The Nugget Chronicles: Attachment Babying

We’ve noticed something relatively new with Nugget, and it all relates to how she’s dealing with people who aren’t her parents. For what it’s worth, apparently what she’s going through is fairly common at her particular age, but that doesn’t make it any less new for us. And, given how social she’s been in the past, it is a fairly big change.

Basically, Nugget is still totally cool being around other people, and being in a large social setting. That said, she isn’t really interested in letting anyone who isn’t either me or HawtWife hold her (and, half the time, I’m chopped liver, too). Sometimes she can be held by someone else, but she NEEDS to be able to see at least one of her parents.

This is even extending somewhat into her sleep cycles. It’s getting trickier for her to take a nap without either being directly cuddled by one parent, or at least with a parent within her line of sight. It’s probably tied to the fact that she’s starting to learn about object permanence, but isn’t quite there yet. There’s also that whole factor that she doesn’t really understand the passage of time. This means that, if she can just calm down from missing someone (or doesn’t see them leave in the first place, because she’s either distracted or sleeping), then, as long as they don’t randomly appear and then disappear again, everything’s fine. However, as we’ve learned, if she’s just about to fall asleep, and the other parent re-enters the room, we’re off on a race to see how quickly we can get her to calm back down. Doesn’t matter how tired she is, or if she’s been spending all of her time with the parent in question. All she knows is that she didn’t see them, she suddenly does again, and that’s the best thing in the world.

So yes, we’ve entered a new phase. It’s an interesting one, and there are certainly upsides. For example, when either HawtWife or I get home from being gone for a couple of hours or more, Nugget is so incredibly excited to see us (provided that she’s awake), that she’ll actually propel her bouncer across the floor, potentially careening into cabinets and appliances. When cuddling, she’ll clearly not try to get away from us, unless it’s to get a good view of the other parent who isn’t holding her. And she’s leaning on the tactile when she’s being held, because, even while asleep, she’ll reach a tiny baby hand up to stroke our chins, to judge who has her.

Perhaps we need to slowly bring her back around to where other people holding her is a totally fine thing. Or maybe this is, in those dreaded words, “just a phase” she’s going through. After all, it’s not like she’s wanting to hide in a corner away from everyone. She still enjoys being in groups, she just enjoys it more when she’s being held by her parents.

As she grows, this will undoubtedly change. She’ll get more confident in herself, she’ll develop an understanding of time and how it flows, and she’ll know that, just because she’s being toted around by someone who isn’t genetically tied to her, that doesn’t mean that she’s being abandoned to the wolves, and she’ll have to learn how to fend for herself while fashioning some sort of covering and shelter out of the remains of her fallen enemies.

At least, I hope she will. Otherwise, she’s in line for a super awkward prom.

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