Friday, September 9, 2011

Separation Anxiety

Thank God for my parents.

They are as active in my kids lives as grandparents can be. I think the first time we left Katie with them, she was 5 weeks old and we went to see a movie.
Then when she was 3 months old, my grandfather passed away in Puerto Rico and I had to leave her with my dad and husband to go get on a plane and go be with my mom.

It wasn't easy - but I did it and knowing my dad was there to watch her made it ok.

Now, I have left her with close friends before for short periods of time but not that often. She has been ok as long as it's someone she knows. I have tried to take her to the gym with me and leave her in the nursery and they always have to come get me because she freaks out. Usually it's when another kid starts crying - it sets her off and she starts her crying, screaming, hyperventilating thing... it's not pretty and breaks my heart.

I want my kid to be independent. I want her to be able to stay somewhere without us and be ok and happy and have fun. Her experience at the gym nursery had made me nervous about her being away from us.

Fast Forward to now. She's 2 1/2 and has started going to my parents house by herself for sleep overs. At first, I didn't know how she would be because she was so nervous before when we weren't around - but with my parents - she doesn't even think about us.

Literally - when my parents ask her if she wants to call us - she says no.
No tears, no asking for us, no nothing.

I am not pining for her because I know she is having a great time and I know they are having a great time too.

Is this bad? I don't think so. I think it's healthy for parents and their kids to be able to be away from each other occasionally. I think the fact that she has no separation anxiety is a good thing. My husband and I take advantage of the fact that my parents and my kid like being together and we use that time to get away together sometimes because we think it's important to have time alone away from the kids to remember why we got married in the first place! To try to have conversations that don't revolve around the kids (although that's easier said than done)

I'm nervous about her going to daycare in 2 weeks but I know it will be good for her and that after the initial transition - she will love it.

Our kids will not be by our sides or under our roof forever. I want them to be independent and strong and happy individuals who don't need me all the time. This is not to say that I don't get sad at the fact that she doesn't even want to talk to us on the phone after being away for 3 nights - but I know that ultimately, it's good for her and for us.

With Ben being so dependent on me because of nursing, we had a rough patch where he had a little anxiety being away from me - even with my husband - and we made sure to encourage their time together so that he would get over it. It worked and it made me happy. I didn't want him to ONLY be happy when he was with me - I think some moms kind of like when their kids are like this, but me, it made me sad.


1 comment:

  1. When I drop JC off at the nursery at church I used toget sad because other kids would be crying and he would just wave me off with a bye. Now I laugh. I love that he is independant. I can litterally leave him with anyone. I think that it helped that we have rotated babysitters ever since he was born. When he was about 10 months he started crying when I would drop him off at day care and as soon as he learned his first words I started to get "don't go" but it only lasted a short while. Now I love when I pick him up and he tells me all about what he learned, why he was in time out, why others where in time out and what he wants to do when we get home.
    Might take Katie a few days but as soon as she gets comfortable and makes a friend she'll be good. Maybe you can do a visit once or twice before the official drop off. Have Dave come home for a few to stay with Ben. Maybe even step into the hall to talk with the director while Katie plays to show her that you will come back. We did this for both daycares we have used- I think if they see you are comfortable with the person you are leaving them with it makes them relax (which is probably why it is easy for her to be with your parents).