What exactly is separation anxiety? I've been thinking about a couple of different possibilities.
Does JD fear that I will not return?
Is he scared of the situation he's in and needs my presence to have confidence?
Does JD love me so much that the thought of my leaving his side for even an hour scares him to tears?
Today, I took him to East Bank so that I could get a workout. The last couple of times that I brought him in, he cried the entire time and sat in a chair. But that was about four months ago, before he could walk.
At East Bank's daycare facility there are two areas. There is an infant area that is a room no bigger than 8x10. It has soft light, some swings, a rocker, and some jumpers as well as the regular run of toys. The toddler and older area is a much larger space. Different activities occupy the children's attention. They do art projects such as stamps and work with playdough. There is a TV with some sort of children's movie or PBS cartoon. on pretty much at all times. There are books and a train table. The children are not lacking.
We've been bringing him to East Bank since he was three or four months old. In selling our house, we didn't take him there for four or five months. Then when I brought him back, he couldn't stand it.
Now that JD can walk and be in the kids' area, I thought that he'd be happier. He started crying the second we stepped inside the daycare area. I stayed with him for about five minutes. There were a few boys playing by the train table. He joined them and seemed fine. I slowly got up and out of the room without being seen. Everything was groovy.
After changing, I peeked into the room. Though I couldn't hear him, he was obviously crying and being held by one of the caregivers. It didn't appear to be a complete meltdown, or he was getting over it, and so I went for a run.
Ten minutes later, my pager provided by the daycare started buzzing. I knew my workout was over. I went and hung out with him in the daycare until he calmed down, probably for twenty minutes. He would calm down and start having fun and forget about me for a minute, then he'd turn and start looking for me and start crying, even when he located me. I finally ran up to the locker room, changed, and came back to his bawling.
The reality is that I'm just going to have to keep bringing him back until he's confident enough for me to be gone. Will he know that I'm coming back or will he know that he's going to have fun while he's there?
I'll keep you posted.