The Consulting Writer

aka The Frazzled Mom

The 8 Year Old Cling

This week, a new challenge has arisen for me. If you were to ask what my “love language” was, acts of service would be top, with quality time and words of affirmation coming in neck and neck at second place. The remaining love languages are much lower on my list: physical touch and receiving gifts. I guess it’s odd. I mean, I’m a chick, so shouldn’t I enjoy getting a massage at the local spa or a manicure? Nope! I have a rather large circumference of personal space. Only the very close are able to cross that border. Be warned. 😉

While I love giving my kids attention: hugs, kisses and just holding them, there are moments where I feel I need a break. I’ve always tried to push myself to give more than I was comfortable with because they crave it. It’s not all that bad. I do love spending time with them. But the days of them sitting in my lap are more of a struggle as they grow. What I mean to say is they are almost literally crushing me into the chair. Yet I sit, completely uncomfortable while they do their best to snuggle. lol…me? Yeah, I’m *ugh* fine.

My daughter turned 8 a while back. And apparently, I’d forgotten what had happened when my son turned the same age. The Cling. Sounds like a SciFi movie: the antibodies from Fantastic Voyage. The cling is the act of staying by my side with very little breaks to be on my own. And that’s where she’s at, constantly asking where I’m going and following me around the house, staying in the same rooms I’m in and rarely leaving me.

From what I’ve read, this is just something that happens to kids when they reach the ages of 8 or 9. Suddenly, their thoughts begin to dwell on human frailty and mortality. Break-ins and burglaries consume their young minds with worry. And abandonment becomes the primary focus and reason for not leaving a parent’s side.

I’d forgotten all of this, which is odd because I’d gone through this with my son and it wasn’t easy. There were many nights of tears, of pleading to stay with him. He was afraid to sleep alone, afraid of the dark, afraid of unexplained noises. He’d tell me he was worried someone would break in and hurt us or take him from us. I lost many, many nights of sleep and my back ached after staying in his room…on the floor.

How could I forget?

I thought we’d almost skipped this stage with her. Almost. Yet, here we are again. This time, however, she’s not as articulate as he was. If I ask why she’s afraid, she says “I don’t know”. If I try to have her recall a nightmare, she says “I can’t remember”. I’m not sure if she really can’t recall or if she’s afraid to tell me.

Any moms that have kids this age, if it hasn’t happened yet, it might. This was an all of a sudden event, with no warning and no trigger (except possibly a nightmare). The more I resist The Cling, the more it seems to get worse.  The last few nights, I’ve had to sleep next to her. She pressed her little body against my back so anytime I’d move, she’d wake up and ask where I was going.

My solution?

  • I need to give her the reassurance she needs. Not just words, but actions. Yes, that means sleeping in her room. The more I resist and fight it, the worse it becomes.
  • After a night or two, try to compromise: I had my daughter start bedtime in her own bed. I’d work on something or watch a TV show for 30-45 minutes with the promise that when I was done, I’d check on her. At first, she kept getting out of bed to check on my. But after I proved myself by keeping my word, the second night she stayed in bed.
  • The first night, she stayed awake and got out of bed multiple times to find me. We gathered up pillows and blankets and I stayed with her all night.
  • The second night, she stayed in bed until I came to check on her. Then we gathered our pillows and blankets and went to bed.
  • The third night, she was asleep. I left her in her room, knowing she’d come find me during the night, in which case I’d have to move to her room. She actually didn’t come until 6am, which was nice.

This is the best case scenario. My son took a lot longer. A LOT longer, to the point that I was so tired I’d break down and cry from the frustration and exhaustion. Also, this can be a temporary. Often times, they seem to backslide into the same problems and it seems there’s no end in sight. But there is! So for any Moms wandering around like crooked zombies thanks to a restless night on a twin bed (or the floor), I’m there with you! It took my son nearly four years to finally feel comfortable sleeping on his own. There’s no way to rush it (trust me, I’ve tried), just have patience and the knowledge that it will get better. I mean…they can’t sleep with us ’til they’re 30, right?! Right?!

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4 comments on “The 8 Year Old Cling

  1. Megha's World
    December 30, 2017

    You won’t believe I’m going through the same zombie phase these days and have no idea what happening with my seven years old. Your post has come as a savior to me. Thanks a zillion from a fellow mom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth Los
      December 30, 2017

      I was worried that maybe something happened to her, but she hasn’t been out of my sight in the last several weeks because of the holiday. Nothing traumatic has happened in the family, like divorce or sickness. Other websites claim it’s SAD (separation anxiety disorder), but I’m not convinced of this either. It’s scary that it comes on all of a sudden.

      Like

      • Megha's World
        December 30, 2017

        As you said it just triggers in them for fear of loosing us all of a sudden.Thanks for the insight.

        Like

  2. Hassan Zada
    December 30, 2017

    Hmm.. nice 🙂

    Like

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This entry was posted on December 30, 2017 by in Daily Prompt, Daily Ramblings and tagged , , , .
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