“He’s just… being a baby.”

July 21, 2008 at 8:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

When our nephew was 4 months old, my SIL brought him to the family Thanksgiving party. She was excited to show him off, since much of the extended family hadn’t met him yet. And since that side of the family ADORES babies, K was hoping to be able to pass him off most of the afternoon and visit with people.

It didn’t really work the way she had hoped. She ended up standing on the driveway in forty degree weather, holding our screaming nephew – one who had worked himself up into a literal LATHER because he couldn’t bear to be out of her arms for even a few minutes.

J and I heard of this after the fact, since we were in North Carolina. We knew that D was a little sensitive. But we thought maybe that it was just D being D, since he never seemed to care much for anyone other than K. And we laughed and, with a pat on my belly, said that we’d make sure that we passed Squishy around early on so he got used to being in other people’s arms.

This weekend was D’s first birthday party. And while he happily went from person to person, and basked in being the center of attention while we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him…

I spent much of the party holding a crying baby that couldn’t bear to be out of my arms.

Ha. So much for our ignorant “our baby will be different.” I… ummm… take it back?

This is a fairly new development. A couple of weeks ago, Baby O cried and cried the few times my MIL held him. I attributed it to an off day, really, since he seemed fine the next day when it was just he and I. And when she and I talked about it, she said: “He’s just… being a baby.”

But then last week, when I went out to dinner with a girlfriend, he did the same thing to J. Cried and cried until he gave himself hiccups. Cried and cried… untill he finally fell asleep at 9:30.

And then again Saturday morning, when I went to the gym and left Baby O with J.

And then again last night, when we were visiting friends. When my friend JT held him. Then again when J held him. Cried and cried, worked himself into a sweat, and gave himself the hiccups.

It seems that Baby O is having a hard time being held by anyone other than me right now. Because as soon as I take him into my arms? He calms down. He looks around. He smiles at me. At other people. He laughs. Sucks on his fists. He’s perfectly content.

Just not so much when other people hold him.

And last night, I watched my husband get more and more frustrated every time Baby erupted into tears. Every time J tried to pick him up, Baby O cried. And cried. And cried. By the end of the night, J was tense and quiet. When he gets that way, I know he’s really upset and frustrated.

And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. I can walk away and hope that if Baby O doesn’t see me, he’ll realize that being with his daddy isn’t a bad thing. Which I did multiple times last night. Ignored the hysterics until I felt bad enough for J to ask if he wanted me to take over.

I mean, it makes SENSE that Baby O and I have a pretty strong bond. I carried him inside me. I spend entire days with him, just he and I. I am his primary source of food. Everything I’ve done for the past four months has been to encourage and strengthen his trust in me. So, in a way, it’s good that he feels strongly about being with me.*

I just wish I knew how to make it so that he felt like that for J. I hate knowing my husband thinks Baby O hates him. And I want Baby O to love J as much as I know J loves him.

And I’m really trying not to worry about what will happen when I leave him with his daycare provider in a little under two months. Because I know a lot can change between now and then, right? Maybe he’ll have grown out of this by then.

Like my MIL says. He’s just being a baby.

The good news is that our nephew did the same thing when he was Baby O’s age. And this weekend, on his first birthday? He was absolutely fine with being in the center of attention. With all the people in HIS house. There wasn’t one meltdown.

And that gives me hope that this is just a passing phase. A phase where Baby O now realizes that he can have an opinion about who holds him.

I just hope that he starts wanting his daddy too.

* And I feel strongly for him, too. I confess that a little part of me loves that he prefers me over other people. It’s so nice to know that my love for him is reciprocated. Doesn’t mean I don’t want him to love his daddy, though.



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  1. He’ll definitely go through different phases along the way when he prefers one parent over the other. I was the favorite for a while, but in the past probably 4 or 5 months, Dad is just the best thing since mommy milk and she shows a definite preference for him right now. It’s hard not to take it personally — whether you’re the one shunned or the one favored — but Baby O will develop a unique bond with both of you (and with other family and friends) that will constantly be changing over time. He’s at an age right now where he’s discovering that there’s a whole big world out there and he’s wanting to explore it and learn all about it, but it’s hard for him to go away from his safety zone. In the coming 6 to 8 months, he’ll get braver and braver as he develops the skills he needs to navigate this big, intimidating world. You’re going to be shocked at what a different person he is next St. Patrick’s Day.

    I truly think that daycare has been GOOD for my daughter in this regard in that it allows her to have other caregivers that she needs to trust, so she doesn’t feel like she has to get everything from me. Yet she always knows that Mom and Dad have the #1 place in her heart. We’ve had NO doubts about that.

    I’ve certainly learned: Everything is a phase. 🙂


  2. I worry about this constantly, I so want the boys to be good with other people that I am often seen handing them to people and walking away (yelling I love them and waving, but going)

    I often wonder if having two makes it easier for Mr Kir and I to have the best of both worlds, they don’t prefer one of us over the other (yet) and because they don’t get undivided attention from either of us it does make it easier. However, I have had time out of the house and Mr Kir tells me that they don’t like not knowing I’m not around. While a part of me likes that they miss me, the other part is adamant that they will not be antisocial Crying babies. (I have a stepnephew who was referred to as “the kid who never touched the ground” as a baby because his parents carried him everywhere, gave in to every need, whine etc and to this day can’t let anyone get him so much as a glass of water but his mom or dad. It’s just not the way I want the oodles to be)

    but I know that kids will grow out of what baby O is experiencing right now, of course he loves J and he’ll show him that soon enough. Of course you are the one person he sees consistantly and that makes you familiar and wonderful to him. It’s so hard, parenting is so hard, but we do the best we can and soon it’s a story we’re telling about “remember when” and it’s over. 🙂

    Hugs to you and Baby O

  3. oh thank goodness you posted this. baby auden is doing the same thing right now and it’s really starting to get to us. i don’t mind it so much with people other, but it breaks my heart when he’s screaming with his dad and then simply quiets when he’s handed back to me. this is the first phase that i’m wishing away…

  4. C does the same thing. Not to that extreme, but you can tell she’s just tolerating the others holding her. She looks at me the whole time, and heaven forbid I move out of her sight.

    I love that she loves being with me, but sometimes mom needs a break.

    She did go through that phase where she didn’t want DH, but not anymore. She gives him the biggest grin and gets so excited when he comes home from work. She still prefers me over him when she’s sleepy.

    But it does get better.

  5. Ethan is this way too.

    SOMETIMES he’ll go to Travis but honestly not always. I was trying to pack for our upcoming vaca last night and I had to cary him around because he was fit to be tied with Travis. Other nights he’ll sit with him a long time and be fine.

    It’ll get better. I promise!!

  6. My guy has exhibited very similar behavior over the last 16 months. He especially has these issues when we’re out in public. He was passed around like crazy as an infant (large family and church family) and loves to play with a ton of people at our house but when we’re in public he tends to cling to my husband or I. There’s just something different for him when we’re in an environment he’s not completely familiar with. Of course it tears me up anytime he won’t let my MIL or friend or whomever it may be hold him but I know it’s just his way of dealing with the unfamiliar and finding the place he feels safest.

    And yes, especially when he was tiny, there was some part of me that loved when he reached out just for his mom.

  7. We’re dealing with this too. I’m glad to know we’re not alone. Intellectually, the behavior makes sense, but it’s hard that A’s not completely comfortable with daddy right now. I’m encouraging them to spend as much time together as possible in hopes that things will get better soon.

  8. We are up to the stage where he recognises me and sometimes won’t go to sleep without a “mum hug”, but otherwise no real issues. Will look forward to the full-on separation anxiety phase later on, then.


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