The one that his absence is getting to the most is Isaak. Isaak is our kid that has a sweet and sour personality.
I think he's feeling things he can't explain right now. Our children have always been good with words. Isaak has always said, "I don't miss anyone. I don't even know what miss means."
I asked Isaak for help putting groceries away, and he complained because Mica wasn't doing the task. Mica was in the shower.
I stopped and said, "If you can't stop complaining then you can just go to bed. I don't want to hear negativity."
He kicked boxes of JELL-O across the floor. He went to get ready for bed in tears.
I called him in to talk with him once he cooled down. He wasn't very happy at his own behavior, that he had to do something that his brother didn't have to do, and that I sent him to his room.
I walked in my room and there was this on my pillow:
I opened it up and there was ground cover flowers in it.
The next night I asked Mica to practice spelling words with Isaak.
Isaak said, "Mica go get my spelling words, paper, and a pencil!"
Mica said, "No! I'm asking you your spelling words. I'm not getting all that for you! It's your job."
Isaak got really grumpy, and demanding.
I told him, "Mica's right. You need to take some time to chill out."
Isaak said, "But you told Mica to help me." I said, "Help! Not do. We'll talk about this after you've calmed down."
When I talked to him I asked, "Are you upset that Dad is not here? Is that what this is really about?"
He said, "Yes" with a sad look on his face.
I said, "Isaak it's ok to miss someone. That is calling missing someone. It's not ok to take your frustrations out on Mica and I. Do you want to call Dad?"
He shook his head no.
I said, "Ok. Go sit down to apologize to Mica for your behavior, and study your spelling words with him. I'll cuddle you after I'm done with dinner.
I always wonder in situations like this if I'm handling it right. I know some people would say that Isaak needs a harsher punishment. I know that we're (as parents) always around for him. He's not used to one parent being gone a lot. Yes he needs to be punished, but he also needs positive attention like being read to, cuddle time, and board game time - things that he loves.