My leg is made of velcro

At least, that’s how it seems.

I believe the technical term is Separation Anxiety. From what I’ve read, it is most common for babies to get upset when the parent leaves them with a care giver. Not with MJ. She’s totally cool with it when I leave her with her father or either set of grandparents. She’s even cool with the baby sitter. What she is NOT cool with is when she can see me and she’s not attached to my leg. This is particularly perplexing (not to mention frustrating) when I’m at Kung Fu.

Until recently I would bring MJ with me to Kung Fu on the days that the baby sitter could not make it for one reason or another. She was great. She loves the people there; I think I may have said that once or twice before. She would sit on the edge of the mat out of danger range and would play with her toys while watching Momma and laughing at the silly things I was doing.

No more.

Those carefree MJ days are gone. I’ve been in denial for the past few weeks because my baby sitter has been having scheduling issues and hasn’t been able to be available most Mondays.  I’m desperate to find a more reliable baby sitter, but that just isn’t as easy as it might sound.

MJ’s separation anxiety has been becoming increasingly more difficult to deal with. Although I’m no more than 3 feet away from her when she’s in the kung fu studio with me, she has taken to crying hysterically when she’s there. It’s not that anything is wrong with her, she’s just upset that she can see me and isn’t attached to my leg. One of the women who brings her daughter to a class at the same time I go has been thoughtful and kind enough to offer to keep MJ distracted while I’m otherwise occupied, but MJ is not easily distracted. She has the focus of 30mm… with high intensity zoom lens.  Not so with me. She starts whimpering (if I’m lucky) or crying (if I’m not) and I immediately forget what I’m doing and my head whips around to see if she is ok. Let me just say it is incredibly hard to practice forms or, worse yet, spar when one is not paying attention. And I can just forget instructor training when she is in velcro mode.

She does the same thing at home. Sometimes she will play happily by herself on the floor of her room while I sit in the glider. That is, she plays happily until she realizes that I am not on the floor with her (see my earlier post about being a baby jungle gym) then starts crying as she toddles (yup, that’s right, she’s a toddler) over to me and touches (read: grabs or rips at my hair) home base. Sometimes that’s not even enough. On those frequent occasions she needs me to pick her up into my lap before she’ll stop crying.

Of course, I don’t really mind it that she wants all this attention when I’m playing with her. However, cooking dinner is a new experience in frustration. If I allow MJ inside the baby gates, which has been hard not to do ever since she figured out how to open them*, she insists on standing on my feet (next to just isn’t nearly good enough) or trying to pull open the oven or dishwasher door. Not good.  But if I can manage to lock her out of the kitchen she hangs on bars of the gate wailing while simultaneously trying to open the lock or, at least, stick her legs through. Not pleasant and not easy to get anything done.

I know, I know.  This too shall pass, but from what I’ve read, it may take a year or more for that to happen.  I hold out hope that since she consistently demonstrates a sometimes infuriating independent streak (gee, I wonder where she gets that) this shall be a brief phase.  Don’t disillusion me.

*I have come to the conclusion that “baby proof” is a totally freaking misnomer. Nothing in this house is “baby proof” no matter how many locks or plugs or gates I’ve put up. MJ has successfully deciphered how to open the baby gates (mind you, her daddy still has trouble with those on occasion), how to lift tiolet seats with or without locks (in fact she has broken off more than one lock in her aim to lift the seat), she can bypass the lock on both the oven and the dishwasher doors, and she can open the drawers in her dresser regardless of the locks on them. I’m only thankful now that I had the foresight a few months back to wire all of the bookcases (and there are MANY) to the walls because she has started scaling them in her attempts to get to the things I have consistently raised to keep out of her reach.


~ by CableGirl on Friday, November 2, 2007.

9 Responses to “My leg is made of velcro”

  1. Ack! Punkin is like that in the mornings. I am not a morning person, so we always seem to be at odds with one another until about 10am

  2. Oh that stage lasts forever! I was having to carry around a very heavy 2 year old while coaching the kindergarten boys’ basketball team. Either that or have her screaming bloody murder in her dad’s lap. Or have him miss the boys playing basketball. So I coached with a big toddler getting a piggy back ride.

    Good luck! And find a new babysitter. Kung Fu is too important.

  3. Ah – my son was crafty like that in his earlier toddlerhood as well… he was forever freeing the dogs from their crates when we went to visit my brother.

    The thing I had the most luck with was indulging the little scientist with as many puzzle-like activities as I could. Shape-sorters, stacking buckets, simple wooden puzzles and giving him as much verbal praise for playing with them as I could while doing whatever I was trying to do. In the kitchen, I cleared out one cabinet that I left lock-free just for him, and put in things he could play with, which was endlessly fascinating to him. It’s hard (it’s still hard!) – but sometimes you can find a crazy balance of letting them think they are doing something totally adult-like and independent in a confined, safe enough way that you can sidestep the battle of the wills.

  4. Good luck on the velcro. Mine doesn’t hang on to my leg, he pushes me away from whatever I’m doing, hot stove, cutting board, whatever it is and look up at me until I pick him up. I don’t know how big of tv as babysitterfan but I have turned it on while I’m making dinner, just for my sanity.

  5. Mine has always been a bit of a clinger but we had two or so weeks of the really ridiculous stuff right before his birthday. That is tough with the babyproofing stuff. I know part of me would be super impressed at her ingenuity but then obviously it isn’t cool for baby to get into everything. I usually end up putting dinner together during naptime or holding him and doing what I can and then finishing up once he is in bed. Good luck.

  6. I HATE that phase and it’s even worse when nothing is ever, at least somewhat permanently, baby proof. Mine has recently discovered how to open round doorknobs. Ugh, so I’m going to go get “babyproof” doorknob thingies, that I know will only be a temporary solution. Luckily, he still hasn’t gotten through our baby gate. (But it’s one of those solid plastic ones without the bars, and you have to simultaneously push a button with your thumb and pull up on a handle in order to open it.)

  7. Mine can only army crawl and already half her day is spent struggling to reach me if she notices I am present. If I’m not in the room she’s usually cool with it but once I appear…

  8. Oh, CG… this brings back the days! One of the very nicest women I know and most loving, patient mothers described that phase with her son, this way,”I just wanted to say to him, ‘I love you, but if you don’t give Mommy space, RIGHT NOW, I may just have to ship you to another continent.'” And oh, how I could relate when my DS went through the same thing. BEST, best, best of luck in finding a more reliable babysitter!

  9. Oh I remember this bit. Miss M still does it occasionally when she’s tired but otherwise it’s not too bad. I can’t think of anything that will change it really except getting a babysitter for king Fu when you can.
    Have you tried good old elastic bands on your cupboard doors? If you do them really tight then it might stop her or a little while…

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