We’re All Stage-5 Clingers Now :: On Pandemics and Separation Anxiety

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I never thought we’d go four months straight with two kids and NO babysitter while my husband and I both work.

But there are a lot of cute things I can talk about that have come out of quarantine with my two boys. I’m really fortunate that they’ve had this time to bond and we’ve all had extra time to be together! Lucas (2 years old) and Isaiah (8 months old) love playing hide-and-seek and splashing around in the bath together a few times a week. (They have already started to battle a little — mostly started by Lucas, but Isaiah holds his own.) Tom, my husband, has been able to spend a lot more time with them while I’ve attended births during the pandemic.

The no-childcare-with-young-kids-during-a-pandemic life has led to the boys being EXTREMELY bonded to us. But… they love us and ONLY us. 

Lucas has a meltdown anytime one of us has to leave. He acts as if we’ve been gone an entire day when we leave for more than an hour. And the baby seems to feel the same way! Isaiah was only 4 months old when the pandemic began and is now shy around others. The quarantine has solidified his love for our little unit. 

It’s a little hard to admit, but the separation anxiety works both ways. Parents are supposed to be more relaxed with the second child, right?! Well, not in the time of coronavirus. We are doing our absolute best to keep our kids close and stay safe, not only for our family but for our jobs. We’re just as nervous as anyone, wondering how to make the best choices for ourselves and our kids.

To work on the separation anxiety at home, I’ve started to put the baby down more. I talk to him from across the room, so he knows I’m still nearby. I know it’s completely developmentally appropriate for an 8-month-old to be clingy, but he doesn’t seem to be a big fan of live people — someone on a video chat is OK, but in real life? Not so much. This is something we’re going to have to work on as we re-enter the world in its new normal state.

Prior to the pandemic, we struggled to divide our time among all the things that were calling out for our attention. Our phones were always out and our laptops were readily available. These days, Lucas closes our laptops and demands that we dance — and we usually oblige. It’s still a struggle, but we approach it with more patience and laughter. 

If your kids are being extra clingy now, or if you’re worried they’ll never behave normally again with other real-life humans, you aren’t alone. I do know this will pass — it’s a pandemic thing. Eventually, the kids will relax into a routine, we’ll see people in-person more regularly, and we’ll all enjoy a little less anxiety about everything — including time apart. 

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