Archive for Separation Anxiety

Taking the Plunge

My daughter has been almost constantly by my side since she was born. The number of times we’ve been apart is in the single digits.

Call it baby separation anxiety.

At the start, it was new mommy attachment–I didn’t want someone else taking her because she was my baby. I had just worked through 24 hours of difficult labor with complications to bring her into the world, and I felt like I wanted to hold her forever.

Then, we found out about her heart condition and I found myself alone. With my husband deployed and family so far away, it didn’t seem fair to ask another to accept the responsibility for her care, assuming anyone would have.

After the operation, there were months of house hunting and moving and several phases of developmentally appropriately stranger anxiety. And recently, she added the breath-holding and fainting to her infrequent but intense toddler explosions.

Most of the time, though, she is a happy and social child. A real flirt at playdates, where I notice little toddler boys feeding her fruit.

When I signed her up for swim lessons, I thought we would enjoy the experience together. But the Mommy and Me class was geared for much younger babies–“Now if your baby has good neck control, you can try this…”

So, I held my breath and dove in–splurging on the individual lessons. Lessons that required I hand my precious child to another person and then walk away. I could watch from the observation deck, but she would not be able to see me.

As she approaches her second birthday, I am realizing it is long past time. Time for her to embrace new experiences. A healthy attachment is a beautiful thing and so important at the start. At the same time, I do not want to limit her. I have to let go, just a little, so she can grow.

I know she feels loved and secure. I knew she could do it. I just was not so sure about me.

So, yesterday at the the pool, I released her into the arms of a trustworthy someone who is not a blood relation.

And for the first ten minutes she screamed. She howled and raged at the betrayal. And I gripped the rail and felt terrible, for her, for myself, and especially for her poor, patient swim teacher.

But after that, she was finally distracted by the joys of the pool, the fun toys, and the excitement of actually being encouraged to kick–the lure of the forbidden fruit. She swam, and she smiled, and she didn’t even start crying tears of accusation when I returned poolside to pick her up 30 minutes later.

All the way back home and the rest of the day she talked about “swim fun.”

There you stood on the edge of your feather, expecting to fly. While I laughed, I wondered whether I could wave goodbye… (Expecting to Fly, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield)

Kindermusik Day

Yesterday was Kindermusik day. Actually, last Friday was Kindermusik day but we were under tornado and flash flood warnings so we made up our class yesterday.

I have so much fun at Kindermusik–I’m not sure if it is more of a treat for Baby Diva or for me.

With Baby Diva’s heart defect, we had to take extra precautions so we did not get out much in the beginning. Now I am just desperate to do something fun during the day and also to give Baby Diva a chance to play with other babies and adults. Most of the other women I know with young babies have moved away, one of the perils of the military life. Playgroups in the area are either closed to new members and/or they are for ages 18 months and up. I’d start one of my own, but we are moving soon.

So, for the next couple of months Kindermusik fits the bill for us perfectly.

We get music, movement, and social interaction. Baby Diva loves it so much she was fine pushing back her normal morning nap about an hour. She was cooing and giggling up in the car and right up until I put her down for the nap, at which she promptly passed out without protest.
Baby Diva even allowed someone else to hold her and walk her six feet away from me! We mommies switched babies and Baby Diva had a ball with someone else swinging her around.

I don’t know whether to celebrate or to cry. Actually, wait, no… I do. Celebrate. Definitely celebrate.

Diva Fit

Do you ever want someone to love you so much that her entire world revolves around you?

Trust me. You don’t.

Baby Diva is the happiest seven month old in the world, as long as she is physically attached to me. As soon as I am out of sight, however, she throws a fit worthy of her name. Luckily I have an open floorplan so I can flit between the kitchen, living room, and study. And yet, as soon as I duck to retrieve food from the refrigerator, diva fit.

Pick up toys from behind the couch, diva fit.

Turn a corner, diva fit.

Try to grab clothes and make-up from the other room–well you get the idea.

Baby diva has not read the peek-a-boo memo, yet.

You would think I would have become more toned carrying a twenty-pound weight with me everywhere I go. But, alas, no.

Luckily Super Dad takes this all in stride. Baby Diva adores him and laughs and smiles when he comes home. Yet, as soon as mom leaves the room, you would think Jack Bauer was interrogating her. Then, within a few minutes, Super Dad has Diva the Kid cooing and playing again.

Today, Super Dad had to get to work early, so I had to grab a shower with Baby Diva in her swing.

For a few minutes she played with her toy bar, then the Diva Fit began. She was giving the shower a run for its money with the waterworks.

I poked my head out, soaking the bathroom floor, “Mommy’s here. Mommy’s here.”

We have a glass shower door, for goodness sakes! She can see me. I know–I conducted a scientific experiment: I bent down and then stood back up and she followed me with her eyes.

Matters not at all. I have to soak myself, comfort Baby Diva, soap up, comfort Baby Diva, rinse, comfort Baby Diva, etc.

So, I felt like a terrible mother for five minutes, but I was clean enough to face another day of attachment parenting with the sweetest baby in the world.