Visiting friends or “strange bearded men”

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I am way behind on posting photos and blogging about things, because I get 10-20 minutes every nap to blog which is not even close to enough time to write a post, let alone prepare photos for it.

I read somewhere recently that the best gift you can give a mom blogger is 2 hours of uninterrupted time to blog. This couldn’t be more true and that’s the luxury I don’t have even when I ignore dishes, cooking and cleaning.

About 2  months ago, we went to visit some of our friends and introduce them to Lexi. We hadn’t seen them for a long time prior to that, so we were all looking forward to the visit.

As expected, when we arrived they were already 3-4 drinks into the “party” and were having fun with their other friends preparing for a fishing trip they were taking off on that evening. Alexis was sleeping ( exhausted after a huge meltdown in a car) , so my mom volunteered to stay with her while we went in.

When my baby girl was up, my mom brought her out, all sleepy and disoriented and the whole gang just started “oohing and ahhhhing” and I am sure scared her a bit. So I picked her up and J. walked up to her to say hello. She kept looking at me, like “Is this ok?” and then he takes her in her arms and she just breaks down in tears (broke my heart). She wouldn’t calm down for a while regardless of what I did and I felt so bad.


J kept repeating “My sons never cried. I’d put them on my shoulders and we’d go places”

Yeah probably not at 2.5 months, J, not at 2 and a half months.

So I kept her away from “loud voices” and “beard” while Andrew and I took turns walking around with her


Honestly, that was my first experience with someone getting into her face and next time I’ll know to just shut it down or warn the “new person” to take it slow and smile at her from some distance before taking her into their arms. By the end of the evening, our pouty and quiet Lexi warmed up slightly to both men and actually smiled at them with a very tentative smile.

But what I really appreciated is that one of them stayed back the whole time, watching, being careful, not scaring Alexis. By the end of the evening, he gently walked up to her, gently smiled at her and she just lit up.

We’re going back there for a nice 4th of July party that J holds every year and this time I am guarding my Lexi until I see she’s totally fine with all the people. These 2 months might have made a difference because she absolutely loved Leeka who visited on Father’s Day and spent most of the time being carried and kissed by her. I’ll post pics in a week or so, but she had so much fun with her and a smile never left her face.

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  • Reply
    Elena C.
    June 27, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Oh I remember my niece being 5 months old and we went to my grandma’s BD party, and she basically cried for the whole evening 🙁 There was nothing that could make her stop until we left.
    So it’s totally normal, and I guess it gets better in time, but you holding her at the beginning and helping her assimilate helps a lot for sure 🙂

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    My son (as an infant) was the life of the party. Anyone could hold him and he was Mr happy and jovial. Fast forward to 2.5 years old and ALL STRANGERS ARE SCARY. IT’s tough to watch!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    My kiddo was like that with people too. It was REALLY bad between 9 and 15ish months give or take (so it might get worse before it gets better.) My husband’s mom just didn’t understand and when we’d visit her or she’d visit us, she’d immediately be all up in her face all excited since obviously she loves her granddaughter and kiddo would just be so freaked out. husband’s mom would take it so personally and no amount of ‘remember to let her warm up and come in slowly’ would stop her from the immediate in her face/gets butthurt when baby gets upset routine.

    I got TONS of advice about how ‘you just have to let her be with people. Drop her off and go! Let someone hold her, she’ll stop crying eventually blah blah blah bullshit. Apparently I was ‘coddling’ her by keeping her close and letting her avoid people til shew as ready. Apparently it would lead to social anxiety and a complete introvert with no friends GIANT EYEROLL. Whatever, she’s 3 now and is super duper social. She loves people. She still needs a moment to warm up (she tells me ‘mommy I’m a bit shy right now’ hehe) but it’s quick and then everyone is her best friend (which she also says, along with ‘so and so is my FAVORITE mommy.) Clearly, she wasn’t harmed in my allowing her to stay hidden on my shoulder if she so desired. Personally, I think it’s what has allowed her to open up. No forced social interaction allowed her to realize people are generally pretty cool. It’s easier to believe when you can experience it in your own time, rather than someone just insisting and pushing you, right?

    • Reply
      June 27, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      This is *exactly* what my parents did with both my brother and I; and she caught she exact same flack from everyone for supposedly spoiling us, and turning us into socially inept people who wouldn’t ever have friends. Socially inept and friendless, my ass…lol! I am a bit more reserved than my brother is, he’s more the charismatic type, but to say that either of us was shy, introverted, or whatever is completely laughable.

      • Reply
        June 27, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        Yes, yes yes! The general population seem to know so little about attachment and bonding that they see this wonderful development of an attachment relationship and think that it means the child is going to be forever hanging off your apron strings! Babies are meant to form strong attachments with one or more primary caregivers and then to use them as a secure base from which to explore the world. In my experience it’s the children who are extra clingy, and then supported to build secondary relationships rather than pushed into them are the ones who turn into the most confident and secure children. This beautiful attachment then fosters healthy development, particularly social and emotional development.

        It’s so hard as a parent though, when we’re given these kind of messages by society at large, you have to be able to trust your instincts (and science!) to be able to resist the pressure to just push your children out there so they ‘learn’ to be social.

        Elena, I know you weren’t complaining, but I’d see Lexi’s behaviour as proof positive that you are building a beautiful bond with your baby and that she already tusts you to provide her with what she needs. That looking back at you to check if it was ok or not is just gorgeous! My son used to do that with the boob, a quick suck whenever someone new was around or we were out and about and then he’d be happy to explore, as a toddler that is.

        It’s the adults that get up in baby’s faces that need to get over themselves, they’re not here to provide entertainment for you, or give you approval! 😉

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    You’re doing the right thing by letting Alexis warm up to people slowly. You’re reassuring her that other people and “bearded men” aren’t scary. (well, there might be some bearded freaks, but you know what I mean.)
    Alexis seems like a smart cookie and has some early stranger anxiety. It will probably ebb and flow. Might get better and then get worse again around ten months. Who knows. It’s normal and you have a healthy attitude. She’s adorable, so sure people want to say hi when you’re out and about. I smiled at a baby in an ice cream shop recently and she burst into hysterics. Whoops!

  • Reply
    Danielle Kowalski
    June 27, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    This happened to us yesterday, actually. Our little guy is usually ok with other people being around and even holding him, but yesterday our friend came to visit us for the first time since he was born. He sat next to me as I held Graeme, and talked gently to him, but Graeme was VERY cautious. He did the same thing as Alexis, looking at me for approval. But eventually he burst out crying and buried his face in my chest, I felt bad, but at the same time, it was also one of the first times I felt the effects of our bond and his trust in me when dealing with the world, and THAT was a great feeling!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Maybe at the next party, try walking in with her in a carrier. This might make her feel more comfortable AND keep people from trying to hold her right away or touch her, etc.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Does your mother speaks English?? Was it ok for her to socialize with others?? Just asking as my parents don’t speak anything but Russian and fairly anxious visiting me 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 27, 2012 at 8:23 PM

      She doesn’t speak English and she was very nervous about going into a company of people not speaking the language but it was fine in the end. I translated.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Was “strange bearded men” what your mother had to say about the party? Cause that is totally what she looks like she is thinking in that first photo. I love how she is standing right there, ready to spring into action when your strange bearded man friend is holding Alexis. Go Grandma! It seems like she has a really beautiful bond with Alexis. You guys must miss having her around like crazy.

    My son has always been around loads of people. He sees tons of people in our church and around our neighborhood. We have people over regularly and go to visit people regularly. We have been leaving him in the church nursery for awhile now during services. We have left him with close friends to babysit on occasion. We think that this is important for him, to grow up as part of a community, and to have both friends in his peer group and grown-ups other than his parents in his life.

    Even so, when he turned about 7 months, his stranger danger switch clicked on. He became much more wary of people (even people he’s known since birth) and now if someone other than me or my husband tries to pick him up, he will burst into tears. He wants to sit on my lap and engage with other people from there. If someone is playing with him or manages to hold him, he will scan the room till he finds me, looking back for reassurance that it is okay. If I walk out of his field of vision, he will scream. The separation anxiety thing and the stranger danger thing just happen no matter what you do, in my opinion.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 28, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      Haha while she didn’t come up with the term, we do lovingly call her helicopter grandma. And that’s exactly what she was doing in that photo- ready to spring into action! Lol

  • Reply
    June 28, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Hey, stranger anxiety is a good thing – it means that your baby is developing object permanence! I find that holding her and allowing people to come up and talk to/play with her while I kept her in my arms worked really well. She also does much better at our house than in other locations, she’ll warm up and let others hold her much more quickly if she’s in a familiar environment.
    I also wore in her the Moby wrap when we went out when she was really little, but that was more for germ protection (I didn’t want everyone trying to touch her before she had her vaccines!) rather than stranger anxiety at that age.
    Don’t worry too much about it, all babies go through it! 🙂 And enjoy your party!

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