Coming Out of His Shell..

shy guy

For those of you that have been reading for a while, you may remember that Jasper has a bit of a shy streak.. ok, a BIG shy streak. Or maybe it’s more of an independent “I don’t do what I’m asked” or participate in group activities kind of attitude (or just Jasper being Jasper = difficult!).   It was most obvious when we were at gymboree and he would practically CLING to me the entire time, and when he did run off and play it was never to do any of the guided activities, or -god forbid- to tap the airlog like everyone else was doing!

It’s taken him three semesters to slowly warm up to the whole thing, only this past semester has he deigned to tap the airlog or go under the parachute but he still steadfastly refused to ride ON the parachute.. until yesterday!

One of the other moms was commenting on how much he’d come out of his shell the past few weeks and I said we would know he had really improved if he ever rode the parachute.. and then, as if to prove me wrong he climbed on the parachute and went for the ride without so much as a whine!

Yay, he’s not the sociopathic/misanthropic kid I was worried he was headed towards being after all.

As if to further prove the point, yesterday he met the little six year old boy who moved in accross the street who has two ride on cars. The boy (Joey) asked if Jasper wanted a ride and I was pretty sure Jasper would be much too shy to oblige. And at first he was, but within ten minutes he was riding around in the passenger seat next to his new friend.  An hour later the two of them were playing together so nicely.. Joey would make a pretend hamburger to give to Jasper to eat and Jasper would pretend eat it and ask for more!!  It made my heart melt.. and even more importantly, Joey’s mom and I got in at least 30 minutes of nearly uninterrupted discussion while the two of them played.

It was like a glimpse into the distant future when my mommy friends and I will sit on lawnchairs sipping cool drinks letting our kids play together in the back yard for hours.. vs the current “playdate” scenario where we are usually chasing after our toddlers who are running in opposite directions and yelling to each other what’s new in our lives.

So that’s the good news..

The bad news is that Jasper is still crying himself to sleep on the floor at night :(  We had a complete step backwards the night before last when Jasper figured out how to open his bedroom door.  We had no choice to bring him into bed with us pretty much the whole night which meant no body got a good night’s sleep.. last night Jeff installed a latch on the outside of the door so it was back to crying alone, sleeping on the floor. Thank god it was only about 5 minutes last night, but I really wish he’d get into his bed after he’s done protesting!

Have a great weekend everyone..

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Sarah says:

Hi, Ariana —
I won’t comment on sleep issues, since Finn (who has been in his toddler bed for months now once I became afraid he could climb out during an occasional night terror) still wakes up and cries 1 to 3 times a night, and we’re just hoping he’ll grow out of it (wishful thinking, I know).
What I really wanted to say was that Finn HATES that parachute, and ALWAYS requires time to acclimate to most new places or scenarios, particularly when they involve big groups of people he doesn’t know well. I guess it’s frustrating when I want him to talk and play and do all of the things he normally does, but I remind myself that sensitivity, caution, and his need to weigh and gauge things first are GOOD qualities. Once he feels safe and comfortable, he gets involved. Sounds like Jasper may be the same way.

Cathy Mahoney says:

well I didn´t read all the other comments so I hope no repeats here- but it is possible that the 2 things-sleeping problems and coming out of his shell are somehow connected. I´ve noticed with both my boys when they were little -and still-that when they went through a new development stage- their sleeping or behaviour habits changed. i know it´s hard when you have to find new ways to get them to sleep when suddenly the old ones don´t work anymore..

just one more thing on sleeping: with Dylan i still have problems occasionly that he can´t fall asleep-we do our routine with washing, teeth, story, song but somedays he just can´t fall asleep because he is afraid he will have a nightmare.. sometimes it´s after 10… he isn´t loud, but keeps coming out of his room, snuggeling up, going back, sometimes i hear him looking through books…it got worse when he finally gave up his beloved pacifier in winter… and now his best friend was in the hospital for 2 months wich took to him… so I hope that also will get better soon…

As for the shyness, when Kilian -who is 9 now-was little he would never go to the playground with other kids there, always let the others take away his toys, and was very shy- nowadays-even though he is still more calm and not a “leader” but he is great around his friends, very social in school etc. You will see it changes with time-and yes you can very much look forward to the playdates where you can sit and actually talk and the kids play for hours :O)….

Kristy says:

Yay for playdates that include us sitting on lawn chairs chatting while our kids keep themselves busy! Looking forward to it :-)

Shane says:

Someone else’s comment and that just left G’s room reminded of something we do. We have a small $10 clip on lamp with a low light CFL bulb that we leave on in Gs room all night. More light than a night light but not a full lamp. It was mostly for us but now I think it’s good for him too so he can find his lovey and blanket quickly when he wakes at night before he fully wakes up crying.

On other topics from this comment thread: becoming-home – SMILE! And I applaud the boundaries you are creating. It is tough finding the right balance.

Shy – sometimes I feel like those that open up slower form stronger more lasting friendships. J seems to have a big heart maybe his shyness is his way of protecting it. Seeing (and reading) about these changes and developments with J is great!

spark says:

Have read both your blogs for a long time. I hope everything works out well for you re: Jeff. You have such a lovely heart and deserve good things.

Kelsey says:

@Toodie: Closing the child into the room is also a safety issue. Even if stairs are closed off by a gate, I would be concerned about various household hazards if my young child was roaming the halls unattended while we slept. While it may sound strange to a parenting outsider, it’s often what’s best for the child.

I think the child was like 2 or 3? I’d have to look it up online, sorry.

First of all, glad to hear that you and Jeff are doing well–and privately, at that.

Second, I’m longtime follower of yours, a mom of a 9-month old girl who has always slept great(shoot me) but I know my time is coming. I saw a SuperNanny a couple weeks ago that dealt with the same issue you are having with Jasper. Jo, the Nanny had the parents do the normal bedtime routine and at the very end say “it’s time for bed darling.” then they sat in the middle of the room with their back to the kid until they fell asleep. The first time the kid woke up and walked to the parent’s room, the parent simply said “it’s time for bed darling” took the boy’s hand and put him back in bed. The second time, “its time for bed” and ushered back to room. Third time, no talking just ushering back to bed. This repeated through crying, fits, screams, but ultimately worked. The key was not to have any conversation with the child. If I have to, I may try it myself. Good luck with whatever you decide. And LET US KNOW WHAT WORKS!! (smile)

ariana says:

Interesting.. thanks Charm City mama! Do you remember how old that child was?

Toodie says:

Pardon my ignorance, but locking a child in his room just seems to be setting the child up for further issues down the road?? To me, it would make the child afraid to go to sleep becuase now he thinks he has been trapped and/or abandoned.

ariana says:

Toodie, I’m curious if you have children and if so, how you got them to not come into your room to sleep at night? When you think about it, a crib is just as much being “locked in” as the door on a room.. it’s just smaller.

ariana says:

Kai, I don’t know if I want to go down that road of needing someone to sleep with him at all times. Seems like a bad situation for having a babysitter ever.. it’s a fine line between wanting to give them what they WANT vs. what they NEED right?

Molly, glad to hear there’s hope for a less shy guy in the future. Though I did read that there is a strong correlation between fussy babies and shy people later in life.. if that’s the case he will always be shy :) I love his curls too.. they just kind of happened a few months ago!

Claudia, that definitely sounds like Jasper (slow to warm). He’s really cautious.. but I’m like that too, so I can’t expect miracles right? We do bring him to bed with us at around 5 or 6 am when he wakes up but no earlier or we won’t get any sleep all night!!

Kelsey, you didn’t miss the memo.. I just haven’t blogged about our relationship for almost a year because it was so on again off again that it would be too much drama for a mommy blog! Plus I wanted to respect Jeff’s privacy. So we did reconcile recently and are living together again at becoming-home. Even if I don’t say what’s up the pictures usually give it away :)

Kelsey says:

Did I totally miss the memo on you and Jeff getting back together? I noticed he was on your trip with you, but didn’t think much of it since it seemed that you two had a very strong and amicable partnership…

Just me being nosy; sorry!

That’s so great to hear that Jasper is opening up to friendships. Reading your blog tends to be a great preview for the next six months of my life!

Claudia says:

My older son Christian was shy at MyGym just like that. He is almost five and he is still shy. I consider him slow to warm. He observes first and then a couple of minutes later he participates. I guess that’s just his personality.

Jordan also wakes up in the middle of the night. I don’t know why he can’t soothe himself back to sleep; he does it when he first goes to bed. When he does wake up in the middle of the night I usually bring him to my bed though, so I’m no help. He shares a room with his older brother so I feel bad letting him cry it out …I feel sorry for Christian because he will no doubt be woken up by the screams.

I think what you’re doing will work though because that is what we did with our older son.

Molly says:

His hair is to die for. Our guy was pretty shy too at one point. Seems like that phase is over.

KaiRayne says:

Oh no, I had no idea it was THAT bad. Is your bedroom too small for his bed? Maybe he just needs someone in the same room for now?
I hope it passes soon.

ariana says:

Kai, I honestly wouldn’t mind soothing him to sleep for bedtime, or even naptime (though that one is harder because he’s not usually as tired) but the problem is that it extends to middle of the night wakings! It’s like he lost the ability to go to sleep without someone else present, and I am DEFINITELY not willing to be waking up multiple times every night! If I knew it was just a short term phase I guess I would, but I think it’s one of those things that will become long term habit if we don’t break it early.

KaiRayne says:

I hope he gets used to his bed soon. Its hard to listen to our children cry, especially when they just want momma or daddy with them.

Would it be such a bad thing to soothe him to sleep? I know you don’t want to get into a habit of it but he may need it for a little while.

I wish I had more helpful advice.