Advice, please.

Separation anxiety sucks.

All of the resources that were so helpful when Leo had other problems (diaper rash, constipation, eczema), like BabyCenter.com, are of no help on this issue. For some reason, they all seem to think separation anxiety can only occur a)when a parent leaves a kid with a baby sitter or b)when a parent leaves a kid at bedtime. What is a mom who is home alone with her son all day to do when her one-year-old screams when she goes downstairs to retrieve the laundry or goes to the bathroom?

I’ve tried letting him cry it out. He cries so loud you can hear him outside, and I’m reaching for the Excedrin. I’ve tried holding him and playing with him as much as I can, but I get nothing done. I’ve tried an in-between thing, where I knit or fold laundry while he plays with his toys, but that always leads to Leo trying repeatedly to climb into my lap after only about five minutes of playtime. It did work to put him in his high chair with some Cheerios while I shower or prepare dinner, but after yesterday’s incident I won’t be doing that anymore! About three weeks ago we packed up the exersaucer and playpen, because he’s just too good at climbing. (Also, he’ll never learn to walk if he’s always cooped up. Of course, he’ll never learn to walk if him mom is holding him all the time, either.) That leaves his crib as the only “safe zone” when I have to shower or otherwise leave the room, and I hate leaving him in there screaming. I don’t want him to associate his crib with being sad that his mommy is gone for fear of it making bedtime more difficult. (The last week and a half, it’s been harder when I’m home alone putting him to bed, but when Craig is here it’s easier.)

I’m sorry for the (somewhat cranky) digression from knitting to baby problems the last couple of days. The baby problems are getting in the way of the knitting at home, so I guess it’s natural that they get in the way of knitting on the blog, too. I should add that Leo is fine for Craig, but for anywhere from 9.5 to 12 hours every day it’s just me and Leo. My personal theory is that if Leo were away from me more he wouldn’t be as clingy, but there aren’t a ton of opportunities for that to happen.

Thanks so much to Kristin and the Knit Nookers for helping to entertain Leo for a little while at the yarn store today! I think if I hadn’t gone in there I would be going completely nuts.

I know this is a completely normal phase. I just hope it’s a short one! If you’re a parent that’s gone through this before, please let me know how you dealt with it.

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10 Responses to Advice, please.

  1. Susan says:

    Years ago I was in the same predicament, but with two boys. My second son wouldn’t let me out of his sight. When I’d go to the bathroom he’d sit on the floor outside the door with his back on the door so he’d fall in when I opened the door. I think I learned not to get upset when he’d pitch a fit anytime I wasn’t within eyesight, but tried to make it a game. I’d come back and say “here I am!” Now he’s a Cavalry Scout in the Army, so I guess at some point he got over it!

  2. Sounds like you need lots and lots of peek-a-boo with Mr. Leo, so that he learns that even if he can’t see you, you will still be there. Hiding behind a door and popping out is the next stage.One thing I do with 2-yo’s is to hand them a picture of their Mommy when they arrive for childcare. Some parents have made kid-friendly photo albums of their work day so their child can follow along. The last picture is a always mommy/daddy picking them up at the end of the day. These are as precious as essential for seperation anxiety kiddos. Maybe Mr. Leo is just advanced.

  3. Do you tell him what you are doing when you leave? Something like, “I’m going downstairs to get the laundry. I’ll be right back.” And then when you come back something to the effect of “Here I am. That didn’t take long.” I used to have to do that with Jane and it took awhile, but she eventually got it.Hugs Tonya. Being a mom is tough stuff sometimes.

  4. ugh I know exactly how you feel Violet is exactly the same! I can’t get anything done when I’m alone with her cause she just wants my attention alll the time.Please let me know when you have a solution lolMeanwhile try to keep smiling I know it’s hard sometimes, but a happy mommy means a happy baby right 🙂 Sorry I’m not much help *hugs*

  5. oh I also wanted to say have you been on Gurgle, Bounty or AskAMum yet? They have good forums, I use them too and people really help you out on there 🙂

  6. hag too says:

    How about “hiring” a trusted young person from your neighborhood as a “companion” for Leo. My daughter did that when she was about 10 years old, helping a family with a toddler. She played with the little girl while the mom was going about her daily house chores. The toddler was occupied and mom was able to get her housework done easily.Blessings, Patti

  7. Carolyn says:

    Tonya,Another option is Mother’s Day Out. I think there’s one at Highland Presbyterian Church(very near the KnitNook). Having other toddlers, new toys, and experienced caregivers will help. And he’ll learn that you always do come back.

  8. KeanaLee says:

    Jack is 8 months now & though he is great with Dad, he still wants mom even when Dad is around, he leans into me, wanting me to take him. But I walk away. Having two older children (13 yrs & 11 yrs) help a bit but he is starting that clingy thing, I never had that with the other 2 because they always had each other to occupy their time. Maybe we both meed another baby for Leo & Jack….LOL Hang in there & honestly, I have to say, I know it's hard to… but enjoy it. I would give anything to have my 13 year old boy be 2 again, watching Thomas The Tank Engine & playing with me on the floor.

  9. Hi there-Here’s a note from a totally random mom who just ended up on your blog from Ravelry, so pardon the stranger advice! I have four little ones, and something that I have noticed is that sometimes they are really cranky when they are about to learn something new. It seems like their desire to crawl or walk comes first (which is great since they need some motivation), but before they actually break through and do it they are stinkers. He probably just wants you to hold him all the time because he wants to move around more than he can by himself. My advice:hang in there, it is just a phase! Try something new to play with like a big basket of tupperware and spatulas. My kids go crazy for anything that doesn’t look like a toy, and you might buy yourself a little time!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Tonya, I agree with the suggestion of Parents Day Out at Highland Pres. Church. Call and find out how to go about it and what the cost is. Also, there are other churches who offer the same kind of thing. Check it out. Colleen

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