I set my squirming, squealing 17-month-old daughter into the bathtub last night, then ducked around the corner to grab a towel and washcloth out of the cabinet.
Her rage was immediate and deafening.
I apparently didn’t have permission to leave her side – to split atoms, as it were. In her mind, we are one right now. Mama-Teyla or Teyla-Mama. Always together, never apart.
Until we are. And then the world tips off its axis and threatens to implode under the weight of her mingled sorrow and wrath.
I don’t remember separation anxiety at this age with my older two children. (Of course, most days I feel grateful to remember my name, so maybe it’s just that my brain is melting like a snow cone in August.) They had their moment of tears in the nursery and their times of pouting when my husband and I would go on a date.
But this sweet little baby – she isn’t just sad when I walk out of the room. She’s furious that I would have the audacity to leave her behind. Even leaving the room ahead of her, especially if I need to walk around the corner out of sight, is grounds for a tantrum.
Lucky for her – and for those who’s eardrums are within range – I don’t leave her that often. And at this age, it’s easy to round the corner, pick her up and set everything right again. It only takes a tight hug, a couple of tickles and a reassurance that “Mama is still here.”
I only wish it could always be that easy.
Kelly-Teyla also blogs at Love Well.