snit. He had a fit over the well balanced (and just like mommy makes) breakfast she provided. He pushed his younger sister. He didn’t like Sunshine’s choice of morning TV, so he screamed and shrieked. He threw blocks. Finally she did the only thing she could, she sent him to his room until I returned.

I was bummed. Usually morning sitting goes the best. I called him out, I played the tape for him, I told him that Mommy always knows what happens at home and he really can’t treat his sister that way. I told him sometimes I absolutely have to go somewhere for a short time without him, but I will always, always come home. He apologized sincerely. He really just can’t help it.

Sunshine and I put our heads together to troubleshoot the situation. I suggested that next time at the very first sign of a breakdown, she pull him onto her lap and explain that mommy loves him and is only going to be gone a short while. She will set a timer (for a while longer than I will be gone, just in case) and tell him I’ll be home when the timer goes off. She will let him call me if he needs or wants to call.

It’s almost a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde thing. Most times, the Captain is a sweet, calm, happy boy. He had an absolutely stellar day after our talk; there were no fits, no crying, and only one time did I even need to warn or call him down. He was happy-go-lucky. When I’m gone, however, or we have guests, or he has too much freedom, or I am not making that constant contact, it goes the other way, and quickly.

We are making progress, it’s undeniable. A tough hour does not now mean a bad day. I noticed yesterday he seeks out my eyes every few minutes; several months ago that contact was mostly on my side. I am learning so much. He is a blessing.

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