It's wonderful as a parent to know that your child is more comfortable with you than anyone else, but Jerry and I are quickly learning that it has its downsides, too.
One afternoon when Jerry and I had just gotten engaged, I remember stopping by his mother's house to drop off some wedding details for her perusal. When I got there, she was outside by the pool and Jer's nephews were lounging on lawn chairs -- the youngest asleep under a beach towel.
Because they weren't completely comfortable with me yet, their demeanor changed when I pulled up a chair. I noticed that they went from being relaxed to sitting up and alert. I remember thinking how wonderful it must feel to be so much a part of a child's life that they can be themselves around you.
Ironically, with my own child, I never realize how relaxed she is with me until I pass her to someone else.
When our neighbor was over a few weeks ago and reached down to pull Allison out of her highchair, she looked at him like, "Um, right, and you are?"
Then, after I momentarily walked out of the kitchen, she started wailing. When I came back a few seconds later, she was reaching for me in a panicked frenzy.
The trouble is, it doesn't stop there. She panics with everyone other than me or Jerry. It broke my mother's heart when it took Alli awhile to warm up to her on my last visit home. And even my mother-in-law, who sees her at least once a week, can't hold her without generating a crying fit.
Last night while we were at her house for a few hours, we joked that it was like an on and off switch. The moment she hit the arms of me or Jer, she'd stop.
I know a lot of it has to do with the fact that she isn't in day care. Plus, our work schedules dictate a rather secluded lifestyle. Not many of our friends can hang out on weekday afternoons, which happens to be the majority of our free time. Add in the fact that she doesn't have any other siblings and it's the perfect recipe for an infant with no social skills and separation anxiety.
I guess I've been assuming certain things. Like that she's going to grow up to be outgoing and social because her parents are. But if we don't provide a foundation for that, how could I expect it?
The tough part is, I'm not willing to toss her in day care just so she can be with other kids her age. We have lots of friends with children, but they're just as busy as we are. And living in a small town, there aren't any play groups that I know of.
I'm sure the solution is out there, but it's eluding me at the moment.