Posts Tagged separation anxiety

Terrific twos: I can see why some choose to have a litter or none at all

This morning, while holding his butt, Jack looked at me square in the face and said, “Aw mannnnnn. I pooped.”

Motherhood rocks.

I really, truly mean that.

While doing laundry a few days ago at my parents house a few weeks ago, I vividly remembered the days leading up to Jack’s arrival. That sweet “new baby” smell of Dreft, the detergent that my mom keeps stocked specifically for the little guy, made me all nostalgic for when I was hugely pregnant and dutifully washed every little baby item and sat in my big blue chair to fold one-by-one afterward.

Now, randomly, when I find one of those teeny tiny socks, small enough to fit a doll, lingering in the sock basket, it’s so hard to believe that he was once that small.

Today, he’s able to call beer, “mama and dada juice” and say even more awesome phrases like, “oops, poo poo.”

Nothing makes me beam with pride other than my 2-year old passing gas in public and announcing to everyone within ear shot “oops, poo poo.” hahaha.

Seriously, how did all of ——this—— happen so quickly? One minute I’m arranging tiny baby socks, the next minute he’s telling me where to find the socks.

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I haven’t done a full-on update since 18 months, so before I forget, I thought it’d be a good time to share what’s going on with our big boy.

At Jack’s 2 year well baby visit, he weighed in at 29 lbs, putting him in the 75th percentile; measured at 35 in., which is the 95th percentile and his head circumference measured at 51 cm, the 90th percentile. Because he’s grown taller and not really wider, he’s still in 24m and 2T. For some shirts, he’s wearing 3T already and a few of the very cool shirts that Auntie Kris has bought for birthdays.

Our tall, big-headed healthy boy continues to grow like a weed. On some days, he eats like a wild animal, begging for food every hour on the hour, there are days where he’d subsist on cereal alone. For the most part, he’s a decent eater, but there are times where he protests new foods, and even food that he loves. He’s a typical toddler in that sense. He loves carrots and snacky sort of foods like Kashi crackers and Earth’s Best Letter cookies. He still loves condiments and demands “dip” with almost every meal. Apple slices dipped in ranch probably won’t be the weirdest combination I’ll see this kid eat!

Jack is very much a little boy in every sense of the word. He runs, jumps and dives head first into everything. He can turn anything into a trampoline or jungle gym, especially my back and daddy’s shoulders. He really has no fear. He’s so friendly and lovey, he has no problem making friends, especially if the kids are much older like his cousins. He calls any teenage girl “Ashley,” and tween blonde boy “Michael” or “Brandon” and any girl is “Britney.” He looooves his big cousins. In fact, over the weekend, when we attended Jeff’s coworker’s wedding, Jeff’s boss’ sister in law watched Jack. The sister in law has a 12 year old blonde son who, we think, saved the day! He was pure entertainment for Jack and was most certainly a good sport for entertaining a 2 year old all day. As for the little kids, I really wish we had more little friends that we could hang out with daily. Jack has one little buddy who is 2 months younger than him that he adores, but we only see him at the park. With my busy schedule and intermittent events and activities, it’s hard to keep up with the stay at home moms and kids in the area. We do, however, make it a point to try and hang out at the park twice a day. It’s our social life, physical outlet and our backyard.
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Jack’s vocabulary continues to surge. Starting around the time we went to Hawaii, we noticed Jack becoming so much more verbal and expressive. He loved saying hello and goodbye to all the fellow tourists. He’s still at the phase where it’s somewhat hard for others to understand, so I’m usually translating everything he’s saying. He sometimes gets frustrated when others don’t understand him, but we’re all getting there. He still uses some signs to get his point across; for instance, he doesn’t verbally say thank you, only signs it. My favorite things he says now are when he says “oh mannnn!” when something doesn’t work out the way it’s supposed to; or when he says “ooooooooh” with the inflection like a light bulb went off, after I explain something to him. “Uh oh poo poo” is, undoubtedly, the funniest thing he’s said to date!

As outgoing and friendly as Jack is, for the past month or so, he’s been having the worst time with separation anxiety. I’ve talked about it candidly before, but it really is so heartbreaking and troublesome. I love that he loves me so much, but it’s so tough to work through the tears and uncontrollable fits of rage when I leave or a babysitter comes around. Based on his latest babysitter experience, I think he’s finally starting to come around.

Sleep habits that were once so golden and wonderful are officially gone. He no longer signs to go to bed and falls asleep on his own, instead he wages a war when we mention bed or crib. We’ve yet to convert his crib to the toddler bed simply because we know our kid. I know he’ll roam around the house and find every last crumb from his last snack, instead of sleep. I think that we’ll convert soon though. For now, every night is a battle and there’s no regularity like there used to be. He sleeps well until 8am every day, but getting him to actually sleep in the spot that’s meant for him? Yeah, we haven’t found the tactic that works yet.

My buddy is 2
Just as there are good days, there are the really, really shitty days. That same day of the luncheon where I spent most of the time in the childcare room, the rest of the evening went from bad to worse. Jack kept melting down, I kept getting frustrated and things just never looked up. I remember crying and telling Jeff that it was days like those that I don’t think I could physically or emotionally handle another kid. Like when Jack was having a really tough time w/ his molars and the time in change, at least my entire family was there to somewhat help. It’s so much harder when it’s just us two every.single.day. It’s not that Jack is a bad kid, I just don’t have a handle on things enough to balance it all on my own AND to add another one just yet. For those who have no family or friends nearby, I’m sure you know what I mean. Not every day is a cake walk and that lack of support makes me go crazier every day.

Although, the unsolicited hugs, kisses and endless “mama!!??” just to hear me respond, those never get old. Thankfully, we have more good days to overshadow those shitty days. Because, as imperfect but as lovable that our little guy is, I can’t WAIT to see what he’ll be like as a big brother…when that day finally comes around.

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Weathering through the working woes

From beginning to end, this week marked one of the most tumultuous, yet fulfilling weeks I’ve ever had.

Our guy turned 2 on Sunday.  We traveled way more than we could physically handle for the sake of others.  We welcomed another month of crazy, busy activities and events.  I attended a lovely event, but my experience was clouded by Jack’s awful, AWFUL  separation anxiety issues.  I checked out some of the hottest, coolest toys EVER and connected with so many interesting people (more on this to come and lots more info. can be read on NKT!) But best of all, my guys got to bond one on one for a change.

By the middle of the week, I was so blinded by exhaustion and frustration. After the event where Jack bawled uncontrollably for practically 2 hours in a swanky restaurant that I’d been dying to try and finally had the chance, much thanks to the luncheon I was invited to, I felt so defeated.  Instead of mingling with people, all of whom were just as passionate or interested in this brand of products, my job as a mom came first.

Jack, for some reason, can’t shake this separation anxiety spell.  He cries his little eyes out, his nose runs, his little round face gets all red and he hyperventilates…until I come back.  I know it’s a temporary phase, but it certainly doesn’t make the present any less painful.

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As a family who tries to juggle life without any family nearby, surviving on one predictable salary while I build the foundation for another, when I’m invited to a media or blogger event, I have no choice but to be selective.  It’s always an honor to be invited to events, though we can’t always swallow the expense of babysitters, plus the cabs and trains.  (Let’s put it this way, most nannies and babysitters make just as much as I did when I was still working as an editor; hence one of the reasons why I went freelance.)  So this particular event, because it was a brand that our family loves, was one event that I couldn’t wait to attend.  The fact that they offered childcare was an added perk.  Awesome right?

Yeah, not so much when your kid insists on being attached to your leg, for fear of being abandoned.

Is this separation anxiety my fault for choosing to work from home?  Are we to blame for visiting Va. more often than our bodies and emotions can handle (and saying goodbye way too enough, thus disrupting his normal routines?)

I choose to believe that it’s just another phase that we’ll weather through…

Whatever the reason might be, Jack’s crying and outbursts made another little boy cry, too.  Frickin’ fabulous, I thought.  Jack’s just barely on the cusp of understanding cause and effect, but he most certainly did not grasp why mommy wanted to leave him in a strange room filled with little kids with 2 unfamiliar adults.

Jack cried loud enough for a room full of executives, members of the press and bloggers, like me to hear.  I can’t say I was embarrassed—he’s my kid for crying out loud.  I will say that I was annoyed at the people who rolled their eyes or mouthed snarky comments about the crying kid.  MY kid.  It was then that I second-guessed myself for even attending, what I thought was, an event celebrating one of the best companies that embrace greener lifestyles and raising organic kids.

It was almost surreal that my mostly organically and green-grown child was like a misfit because he couldn’t stand being away from me.

At one point, understandably, I was asked to go tend to him because he was So LOUD.  Perhaps, they couldn’t hear the taping of speeches or hear the slideshow in the midst of his terror-filled cries?

And so, I spent most of my afternoon in the childcare room feeling isolated, bitter and left out.

As a friend later told me, I was being harder on myself and more critical of the situation than others were.  eh…maybe.  But from the glares that I felt that I was getting, it definitely felt much different.

My kid was crying a lot.  I should have left altogether.  Problem was, the base of our stroller was on the OTHER side of the room, like the side I couldn’t access because there was a podium and audience separating us.  So, I spent most of the event in the childcare room, missing a majority of what I trekked there for in the first place.

Lesson learned.

My feelings, experiences and thoughts in NO WAY reflect the company or publicists.  I’m quite appreciative for the aforementioned, but honestly, hurt by a few of my peers who made me feel uncomfortable for being a mother that day.  My friends who kept me company that afternoon?  Yeah, they rocked…especially when I couldn’t get our giant stroller in and out of yet another logistically impossible and stroller-unfriendly establishment.

In the end, I’m just another mom trying to make it work.  I got the information we needed, enjoyed bites of a lovely lunch and made it home unscathed.  This wasn’t the first stroller-schlepping and tear-filled outing.  My guess is that it won’t be the last.  It’s all in a day’s work of this blogging/writing/reporting mama.

Next time, I’ll rethink my choices. (Do I decline the childcare and get my own sitter?  Do I figure out a way to break this separation anxiety spell?) But today, even after all the tears and stroller-schleeping,  I’m glad I know how to handle (or NOT to handle) the next chaotic situation.  Seriously, the thought of multiple children in this city-living, event-attending realm gives me night tremors.  But that’s a whole different post.

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