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Old 05-29-2012, 06:50 AM   #1
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Am I making too much out of this? Is it just a phase? (long, sorry)

Let me preface by saying that I have a mild form of social anxiety & have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in the past. Basically, I just worry alot (hence, this post), and also when I go to events that have a lot of people I get a little tense. I don't like having to get to know new groups of people, but once I do I am perfectly outgoing (interestingly, i can dance for huge crowds of people I don't know without batting an eye, it's the making small talk with people that gets me all uptight.)

Okay. So, here's my question... is it normal for a 23 month old to go through a bout of seperation anxiety/shyness? DS has always been a little overwhelmed by large crowds, and takes a while to warm up, but lately it has been more noticeable to me. He goes to daycare with 11 other toddlers, and he is fine in his classroom of kids. Also when he's introduced to new kids if it's like 2 or 3 kids, and ESPECIALLY if they are older than him by a couple years and can help initiate the play he does great. His teachers describe him as "very social".

BUT... here are some examples of what I have noticed. First, he is now hanging on my leg when I drop him off at school, and doesn't want me to leave. he hasn't done that for upwards of a year, so that is a new thing. He really only wants ME to do anything for/with him. Flattering, but exhausting, KWIM? Then, this weekend really made me wonder.

I LOVE the water. I mean, LOVE it, especially in the summer. SO, it's very very important to me that DS like the water, and I think most kids do unless they have some experience that makes them NOT like it. Last year at this time we were going to the splash pads and baby pool at the Y with DS and he was having a blast. But this year I've taken him to 3 splash pads, and it's been concerning to me. The first splash pad I can understand because a lot of water comes from overhead...frankly it overwhelms ME, so I wasn't surprised that DS was overwhelmed by the rough, older kids and by the water pouring down on his head. he only played a few minutes then wanted to go. The second splash pad was a very low fountain, but it took him like 30 minutes to warm up to playing in it, and I had to get in and splash around before he finally started to play. Once he got started he was running and squealing and having fun, but only as long as he was the only kid. He played there about 30 minutes, I guess, which I considered to be a pretty long time for a 2 year old. Then yesterday we went to a splash pad where my mom lives. It is perfect for toddlers...pretty low fountains, large, etc... All the other kids of all ages, even younger than DS, were running around splashing and playing and screaming. DS was SO timid. He refused to go near it unless on of us held his hand and/or held him. He wouldn't even THINK about playing with the other kids, and if one got near him he just let himself get knocked around--he won't get out of the way, or be assertive about his space at all. SO, when big kids are around, he just gets pushed around. He played for a few minutes maybe and then wanted to leave. But when we got back to my mom's, ALL he wanted to do was play with the hose We went to the lake the other day and he took forever before he would play in the sand/water, and he wouldn't unless I was right next to him. He had no interest in trying to play with any other kids. At the pool, he will jump right off the side into my arms, but he was playing and having a blast yesterday in the pool at my moms' neighborhood when out of the blue he just started tantruming--I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on. I asked if he wanted out and he said "no" but he was screaming and crying We finally had to leave because no matter what we did he kept getting upset.

It was so hard to watch all the other little kids running and splashing all on their own, investigating the water, and to see DS just standing in the middle of them looking around like he was lost and scared. Even with his daddy right beside him. I really don't think he's afraid of water at all... although with ANY new activity he seems to need encouragement. He plays in his pool at home (if I play with him until he gets into it), he gets really excited about water play days at school, he loves to play with the hose/water table, and he loves the shower and bath at home. He has never minded water in his face... So what gives??

So, this is two-fold, I guess. First is, is it normal for him to be so hesitant around a lot of people and to have separation anxiety at this age. Second, is his behavior around the splash pads/water due to the amount of people around or is he dealing with some water fear or something? DH said that he thinks he got mad in the pool because he can't swim yet, and so he couldn't control what he was doing (he's a little control freak, hahaha). Also, as an aside, he does have an ear infection that he was running a 102 fever from up until Sunday morning, so DH thinks I'm making way too much out of it and thinks DS just wasn't feeling 100% yet and that I was pushing him to do too much.

Thoughts?

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Old 05-29-2012, 07:48 AM   #2
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Re: Am I making too much out of this? Is it just a phase? (long, sorry)

I would say it is very normal. Both my boys went through a phase where I couldnt' be out of thier site. DH does daycare drop off and has no trouble. On the few times I did, crying would occur. DS2 was even worse. He would cry if left him with my mom just to run back out to the car to get the rest of the stuff and bring inside. He is getting much better, but still likes to be everywhere I am.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:03 AM   #3
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Re: Am I making too much out of this? Is it just a phase? (long, sorry)

My DD is just starting to come out of her second clingy stage. From 17 mo or so til 22 mo was tough. Around kiddos, she was fine. Around adults (especially my in-laws, as family gets together in large groups of adults) she was a mess. And clung. And clung more. And cried with them. And just wanted Mommy. A few months in to this I reread the "As they grow: your one year old" book and it helped reassure me. I relaxed more and she started coming out of it. (I don't think my relaxing made a different to her, but it sure helped me!)

She also is/was a HUGE water baby but lately hasn't liked showers aimed at her back/back of the head and has been more timid with the splashpads. I think time & fun exposure will cure it
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
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Re: Am I making too much out of this? Is it just a phase? (long, sorry)

honestly, with ds, it's day by day. somedays i leave for work and i get an absentminded "bye mommy!" when i walk out the door, and somedays it's full on melt-down "nooooo don't leave meeeee!!" i think it's common for kids, just like most people, to have good days and bad days. somedays he's in a good mood and is excited about his day and knows i'll be back soon, so it's all good. and somedays he's just out of sorts and wants only mommy. also, my dh stays home with him many days, but he still just wants mommy a lot of the time. except for the days i come home and he tells me to go away and go back to work it's just kids, it's normal. he's the same way with meeting new people. sometimes he hides behind me and won't talk, and just stares when they talk to them. sometimes he walks right up to strangers and starts chatting them up. no telling what he'll be feeling like on any given occasion.

water, or other experiences, same thing. he was invited over to a neighbors house to play in the sprinkler the other day, and refused to go near it, he was terrified. i ran him through with me a couple times (ever seen a 9 months pregnant lady jump a sprinkler?! it wasn't pretty ) and he cried, so i let it go. yesterday we took him to a splash park, you know with the fountains coming up out of the ground and all the kids running through it? waaay more water and coming out harder and faster than a sprinkler, and the minute we got there he took off like a madman running through it, putting his face right over the holes so that it would shoot right up at him. but some days he won't do that. i don't know, i just think kids this age are learning and experiencing so many new things, and some days they feel up to embracing the challenge, and some days they just don't. i wouldn't worry if i were you, he sounds totally normal.
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:57 PM   #5
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For us, dd lives swimming, but gates splash pads and sprinklers that move. She doesn't like the unpredictability of them. At least that was the case last summer. It hasn't been warm enough around here for them to open yet. She also gets cold really easy in the water, so that could be part of it.
But she also goes through phases of being extra needy and clingy. Getting new teeth seems to bring these out as well. For a while big crowds also made her very timid. Sometime after 2 this started going away.
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:03 PM   #6
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Sounds normal. At 24 months/2 yrs, they get more anxious about being away from parents. That's when kids seem to suddenly be unable to get to sleep without help again because they freak out if you leave. You son might just be going through it earlier.

Last year, DD loved her splash pad and the ones we went to. This year, she wants nothing to do with it and won't play in it until I turn the hose off and then it's like a very shallow pool. She's 20months. She loved being in the pool with us earlier this year, but I haven't taken her since they decreased the temp (indoor pool) cause it was too cold for recreational swimming.

And she's not too social. She likes to watch other kids, but quickly ventures away from the group to do her own thing. So that doesn't worry me either. She has never liked crowded areas.
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:05 PM   #7
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Re: Am I making too much out of this? Is it just a phase? (long, sorry)

I think it's normal. My take on it is that he's a little scared with all the other kids running around and screaming. We went to the pool on memorial day- we have 4 kids, and my 3 year old wouldn't go down the baby waterslide when my 17 month old would (over and over and over )! I think the 3 year old was totally freaked out by all the people.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:15 PM   #8
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Re: Am I making too much out of this? Is it just a phase? (long, sorry)

Thank you all soooo much. Just another thing I need to breathe deep and relax about :-)
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