Monday, May 4, 2009

Attachment Update

I'm often a little unsure exactly where T is, attachment-wise. What I do feel confident about is that his attachment continues to progress.

  • It used to be a struggle to get him to make eye contact with us. Now, he loves to look in my eyes and play with my face.
  • Not long ago, he wouldn't play on the kitchen floor for 1minute without begging for me to hold him. Now he'll play long enough for me to brew coffee (this is really more important for me, personally =) ).
  • For months, he wouldn't let me take a shower without sobbing on the floor the entire time. Now he'll happily grab a book and a toy to occupy himself while he waits for me.
  • Until recently, he wouldn't wait for me in the kitchen while I let the dog out in the morning. Now he runs to scoop out her breakfast while I let her out the back door.
  • The first time we left T with my parents for a few hours (at 6 months home?), he was anxious and didn't stop clinging to my dad the entire time we were gone. Last weekend, he happily enjoyed the park with them while we took a Thai cooking class.
  • Last summer, T had to be in the Ergo for me to hang diapers because he was too scared to play on the lawn.  Now, well, see the photo above, with the Ergo lying on the lawn behind him.
He's clearly making big strides. I also think that his language development is helping with his attachment. He's at the point now where he can use words to clearly ask us to hold him, even to hold him "tight". He asks for the Ergo when we have our hands full and he wants to be near us. He asks for snuggles, and for lotion, and for hugs. On some level, he knows that he needs these things from us, and I'm glad he's asking.

When we're in public, though, I sometimes worry that he's "mommy shopping" (a behavior kids with multiple caregivers may exhibit, where they try to charm all potential caregivers in case they are left by their current caregiver). At storytime at the library, he clings to me for dear life. We've been going weekly for 4 months, and it still terrifies him. But after story time is over and we're back in the kids section of the library with fewer people, he seems very comfortable approaching strangers. He grabbed another mom's legs and looked up to yell "HI!" and then tried to continue the conversation (which for him, means repeated "HI!"s, of course) (while she looked at him funny and backed away). He eagerly worked puzzles with another mom (with me nearby, of course). His personality in these situations isn't any different than at home, I just don't know how common it is to be so out-going at his age.

One interesting bright spot, however, occurred recently when good friends stopped by to visit. It was their first time meeting T and he warmed up to them well. By the end of the visit, he was on our friend's lap, begging him to read story after story. They are expecting their first child (YAY!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!) and are considering an Ergo carrier but wanted to try one out "in action" to see how comfortable it is. We were happy to let them try ours with T, especially since he seemed to be totally comfortable with them. Our friend started to put the carrier on and T instantly broke down crying, begging him to take it off. He was not about to allow himself to be placed in that carrier with our friend. He would happily sit on his lap to be read to, but the Ergo was out of the question. I don't know if he thought they were going to take him, or if that was just too close for his comfort. I felt bad that my friends didn't get a chance to try the carrier with a chunky kid inside it. I also felt like it was probably a positive thing for T, attachment-wise, that he wasn't willing to be worn by someone new. It hadn't occurred to me until he was unwilling to do it, but then it made sense.

I don't ever expect to reach an "a-ha! he's totally attached!" moment with T. For us it's a very gradual process that is so much easier to see in retrospect. I am, however, encouraged that we seem to keep moving in the right direction.

(I also expect to make up for my infrequency of blogging by the length of the posts I write. Sorry about that.)



rosemary said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this! Since we are hoping for a referral soon as much information as we can get from fellow adoptive families is SO IMPORTANT to us. The details here were great and so are the CUTE pics!

Kam said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! And thanks for the comment on our blog about Blurb. Here's my question...I tried to make pages in PS for our book but found it nearly impossible to copy and paste the text! Make sense? Too much text to retype it...too much time! But yes, making photo layouts and uploading them as a single jpg...that I know how to do! Maybe next time I will make all of my photo pages in PS and let Blurb slurp the text in as well! Thanks again!

Jen and Jeff said...

Hi, Robin!
That all sounds like really good progress! So glad to read about Thanu and how far he has come. Glad you had a happy, happy Mother's Day!!

Chris, Terri, Matt and Mark said...

This is very good info! Sounds like he's coming along wonderfully! And oh my goodness he's so cute!

I'm sure I will always wonder every kid is different so is this just Mia or is this adoption related??? And I'll never know. I'll just have to work through whatever "this" is.

wide open spaces said...

hey guys-

I am only now seeing that you are on the journey to #2. I am so thrilled for you! Yours was the first Thai blog I ever really read and it was such a huge help to me. Excited to follow along on this next journey!

much love-