Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety: most babies do it. They’re aware enough of their surroundings to notice that The Goddess has left the room, but their brains don’t yet understand that you continue to exist somewhere out there, just out of sight.

What a sad condition for the small, helpless human.

So the littlies begin to follow Mommy everywhere. You start down a slippery slope of showering with the door open, doing your potty business as quickly as possible so your butt is never as clean as it should be, putting your make-up on in the living room where the light is bad, leaving the house looking like Krusty the Clown.

In Japanese this is called 後追い. HammakoMommy’s New Revised Dictionary defines this as “a stage in which a baby follows mommy everyfreaking where and drives her bat crap crazy.”
At some point the child is able to grasp the concept of object permanence, that out of sight doesn’t equal oh my god my mommy is gone I’m all alone on this lonely Earth and certain to face a long scary painful demise. And I’m stinky. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

Except for some reason, Me Too still follows me everywhere. I still use the potty with the door open, unless HRH is home. Then I’m too embarrassed and Me Too comes in with me and we close the door.

If you’ve been in many Japanese houses then you’ll understand why this is uncomfortable. The toilet room has only a toilet, so it’s about the size of a bathroom stall. Tight fit for two!

I was worried about how she would do at school, but last year was only twice a week with the same teachers in the same classroom as the Mommy and Me-type class we attended the year before. She didn’t want to go without me at first, but she got used to it quickly enough.

Based on my experience with Brother, I was expecting a new form of separation anxiety to rear its ugly head when she started going to kindy every day, but she’s been fine.

Until this morning.


I’m not really sure what happened, but I had to carry her to school, her weeping like the end of the world was nigh.

I’ve done this before so I had a plan of escape: give her a big hug while I count to ten, then a kiss on the cheek while I say goodbye and extract her tentacles from around me, then high tail it out of Dodge.

She’s probably having fun and frolicking about now, but I feel like dog poop, a big, stinky glop of self doubt. Is preschool really that important? What if something bad is happening there and that’s why she didn’t want to go? Can we afford the therapy the kids are gonna need to get past being raised by a nutcase like me?

What the books don’t say is that to some extent separation anxiety is mutual. Once you become a parent then I don’t think you ever get over it.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kym (@kymmytha)
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 12:52:51

    With my son, my first, I definitely think I felt separation anxiety much more keenly than he did. Slooooowly I’m getting better at handing my kids to other people. But if either of them decides to live in Japan when I’m an old woman back in Australia, I’ll be heart broken.


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