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Separation Anxiety

by verdemama on February 24, 2010

Saturday night the husband and I went out on a real live date (!), leaving Orion with his babysitter, Julia. The usual plan is for her to come over around 8pm after he’s sound asleep, we go on our merry way, and he’s none the wiser. We’ve done this several times and everything’s been hunky dory. Up until now, anyway. Saturday the plan did not go so smoothly. Little O woke up crying shortly after we left, and when Julia went in to get him, he was not pleased. From what I understand, he cried, thrashed, bitched, pooped himself, and cried some more for quite some time. She eventually got him back to bed, but the next day, and for a few days after, there was hell to pay.

Orion wanted to make sure we knew what a huge mistake we made by leaving him, so he’s been uncharacteristically moody, clingy and generally fussy for the past few days. I couldn’t even leave the room for 30 seconds without taking him with me, making bathroom breaks a wee bit awkward. Hello, separation anxiety! It seems that our little dinner and a movie outing did a real number on the little guy. Whoops! Sorry, kid.

It’s a typical rookie parent mistake, according to What to Expect the Toddler Years. Apparently sneaking out while your baby is sleeping is a big anxiety-inducing no-no, and we should have followed a “leaving ritual,” comprised of the following steps:

  • Quality time: Get ready in advance, so you can enjoy the last few moments at home together.
  • Distraction: Set the kid up with a fun, engaging activity before leaving.
  • Quash the drama: Keep the farewell cool and breezy.
  • Wave goodbye: Let the babe watch as you get in the car (or whatever) and go, and wave goodbye with a smile.

I’m not sure these tips really apply for leaving after baby’s bedtime, but I’ll definitely try them for any daytime separations. As for date nights, I think we’ll still just try sneaking out after bedtime and keeping our fingers crossed.


Here’s Orion in earlier days with his other babysitter, Emma. We had to fire her though because she’s really not that trustworthy, and she would only hang out around him while he was sleeping. It’s so hard to find good help these days.

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