In the early months of my life, the only way I could feel secure was by feeling mommy next to me. I did spend nine months surrounded by mommy on all sides and I wasn’t ready to give that up. Maybe mommy wasn’t ready either because she did indulge me and she held me close most of the time.
I have come a long way since then and these days I like to play and explore. I still like to snuggle but I am comfortable being by myself. Being independent is very important because exploring is much easier when I feel confident in my ability to do things on my own. This sense of independence didn’t develop by itself. It took some hard work.
The first step of this journey was the smallest and the most difficult. Up to this point, I spent the vast majority of my time on mommy’s lap. One day, mommy put me down on the couch beside her. Even though mommy kept her hand on me, I found this change very unsettling. I grumbled and fussed to show my displeasure.
Sometimes I would work myself into a deep state of unhappiness and then I would cry. That’s when mommy would pick me up and soothe me, but once I felt better she would put me back on the couch again. The first few times, mommy made me sit beside her for only a few minutes, and then she would scoop me back onto her lap again. Then mommy tried to extend the amount of time I spent beside her by entertaining me. This helped but I still needed soothing once in a while.
Next mommy began putting me in my playpen. The first few times mommy sat with me and we played together. I didn’t find that very difficult since it was almost the same thing we were doing on the couch. Soon mommy started walking away from the playpen. At first it was just a couple of steps for just a moment, but the amount of time and distance grew.
Then mommy began to put me in my crib with a toy while she tidied up my room, or folded my laundry. I was still somewhat uneasy about being left alone in the playpen, and being in the crib was no different. Sometimes I felt comfortable playing and watching mommy do her own thing, but sometimes I got distressed. Every time mommy would pick me up and soothe me, then put me back where I was again.
This journey has had some rough patches. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I have gained greater confidence in myself and I learned that mommy is always there to comfort me. My new sense of independence has proven quite useful. I have the freedom to move around on my own and I can choose how to spend my time. I still like to snuggle and mommy is always there ready to hold me close.