Is my baby an introvert? I think so. I’m curious to get your thoughts on whether you think parents can identify kid’s personality traits from a very young age.
Of course with something like introversion and extroversion there’s a lot of debate about nature versus nurture. I’m one who thinks most of us behave the way we do because of both factors. We’re born with certain tendencies but the way we’re raised can also play a significant impact on how we view and interact with the world around us.
One thing I’m really conscious of is trying not to project my assumptions or life experiences onto Anna. I’m an introvert, so I’ve already wondered if I’m reading into Anna’s actions too much because of my own bias.
On the other hand, there are things began noticing about Anna when she was very young, the largest being it takes her awhile to become comfortable when meeting new people or entering a new situation. In general, Anna was not very interactive with others during her infant months. I’d say we didn’t really see her personality come alive until she was almost a year old, but I remember a particular weekend last January that really stands out to me.
Jonathan and I took Anna to Cayucos to spend the weekend in a beach house with the Kielys and Melvins. The Kielys had spent very little time with Anna, and I was excited for them to get to know her better. But the whole weekend, and I mean the WHOLE WEEKEND, Anna was stone faced. She didn’t smile. She didn’t babble. She was calm, quiet and pensive but almost seemed overwhelmed by everyone and everything. I was very conscious of her behavior and became more and more concerned as the weekend went by. Was something wrong with my baby? But when we returned home, my happy girl returned. (Note: the photo above is from the Cayucos weekend, and it really captures how Anna looked most of the 48 hours we were there. Also, didn’t she have such a old man’s mop of hair?)
In the months that followed our Cayucos trip, I noticed a similar pattern occurring when new people were around her, or when we put her in a stimulating situation.
As Anna has grown she’s much smilier and talkative but still seems to prefer time alone. Childcare at church continues to be a struggle at times, partially because she has some separation anxiety but also because I think all of the commotion can be wearing for her. Last weekend at the family reunion Anna would reach a burn-out point then quickly start to whine. When she was taken out of the main room, her mood instantly improved. Her favorite places? The corner of the quieter room “kids” room where she sat looking at books, or crawling around upstairs where there were less people.
At the reunion I had a chance to talk to one of Jonathan’s cousins who has two boys. She mentioned they were able to identify one of their child’s love languages when he was about two years old, and it’s made a huge difference in how they parent him. I found this fascinating and encouraging.
For parents out there, what do you think? Have you noticed certain aspects of your children’s personality from when they were very young? Do you know your children’s love language? What’s your advice for parents trying to understand their young children?