Monday, August 2, 2010

Momma's Boy

Oliver's dependency on me continues to increase daily. Last month was his most independent month; I could easily set him on the floor with a toy and talk to him as I did dishes and prepped dinner. Those easy days were temporary. Thankfully, I know this stage will be temporary, too, but I wonder how long of a stage this one will be.

When Oliver was a few months old, the doctor told me that his dependency would peak at nine months. At the time, Oliver refused to be set down at all, so I assumed the nine month rule wouldn't be the case for Oliver. I was so wrong.

Like when he was younger, Oliver cries again when I leave the room. He freaks out if anyone tries to grab him from me (which is different from when he was younger when he was happy as long as someone was holding him). Also, he's mobile now, so if we're playing on the floor together, he crawls to me and climbs up on my lap (as best as he is able). If he's not in the mood to crawl, he cries until I pick him up. If I'm a foot or so from him, I tell him he can come to me. Sometimes, he does. Other times, he cries... and gets hysterical.

I feel badly for Andrew, although he tells me it's a non-issue. When I hand Oliver to him, Oliver freaks out for me to take him back until I leave the room and a few minutes have gone by. It's been hard to get family time in because when Oliver people are around (including Andrew), Oliver just wants me to hold him. Andrew seems to understand it's not him. In fact, other moms have told us the same thing happened to them. Still, if Oliver cried every time I took him from Andrew, it would break my heart.

Once I'm out of the room for a few minutes, Oliver begins to calm down and then enjoys other people's company. I can hear him coo to his daddy, and they have great one-on-one time. I'll feel inclined to join them for family time, but as soon as Oliver sees me walk into the room, he starts sobbing and doesn't stop until I pick him up.

This new stage is weird for us because we're used to things consistently getting easier with Oliver. We're used to him growing in independence and ability. Having this sudden increase of dependency on me is different.

I don't know if I should always give in to Oliver's pleas for me to pick him up (which happens--literally--every time there's someone else around) or if I should have him "deal with it" occasionally. I wonder if that inconsistency is confusing for him.

I can tell I'm a softy. That doesn't really bother me too much, except then I worry Oliver will either end up spoiled or end up resenting a future sibling. Still, when he's clawing at my leg for me to pick him up, how can I refuse? However, now that he's twenty pounds, I can't realistically carry him all day long like I did when he was ten pounds (Although, I must brag, I can carry him for a long time still. Andrew is frequently impressed by how buff I am, as I often carry Oliver for an hour straight). Usually, though, I carry him until he's calm and plop him on the floor with me to play with toys or peek-a-boo or patty cake. It works for a few minutes, and then he fusses until I pick him up again. When it's just Ollie and me, he'll often play for longer. Things are more normal and calm when it's just the two of us, but, then, that can't be good for him socially. He needs some exposure to other people!

I tried to read a bit about babies who are very dependent on their mommies. I read that babies often want to be held by parents who aren't very attentive to them. Apparently, being held is the only way to get attention. Their solution is for moms and dads to play with their kids more. Perhaps that's valid for some parents; I'm not sure. However, in our case, it's not valid. We have reading time, and Oliver cries until I hold him. We plays drums on pots & pans, and after a minute, Oliver cries until I hold him. Typically, Oliver wants to be held more than he wants to play. I've tried to kind of wean him from that mentality by not talking to him and not playing with him when I hold him (I'll go around cleaning with him on my hip) but play with him a lot when he's on the floor. So far, this tactic has not worked.

Of course, being over-dependent on me at nine months old isn't the worst thing in the world. It's good to know Oliver loves me and knows me as his mommy. I love all the snuggle time we share. I suppose it's best for me to let things work themselves out for now and worry about it in a few months if it's still an issue.

(photos are from 8/6/2010)

No comments: