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Separation anxiety or insecure attachment? Need some feedback . . .

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  • Separation anxiety or insecure attachment? Need some feedback . . .

    Hi, all:

    I'm hoping to get some perspective or feedback on some things that have been happening recently for my almost 22-month dd.

    She is, I continue to learn, a "spirited" and definitely "highly sensitive" child. We have practiced attachment parenting from the beginning, and I think I've done a good job of letting her know that she is the most important thing in our world. She gets her needs met quickly and lovingly. She is still breastfeeding during the day and at night, with no plans to wean her until she is completely ready. She is a big kid for her age at almost 3 feet tall and almost 40 pounds, so sometimes it's hard to remember that she's still not even two. Plus, she's talking up a storm with these complex thoughts, so she just seems older sometimes. Still, she's my baby, and obviously I know her age.

    I stay home with her full time, and while we have a music class we go to and have a playdate at least weekly, many times it's just she and I. We are fairly new to our area and don't know a lot of people, so she's used to it just being the two of us mostly. Sometimes I question whether she needs more outside stimulation, but I love our time together and believe that she's getting a great foundation for her life.

    Current scene: we're on vacation at my parents house. We spent four days at my in-laws where there was a lot of activity and now we've been here for three days. Her father is home working, so it's just she and I with my parents. She seems to be having a great time, and it's calm and relaxing here, which is a change from the other few days we had.

    DD has been experiencing some separation anxiety that we were dealing with before we came on vacation, which I have felt was developmentally appropriate for the most part. It seemed to come on the heels of a visit from her Grammy and uncle for a week. When they left, she was very teary and needy for a few days. I consulted our homeopath, and he gave me a remedy to take the edge off a little. I just don't want her to suffer, even if what she's going through is appropriate for her age.

    So, now we're here, and I have continued to give her the remedy and to keep things slow, predictable, and relaxing for her.

    My concern is that she gets very upset and needy around my reactions to things, usually by responding "I love you, Mommy!" in a way that sometimes feels like she is pleading with me and is unsure of how I feel about her. I always respond with "Mommy loves you too!" and try to explain however I'm feeling. Sometimes it happens when I am frustrated with something or angry at something, and I just feel terrible, like she's scared of me or something. I mean, I get frustrated or mad, and I have yelled at her before when she was going through her biting stage, but I never lost control or anything. There have been a couple of times I got so mad when she bit me that I had to leave the room, and she had a terrible time with that, but I had to take some space. I was back within one minute both times. I understand that that may have been hard for her, but I had to take some space away from it.

    I just wonder if I'm doing something that's fostering an insecure attachment with her, despite everything I'm doing with her around the clock. She is very needy, especially this vacation, which I understand and am working with. Specifically, she asks for "co-co milk" (her word for breastfeeding) all the time. And I almost always try to give it to her immediatley. Sometimes even when I say yes, she still throws herself down on the ground and starts crying and whining. She seems to need constant reassurance that I'm going to be there. And I'm okay with that and I try to do everything I can to reassure her. It just seems so disproportionate right now.

    She's never been scared of strangers, and now all of a sudden she is and clings to my legs and asks to be picked up, which I always do, no questions. I feel like I'm always there and responsive to her as best as I can be, and it just doesn't seem to be enough.

    The "I love you, Mommy" just gives me pause, and I just pray that she is okay and that she doesn't feel that I don't love her or that she needs to beg for my love. It just breaks my heart.

    Anyway, I'm not sure if any of this makes any sense. I'm sure there are many things I haven't said, but I just worry that I'm doing something wrong. When I think about it, I'm sure I could always be doing more and I know I make mistakes and lose my temper sometimes, but I really devote my life to this little girl and gladly do it. I love being her mommy. How could she think otherwise or feel not loved?

    Any thoughts out there? Anyone experience similar things? Do I sound crazy? What else can I be doing?

    Thanks for your help. Looking forward to your responses.