Monday, May 16, 2011

Spencer, I Want to Go to the Bathroom by Myself!

I'm not sure I ever anticipated "Spencer, I want to Go to the Bathroom by Myself!" ever being a title on this here blog of mine, but, alas, it is.  I also don't think I ever anticipated ever needing to say those words to Spencer, much less having to say them multiple times a day, but, alas, I do.

I'm not exactly sure when this whole thing started, I'm thinking that it might have some roots from the potty training days when I would show Spencer how "big girls" use the the potty.  But for the first couple months after she was fully trained, she always wanted to use the bathroom "by myselvvve!" as she would say.  Spencer didn't give a second thought to when I went to the bathroom and I never gave a second thought to the beauty that is bathroom privacy.

It's not an exaggeration in any way when I tell you that every single time Spencer sees me getting up and walking towards the bathroom, she races like an Olympic sprinter in the gold medal race to get to the door before I shut it.  Actually, it's not only the bathroom, it's any room in the house, it's just that the bathroom is the only place I really care about being all by myself.  I know a lot of moms use their bathroom time as a personal refuge, a place to be by themselves for a few moments and collect their thoughts, maybe read a magazine or examine their face to see if any wrinkles have sprouted since the last time they checked; that's not me.  So I would almost understand why Spencer would want to go with me every time if I did that, especially if she thought I was doing something like putting on makeup.  I'm in and I'm out. (is that TMI?) I also might understand if I never let her in the bathroom while I was using it- maybe it would seem like she was missing out on something, but that's not the case either.

When Spencer realizes that a) I'm already in the bathroom before she noticed, or b) didn't make it to the door in time before I shut it, she stands at the door and sticks her toes and fingers underneath the gap between the floor and the door.  And her little toes are so cute and then I feel an odd combination of love and guilt and I let her in. So even when I'm in the bathroom alone, I'm never really alone.  And I miss it. 

Spencer hasn't gone through a clingy phase in awhile and I wouldn't say that she's in one now, per se.  I mean yesterday at Kohl's, she ran away from me and in a sing songy voice, taunted "ha ha, you can't find me!" But for some reason, whenever we're at home, she becomes my shadow.  This morning, I started walking to the bathroom and she immediately began her sprint to the door.  I turned around and said, "Spencer, I want to use the bathroom by myself!"  To which she replied "please don't leave me," completely breaking my heart.  I had no idea why she would say that, I mean, I'm by her side more than any parent I know- we are never apart.  So I began racking my brain trying to think of why she would say that to me- why she was feeling this way? Then I remembered something seemingly benign that happened a few weeks ago, which I guess wasn't as benign as I thought.

A few weeks ago I was in the laundry room doing some morning chores before Spencer woke up and I didn't hear her get up and start looking for me. I was only in there for about five minutes, so I know she couldn't have been awake for more than a couple of minutes, but she was hysterically crying because she'd gone to the window and hadn't seen my car in its usual parking space and she thought I'd left her.  (My car was pulled further up the driveway than it usually is and from the window you couldn't see it)

Now generally, Spencer would immediately realize that she wasn't being supervised and use that time to do something completely destructive, like get into my makeup bag and give herself a makeover, cut her hair with scissors, try and pour her own orange juice, basically anything that I wouldn't normally allow her to do.  So I was a little shocked when she was sitting there sobbing because it seemed really uncharacteristic of her.  After a few minutes of crying and hugging and reassuring her that I would never leave her, she was fine, and everything went back to normal.  I didn't really think about it again until this morning when she told me not to leave her.  The idea that Spencer thinks I might actually leave her alone breaks my heart.  I hate that she's feeling this way and as much as I want my privacy, I want even more for her to feel secure and safe.

The weird thing is that she's not this way anywhere else.  In fact, yesterday we went over to my aunt's house for the afternoon, and as soon as we got there, she begged me to go to leave so she could play "alooone" with my aunt.  She also has no problem using the bathroom alone, she likes to go by herself.  I'm kind of at a loss about what to do here.  Has anyone else experienced something like this?  I would love some ideas or any advice in general about what you've done, or heard others have done, in this kind of situation!

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jenn said...

My daughter is 4 1/2 and she still follows me to the bathroom every time I head that direction. I've been telling her that I want some privacy so now she'll pop her head around the door and say, "Mommy, I'm giving you some privacy." Five seconds later she'll open the door and say, "Am I giving you good privacy?"

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