My dd (4.5 yo) has ALWAYS had separation anxiety. I went back to work super part time when she was 18 months old and totally expected it then but didn't expect it to continue until today.
I would like to think that the recent increase in anxiety has to do with the fact that I'm due with her baby brother in a month. But her anxiety has been intense for the past year or so, just getting a little worse lately.
It appears as almost OCD-like behavior. She has a huge goodbye ritual that started when I left for work, got a little more complex when she started preschool last year, and now it's to the point where she has to do the ritual every time I leave her, including bedtime, swimming lessons (where I sit 3 feet away from her watching), won't go to the bathroom by herself, etc. It seems like any transition is what flips her out and she's needing some control over the situation (the ritual).
(BTW the ritual used to consist of "kissing hands" - like the story. Now it's kissing hands, twice, she kisses my shoulder, then my lips then hugs my leg and if she forgets any step or goes out of order, she FREAKS. Then she ends by saying "I love you so so so so much, I love you even more than that. And if I don't repeat it back to her, she loses it.)
I'm REALLY worried about how this anxiety will manifest when the baby is born.
I'm really at a loss as to what to do. She's been parented very lovingly, still co-sleeps (in a separate bed in our room), I feel like I do give her control of certain things (so it's not that I'm controlling all the time and she feels out of control). We're VERY close and loving. I just don't know what to do to support her. Therapy? I don't know...
mumma to sweet 7 year old girl
and darling 2 year old guy