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Continuous Countdown

While Cora’s separation anxiety has
definitely gotten better, it’s certainly not a complete thing
of the past, and as the clinginess gets less and less frequent, I
find myself becoming more and more intolerant of it. I know that
sounds crazy, but she’s gotten so good at finding comfort in
other people that when she reverts back my patience just
isn’t as dominant as it used to be.

Cora’s Mommy need usually surfaces somewhere around a stretch
of sleep – right after she wakes up in the morning, or first
thing after her nap. There’s always a bit of re-entry time
required for her: sometimes snuggling and rocking in her chair for
a few minutes, sometimes just a quick quiet song hummed in her ear
as I carry her downstairs. Then more likely than not she’s
off and running, looking for trouble.

But every once in a while she’s not
ready to be put down, and cries deep, gulping, desolate sobs if I
try. I’ll carry her around patiently for a few minutes, but
unfortunately for her these post-sleep times usually coincide with
meal-prep times for me. Getting eggs scrambled or hamburgers made
is rather difficult with a clingy toddler hanging around my neck,
and I’d hold her as long as possible, put her down to scream
for twenty seconds while I dealt with hot oil or sharp knives, then
pick her back up to much snuffling and neck-burrowing.

Recently, though, I found a trick that’s helpful, though used
so much these days that it’s making me slightly crazy.
I’ve found that if I count down from 20 when I put Cora down,
she’ll wait patiently, understanding that soon Mommy will
pick her back up again. You see, we use counting down in the family
as a way to help the girls to transition: “Ten more counts of
‘brushing’ your own teeth, then it’s
Mommy’s turn.” “Twenty more pushes on the swing,
then it’s Maddie’s turn.” That sort of thing. So
now, I put Cora down at my feet and count backwards from twenty
(sometimes veeeeeeeeeeeeery slowly), frantically getting all the
two-handed stuff done, then scoop her back up after I hit

This keeps Cora calm, and she’ll wait patiently for me to
bottom out, so to speak. It’s had an unintended side effect-
other than making Mommy hate the first twenty numbers of our
numerical system, I mean: Cora can now count backwards from twenty.
Indeed, she often chants along with me, grinning bigger and bigger
as we near the final number, for all the world as if she’s a
huge sports fan counting down the clock running out on the Stanley
Cup finals.

Hey – maybe I should start counting backwards in a different
language every day. My daughter, the multi-lingual numerologist.
She could get a job translating international sports events.


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