I've been bouncing this post around in my head for a while as it has become more and more obvious that Colin is falling on the "slow-to-warm-up" side of the temperament scale for kids. For those of you without a psychology background, infants generally fall into one of three temperament categories: easy, difficult and slow to warm up. Since Colin was born I've been saying he is an easy baby (aside from the sleeping thing), he is almost always in a good mood (periods of teething excluded), he plays well by himself and also is happy to leave the house and run errands with me. However, there have been certain signs of 'sensitivity' that I've overlooked.
Colin is not the child who can be happily passed around the room in a crowd. Now that he is walking he is much more likely to explore but likes to have Mom or Dad close by. He doesn't like strangers and has always gotten upset when a stranger gets too close (especially if he is in strapped into the stroller.) He is starting to recognize extended family but still takes a few minutes to warm up upon reintroduction.
He is also sensitive to temperature, I remember when he was only a week old my mom and I took him for a walk to CVS. It was a hot July day and CVS was well air conditioned, the transition from hot to cold (probably dropped 15 degrees easily)really upset him but once we were back outside he was completely content again.
Loud noises also freak him out. If he is anywhere near the bathroom when the toilet flushes (and remember, we have industrial strength toilets so they are LOUD) he scrambles to either Sean or me to be picked up and puts his head down on our shoulder until the noise is gone.
Sean and I took Colin to the pool this weekend, and this was an eye opener. I was thinking that the temperature of the pool was really the problem at swimming lessons but I think it is the entire experience. Even when Sean was standing and holding Colin in only 8INCHES of water, Colin still clung desperately to his neck. In fact, even when Colin was walking around in the sprinkler section, if he walked into a puddle he got upset.
So there is no denying that he is on the 'slow-to warm up' side of easy but I think it could be a lot worse. He does have some traits that don't match with this temperament. For example, he LOVES to be the center of attention and have everyone clap for him. This child can really work an audience! However, recognizing and acknowledging his temperament allows me to modify my own behavior and try to 'tone it down' a bit. Maybe I shouldn't be the first one in the pool this week! He might benefit from greeting new activities a little slower.
I should mention, that I too was a slow-to-warm up baby and I think it is a testament to my parents that no one I know would still classify me as 'shy'. I'm pretty sure Sean was an easy baby from what I have heard about him. Maybe baby #2 can be more like his father!!
How about you? What are your children's temperaments? Anyone have any advice for handling a slow to warm up baby?