02 March, 2007


I spent a lot of hours this week comforting, distracting or attempting to reason with an Unusually Bright Two-year-old...

Who used to do just fine in the childcare setting--calm, happy, interactive, and easily-pleased...

Until a week after Daddy deployed and Unusually Bright Two-year-old began to realize something was wrong.

One day he spent the morning sobbing and clinging to me, then later wiggling and flipping in my cross-legged lap as he attempted to sleep, wetting my knees with his tears... Sleep was impossible; the crying abated at times, but never the gasping whimpers.

Today another caretaker held him tenderly as he sobbed when Mom dropped him off. I commented, "Poor little guy. He was fine until last week. But now Dad has disappeared and he's afraid Mom will, too. He just doesn't understand." I felt a sudden burning in my eyes. I walked away, internally admonishing myself, "Don't you DARE lose it! Don't you dare cry when it's he and his mother and siblings who are bearing the burden!"

Fortunately, we're learning his new idiosyncrasies and today we were able to help him stop gasping/whimpering. Late in the day I held him in a nursing-like position as he clung to me in the throes of one of his minor waves of anxiety. But he soon relaxed and fell almost instantly asleep, his cheek resting on my chest. I could've kissed that angelic face, but resisted and sat there motionless, listening for the slow breaths of deep sleep indicating it was safe to lay him on a cot.

Stretched out there on the cot he was finally peaceful, and I was reminded again of the little warriors who don't enlist. Instead, they get drafted.