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The kid reached an age where we could register her for classes all by herself. Finally I can sit on the sidelines while she does her gymnastics or sports or whatever else.

The first time she walked into her dance class, sat down in the circle without looking back and answered when they called her name I cried. I was proud of her and it was amazing to watch this milestone – her first steps of independence.

And then two weeks in to her dance class things changed again. She started crying in the middle of class, and wanting us in the room with her. She would start the class sitting on the sidelines while one of the instructors slowly coaxed her into the class.

We tried again with gymnastics. She’s done classes at this place before, so I thought she’d be comfortable, and I’m there, clearly visible behind the great big windows into the gym. Again she was fine for the first two weeks, and then on the third week she started crying in the middle of class. After some hugs and a talk she went back in to finish the class, but now I’m worried what will happen when we go back for the next class.

Lately it has been all about Mommy. She needs me for this and wants me to do that, no one else will do.

When she had the flu and wasn’t allowed to leave the house (doctor’s orders) she wouldn’t let me leave her side, which meant I was confined to the house too.

I love my daughter more than anything else in the world but this is totally exhausting. She wakes up in the night, she wants me and only me. She wakes up in the morning and she wants me – even on the weekends when Daddy is there and ready to play. I don’t remember the last time I had an unbroken sleep.

I suppose this is not unusual for someone her age, a certain level of separation anxiety, but I really want to fix it. I want to feel confident that I’m not wasting money when I’m signing her up for a class. I want to feel comfortable dropping her off with the free childcare providers at the gym knowing that I can get a workout in without being interrupted because she needs me. I want her to remember how much fun she has with Daddy before the tears and tantrum.

How do you deal with separation anxiety?


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