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Are we normal ?

(17 Posts)
poppy2133 Wed 03-Aug-05 09:23:20

I need reassurance that we are normal. We have a 15 month old but don't have any relatives close by. The nearest one is about an hours drive away so he doesn't get to see them often enough to know who they are. We have people who we would call associates rather than friends living nearby but out real friends are spread far and wide across the country. Consequently we have never been able to leave him with anyone we really feel comfortable with and he has never had anyone babysit for us. It is either myself or my husband who care for him. I have been to a playgroup which encourages parents to leave their children for short periods while they go next door for a coffee & a chat etc but even after several months of trying to do this he has never managed to be apart from either of us for more than about 3 minutes. I am concerned that I see other parents just dropping their kids off, going next door and coming back an hour later and their kids haven't so much as made a peep because their parents aren't there. Why can't mine do that ? It doesn't bother me so much that he wants us rather than anyone else but I am concerned that we don't appear "normal" and what will happen when he starts pre-school etc etc ?

Due to friends & family being spread far & wide I also feel quite lonely at times. It would be nice to have other adults to chat. I would like to be able to invite people with toddlers back to my house so my son can interact more with other toddlers but I wouldn't know where to start. Everyone at the playgroups I go to seem to all know each other already and probably have done for years so I feel like a true outsider. My son is otherwise a very sociable and a happy chap who will happily go to anyone for a play so I'm not concerned he is turning into a loner - I just wish I felt we were normal.

Lizzylou Wed 03-Aug-05 09:28:52

Poppy, of course you are normal!! I moved up north to be with my DH and have no close friends or family nearby, my MIL does have DS for the occasional night at the weekend (about once ever 2 months)...I've been going to a few mother and baby groups for months and it's only now that I have started making friends, my one real friend round here I met throught Netmums (they have a good Meet a Mom section), we get on really well and meet up 1/2 a week with her and her DD.
I work 2 days per week so Ds (16mths) is at nursery, where he is cared for really well...perhaps you could try a few mornings a week at a nursery to give you a break?? The nursery my Ds goes to organises parent activities too (going on my first trip tomorrow! V nervous)...
Please don't feel alone or abnormal, lots of people are in the same boat!

TracyK Wed 03-Aug-05 09:30:59

snap poppy. We are the same - and our ds is very into myself and dh. He's 18mo and we've never left him with anyone else overnight. The only thing different is that he goes to nursery 5 mornings a week and I was very keen for that to happen asap (from 10mo)as he didn't have any cousins etc to play with.
Could yours go to nursery? even a couple of sessions a week - they love it.
or try www.netmums.com - they have their web site regionalised and I've met a couple of mums in my area that way.

Lizzylou Wed 03-Aug-05 09:32:20

Snap TracyK!!!

TracyK Wed 03-Aug-05 09:32:46

snap Lizzylou!

Bozza Wed 03-Aug-05 09:57:43

I think there is more of an issue for you than your son. He sounds like quite a happy little chap. As he gets older he will start wanting to play with other children more. But I think mixing with other people might help you. I am in a similarish position to you in that my family/in laws are all a minimum of an hour away and none of my pre-children friends are local either. However because I work 3 days a week my children have gone to nursery but I didn't really socialise with the parents there. Over time I have gradually made a circle of friends with children the same age (we go out for a Mum's meal mid week once a month and also socialise with the children when we are not working). This has made me much happier and also we have got to the point where we can do daytime babysitting for each other eg my friend has a hospital appt and I am having her two for a couple of hours and when DD fell down the stairs another friend even had DS over night. This is also a big help. So I would make the effort and maybe invite one or two people back because the company will be nice for you.

Also while I feel that my 15 month old DD doesn't really know her grandparents I would say try to see them as often as possible because one of my 4 yo DS's biggest treats is to go and stay at Grandma's. So it should come over time. And DD did stay over at her Grandma's last week when DS had to be in hospital by 7.30 am for an operation. And she managed quite well although she has never previously been put to bed by anybody except mummy or daddy. Bit of a double whammy for me, mind you, DD's first night away and DS in hospital.

poppy2133 Wed 03-Aug-05 09:59:02

I've tried leaving him at playgroups while I just go next door for a coffee but he gets very distressed even after a couple of minutes. I've been trying for months to try and extend the amount of time away from him but it just isn't getting any longer. How does the net mums meet a mum thing work ?

Bozza Wed 03-Aug-05 10:01:27

Also think kids of that age enjoy what they are used to. Your DS obviously quite happy with mummy and daddy's company. My DD likes playing with the big boys and follows DS and his friends around like a little shadow. Think she is going to be quite lost when he goes to school in September! She also likes nursery - gets excited in the car park - because it is a familiar and fun environment, I suppose. But is not so sure at Grandma's house.

Bozza Wed 03-Aug-05 10:03:11

Poppy think you might be better spending more times at places where you don't have to leave him - Mums and Toddlers, swimming sessions etc or else if you think it would be good for you/him and you can afford it put him in to a nursery and make a clean break for a couple of hours.

Lizzylou Wed 03-Aug-05 10:05:09

Poppy, go to www.netmums.co.uk, register and look on the meet a mum board, it is specific to your area and I was pleased to be able to find someone 5mins drive from me! We emailed for a while and then met up at her house, that was in March and we see each other now every week.
There are also adverts about other groups nearby too.
Your DS will get used to being left, you have to strong and walk away and I guarantee once he knows you aren't rushing back he will just run off and play with the other children!

hoppybird Wed 03-Aug-05 14:07:57

Hello Poppy! I know how you feel. Your situation is similar to mine, except for the fact that my ds is now approaching his 5th birthday in September.

Our family and our tiny handful of friends are scattered far and wide, with only my MIL being close by - about 15 mins drive away (but I don't drive). However, due to her various problems (depression, agoraphobia etc), she isn't able to help out except for dropping in for the afternoon every few weeks. That and literally around 5 or 6 times babysitting, but even then, ds wasn't aware as we'd already put him to bed before we went out.

My ds and I used to go to music classes, parent and toddler groups, but he'd always want me close by him. I didn't think this was much of a concern, although I did notice that he preferred playing with older children, as they could interact more, (his language is advanced) and wasn't interested in kids his own age until he was around 4, as the developmental stages seem to even out around then.

For various reasons, he didn't go to nursery until he was 4.5 years old - it was the first time he was knowingly looked after by anyone other than me or dh. We prepared him well and he was absolutely fine, in fact there was no big goodbye scene, he basically got down to playing and said "Ok, bye then!" and had completely no problems since. He absolutely loved nursery, has made a special little clique of friends, and is really looking forward to school!

I doubt your son will have any problems separating from you when you feel the time is right. So what if he's a bit clingy now? He's only little, and he'll grow up so soon anyway. He'll be absolutely fine if you can already see that he's a happy and sociable chap.

netmums.co.uk sounds like a good idea to help you find a mum in a similar position close to you - I'm sure they're out there!

poppyseed Wed 03-Aug-05 14:26:19

snap again!
I was exactly like this with our first child (now a gregarious, confident, gorgeous 6 year old!!). I started to think that it was our problem that she didn't leave me for more than 2 minutes at a time until I realised that it was perfectly normal for her to feel secure and loved by being close to me at this age. She was never left at creches/nursery/grandparents for lots of reasons - mainly my inability to trust anyone else with her and the distance issue. Gradually she started to become more confident and she went to playschool at 2.5. She hated it and I had a few issues with the staff involved too so I withdrew her and started again 6 months later at a different playgroup where she flourished and became confident without my constant presence. This was great preparation for school and she went off with no problems at all. Our DS (now 2 1/4) I intend to do similar things with although he is a lot more confident anyway.
Meeting friends is difficult but if you do enough things with your children (playschool/swimming/dancing etc)you do eventually meet new 'friends'. As soon as they start school you'll be thinking 'why can't I have 5 minutes alone with them!'
My heart goes out to you, having been there myself. Don't feel that you're the strange one - be pleased that you can pacify/comfort him whilst he's so little and that you don't have to follow the crowd and use nurseries etc- this is a time that you'll never regret.

poppy2133 Thu 04-Aug-05 08:49:02

Poppyseed & hoppy bird - you both sound like you've been through what I'm going through now. Nice to know I'm not the first ( not that I ever thought I was ). I'm just so scared of the trauma it will cause ( to both of us ) when he finally does go to nursery for the first time. It just seems that everyone else sends their kids to nursery and I'm the only one who doesn't.

RachD Thu 04-Aug-05 09:15:37

Dear Poppy2133,
Sorry to hear about your concerns.
You are so normal !!!!

My ds is 1 1/2.
My three close mums, I met at post natal group. What a shame you didn't meet some good mums.

My ds does attend nursey 3 days a week.
But I can still associate with many of your thoughts.

Our grandparents both live more than an hourwawy, but we try very hard to see them as often as poss.

The fact that your ds only wants you & dh is no surprise. They regularly go through this stage, often, for weeks at at time, then become a little more independant, then very clingy....so normal.

As 4 post-natal mums we go to 'thom thumbs' where we sit and chat, whilst children play, then run back to us, then play, run back...but they always want to see us. It helps that we are sat at the side of the romm, rather than seperate from the play areas. Is there something like that, near to you ?

The other play group has lots of different areas. Some mums occassionally say a few words to me, but generally not a lot. Often people already know eachother, but perservere !!!!

Hoppybird & Bozza make a very good point. My ds, like theirs, shows not much interest in other children. Only minor interest to 3 post-natal mums children. But give him an older boy.... he just get enough ....that could be worth trying !!

Twiglett Thu 04-Aug-05 09:24:18

what will happen when he starts pre-school is that he will be at least 3 and ready to be separated from you for a short while, he will want to socialise with his peers

and as for the rest of your life .. yes sounds normal, you will start to make new parent friends (through toddler groups / playgroups / pre-school) and form your own babysitting circles

hoppybird Thu 04-Aug-05 11:21:53

Poppy2133, it shouldn't cause you any trauma at all once your little one goes off to pre-school/nursery.

Before our ds started nursery, our family were saying "You'll be the one crying outside the gates, it'll be really hard on you leaving him after so long..." etc etc, I just said, "We'll see." I knew he was going at the right time *for him* and because he was confident, we both felt nothing but pride in seeing him settling in so happily. It wasn't in the least bit traumatic, and I didn't feel even slightly emotional, only extremely proud. So [thumbs nose at family] emoticon!

The thing is, looking after a child as an isolated stay at home mum, it is extremely hard, especailly when they start going through various phases (age 3.5 to 4 is particularly stressful). But seeing how your child develops under your own wing with your love and guidance, makes you proud beyond words.

Believe me, poppy2133, you'll relate differently to your son as he grows and reaches the age when you think he should start preparing for a gentle separation from you. As poppyseed said, you don't need to follow the crowd and put him in nursery just because everyone else is.

We put our ds in nursery to prepare him for school, and not just for the sake of it, but he wasn't really ready for it any earlier, and I wanted guide him through his difficult phases myself, without picking up any further behaviour issues from anywhere else! Sorry to say, but that's what happens in nursery, just in the same way that he'll start bringing home coughs and colds, he'll start thinking that spitting on the floor is a great idea "because X child does it"!!

As far as I'm concerned, I found it quite easy to make friends with the other mums once my ds started nursery, but then I try to chat to other mums in the park, playgroups etc but I do find it hard to find the time to commit to proper 'regular' meeting up type of friendships, as I work from home as well.

saadia Thu 04-Aug-05 23:33:34

poppy I have hardly ever left my dss (now 3.5 and 1.5) with anyone except my mum, and even that has only been a handful of times. We even had to take ds1 to the hospital when I went into labour with ds2.

Ds1 started playgroup two morning a week just after he turned three and after a couple of settling in sessions he was fine. They are both extremely attached to myself and dh but what I've seen with ds1 is that in his own time he will find his own independence, as will your lo I'm sure

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