When we started preschool at the beginning of February, I was really worried that S would freak out when I left them there. So I spent the first 3 days of school with them, though I left the room quite a bit. And it was no big deal at all!
Then V got sick and everything changed. All of a sudden, my tough-as-nails, independent girl got separation anxiety and became painfully clingy. S, on the other hand, loves preschool and doesn’t mind at all when I leave. V cries hysterically and tries to keep me from leaving. A few minutes after I’m gone the teachers get her to calm down and then she’s good for the rest of the morning. When we come pick them up at noon, S runs up to me and says, “I miss you!” and gives me a hug. V cries some more and says, “Daddio gone.” I have to carry her out to the car, which is complicated by S wanting to stay and play some more. Sometimes she tells me, “I busy!” when I tell her it is time to go.
This continues at home in a variety of weird ways. Our usual bedtime routine has been pretty easy. We start doing bedtime related things at about 7 pm, with a bottle of milk (that I SWEAR will soon be a cup of milk!) and a little TV (Caillou is their favorite TV for drinking milk). Then we go to their room to read books, get into PJs, brush teeth, etc. We aim to have the lights off at 8, which happens pretty frequently. Mike kisses them goodnight and I stay in the room with them for a little while in the dark, singing songs and further calming them down. Usually I can leave after about 10 or 15 minutes, and then they go to sleep on their own. Sometimes I have to go back in and put them in their beds or put a stop to shenanigans, but mostly they go to sleep pretty easily. But ever since V’s separation anxiety has set in, she gets hysterical if I leave the room before she falls asleep. Sometimes I try just repeatedly putting her back in her bed, but if the crying is really hysterical there is just no point. So after reading some advice books about this stage, I’ve started to stay in their and read books on my phone until she falls asleep. Hopefully this won’t last terribly long!
The morning routine has a new flavor, too. Usually Mike goes to sleep before I do, while I stay up playing Xbox. So he gets up with the girls (around 7 am) and I get to sleep in a little more, maybe until 8 am. But with separation anxiety, he can barely keep V away from me for a half hour before she gets crazy and comes upstairs and bangs her head on our bedroom door. She tells Mike, “See him!” When one of us lets her in to our bedroom, she pesters me until I get up, saying, “Wake up Daddio!”
Last night I decided I really needed to get 8 hours of sleep, so I skipped my Xbox routine, getting in bed at 10:30 and reading a book until 11:30, when I turned off the light. Then V woke up with a nightmare, and I spent the next hour getting her back to sleep. Just in time for S to have a nightmare! So I spent the next hour trying to get her back to sleep, eventually taking her to sleep with me in the guest bedroom (at her request… sigh). In the morning I found out that V had woken back up soon after S and I got back to sleep, and poor Mike ended up sleeping with her in our bed at 4 am. Sigh. So my planned 8 hours of sleep turned into less than 6! Luckily, this is unusual. They almost always sleep right through the night, from 8:30 pm to 7 am.