Okay, he doesn’t really hate them… But he’s scared of them and keeps on crying every time he sees them.
And God forbid they try to hold him or interact with him in any way!
My poor dad tried playing catch with him, and it works so long as he’s focusing on the ball. The minute he pays attention to who is on the other side, the waterfalls and screams resume.
It’s making us all quite miserable. My parents are equal parts devastated and frustrated, and so am I.
So, I got into some reading and apparently this isn’t a rare occurrence. Especially when grandparents don’t come to visit that often (my parents don’t — they are convinced they’ll be a nuisance!)
I am adamant to try the advice I read on the forum, the one which really seems sensible.
It starts by explaining why the baby acts the way he acts.
Stranger Anxiety and More
Yes, there’s stranger anxiety involved for sure. After all, this milestone does tend to poke its head around the half-year mark. Luckily enough, it usually goes away around their first birthday.
So hopefully he won’t make it awkward for everyone at the party!
Now, imagine you have stranger anxiety. You see someone who, to you, is a complete stranger (you have to keep in mind that babies are terrible at remembering people they don’t see often).
So what does the scary stranger do right away? They start speaking to you, touching you, and taking you away from the person you feel safe with!
You would be scared, too, wouldn’t you?
So, what am I to do?
Dealing With the Frustration and the Issue
I’ll start with my mom purely because she’s around more. She’s coming over tomorrow morning, and I’m going to suggest something terrible:
I will ask her to suffocate her urges and not talk to him or pay attention to him at all.
It’s completely natural this is the grandparents’ first instinct! But quite obviously in our case, it isn’t helping at all.
According to some of the forum moms, this is the best approach. We’ll sit down, have a coffee, and he’ll play on the floor. I did notice that he reacts far better to people who ignore him (classic human behavior!)
Once he seems okay and calm, and is stealing glances, they can try playing fetch or something else. By that time, he should already be able to understand that this person is close to me and poses no threat.
Wish me luck! I’ll update you on how it went.
And if anyone has experience with this, ideas are welcome!
I could not for the life of me force my mom to just ignore her grandchild for 10 whole minutes. Luckily, she did lay off him a bit and, lo and behold, he calmed down a lot more easily! I do believe he found it easier to do so since he was in his own home, though.
They even ended up laughing together!