My 27 month old ds was a happy little guy, til this fall. When the 5 yr old girl at his sitter went to first grade, we decided to try a daycare 2 days/wk so that ds could have other kids to play with. He had been going to this sitter about 3 times per week for about 5 hours at a time.
Several other changes seemed to coincide with this, including potty training, shift from family bed to his own bed (tho mum spent lots of time there), my working more (3 days/wk in October), and being apart for a night when I couldn't make it home in a blizzard. Also - the other kids in ds's class (2 adults with 9 kids) were all younger, mostly in age and definitely developmentally, so it was kind of boring compared to playing with a fun 5 year old like last year.
DS started to say that he didn't want to go to "kika's house" (what he called the daycare) more and more frequently, got more upset about actually going there to the point of screaming and crying, and became grumpier all the time. After several agonizing days when the drop-off felt like torture for both of us, I decided to listen to him, and to stop taking him there.
He is fine and happy when with me, or even better, with DH. But ds is terrified of being left somewhere (maybe for fear of having long, boring (?) days apart from me again). We visited one school that seemed much more appealing and fun to me but maybe too old for him, and he was very clingy and asking to leave.
So I have decided to stay home more right now, and try the old sitter again - even though her dd is at school til 3 pm. Maybe I will start with 2-3 hours and see how it goes. I fear his rejecting it again, and the feeling of hopelessness and of being stuck. I know if I *had* to work fulltime, there would be no choice about it, but I just need to work part time, so it feels complicated.
The feedback I keep getting from people, though, is that this is age-appropriate separation anxiety and manipulation by my two-year old. Web sites counselling parents on this issue say that this is just separation anxiety that needs to be worked through by sticking to it.
Doesn't anybody think that it is right to listen to the child?
I'm baffled at the general attitude. I am sure that ds picked up on my unhappiness at his distress and working it, but I feel like he was letting us know in no uncertain terms (i.e. words!) that he was unhappy and wanted things to change. It may have had more to do with wanting to stay more connected to me and disliking my working that much than with disliking the care he was getting (I think it was both), but they are real concerns by a little guy, right? It seemed like he was unhappy.
My plan is to try taking ds to his old sitter - even without her daughter being there - and I know ds is going to resist. We had a negative reaction from him this week visiting a cool preschool/daycare that I thought would be great. It makes me think that he still needs more individualized care and attention. I am afraid of getting the same reaction from ds. But I do need at least a few mornings a week to maintain my job.
Any comments on the issue, or ideas?