Dear mommy (Why did you disappear on me?)
Yesterday you dropped me off at grandma’s and then left without saying goodbye. At first, I thought you had simply gone into another room. Or maybe gone to pick up something you forgot in the car. But when I waited and waited with no signs of you returning back, I started crying.
Where did you go to? Normally, it never takes you this long to come back in. What could have happened this time around? Why didn’t you take me with you? Had you forgotten all about me? I was confused and then I started crying, not because I was hungry or tired. No, I cried because that was the only way I knew how to call out to you.
When I got tired of calling, I decided to go look for you. First I crawled to the window and holding on to the wall, I pulled myself up and peeped out. But, no sign of you! Next, I made my way to the stairs…
…but because grandma had set up this ‘thing’ which stopped me from going any further, I cried again. Perhaps this time you will hear me calling and come get me.
But to my disappointment, it was grandma who came to get me. Then next, noticing the big door which leads outside about to open, I quickly moved towards it. Perhaps I could make my way out before it swung shut again. However this time around, I was interrupted by grandpa who, lifting me up, planted a huge kiss on my cheek.
At that moment, I gave up. Right now, there was no point looking for you. Maybe I will still try finding you later. But for now, I would rather focus on what grandpa had hidden in that paper bag. After all, it looked rather interesting!!!
Then surprisingly, it was at that moment that you burst into the room and with a huge smile, you grabbed me from grandpa and started showering me with a 1000 kisses all at once. I refused to return your smile. Instead, I broke into a stern, gibberish rant. Do you know I was trying to tell you how upset I was with you? Why did you leave me alone for so long without any warning? Why didn’t you take me with you or at least tell me you were leaving? You really got me scared, you know?
Not sure you were understanding anything I said, I kept ranting. But when you finally threw in the tickles and began mumbling all those sweet sounding words which I interpreted as an apology, I gave in. So slowly leaning in, I let out the giggles…
…and then clung to your neck. Next time, leaving me isn’t going to be that easy for you. Trust me!
In order to avoid the loud cries and meltdowns, have you ever ditched the goodbyes and simply chosen to disappear on your babies or toddlers? Do you know sneaking out on them only manages to confuse them and make the separation a lot harder for them?
It is so much better you develop the ritual of always telling them goodbye before leaving. Take your time to support your goodbyes with reassuring actions like ‘kisses’ or ‘fun hi-fives’ and encouraging words like, ‘Mommy will be back later, ok?’ With time they will get to understand that even though you leave, you always come back. Also, after your goodbyes, don’t let the cries of your child repeatedly lure you back. This is to avoid them believing that if only they cry a little harder or a little longer, maybe mommy will change her mind and come back.
*Also, since children at this age cannot communicate fully, always be certain that the hands you leave them with are the loving, sensitive types.