Friday, April 8, 2016

Separation Anxiety and a Summer Top

A mother drops off her small child at the preschool. The child screams and clings to her. The teacher peels the child off of Mom and tells her the child will be fine... just go. In reality, the child continues to cry for awhile. The teacher offers comfort, but her attention is divided as there are 10 others who are under her supervision. Finally the child does stop whimpering, resigning to the fact that Mom won't be back for awhile. The child begins to engage the class activities. And before he knows it, Mom has returned. But the whole episode repeats itself the next day.

Sound familiar? This was a typical scenario at the preschool where I taught. Quite honestly, it broke my heart to tear apart the most natural of relationships, that of mother and child. Separation and the anxiety that accompanies it may be commonplace; it may be normal; it may be typical; it may even be expected; but it isn't natural.

Mothers and babies are naturally bonded (dads too!) particularly when breastfed, but also when continually held close, cooed to, sung to, read to. It is recorded that Roman emperor Frederick II in the 13th century wanted to see what language babies naturally spoke so he ordered the nuns to not speak, sing, or express anything towards the orphans in their care. All of them died.

Parental bonding is so crucial to a child's self-esteem. When children feel secure, they are ready to explore their worlds. They are happy and eager to learn, confident that mom or dad is not far away and can touch base and engage as needed.

Parents absolutely need time to themselves. It is not wrong or selfish to leave children with a sitter, or a grandparent, or any trustworthy caretaker for a short time (or even overnight!).  Parents need to reconnect. Moms and dads need to recharge batteries. However, leaving small children every day at a day care or nursery diminishes that bond. Sure kids get used to it, but I wonder if a little piece of their hearts close up. Separation anxiety is a natural response to an unnatural occurrence. We would do well to pay attention to our children's fears.

And now for a refashion...

Remember that long 60s bridesmaid dress I cut and refashioned for Easter a year ago?

Well, I never wore it after that Easter Sunday because it was a little too short (my sewing teacher called me "The Happy Hacker"). You know it's short when your daughters think it's too short. So I decided it was time to make it into a top. Talk about separation anxiety! Hacking into something you spent hours creating is difficult! But what's the use of having something you don't ever wear, right?