Thursday, November 13, 2008

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

I think Nate is beginning to develop a sense of object permanence - that people and things exist even if they are not present. Unfortunately, this intellectual milestone is disguising itself in the form of separation anxiety.

Over the course of this week, I've noticed several changes to his behavior. I can no longer leave him in his swing or bouncer and walk out of the room without the onset of tears. I can no longer face away from him for more than a minute or two without a distress signal. As a matter of fact, I've had to change the direction of my computer so that he can see my face and not the back of my head from his swing as I work. I need to be in his direct line of sight, if he allows me to put him down at all.

The funny part is that as soon as I walk back in the room or look into his eyes, he calms down immediately. He still implores me to hold him but the hooting and hollering ceases instantly. I try to get to him promptly when he cries but there are some times, I just can't get there straight away. Like when I'm stepping out of the shower, toweling off water droplets. Or when I'm disinfecting the toilet or kitchen and have soot or chemical resin on my hands. I don't want to create an insecure child but I also don't want to create a monster that can't soothe himself.

It may be totally unrelated to the aforementioned anxiety but I've also noticed he is startling more easily. If DH or I sneeze, cough, speak in an excited tone or make sudden movements, he pouts in terror and cries frantically. I can usually distract him during one of these fits but not before feeling overwhelming guilt. I don't want to frighten him but I do want him to be accustomed to noise. No home can avoid clatter entirely. And I really don't want to walk on eggshells everytime he drifts off to dreamland.

He napped a cumulative hour and a half yesterday - when he usually does so easily in one stretch - and the catnaps he had were all on my lap, at the boob. My little piggy has also been eating up my supply. He ate 17 oz. today while I was at work when he normally eats about 12-13 oz. in my 9-hour absence. I can barely pump enough to replenish what he eats while I'm away. No leftovers like we used to have.

Perhaps the escalating panic and separation anxiety are just more remarkable side effects of those "wonder" weeks?

He may have inherited my sweaty feet but I hope and pray he doesn't acquire my panic attacks.


Mrs. Storms said...

Sounds like wonder weeks to me. Jaxon is going through similar things including the need to be near me, the eating, and the startling. Glad I'm not the only one. ;)

Samantha said...

Maybe you're getting back into a "wonder week" :)

I was just reading your earlier post about your husband's job - congrats! My husband and I work for the same organization, and do separate things. There are actually a lot of advantages about this - shared commute, we can see each other during the day easily (we are in separate buildings, but very close), and it's never felt uncomfortable. You do have to share the same benefits, so if portions of those are not so hot, well, that's what there is.