Of course you love Baby, and of course he loves you – the two of you have been building a bond since the day you first met, whether that was the first time you saw that little heartbeat flutter on the ultrasound or the first moment he was placed in your arms. You’ve built a trust every day since that moment by responding to his needs and guiding him through the vastness of the world. The big-picture stuff is pretty well set. It’s the smaller, day-to-day moments that can feel a bit more uncertain. Yes, you and Baby are bound together eternally by your parent-child bond. They loves you. But does he like you? If you met him at a party, would the two of you hit it off?
Yes. Baby may not have the vocabulary to tell you so yet, but your influence on his development is only one part of the ways the two of you are perfectly compatible.
Near, far, wherever you are
When Baby is very young, he shows his love by wanting you around all the time. By the time he is as young as 6 months old, he may have already started objecting loudly to any time you so much as leave the room. This can be difficult to live with, but it’s also a sign of your compatibility, since you’re just getting to know Baby, too, and are also faced every day with how tiny and defenseless he is. As nice as it would be to be able to, say, take a shower alone without inspiring tears, there’s a good chance that, a lot of the time, you’ll want Baby close too.
On the other hand, as he starts to get a little older, and starts crawling, pulling up, cruising, and even walking, he is going to want to start exploring the world around him, no matter how much he likes to keep you close. When this stage starts, he’ll prove he still wants your company by checking back in with you, even as his independence grows – even in situations where he may not need you anymore, they definitely still wants you.
Center of the universe
No, not you – Baby! Even in those moments where there’s nothing he needs for survival, he wants your eyes on him. This can lead to acting out, seeking negative attention, yelling for you when you’re rude enough to be on the phone when you could be talking to Baby, or a hundred other behaviors that, on the surface, might feel like they’re designed to make your life harder. In reality, it’s just further proof of how much Baby wants to spend time with you.
Share and share alike
When Baby first starts cooing and babbling to you, sometimes as young as 3 months old, he has no other frame of reference for it than the fact that he sees you interact with other people like that, and he wants in. It isn’t a way for him to communicate anything specific yet – he still relies on cries for that – so his only and best motivation for taking the earliest steps towards verbal communication are just that he likes you and wants to hang out with you, and is using imitation to try to do so the way he sees you interacting with other adults.