Max has never been one to have stranger issues. Even dropping him off at day care at 6 or so months old, he happily let himself be handed off to the waiting caregiver.
I have (only semi-jokingly) said that he has “so little separation anxiety that I'm a little offended” We chalk it up to his time in the NICU, being handled and loved on by people other than Jamie and I (I wouldn't dare call his care team strangers!) so it just carried over into life on the outside.
He's an exuberant, personable little dude, and at parties, makes sure to circle the room introducing himself to everyone he sees, hugging and kissing those he knows. “Hello, sir. I'm Max! How many are you?” is a common introduction from him.
And we've taken him to see Santa at the Stanford Shopping Center every year, and have never had a problem. He sits on Santa's lap, gives a smile to the camera (OK, notsomuch a smile the first years, but he wasn't traumatized or anything!) *snap* we get our overpriced 5×7 and we're on our way.
Well, suffice it to say, we broke the streak yesterday. No hysterics or anything, but when Santa headed Max's way to say hello, here was the scene:
He latched on to my leg and warily regarded Santa from a safe distance. I literally inched him forward with my foot, so he could give Santa a high five.
He warmed up eventually (read: got a candy cane and stuffed toy from Santa), but those first frozen moments? I kind of loved feeling him grab onto me like that! At his age of rush and dash, I'll take what I can get!