Fair thee well

I studied psychology for my bachelor’s degree. One time, during a child psychology class, I learned something that I will never forget. A study was done on babies and how they are attached to their mothers. (It was also done on baby monkeys and ducklings, but that’s not relevant here). The babies were put in a room and studied on how they behaved when their mother left the room, when their mother left the room but the baby could still hear her voice, when the mother left the room while the baby was watching and when the mother left the room when the baby wasn’t watching. The babies reacted in very different ways. There were some babies who screamed, for long, when their mothers left the room, regardless of the other variables. Other babies cried a little and then moved on to play. Others waved goodbye and moved on to play. (The babies were left in the room with another caregiver that they were familiar with). Kendi cries and whines when I leave the room, or her sight. Not for long and not very loudly though. Sometimes she’s not even very committed to the crying or whining. The baby upstairs in apartment 17, screams for so long every single morning that, that feel I need to time her mother as she’s coming down the stairs, and tell her about this study. I am scared, because she’s older than me. I am scared of being told to mind my own business. Here’s the thing I learned- when a mother says goodbye to her baby, and her baby sees her leave, her baby will cry and whine very little. You see, babies need to trust their mothers. They need to know what is happening. ‘I am here now’ ‘I am going away, you will stay with aunty, I will come back’ ‘I have come back’. There is very little to no anxiety in such situations. When a mother hides and leaves, the baby feels like whenever their mother is out of their sight- gone to the bathroom, ironing something, gone to fetch their food-  they might never see their mother again. They ask themselves, ‘If I let go of her now, will she leave me like yesterday, or will she stay like this morning?’. They don’t have a definite point of reference. Their mother is unpredictable. Their life is unpredictable. I always say goodbye to Kendi when I leave. I give her kisses. I reassure her that I will be back. She ‘walks’ me to the door.

4 thoughts on “Fair thee well

  1. Noted and stored for future use. Though Allen behaves the same way when I leave as well. Now I know what to do. Thanks kitt!! :-D:-D

  2. Heeh, mama! The way I see things my child will live a wonderful life thanks to this blog 👌 and I didn’t know you studied Psychology, I’m thinking of doing it but maybe as a minor

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