Drop Off Tears & Fears

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When I was growing up, being clingy was something that seemed very frowned upon. I remember hearing so many stories of how my brother was so clingy that my grandmother couldn’t even go to the bathroom without taking him. All of these stories were told with heads shaking and disapproving looks, of course.

When our little ninjette came along, I was determined that she would be an independent and non-clingy child. I wasn’t sure what you had to do, but we definitely had her in her own room and in a crib. She didn’t have a lot of separation anxiety when she was around 10-11 months old. We had the typical transition anxiety when she first started the toddler drop off program at the age of 2. When we started preschool for 5 days, she was so excited that she didn’t even look back when we said good-bye to her.

Ninjette runs free from us all the time. She is not afraid to run to the ocean all on her own or around the stores in the mall. She does not hesitate to run off with her friends or with her aunties. She welcomes the opportunity to sleep over at her friends’ houses. When you see all this, you would think that she is pretty independent and non-clingy, but looks can be deceiving.

For several times, whenever I drop off ninjette at school, she clings and doesn’t want to let go. I have to distract her to let me go so that I can walk out of the school without her attached to my leg. However, this morning was the saddest. She wouldn’t let go, could not be distracted, and then when her teacher picked her up, she was crying the saddest cry with huge tears. She is 2 weeks away from being 4 years old. You would think that this wouldn’t be happening any more and that it would be easier, but it was so hard to walk away and not to look back.

Most of the time, when things like this happen, I try to think about what big transitions or happenings might be going on in our lives. In the past, it was starting a new school, a lot of traveling, or me starting work. There was always some sort of an explanation, but this time around, everything has been the same – no big changes or anything significant.

This morning, as we are walking to school, Ninjette just says to me, “Mom, I love talking with you all the time and when I am at school, I can’t talk to you and that’s hard. I want to stay home so I can just talk to you.” I didn’t even know how to answer her.

There is a part of me that feels terribly guilty because we’ve had a lot of downs in our relationship lately. We’ve been trying to talk about thinking about what we say to each other when we’re angry or upset because she’s been saying a lot of mean and hurtful things. Maybe she is feeling insecure in our relationship? I’m not really sure. 

Maybe it’s time for a mommy & daughter date, but until then, I’m going to have my own drop off tears (I know if she leaves for college, I will be a hot mess!) and try to figure out how we can make tomorrow’s drop off a little better.

As always, I’m open to ideas and suggestions or things that you have done to make these transitions a bit easier. Thanks for being a shoulder to cry on today.

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