We go through this phase every few weeks with Evelyn: I like to call it the Clingy Pants phase. No one but Mom will do. Dad? Rejected. Favorite friends? Puh-lease. Sister? Maybe. Maybe not…
I’ve noticed it goes through a few stages in my own mind.
The first is Acceptance: “Aw! She just needs some mommy time. I need to take a break and just snuggle awhile with her and everything will be just fine.”
The second stage is Depression: “There is no hope. She’s clinging to my leg. I can’t get a blessed thing done. This will never end.”
Then comes the Bargaining: “I’ll get her a new toy and then she will play and release her death grip.”
Anger comes next: “Come ON! I’m not even able to use the bathroom!! She’s like a tick that is in-bedded!!”
And finally Denial: “She’s fine. She’s over it. I’ve moved on and she is too.” (At this point, she is contentedly sitting on your lap.)
These Five Stages of Grief in reverse can be completed in a matter of minutes, but sometimes it takes days to reach the end. Eventually I come back to acceptance.
Having older kids along with a baby, I know something my first-time-mom-self did not know: it all ends so quickly.
My eleven year old would rather hang with friends. My nine year old becomes a rabid raccoon when I try to hug her. My seven year old is too big to pick up and sit on my lap. Six year old Ethan is a ball of kinetic energy… try stabilizing that.
I know that eventually Evelyn will become more independent too.
I’d be lying if I said Clingy Pants phase doesn’t get annoying. It does. Sometimes I have to put her in the pack ‘n play and walk away to use the bathroom. But I always come back because I know that soon enough I will be wishing she would want to be with her mom.
I have never heard a retired parent say, “I should have spent less time with my kids.” Never. Usually you hear regret for not spending more time with them or enjoying them more. It only lasts a brief time, and yet those little years can play a big part in your relationship with them the rest of their lives.
Go through those stages. By all means, get some breaks and use the bathroom when you need to! But enjoy it all: the laughter, frustration, tears, and kisses… it will be gone sooner than you think.