Separation Anxiety

I knew this time was coming, but I didn’t expect it to manifest itself in this way.

Finn is finally going through his separation anxiety phase.

I saw the other kiddos go through it a bit here and there, but it passes quickly. It’s usually accompanied with some ‘stranger danger’ fears, which I’m seeing as well in him. It’s certainly time for him to experience this, as he’s 8 ½ months old, and crawling expertly. I’ve found in kids that, when they develop a new skill or learn to experience more of the world in one way or another, they go through a ‘fear period.’ I believe we go through these our entire lives, really, as we encounter new experiences or learn more about ourselves than we knew before. You hear people say things like “it’s fun, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time.”

That’s exactly what these babies are going through when they have these anxieties. They’re proud of themselves for learning a new skill and want to explore new things, but at the same time, they learn that they are vulnerable in a new way. I can pull myself up to stand, but I can fall and hurt myself too. I can crawl away from Mommy, but she can leave me and go someplace where I can’t find her again. And learning these things are exciting, but scary.

So Finn is going through all that now, as he becomes a proficient crawler and tries to walk. Since he’s with me nearly 24/7, I worried that he would become very anxious when I leave. But it’s not me that he’s worried about. Nor is it Daddy, who leaves for work before he’s up.

It’s the kids.

I thought it was just ‘stranger danger’ when Finn would start crying when the kids’ grandfather showed up. Yet, he doesn’t cry when the same guy brings them in, in the morning. Eventually we put two and two together and realized that he didn’t want the kids to leave. Yesterday, in fact, all they had to do was yell “Papa’s here!” and the poor little guy became inconsolable.  It was pathetic.

Meanwhile I’m over here like “what am I? Chopped liver??” But I get it. Those big kids are his buddies and pals. They play with him, give him hugs, and keep him out of trouble (more or less). I would probably cry too! They’re his friends, and he’s too little to understand why they disappear at night.

So for now I just have to rock him and do my best to reassure him that they’ll be back.

Then hand him to Daddy. He can be his friend in the evenings! Mommy has dinner to make!

 

How do you handle your kids’ (or your own!) fear periods?

 

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