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Monday, September 22, 2014
Memory of one year old
I raised my great nephew since birth and had him exactly one year. A few weeks after his 1st birthday his mother had an accident and relocated out of town with her mother to recuperate. She has only been gone a month and two weeks and may be gone longer. Will my nephew forget me now that he is surrounded by and attached himself to others. I ask because I miss him so much it hurts and I am getting depressed. I plan on visiting, but I fear he will look at me like I am a stranger and my heart literally could not take that.
This is a terrifically difficult question to answer. Will the child exactly remember you? Possibly not. But infants and toddlers respond wholeheartedly to love and affection and after a possible initial shyness when you are reunited it is reasonable to expect a warm response. Remember to allow the child to come to you, don't force hugs and affection, allow it to develop naturally. Bring a picture of yourself which you can leave with the child. Or take a picture of yourself with he child at your visit and send it to him as a reminder of your time together. This can become a discussion point for him with his mom and grandmother to help them keep you in his memory loop. The most important point is to allow him to re-warm up to you at his rate, don't force. And don't take any possible reluctance as personal, a degree of shyness or clinging to mom is normal at his age.
Sarah Sauntry, RN, MS, CPNP-PC
Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati