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The (non) social butterfly

Four months on, and my part-time mama’s girl hasn’t really made any big strides in that department. She’s in love with her dad now—and I’m so freaking grateful because it makes life that much easier—but I’m still her go-to the majority of the time. I think separation anxiety can kick in somewhere around the 6 or...

IMG_2024Four months on, and my part-time mama’s girl hasn’t really made any big strides in that department. She’s in love with her dad now—and I’m so freaking grateful because it makes life that much easier—but I’m still her go-to the majority of the time. I think separation anxiety can kick in somewhere around the 6 or 8 month mark, so maybe that’s part of it. All I know is, I hold her all the time. And my back hurts a lot.
The real upshot of her mama habit is that very few people ever get their hands on our girl. She’ll smile and play coy little games of peekaboo over my shoulder, drawing folks in like moths to a flame. But she has a general concept of her own personal space, and when they move into her bubble, they hear all about it.
At school the other morning, she was making serious eye contact with one of the other moms, a friend with whom we often have coffee. Someone who has seen her twice daily, five days a week pretty much since birth. She mentioned that she hadn’t held her yet and made that universal, hands-out gesture. I passed her over, and my baby looked at me, looked at my friend and simultaneously reared back right as she started howling. Cute, right? (It’s not really cute.)
And today, I was at the gym with another trainer, and I ran out of the room to grab something. I left the baby in her infant seat (she still fits!), and then I heard her screams 15 seconds later. I’m pretty sure it went down like this: The sweet trainer probably started chatting her up, and when she started crying because, you know, her bubble had been breached and I had completely abandoned her, the trainer pulled her out of her seat, making things 10 thousand times worse. She was gently bouncing my howling baby when I raced back. I was seriously gone well under a minute—and completely horrified. She couldn’t hand her over fast enough.
She’ll tolerate her grandparents, kind of, but not for very long. My mom was over the other day, and we were sitting with the kiddos in the playroom. I ran out of the room to attend to a poopy bottom, leaving my mom and the baby. My mom said she surreptitiously slid toys over, avoiding direct eye contact and murmuring quietly. When I poked my head in the door to see how things were going, my daughter looked up at me in surprise, looked over at her nana, and then the indignant screaming commenced.
I know it won’t last forever. Someday soon she’ll be squealing with delight in the arms of someone besides me or her dad or her brother. So yeah, my back starts protesting by late afternoon, and sometimes it would be such a relief to pass her over to someone (anyone) for a bit. But then I remind myself that I’m her favorite right now, and suddenly I feel better—sore back and all.

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