Yesterday evening I sat down and ate a delicious meal consisting of lamb, parsnips, corn and salad. I had the displeasure of making this meal myself after about a week of not cooking at home. Displeasure you say? The meal was great; however, the cooking process that went into the meal was not so great. It was actually traumatizing for Cubby and I. As I had mentioned in a previous post, Cubby is experiencing separation anxiety every time I walk away from her and she cannot see me. This began at around 8 months. It just so happens that with the layout of my house, she cannot see me if I go into the kitchen, but I can see her. I honestly feel like I have tried everything humanly possible to keep her entertained while I try to cook.
Yesterday, I started off with her in the Baby Bjorn while I cut and prepped the food. That worked all right with the exception that she kept reaching for everything so I had to be careful about how close items were to her. She lasted about twenty minutes and then I had to take her out as I had to use the stove and oven and didn’t want her hanging in front of me. I put her in her highchair with a bunch of toys and books. I went about my cooking and was trying to multi task to steam some vegetables to make her baby food, warm up her dinner so I could feed her, and make my meal so there were multiple things going on at the same time. She kept dropping all of her toys onto the floor. I kept picking them up and passing them to her. Then I decided to connect those little plastic rings and attach a toy to her highchair strap. She kept throwing that overboard and banging with it. I don’t know if she has a short attention span, but that only lasted 5 minutes and she was screaming to get out of the highchair.
I kept her in the highchair for about half an hour and she was done. I tried bringing the exersaucer over to the kitchen, but she didn’t want to stand in that. I finally decided to put her in the living room on the foam mats as I had to keep opening the oven to check on the lamb and corn. I get worried as our oven is really hot and sometimes sets off the smoke alarm just by opening it. Of course when I left her in the living room and began walking to the kitchen, she started crying. I had to tend to my dinner and her baby food or else everything would be overcooked or burnt. I let her cry for about 10 minutes, which turned into hysterical wailing. I felt stressed out, like I was on some time limit to quickly do everything. I stepped out to the side where she could see me and waved saying: “Here I am. Mommy’s here.” She became more upset that I wasn’t coming over and got even louder. I thought to myself that I always rush over to her and she has to learn to play by herself so I kept cooking. She kept crying. It was really loud and I felt really bad. I remembered people telling me that she’s not going to learn to be by herself if I always rush to her side, so I kept cooking.
I thought that maybe it would be like trying to get her to sleep through the night and she would “cry it out” and then go back to playing. I went over to the living room and hugged her saying it was ok and mommy would be right back. I went back to the kitchen and continued on. She was wailing again. I was starving and determined to finish up and turn the oven and stove off. (For the past week I have been waiting until she goes to sleep between 7 and 8pm, and then trying to cook, but at that point I am starving and usually end up ordering something or my husband picks something up). I continued on and she was as loud as a firetruck. My heart was racing and she sounded like she was crying so hard she was going to vomit. I turned everything off and ran over to her. It had been about 25 minutes that I let her cry with me checking in on her and I can see her from the kitchen (it’s only about 10 feet away).
I scooped her up and she was a sloppy mess of slobber and tears and her face was bright red. She was sobbing and whimpering uncontrollably and I couldn’t get her to calm down. I hugged her tightly and kept saying that I was sorry that I tried to cook dinner, but she wasn’t having any of it. I felt so bad and felt my tears flowing down my face. I couldn’t get her to stop crying. Luckily, my husband came up the stairs and saw both of us in tears and rushed over. I was so upset and angry that I yelled that I was never going to make dinner again as it was too stressful. He saw how upset little Cubby was and felt bad. He took her from me and tried to calm her down. She kept wailing until she finally fell asleep on his shoulder. She was exhausted from crying. I told him that she had cried for 25 minutes straight. We had a discussion and decided that since he can’t make it home earlier so he can watch her while I make dinner, that maybe we could cook for the week on Sundays. I don’t know what else to do.
So, I need feedback and ideas for cooking time. Has this happened to anyone else? How do you deal with the separation anxiety? My kitchen is narrow with an island in it, so I can’t really fit a play pen or something that she could play in. Any ideas would be much appreciated!!