As a parent, I think a lot about what I want to implement regarding my child. He is just a baby, so there is time to think a lot about this. However, my husband and I have decided that since Thor is overwhelmed by big groups of people, we let him decide if he wants to go to someone. If they bring out their hands and he leans and reaches for them, we allow him to go to them, if not – we respect his decision.
This is one thing that my mother-in-law and I were on the same page about. She did the same thing with my husband and I really liked that we felt the same way regarding that. It is a great way that they can test out their own boundaries and learn to say “no” and have that “no” be respected. My mother-in-law has a bigger family and there are plenty of people wanting to hold the baby. However, after a bit and getting to know them, he begins to go to everyone.
My mother’s family is a different story. I specifically told my mom our rule and how important we felt this was. She completely agreed with me. My mom is typically good about listening to what I feel is important for my son. However, when it comes to her family – it all goes out the window. For my mom’s family, her sister is baby crazy. My aunt really had nothing to do with me until I got pregnant and the baby was on the way. Now, she always wants to hold him. It was no big deal when he was very little because he just liked to be held by everyone, but now that he is inching closer to that one year mark, he is a little pickier and groups overwhelm him because he doesn’t know or remember others. My mom hands him over to her at a Father’s Day lunch without him going to her. I was furious, but what was I going to do? Yell at my mom later and tell her that she needs to abide by what I specifically instruct? No. That isn’t going to help, no matter what. So, I back off and tell my mom that her sister has been really bothering me when it comes to my son. Mom brushes it off saying that her sister loves babies and never got to have anymore kids other than her only son.
Well, that’s no excuse for her to act baby crazy with an 8 month old little boy who wants nothing to do with her. So, yesterday at a family party, she reached out for my son. He was with my husband and Thor just stared at her blankly and didn’t put out his arms despite the fact that she did not get the hint. She continued to reach her arms out and Thor continued to stare blankly at her. I finally had to explain that we are allowing him to make his own calls. She was upset.
How can someone be upset when the parents are working on implementing something with their own child? I get that you’re family, but he doesn’t know you well enough. I’m not going to hand him over when he is just going to cry after a couple seconds of being in her arms. I find it extremely disrespectful as another person to have someone question my parenting only because they want to desperately hold a baby. Babies are wonderful to hold, but if they are old enough to understand when they want to go to someone and when they don’t – then that needs to be respected. Babies are people too. We just need to remember that.