Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I really hope this is a once-off event

Today I had a hectic day at work.

I still have a long to-do list but I was proud of myself for leaving (even though I was twitching at the thought of those items. do you twitch when you have a long to-do list?) and going for a massage AND a workout with Kyle.

(I skipped Friday's session because I felt like my body was starting to get sick).

So, driving home, I was all relaxed and the good kind of sore, and I made an evening to-do list at the traffic lights.

And then I got home.

My children were SO GLAD to see me and we had some fun for a bit until they had to go sleep.

The wailing then started.

Connor screamed and screamed, "Mama, Mama, Mama".

(imagine that over and over and over again, in a little boy's voice, shrieked at a really loud volume)

(then imagine his sister also starting to cry, this time in sympathy - they love doing the twin crying thing)

I went in, picked him up, calmed him down and as I was putting him down again (my hands holding him over the cot, his feet still suspended in the air), he starts the screaming again.

D then had a bash.

And so it continued.

We left him for a bit and it would quiet for maybe 2 minutes before he started again.

Gosh, 30 minutes is long when the screaming is that intense.

I needed to cook supper, bake sweet potato muffins (new recipe) and write my newsletter so delegated the Connor-monitoring to D.

Eventually I twigged.

Maybe he keeps screaming for me because he missed me.

Yesterday I left at 12:20 (mid-day) for the photo workshop, saw them for a minute as our cars passed one another at 6:30 pm and then I had 40 minutes with them this morning before I had to go to work.

He is a quality time child so I thought, "okay, let's see if this love languages stuff works".

I broke all my rules and fetched him out of the bedroom to come sit at the kitchen table with me and chat while I finished cooking supper, packing lunch, etc. (my normal evening routine).

D was Mr Cranky Pants about this - he is even more rigid than I am sometimes - but I'd read a beautiful blog today about cherishing the moments and other such inspiring cheesy things and so I said to D, "what is the alternative to the bedtime antics ? not having a gorgeous, cuddly boy? I'll take some extra hugs and cuddles any day".

I think I convinced him. At least a little bit.

Connor then came to play with puzzles in the study while D and I had our supper (our dining room is right outside their bedroom and we didn't want his jabbering waking Kendra - we don't normally eat in the study).

Eventually at around 9, I asked him if he was ready to go sleep. He looked up with those big, brown eyes and told me he wanted milk which in Connor-speak, is "yes, please, I'm ready to go to bed now".

Another rule broken but hey, 100 ml of milk never killed anyone.

So off he went to bed with his little love tank full.


D says it could also be a new separation anxiety thing because yesterday and today (D took the day off to recover from the long weekend!), Kendra would not let him out of her sight and apparently had some crying fits at SIL's house.

So my question to you, is there a separation anxiety thing that happens around 20 months?

PS I know I still need to blog part 3 of the love languages. It was on my list for tonight until this happened and now I'm off to bed, one hour past computer cut-off.


  1. I think separation anxiety can happen at any time really. Every kid is different, and has their own preferences. It also could be the approaching 'terrible twos' (which are never that terrible to me) but in my opinion it is a stage where they know more than they can express, and that frustrates them.

  2. Aw, poor, sweet little Connor! It probably is a separation anxiety thing, or just an off night. Maybe he just needed some snuggles! A & M moved to a slightly later bedtime around 20-21 months, which caused a few rough nights until we got our rhythm back on track. They sleep later in the mornings now, which is awesome.

  3. Could be - if he is an intense "schedule" child - and love language is "time" and he's not seen a lot of you ... yes, he could be feeling it big time. Little ones have a hard time realizing that a change in routine is temporary, and some have a much harder time than others.

    My Kendra - I could go anywhere and do anything I wanted. Her schedule was (and still is) as flexible as the wind. Which considering the stress levels at our house over the years ... has made her an excellent biggest child out here. Her primary love language is Words of Affirmation - I'm pretty sure, and so is she, closely followed by touch.

    Vannan - schedule was EVERYTHING and so was Time / (and acts of service as she gets older) - she is a LOT like Connor. Changing her schedule even for Sunday was enough to make her clingy for 2 or 3 days. Vacations and hospital stays, she seemed to do better - maybe because she had us with her full time. She's a Moma's girl. But somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3, she began to understand weekend routines (go to church) and enjoy the people in the nursery. But she still is very clingy at 13 - just in different ways.

    Joel was a lot like Kendra - except his love language is snuggling/touch. You can change his schedule, bring in a new face - and he's happy as a lark. Momma's boy - he DOES have to check in with Moma at least by phone at least once a day when out and about.

    LaRue ... verdict is still out. Schedule for sure. Doesn't like people. But I've not pinned down her love language yet. She's not a snuggler, unless she is sick, hurt, or tired. But it has been such a long time since I read the book - will have to read it again.

    Separation anxiety can happen at any age - but tends to be worse in some kids than other. Not responding to their fears can really crush a little one - they don't fully understand why they feel this - they just do. On the other hand, some kids can use it to manipulate the parents - whining or screaming to get their way.

    Next time, pre-empt the power struggle, by putting Kendra down first, and keeping Connor up in another room, make it your decision to "spend time with him" and not a response to his wails. Then after spending the 1on1 time with him (an hour or so) with lots of talking and chatting with him, then tell him it is time for him to go to bed, and put him to bed like normal.

    Watch for rubbing eyes cues, drop in responsiveness - clues that he is ready to sleep. His time love tank will be filled - and he'll probably sleep soundly.

    But only do it on days that he's not gotten to be with you or when you have been gone more than normal for several days - lest it become a "bad habit" of wanting to always stay up past Kendra.

    Maybe you could tell him, "I missed my Connor time, so we're going to have it now." He won't completely understand now - but over time, he will understand it is because YOU want to spend time with him that YOU missed, and the decision was YOURS and not his - and bedtime should be far less of a problem on the normal nights.

  4. Aw...poor C! Hayley is going through a separation anxiety stage...wanting to be held by me (and me only) all the time and crying when I walk out the room at night when I put them to bed. *sigh* My heart breaks! Like it broke this morning when I left and she was crying for me. :(

  5. Actually when I read about your busy times just lately I wondered to myself why you weren't building a little storm for yourself at home!!! and here it is!!! Our little kids need us to breathe, we love that about them except when we have insane deadlines, they love it all the time!!! Occasionally we will have our youngest child up (who ever that is) nights for a spell. They aren't sick or anything, they just need some quiet and calm and generally we can get on with our evening with them popped on the couch with a book or happily playing with a toy. As soon as they start to get grumpy or just hopping about I know it is time to sleep. Sometimes they can do it three nights in a row, sometimes once a month... but it happens a handful of times and I like the peaceful time with them just pottering in my space while I am getting done - rather that than screaming the house down and keeping everyone else awake!!!

  6. Firstly, I keep writing long comments and then it tells me it can't complete my request. Hope it's just a once-off. From what I remember your 2 go to bed really early so maybe try and move their bedtime closer to 7pm and then they can spend a bit more time with you in the evenings. Hope this comment goes through.

  7. Separation anxiety can happen of different stages and is different to each child. I've seen it with my two. Not one of them was on exactly the same time in their lives. Sounds a lot like separation anxiety. I think you did a good job in letting him out of the bed to spend some time with him. I do that my my children (whichever one needs it) just like you :)

  8. I remember this...and it sucked! He'll get over if you're consistent and calm.

    I love the word "twigged." I have a feeling that I "twig" more than is acceptable.

  9. The girls definitely have separation anxiety but it is only with DH. I can always leave them, I guess they see me enough, but let him leave and the Daddy tears begin.

    I can usually handle it, tears don't bother me too much. Although a day full of sympathy tears does leaving me twitch. I wish you could reason with babies sometimes. They've recently discovered how to call Daddy on my phone, so talking to him during the day has seemed to help a bit.

  10. Gosh, I think there is at any age and stage!

  11. Nicola goes through phases of anxiety all the time. One day she's perfectly fine to do her own thing, have a cuddle and then go to bed without any hassles at the right time, then without warning she'll have a hellish day of not wanting to be put down at all, whining non stop about everything and fighting bed time (sometimes for up to three hours before passing out from exhaustion!).

    I figure she's only going to be small once, and she's a little human with her own goings on. Maybe she just had a really crap day and wants some extra love? I try to give her the extra comfort when she needs it without it becoming a habit, because some things I really can't do with one hand and the tantrum pitch is enough to explode my head, so I don't want her coming to the conclusion that it's the moan that gets the best result either.

  12. David has separation anxiety daily! If he knows I'm home and Rehema is here, he will bang down my door til I come out. He wails up a storm when I don't bath him and she does. She leaves at 6 so for a whole hour before bed we spend time together... just in each other's space. He watches TV and I cook or sit with him and feed the baby. It's a very special hour. I don't care if we end up eating at 8pm, as sometimes Keith gets in at 7pm and also wants to spend time with David before he goes to bed. so we're quite flexible with him. The 7pm bedtime is a guideline but we smudge that boundary a lot and I feel fine with it as he needs his 'love' time.


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