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Thread: ODD is already struggling

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    #1

    ODD is already struggling

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    ODD is already struggling and DH hasn't even left yet. :/ As deployment gets closer, she's increasingly acting out at home and school. Not anything "bad" at school, just being more chatty and pushing boundries with weird and random stuff. I.E. yesterday, she started singing in class during a test when she was finished. She's 8 and in 3rd grade so she knows better. Her grades have gone down too. I called her teacher to schedule a conference about all this and as soon as I mentioned the deployment coming very soon, her teacher was like, "oohhhhh, it all makes sense now. She's been acting very out of character."

    Her school has recently gotten a military/deployment counselor so we'll be utilizing those services. We've been talking to her about deployment, what to expect, and how her daily life will/won't change. We ask her if she has any questions and talk to her about how she's feeling. I've got our "deployment wall" up with clocks for our time and DH's, a map to mark/show her where he is, a collage of pics of them/us, a calendar for her to mark days off on, a tree to take leaves off and write something about the day to tell her dad when she talks to him next (when the tree is bare, he'll be home), and the kids' kiss jars all ready to go. I got her a book and activity journal about deployment as well as an activity book for her and her sister (2 years old). Our base has the FOCUS program that teaches kids how to identify and cope with their feelings, communication and problem solving skills, etc. that we just recently finished with her. I still need to order her new Daddy doll, Daddy poster, and family picture books just for her.

    This is essentially her first deployment. The last time DH deployed was while I was pregnant with her; he came home 2 months after her birth. He went to the Blue Angels when she was 1 and that was considered sea duty. The longest he was gone at 1 time was 3 months for winter training and then it was a 4 day weekend up to a month at a time gone off and on the rest of the year for airshows. But she had just turned 4 when he left that command so I don't think she even remembers him being gone for that. He had 3 years of shore duty, and got to this command not long after they had come back from their last deployment; he's been in this command during most of the home cycle. So she's had him home for the last 4 years and she's only 8.

    I feel like I'm doing all I can for her and being proactive, but it's still not enough....and he's not even gone yet. My heart is breaking for her.
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    I don't have kids, and if I did I would want them to be prepared, informed, etc... of DH's deployments but I read this and the first thing that occurred to me is that maybe she is overwhelmed by how much preparation you have done? I feel like all of that could overwhelm a child, and/or make them worry more or feel like "Oh my gosh, we're doing SO much prep, this must be a huge deal and I should be upset". I don't know if that makes sense at all. A lot of the projects you mentioned with the deployment wall, I probably would have saved until after he left and done them on days where she is upset and says she really misses dad, so that she could take that feeling and then *do* something.

    I hope this isn't sounding to critical, I think it's awesome you're keeping her informed. It just struck me as a lot of things, especially before he leaves. I could be totally off base. and I hated seeing my dogs sad during DH's deployment, I don't know if I could handle the sadness of a child
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    The same thought occured to DH about overwhelming her and making her feel like it's a big deal so I get what you're saying. I can see how it seems like a lot all put together like that.

    I thought it was really important to have the deployment wall up before he left so she had the coping tools as soon as she needs them but it might just remind her seeing it every day. Also, this has all been done a little bit at a time over time (with the exception of the wall going up) but DH feels like it might still be too much for her so I've been letting her come to me about deployment stuff when she sees or hears something she wants to talk about.
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    #4
    Man, hugs to you and H I have no real advice since Wyatt's closer to K's age but I can sympathize with the first real separation. This last month+ one was tough on Wyatt and I'm dreading the mission in the new year because it will be even more real for him. Gone are the "easy" days of him being more or less oblivious to DH being gone
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by KnittingGuamMama View Post
    Man, hugs to you and H I have no real advice since Wyatt's closer to K's age but I can sympathize with the first real separation. This last month+ one was tough on Wyatt and I'm dreading the mission in the new year because it will be even more real for him. Gone are the "easy" days of him being more or less oblivious to DH being gone
    I don't even know how to deal with it with K. H did not handle the separations well when she was K's age. Some things helped but he was never gone longer than 3 months. This is so much longer, K is so diffedent from H and K is completely attached to DH, a total Daddy's girl in a way H never was. I'm at a loss as to how to get K through this since she can't understand. She gets upset when DH even goes to the bathroom (of course we don't let her in with him).

    So H knows these other things (daddy doll, etc.) are coming as I've been letting her customize and pick everything out. But I think I'll hold onto them until after DH is gone and give her them one at a time on days she's having a really hard time. I was going to give them to her as they arrived, but I've been thinking about how lobster said she would have done things different; I think it's a good idea and will help with overwhelming her. Do it sort of like they recommend for long car trips with new toys and keeping the kids entertained.
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueButterfly505 View Post
    I don't even know how to deal with it with K. H did not handle the separations well when she was K's age. Some things helped but he was never gone longer than 3 months. This is so much longer, K is so diffedent from H and K is completely attached to DH, a total Daddy's girl in a way H never was. I'm at a loss as to how to get K through this since she can't understand. She gets upset when DH even goes to the bathroom (of course we don't let her in with him).

    So H knows these other things (daddy doll, etc.) are coming as I've been letting her customize and pick everything out. But I think I'll hold onto them until after DH is gone and give her them one at a time on days she's having a really hard time. I was going to give them to her as they arrived, but I've been thinking about how lobster said she would have done things different; I think it's a good idea and will help with overwhelming her. Do it sort of like they recommend for long car trips with new toys and keeping the kids entertained.
    So with Wyatt this last time, I went out and got a jar with dum dums that "daddy sent" special for Wyatt. He got a sucker a day "from daddy" while we colored for DH and read an email (either new or old since they definitely didn't come daily) special for him from DH. I know for sure that helped with Wyatt. He asked a lot about if/when we were going to see daddy again and we talked a lot about what we would do with daddy. We even made a big deal about shopping for a new outfit and setting it out special the night before when we finally heard the boat was coming back. I'll be doing something without candy for the long mission because I'm really not a fan of food rewards but I didn't have the energy or patience to be creative this last time. Probably little dollar store crap with a sucker per week or something like that. We also got a bunch of stickers and sticker scenes from Melissa & Doug that will be special "from daddy" stuff while he's gone. Of course I'm not sure exactly how it will work yet but I'm hoping to maybe ease Wyatt a little bit into it.

    He's also incredibly attached to DH so with each underway/duty day, it just gets harder on him. DH's paternity leave is up the day after tomorrow and I think he may have duty that day or the day after so it's going to be interesting to see how W handles it. My mom and I are trying to make so e of those cool felt activity books that are all over Pinterest right now in a submarine theme so that I can, theoretically, use that as a tool for him to calm down when he has a meltdown over daddy's absence.

    to all you guys, wish I was still there to compare notes!
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by katinahat View Post
    Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by KnittingGuamMama View Post
    So with Wyatt this last time, I went out and got a jar with dum dums that "daddy sent" special for Wyatt. He got a sucker a day "from daddy" while we colored for DH and read an email (either new or old since they definitely didn't come daily) special for him from DH. I know for sure that helped with Wyatt. He asked a lot about if/when we were going to see daddy again and we talked a lot about what we would do with daddy. We even made a big deal about shopping for a new outfit and setting it out special the night before when we finally heard the boat was coming back. I'll be doing something without candy for the long mission because I'm really not a fan of food rewards but I didn't have the energy or patience to be creative this last time. Probably little dollar store crap with a sucker per week or something like that. We also got a bunch of stickers and sticker scenes from Melissa & Doug that will be special "from daddy" stuff while he's gone. Of course I'm not sure exactly how it will work yet but I'm hoping to maybe ease Wyatt a little bit into it.

    He's also incredibly attached to DH so with each underway/duty day, it just gets harder on him. DH's paternity leave is up the day after tomorrow and I think he may have duty that day or the day after so it's going to be interesting to see how W handles it. My mom and I are trying to make so e of those cool felt activity books that are all over Pinterest right now in a submarine theme so that I can, theoretically, use that as a tool for him to calm down when he has a meltdown over daddy's absence.

    to all you guys, wish I was still there to compare notes!
    I have "kiss" jars we (I for K, H herself) decorated. I put it in quotes because K can't have dairy so I had to substitute hershey's kisses. So H will get the kisses and K will get starbursts each day. She won't get the kiss reference anyway. LOL I like that felt activity idea.

    I feel a lot better after talking with H's teacher. She seems to know how to handle H and is so nice. Now that she knows what's going on, she can be on top of it more/handle it appropriately. I'll also be getting in contact with the school's new military/deployment counselor.

    This is going to be a LONG deployment so I'm not even thinking about homecoming outfits yet. LOL But DH has already mentioned that every month he's going to order the girls something off amazon and have it sent to them. I wish you were here too.
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    #9
    Oh, I got those recordable books for the girls (that DH has yet to record). K is already obsessed with hers with the display voice reading the book to her. So I think that will be a huge hit once DH's puts his voice on there, but we'll see.
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