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My Toddler Has Learned How to Be Sad

For most of this nineteen-month-old’s life she hasn’t been able to express much emotion outside the usual screams for food and bunny. But with her newly found ability to use words here and there, and the ability to follow some instructions, she’s also developed some real human emotion.

I’m not saying babies are like animals. Well, maybe that’s what I’m saying a little bit. Babies know when they want food. They know their parents. They know their siblings.  They know what kinds of foods they like and they know what position they prefer to sleep in. Really when you think about it, those are all things many animals probably know as well.

What babies seem to lack at first are the emotions of pain and love. I would guess that deep down they have these emotions, but that they just don’t know what they are and what they mean. With time, they eventually learn about those emotions and they seem to work their way into their everyday life, just like everyday words seem to work their way into a toddler’s vocabulary.

I think Vivi has come to the point where she recognizes emotional sadness. And, unfortunately, I get to deal with that emotional sadness all by myself.

For the past few days Vivi has been sick with who knows what. She doesn’t want to eat and she doesn’t want to drink. I know the kid’s sick when she doesn’t want to drink. The kid always has to have two things with her no matter where she is, bunny and a sippy cup full of water. She drinks so much water that Casey once Googled whether or not the amount of water Vivi was drinking was actually healthy—and yes, she was drinking a healthy amount of water. But recently Vivi has struggled to drink anything. I’ve had to trick her into drinking my water by letting her drink from a big person’s glass.

Even though I know she’s sick, I can tell her sickness isn’t the only thing that’s bothering her. Throughout the day at random times, Vivi will start to whimper while muttering Addie’s or Casey’s name. She’ll come over to me for a hug and she’ll rest her head against my shoulder and mutter Addie’s name until her little bout of the whimpers has passed. Then she’ll go back about her business, which isn’t nearly as rambunctious as it usually is. In fact, Vivi has spent 90% of each day, while not in daycare, sitting on the couch next to me refusing to play with her toys unless they are on the couch with us.

I don’t usually miss people too often. To me, when people are gone it is just a matter of time before those people return. It sounds cruel, but it has always been that way for me. That emotion of missing seems to be missing from my soul or from whatever holds those types of emotions. But watching Vivi struggle with Casey and Addie gone and knowing they’ll be gone for at least five more days, it makes me miss them for Vivi’s sake, because this kid needs her mom and her sister.

Read more about my family on Moosh in Indy or follow me on Twitter!

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More on Babble Dad:

Bedtime for Babies? Not a Problem in this House

Addie Found Her Christmas Gifts so I Taught Her About Divorce

My 14 Favorite Family Holiday Traditions

The Art of a Dad as a Temporary Single Parent, Take 5

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