Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Keeping Connected

It was hard trying to figure out ways to not only prepare Connor for Jeremy's absence, but also to keep him connected with his Daddy during Jer's long deployment. Part of the problem is that pretty much all of the materials available out there explaining deployment to toddlers are not accessible to Deaf or HoH children. Sesame Street put out this great video for children between the ages of 2-5 about deployment called Talk, Listen, Connect. It's in both English and Spanish, which is nice. Unfortunately sign language or closed captioning are not options available, so to my son it's pretty much just a bunch of cute puppets bobbing around on the screen. Most of the books out there about deployment seemed to be aimed at children in the 5 and up category.

There's also the problem that Jer is much more likely to be able to telephone home than to chat front of a video camera-- web cam times may be few and far between, and with the time difference there's a likelihood that most calls will fall while Connor is asleep.

We ended up making an hour-long videotape, broken into several segments, of Jer sitting with Connor and signing his favorite stories and songs. That way Connor can "see" his Daddy talking to him every night before bed, and that will hopefully help keep him connected. Jer signs and talks with Connor about the deployment, says that he'll miss Connor and will think of him every day-- pretty much what's on the Sesame Street video, only with SEE and without the giant fuzzy monsters. It's not the best solution in the world, but it's a start. Anybody else have any suggestions on we can keep Connor connected to his daddy?



Julia O'C said...

I think you're doing everything right. Videos of the two of them together is a great idea. My dad was in the Navy and would go to sea for months and months (this was during the Cold War and before video cameras). I would say good night to his picture every night, sometimes even telling the picture what my day had been like. He would tell me that he did the same with my picture while on the submarine. That meant a lot to me.
I can't think of anything else that you're not going to do already. It's a hard situation.


Great idea about the video! That will help a lot!

If he does get the opportunity to use the web cam, Skype is easy to use and free. However, the one problem I've noticed with it is: William is scared to death of someone talking to him on the computer! Connor might not feel the same since it's his father.

mcguffey said...

Hi Jessie -- Mom and I have been reading you blogs -- Jeremy and Connor are fortunate to have such a dedicated wife and mother -- We hope for the best for you all -- We remember my deployment to VN and glad we didn't have to go through three trys -- Returning to VN after RR's were brutal -- Take care -- Love G'P McGuffey

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