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The relation of the observer to the family (middle phase, eight to sixteen months)

Mother feels abandoned by me on the occasions when it is necessary for me to change the time of the visit. Through her behaviour I become aware of how keeping to a regular time for our meeting provides containment for her. Breaking our routine of meeting disrupts our relationship. When I do change the times of our meeting, mother, in her infantile transference to me, always responds by missing the next few visits. She is simply not home when I arrive. Also if I follow baby out of the room where both he and mother are present, she feels neglected by me and responds by rejecting me. At times when I phone in order to find out if mother will be available for the time agreed upon for later in the day, she indicates that she wants a "demand feeding observer" by telling me that the only time we can arrange to meet is at that moment, right then when I am phoning. In this way she communicates that she doesn't want to be kept waiting.

Baby meanwhile is increasingly mobile and talkative. In his mind, I am virtually part of his family. As early as eleven months he greets me with "mummy, daddy, Jeanne", and he frequently repeats these words during my visits.

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