Originally posted 2008-01-24 00:24:28.
Ann over at Autopsy of Ann has experienced it recently, when she started dropping her bubs off at child care before work.
You guys would know that Caitlin and I are very close, and that I recently have had to be in Sydney for a few weeks, away from her.
I don’t know if having brought her to Sydney once before (a short trip during Christmas) was a good idea; in that now she knows where I was going, the same place(s) she enjoyed while she was here.
The days before my departure I started preparing her for the news. It didn’t go down well. She completely understood the implications and started crying wanting both to follow as well as not wanting to be separated from me.
In absolute terms, I am not sure who felt more pain, only that one of us was in better control of our emotions.
Earlier last year my older brother had to go to London for a week or so from his family; this is a family whose members do not usually travel alone, and that usually travelled together on holidays. Like me (or I, like him; depending on how you see it) he is also very close to his daughter. So during his absence they were texting each other regularly, making his absence less impacting.
But of course, with Caitlin only being 3 yrs old texting was out of the question for us. Neither was online-chatting.
I can still recall during university days my elation when I discovered I could email my sister living in Singapore. This was the early 90′s mind you, when the rest of my family in Malaysia still didn’t know what an “internet” was. This was a phenomenal paradigm shift for me. It meant doing away with aérogrammes forever. But the biggest impact was the speed of delivery. My sister and I were soon carrying a conversation with the “reply” button.
In today’s terms, I guess a similar shift would be a technology that allowed life-size holograms of your subjects to appear infront of you, to carry on a live conversation… maybe it’s already here?
But in the present with Caitlin, I had to rely on my brother’s help in setting up his gear for video conferencing. He has broadband at home, & I had to get a webcam to be able to chat with his, from Sydney. Luckily webcams are cheap; the RM80 (thereabouts) one I got looked decent enough compared some slightly more expensive ones in the store.
It was a consolation, and for a toddler who still accepts things & circumstances unconditionally, Caitlin did not complain about the pixelation & lag time in the video. She was having a conversation with her Daddee many miles away from her. I made sure that my camera was physically close to the window of her image on my screen, so that I appear (almost) to be looking at her in her window on her screen. It didn’t matter for Daddee that she wasn’t looking into the camera (at me); Daddee was also having a conversation with her.
In our conversations, we talked about what she did during the day, if she had been good, Mummee & Daddee missing her.
But most importantly we recalled what was talked about when we were together. Toddlers like pattern and familiarity. I am pretty sure it made her days pass easier.
But it didn’t do it for Daddee though…