I am pretty sure she gets it from us.
This morning the husband took the girl to participate in a research study at a local University. The study involved observing the child play with a parent (in this case the father) and then observing the child play once the parent had left the room. They never got that far this morning. When the research assistant knelt down to talk to the girl about what would happen next she freaked out. It took fifteen minutes for the husband to calm her down. Fifteen minutes before she felt comfortable again. After that, he just kept playing with her. The research assistants never reminded him that he was supposed to leave the room so by the end of the time period he never had. It was either a case of incomplete research or highly insightful on how a child (my child) will react when faced with a parent leaving her alone in an unfamiliar place with two strangers.
The girl has never liked newness. She has always been slow to warm up to new routines and people. Like pre-school. It takes her a long time to feel comfortable with someone. Once she does though she will be talking your ear off and making demand left, right and centre.
Sometimes I wonder if this apprehension of new places and people is part of her personality or our parenting. One mother mentioned to me numerous times in the girl's first year that it is so important for kids to spend time with other adults away from their parents. To know that other adults can be responsible to care for them. I think she felt she was being kind by saying this. Maybe even trying to let me know that I could give myself permission to be away from my baby. But that really isn't our parenting style. I'm not comfortable leaving either of the kids with people I don't know and trust. My family, fine. Good friends, fine. Strangers, not so much.
The result is every so often, like today, I ask myself if the girl's reaction to unfamiliar situations is a result of the fact that she is almost always with us. She was with only us, family and occasionally good friends for the first two and a half years of her life. But I am comforted by the fact that she does eventually warm up to new situations. Her love of school is proof of that.
I joke that she is anti-social, but in someways the husband and I are. We received two invitations tonight, both of which we have declined. Some friends invited us to watch the Santa Claus parade with them tonight, and I did consider it seriously, but with two kids both up before 6 am who had no or only one nap the appeal of putting them to bed early overrode any parade. A holiday party invitation, which I had planned to attend, was also vetoed in order to put myself to bed early.
Are we really anti-social, the girl and I? Nah. Probably not. We just feel more comfortable in familiar situations. The husband, though, he's a whole other story. ;-)