For the majority of my life I have been fearless. I’m the kind of person who tends to leap before looking and I mean that quite literally. I commit fully to whatever I’m doing and have little regard for consequences or personal safety. Mommy keeps telling me that I need to work on that.
I am much too busy to be concerned with such trivial matters as safety. I have so much to do! There are toys that need to be banged together, balls that require chasing, and holes that need fingers poked into them. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The life of a baby is incredibly demanding.
My world revolves around experimentation and discovery. It’s a hard job but somebody has to it. The only way to approach any problem is to jump in with both feet and boldly go where no baby has gone before. That’s what makes me so good at what I do.
I have always applied the same strategy to people. If I wanted to interact with someone I would simply go for it. I had no hesitation about getting right up in someone’s space and demanding attention. That’s the way it has always been until one day when things just changed.
It happened for no specific reason that I know of and I don’t really understand why I feel the way I do, but suddenly strangers began to give me pause. I’ll still approach them but with more caution and I would prefer that they not approach me. These days I like to be the one who initiates the relationship.
I am still a very social baby and I am likely to initiate that relationship, but these days I need a bit of time to figure a person out. I need to know what they’re about before I decide to befriend them. Maybe I’m simply maturing and becoming more selective as to whom I want in my circle of friends.
Mommy says this is called stranger anxiety and it is a normal part of growing up. It can start as early as 4 months old but for me it didn’t begin until much later. We are individuals and each baby is different. I tend to be a curious and trusting baby.
I think that for me things began to change around the 7 or 8 month mark. One day, I just didn’t feel comfortable with strangers holding me. Not just complete strangers either, but also people who I don’t know very well. Really, anyone other than mommy and daddy made me a bit uncomfortable.
It’s not that nobody but mommy and daddy can hold me. It’s just that I need some time to get used to the new person before I’m alright with them invading my space. This doesn’t usually take long as I’m still me and rather curious about everyone and everything.
Now that I’m mobile, the easiest way for me to get comfortable is to allow me to approach the newcomer at my own pace. If you keep me company in my baby zone and mommy or daddy are near, it won’t be long before I’m inviting you to play with me. Play is a great icebreaker.
Over the last couple of months I have been experiencing similar feelings of anxiety around objects that I’m not familiar with. Not all objects of course, and not objects that are happy to mind their own business. I do not however like new objects that want to come at me or if they move unexpectedly. That’s just scary.
I’m not too fond of these new developments to my personality but mommy tells me there is no reason to be concerned. She says I am becoming more self-aware and as my sense of self increases, it is only natural to feel the need to protect that self. Mommy tells me that as I learn more about people, places, and things, I will become more confident again and these feelings will, for the most part, go away. I sure hope mommy is right because I don’t enjoy feeling scared.