17 November 2009

attachment-regression

So, the top e-mails topics re:blogging are

  1. Good for you for not blogging during this time!
  2. Good for you for not blogging during this time, but could you just post about regression?
  3. Good for you for not blogging during this time, but could you just post about sleeping/eating?

Hmm...well...I can meet you halfway.

I think we all know that regression occurs in individuals in times of stress. But, I wasn't sure that it would work as a verb--that you could regress someone.

Not really time to devote to this, but I can cut and paste. Here are a couple of e-mails I sent people about regression.

Kathy commented:
I can't remember if I asked you this. Anya is 7 (just a little older than Lexi) so a lot of what you are doing is very interesting to me. I have never considered giving her a bottle...help me through that. Is that something Lexi took well? I am just thinking about Anya, and with her it seems everything is "Mommy, I am a big girl". Just wondering....
I replied:

Whole post coming on this, because I think it's fascinating.

I was worried about the same thing. But, I present everything as a game--"You be the little bird." when I feed her. The pacifier was refused the first time I offered it, but I just left it out. Soon it was in her mouth. When I was rocking her to sleep that first night, her little mouth was going just like an infant's, sucking in her sleep. So...it made sense.

I don't offer a bottle, but she asks for one sometimes. I had it out for her to feed her doll with. Then, I asked one time (okay, so I did offer) if she wanted a bottle. Again, indignant refusal. But later she wanted to be my baby (this happens in *short* spurts and then she's off again) and wanted a bottle. She usually wants this when she's sleepy, so it's around nap or bed.

It's interesting that she only does this with me. I took the pacifier on the airplane thinking she'd find it helpful on take-off, landing, and getting to sleep. She wouldn't use it at all. So, don't worry that Anya will be heading to school with a pacifier.

Does that help? While we both know that it's actually more, we treat the feeding and bottles as a game. The paci stays under her pillow. Sometimes we rock with it. But, if she's asked for a bottle, she doesn't need/want the pacifier.

The bottle has been a stress-reliever. I don't think it will last long. I do think it will recur--like when school starts.

I hope this helps!
Kate

(p.s. to Kathy--I think that "I'm a big girl." comes from being told she's a big girl--as in you are capable of doing this so don't bother me with it--in the orphanage. I think she'll take just as much delight in being your baby as she does in being capable and helpful. Lexi doesn't spend all day "regressed". It just happens in spurts. Of course, she was coming from an orphanage where she was among the oldest children there. A is among the youngest now, which could make things radically different. And, A & L have very different histories. So, who knows? I just hope *something* we're doing helps you down the line.)

My friend, Jen, commented about the bottle when I mentioned it in a post:
Did she have a bottle at the orphanage? Because you have done so much preparing, I assume this is something recommended. Is it for attachment? Please enlighten someone who knows nothing about adoption.

I replied:

Hey, Nif! It's an attachment thing. It's not something that I force on her. She has a lot of regression at night. And, when she's under stress, there is more. She asks to be my baby then--and just wants me to cradle her and coo at her. That's often a bottle time--and it's usually before bed.

People talk a lot about regressing a child for attachment. I've been amazed at how much she wants it--there's no making her do this. She likes to be fed like my little bird, to be my baby, to have me take care of all her dressing and...wiping. I thought at six there might be some resistance to this. I was so wrong!

I've tried to write a post on attachment, but it's just too big! I think I might to a series on it. (Like I'm some real writer or something...but whatever.) It will bore some people to tears, but I think it's important and interesting.

Thanks for asking!!

Love,
Kate

So, quick wrap-up on regression (feel free to ask me to elaborate... and I'll try to later): I think if you're ready for it, it will just happen. If you're open to it and present the opportunity for it, you child will lead the way. If they think you're crazy, and refuse, then don't push it. But, if they want to "play baby" and get in those developmental activities, (All of these activities teach important things and help an infant to bond with his parent. It shows that a parent is not only loving and responsive, but is capable and provides. Rocking with a bottle, and cooing and snuggling while you do it, is provides more than sustenance. Remember Harlowe's experiment with the monkeys? Levine and Meany's experiments with rats who were separated from their mothers? I'm pretty sure those were gen psych and not further into the degree...) I think it can only be for good.

Hmm...there are times, actually, when she's over-tired and I know that a bottle or some rocking would help things and she's *said* she doesn't want to, but I do it anyway. I just tell her that I want to rock. I scoop her up and rock her, holding the bottle with my chin so I can snuggle her with one arm and stroke her cheek with the other hand.

So, I guess I do push it a little. But, it's something that's already started. There's precedence. And, there are times when I need to say, "You cannot push me away. You ARE my baby, forever, and I am going to take care of you." It's hard to explain the difference, but so easy to feel it. And her "I-don't-want" disappears immediately.

You'll know.

6 comments:

Lea said...

What a beautiful way to describe this process and doesn't it make so much sense that a child who missed out on this might need/want to enjoy it? Pretending is such a great way to let them do this without feeling they are not a big boy/girl. It just breaks my heart to know there are so many who miss out on what each one deserves. You're doing a great job!

Kathy Friend said...

I feel like I've read everything there is to read about attachment etc...but I will admit that I stopped all that about 2 years ago (just couldn't handle reading and playing the scenarios over in my head) ...but I would like to know what do you think was the best book you've read?

Tammy said...

I agree that regression is a great tool and I have heard many parents use it successfully.

I got Zachary at 6 months and he had literally regressed himself to a newborn. Waking up every 1-2 hours, drinking only a couple of oz. of bottle at a time. And you can encourage independence at the same time too. While I was encouraging physical independence (learning to push self up, sit on own, etc) I was still pushing emotional dependence. Zachary is in an attachment regression right now and we have gone back to the basics, which has included emotional regression. I think it's helping, although ask me in 20 years and I'll have a better perspective LOL!!

Tammy

McMary said...

Great post. I love reading anything you have to say as I will soon be bringing a 3 and 1/2 year old home. However..I definitely understand your need to just be with your daughter so I can wait for whenever the time to post seems right to you.
thanks for sharing.

Annie said...

Frankly, seems to me there's time in the day to blog when Lexi is resting. And, if you don't have some adult interaction....well, it is just not good for you.

Room to Grow said...

For the first few months at home, we also used the bedtime routine for "regression". I would help Rita out of her clothes, help her in the shower, dry her body, brush her hair, help with brushing teeth, etc.

Every night we still go up to bed with her and cuddle until she falls asleep. I love it because she now seeks out cuddles, back rubs and likes to spoon.

I wonder how long this will last. We are enjoying it while she's open to it!