After crafting the hubby’s cake for his birthday yesterday and trying to keep an eye on the little one the entire time, I am truly wiped out. But I noticed something rather interesting over the past four or five days: my daughter has become increasingly independent and communicative about her needs.
When I’m busy doing a project in the kitchen (most of my projects involve food, by the way), I often let the baby entertain herself in her playpen or bouncy center and, if I’m feeling especially daring, in the living room with her toys so she has the freedom to roam about. She can’t stand seeing and hearing the electric mixer in action so having her hang out in the kitchen is near impossible. Most of the time, she’s perfectly fine and off in her own little world. But then she starts missing me and makes it pretty obvious.
Are You There?
Sometimes the baby just wants to see where you are if you’re out of her sight. She might not actually want anything short of the knowledge that you’re still around and you acknowledge her existence. Some babies see the opportunity as an excuse to stir up trouble, like pounding on the coffee table when she knows she’s not supposed to. A lot of times, especially if you’re absorbed in something, it’s incredibly endearing to hear the patter of your baby crawling toward you to peek around the corner. And here’s the heart-melting moment: when she stops and raises her arms up to you in the classic “Hug me!” pose.
Of course, immediately after the hug, she’ll want to go jetting off again to get back to her books and toys. When my daughter first started acting like this, I was a little confused and a tad frustrated. I thought, “Where are you going?! I thought you wanted Mommy and now you’re running off again!” It reminds me of something I watched a long while ago about doing the tango. The instructor said something like, “Here it’s ‘I love you, I love you, I love you!’ and now look away! ‘I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!'” No, your baby obviously doesn’t hate you but she is her own person with her own mind. All she wanted to do was say hi!
I Want My Mommy (and/or Daddy) NOW!
There are also times when your baby will want you for more than two seconds. Maybe she wants you to play with her or see her latest trick of putting a toy on the table. I notice it the most when my daughter starts trying to “give” me something. She might have a small toy in her hand and reaches it to me. I’d take it but then she’d ask for it back. And then hand it back to me. And then ask for it again. It’s a simple game that she gets a major kick out of (and a good way to practice “please” and “thank you”) but also her way of saying, “Let’s do something together!” Depending on the time of day, she might be trying to tell you she’s hungry or tired.
When your baby won’t be satisfied with anything but being around you, no matter what you’re doing, you just have to reassure her that everything is okay. Besides, you could probably use the break anyway!
Babies can be incredibly assertive when it comes to their independence and knowing what they want to be doing at that moment. But they still rely on their parents for intangible things like love and reassurance. Until they get older, they don’t want to be away from their parents for too long. And they certainly like to remain the center of their parents’ universe!