We have been lucky - neither of our daughters ever experienced separation anxiety; in fact both looked forward to going to daycare and school.
(Hm, perhaps that's not a good sign? Let’s not overthink it…)
For those of us who must leave little ones behind due to work or split households, Love Waves could be a simple way of letting your child know you’re still thinking of her. The book shows young children what love waves look like and how they work.
Rosemary Wells is the author and illustrator of the well-known Max and Ruby books and videos, and although in Love Waves the rabbit family is grey instead of white, they are immediately familiar.
In the first part of this book, Mama Rabbit goes to work, telling Little Bunny to "Be brave." As she leaves, father and son wave from the window. The text reads,
“As I leave, I see you wave. I have to go where I must be…”
Each subsequent page is a complete illustration with a few simple words of rhyme, bright pastel illustrations, and backgrounds to keep the reader’s attention.
While Mama works at Café Lapin, she thinks of her child and sends love waves through the air:
Around the world, around the sun, they fly a thousand miles or one. Nothing stops them on their way. “I’m coming home!” the love waves say.
The illustrations for this text show sparkling “waves” sailing over the city on one spread, on the second spread they sail over the park and into the house where the little rabbit catches them.
Throughout the book, the waves are a metallic overprint that sparkles a rainbow of colors depending on how the light catches them. Your child can have fun tilting the pages to make the waves change color.
At the end of her shift, Mama comes home and in the next part of the book, Daddy goes to work. He travels to a high-rise in the city where he has photos on his desk of the family, and wishes each phone call was from his son. He, too, sends love waves from his open office window (apparently they still make office windows that can open!), his love waves sail over yellow taxis back home.
In the final part of the book, both parents are home in their pajamas and their armchairs but they still send love waves “down the hall” to the little one now asleep in her room.
Love Waves is a good book to share with younger children who might not understand why parents can’t stay with them all day or night and don’t realize that although we're not with them, we're still thinking of them.
I also discovered older kids question the illustrations more. Along the lines of “it is best not to overthink,” my child got hung up on the strange timeline of the book; Mama goes to work at 8 a.m. and returns, then Daddy leaves at 7 p.m. and is shown possibly making breakfast. Since the very next page shows both parents getting ready for bed, it appears Dad got back in time to put baby to sleep. This caused many questions from my pre-K child, but I suppose that is a good thing, as it shows she's thinking logically!