We rise by lifting others up10:24:00 AM
I am in a funk. A real deep, overwhelming stinky pool of funk. Most know I love to joke about my threenager. In all honesty it is super funny and I do plan on making a book of her antics to give to her one day. But the part that has me hunched over in gut wrenching pain with tears streaming down my face is that she has started to have separation anxiety whenever she leaves my side. She never had it when she was younger, like my others went through. But this started about a month ago.
Being that Olivia is the last and final chapter to the Rust series I spend every waking minute with her by my side. She LOATHES going anywhere (which is a real downer for me as I LOVE to go places) so we spend 99% of our moments at home. We tried Gymboree Play and Music. She hated it. We tried art classes, she LOVED them but didn't want to go anymore. Um. OK. We do a lot of craft time, cuddling, cooking and movies. We play Our Loving Family Dollhouse, Trolls and babies. She is my pint sized companion for everything, even when I assist in classes or teach art at the school.
This is a kid who is spunky, sassy, charismatic, fun, loving, sweet and spicy. It's a battle to get her to go to her class at church on Sunday with some of her most favorite people in the universe. I struggle to get her moving in the morning so we can take her brother and sisters to school. THEN she wants me to carry her everywhere. My husband actually joked, "so will you give up the Tula when she turns 5?!" as my arms get so tired I will throw her on my back or on my front (although she is getting so tall I can't see where I am walking when I carry her on the front!). My body hurts. I am a walking talking five foot nothing and by the end of the day I am beat. You would think I would have some super muscular arms and legs. Tight abs and incredible looking legs by now. Seriously? I lost my boobs from breastfeeding and everything else still wiggles.
The newest thing that started about a month ago is "I not wanna go to school today." Uh, well...sorry Charlie but this is the only 2 hours 2x a week that mama can actually have a brain to herself and somewhat feel like a person again. We added in this thing called Lunch and Fun. All of my crew has done it and they LOVE it. Including Liv! She has seriously raved about it. Until recently, she cries in transition from school to go to her after school lunch and play. She is fine a little bit after they get her there but she starts out sobbing. I have to PEEL her out of her car seat to drop her at school. Like, she grips onto me and doesn't want to leave me. She cries, she screams and it is awful. I leave the school in tears. I stay strong while I am with her...but leave and turn into a puddle.
This late onset separation stuff is killing me.
She won't let anyone else help her. My husband tries to help and tries to take over. She just screams, cries and gets hysterical. She won't let her siblings help her instead we hear "NO! MOMMY DO IT." I have to do it all from wiping her bum, feeding her, calming her, buckling her, dressing her. Bedtime she used to be amazing. Now she comes out every 10 minutes, "Mommy I thirsty." "Mommy I need to go potty." "Mommy, one more hug." seriously they excuses go on and then repeat! I have to lay her down, I have to tuck her in. I have to re-tuck her in and this pattern continues.
Advice I have been given has been:
You should spend more quality time with her alone. - GREAT idea, why hadn't I thought of this? OH wait, I already do this EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF MY DAY! To the extent my other 3 are feeling left out and in need of mama time too.
Maybe you should just cut some of her extra's out, they are only little for a very short time. - Let's lay on the mama guilt even more. This one always makes me run off in tears. So, give in to her never wanting to leave my side. Have no time what so ever to myself. EVER. Cut out bible study and the time that I get to be present for my other 3 kids or even spend time working since I DO own a business and work from home. I know she is only little for a very short time, but please also know that mama needs a few hours of sanity to recollect and become a better mama. Otherwise...mama is gonna snap.
Why don't you have someone else take over? - Yep, been there try this daily! Seriously my oldest is a saint and continuously trying to help us and take one for the team. I never knew a 3 year old could have so much rage within them!
I did finally talk to the doctor. It is common for children to have separation anxiety at 9-10 months, Preschool age and sometimes reoccuring again later. She said to continue doing what I am doing. DO NOT give in and remove her from things as she needs to learn it will be OK. This phase can last anywhere from weeks to a few months and continually reassure her that I will be back. I was given the OK to try melatonin at night. But the night time pattern is also a part of the separation anxiety. She told me I am not insane. That I am doing it the right way and I am NOT screwing up my kid.
No one ever mentions that you could go through this later in life. I always thought it was a baby thing. We need more people building one another up. Giving hugs, offering hope and encouragement and saying "OH honey, it WILL be OK!" The best thing I heard came from a complete stranger in the doctor's office "YOU are doing everything right. DON'T GIVE UP. Keep going." I always assumed by #4 I would have this parenting thing down. Just goes to show you each individual is different and beautifully unique in their own way. Some are just a tad bit harder to handle than others. I lift my coffee up to you today as I fight back my eyelids drooping and force some energy into my veins! Motherhood is not for the weak. Go out there and be awesome!