Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't leave me!

not my legs
According to the National Institute of Health, and every mom friend I have in the world, separation anxiety is normal at this stage of the game with Lucy.   The NIH says she will grow out of it by the age of two and that leaving her with trusted care givers is a fine way to help her learn that mom & dad are coming back.

This is all well and good, but it is hard to hear her cry the ugly cry when I leave her at school.  She doesn't do it every day, but now that it is fall the primary morning teacher Miss Angelica is on a personal errand - dropping her own kids at (real) school and the office manager Ms. Lindy is holding down the fort with the toddlers.

Ms. Lindy is a kindly lady who likes the kids, but she has a different rhythm and Lucy feels it.  The 'regular' teachers say that Lucy is fine after I leave and we were told before SA started that the best thing to do is to make the good-byes quick and loving.  It's hard to muster a breezy "bye-bye" with kisses when she's experiencing a real emotion.  As MOMMY my instinct is to hug her and hold her until she calms down.  OBVIOUSLY that instinct is 100% counter productive in this scenario.  She's safe, all the other kids are fine (even little Lily who was the SA queen 2 months ago) and time will take care of it.

It's funny how some of the mommy instincts will actually bite you in the butt after a while.  One mom friend from work told me she was exhausted (her daughter is a year old) and I sympathetically asked "what is going on?"  "Nap training" was the answer.  What?  I've never heard of that as a thing and I wondered is there an Olympic sport in the art of napping?  If so, my dad might be an Olympic medal contender.

No, it's not a sport but she shared that now that her daughter is a year old they (she and the nanny) are training her to nap without being held.  WHAT!?  Yes, you heard that right.  For the entire first year of this lovely child's life the mom or the nanny has cuddled her during daytime naps.  I'm sure this felt natural and wonderful.  I mean who doesn't love a sleeping baby, but holy cheese balls batman baby naps are for the entire family.  During naps I have napped, done laundry, showered, done my hair for real (not just a pony tail), worked in the garden, read, cooked, taken baths, mowed the lawn, painted (yes), had personal moments with Mr. tpgal, and cleaned house.  Clearly, some of those activities are far more fun than others and seldom did more than one or two ever happen at each nap time, but I can't imagine sitting quietly in her room for two hours each day.   Our situations are different, their daughter is home all day with a nanny and a works at home some of the days mom and ours goes to a day care.  The option to hold and cuddle her during naps wasn't present for us.  However, now that their little princess is a year old, being held for naps is her expectation and she's not transitioning well.  When I talked to the mom they were four days into this adjustment and I do hope for their sake that they stuck it out and now have a routine.

Lucy will put up a fight at nap-time from time to time, but it is short lived and she always ALWAYS wakes up a happier, more pleasant child.

At bedtime, we have a routine.  A bath (now around 6:30)  which is followed by reading books (1-5 depending on her ability to participate. The more active she is at reading time the more tired she is (again, that doesn't seem right, but it is true.)     Once the books have been read, we put them away and go brush our teeth.  She happily walks over to the sink, and starts to climb the step-stool.  She plays with her tooth brush and with that one or the one in my hand we brush those little pearls well.   Once the teeth are brushed she wipes off her hands and then gets to shut off the light in the bathroom.  (why this is fun I don't know, but she loves it.)  Then it's kisses and dad puts her to bed.  By the time he gives her her blanket she's doing the cutest yawns.   Sometimes she talks and jabbers away, but she's not unhappy.    We know that putting her to bed while she is awake had saved us and will continue to save us hours of agony.

The NIH says that in a severe case of separation anxiety that it can extend to bedtime, and we have our fingers crossed that she knows we are here for her even if she doesn't see us in the room.

For the record, in no way do I feel that our parenting techniques are perfect and the comments about my co-workers situation shouldn't be considered mom against mom judgement, but merely a "damn girl, that sucks".

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