My wife and I have often bragged that Oliver loves everyone. We understand that babies will sometimes develop a subtle guardedness towards others, and we know that this may still come. So far, however, he has an unconditional love for open arms, regardless of the owner. At this point in his development, I am happy to see his enjoyment of other people, his desire to interact, and his easy-going nature. It warms my heart.
But even as I celebrate Oliver’s welcoming, loving nature, I worry about how this might make him vulnerable to others. More now than I ever, I face the reality that children must be cautious and wary of their own safety.
This is obviously not a new development for parents. On multiple occasions, my mother has told me that she slightly worried about my love for interacting with other people when I was much younger. She never wished to stifle my outgoing nature, but obviously wanted me to have boundaries and know to protect myself when necessary. I have heard from parents that this often becomes a tough road to navigate. On one hand, parents want their children to be loving, as well as conscious of others and their feelings. On the other hand, parents want their children to be attentive, and even guarded, when confronting strangers. Both points are valid, and I believe that neither wish is ludicrous.
Like many people, I hope that Oliver could someday have a perfect blend of these traits, in order that he might surround himself by strong, supportive friends as he engages challenges and struggles. My hope is that he remains watchful and cautious, but has the bravery to challenge himself and encounter the unknown stranger.
Until then, however, his only challenge is making himself laugh, and he does an excellent job. Keep it up, Ollie. Try not to grow up so fast.