A tale of two toddlers…

Permalink

I am the mother of a particularly clingy toddler who, at 23 months, is still experiencing pretty bad separation anxiety. If we’re at home, it’s likely he’ll be wanting cuddles on the sofa; if I take him to a soft play I’m the mum being led around by her finger as she desperately tries to fit through the foam equipment without putting her back out; if we’re out and about I’m probably carrying him, as he prefers a pick-up rather than to walk. I’ve developed some pretty impressive arm muscles! I’ve pretty much accepted that this is how he is, and although I try and encourage him to be independent, if he wants a cuddle I’m not inclined to deny him that.

 

But the thing is, he’s not like this with other people. I’ve noticed that if he’s with his Dad, he’s more likely to go off exploring at the park. And having spoken to nursery (where he attends two days a week) about this in the past they’ve assured me that they see him as quite an independent little boy, who is really coming out of his shell personality-wise and is pretty confident.

 

This week was the nursery Mothers Day afternoon and it was the first time that I’ve witnessed Max playing at nursery for any length of time. The difference was remarkable – normally I would be being led around by my finger, but here Max was happy to show me things, but allow me to watch from a little distance, and wasn’t bothered if I moved away to talk to the other mums. It was like watching a different child. I have to admit that it was lovely to be able to play with him, but then also allow him to explore things without me watching over his shoulder.

 

Although nursery had always told me this, for some reason I didn’t quite believe them – perhaps they were just saying it to reassure me, I thought. But seeing it for myself, I wondered whether I’ve not been doing the right thing in allowing Max to be so clingy with me. Have I encouraged him to be too clingy and dependent on me?

Max Wisley Glasshouse

But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I was worrying over nothing. If he’s able to be independent and is confident when I’m not there, surely that’s more important than how he behaves when I am there. After all, when I’m there, he doesn’t need to be as independent – Mummy’s there to help, and if that gives him reassurance then that’s fine by me. Because it won’t be long before he’ll be past this clingy toddler stage, and he’ll be running off without a second glance. I’m going to make the most of the cuddles and hand-holding while they last.

26 Comments
  • Elsie Pop
    March 29, 2016

    We should take him for coffee in the pub again soon – he’s quite happy to run off on his own (and around the bar in circles) in there! Lovely post Katy – you should absolutely make the most of your cuddly boy while he’s still cuddly and adorable. One day girls will smell and you’ll turn from mummy into “mum, leave me alone!” and you’ll wish you hadn’t given this a moment’s worry. xx

  • Emma Dowey
    March 30, 2016

    My boy went through a “always wanted to be picked up and cuddled and never wanted to walk” stage which used to get a bit trying. thankfully at 33 months now, he is a bit less clingy and more independent. it will come! #bloggerclubuk x

  • Little Steps
    March 30, 2016

    You are definitely worrying over nothing, although to be fair, that’s what we mothers do all the time 😉 Kids are usually different with other people, aren’t they? More behaved, sometimes even nicer! Why can’t they be like that with us? 😉 x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      March 30, 2016

      Haha, yes, I’m a terrible worrier! I’m sure if there wasn’t anything to worry about I wouldn’t know what to do! Max is definitely better behaved for other people – I guess it’s nice he’s comfortable enough to misbehave around me 🙂

  • Rhian Westbury
    March 30, 2016

    It’s good that he’s so independent at nursery but i’m sure when he stops being so cuddly and clinging to you that you’ll miss it! x

  • Midgie
    March 30, 2016

    Its definitely a phase they all go through about 2 when they suddenly become more aware of being left, its more to do with not being able to gauge how long you are away for than you actually leaving if that makes sense! The Peachicks are really different with everyone else – they behave! Its just nice to know they are all like it especially when they are hanging off you every minute of every day! I’m not really complaining I’d just like to have a bath or a wee in peace!!

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      March 31, 2016

      I think that’s it – it’s just the reassurance that he’s not super clingy when I’m not there too, that he does have the ability to do things for himself! I feel your toilet privacy pain – I’d love to be able to leave the room without crying starting up!

  • Laura @dearbearandbeany
    March 30, 2016

    It sounds like he has sorted out a good balance all by himself. He knows when he wants to run off and be a bit more carefree and independent. But he also knows that his mummy gives the best cuddles and wants to keep you close. Enjoy them Hun x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      March 31, 2016

      Thanks for such a lovely comment 🙂 I guess you’re right, he’s found a nice balance for himself and I’m sure he’ll get less clingy as he gets older.

  • Cliona Kelliher
    March 30, 2016

    It really sounds like the security of having your cuddles and attention enables him to be braver when you’re not there. It’s the perfect mix really although it can be very frustrating having a clingy little one!

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      March 31, 2016

      Thanks so much – you’re right, it definitely can be frustrating at times, but like you said, it seems that that allows him to have more confidence at other times.

  • Harriet @ Toby&Roo
    March 30, 2016

    This sounds like Edie – it is SO hard having a clingy little one – I’m feeling you mama!! H x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      March 31, 2016

      It’s always good to hear other people struggle with this too – it sometimes seems like everyone else’s toddlers are running off and into everything!

  • Tori Gabriel
    March 30, 2016

    I used to work in a nursery and parents NEVER believed us. Kids will always cry when Mummy leaves but once Mummy is out of sight the child is normally all smiles and into everything. The second they see Mummy at pick up time they cry again giving the impression they have been crying the whole time. We’ll tell the parents the truth but they just don’t believe us.

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      March 31, 2016

      On behalf of nursery parents everywhere I apologise! I’ve always believed them that he’s happy there, just not that he’s quite so independent until I saw it with my own eyes!

  • Life Unexpected
    March 31, 2016

    Evie is like this. Clingy but so independent when she’s not with me. It’s funny how they do that and although it’s frustrating sometimes, it’s so lovely to get the cuddles isn’t it. 🙂 xx

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      March 31, 2016

      I’d never have thought Evie was like this too – she always looks so independent in your photos! But I guess from experience it’s difficult to get a photo when you’re carrying them round or cuddling them. I’m not going to lie, it’s lovely to have a cuddly child, and I will miss that once he inevitably grows out of the clingy phase.

  • Ana De Jesus
    March 31, 2016

    Aw my little sister used to be like that but it was more like she had forgotten she was away from her foster mum but as soon as she saw her she remembered her again. It can be frustrating but at the same time sweet to know how much they count on you!

  • Yvonne
    March 31, 2016

    Aw it sounds like you have nothing to worry about at all. If he is independent at nursery, then just enjoy those extra cuddles while you can. Sounds like he has got a good balance. Although I have also got a clingy (3.5 year old) little one, it can make getting stuff done pretty difficult when he is clinging onto my leg 🙂 x

  • Hannah Malanga
    April 2, 2016

    My son is currently going through a stage where he wants to walk everywhere but then gets tried and wants to be carried, doesn’t want to go in the pram or trolley but wants mummy to carry him. Causes so many tantrums.

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      April 3, 2016

      I feel that pain! Apart from the shopping trolley, which Max is a huge fan of – anything else is not a popular choice – only my arms will do! Here’s hoping for both of us it’s a short-lived phase!

  • MudpieFridays
    April 2, 2016

    Monkey has always been fiercely independent he wouldn’t even hold my hand when he was learning to walk. Interestingly he’s becoming more clingy now but I think that maybe because of the new baby coming. Although I am with you enjoy the cuddles and hand holding while it lasts they grow up so quickly!! Thank you for joining us for #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      April 3, 2016

      I can see how a new sibling arriving would make him feel more clingy to you. Hope all is well with you – can’t be too much longer to go now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *