Talking with Toddlers: mama left


After I came back from Tokyo, I noticed Amaya acting more needy and demanding I pick her up all the time. It got to the point where she would throw a fit if I put her down! One night as this was happening, I sat on the recliner with her on my lap and told her to look at me. We sat face to face and had our first real two-way conversation.

Me: Amaya, are you sad that mama went on an airplane last week to go to work?

Amaya: Yeah.

Me: It must have been sad not to have mama around. Did you miss mama?

Amaya: Miss mama!

Me: I missed you too.  Mama is here now, and I don’t have to go away for work for awhile. Thank you for telling me. You can always let me how you feel, ok?

Amaya: Ok! [Runs off to grab a book to read.]

This was a quick exchange, and I probably could’ve done better with it. Amaya doesn’t currently have a ton of words to communicate back, but she definitely understands everything I’m saying.  She was clearly reacting to me leaving, and I’m glad I addressed it; things shifted for us afterwards. I felt empowered to connect with her in this way and see her comprehension and visible relief. Even though I struggled a bit with guilt afterwards, I think we made great strides in our ability to be vulnerable with each other. And in the end, she had a great time with Andy and was fine while I was gone. This was a beautiful learning moment for me, and I’ll cherish this memory forever. I look forward to so many more conversations to come!

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