Anxious Toddler in A House Full Of Changes

Recently, as I wrote before, I got promoted temporarily to an interim position as a supervisor in our call center. This comes with the hopefully very real possibility that I will be chosen in the next phase of interviews as a permanent supervisor over the team that I am currently over. It also comes with a shift that is completely opposite to what Punky is used to.

Her entire last year and a half has been Mommy working 8AM-5PM. Now, I am working 3PM-Midnight. Punky has been pretty easy going her entire little life and I had witnessed her change and adapt to changes in her routine pretty easily. I was nervous when accepting this position that she may take a little longer to adjust.

I think we are seeing the anxiety this new change has created in our little one and I’m not sure how to curb it, or how to help her cope with this. I feel terrible that she is having such a hard time with the transition and I’m really not sure how to fix it for her.

Lately, and I just witnessed it this morning, Punky has to be hanging on K all the time. K mentioned it to me the last few days, but I haven’t really noticed while I was home. Well, I noticed it today. Punky will literally stand next to K’s chair and hold onto a piece of her shirt. Or has to be touching her in some way. K says that it escalates when I go to work and Punky needs to be held and whines and wants up and down constantly.

I’m concerned that Punky is afraid that since I’m leaving, she thinks K is leaving. I am afraid she thinks I have abandoned her, even though, she has to know that I am coming home every day and she sees me in the morning. It breaks my heart to think she is anxious about my leaving her. And even moreso, it makes me sad that she is clinging to K like she’s going to be abandoned twice.

I’m hoping this is just a phase, but I don’t know how to help her transition better, because this promotion is a great thing financially for our family and it’s what I want to do at work. We have always had a semi-predictable routine for Punky and I think that may be part of the problem, but it has helped keep her sleep on track and she’s been able to know what is coming next.

I was afraid this would happen when I accepted the position and I had hoped, since she is usually so independent and able to keep to herself, that it wouldn’t be a big deal. We have changed the routine before and she’s adapted quickly to it. Not only that, but I have so much more time to play with her in the day time than I did in the evenings when I worked the day shift. We get to go to play dates and spend time outside the apartment. We get to do things with other kids and she’s not stuck in the apartment with just her moms.

I tried to talk to Punky today and yet, I know she’s too little to really understand. She’s also like a ferret and doesn’t pay attention to what I’m saying unless I have shiny things in my hands. Anyway, I tried. I said, “Punky, you know Mommy loves you. Mommy just goes to work at night and I see you in the morning. You know Mommy isn’t going to stay gone, right?” She just hugged me tight and that made me want to cry! I said, “Mama is not going anywhere, either. You don’t have to hang onto her, she’s right there. She’s going to be right there.” Of course, at that point, my toddler got bored and climbed off my lap, and proceeded to go grab a piece of K’s shirt.

I just wonder if anyone else has these problems. I just wonder if there is anything I can do to ease her mind that her moms aren’t going anywhere. I used to think that these fears of children thinking their parents were abandoning them was really just the moms over thinking and feeling guilty, and maybe that’s what this is. But, I am seeing a definite difference in Punky’s demeanor or the way she interacts with the both of us, together and separately.

Hopefully, this is just a phase and it too will change, because it’s hurting my heart and I know K would love to get some things done without a toddler hanging off her shirt all day. People need personal space, ya know.

17 thoughts on “Anxious Toddler in A House Full Of Changes

  1. I’m so sorry to hear that Punky is having a bit of a rough time adjusting. My goddaughter went through this (she’s 18 months old) went there were some major changes in her household. She adjusted after about a month and the clinginess dissipated. I’m hoping Punky will do the same very soon!

  2. Oh, poor Punky and K and you! Listen, you’re doing the right thing. When my mom was a juvenile officer and social worker she was on call all the time, so she missed my bedtime a lot. But guess what? I turned out okay, and I still think she’s pretty badass. My mom had a coworker say to her on my 21st birthday that she’d never missed a single night of her child’s life. (6 years old.) and that she didnt see how my mother was ever able to do thay. Mom told her I still managed to turn 21and even though she was going to miss my birthday since I was three hours away, I turned out okay. Punky will adjust, and she will be grateful for the opportunities you are providing.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I for sure need it. Everytime I think I am scarring her little heart, makes me tear up! I never thought it would make that big of a difference, but I think it may have. And, maybe it’s more me than her. We will see! PS, your mom’s co-worker is kind of a jerk for saying that kind of thing!

  3. It’s so heartbreaking to feel like you’re shaking their tiny worlds. It’s true that it is a bigger disruption for them than us – after all, she has less life experience so everything makes a big splash. But like A.M. says, she’ll be okay and probably turn out pretty badass. You’re letting her develop coping skills, setting an amazing example, and still giving her all the love and safety she had before. You’re basically a superhero.

  4. We have had some anxiety issues with Alex. We actually find that the more we stick to a routine the better Alex does each day. But any change in that routine brings a very anxiety filled little boy. I think Punky will adjust over time. I just know it is hard to see her so upset. And just keep talking to her and loving on her. You are doing a great job.

  5. So I recently started a small business called hatched by 2 chicks. I was on Google search engine and typed my business name to see what would come up. And this came up. I was interested because I am learning how I can help my business be noticed by blogging and so forth. When I read your blog on the original page I enjoyed everything I was reading and clicked to get connected to this blog site you have. My wife and I recently had a baby girl 9 months ago. I carried and it has been the best experience of my life. I wanted children of my own since I can last remember, but my wife already had 2 (already grown). Our child is such a blessing and I thank god every day for sending us one of his best little angels for me to raise and expand our family. I have not read all of your stuff but I plan too. It’s like reading a small novel (maybe you should consider that). So the reason we chose to start our business was because when I was pregnant we attempted to find clothing to support our life style and for the baby represent at events like pride and so forth. The selection was very minimal so we thought it would be a great idea, but it has not been as easy. I am stuck on how to get it noticed with out going broke. As for your blogs when I was pregnant I also looked for information on same sex pregnancies and found nothing that was in my league. You have blogs from the beginning it may be something you might want to consider. My opinion to your blog if I can make one is that your little bundle of joy just finds comfort in your partner that is all. Had it been you at home it would have happened with you. Babies go through different stages as they grow, for example mine right now does not want to be alone in a room. if I put her in her crib and walk out of the room for a second she will cry cry cry until I get back to the room and give her a hug. I first I thought OMG what happened? How can she be so scared and where did this come from, what triggered it? Until I read it is perfectly normal and it is part of the growing cycle. I would not worry too much. I am sure everything is ok. Again I am excited to read all your blogs. Thanks for your time.

    Denise Rivera
    Ana Rivera

    • Thanks so much for all your kind words! I’m glad to have a new reader and to have made such an impression on you! I hope your business takes off, it is definitely needed. I am currently in the Etsy market, if you want to check it out, if you haven’t already, Etsy has a great marketing team. Anyway, glad to have you aboard and hope to hear from you more!

  6. Hi, I found my way here through some of your comments on other queer parenting blogs. We’ve had great success with the mantra “Mommy/Mama always comes back” delivered before departure, when meltdowns are threatening, and upon return. I feel a little silly suggesting this, given your most recent post about brainwashing because it is essentially that, along the lines of “I say High School; you say Mascot” but our toddler really rallies to the cry of “Comes Back!” whenever she hears one of us prompt her with “Mama/Mommy always…” I’ll grant that mine’s (looking at tags on the post) about a year older than yours so presumably has had more time to process language but it’s a very popular mantra among our cohort.

    Anyway, good luck with the continued transition and I look forward to reading more from your corner of the Internet. Sorry my first comment on your blog is unsolicited advice!

    • I’m always up for ‘unsolicited’ advice. LOL, no, if I wrote it, it is likely I am all for comments on how to better this. AND this suggestion is not quite the brainwashing I’m speaking of in my most current blog post. That post is specific to mind control in a way that is negative. So, I appreciate the suggestion! I will definitely try it out šŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by, I look forward to hearing from you more!

      • Just for the record: I was totally being facetious about the brainwashing. This is coming from someone whose child made her mothers proud by yelling “baby!” after one of them said “ice ice” and has learned to say “dance off!” every time I tell her to take her pants off. Relatively speaking the “mamas/mommies always come back” mantra is not so bad…

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