I got a few questions about this.
I will preface this by saying that it is nothing but normal (in my opinion and according to all the experts we have talked to) for babies, toddlers, and beyond to be clingy and needy, to cry at their mom's feet, etc. However, it had gotten to a point with Braley where it was interfering with everything. I couldn't play with the other kids and he wasn't learning and advancing because I gave in and held him all day to keep the peace in the house. Therefore, I knew we needed some help.
If it was just Braley and me, I feel like I could deal with it easier. But with another wild man running around and Paige asking me 20 million questions a day, and Braley screaming at my feet - it was just too much.
Anyway - here are the things she suggested I do:
When Braley starts to fuss at me, crying mama mama, I am supposed to stop what I'm doing, get down with him, give him a quick hug, and try and engage him in some activity that he can do on his own. When she first told me this, I was like, no way. When he starts crying, he won't stop until I hold him. No way will he start playing with something else! But if I am persistent enough, sure enough he does.
I understand the thinking here...the goal is for him to learn to soothe himself when he gets upset. She stressed consistency. And she gave me a 3 strikes policy. So, if after trying 3 times to engage him in something else, he is just screaming, I should pick him up quickly, try and calm him, and set him back down and try to engage him in another activity (that he does on his own - not, say, reading him a book). I can honestly say that I have not had to even do that yet! He can calm himself down if I work at it.
Hopefully, in time, he will just not cry at my feet and will be happy on his own. That is the goal!
I had been either walking away and ignoring him (trying the tough love approach) or holding him all day. Not being consistent, sending him mixed signals...no wonder we were getting no where! I am so happy we reached out to get some help.
His speech is improving like crazy. I feel like we are at that "language explosion." He even requested the iPad yesterday, by name. Cutest thing coming out of a little mouth : )