Sunday, April 4, 2010

Daddy Sounds (Babble)

The nice parts of having my husband home on leave from Iraq are easy to imagine for most people.  We’re happy to spend time together, things are easier with two parents around, etc. and so on.  It was a treat to have him here for Friday Night Movie Night.  I can run errands easily for a change.  Good, predictable things.

Then there are odd adjustments that take me by surprise.  The main one I’ve noticed this time is having to get used to the sounds of a grown man in the house.  We’re not accustomed to that anymore, and it doesn’t help that all the sounds in the current house are exaggerated at the moment since it is getting progressively emptier as the move continues.  Daddy sounds are bigger, and decisive in a heavier way, and everything echoes in our house right now.  It’s interesting how adding Ian’s footfalls to the rhythm of our days is so noticeable.

The trickiest thing is Ian’s attempts at keeping the kids in line.  He can say the same thing I would in the same tone of voice and at the same volume, but it just sounds more threatening coming from a man.  He raised his voice at Mona the first day back because she appeared to be ignoring something I’d said, and she burst into tears.  She hid behind me for about fifteen minutes, telling me that she was too scared to go near her dad.  He felt terrible, and we agreed that during this trip he should forego any disciplining of the kids at all.  Mona’s long over it, but it took lots of assurance from her dad that he wouldn’t yell anymore before she would trust him again.  Not that what he’d done had even crossed the line into yelling, but to her it felt like it.  Men just typically sound different, and to kids in particular different can be scary.

The kids need time to get used to the general sense of having daddy around so they’ll have a baseline to work from.  Eventually they will associate the sounds of daddy with feeling protected again.  Unfortunately, just as they get comfortable now, Ian will have to go back to Iraq.  Then we will adjust to him being gone all over.   But I will file this experience away as one more thing to keep in mind when this deployment finally ends.  (After having had just a few days together again, that can’t come soon enough for me.)

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