Teething gets blamed for a lot in our house. Is her nose running? Ah, teething. Waking in the night again. Must be teething. But one thing we cant blame on just teething is separation anxiety.
Our first introduction to this was bang on the dot at 10 months. By this point she had been at nursery for two months already and had settled in beautifully; until one day we dropped her off and she sobbed. So out of the ordinary for her – usually she was reaching out her hands to her favourite nursery nurse. She doesn’t even want to come home most days! I was so unused to her crying, I cried too. I knew that if I stayed with her I would be late for work, but there was no way I could leave my baby in such a state – there was snot and lots of it.
So late for work I was.
And for 40 minutes she clung to me like a little monkey. I tried to prise her off so we could sit on the floor together and look at a book but she wasn’t having any of it. Not even a baby biscotti could swing it.
In the end, I just had to accept what the nursery nurses were telling me – that this was the first stage of separation anxiety. Go to work they said, she will be fine. And when I called about half an hour later she was. After that first time, it lasted another few days and then she went back to being my normal happy little girl.
The older she has got, the worse its got. It seems to last a week or two at a time, but when its really bad we have patches of about a month. And its a bloody nightmare. There is nothing we can do to help other than keep reassuring her that we haven’t left her.
At its peak, I can’t put her down. She sits on my hip literally all day and if I put her down to go and make a cuppa, go to the loo, even pick something up on the other side of the room, we have a full on level 5 meltdown with snot bubbles and everything. She screeches. I tell her I’m coming back and its as though she doesn’t believe me. She wants to be held all the time and its just not possible for me to do this. She’s 19 months now and its not quite the same as holding a little 8lb baby anymore.
And she won’t even entertain the thought of Hubby holding her. Its like she literally hates him when she has one of these weeks. If he even so much as leans in to give her a kiss while she is in my arms (of course) she recoils. It’s horrible for me to see but absolutely heart breaking for him. Of course, when the phase passes she is right back to normal and a little Daddy’s girl.
The other night was so bad that as soon as Hubby came in, I told him I was taking the dog for a long walk. One look at my face was enough for him to realise I’d had the monster of all days. Well, it was either that or the tear stained, snot streaked pink face behind me holding out its hands like a zombie and screeching ‘Momma!! MOMMA!!’ over and over again.
Bliss is taking the dog out for a long walk alone in the sunshine after a long day of screeching, snot and tears (both of ours). Reality is realising that whilst walking you have a hole in the back of your skirt and a Peppa Pig sticker on your boob.
Now I get that this phase is confusing for them; I know she is learning. I get that. But it doesn’t make it any easier for us Mum’s and Dad’s who feel like shit all day because we have no choice but to put them down to go to work. Sometimes we just cant hold her all day as much as we might like to. Kid, I would like nothing more than to sit on the settee with you all day and watch Disney films while eating chocolate. But for now, you will have to put up with my bribery treats and shouts of ‘I’m coming back’ from the bathroom on the days that I’m not at work.