Saccharine Sweet Affections—by Jamie Levine

“You’re the best Mommy in the whole wide world!”
“Mommy…I love you more than anything or anyone…more than I can even say because it’s so much!”
“Mommy? When we get home, can I give you lots of hugs and kisses and sit on your lap and snuggle?”
All of these remarks were made by my daughter—and she makes them on a regular basis. Are her comments endearing? Yes. Am I grateful she adores me? Of course. Can her behavior also be a bit smothering? Heck, yeah!

Last week, I chaperoned Jayda’s kindergarten class trip. Jayda is madly in love with her teacher and her elementary school, and has made what seems like a zillion friends in the less-than-two-months that she’s been there. However, on this trip, all she wanted was to be with me—to hold my hand, sit on the bus with me (she fought with her friend over the spot next to me, so I compromised and sat in between them), and tried to sit on my lap during our picnic lunch. I understand that Jayda was proud to have me with her—and wanted to show off the fact that her beloved Mommy was on the trip—however, I got a bit irritated by the end of the day. Especially when Jayda loudly announced as I was saying goodbye to her that she’d miss me “soooo much!” (after I’d told her I’d see her again in 90 minutes). I know—it’s sweet that she loves me so deeply. And if everything I’ve been hearing about tween girls is true, in just a few years, she’ll likely hate my guts. I should appreciate these times. However, sometimes I can’t help rolling my eyes at Jayda’s effusive compliments, though I know it’s not nice of me.

I love my daughter more than anything in the world. Most of the time (when she’s not whining or throwing a tantrum!) she’s also my favorite person with whom to spend time. And, as a super-affectionate person, myself, I do appreciate the fact that my daughter loves to cuddle with me. But sometimes she crosses the line. And these days, it’s happening quite often, even though I do spend three to five hours in the afternoon and evening with Jayda—five days a week. It makes me wonder if her attachment to me is normal. Is it age-appropriate? Or is Jayda looking for some sort of validation that I’m not giving her? Fortunately, I can say that my daughter is a very independent, completely social, well-adjusted kid. She spends 10-hour days at school several times a week—and doesn’t want to leave when I pick her up. She runs off with new friends at the playground without looking back at me. And she doesn’t even wait for me to lace up my skates at the ice skating rink—she hits the ice as soon as she’s suited up…all by herself. But when we’re alone together (or when I’m leaving to go somewhere), she’s a clingy, mushy, effusively-love-sick mess. I know things could be much worse. But I can’t help wondering how to make things better—for both of us.

  1. 5 Responses to “Saccharine Sweet Affections—by Jamie Levine”

  2. From all I’ve read lately, Jaime, it sounds like she is getting her “Mommy Fix,” but she is having issues with you being “unavailable” when SHE seems to need you. Your school transitions have been understandably erratic, possibly contributing to her “over affection” towards you.

    Sorry to play amateur child psychologist, but it seems to be becoming my “new profession.” I think once your classes are over and life becomes less erratic, she will crave less of your attention. Young children thrive on stability and consistency. Maybe she just doesn’t feel “secure” right now.

    Try talking to her about how she feels about you being at school and about how the transitions and changes of your schedule have affected both you and her. You might find your answer right there!

    By Cara Meyers on Oct 22, 2012

  3. Jamie, I’m with Cara on this one. Be very careful right now with how you respond to her affections. If you reject her now, when she gets to spend so little time with you, it is very likely to affect your long term relationship. Don’t let her see you roll your eyes. From your descriptions of her, she seems pretty smart and savvy for a girl her age, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s reading your body language every chance she gets. And she should. You’re her mom. :)

    By Heather Bowles on Oct 24, 2012

  4. Thanks, ladies — but at the risk of sounding snarky and defensive, I spend TONS of time with my daughter — almost 2 hours every weekday morning and 3-5 hours every week day eve. More than most working moms (and I’m working AND in grad school). I put her to bed 6 out of 7 nights a week, and spend all day Saturday with her. I am NOT unavailable. THAT is why I wonder about her effusive-lovey-dovey-ness. We’re together a LOT — and she’s my main focus. So it’s a bit of overkill on her end…

    By Jamie on Oct 24, 2012

  5. That’s wonderful! I didn’t imagine you were spending that much time, or that you even HAD that much time to spend between work and school. When do you sleep?

    By Heather Bowles on Oct 24, 2012

  6. Ha! What’s sleep? :) I work when Jayda is in school — and then after she goes to bed — from 8 until 11 or 12 am. And then Jayda gets me up at 6 (hence we have 2 hours before she goes to school…unfortunately, unlike me — my kid hates to sleep :(

    By Jamie on Oct 25, 2012