My daughter is three and a half and she is extremely clingy right now. I call her 'Saran Wrap' (lovingly). She cries whenever I leave, even if I've been with her all day and I'm just going out for a run.
I knew it was getting bad when I tried to take a shower the other day, and she began crying. Tearfully, she told me that she didn't want me to take a shower because she loved me. I said, "Honey, I love you too, but I'm just taking a shower. I am, in case you haven't noticed, still RIGHT HERE. I'm not leaving the house; I'm just going behind this curtain! It's not like REALLY LEAVING!"
She got into the shower with me.
I'm not really sure how to handle this, because I haven't had to deal with it for my two older boys. And my daughter is extremely loving and nurturing and sensitive (not like anyone I know) and I don't want to hurt her.
Also, I know the boys went through so many phases and I'm thinking if I can just hang on, this will be another phase that will pass.
I have come to realize that (as my good friend said when I discussed the best way to leave her when she's crying): "It's like a band aid - the quicker you take it off, the quicker it stops hurting."
However, I also think about when she will be sixteen and how she might (sob) hate me and be embarrassed by me and never want to be seen with me, and then I feel like saying, "That's okay, I'll hold you while I make dinner. I don't mind at all! You want to hold my hand the entire day? GOOD! Let's do it!"
You've got to get it while you can, right?