Once upon a time when Boo and Pumpkin Girl were very little and it was just the two of them, Boo was…oh how shall we say it? He was clingy. He needed me a-l-l the time. He wanted me to play with him, interact with him, be with him constantly. I did manage to get him to where he could play on his own, as long as I was in the same room, sitting on the floor and within arms reach. He was three years old and Pumpkin was about one.
Every time I needed to use the bathroom I would announce, “I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” I would walk to the bathroom and Boo could see me the whole time. The only time I was out of eyesight was when I actually closed – and locked- the door. Then he would cry, run after me and knock on the door. Pumpkin would toddle after him, since apparently the party had moved over here by the bathroom. She’d pound on the door, too, because this was part of the game. Sometimes she’d even join in on the crying.
I would finish up and open the door and ask them why they were freaking out. Boo would say, “You went away!” I would tell him, “I went to the bathroom. I told you where I was going. I told you I’d be back. Look! Here I am!”
We’d go through the whole routine a couple of times a day.
At some point I changed what I said to be “I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll be right back. Stay here. Don’t. Freak. Out.”
One day I just said, “I’m going to the bathroom. Stay here.”
To which Boo replied, “But what if we freak out?!?”
“Then everything will be the same as always.”
Post Script – Even though many years have passed, my children all seem to have some sort of uncanny sensing ability. The minute I go into my room, close the door, enter the bathroom and close the door and go into the little potty closet and close that door…someone barges into the bedroom. “Mom? Mom? Mom?” they call out. “I’m in the bathroom. GO AWAY!” I say through gritted teeth. And in my head I’m thinking, “And just stop freaking out!”