My child is a bit wary. He’s suspicious of new people and surroundings. He’s a bit of a scaredy-cat. He doesn’t like lots of loud noises or voices and can be a bit clingy and cranky when we’re out and about.
At home, however, he is quite different. He loves his room. He can tear it apart within minutes – pulling books and toys off the shelves. Throwing blocks and other brightly coloured plastic items on the floor or across the room, all while babbling very loudly. He’s happy at home! He’s happy looking out of his window. He’s happy to look for birds, trucks and, sometimes, even horses. He’s happy crawling from room to room and hiding behind his cupboard to play peek-a-boo.
He’s not had very much opportunity to be around other babies and children. We do meet friends of course – but not as regularly as I think is necessary. And the mums with babies his age have other friends with kids, which I do not. (I’m not a complete loser, it’s just that most of my friends are single!) And we are still, 6 months later, wait-listed for the (I say ‘the’ because it’s the only one) playgroup.
When we do go out, we go out after 4.30pm – because it’s much cooler then. Usually at about 5.30 – 6pm, he starts getting clingy and cranky. He takes the toys the other children have – not because he wants them, but because he doesn’t want anyone else to have them. He doesn’t smile all the time (he has his off-days, I guess) and two mums have said, ‘He’s not very happy when he’s not at home, is he?’ And they know, because they’ve been over for a playdate before. I just kind of shrug it off.
Three weeks ago we went to a birthday party. We spent one hour in traffic getting there. Baby was not happy. He was, I think, still getting over the shock of his own birthday party. This was a joint party – so there were 50 kids ranging from 6 months to about 9 years, it was outdoors, the music was loud, it was chaos and my baby was not happy.
He wouldn’t let me go. He wouldn’t smile at many people and he wasn’t interested in the balloons, face-painter or bouncy castle when we got there (he relaxed after about thirty minutes and enjoyed the slide). We saw a mum with her baby (who he knows). She talked to him a bit. He just stared at her.
And she said (to my boy), ‘Are we feeling a little anti-social again today?’
I wasn’t sure if I heard her correctly, but I actually knew I had. And I didn’t know what to say. I found myself mumbling something about the traffic and him being tired.
I KNOW he needs to get out more. I KNOW he needs to spend more time with other children. I KNOW he needs to get used to other environments. I KNOW he won’t always be a scaredy-cat.
But I also KNOW that you don’t call a baby (especially someone else’s baby) anti-social. WTF!
I felt a little hurt. And I started feeling a little guilty (as always). Have I made the most out of the options we have? Should I be making more of an effort to get Vinay out and about – and not to see just adults? Will he always be clingy and cranky in new environments? What will happen when he starts nursery at 18 months?
Is this a phase? Will it get better? Is this his personality? Is it a confidence issue? Will he prefer to spend time in his own company as he gets older?
Should I be worrying this much?