Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Even adaptable kids have their limits.

McKenna is definitely a very adaptable kid. Always has been really. She slept through the night at 8 weeks, she's always moved into a new routine within the textbook 3 days, she took to a new apartment/bedroom/crib with no problem, she is fine whenever we have someone babysit her while I work, she makes friends easily and she sleeps over at Auntie and Uncle Bri's house with no problems.

Until last night....

We went to my sister's for dinner and to hang out while Erick and Brian went to band practice. Since their practice didn't start until 7, we thought we'd just have McKenna spend the night there and we'd pick her up the next day after I got off of work. So we had a perfectly nice evening. She did great the whole time. Gave McKenna and Luke a bath. Afterward she went potty and earned herself some Jelly Bellies. Put her to bed and she went right to sleep. She had all her baby dolls, her blankie, her book and her sippy cup of water - all the comforts of home. Erick and I left at about 10:15pm, went home and went to sleep.

McKenna woke at 11pm and pretty much never went back to sleep. She was upset, crying, clinging to Melanie - just completely not herself. She was asking about Mommy and she was asking to go bye-bye. The kid was homesick. McKenna finally fell asleep on Brian's chest around 4am. Mel was able to get ahold of us around 6:30am. I called work and told them I wouldn't be in (I didn't know if she was sick or missing us but I figured either way, I wanted to be with her) and we drove back out to get her.

She was in a perfectly happy mood when we got there. She was obviously tired but in no way seemed sick or in any discomfort. I know one of her canine teeth are coming in but that would be an unlikely cause for her to stay up ALL night like that. When we put her in the car, she reached out and pulled me close for a hug. She just quietly held me several minutes, saying nothing. Just hugging me close.

So I went home and (after putting McKenna down for what turned out to be a 3 hour nap!) opened up my What To Expect: The Toddler Years book. Right there in the 22nd month it talks about how even small changes can make a toddler feel insecure and how they need Mom & Dad to be their anchor to help them feel safe and secure.

Changes like....oh, potty-training? Or maybe Mommy going back to work during the day? I'm supposed to be her anchor and so my absence is probably making her feel very insecure. Especially because the past week has been either Erick or myself gone at work. We have rarely been home all 3 of us as a family. That's unusual for her who is used to getting 2-4 full days at home with both of us there.

And in case I needed further evidence to support this theory....she was extremely clingy all day long. But thankfully, we got a little break when we got home from running errands because Audrey and Stephanie were outside and she really wanted to play with them. She was happily outside coloring with them and I went out to give her a kiss goodbye before I left for my evening shift at work. Usually, I cannot drag this kid away from playing with her friends. But as soon as she saw I had my stuff to leave and was coming for a kiss, she latched onto me and said "No. No. Bye-bye?" She did NOT want to be left "alone" again. So I asked her "Do you want to go bye-bye with Daddy?" She nodded and said "Daddy." Then she waved to the girls and said "Bye Audee. Bye Peffy" (Audrey & Steffy). And she clung to my neck all the way back to the apartment. So her and Erick drove me to work and he took her out for some Daddy & Daughter time.

I feel just terrible. I mean, I did not see this coming. If you had shown me that same excerpt from the WTE book yesterday I would've said "No, McKenna is so adaptable." I mean, she loves Auntie and Uncle Bri so much and has never had any problems sleeping over there. One of her favorite things in the entire world is getting to see her cousin Luke. So it was really surprising to me that she would suddenly have such a meltdown like this. It definitely makes me a little more worried for when we bring Kyla home. I always felt that was a change she would weather well but now I wonder?

At least now I know that I need to be more cautious of pushing her too much. Even my little miss independent needs extra reassurance in times of change. And I need to remember that what may seem like a fairly minor change to me may still be major to her, even if she seems to be handling it well.

1 comment:

Gina Rae said...

I just feel so bad for Kenna. but it's not your fault - you would have never known she'd feel this way. I am sure it will pass soon as you fall back into your old routine.

I personally still think she'll do fine when the new baby comes home. I had these exact fears with Emily and Andrew and from the minute I brought him home she was A-ok. So if she could adapt that well to a new sibling at 13 months, I am sure McKenna will too at 26 months. Hang in there! ;)