Have you heard of children experiencing separation anxiety? I have but I’ve never truly experienced it until now. To be honest I think it’s been creeping upon us for a while. I first witnessed the terror myself when P2 panicked and cried because she couldn’t see me amongst the mummy’s on the playground. I had her in complete view but she clearly didn’t see me. Then it happened again recently at the toddler group we go to, she’d stood their really upset crying when I was just sat behind her. She obviously lost sight of me when I went to sign in.
But it’s not me that is the main problem. It’s not hubby’s fault by all means, he hasn’t done anything differently to normal, it’s just a phase that she’s going through. A very tiring, demanding and challenging stage. Separation anxiety has consumed P2!
Last Friday hubby had spontaneously said we’d head to the park. I got everybody ready and waiting at the door when hubby had needed to do something quickly. He said he’d catch us up. We explained everything to P2 and started walking to the park. P2 cried the whole way there, saying over and over again “I want Daddy. I want to go home”. I honestly didn’t think much of it at the time but gradually this week things have got much worse.
At Gymboree, she wanted to leave early to go home to Daddy. At toddler playgroup she cried asking for Daddy, although crying at this group is completely normal. She’s been going with hubby on the school runs. Following him to the toilet. Going to help him get food from the freezer. Practically shadowing him. It all sounds quite normal when I write it down, we’d laughed saying how cute it was that she loved her daddy so much but today’s events made me realise just how bad things actually are.
Thursday’s playgroup is the best. P2 usually bounds in full of energy and fun. We’ll do the messy activity first, then play with the playdoh, toy food and then tidy up ready for some songs. Granted, the songs aren’t her favourite part but she’s beginning to join in. We then head to the park for a few minutes before going home.
Today was different. She’d asked hubby to come but he needed to do some work so agreed to meet us when it finished and come to the park. P2 seemed ok with that. The whole walk was echoed by “I want Daddy” “daddy come to park”. When we got there she was reluctant to play. She did one splodge of paint on the paper and walked away. There was no enthusiasm to play at all. It was sad.
Then she asked to go home. We’d only been there 20 minutes of the short hour that it runs for. I was devastated. Thursday groups are my favourite and I find them the friendliest bunch. I love the building and well, I didn’t want to go home. P2 sat cuddling me and refusing to play. She kept asking to see Daddy. I felt awful. So we Facetimed Hubby to ask him to come to playgroup. P2 was an emotional wreck on the phone. Hubby agreed.
I told P2 to watch through the window for Daddy. It was my attempt to keep her occupied rather than crying her eyes out continuously. “daddy’s here. My daddy” shrieked P2. Her eyes pouring with tears of happiness. The emotion coming from her was tremendous. I nearly cried myself. She went running to the door and leapt into his arms.
She then began to join in, she went down the slide and sang all the songs. A completely changed little girl. She didn’t want to go in the park though and just wanted to go home with daddy. It’s such a hard phase to go through. As much as its adorable to know that she has such a close bond with hubby now that he works from home, it’s heart breaking to see her so distressed. Love is such a powerful thing no matter what the age but when your just two and a half it must be pretty scary.
Have you got any tips for dealing with separation anxiety? Please comment below.