By Occupy Mama I mean finding out you have a tiny life form growing within you, heart beating, energy acquiring, nausea inducing, kicking and stretching and dancing its way into the world as your body expands to accommodate his or her petite, but powerful humanity.
By Occupy Mama I mean snuggling a 10-lb cutie pie close to the heart, as he takes in mother’s milk in one of life’s most intimate approaches to feeding and love.
By Occupy Mama I mean 18 months later having a 23 lb person hanging onto you for dear life, smiling as you carry him around the house, and dissolving into tears the moment you set him down.
God forbid you actually leave the room.
Hello Separation Anxiety. It’s nice to see you again!
Coping with separation is one of life’s major stressors for a toddler. There are many ways to lessen the drama, though none of them are foolproof, and in fact, may not work at all! Ha! These are a few strategies that have worked for me.
- Create a routine. Repetitive language (i.e. We’re getting ready to go to school now. Isn’t school fun? I’ll pick you up at the end of the day) and routine may offer some comfort to the clingiest of kids.
- Stay upbeat. “See you later alligator!” Maintain a cheery voice when off you go to work.
- Engage the wee ball of stress in an activity. My boys love sensory activities such as dipping their hands into buckets of plastic bugs. If they’re having fun, they are less likely to freak out when you leave.
- Know that this, too, will pass. Mamas have separation anxiety, too! Look forward to a sweet reunion at the end of the day.
- Upon leaving a crying child, rest, recover, regroup and repeat again the next day. It will get easier.
Aside from our tearful separations in the morning, my boys were both born fearless and dry-eyed when it comes to other stuff. My eldest loves scary movies, tickle fights, loud noises, rescue vehicles, surprises and jumping into large bodies of water (he can’t swim very well yet). He casually leaps off stairs and sofas and jungle gym equipment, but he’s well coordinated, so I don’t worry too much about tumbles. The youngest, however, is determined to follow in his big brother’s footsteps, and so I must hover, attentive, waiting to catch him on his crashing way down.
He, too, wants to leap from our king-sized bed to the floor, he who is not yet two and roughly 28 inches tall.
He, too, is eager to shout “To infinity and beyond”! if only he could find the words.
I swear he progressed from crawling to toddling to speed walking to running within a month or two, after observing how his brother did it. He climbs with the best of them, wants to go down the water slide and the BIG slides at the park.
Only in the transition of workday mornings and evenings does he return to Occupy Mama.
I don’t encourage reckless behavior, mind. But they are boys and they like to play rough and they can be a wee bit wild. I like to call it spirited behavior. Creative energy. They are dynamic forces who belong to the under five world of superheroes. I admire their zeal and zest for movement and magic, babble and boisterousness.
But there are times when I’d like to bring in the tear gas and the mounted patrol to establish peace in the living room.
What do I do instead? I call in reinforcements. It’s time for Occupy Daddy. Thanks, sweetie.