I have attempted every lovey I could find.
I have tried stuffed animals.
I have tried baby dolls.
I have tried blankets.
While she loves each of these items to varying degrees and enjoys taking one or two to sleep with. There has only been one thing that has proven time and time again to make my child feel secure.
On the one hand this is great. It is awesome that my presence brings such security to my amazing little girl. The problem is that my absence seems to bring the polar opposite. She.is.a.mess.
She has had babysitters since she was 3 months old. I have been taking classes since she was four months old which has resulted in babysitters and her daddy being the one home with her several times a week for over a year now. Our parents have watched her for date nights and medical appointments. It's not as though I have set up this world where only mommy will do. However, somehow that has been and continues to be Isabella's motto for all of 2018:(.
I feel like I have tried EVERYTHING. Making sure she knows I'm leaving. Making sure she knows what's happening in advance (but not too far in advance). Having distractions on hand. Having familiar favorites on hand. Consistent people babysitting. Having a goodbye routine. Giving her indicators of when I will be back in language she understands. Giving her opportunities to spend time with adults who aren't me. Social stories that explain what is going to happen. Songs and stories about grown ups leaving and coming back. NOTHING WORKS!
Interestingly while something like 25% of children suffer from separation anxiety, there is only ONE book written on the topic:
Fingers crossed there is a silver bullet in here somewhere!!!