When does separation anxiety/the "mommy mommy" phase end? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-06-2010, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Basically that. I'm about to lose it and DH too. When is she going to stop holding tantrums where she throws up when I go to the bathroom or am driving a car? DH is a wonderful and very involved father but he's getting really frustrated and feeling rejected with this. She loves him but freaks out the second I am not right next to her.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:17 PM
 
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Ooh that just started here this month. I'm interested in the replies you get. Hugs!

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Old 09-07-2010, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ooh that just started here this month. I'm interested in the replies you get. Hugs!
I'm sorry you're going through this too. Somebody has to know when this ends!!!

Just as an example of how extreme this is. We took a car ride this weekend and she flipped out. On the way there she threw up twice because she was so freaked out (I was the one driving and apparently the front seat is too far away, DH doesn't have a license). Coming back was slightly better but we were going through road construction and couldn't stop at one point when she freaked out and she kept crying for me and asking "mommy why???" as in why wouldn't I come be next to her. It's been beyond exaughsting for us both and we have no clue how to deal with it. DH keeps saying she's too old for this (she's almost 20 months) but neither one of us knows how to get her to be calmer when I'm away (and by away it could meet 3 feet away sometimes!!!!!!!).
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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While this is a prime age for separation anxiety and very developmentally appropriate, I think that personality plays a big role too. Some kids experience more anxiety when mamma is gone. The level of feeling your DD is experiencing is very real - in her mind, mamma stepping out of the room is a very real crisis. My own DD used to freak out when I left the car, stepped out of the room, went to the bathroom without her, etc. This was something she did from birth, so I know it was just the way she was.

I think it finally started to lessen up when she was getting close to 2.5. Just the other day I realized that I was able to go into the bathroom and close the door to pee by myself... it had been over 3 years since I was able to do that! :LOL

I know it's tough, but since your DD's reactions are so strong and so physical (throwing up), I'd do whatever I can to accommodate her needs within reason, obviously. So while you need to drive the car and she needs to be in the back seat to be safe, you can allow her to hang out in the bathroom with you while you pee or take a shower.

I felt a lot better, and life felt easier when I stopped trying to fight her need to be with me. At this age, it's simply not a battle you can win - she'll have to grow out of it. I know it's hard, but I promise she'll soon start to grow and won't need you as much anymore.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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Two things that have helped 19mo DS a ton recently (though we still have the intense clinginess that we've dealt with since birth, but I'm starting to find SOMETIMES he's less mommy-clingy):

- DS & DH spend a TON of time together alone -- every day when DH gets home from work, he & DS play outside for an hour or two, and I've been leaving DS with DH for an hour or so once or twice a week while I go shopping. It seems to really have helped their bond & now sometimes DS only wants DADDY not mommy!!

- Just socializing a lot in general -- mom's groups/playdates, LLL meetings, etc. have helped him to become more open to relating to others & trusting them to occasionally meet his needs.

So rather than not being clingy at all, he is still clingy -- but will occasionally cling to someone besides me, or allow others to comfort him -- i.e. if I go to the bathroom during a playdate, he'll be kind of sad & maybe a little weepy but he won't scream hysterically while a friend is trying to calm him.

I don't know if you're already doing those things. Also I know if DS is sick or teething or really scared, he ONLY wants me & the 'separation anxiety' gets way more intense. So we kind of go in waves with how extreme his clinginess is.

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Old 09-07-2010, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it finally started to lessen up when she was getting close to 2.5. Just the other day I realized that I was able to go into the bathroom and close the door to pee by myself... it had been over 3 years since I was able to do that! :LOL
That sounds like heaven!

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I know it's tough, but since your DD's reactions are so strong and so physical (throwing up), I'd do whatever I can to accommodate her needs within reason, obviously. So while you need to drive the car and she needs to be in the back seat to be safe, you can allow her to hang out in the bathroom with you while you pee or take a shower.

I felt a lot better, and life felt easier when I stopped trying to fight her need to be with me. At this age, it's simply not a battle you can win - she'll have to grow out of it. I know it's hard, but I promise she'll soon start to grow and won't need you as much anymore.
We do.... but she can't be with me all the time because I work part-time too (we have a babysitter that comes in a few times a week). She was in daycare for awhile and things were actually better than but now that I'm at home with her more they've gotten worse. Thanks for the encouragement!

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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
Two things that have helped 19mo DS a ton recently (though we still have the intense clinginess that we've dealt with since birth, but I'm starting to find SOMETIMES he's less mommy-clingy):

- DS & DH spend a TON of time together alone -- every day when DH gets home from work, he & DS play outside for an hour or two, and I've been leaving DS with DH for an hour or so once or twice a week while I go shopping. It seems to really have helped their bond & now sometimes DS only wants DADDY not mommy!!

- Just socializing a lot in general -- mom's groups/playdates, LLL meetings, etc. have helped him to become more open to relating to others & trusting them to occasionally meet his needs.

So rather than not being clingy at all, he is still clingy -- but will occasionally cling to someone besides me, or allow others to comfort him -- i.e. if I go to the bathroom during a playdate, he'll be kind of sad & maybe a little weepy but he won't scream hysterically while a friend is trying to calm him.

I don't know if you're already doing those things. Also I know if DS is sick or teething or really scared, he ONLY wants me & the 'separation anxiety' gets way more intense. So we kind of go in waves with how extreme his clinginess is.
Thanks. DH does spend quite a bit of time with her but he prefers to do it when I'm around. I really do try and get him to take her out more but he gets something close to panic attacks when he takes her to the playground (he's extremely anxious that she'll get hurt or dirty). He will stay at home with her, though, when I go out (like for runs, normally).

I'm working on upping the playdates. This summer we didn't have any because we were abroad but now we're homing again and I know they're important for her. I've also noticed that she's started being shy at first even around people she knows well, so I want to make sure she more exposure to other kids.
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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As the mommy to a very mommy-centric 20 mo old, I gotta 2nd the recommendations that you let her spend more time alone with DH (like, not just the time it takes you to go for a run - go have lunch with a friend or go grocery shopping and running... something that keeps you away for a couple of hours).

I also think that even if DH has issues about taking her to the playground, can't he take her somewhere else, like for a walk in the stroller to a park or to the zoo once in awhile or somewhere he can get to without the car?

Also, what do you do when your DD starts getting upset that you're more than 3 ft away? Do you go back to her, or do you say something soothing and go on about what you're doing, even if she gets upset? Another thing I had to do is tell her she'll be fine and just do what I needed to do (usually cooking or going to the bathroom) and if she started to have a fit, so be it. I felt like it was more harmful to rush back to her to soothe her every time, because when would she realize she'll be fine away from me if I'm always rushing back to her?

I really believe my DD has only calmed down with the "Mommy- I must be with Mommy at all times!" stuff because we've simply continued to have her spend significant amounts of time with Daddy and I am loving but also matter-of-fact about the fact that she'll be fine if I leave the room. I've also become a master of distraction!

I was actually really pleased yesterday because I realized how much we've all learned about managing the mommy anxiety: DH was trying to get DD to walk out the door on her own to go with him to his grandmother's house, instead of having to pick her up and her throwing a fit as he carried her to the car. She moved to me and started saying "No. No." & starting to get worked up about going to the car. Then DH said "Where's your Dora doll? Why don't you get Dora and bring her to the car." and DD immediately perked up, looked for Dora, and happily carried her right out the door to the car. She even kissed me bye before walking out and had no problem leaving me.

So really my advice boils down to: just keep having her spend more and more time with your DH, have them develop some routines that are just theirs, and encourage DH to find other places he can go with her without the car that they both enjoy.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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Ditto what LROM said, it took me a long time to realize DS really WOULD adapt to spending more time with DH & me not always rushing in to 'rescue' him... I really thought he would break down & lose it if I left him with DH for too long or DH took him out, but he's adapting so amazingly well & DH reports that he almost never cries when I'm gone anymore (I did have to make a list for DH though, of 'steps to take when DS cries' as well as another list of reminders like feed him at this time, change his diaper at this time, etc. because he just wasn't as in-tune to DS as I was).

As far as your DH, there's lots of things he can do besides take her to the playground if he's not into that! He could take her to the library or the children's museum, or for a walk, to the zoo, a playdate, story hour, visiting his friends/family, etc. Even though DH drives we like to conserve gas so often I will drop him & DS off to do something & continue on my way. We shop at 2 different grocery stores so I drop DH & DS off at one & I go to the other down the street & then I come back & help them finish the shopping.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:01 AM
 
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After reading your story about your LO throwing up I do realize my DD doesn't have it as badly...But what I have found helpful with the car situation is that I constantly sing to her (I have a TERRIBLE voice and don't know any songs except Christmas Carols) but it seems to soothe her to hear my voice, even if it isn't the most relaxing thing to sing jingle bells 400 times in a row. It's what gets us through long car rides where I HAVE to be in the front seat as I get terribly carsick in windy roads in the back.

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