My Toddler: A Stage Five Clinger

It’s 6:00ish a.m. when I hear the call.

“Ma-maaa! Ma-ma. My mama. Maaa-maaa!”

If it’s a workday, chances are I am already ready. My alarm wakes me at 5:30 a.m., giving me just enough time to get myself presentable before my toddler wakes.

It never fails. She is usually in good spirits despite the wails she makes from her crib. I pick her up, take in her sweet scent and head downstairs. We have the same routine each morning: I prepare her diluted orange juice in the same sippy cup and then start to make my coffee. She takes a seat on the counter and watches me like a hawk all the while sucking down her juice.

She needs her juice almost as quickly as I need my coffee, so we always chill on the couch after my coffee is brewed. She sits on my lap, snuggles rather, sometimes into my chest in a curled position, for about the next half hour. She is ALWAYS excited about the thought of seeing her sister. She will ask repeatedly, “where is Shayla?” and I say repeatedly, “she is sleeping.” I am not sure what it is with two-year-olds but they do like to ask the same question over and over. And my response is the same each time. So I often wonder how there is any confusion.

By that time I then have to wake her sister and father.

When they come to join us on the couch, my sweet toddler makes it known that NO ONE is allowed to lay on “her mama.” I feel bad for my oldest because some days she wants to lie with us but my little one gets her diaper in a bunch if big sis tries to hug on me. My oldest eats within moments of waking so that usually keeps her occupied. My husband will lean in for a kiss on my toddler’s head and most days she lets out a screech. She will let him know when she is ready for HIS attention.

While I adore the affection she gives me, I am not sure why she hardly ever wants anything to do with her father. It is an extremely rare occurrence if she chooses him over me. Extremely rare. In fact, I think it’s only happened once. She is 2.2-years-old at the time I am writing this.

My oldest clung to me for about the first 1.5 years, then would go to her father or me. There never seemed to be a real preference. My little one is a snuggler though and it is with mommy with whom she prefers to snuggle with.

When I return from work each day she hugs and kisses on me like I was gone a week. The days I work she also sits on my lap when we eat dinner because she begs to, and how can I deny that?! I mean it is super enduring and I love the love she has for me. Her blue innocent eyes melt my heart when she says, “my mama” and starts to kiss my cheek and squeeze me tight.

My oldest was graduating Pre-K. My little one was holding onto me so tight.

We live in a colonial and our full bathroom is on the second floor. I am always showered on the days I work before she wakes but on my off days I shower when she is awake. EVERY SINGLE TIME I say, “Mama has to shower,” she says, “I come.” And of course, when I tell her she can’t she breaks into a sobbing mess. My husband tries to distract her while I make a run up the stairs. I often hear her cries from the shower. They eventually stop once she hears the water running.

When I have to go into the basement to do laundry and I tell her she cannot come . . . she cries.

If I take her sister to gymnastics and it’s her naptime and she cannot come with us . . . she cries.

If I leave the house for any reason, besides work, because she is used to that now . . . there are usually tears.

She joins me anytime I use the bathroom. She follows me every single time I leave the room she is in.

It sucks. She is a Stage Five Clinger, folks. My husband gets annoyed with it. I get annoyed with it because I hate seeing her so upset for a simple reason like, ‘letting Mama take a shower.’ I know this is a stage and it’ll pass. I know I am not the only parent to have a clingy child. I am humbled by her devotion to me. I try to enjoy it without much haste because I know there will come a time when she’ll want nothing to do with me.

And I often ask myself, how will I deal when she pushes my love away? Like those formative teenage years? Ahem.

Guess I’ll remember these days and just . . . cry.



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