Hubstopher and I are prepping for a weekend away in a few weeks time.
His best friend is getting married out of town and hubby will be best man, so this wedding is a big deal to him. It's also a big deal to me because it will be the first time that I will be away from my Curly for such a long period of time! I had initially considered taking baby girl with us, because she's still so little and although she is not on breast milk anymore, I wasn't sure if she is we are ready to be separated from each other for such a long time. In fact, the concept seems totally foreign and somewhat cruel to my spreadsheet brain right now. A whole 3 days without seeing my girls face?! How will I even survive?! How will she handle it? What if she calls out "mama" and no mama comes... will she think that I've abandoned her? Staying at Grandmas house is fun but will she soon realize that, hey it's night time now and mama hasn't come to get me? Do they even comprehend things like that, at that age?
I'm no expert but I've decided to put a few coping mechanisms in place to help us both deal with the pending separation.
A lovey for my lovey
My kid is not particularly obsessed with any one of her stuffed animals or blankets, but I've read that a "lovey" is a great way of having a mama-stand in, when mama needs to be away for a long period of time. A "lovey" is a comfort object that creates a safe place for toddler's who are dealing with separation anxiety. A lovey could be anything, ranging from throw pillows and toys to pacifiers and even uncommon items (I've heard of spoons and toothbrush loveys!) Whatever your toddler finds comfort in, pretty much. I thought it would be a good idea to have a special stuffed toy that Curly and I could cuddle up with, before bed time. The cuddling of said object will help her to connect it to me, which would then probably assist with helping her fall asleep when she is at Grandma's, without mama, in a few weeks time.
Another must is to make sure that Grandma is aware of my Curly's routines, likes and dislikes. This is already fairly easy since Curls spends so much time there already and pretty much rules the roost as if it's her second kingdom. Fortunately, Grandma is really good with her (a bit like a second mama, if you want) and knows all her ins and outs already. But the knack is making sure that all her little daily routines stays the same. Toddlers and infants do so well with routine. For example, my Curls loves to have a bath, then a tickle session while I sing to her, before I put her down with her bottle for bedtime. So stuff like that. Keeping routine not only creates a familiar environment for her, but it will also help to lessen anxiety should she look for me.
A practice round
My girl has never, ever been away from me for a whole night and I am considering having her sleep over at Grandma's house one night to help her get use to the idea that mom might not be around when I go to bed, but she is coming back soon! My heart is not ready for it. But I have to be strong.
Daily check in's while I'm away
Considering the fact that we are leaving on the Thursday evening and will only be back on the Sunday evening, I will definitely be Skyping my kids every day, to see their smiley (please let them be smiley, Lord) faces and to reassure my girl that I'm not that far away. I've heard that prerecording video clips is also a nice way to make your toddler feel loved and connected to you, while you're away. So that.
Prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.
Yes, I will be sending small shout outs to God before and throughout our trip. I can only do so much in the natural. He holds it all down for me on a greater scale and I really cant do it without Him.
So that's the list my spreadsheet brain has come up with.
One would think that I'd be an expert at this sort of thing by now since my baby boy has been flying to his dad in Cape Town since he was like, 7 years old. But no, no expert here. It still sucks saying good bye to your kids 8 years later and I will probably always be anxious, praying that they feel loved and well taken care of, in my absence. But that's just me, mom-ing my heart out.
Because hey, I'm a mom. And mom-ing is what moms do best.