Friday, March 11, 2011


So, I've been totally absent from this blog. Sorry.

But, it's been a good few months. We're STILL battling Lu's Giardia, and think it has affect on some other health problems...but all in all she's INCREDIBLY good. She's running all over the house, copying everything we say, learning about 10 new words a day it seems. So funny and fun.

Today, I'm processing something in my head, and I just need to write it out.  Maybe, it will be of use to someone out there, wondering about attachement/bonding.

Sometimes, we (matt and I) look at each other and say, "OH. This is attachment!". We feel like the last two months we've seen big changes in our girl, in really positive ways. For some reason I think we had it in our heads that that bonding and attachment thing would happen in the first 6 months. And then, that's what it would, forever. Bonding, we felt, happened pretty quickly. She liked us. She even preferred us. While we were still in Ethiopia, she called us Mama and Dada. She made good eye contact. We felt like she got it pretty quickly, that we were the ones who would meet her needs. I don't know why we thought that it would all magically happen in 6 months. We didn't even know what was missing, exactly. But when "it" happens, we just say, "oh wow! Look at that!"  Like, giving us kisses. We weren't sure if it was her personality or a trust thing, but she would NOT give us kisses, or let us kiss her. We'd say give me a kiss, she'd turn her cute little cheek and offer it for a kiss. Never the sloppy wet, open mouthed kisses we'd gotten from our boys at that age. We thought, maybe that's just HER personality. Then, all of a sudden, one day, she did. She offered those sloppy wet kisses. She's been giving them ever since. The other thing, is laughter. She's often given a little giggle and loads of courteous smiles when we do something silly or funny. But then one day...BELLY laughs started coming out and she hasn't stopped. She gives us little love pats on the arm, or plays with my hair. When she's hurt, she runs to me and wants loves. It's like in her little mind, there's this trust level we didn't quite have before, but all the time she's trusting us more, and we're learning that this bonding and attaching thing has no end date where it's "complete". It just keeps getting better. I don't know why, we just didn't expect that to be the case.

And sometimes, I feel like I just want to say out loud to her...."Will you just let me LOVE you??" The girl is busy busy busy. Go, Go, Go. Never sitting still with us, unless we're reading a book, or giving her a bottle (yes, we're still giving her 2 bottles a day, even though she's 19 months old!'s the only way we get snuggles, and we're not making any apologies for taking advantage of it.) We usually rock her for about 3.5 minutes before bed, before she asks to go night night in her bed. She LOVES her bed. She likes to give herself little time outs in her bed...I think it's her escape. Heck, I'd love it if I could hide in my bed when I want to escape the chaos too.

Yesterday, I had a mom's group function to attend. Normally she's been doing pretty well in these environments. We stayed away from ALL of these type of functions for months. Crowds can still be overwhelming, and noisy ones really do her in quickly. But, she's been doing well. Our plan was for Matt to come and pick up the kids after his dinner with friends at 7pm, and take the kids home for bed time. Lucy, however usually hits the hay at 6:30. At precisely 6:30, she was walking around the room (in a friends house). It was busy and bustling, lots of moms and music going. She turned her back to me, and when she couldn't see me, she started looking around. I could see her, and was making my way to her, when I saw she looked confused and lost. SHE PANICKED. I quickly grabbed her up in my arms, and soothed her. But, she was SO upset. Couldn't calm herself down. I called Matt to come get them early, becuase it was just too much for her. She was really REALLY upset. Matt said she cried all the way home, wouldn't take her bottle, and finally, totally exhausted fell asleep fully clothed. This morning, she was back to her chipper self, seeming to have forgotten about last nights drama. But, when I tried to get some hugs from her, or rock her before nap time, she FOUGHT me. No hugs. No kisses. Squirmy. I just wanted to say..."LET ME LOVE YOU!" It felt like I'd lost some of that hard earned trust last night. It's tough for me sometimes, because I'm totally a physical touch, hugger, affectionate, whatever you want to call it, person. I love me some hugs. My girl...NOT a hugger. My jack...he's a hugger and Lucy can't STAND all the physical love that boy has to give her. It's kind of funny, but poor Jack gets shut down A LOT by the girl.

It feels more like it's me, the mom, that she has a hard time trusting.  She loves to sit on Matt's lap. I can't help but wonder if it's becuase there were very few men in her life prior to us. None that were "caregivers". But women, rotated in and out of her life, day after day. Every few months, a new one would appear and the prior would vanish. I can't help but wonder if she's testing me out, almost expecting me to leave her...waiting to see if I'm really trustworthy. Can a baby even DO that? I don't know, but I sure feel like it at times. It makes me really sad...I'm emotional about tonight. Babies just shouldn't have to wonder if the mom is going to stick around, you know? I hate that her first instinct is that I will leave her.

It feels like we make big progress, and then go backwards a few steps. I guess that's all part of this process. Continuing to show her, we are here for the long haul. Not going anywhere. Trustworthy. Loving her unconditionally. It's reminding me of how Jesus loves us. No matter how we behave, he is steady. Now matter how far we push away, he is still there, loving us just the same, asking us to let Him love us. Wanting to lavish us with his presence, even when we think we don't want it. Lord, keep filling me up, so I can keep pouring out love to this little girl.


Heidi said...

Oh, Eryn! What an amazing post! I just kept saying, "yes! exactly! yes! us too!". Did you know that Claudia is linking to people who are writing about attachment? Go to my blog if you don't know what I am talking about. This is one of the best I have read on the subject and it's a perspective that I think would be so helpful to SO many if you want to share it that broadly.

For us it is steps forward and backward too. I wrote about our attachment last Sunday and just this week we've had new developments. One of the boys has been intentionally acting like a baby, and I think it's because he's testing a new level of trust in us. Like he's thinking, "Well, these two really seem to love me when I am charming and funny all the time. Wonder if they will still love me if I'm needy and have a few tantrums?". And I think it was possibly triggered by a week when I had to work out of the house more than usual. To him I say, bring it on, my love! Don't we all question whether we are truly loved and safe in a new relationship once we realize we are really in love with that new person? My poor husband, to think what I put him through ten years ago wondering the same things!

Ok, if I don't stop myself I am going to write a novella in your comments. Suffice it to say that it sounds like you guys are doing amazingly well! The preferring to sit in Matt's lap might just be that opposite sex thing, or Matt not being around all day thing...but I don't mean to minimize your gut feelings on that either. I think so much of figuring out what is going on with our kids is gut feeling that only we can know. Just keep doing what you are doing, Girl. I would put money on Lucy letting you in and becoming as affectionate as you are in time.

Much love to all of you.

Heidi, Mark, Dash & Taye

Tamara said...

Beautiful post and your daughter is getting so big and she is precious. I just wanted to comment briefly on the "not being an affectionate, lovey child"... Taylor, our firstborn was that way too - didn't like us to come into her "face-space" and would often turn her cheek to us too - I tried so hard to make her be snuggly but she wasn't... years later I learned that Taylor struggled with her vision - she could not focus her eyes when things came close to her and especially if they moved quickly towards her face. We have done vision therapy with her for the past two years and she just "graduated" today. I know your little one is young, but you might consider having her eyes checked by a doctor who treats vision problems (not just visual acuity) - Taylor doesn't need glasses, she just needed her eyes to learn how to work together. I'm not saying that is the issue with Lucy at all, but it is just something I wanted to share. You can google "Dr. Bruce or vision therapy" and find the Dr. we went to - he is in Clackamas and is great... his partner is in Hazel Dell "Dr. John" at Northwest Eye Care - he is really good too. I have seen really young toddlers in there so I imagine they have a method for examining their eyes. Take care!

Gayla said...

Oh, Eryn. Such a good post. Love your honesty... it will DEF help someone else along the way!!!

(and I agree w/ Heidi- you need to link this on Claudia's linky about attachment.)

Gail said...


Your post also resounded with me. We had so many expectations that Jude would be completely attached once he was home as long as he was in Ethiopia. ( 6 months) It has been a year and we have made huge strives but it still isn't completely there. He mourned so terribly. I feel like many times people think we are exaggerating things because surely a six month old baby just attaches.

Thank you for sharing your heart. It was such an encouragement to me.

Claudia said...

Thanks so much for linking this up, Eryn! Really glad Heidi pointed you at the rest of us going through the same thing :)

The line that most resonated for me, here, was:

Babies just shouldn't have to wonder if the mom is going to stick around, you know?

Gulp. Yes, exactly.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...