It is no secret that Elise is super clingy to me. Anyone who knows her knows that although she LOVES attention, she doesn’t want you to come near her. It is getting worse, as now she will try to shy away in my chest. She loves other kids and to play, but she wants me to be close by. If I’m home, she must be climbing me at all times. If it is her and daddy then she will go on about her business and play, but as soon as mommy comes around, she’s a fussy clingy mess. It is probably my own fault. When she was a little baby, I hoarded her up and wouldn’t let anyone hold her, feed her, care for her, etc. It’s true, I’m a baby hoarder. I don’t regret that. Those fresh baby moments don’t last long, but I kind of created a monster. I adore having a little cuddle bug, but baby girl needs a little independence too. So in order to battle her clinginess (yes I’m aware that is not a real word), I am trying to get her involved in more social activities that I can still be present to make her feel safe, but that encourage her to be engaged and go play with others.
My first idea was babygarten at our local library. It is at a horrible time for us, because it runs into nap time, and because I suck at getting us up and out of the house in the mornings. I’ve been trying for weeks to actually get us there, with lots of failure. She either rocks out all night so that w are too exhausted to put forth the effort, or like last week I was sick, or we have other plans. However this week I was determined that we were going to make it. I set my alarm for 6:00 AM, hours before we would need to leave, so that I could get myself up and showered and the diaper bag ready before she ever woke up. There’s no fooling this child though. After being up most of the night (what’s new there, maybe I need to revisit my Real life mommyhood – Sleep Deprivation post) she woke up around 5:30 saying “ma ma ma momma ma ma MOMMA.” I tried to ignore her in hopes that she would lay back down and sleep to her normal time. But no way, she was up. So up we were, cuddling on the couch. We played around, had a snack, and then she wanted to cuddle on the couch more. About 7:30, I looked down, and found this angelic face.
Victory. Taking an early morning nap for a hour or so would give her enough of an energy burst to be pleasant for library time and give me time to get a shower. I ever so gracefully picked her up to carry her to her crib and laid her down on her big fluffy quilt. Fail. Instant screaming. Back up she was, and then she was so over the cuddling on the couch time, but she was still a tired fussy mess. I was ready to call it quits and make another excuse as to why we weren’t going to make it this week. Then mom guilt kicked in and I decided it was time to suck it up and actually get her there.
She finally came around and let me get semi ready and get her beautiful self dressed and ready to go to her first day of babygarten. She was too cute in her little sweater. Perfect to make a smart but casual impression on the other toddlers! 😉
We made it with 5 minutes to spare. She was hesitant at first, and stuck very close. When it was time to get started she was a little happier, as we were all spread out on chairs in a large circle. She could see everyone, but no one was close enough to be threatening (because heaven forbid they may touch her). She could smile and flirt from a distance, which was perfect for her. Then the songs started, and that was lots of fun. She clapped a long and watched the older toddlers dance. (She was by many months the youngest one there). But, what finally broke the ice, the bubble machine! They turned on two bubble machines and then mommy was old news. She still stayed semi close for the first few minutes, which was probably good because the older kids were playing, running, and having fun, and I didn’t want her to get knocked down or trip one of them. But after they calmed down a bit, she was mesmerized by the bubble machine. She literally played in the bubbles until they cut it off (a good 15 minutes). I guess I know what is on my purchase list for this summer!
I’m only posting a couple of photos, because I don’t want to post pictures of children that we don’t know. 🙂
Crappy cell shots, but I wasn’t lugging the massive DSLR around.
She met two little girls who she enjoyed watching and got a special Valentine’s Day treat bag! We didn’t stay for story time after babygarten because she was getting very tired and ready for a nap, but we will definitely make more of an effort to go back. It is so hard to believe that my little tiny baby is even big enough to join in these fun programs! We are also looking at getting her started in a mommy and me gymnastics, because the child is a monkey, and maybe if we tire her out more she will sleep better. (Yeah right.)
Look around your local listings. Most libraries have free programs for little ones which can be very helpful when you are stuck inside on these nasty winter days!