Monday, October 11, 2010

That thing she does...

So I'm sitting here staring at the computer like a zombie.

I'm so tired it's difficult for me to stay awake, but somehow I still am.  Don't ask me how, I'm somehow in that in-between state and it is RANDOM!  I was going to write a post tomorrow, but I thought I may as well do it now and force myself to be semi-productive... seeing as staying up late doing nothing results in waves of regret washing over me in the morning, as my dream of a sleep-in dies with my daughters early  crying/screaming/singing/yelling.  

We went to visit the family today - first dad and fiancée, and then mum and partner (with grandma currently visiting).  I love visiting the family, even though it does take two visits every time. Weirdly, mum and dad ended up living on the same street with their new respective partners... and (yes, it gets better) its a dead-end street, so you can't just drive out the other end. Long story that one, and I'll save it for another, much rainier day, but the point is - I can't visit one without visiting the other.  Otherwise, there's phone calls and angry conversations that follow.

So today we visited Dad first, and my beautiful, vivacious, cheeky daughter became a shy, withdrawn, almost terrified little creature, who clings onto me like her life depends on it.  Here's the thing - she does this all the time.  Sometimes, she'll 'select' someone who she seems to think is worthy of her real personality, and that person gets a shining look at her smile, a big confident wave and lots of giggles to ensure she gets free food.  But most of the time, she just freaks out that people want to look at her. My poor grandma just said "I don't think she remembers me holding her when she was 3 weeks old. Hehehe".  That was probably one of the moments when I just wanted to tell my daughter to pull her 10-month-old head in and be a good great-granddaughter, but of course I just had to laugh and say 'oh she always does that'. (Yes, she really does, but I still feel terrible!)

Then there's the people in her life that look vastly different.  These people get the extended version of her terror. The majority of the time, these people are my Dad (her grandad), and her Dad.  My Dad is Maori, and her Dad is Samoan.  When she sees either of them, she will watch them with eyes the size of saucers, until they try to pick her up, and all hell breaks loose.  She then begins a very dramatic scene, full of terrified screaming and kicking, followed by her clawing me and attempting to climb onto my face, where apparently she is counted as being even more secure and safe.  

That's her thing though.  I was puzzled when she started doing it, as it happened very suddenly.  One second, she was the life of the party, and there were people she saw regularly that she loved.  My family, my friends, her Dad, my Dad, the babysitters.... even the girls at daycare.  She was cruising through life like a little princess, loving the attention and wrapping everyone around her little hand.  Then almost overnight, it was like she knew no-one.  One of my friends came to visit, like she always does - usually getting happy giggles.  She screams.  Her Dad comes to visit - usually getting happy smiles and cuddles.  She screams.  I drop her to daycare - usually get nonchalant playing with toys.  She screams and tries to follow me.  I can see her being the little girl that hides behind my leg when someone tries to say hello in the future.  But that seems to be her thing.

At home, she is loud, crazy, reckless, and all-in-all hilarious.  I can sit there playing with her for hours, laughing at her facial expressions and endless energy as she tries to hide from me, secretly steal my bag, get into the bathroom drawer, bang on the computer keyboard, and dance to the tiniest smidgen of music she may hear.  In public, however, she is very very quiet.  She observes, watching the world around her and simply looking at the various faces that come up and try to coax some form of a response from her.... often burying her face in my neck if she doesn't want to look at them any more. And that's her thing.  It may be too early to make a call, as I've had a fair few people tell me it's just a phase... but I know that was always a personality trait of mine.  (By the way, please forgive me if you find that I bring personality types and the like into this, but studying Psychology does cause you to think in a rather analytic form when it comes to people's behaviour in general.)    I was always loud and energetic at home, then quiet and reserved in public.  I am still usually more withdrawn unless I know people well.  And seeing the way her personality is slowly forming, I wouldn't be surprised if she is the same.

It's interesting watching all different aspects of her personality unfold.  Each day, she comes up with a new little quirky thing, and I love watching it.  In some ways, I do hope that this 'being terrified of the world' is a phase. I feel terrible when people make time to visit her and she refuses to leave my side, or come and babysit her so I can work, and she screams uncontrollably when they try to pick her up.  So far, I've found that if I give her time, she warms up to people.  Eventually, she wants to play with the babysitter, or wave to the girls at daycare, or crawl over to the scary looking guy known as Dad/Grandad, and watch him with a little smile, while eating her Arrowroot biscuit.  Sometimes, she won't have to wait an hour to warm up to people anymore.  I love her little quirks, and I'm so proud of her.  It's a big, scary world out there... and I'm sure that sometimes she just wants Mummy.   

And she should know that I will always be here, so that she can climb onto my face and scream in terror whenever she feels the need.  That's what I'm here for.  Because I love all of her, even that thing she does.....


1 comment:

  1. I can't comment on the Psychological profile or personality type but it's very common for kids this age to suddenly develop Separation Anxiety. Most kids grow out of it eventually.