Understanding my Child's Personality

February 6, 2015

It's amazing how quickly/early a child develops their personality. Erin was showing stubbornness at just a few days old! We're seeing more of her personality as she's getting older. If I had to describe her in just 5 words, this is what I'd come up with: sensitive, stubborn, goofy, dependent and cautious.

Separation anxiety started really early on with her. I'd say around 4-5 months, she was crying bloody murder every time someone other than mom or dad tried holding her. See below:

Classic Erin.

Everyone who has met Erin knows the above face very well. I'd often times had people asking me "What's "wrong" with her?" and I'd be thinking to myself, "Uh, nothing's wrong with her!" (yelling in my head). I had to explain to people that Erin was on the sensitive side and she just needed more transition time than most. She's definitely more of an introvert.
She's the same at almost 18 months. She still prefers staying by Mom and Dad at all times, we're her security blanket. She's doesn't choose to play with others, but I think that's pretty normal at this age. She's not good when people approach her with force or abruptly take her away without giving her a chance to decide if she wants to go. She starts crying if someone just slightly pushes her the wrong way or if we scold her with even just a slightly raised voice. Babies who crawl too fast scare her. She's an observer and totally analyzes people. She has already mastered the death stare. 

Erin is one stubborn lady. She's a girl who knows what she wants and she'll be quite bratty about it. She's especially stubborn when it comes to her food. She's the queen of spitting her food out. Freaking drives me crazy. I wouldn't say that Erin is a shy kid. She can actually get quite loud. Once you give her a chance to settle, she'll approach you and interact with you. She tends to like people who ignore her. She's just a little cautious when it comes to people and her surroundings. She's been having nightmare these days and I feel like she's having bad dreams about people taking her away! If that's true, poor kid. 

But my favorite thing about her is how much of a goof ball she is. You can find her dancing to any beat (she'll dance in public too!). She'll drop whatever she's doing to squeeze in a little booty shake or arm flap. She loves it when we tickle her (especially her feet), she loves cleaning everything (floors, your foot, tables, wall, etc) and she has so much fun rolling around on the floor acting like a drunk person. She enjoys teasing us with her food, pretending to give us a bite but would end up eating it herself. She's constantly playing hide-and-seek with us, whether we're in the car, eating dinner or when it's bedtime. She loves it when we put Vaseline on her little bum bum. You'd be surprised at how much she smiles and laughs. It's the cutest. 

Caught her cleaning the ground at Disneyland.

Erin has such a distinct personality at 18 months. I won't lie and say it hasn't been a challenge. I can already see future struggles because of the differences in our personalities. I myself am not a very sensitive person. It's actually a flaw of mine in some ways. I have a hard time understanding someone who's more in tune with their feelings. Funny part is I married a sensitive guy (we've had our share of fights regarding this topic) and I've got a sensitive daughter as well.  I often times find myself quick to reacting in frustration/anger. I'm sure Erin's just as frustrated with me as I am with her, she's probably thinking "Why doesn't my mom understand me?" What's crazy is the fact that she'll be constantly changing. Who knows what she'll be like when she's 5 years old, when she's 12? or when she's 18?!? But for now, this is who Erin is.

A few things that has helped this mama:
1. Make small changes/adjustments. Making minor adjustments can make all the difference. We remember to take Mr. Bunny (her lovey) whenever we travel. It keeps her feeling secure and content when she's in a new environment. We try our best to accommodate with Erin's nap schedule. A well napped Erin means a somewhat happy Erin, which means she's just a tad bit less likely to have a freak out.

2. Nudge, don't be too forceful. I try not to force her to like or do something she doesn't want to. I think when she was younger we just assumed that Erin was going through a phase, but we eventually realized that it was just apart of her personality. It's tough because everyone around her wants to love her, but she's just not for that. I'm sure Ken and I have traumatized her many times by just thrusting her on someone and left her wailing, wondering why on earth we would do that to her. Sometimes I just sit with Erin and whisper to her that she'll be OK and that mom isn't going anywhere. She may not understand everything I'm telling her, but I think she's getting there.

3. Be Patient and Be Gentle. I always thought I was a patient person. I don't think I am anymore or maybe its because I'm dealing with a child. I try not to get frustrated with her when she refuses to interact with other people or when she refuses to leave my side or when she won't let me eat. I noticed I've raised my voice more often than I need to. I've been telling her to "go away" often and I'm sure that upsets her (she runs off crying - how mean am I right?). Erin has to do things in her own pace and I just have to keep reminding myself about that. React with love, not anger.

I wish people could see Erin the way Ken and I see her. She's all sorts of sweet and sass. =)


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