Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Saying goodbye is hard to do, if only for a few hours...

Twice a week, the baby sitter arrives at 9 a.m. and Matthew, like clockwork, starts his mini-tantrum. First he freezes, his brain tick-ticking. A look of realization passes over his face, his brow creases to a deep furrow, and his jaw drops into a low hissy "noooo" "noooo!". Poor Sasha. She's barely inside the door and he's spitting his hostile sounds at her. Matthew knows, you see, that her arrival signals my departure. It's like he thinks I'm trying to trick him, trying to ditch him.

So we - Sasha and me - spend the next twenty minutes trying to console him, as he lies on the floor, beating the carpet with his fists. We try to ply him with everything we can think of. Toys, books, food, milk, and finally, when all else fails, TV. And then I try to get out as quickly as possible. Because once I'm gone, I know he's fine. He gets over me pretty fast.

They spend the morning playing, taking trips to the park, and doing fun things. Far more fun things than are had on a regular day with me, of that I'm fairly sure. But still, the separation ordeal leaves me feeling anxious and guilty.

We've been together almost every day since he was born. We're practically inseparable. So it's not surprising that he demonstrates his hurt when I leave. Maybe he thinks I'm not coming back. He does the same with J too. Every morning when J leaves for work, he stands at the front window wailing "Daaaddyyy!!" "Daaadddyyy!!" over and over through the glass in the most heartbreaking little voice imaginable.

Baby Center says it's perfectly normal at this age - that learning to cope with separation is just one of the stresses toddlers have to learn to cope with as they grow. How sad I feel though, that my baby is growing up and learning to cope with life's stresses. When did he get to be so big?
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3 comments:

..... Carmen said...

Grace used to do this all the time too - they are trying to assert their independance, learn their boundaries, and figure out if they truly can be our boss. As my Dad says, they are little dictators. My thought, when Sasha arrives, depart then, and let Matthew and her deal with the tantrum. My bet it would end alot sooner than 20 minutes. With you staying it helps him continue on with it. After awhile, my bet would be it won't happen at all once he realizes he isn't in control. It sucks, and it's hard, and the letting go so they can grow isn't easy. And it is sweet that they love us so much isn't it?

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Totally heartbreaking, but it will level off. And you'll find yourself with a kid who's probably more social and less clingy than others.

Lady Mama said...

Carmen, yes I should try to get out the door faster next time. Wish me luck with that! ;)

Daddy Geek Boy - I'm glad to hear from you that there's potentially an end to all of the drama...