Reverse Separation Anxiety Disorder

I am the guest over at Bees With Honey today. Pop on over to link up a post and meet other bloggers, or just learn a bit more about me.

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Friday’s “What the frak…?” moment (WTFM) is brought to you by………..

Reverse Separation Anxiety Disorder: Every parent has heard and lived through the dreaded separation anxiety phase babies and toddlers go through when you so callously left them without your presence. However, my children have often suffered through the reverse; they are perfectly fine until I dared to make them leave with me.

My children are not strangers to “being left behind”. I joined my gym when The Tackler was six months old and I feared never showering before 9 PM again or ever losing the baby weight.

It saved my sanity.

Not just the exercise part, which my body needed.

No, it was the glorious two hours allotted per day in the gym’s childcare.

Unless I am out of town, have sick children, or am on my “maternity leave”, I have used it every week, from three to seven times (during “lose baby weight” phase) a week. For four years now.

Lil Diva first went at three months, the youngest age they will take.

Both she and her brother love going there. It means kids, toys, computers, an indoor/outdoor playground, and movies.

They are used to being away from me.

Except for two months, between 19 and 21 months old, Lil Diva has always ran off happily to play.

Those two months were the evil separation anxiety phase.

Which I fully expected.

What I did not expect, are the times my children display the reverse.

They don’t want to leave with me.

They want to stay.

And play.

Lil Diva isn't checking out The Tackler's butt, but a plastic fish he threw into the small fountain/creek thingy at a park in Kansas City. She did not want to leave here either.

My happy, smiling, giggling children transform into screaming, tantrum ridden devils as I force them to leave these places of fun.

Case in point: Preschool (aka Mother’s Day Out) that both kids just started last Tuesday.

Day 1: Lil Diva runs off happily. She doesn’t cry. Once. The entire day.

Why do I never have days like that at home?

Then I pick her up as she runs to my arms, a huge grin. I hold her. She wants down. I try to escort her out to the car.

She runs away, back to the room.

When I pick her up again, she goes into the full body two year old wiggling tantrum as I try to keep from dropping her.

What the frak?

My charming Lil Diva vanished in an instant.

Day 2: She knows she’s going to school. She’s full of excitement, dancing around at the prospect. She insists on carrying her “backpack” (really her lunchbox). Her feet are light as she holds my hand from the parking lot to the path.

Then she turns on “Mommy don’t leave me” tears, but not until the last instant when we reach the wooden gate to the playground where the drop off point is. She stops minutes later. She does not cry again the rest of the day.

Until pick up. I get my brief moment of happy greeting.

Then the previous school day repeats itself, with the full body crying tantrum as I lug her out of the school.

A mother looks at me as I juggle her.

“It’s not the drop off she hates. It’s leaving,” I tell her.

Meanwhile The Tackler has been on his best behavior for his new school. He’s thrilled to go. He greets me happily when I arrive.

But when I dared pick him up at the gym’s childcare the other day?

He pulled a Lil Diva.

What the frak?

I wonder what next week will bring.

I’m sure my children will teach me something else that all the child rearing books never talked about.

Bring it.

What have your children taught you that made you think, “Why didn’t they write this in this in the What to Expect book?”


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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5 Responses to Reverse Separation Anxiety Disorder

  1. My daughter (my first child) was “What to Expect The First Year” to the letter. We could actually predict what milestone she would reach next by the chapter summaries alone. I’m not kidding. My son? Holy sh*t. My son has been the educational experience of my life. He had colic for a year. Yes, A YEAR. He walked at 10 months. He does everything his own way, in his own time, usually on his way to run into or fall off of something. “What to Expect” should be reduced to a single page containing the following words in 30 point Arial Bold: “Each child is different. Enjoy the ride!”

    Thanks for the chuckles! I am VERY familiar with the “I’m not leaving” flop and drop 🙂

    • Your son and The Tackler sound very much alike, particularly the “on his way to run into or fall off of something”…

      At least the flop and drop is a bit easier with Lil Diva, she weighs quite a bit less than The Tackler at this age.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  2. This is a great problem to have. We didn’t have the making strange/drop off anxiety stage either. Likely because (a) we have twins, and (b) half the population of Bangkok (including the Coca-cola delivery man, security guys, taxi drivers, hair stylists, waitresses, chefs) held our twins during the first 12 months of their life.

    Great post!

  3. Plain and simple. My children have taught me that I will never EVER be able to go to the bathroom by myself again. THAT wasn’t in What To Expect books! *hrumph*

  4. Melissa says:

    Oh I don’t know which is worse! Never being able to be away from them or never being able to get home with them. I am about to leave my 6 mo son for 39.25 hours to go to a wedding in Boston. I’m the one who’s losing it. I’m sure he’ll be fine. The meltdown will be all me.

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