Monday, April 30, 2007

MOMENTS IN OUR LIVES MONDAY

It is a bright new sunshiny day, and we are over the puke fest/illness. Yea, and there was much rejoicing. She feels better and is at school, from where she caught the bug. I hope she stays well for a while now.

MOMENTS IN TODDLERHOOD:
-This morning I was asking her what she wanted for "beckvest," aka breakfast, and I offered her oatmeal. Of course oatmeal was what we fed her Saturday for lunch/dinner and yesterday for breakfast (when she was sick). She looked at me and said, "But I not sick anymour." Oatmeal has now been relegated to that of sick person's food.

-Last night, G decided she wanted to go to China and visit her foster mommy. The thing is she wanted to go right then. I am all for it of course as I love to travel however, reality is it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. G of course thought it was a matter of just driving around the corner. I am glad she thinks that would be fun. I am glad we are open enough to talk about her having 2 mommies. I am not giving the birth mom info yet, too abstract and too confusing.

-G finally learned how to blow bubbles herself. She started actually blowing the bubbles from the wand last Tuesday. I saw her do it on Saturday. Before it just frustrated her so I had to blow them or wave them or get the bubble machine going.

-G now does something and says, "When I was a widdle baby I couldn't do dis? But now I big and I can." That "dis" could be anything from putting her feet in grandad's chair and standing on her head to flipping over the back of the couch to drinking from her sippy cup.

When handing G her sippy cup it is best to describe the contents of said cup correctly or she will correct you. Either say, "Here is your sippy cup" or correctly say, "Here is your juice" (with juice being in the cup). She doesn't like for anyone to say the wrong thing. One of her favorite phrases is, "She/he/it not 'posuhto."

MOMENTS IN MOMMYHOOD:
-This morning as I was getting dressed she looked at my dress and said, "I not want you wear dat." In my most compassionate voice I said, "I don't care." You know I can only do so much to prevent or not aid her fears. I already don't wear boots, gloves (even when needed), band aids (if I can help it) and panty hose. I just can't let a three year old dictate to me my clothing, too.

MOMENTS IN ATTACHMENT:
-Last night I witnessed G having a very empathetic moment and it was SO sweet. We were watching the "Aristocats" and G actually cried for the mouse who was looking for the kittens. The mouse was SO sad and G cried, not hysterically, but she kept wiping at her eyes. We talked about that and about her feelings for the mouse. At some point she lost interest and didn't watch the rest of the movie though.

For all children, empathy towards another human (or animated movie creature) is an important milestone. For an adopted kid I think it is even more significant due to the loss and situation of being in orphanage/foster care. Some other milestones we look for is the willingness to feed another person, the willingness to give and receive hugs or kisses, the slow process of not being clingy, and the acknowledgement of who you are in their lives, ie "mama," "dad," "grandparents" as opposed to caregiver person called "mama" etc.

I think adopted children (not just IA) who have had lengthy less than optimal care (foster care, orphanage, non permanent residence) learn that since no one cares for them, there is no need to care for others. Obviously this isn't science that I am quoting but there has been research on attachment issues. Bio children who've had trauma can have attachment issues too, Una bomber comes to mind.

Attachment is a much longer process than 2 weeks in China or 6 months home or sometimes 2 years home. Bonding can happen in a day but secure attachment never does. I scoff at IA parents who return from where ever and say, "so and so is firmly attached to me," because said baby is clinging to said parent. No, a truly attached child has the ability and freedom to actually go away and return without being clingy.

G willingly called me "mama" in November 2005 for the first time. She was 18 months old, 3 months, almost 4 months, after being home. I thought I would always remember the exact date that she called me that but I don't. I just know after that day there was another dry spell and then I was once again "mama" to her. The dry spells were hard. Of course then there are days I wish I could change my name. Now I know why my mom wished to change hers.


Now I will say G and I are attached but not so securely that she will not cry when I leave her say in Sunday School. She is fearful of me not coming back sometimes. She is hesitant when I leave her at school. She has the need to sleep on top of me or have some part of her body (foot, hand, knee) touching me as we sleep. This is a long process, thankfully I have a long time with her (I hope) to work on it. And boy do we work on it. We do lots of things to foster attachment. I probably do some things that hinders attachment too though. Like I said it is a process and it is a long one.

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