Not underestimating little one’s emotions

Posted on 20 October 2020

Not underestimating little one’s emotions

Hi, I’m Claire, the other half of Lister & Bruce.  As most of you will know I live in Dubai and have done for the last 11 years.  However, this year I have spent most of my time in the UK.

I came back to the UK in February with by son, Huey (3) as Helen and I had a trade show and work to do (and much easier when you are in the same country) so we planned to stay until mid-March. 

While back, the UK went into lockdown.  Naively I didn’t think this would be too disastrous and we would be able to get home soon so we made the most of it.  We were staying with my Mum and for me this was ideal.  We love spending time together and it was a great opportunity for her and Huey to really cement their already deep-rooted bond. 

It became clear quite quickly how naïve I was and how scary this time was for everyone.  My mum is 68 so not quite in the ‘vulnerable’ category but still a worry so we cocooned ourselves.  We played, we crafted, we gardened; anything to make each day different.

It sounds ideal but we were missing Huey’s dad from this equation.  He was in Dubai, and even when flights restrictions were eased it was near impossible to get back due to the huge number of expats trying to return and no chance of Nick coming over due to quarantine requirements and needing to keep our family safe.

In total we spent 7 and a half months apart from Nick which was hard.  FaceTime played a huge role in our day to day life and Huey accepted that daddy was in the phone and that was just how it was for now.  Or did he, do these situations affect kids more than we think?

We have now been back in Dubai a month and settling back into life has been quite tough.  I have the guilt of having left my family in the UK but am also so relieved to reunite Nick and Huey.  After 7 months of being in a house of women, he needed his daddy!

It does make me wonder how much of this our kids will remember and if it is having or will have an effect on them.  I think Huey picked up on my anxiety as he became very clingy.  He wanted mummy with him all the time, I guess it’s no surprise as this year everyone he held close we left behind.  First daddy, then when we left the UK his grannies, aunties, uncle, and cousins.   

He has always been a bit of a mummy’s boy (aren’t they all) but I do wonder if this shift in his life has played a role in knocking his confidence.  He also started acting out, having melt downs and tantrums became a lot worse.

Since being back we have immersed him in playdates and activities which has helped.  Up until now rugby tots and swimming has been a bit of a disaster and he hasn’t wanted to participate but today we had a breakthrough and had the best swimming lesson ever!  He went in the water with the teacher, listened, didn’t want mummy and had the best time!

It has definitely made me look at his behaviour in more detail and be more empathetic with where it is coming from.


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