Around 10 months, Bean began showing signs of separation anxiety aka stranger danger to the extent that we hit Stage 5 Clinger levels! Sure, it felt good to have him snuggle and hold on to me, but of course the downside is I can’t be with him ALL the time. Whether it was putting him down for a nap, leaving his room at bedtime, or even leaving for work…screaming and crying commenced. It was tough…like late to work, mom crying in the car tough. So what magically happens at this time that causes a perfectly sweet little boy to turn into a Stage 5 Clinger?
Simple…object permanence. Yes, I’m dusting off my Child Development textbook today (or my BabyCenter app). Object permanence is when baby begins to understand that objects (people included) continue to exist even when they’re not present. Why would Mommy want to exist anywhere but here with me? Cue the tears! What helped?
Well, I created goodbye routines to prepare him for my departure. This isn’t anything lengthy because let’s face it, I’m usually already late as is. For us, I make sure I give him kisses and tell him how much I love him and wave goodbye as I exit. I also replicate this routine at nap time and bedtime before placing him in the crib. It took a few weeks, but he seems secure that Mommy will indeed return for all the hugs and kisses…and milk.
With that said, I have been suffering with some clingy behavior as well, so let’s talk about it. I have some awesome new parent friends that are taking a trip in July to Jamaica. When we were invited, I hit stage 5 Clinger status just thinking about being away from my Bean. I’ve never been away from Bean overnight and no further than an hour drive at any given time. Who’s the clinger now?! I’m working on it…so much that I can confidently state that I’ve made a huge step in booking our first vacation since having Bean. There were no tears involved (not yet anyway). It won’t be in July…in fact, he’ll be 18 months by the trip. This is a huge step for me. It’ll be our 4 year anniversary and we’ll be celebrating our friends getting married! Did someone say two for one?!
How did you deal with being away from your little one for the first time?