Stranger Anxiety Takes Hold


The babies have developed a case of stranger anxiety. Women are okay for the most part (though they still do their initial soul-penetrating stare for a good long while) but it seems men now set off some alarm bells.

Last week when we went to the doctor they were fine as long as he was across the room, but the minute he rolled his chair over M started screaming, and Bean quickly followed suit.

It’s flattering that they are so attached to their Mommy and Daddy but that feeling grows old pretty much instantly. As their parent, you want everyone to see the laughing, exploring, world-loving baby you see. Not a crying, snot-bubbling from the nose, fearful and confused baby. Though to be fair, the world is a scary and confusing place sometimes. 

I met a new neighbor down the street who is a former police officer. When he saw me with the twins for the first time he looked at them admiringly but kept his distance. He told me he used to work with dogs, and that he also played McGruff the crime fighting dog sometimes at community events. As McGruff he’d don the oversize furry dog head, with huge furry paws over his hands. Parents looking for a photo-op would tell their toddlers, “Go sit with McGruff,” and place them in his lap, but the kids would take one look at McGruff and burst into tears. The lesson he’d learned, he said, is that, “It’s the same with babies and dogs, you let them come to you.”

Of course, with doctors and family you just might not have a choice. 

16 thoughts on “Stranger Anxiety Takes Hold

  1. Love that quote from the former police officer – it’s so true. I can’t tell you how many times lately I’ve half-yelled at my (or my husband’s) relatives to back off when they first come in. Loud hellos plus getting right in a baby’s face and demanding to hold them – yeah, that’s not going to work.

  2. Great snippet of wisdom from the police officer. I’ll never forget my little boy’s first haircut. We decided to put it off until it was literally hanging into his eyes. He just got too upset and I couldn’t do it to him! :0)

  3. Relish it while it lasts, soon they will be running away from you.
    “Mom, your embarrassing me in front of my friends!” 🙂

  4. I have one twin who went through the normal anxiety phase for just a month or two and quickly got used to it and another who is 2 1/2 and still very much in the depths of it. It bothers me so much, not because of how she acts but because of how others treat her. I’m so tired of the “come on, stop being shy” and antagonist remarks. She warms up to people she trusts but it takes some time and rather than trying to show her love or support, she’s treated with pressure to do something she’s not ready for. I stand up for her often but others haven’t changed. What a shame because she’s the smartest, sweetest little girl just thinking over everything she wants to share and strangers ruin it :/

    • I know exactly what you mean. Some people just don’t have the patience for shyness, and everyone is quick to judge or form snap opinions. It is sad (and frustrating), when you know the baby so well. I wonder how long this phase will last for my two. Thank you for sharing!!

  5. We went through that with Paxlet. In fact, he is still more wary of guys than girls (almost 1yr 8mo). He also hated doctors quite badly for some time after the female doctor scared the crud out of him doing the startle test. It’s better now, but he still prefers doctors to be on the other side of the table. 😀

    • Ha. A smart guy. Startle test sounds freaky. I’m glad to know it isn’t just girl babies. I was wondering about that, actually. Thanks for commenting!

  6. I can now relate to you all with my grandchildren. My little near one-year-old grandson comes close to me, but when I put my arms out, he turns and walks away. I’m not kidding. He starting walking over a month ago. He will be one at the end of May. Such a little trooper. And cute as a button. I have nine grandchildren. The oldest was born in 87. They are all super special.

    • Yes I think it’s actually beards that set it off. And large furry creatures are good to keep an eye on–they know what they’re doing these babies 🙂

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