Separation Anxiety

Esmé has been extremely clingy lately, but also very fussy/whiny, and today I kind of lost it. I was on my hands and knees, hurrying to pick up all the pieces of food she threw off her tray before she could come over and eat them off the floor and I just started crying. Amid thoughts of wishing I had more ‘me’ time, it struck me that separation anxiety could possibly be worse for parents than it is for the children.

If you google ‘what is separation anxiety,’ the response you will receive is: anxiety provoked in a young child by separation or the threat of separation from their mother. They address the many symptoms of what is like for children, even teens, and how you can deal with it. However there is surprisingly little information on what separation anxiety means as a mother, so I thought I would shed a little light on the situation.

Separation anxiety for mothers is: the overwhelming feeling of panic experienced when there is a sudden loss of all personal space due to a small child plastering him or herself to your legs, arms, chest, back, or head (sometimes many of these all at once) during all waking hours of the day; also the feeling of needing to pull out all of your hair, or at least whatever hair your child has not pulled out already, because you can’t remember what it is to pee without a toddler wailing outside the bathroom door; also the feeling of early arthritis in your wrists due to carrying a toddler in one arm, while you perform all basic household duties with the other; also having mixed feelings of gratitude to be loved so whole-heartedly, happiness to be needed so fiercely, and sadness because you will likely never be needed this badly ever again (See figures below for visual aide).

Fig. 1: The BurrowIMG_2492when the anxiety is so strong your toddler actually attempts to burrow back into your womb.

Fig. 2: The Partial BurrowIMG_2669when the anxiety isn’t quite as strong, so your toddler only attempts to burrow her head back into your womb.

Fig. 3: The Full Leg WrapIMG_2462when the use of both legs are needed, thereby immobilizing the parent.

Fig. 4: The Partial Leg WrapIMG_2866only one leg is needed, thereby leaving the parent free to hobble around with the unoccupied limb.

Milestones and Memories: 12 Months

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Hello friends! I realize it’s been awhile, but we were lucky to have almost all of my family here to celebrate Esmé’s first birthday. The past couple weeks have been spent soaking up as much time with them as I could. As such our last monthly update is a couple weeks late, just like all the others ;). Here’s what she’s been doing now that she is 12 months old.

-She has 10 teeth, two of which are her top first molars.

-She can stand on her own now!

-She is not walking on her own, but she has started to walk with her walking toys finally! She really has only been playing with all the lights and buttons on the front of them before now, so we are very excited about this development.

-She will now shake her head ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ She has a preference for shaking her head ‘no.’

-She can now sign for ‘milk,’ ‘please,’ ‘more,’ ‘all done,’ and ‘eat.’ She also recognizes certain phrases like: bath time, where she will point her hand up above her head because we go ‘up-up’ (the stairs) to get there; or if you tell her to ‘stretch’ she puts both arms up by her head; and Nana taught her how to say ‘WOW’ in whispered wonder, while motioning wide with her hand.

-She still loves her Little Gym class. She gets very excited when she sees other babies and shrieks with delight! Her favorite thing to do is to bounce on the spring board that they have, and she has also learned how to bounce on her own when she’s holding on to a piece of furniture. Daddy, Grandpa, Auntie Bees, and Nana have all had the pleasure of going to class with her.

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-She now drinks regular milk, and has had peanut butter! Her first time eating peanut butter she was very excited, but now she enjoys throwing the crackers with peanut butter on them onto the floor, spread-side down, much more. She really wants to feed herself with a spoon, and is getting more and more frustrated if I try to stop her from dipping her hands into her yogurt bowls. Please pray for Mommy as we go through this very, horribly messy stage of learning to self-feed.

-She has learned to snuggle! Probably my proudest accomplishment yet, although it’s mostly with a blanket/pillow and not so much people. We’re working on it. She will throw herself down, head first and say ‘MMmmmmm!’ when you tell her to snuggle. You can see her playing with her favorite blankie here.

-She has also been to the park a few times now and, in addition to eating sand, swinging is now a favorite past time.

Somehow my child managed not just to survive, but thrive. We made it one whole year without ever getting sick, other than figuring out our food allergies in the beginning. She has been to four different states other than the one we live in. She has been on a plane twice. She has been on four road trips, and she has met family and friends who live half-way around the world.

She teaches me every day about what it means to be patient, how to love, how to feel joy, and how to see magic in every little thing. I truly believe we won the baby-lottery. We have this amazing daughter, who has the ability to bring happiness to everyone around her, and we couldn’t be more grateful.