Can one and a half year olds forget?

Melissa - posted on 05/20/2012 ( 21 moms have responded )

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i am in the hospital and have been for a month and have a one and a half year old at home and he has only seen me twice since being here, i will be here for 6 more weeks, i am pregnant and my water broke early...wanting to know, has any one delt with terrably missing there one and a half y o and if they forget mommy at that age, bc he seems so distant from me when he has been here.

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Brook - posted on 05/22/2012

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Not only as a mother, but as a child life advocate, absolutely no your child will not forget u. Distance and uncertainty are to be expected with any child, whether it a long hospital stay, or a simple as a vacation children have a very adaptive personality. For u, pregnancies can often be very hard, but know that your child's love an admiration for mom is not stifled, and this will be a very short memory for them, which will quickly give way to lasting memories for u both! Hang in there n be encouraged, so new baby can have the best possible chance:-)

Jodi - posted on 05/22/2012

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I don't think it is so much *forgetting* when they are that age. I remember being away for only a weekend when my daughter was about 18 months, and she refused to go near me for a couple of days. I still believe, to this day, that she was actually pissed off at me!!! So while I don't believe he will forget you, I do believe he might punish you for being absent.

Monique - posted on 05/21/2012

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Bless your heart......that is just horrible that you are going through this while you are pregnant. Pregnancy is already hard without complicating it with missing your son! Mommy guilt is a big thing......but you know what, God created us amazingly.....your son Knows you.....he even knows your smell when he is born. He will never forget you. It's seems like this time away is decades but its not! When you get home he will re adjust and this time away will be a distant memory for you both......this time way from you he will forget.....he'll never forget you! :0)

Sierra - posted on 05/23/2012

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He most definitely WON’T forget you.. My husband and I are both military and in the same squadron, which means often times we both are gone at the same time, leaving our two kids (4 years and 19 months) with their Grandparents. In all the times that I have been away, my kids have NEVER forgotten me. Just last month I had to leave while my husband did not. I called as often as I was able to and I made a countdown calendar for my kids to tear off each day with a special message.. "Today is Tuesday, have a TERRIFIC day, only x more days.. Today is Wednesday, it’s a WONDERFUL day, Mommy will be home in x days!"..ect... My husband said they really enjoyed the calendar and it helped them deal with the separation anxiety.. I found that this last time was harder on my 4 year old than it was on my 19 month old. I think your little guy may be a little distant simply because it’s an unfamiliar environment, a little confused, and maybe even a little scared. Stay strong and know that he isn’t going to forget you and once you are all home, I'm sure he will bounce back to his normal self. It’s just a little change he isn’t used to.. He will adjust and everything will be ok. I hope the best for you and your family.

April - posted on 05/21/2012

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No your child will not forget you. Its the same way when my husband has to leave for deployment. My daughter doesn't understand why he's leaving, so shes a little distant. It'll just take some time when you get back home for him to understand that your not leaving for long periods of time again. With my husbands first deployment, she was distant with for about a month after he got back home, then she was right back to being a daddy's girl again. Dont worry.

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Zoe - posted on 05/24/2012

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I was in hospital for a total of 4.5mths. I was taken in around 10wks after my youngest was born, turned out to be chronic ulcerative colitis and 9 operations later it was sorted. I had my eldest (had her third birthday just after I was taken in) and the baby (10-11wks old). It was bad enough being poorly but I think it was worse not being at home and being with/seeing to the kids! It took around 18mths for me to be able to cope with life and be back on my feet properly! My youngest is now about to turn 3yrs and the eldest is a few mths off 6yrs; the eldest one says she remembers visiting me and she remembers missing me but can't remember much else about it now. The youngest was obviously too young to know much about it but I did feel that she distanced herself from me because she became used to others taking care of her, I found it incredibly hard but I got family to bring her in to see me and when I was home we took our time. If she was crying I obviously wanted to comfort her and was crushed when she would rather go to grandma or daddy but over time, not that long really she adjusted and now you wouldn't know anything had ever happened and she doesn't remember anything.
Perservere! Try and see him as much as you can with visits etc, it is also quite overwelming for them, not understanding why you are there/why you can't come home/any strange equipment at the hospital. Let them go at their pace and the more they are used to you being back at home etc, you will in time be back to the way you were before! Good Luck! x

Grace - posted on 05/22/2012

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He won't forget but please try to have him visit more often and frequent to forge a strong bond and reduce his separation anxiety. All the best to you.

Barbara - posted on 05/22/2012

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Very hard to be away from your child! The other ideas before are very good. My experience is very minor compared to yours but similar in absence is hard on mom and little one. Maybe you could have someone buy a special book like a pop up book and skype if you cannot see him everyday. Something to share that is special, it doesn't need to be long. Just a connection sharing something that he loves.

My experience with a child this age was when my 4th child was born my third son was only 20 months old. I felt bad that I had not prepared him by explaining that I would be gone for a few days. When I got home he would not let me touch him...I let it go for several hours and then I just picked him up and he screamed and squirmed in my arms but I held him and told him i loved him and I would always love him. It took more than an hour of him crying before he fell asleep. When he woke up he was my buddy again. I think he just needed to know that I loved him enough to let him get his fears and anger out.

Ebere - posted on 05/22/2012

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If he doesn't get to see you often, he will forget you..my baby was 2years and some months old when I went to a camp for 3 weeks..we spoke on the phone almost everyday, but when I got back home, she refused to come near me for about 3 days.. I hope you have a safe delivery and quickly go back to your family healthy and sound with your new bundle of joy..congrats ♥

Christie - posted on 05/21/2012

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He will not forget you! Talk on the phone as often as you can, and hopefully you can see him more often! I have had to stay 8 months in hospital with my 24 week premmie and only got to see my other children 3 times in that period one of them being only 2 when this happened! We live very far from the closet hospital with a NICU!
All will be fine and just keep reassuring your little one that soon you will be home! Good luck

Sammy - posted on 05/21/2012

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Your son will not forget about you. I would suggest though, as others have, to have someone else if daddy can't bring him to you at least once a day to see you at the hospital. If he can't come to the hospital then make a phone call at least once a day to him so that he will hear your voice. That would really make him feel like he is loved by you even more than he may already feel. Good luck on your second pregnancy.

Kristi - posted on 05/21/2012

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No, actually they can't....that was not only not helpful, but it was rude and hurtful. Wow Judith.....

Stacy - posted on 05/21/2012

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I know exactly how you feel. I was in the hospital for 3 months with my second child. My oldest was 4 years old and I missed him terribly. I was lucky that I saw him almost everyday and on days he couldn't come we talked on the phone. Even though I saw him a lot there was some distance. He was confused and was worried about me. Being so young your son is can't understand what's going on. Don't worry though. When you get back home you will reconnect. Maybe make arrangements so you can do special things with just him to help him feel more secure. I agree with the other responders that seeing him more often could help both of you. In my case the person watching my son would meet my husband at the hospital every day to switch off. That allowed us to eat dinner as a family. Hang in there. I know it's tough but you need to be strong for your kids. It will all work out. You may also want to talk to someone at the hospital. I know in my case there were a couple of nurses and midwifes that helped with some of the emotional aspects of a long term hospital stay. Good luck.

Aimee - posted on 05/21/2012

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He won't forget you, but toddlers tend to only focus on their immediate world. If it's not possible for him to come to the hospital, make sure he has lots of pictures of you that he can look at whenever he misses you. Also, you could have a regular phone date at a certain time each day, so he can look forward to hearing your voice. I can't imagine having to be away from my son for that long, but once you are back home and he re-adjusts to you (and the new baby) he will be back to normal. Hang in there!

Bernadette - posted on 05/21/2012

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Why has he been visiting so infrequently? Is it possible for someone to bring him to see you more often? Not only are you missing him but he would be missing you too. Kids that age really need their mummies and while it's circumstance rather than you choosing not to be there, maybe there are other ways to make sure he's getting the time with you that he needs.

Maren - posted on 05/21/2012

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I went to the same college as my brother and my second day of class his wife had their second child. I saw her all the time and was as important to her as her mom and dad. I went back home for Christmas and was gone for 3 weeks without seeing her. When I got back she was 4 months. My mom was holding her (my niece did not know my parents that well), and my niece saw me next to my mom. She got the biggest smile on her face and JUMPED from my mom's arms to me. She remembered me and was excited to see me after 3 weeks at just 4 months.
So no your 1.5 year old will not forget you, especially if he is seeing you twice a week. I agree That if he can get there more that would be good, and his acting distant is because of the hospital setting. Next time he is there give him a tour of your room. Show him everything and tell him what it is for (even if you can't get out of bed have whoever brings him take him to the different machines). The more you explain the more he WILL understand, and his visits will get better.

Dove - posted on 05/21/2012

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A one and a half year old is not going to forget his mother after only two months and to say that is not helpful to Melissa. I DO think he should be coming to see her much, much more often, but I highly doubt he will forget her in that short of time.

I was very close to my cousin's kid when he was a baby. When he was 10 months old they went on a trip for a month. When they got back he kind of looked at me weird for a few minutes, but within a half an hour we were as close as ever. When he was a year and a half they moved and I didn't see him again for 6 months. Same thing. Took him a little while to warm up to me again, but then it was like we had never been apart.

Judith - posted on 05/21/2012

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Yes they can. So you need to see your child often by all means. Sorry

Bonnie - posted on 05/21/2012

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Someone needs to be bringing him to see you daily, neither of you should go without that contact. He's probably distant because of the hospital setting, the more he is there with you the more familiar he will be with the environment and more comfortable. Find someone to bring him to you every day, it doesn't just have to be Daddy, it could be a Grandparent or friend. Who is caring for him while you are hospitalized? Can't they bring him to you? Best wishes on your current pregnancy.

Dove - posted on 05/20/2012

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Why has he only been able to visit you twice in a month? Is there a way he can visit at least once or twice a week?

No, he won't forget you in that time frame, but you can probably expect him to be distant for a bit... especially in an unfamiliar setting such as a hospital. He doesn't understand what is going on and may feel as if you are abandoning him, but he won't forget you and he WILL 'get over it' when you come home.

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