Jan 26, 2010

Stranger Anxiety

At Christmas, we experienced our first few episodes of stranger anxiety with Jane. Apparently stranger anxiety usually sets in around 8-9 months but can start as early as 6 months.

Interestingly, her anxiety was completely unpredictable. For example, on Boxing Day, we went to my brother's house for dinner and Jane didn't react at all to my bro, sis-in-law or niece. She was happy as a lark (kind of, cause that was the day after the first night of no sleep and the start of my
Zombie Christmas).

The next day, my parents arrived from Toronto. As soon as they came through the door, she caught a glimpse of them and the look on her face was priceless. It was concern-fear-curiosity all in one. Immediately, she looked at me to see my reaction - I smiled and purposely talked in a super happy voice, knowing what her expression meant (which seemed to prevent the crying). But when Grammy or Poppy reached for her, she clung to me and the bottom lip started to pucker outwards.

As much as I felt bad for her anxiety of these "new people" (to her anyways), I had to admit, I kind of enjoyed the feeling of her needing me. I mean, she's always needed me but I hadn't really noticed over the past few months that she really recognized me (cause it's always just me and her) and that she knew I was Mommy and I would "protect" her.

Five seconds later and some high-pitched talking from Grammy and she was over it. Took her a little while longer to warm up to Pops but it's obviously something to do with men because it became quite clear over the holidays that women didn't worry her as much as these taller, deeper-voiced, bigger people with short hair! :p

Later that day, we added a mustache into the mix and she was never sold on that. Poor Graham (our good family friend)... he just loves kids and is so great with them and Jane just wasn't open to the man with hair on his face! :p Soon as she'd see him she'd get that face again... no crying, just the face (see picture). ha ha ha.

As far as dealing with stranger anxiety - my advice, slowly! Don't scare your babe even worse by brushing off their fears and throwing them into the arms of someone they are obviously concerned about. Wait it out. Let them see you interact with the person. Slowly have them interact with the person.

My Mom was great. She kept putting her arms out towards Jane to see if Jane would reach for her. The first few times, Jane would tuck further into me but after a few tries, you could tell she was open to it and that was the end of it. My girlfriend, Emily, also kept her distance at first... slowly and slowly getting closer, then touching her and eventually Jane was all over her! Other than that, don't get embarrassed or uncomfortable because of it. I mean, it makes you feel bad when someone (especially your parents) come to visit, and your baby cries at the sight of them! But what are ya gonna do about it? That's life and this is a stage of it!

Oh, add baseball caps to the mustache fear... both Jane and my niece, Anna, are not fans of the baseball cap! Who the heck is under there?!?!? :p

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