Experiencing A Clingy Toddler

I should have known right from the very beginning that this girl was going to be trouble. She was trouble, right from the moment she left the safety of my womb and nothing has eased since. P3 is a very unusual character and she’s been an interesting one to get to know.

 P3 has a personality only to be described as Jekyll and Hyde. Literally in seconds she can be so happy, then turn to a blubbering wreck for a few minutes or more, then randomly switch off again and be happy. She’ll ask for a bottle of milk or juice, then push it or throw it away when you give it to her, only to cry because she wants it.

What’s even worse than the mood swings is the way she reacts to people. Absolutely anybody, including family members she knows well. She will blow raspberries although I describe it as spitting without the actual spit, and tell them “no”. This happens if a child gets too close to her, too close to me, if someone speaks to her nicely, says hello or does something she’s not happy with. That part you’d sort of expect but the nice things are super embarrassing for me. I always have to apologise and laugh it off that she’s a little unsociable.

She’s a complex character. We learn new things about her and we adapt to her ever changing wants and demands much quicker than we used to. It used to drive us crazy with frustration and I honestly think this all stemmed from when she was born. It’s a part of who she is and not something she’s learning as such. She used to cry for hours as a baby and we’d be exhausted trying to figure out what was wrong, only for her to just stop and be content again.

I baby wore her a lot as a baby. It helped to settle her and keep her content for as long as possible. But it created a bond between us that is unbreakbable and much stronger than I’ve experienced with all my girls. Now don’t get me wrong, I love that we are closer than close but lately this strength has felt quite heavy. 

My hubby’s Aunt told us that P3 reminded her of hubby as a child. Forever attached to his mum’s hip or if not very close by. I hadn’t really noticed, well that’s a lie I had. If P3 is sad, she wants me and nobody else but me. If she is tired, she wants me. But his Aunt is right, she is with me pretty much every second of every single day. But recently it’s gone to a new extreme. 

I can’t wash up without my little shadow by my side. I can’t pee without her wanting to be upstairs too. When we go to playgroup, she sits by my side the entire time. If we go out she wants to be held by me. If I’m working at the computer she has to be sat on my lap. I’ve become exhausted by her and I feel guilty that I feel this way. 

Love is so strong. P3 loves me and I am her protector but the clingyness is literally wearing me down. I feel suffocated by her every day which is awful. I’m not somebody who enjoys being touched continuously. I need my space to feel sane and being a mum of three, it’s hard to get those moments of space. Add in a very touchy feely child and I do feel pretty inprisoned. 

I’ve googled these personality traits and habits, I know I shouldn’t. I suppose because I’m aware of my brother being on the autism spectrum, my eldest daughter heading along the diagnosis of being autistic, that I’m very aware that P3 is showing strong symptoms herself. But at the moment we are embracing her fiery personality and learning to adapt to her accordingly.

This means I have to accept that I am her biggest need. I am the one who gives her everything and really, I should be proud of that. She is such a funny, loving little girl and when she’s in a good mood she’s the best company to have. But I’m sure the days of being my little shadow are numbered and I’m sure before long she’ll be breaking apart from me. Have you had experience of extreme separation problems?

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15 comments

  1. As I was reading this I could really see some similarities between her & my little man. He has Autism, it was very clear from an early age as he’s pretty severe with some very complex developmental, communication & sensory issues. I can’t do anything without him such as pee, but that’s more for his own safety so I completely understand where you’re coming from not having any time to yourself x

  2. [email protected]

    I totally understand how hard it is but having been there I can tell you it was just a phase for my two x x

  3. Yes I’m going through this at the moment with my youngest. It’s such a struggle. I can’t even pee alone x

  4. I find that autism pops up at a lot of google searches. Having a son on the spectrum I can assure you he wasnt clingy in the slightest…
    I think your little one just loves her Mummy x

  5. My little lady (now about to turn 9) was very clingy and no one else would do, and she was so shy to go with it. This was right up until she started school at 4.5 years. One month there and I hardly recognised her personality. She’s now very happy, extremely outgoing, and doesn’t stop talking and full of confidence……so she suddenly changed 🙂 It was hard whilst she was like it for those 4.5 years but she eventually found her confidence 🙂

    • This is what happened to my middle daughter with preschool. She’s so confident but used to be very timid. I literally cannot wait to see if the same happens for P3 this September when she starts preschool!

  6. Aw sounds like you are going through a tough phase. These things don’t usually last long so I hope it passes quickly xx

  7. I only have one daughter and went back to work part-time when she was 8 months so she had to be apart from me. Probably why she’s never been clingy. She’s 5 now and can go from happy one minute, to tears over something the next, then happy as Larry again!

    • That’s interesting you’ve said that because my eldest wasn’t clingy either and she went into child care environments when I went to work when she was 10 months old. Yet my middle daughter was quite clingy until she went to preschool much later!

  8. it is funny how you know how different your kids will be right from the start. The same with my youngest daughter. But like you say, it won’t last forever so just embrace it and go with the flow 🙂 x

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