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