To say "Goodbye" or not to say "Goodbye", that is the question... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It isn't very often I leave the house without DS. Normally if DH is awake, he goes with us, or I am going to something that DS would enjoy, like the store. But there are times when I just don't want to take DS because it would be so much quicker, or it's something like a doctors appointment where he isn't really welcome, but they allow him if DH isn't home.

So, I use to just sneak out the front door, which worked great. But then I started thinking that maybe I should start saying goodbye that way he gets use to me leaving, and know that I will be back when I tell him Goodbye. However, whenever we leave a playgroup, or someones house, we say goodbye and that's how DS knows it is time to go. The same thing at home. I say "Ok, lets go bye bye" and he goes to the front door.

The last two times I left the house without him he cried when I left and he was crying / sniffleing crying when I got back (20 - 30 minutes later). DH doesn't know what to do to comfort him, so when I come back DS is either standing by the door or standing by my computer. I know when I leave that DS freaks out and pushing DH away, so DH gets annoyed and just puts him down.

Is it really that tramatic to just sneak out of the house without telling DS goodbye? He is only 18 months and I think he may be too young to understand that bye bye has two meanings.
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#2 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 12:30 PM
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It might help if DH got him engaged in playing a few minutes before you go so he doesn't have time to notice you are gone, maybe they could even go to the park to play or go for a walk together and look at fun stuff. If he is engaged in his game or with his dad I wouldn't interrupt to say goodbye because that will break his focus on how happy he is playing, if he is not engaged with dad then I would kiss him and say goodbye because either way he will cry.
Try to encourage your husband to play with him when you are there too so he doesn't associate play with you leaving and encourage him to be loving even when it is hard. It will help both of them if you let him comfort and play his own way and encourage him to be creative. You could write a list of the things that you normally do with him and then tell your husband that he can steal some of your ideas or make his own but that you expect him to try for at least 30 minutes every once in a while.
It may be that he thinks that since your son is a boy he is naturally tough inside even at a young age and this may be why he gets annoyed when your son cries. Try talking to him about his feelings on that and he may realize how silly it is to expect an 18 month old to act like a 30 year old.
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#3 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 12:32 PM
 
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I know that when we wake up in the morning and DH isn't there, DS looks around the house for him. (DH goes to the gym early sometimes, so he's not home when DS wakes up some days.) I know that he knows daddy's not there. I'd say don't sneak out but use some other word besides bye. Like "See ya later, Honey." Or something like that.

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#4 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Kat. DH does engage DS in play and DS doesn't get upset if I DON'T say bye bye. He just wanders around the house a little, then goes back to playing. He may wine a little, but he doesn't scream and cry. He only screams and cries when I say bye bye. I just remember reading on here a while ago that some woman felt it was mean to just sneak out. I wasn't sure if I was unintentionaly ruining my son. LOL

So to make it a little more clear. Sneaking out = no crying. Saying Bye Bye = crying.
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#5 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 12:39 PM
 
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I try not to sneak out on dd. I just think I would personally be much more traumatized in the long run by turning around and suddenly not finding someone there rather than by saying goodbye to someone. I feel like it makes it seem like I know it's a bad thing to leave her with dh or daycare and thus I'm trying to avoid the consequences. That said, I also don't put on a sad face when I say goodbye, I keep it short and sweet and don't look back. Sort of the same principle if I make a big deal out of it and seem sad then it's going to make dd feel sad. It also helps that I know dh and daycare instantly try to distract her if she gets upset (frankly leaving her at daycare it's a little more upsetting to me the mornings she's not upset to see me go). Dh has a bag of tricks and while he holds her and reassures her that mommy will be back soon he shows her they'll have fun in the meantime.
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#6 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 12:44 PM
 
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I wouldn't sneak out - I would do the opposite - start preparing your child in advance by saying soon mommy is going to the doctor's but she'll be back soon, maybe start 30 minutes before you leave. At 2 your child is old enough to understand you left without saying something. And getting the child involved in something like snack or playdough is good.
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#7 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 02:23 PM
 
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I am really opposed to sneaking out. My brother and SIL did that with their kids and it really made them feel insecure in the long run--they began to worry that anyone could disappear at any time. I still remember having to go over and over it with my nephew (then about 2): Yes, I will be here when you wake up. Yes, I will be here tomorrow. I will tell you when I am leaving so we can say bye-bye.

Even if your DS is not that verbal, his receptive language skills are probably very good. We talk to our DD (16 mo) all the time about times when we need to be gone, and prepare her. ("Mama is going to go in the car to the store. YOu can stay here and play with dada. Mama will be back very soon." "Dada has to go on a trip to see his mama and dada. (Show her a picture of them) "Dada will be back the next time you wake up." "Dada will be back when you wake up and eat lunch." Etc etc.) She seems to understand this in a rudimentary way--when my DH was with his parents for a few days, when she asked for him, I would tell her she was with Nana and Grandpop, and she would go to the picture we have of them and point to it.

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#8 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 03:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hunnybumm
So to make it a little more clear. Sneaking out = no crying. Saying Bye Bye = crying.
In that case, I think sneaking out is the kinder approach. When my dd was around that age, she was the same way - if she noticed me leaving, she was likely to get upset, but if she didn't notice me leaving, she'd be content to play with dad the whole time I was gone. So for a while I usually used the sneaking out approach.

By the time she was 2, it didn't seem to bother her much if she saw me leaving, and now I don't try to sneak out. But I don't make a big deal of leaving, either, with hugging and kissing and speeches about where I'm going. Maybe just a casual "bye" as I head out the door. I think if I don't act like it's a big deal, it seems like less of a big deal to her.
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#9 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 06:12 PM
 
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Never, NEVER sneak out on your child. It can be very damaging to their trust of you and your dh and ahrm them for life. It really is that important! Children need to know that you are leaving, that they are safe without you (tell him that if you need to), and that you will return. Sneaking out is much worse than a little crying. I assume that you would like your ds to trust you without worrying if you were going to vanish soon or not! This is a real issue for me because I remember my mom doing this to me and feelling so scared that she was going to leave at any moment. I would cling to her when she was around and she didn't do it very often either! When I was doing my field work and studies, I found out that her doing this to me most likely impacted my ability to trust.

(My Masters degree is in Early Childhood Development and education and children who are disturbed or have major behavior problems are my focus. I also focus on infants and toddlers.)

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#10 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 06:17 PM
 
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I never sneak out because I'm afraid it'll lead to ds being very concerned about my leaving without warning at any time. Some kids do end up clinging more because they're afraid if mom isn't in sight or physical contact, she might be gone before they know it. It doesn't sound like that's been happening in your case, but I've just always been concerned about my ds deciding that clinginess is the safest bet.

I agree with the suggestion of changing what you say. Maybe part of the problem is he hears "goodbye" and thinks you're saying that the two of you are going out together, like at other times? Something like, "Mommy's leaving. See you later!" might be worth a shot.

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#11 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 06:18 PM
 
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I never have snuck out on my child. Even if he is sleeping, I kiss his cheek and say "I love you. I'm going now. I'll be back soon/in x number of hours/x no. of minutes." No he still doesn't understand time like that, but that is how we adults talk about time, so I have been reinforcing it since he was born.

And I have never had him cry when I leave except once when he was sick and cranky. And I stayed with him until he stopped crying that time. I just allow enough time to leave properly. My fault if I have to "rush", not his.
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#12 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 06:59 PM
 
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I don't have to sneak out--DS (19 mos) is fine when _i_ leave. It's when DH leaves in the mornings that DS loses it. So i try to get DH to sneak out, but he often fails because he's forgotten something and has to come back. When DS loses it, he does get over it fairly quickly (especially if nursing is involved), but DH is completely traumatized and afraid to leave. If DH starts making a habit of saying goodbye, will DS eventually get used to the idea and take it in stride?
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#13 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prath003
... If DH starts making a habit of saying goodbye, will DS eventually get used to the idea and take it in stride?
I would assume so.
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#14 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 07:17 PM
 
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Yeah, I'm anti- sneaking out too, although it was fine for a short time when babe was an infant (I'm thinking 6 mos old).

I always say goodbye, but find things go much better if *she* leaves *me* to do something fabulous with her father or trusted caregiver, while I try to stay still and look as boring as possible. Always goes much better this way.

Good luck!
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#15 of 31 Old 06-07-2005, 07:35 PM
 
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i'm a wohm who was very lucky to find extremely nurturing care for my ds (his school is very accepting of extended bfing, they'll use cloth on him, lay with him at naptime, etc) and they are absolutely adamant that parents never leave without saying goodbye to their children. every day, when i drop liam off at school, i give him a big hug, tell him i love him and that i will be back to pick him up after he plays. he does cry sometimes, but i know telling him i'm coming back (coupled with the fact that i do come back every day) helps him to trust that even though i can't be there right then, i will always come back for him.

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#16 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, now I am going to be a little more indept in my question. How exactly do you leave? I will try and say "See you in a little bit" or something similiar, with out saying "bye bye" to see if that helps. But I think it might be the act of me stepping out the door that freaks him out. Should I have DH stand at the door and DS watch me leave (which will freak him out)? Should I say my goodbyes then have DH distract him? If the latter, then how is that any different than me sneaking out?

I really don't want him to be afraid of me dissapearing at any minute. Also, we are pajama people, as soon as I get home I get in my PJs. If he sees me getting dressed he knows that we are going somewhere.
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#17 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 12:31 AM
 
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I stand in one boring spot and say "bye bye." Sometimes I say "give a hug to mama?" and we have a hug. Then the *babe* leaves with her parent or caregiver to another room to do something great or have a treat : and then I leave.
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#18 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 12:53 AM
 
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HunnyBumm, I am not sure it's really SOOOOO awful to sneak out, esp. if your DS doesn't cry when you sneak but cries when you say goodbye and as long as your DS isn't walking around crying and looking for you while you're gone.

To respond to some of the other posts, I get that all the books say you're doing some major pyschological damage by sneaking out, but... do we believe everything we read? Where are the studies on sneaking out on a toddler and trust issues later in life? Besides that, what about the damage you're doing by leaving your DS wailing at the door while you walk away smiling and waving? I mean, how does that not scar him for life? He has no idea whether you're coming back or not. He's not old enough to get that concept. So, in his mind, his mother just abandoned him in spite of his crying and wailing. Couldn't that also cause permanent trust issues? I would think so.

This issue is pertinent to me because my DD has always been the same as your DS - wouldn't let me out of her sight. So, until recently, I snuck out. DH would get her engaged in play and I would make my way out. She wouldn't know the difference and yes, she might ask for me, but she didn't cry - she just went back to playing. When I tried to say goodbye, OTOH, she would wail and scream so hard that no-way, no-how was I going to leave my child in that condition. It was clear to me she wasn't OK with that - clear to me that she had no idea what it meant for me to "be right back."

So, it sounds to me like you already know what's best for your DS (and for you and your DH too). Obviously, it's no fun for anyone when you leave DS while he's crying, least of all for DS and DH who gets stuck with a crying baby he can't comfort. (My poor DH was/is in the same boat - unable to comfort. It leaves them feeling pretty worthless, I think.) Now that DD is 2, I can say goodbye when I leave, but only if I do it casually and from afar. I.e., DH and DD are playing upstairs and I yell "see ya later!" They hear me but go on playing and DD is fine while I'm out. If I were to make a big "goodbye" scene at the back door, forget it. I'd never get out alone.

Do you what you feel is best, I just didn't want you to think you were the only sneaker out there!
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#19 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 09:30 AM
 
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I snuck out once on Zoe - never again.

She was so horrified when she realized I had left without saying goodbye, she cried pretty much until I got back.

Yeah - sometimes she has a big screamfest when I leave (after saying goodbye) but I try and find time to stay and reassure her that I'll be back. Otherwise, whoever else is there (dh, nana, caregiver) will hold her close (even kicking and screaming) and try and engage her in something different.

I just think I'd be mad too if someone snuck out on me.

*Not* to say that leaving w/o saying goodbye to your ds isn't the best solution for you - for us, it was the opposite.

And I agree with the pp that said something along the lines of eventually he will begin/have to understand that sometimes people have to leave w/o him - and they do come back.

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#20 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 10:11 AM
 
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I don't know what to say to take you from where you are. I started DS hearing "goodbye" when either we left people or I left him with Mimi, or DH goes to work. So I know that 18 mo olds can certainly know that it carries both meanings. He frequently calls bye-bye to strangers he sees across the street waving to each other while walking away, or in a parking lot getting in their car.

I'm not a sneaker. I make bye-byes quick and happy. I think dragging it out communicates that it's something scary. I tell ds I'm going and then I'm coming back. I say that he can play with Mimi for a while and talk about what they will do while I'm gone. I ALWAYS say ...and Mommy will come back. If I'm taking him to a grandparents house to leave him, I tell him in the car what's going on. "You going to play with Mima and Bipa, and Mommy will go and come back." And again, I mention what they will do while I'm gone.

DH and I practiced this with him at one point and it really helped. He did the bye-bye thing and we said a lot ...and Daddy will come back. Then DH went to the car and got out and came back, at which point I said excitedly, Daddy's coming back!! We did this a few times while it was fun for him and he understands "coming back" well now. Then we worked on coming back "now" and "later" and "soon". He's getting that pretty well (for an 18 m/o) at this point.

We did the practice thing with a few other situations, like waking up from naptime and calling mama brings mama. He really enjoyed learning that those situations are predictable. He became calmer in those cases with each thing we practiced.
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#21 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 10:37 AM
 
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I wanted to add another thought. There was a spell recently that ds was extra angry when dh left in the mornings. He said BYE-BYE NO NO NO NO NO!!! We tried a few things, but after a few days of ds reaching for Daddy (which we handled by saying we were sorry, repeating bye-bye and waving) we realized that ds just wanted one last hug. He wanted dh to hold him and hug him before he left. Once that happened he was fine that dh left.

Maybe your ds will communicate what will help him feel better about separations?? Something to watch for.
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#22 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 12:57 PM
 
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When DS was very young (3 months) and I went back to work PT, I snuck out for the first week. Then DH and talked about it and decided that it is important to say goodbye. He should know that mommy will always say goodbye and will always come back to him. He shouldn't worry that I will just disappear when he turns around.

Now he's 2 and I always tell him that "mommy always comes home to you." He still whimpers often, but it's only for a minute.

Every morning (4 days a week), while I'm getting ready for work, I prepare him. I say things like "mommy is going to work today and andrew gets to play with daddy" (in a very excited voice). Every day when I leave, I say "what do we do when mommy comes home from work?" and he says "hugs and kisses." And now we are learning to blow kisses as I walk out the door.

He doesn't like when I leave, but he's used to it and he knows that I'm coming back. DH comes and goes a lot (he works out of the house and runs many errands), and he always says goodbye and gives him a hug and a kiss.

We've been doing all of these things since he was very young. I definitely think that an 18-month-old understands all of this. And you can say plenty of things that are different from "bye bye" -- mommy is leaving now, see you later, be back soon -- it really doesn't matter what you say, but I wouldn't just disappear.
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#23 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 01:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
Yeah, I'm anti- sneaking out too, although it was fine for a short time when babe was an infant (I'm thinking 6 mos old).

I always say goodbye, but find things go much better if *she* leaves *me* to do something fabulous with her father or trusted caregiver, while I try to stay still and look as boring as possible. Always goes much better this way.

Good luck!
same here. is it possible for your dh to take him out - even if it's just a walk around the block - at the same time that you're leaving?

also, am i understanding you correctly that dh just gets frustrated and gives up? that's not cool. that's not what you would do, i'm sure. are you holding him to the same high parenting standards that you hold yourself to?
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#24 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaE
HunnyBumm, I am not sure it's really SOOOOO awful to sneak out, esp. if your DS doesn't cry when you sneak but cries when you say goodbye and as long as your DS isn't walking around crying and looking for you while you're gone.

To respond to some of the other posts, I get that all the books say you're doing some major pyschological damage by sneaking out, but... do we believe everything we read? Where are the studies on sneaking out on a toddler and trust issues later in life? Besides that, what about the damage you're doing by leaving your DS wailing at the door while you walk away smiling and waving? I mean, how does that not scar him for life? He has no idea whether you're coming back or not. He's not old enough to get that concept. So, in his mind, his mother just abandoned him in spite of his crying and wailing. Couldn't that also cause permanent trust issues? I would think so.
Yeah, that's the way I feel about it, too. The idea that sneaking out can make a toddler insecure does seem to make sense - and yet, it didn't seem to have that effect on my daughter. It's not like she's never been clingy, but she's 2 now, and I can leave openly and she doesn't mind seeing me go. So it certainly doesn't look like she's afraid of abandonment.

And, actually, even if you always say goodbye, couldn't your toddler still develop a fear that you would suddenly leave at any moment? I mean, how does he know you're not going to say goodbye and walk out the door two minutes from now? It seems like he could be just as worried about that possibility as about the possibility that you might leave soon without saying goodbye first.
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#25 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 01:26 PM
 
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Just to shake this up a bit, I leave ds with MIL, DH, and an occasional friend. He does seem to do better when he does NOT see me leave. I kind of say, "Mom is leaving, and I'll be back soon," but esp. DH takes him to the FR and they play trains or have a snack. DS is almost 18 mos. old. His big issue seems to be having the door shut when he's in the room. Any door. Any room. Outside door, inside door. So of course, we try to distract him when anyone is leaving (DH and DD to work/school), me leaving, etc. He loves to "go bye bye", and gets really angry when we "act" like we are (get something out of the garage) and then come back in the house.

So I guess I kind of "sneak", but he doesn't always stay in the same room when I'm in the bathroom or whatever anyway, so he doesn't always expect me to be at home. And he nurses LOTS, like eight to 12 times a day.
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#26 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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at daycare they want the parents to say goodbye and not sneak out. you dno't want them thinking you might disappear at any moment. and if ds is having a hard time i wait until one of the caretakers can hold him while i say bye. i frequently peek in the window on my way out and he is fine within a minute (if he cries when i leave).

i hate when he cries. i much prefer when he happily starts playing. which he does do too. you can never tell what kind of day it will be. recently he even came over to me when i said bye and i gave him a kiss and a hug and he turned around and went back to playing. that was a milestone in my eyes

when i was on vacation with my mom and i was going snowboarding while she watched him she would come out on a walk with him in the stroller with me to the bus stop. that was easier than them being in the hotel room and me leaving. he didn't cry once

i think having your dh hold him and comfort and start playing after you leave. or do the walk thing. and encourage dh not to give up. he needs to establish his own 'comforting' method. which it sounds like he might not have figured out yet. but this is a great age to do it! and without you there its a great opportunity for him. give him some hints and lots of encouragement.
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#27 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 02:21 PM
 
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I totally encourage my daycare parents to SAY goodbye not just sneak out. Yes their child might cry but I feel the goodbye lets the child know their parent IS coming back for them.
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#28 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 03:52 PM
 
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I believe that it is important to let them know that you are leaving and will be back. I work at home and sometimes we have a sitter in the house so that I can get concentrated periods of work. Even when I am just going upstairs I make sure I tell her where I am going "Mommy has to go upstairs to work now" and that I will see her again soon. Sometimes saying goodbye makes it harder in house too, and even though it is tempting to sneak out sometimes, I believe it will make it worse in the long run.
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#29 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 10:14 PM
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For me, I don't like sneaking out and I don't like leaving when baby/toddler is protesting for me to stay (as in something that lasts more than a few seconds of fussing). Unless I absolutely had to go somewhere -- like very very urgently -- I wouldn't do that.

How about doing something differently? If in your situation, and it didn't happen very often, I'd most likely ask my dh to take him for a walk, which they both enjoy. Maybe we would part ways outside. Simon then would not be focused on me leaving (and I would say good-bye to him) as he'd be excited about his impending walk. If even this caused a lot of stress, they could head out for a walk before I left and if reasonable, I could be back before they arrived home. I just can't stand the idea of Simon wanting me and me not being available to him.
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#30 of 31 Old 06-08-2005, 10:43 PM
 
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I think you have to do what you think is best, and what makes it easier for you to leave the house. When ds was 18 mos, I snuck out. If I didn't, he would freak and I'd end up feeling miserable and guilty the whole time I was gone from him. If I snuck out, he's be fine, playing or reading with dh.
When he was around 22-24 mos, he began to understand that I'd be back again, and he accepted me saying goodbye, as long as he was with dh or my mom. I was able to kiss and hug him, say goodbye and leave. He'd even wave at the door.
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