Separation Anxiety

In the last few weeks, ever since his last bout of sickness when he threw up everywhere, CW has had some monster separation anxiety. I’d thought we were well past that stage, but his teacher assured me that she sees it in some kids as they hit the almost-two zone. They want to do everything themselves, but then fear the independence they crave.

I think CW has been having issues with the fact that he’s growing up. He now has an expanded vocabulary, an enhanced ability to combine words (which includes sentences like, “It’s a dog!,” It’s a duck!,” and “Mama, more milk.”), and he can hold hands on walks around the neighborhood instead of taking a stroller. In general, he can do much more for himself. But then he began crying when I dropped him off at daycare, when I left at snack time, when we were at home and I moved to another room, or when I didn’t hold him when he wanted to be held. He cried at night, waking up and walking out of the bedroom to find me. He wanted Mama to stay. He wanted Mama to play. He wanted Mama to put him back to sleep. He wanted Mama attached to his hip at all times. It was driving me bonkers.

The last two days, though, have been calmer. We took things a little slower at morning drop off, letting him adjust to the new environment. And night after last I tried the Supernanny routine. I sat in the room with him, on the cedar chest, until he drifted off. I didn’t let him get out of bed, but I didn’t lay down with him either. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laid down in the last weeks and drifted off, missing those really nice, quiet couple of evening hours with a bit of TV and adult conversation. That also was driving me bonkers.)

CW didn’t cry, but he lifted his head every two minutes, assuring himself I was still there. It took him an hour and a half to fall asleep, but he did it. All by himself. Then last night, while I sat beside him, he fell asleep in only a half hour. Maybe with patience and practice we can make self-soothing a habit. I want him to know sleep is safe and enjoyable and something he can do for himself, and I want him to know that I am still there for him, for bad dreams and emergencies.

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One Response to “Separation Anxiety”

  1. Holding hands, saying “Bye” « With Charlie Says:

    […] hands, saying “Bye” After a recent bout of severe, but short-lived, separation anxiety, Charlie has become so grown-up in his hellos and […]

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