Separation anxiety or something more?! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-27-2012, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello, all!


I have a 7 month old boy who is a delight if he is sitting on your lap or holding your fingers with his hands as he walks around the house.  Pretty much, if he is not doing those things, he is "crying" (in quotes because there are no tears, just the noise) and whining.  There are some times that I can set him down with the tv or his toys and he is taken by them enough to be alone for 15 or so minutes.


The person interacting with him doesn't seem to much matter -- me, my husband, my parents, our siblings, etc.  As long as it's someone.  I do realize this is prime "separation anxiety" age, but I just left the house for 3 days and nights for a work related event.  My husband stayed home with him and he was reasonably well behaved with no real change from the norm. 


I work at home as an online cyber school teacher ... I do need some hours of the day to dedicate to work.  I don't know the best way to manage this.  Basically, he's been "crying it out" while I get things done.  It's not as if I neglect him for God's sake ... but I'm probably not an attachment parent either.  at nearly 30 lbs, I'm not about to carry him on my body.


At the root of it is his personality, I think.  He is incredibly impatient, throwing these same tantrums when you don't feed him fast enough or RIGHT ON TIME.  He is also a little tempermental and angry --- he's already forcefully pulling his pacifier out and throwing it (and toys) as far and as hard as he can at times.


I know i can't change his temperment ... I don't even want to.  But I feel the need to be a parent in this situation -- guiding him toward proper behavior.  But, he's my first and I'm pretty much clueless.  :/


Any ideas or similar experiences?!  Please help!!

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#2 of 9 Old 08-27-2012, 05:53 PM
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Three days--and even 15 minutes--is a long time to someone so wee.  I wonder what your routine looks like at home.  Would it help him to have a more structured time where he knows what to expect and when?  Maybe the stability would help him relax.  


Hang in there!

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#3 of 9 Old 08-27-2012, 07:18 PM
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That's about right-on for a 7 month old! They cannot be left to entertain themselves for very long. They are wired for human interaction at this age. It's an unconscious drive to learn, grow and become independent. I think your expectations are not appropriate for his age. He is totally proper when he wants attention and hands on interaction! If you were to give it to him, that wouldn't make you an "attachment" would make you a parent! :) I'm not trying to be harsh. I'm just trying to make a sound point. He's your first and the first is always the hardest. There are no other little people in the house to entertain him! The kind of freedom you're looking for will come with time. I suggest hiring a mother's helper so you can get things done around the house and work a little from home. 

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#4 of 9 Old 08-30-2012, 09:07 AM
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Hate to say it, but unfortunately this kind of behavior is completely normal and developmentally appropriate.  Babies generally aren't inclined to entertain themselves at this age (that happens later).  It can be very irritating when you desperately need to do something without a baby in your arms, but at this age, kids are generally not okay with being put down for more than a couple of minutes.  The minute they realize your attention is elsewhere, the whining starts. (If you're getting a 15-minute delay, that's better than average!)


"I work at home as an online cyber school teacher ... I do need some hours of the day to dedicate to work.  I don't know the best way to manage this."


I'm also a high school teacher by trade, but I'm currently taking a hiatus from the school year train for awhile because the job situation here is so bad and things are so unstable that I think it would be better to sit it out for a few years and let things stabilize, but I kinda miss teaching at the same time.  I have seen the commercials for those online schools and had thought about doing this too, but I had wondered how compatible it would be with having a baby in the house (since I'm expecting again).  I had fantasies of doing all my "work" at night after my son goes to bed, but that probably isn't realistic, is it?  Do you *have* to be "available" during the day?  That would be hard with an infant--they're so incredibly demanding (and not great respecters of planning or adult pursuits of any kind).  I recall from the last time around that I didn't have ANY time to myself until we hit the 12 month mark.  You may need to hire a babysitter or mother's helper for awhile because it's going to be awhile yet before your son is ready to entertain himself, and it might be nice to get some work done without screaming in the background.


"He is incredibly impatient, throwing these same tantrums when you don't feed him fast enough or RIGHT ON TIME.  He is also a little tempermental and angry --- he's already forcefully pulling his pacifier out and throwing it (and toys) as far and as hard as he can at times."


Sadly this too sounds pretty normal for a 7-month old.  I think they're just frustrated by so many things at this age.  They can do a few things and want to do so much more.  The good news is it gets better over time as they develop more skills and can do more of the things for themselves that they want to do (and they do learn to wait).  Hang in there, it does get better!   


Any ideas or similar experiences?!  Please help!!

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#5 of 9 Old 08-30-2012, 09:31 AM
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I really think trying to get any serious work done with an infant or toddler requires childcare. Babysitter, nanny, daycare, preschool, whatever...

Being a parent is a full time job. Working from home allows more flexibility than working outside the home but work is work. It requires childcare.
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#6 of 9 Old 08-30-2012, 12:27 PM
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I'm in the same boat, OP!  I work from home, and need to be able to get at least a couple of hours of work done on the computer a day.  I can get away with putting my 7 month old daughter on the floor with a few toys to explore.  I arrange her and myself so that we can easily look into each others faces, this is usually me on my laptop in the bed with her on the floor next to the bed.  While she explores the toys, I am usually talking to her as much as I can.  So I will write for a few minutes, then engage with her about whatever toy she has, then write some more.  I can usually get about 30-40 minutes of work done this way until she starts whining. If I need to try to finish what I'm writing and her timer has expired, lol, I'll pick her up and put her next to me and I can write maybe another 10 minutes.  If I need to be able to work solidly without interruption for a block of time, she has to go to grandma's.  I can't even count on her to nap for more than 20 minutes at a time, lol. So if you can work and play with your little guy at the same time, maybe you can continue as you are.  But if you need to work solidly, I think you need a daycare solution.  If there are no grandparents close by, maybe you can find a someone who can just come to your house for a few hours a day? FWIW, I don't think it's a personality issue at all, it's not really reasonable to expect that a baby entertain themselves for really any period of time...

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#7 of 9 Old 09-04-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Perhaps my expectations are too high.  But, i had NO IDEA that any baby at any age needed to be on my hip or walking around with my fingers 24/7 except for naps.  That's our situation.  And, it's more than a need to play with me ... he wants what he wants -- be it food within milliseconds or to be taken to his room to nap or a toy that's across the room.  The child cries like his world is caving in.  sometimes there aren't even tears -- just the loud screaming noise of a cry.


And, I have been around babies who are content to sit in an infant seat at about 4-6 months and bat at a toy hanging over head while cooing and giggling.  Mine never did that.  He whined since probably 3.5 months.  We joke that he's miserable here -- he was born 42w and 3 days by csection after 3 days of steady pitocin .... i joked then that he didn't want to be born.  Seriously, now I wonder if it's not really true.


And, I need to be "live" with my students 1-2 hrs a day -- the rest of my work can be done at night.  I can work with him beside me -- he will whine and cry after 15 minutes, no matter how I interact with him.  Frankly, he does this when i give him undivided attention too.  I really think the issues are much deeper here.


I understand the comments that are being made about working and mothering -- but what if I needed to clean my house?  Make dinner?  Go to the bathroom?  Answer the phone?  The list goes on and on .... should he be wailing the minute I walk away?  Should I not do those things?


It's so hard to explain these parenting obstacles because no one else lives them ... not even my husband to the same extent.  It's just so frustrating.  Don't think it doesn't break my heart that it is this way.  It does -- too much.  He was a stubborn, cranky baby, too -- he never really let me even enjoy his "babyness".  It's always been a struggle to comfort him and/or make him happy -- whatever it is he's looking for.

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#8 of 9 Old 09-04-2012, 08:19 PM
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I can relate. My DD is a little older and she cries or whines every time I have to put her down to do something else. It's so frustrating because I don't know what she wants. She's been super clingy lately too. Even if I am playing with her on the floor, she'll still want to climb on me and sit in my lap. But the second I get up, she cries. It's so hard to get anything done around the house too. Thank goodness my older one can entertain himself for the most part. DH is helpful but most of the time she doesn't want him and she'll still cry. I hope this phase passes soon. My DD was also a difficult newborn. She had colic for 3 months and just cried all the time. The odd thing is she is at daycare full time since I work and she's happy over there. She's happy with DH if I am out with DS and not home, but as soon as I come home she starts fussing.

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#9 of 9 Old 09-04-2012, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by lisamarie1081 View Post

Perhaps my expectations are too high.  But, i had NO IDEA that any baby at any age needed to be on my hip or walking around with my fingers 24/7 except for naps.  


My 7-month-old was exactly the same. Now, at 8 and a half months, it's a little better, but only a little. Hang in there, mama!


By "better", I mean he'll play on the floor for longer stretches. He'll crawl around and get into my cupboards. It makes a mess but takes the heat off me for a few minutes. But... only a few. It is difficult to get work done, yes. I'm a classical musician and our symphony season starts in a month. I need to get practicing, and I was used to having uninterrupted hours for focused work. I have to hire a babysitter to get work done, especially since I use a fragile piece of equipment that costs as much as a substantial down payment on a house... that my baby wants desperately to play with when I play it.


I keep telling myself this'll get easier.

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