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Monday, January 04, 2010

01.04.10

01.04.10

Today I am thankful for long, long nap days for the girls, which is exactly what we had today. Both girls napped for 3.5 hours today. Let me tell you, this is NOT the norm for us. But they are trying to catch up from the holidays and family time. Annie was up for a long time in the middle of the night. June was up with her. I thought that they were both sleeping in there because I knew June had been in the for a long time, but when I heard Annie cry and went down there, June said she had been wide awake for 2+ hours. Not Annie's best work.

While the girls were napping, I went to Barnes and Noble and got a new planner for the year and chose a few books. I love to go and sit in B&N and browse through books, especially photography books. After I got back, the girls continued to nap for so long that I had time to write in my planner, write in my journal, and read a few chapters of a book. One of my new years resolutions is to work on my prayer life much more seriously. My mom's Bible study was about praying and I loved the book and what we talked about, but now I need to put it into action. I plan on starting to keep a prayer journal. I think it will help and it was a nice release today. I just want to pay more attention to my prayer life and my communication with God. I could use His guidance much more than I rely on Him right now.

I am having some worries and frustrations over Annie and her attachment. To an outsider, it would appear that she is quite happily adjusted and attached to both Justin and myself. When other people are around and there is a lot of activity, she is happy as can be and such a joy to be around. But it is her attachment to me that has me concerned. If I am not in her sight, she will play and laugh and run around. I will sometimes just sit in the other room so that I can hear her so freely playing and enjoying life. But when I come in the room, she melts down. If I am not holding her and focusing 100% on her, she is screaming bloody murder. She doesn't want to get down and play. She wants her head glued to my shoulder. If she knows that I am about to put her down or hand her to Justin, she immediately starts crying. This obviously is not the case 100% of the time, but it holds true most of the time. A perfect example is tonight after dinner she was just a wreck. I was trying to help Lucy with dinner and she was just not going to have any of it. So Justin took her upstairs so I was out of her sight. She cried for a minute or two and then settled right down. I couldn't hear a peep out of her. The second Lucy and I came upstairs so I could get them showered, she melted down. She was snuggling so sweetly with Justin on the bed when we walked in and the second I walked in, she fought her way down off of the bed and started immediately crying. She got herself so worked up that she continued to cry all through her shower - even when I was holding her.

Some days are much better than others. She has had a snotty nose for a month now and she got a horrible night of sleep last night, but this happens a lot on days where she is totally well and also well rested. I obviously prefer her to want to be with me over not wanting to be with me. But this is really, really hard and exhausting. It is frustrating because she makes it SO difficult for me to do much of anything for Lucy. I have to just let her cry sometimes because there is no possible way that I can hold her all day long, take care of myself, and give Lucy what she totally deserves.

Today was a bad day for this and I just needed to vent about it. I will continue to hold her and assure her that we love her more than she will ever understand and always be there for her. I just hate that she is struggling so much over very clear insecurities. I hope we can all work our way through this soon. It really is hard.

The sun is shining brightly but it is cold. I really do not know how you Northerners do it. I could never live in the North.
01.04.10

01.04.10

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

first today leelee

dada

Mom said...

Not fair, Dada! Love and kisses, LeeLee






I still want to see Anners, even if she is being a pill!

The Condreys said...

amen to living in the north. it hurts to step outside right now and it's in the 20's. things will work out with annie. she has come so far in such a short amount of time. she will get through this too, in time. it doesn't make it any easier on you in the meantime but just keep being a super momma like you always are and it will work itself out. love you guys!!

Candace said...

Love your photos today...the sun flare is beautiful!

We went through a stage with our little one where I had to hold her ALL the time and I know exactly how you feel. It can be very draining. But hang in there she will get through it eventually!! Of course I didn't have another small child to worry about, so I don't have any handy practical advice for you. Hope the rest of the week is easier.

Elizabeth said...

The sun rays make the Christmas tree seem beautiful even though it's naked.

I know Annie's situation and background are very different but Reece is 100% doing this exact same thing to Stephen right now. Unless he has on a suit (which she knows means he is going to work and for some reason she's ok with that), he cannot even put her down for a second starting the instant he gets home in the evening or the moment she wakes up on the weekend. She fusses all the time to be held by him - even when he's already holding her! If he's home and walks outside or leaves the room she LOSES it and will fall on the floor screaming or doing the silent cry where she doesn't breathe. He appreciates it because Taylor wanted nothing to do with him at that age but at the same time it's making him crazy because he can barely go to the bathroom or put his shoes on or really anything else without her dissolving that he isn't holding her. It's...well, I don't know...it's just something and it's about to pull his hair out.

Jealous of the 3.5 hour nap and the chance to write and get your new dayplanner in action! I transfered all my appts to a new one and then lost it the next day so I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing this week! Ugrrh!

thurmans said...

I went/go through this with Elizabeth as well. I completely understand the frustration and exhaustion. All I can think is that it comes in phases. I can think of about three distinct periods lasting for about a month over this last year that we would have this same sort of attachment activity. I think it is completely normal... although that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. Some kids just need the love more. Annie, and Elizabeth, seem to be those kids. Hold her, hold her, hold her... as hard as it is I think it helps shorten the phase. Have a glass of wine or a really good margaritta... that's what gets me through it. LOL.

Erica said...

I wish I had some suggestions, I really do. Duc had a meltdown today and while it may be normal for his age, I can't help but wonder if it is attachment related. He is used to daycare. He fights it some days but it is familiar. Today I took him to the YMCA with me and I attempted to leave him in childcare. He totally lost it. Horrible, scared shrieking when he lost sight of me. Evidently he cried the entire time and the staff were contemplating finding me. This is why we stopped going to church--he couldn't stay in service because he was too busy, but childcare seriously freaked him out. I really hope some other people have good suggestions.

Shawna said...

Love those pics of Lucy peeking through. Glad you got a moment to yourself today.

Anonymous said...

I am so very curious if anyone has any clinical insight. I have two adopted boys that are two months apart! YES, two months apart! 35 and 37 mos old. The oldest is constantly crying and wanting to be held. Now he is the oldest but he was adopted at 9 mos and our other son was adopted at birth. I can't help but wonder what those 9 mos were like for him and if it has anything to do with behavior.
I pray for some peace and comfort for us all!

Beth said...

I'm sure eventually Annie will get through this phase. However, have you read any books on attachment with kids who are adopted? Or does your adoption agency have any resources for this? I don't have any books in mind to recommend, but as you know, the adoption community is huge and there are always others who have experienced the same thing. (Glad you got a break today!)

Kelly said...

Beth - Yes, I have read loads of attachment/adoption books. We practice attachment parenting with both girls. I hold her almost all day, there is just no way I can hold her ALL day because it is just not fair to Lucy to get nothing from me, which is what I struggle with so much.

erinlo said...

Kelly- I have no real words of wisdom- more just want you to know I know how hard the "attachment" stuff is. I'm SOOO glad to have read all those books on attachment parenting, but I wonder how much of our girls' behavior is just regular old one year old stuff- having nothing to do with adoption. I think that's one of the hard things about being adoptive parents- you question everything that might just be normal for whatever age they are at! Whatever the case- you are a fabulous mama. I am so amazed and inspired by you! Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers! Happy New Year! -Erin

Trying Traditional said...

This Northerner is thinking of moving South!

The crying and clinging is hard, one of the twins did it for the longest time and still is funny about me putting her to bed if I am here or brushing her teeth. Those days were so hard, and occasionally ended up with me crying as well. It got to the point that if I wanted to cook dinner without her attached to me she simply had to cry while I did it. I felt awful that she was so distressed and I didn't know what to do about it. I felt awful that the twins took so much of my time from the older two. I felt awful that the one twin seemed so much needier than the other.

It seems to me that the worst of it was from 9 months to 18 months and then she seemed to relax a bit after that. And though at three she still is needier with my touch and time she seems to understand adn cope better. I suppose communication that comes with age helps that. I do feel like I am always on edge a bit, trying to watch for any signs that she isn't doing well...might always be doing that, don't know.

Laura said...

I don't have any advice. Just wanted to say that I totally understand how frustrating and exhausting it can be. Molley was the exact same way for a long, long time, and it was just with me. Ed would have to do the exact same thing - take her out of the room - and she'd scream for a while, get it together, then totally melt down again when I came back into the room. I hated it when he was out of town (all the time for moths and months) because getting her to sleep at night was he!!. She didn't want me to leave the room. If he put her to bed she was fine, but when I did it, it was a long and draining process. I felt guilty sometimes because I'd get pretty frustrated, and even though I hid it, I'm sure she sensed it. It was also hard for me because the situation was the complete opposite of what it had been with Mattix during his first six months home. While that had been very emotionally exhausting, that was my experience and so the one with Molley took some adjusting. Things aren't perfect, but they're much much better now.

I know you've been dealing with this longer, so I'm not trying to take away from that or "compare" situations. Just wanted to tell you that you're not alone and I know it's very tiring and it can wear you out. I'll admit that there were a few days I cried, too. :)

Hang in there. You're an amazing mommy!

Norah said...

Linhsey was like that for so long and she still does it sometimes now. It's tough. Plus, L is so scared at night...well you know the sleep issues we have. I've talked about them plenty. I thought she would never be able to go to school. That's the one thing that shocked me. She's fine saying goodbye at school and being there. But even now if I am out of sight she must scream for me...and dinner time while I am trying to cook??? Forget about it! Some days I make dinner in the afternoon so it's easier at night time. But her tears for me have reduced me to tears several times in the past 2 years.

Kelli said...

While not nearly to the same degree, Aiden sometimes goes through stages like that. Last night was one of them because I went back to work. It is hard and exhausting. I can't imagine how hard it is on you. Sorry I don't have any words of wisdom, but go ahead and vent away. I know you are doing all you can in terms of attachment to make Annie feel secure, so don't doubt yourself. I hope some of it dissipates with age.

Kate said...

Like others, I wish I could give you adice. It seems you're doing all you can. Keep your chin up. I know it's hard to remain calm, cool, and collected. Get that prayer book! Sounds as if you need it, my friend! :)

Gorgeous pics today. Never seen a more beautiful, naked Christmas tree! I hate taking down decor. So depressing.

Donna said...

Kelly- I know I have talked to you about this before. I am still having the same troubles with Lauren wanting me to hold her all day long. It's a mirror image of what I have been going through every day. If I so much as stand up without her on my hip she starts screaming. Mind you I am a stay at home mom and I am with her 24/7. It gets trying at times. Most of the time when my husband gets home from work I have to have 30 minutes to a hour to relax in the sanctuary of my bedroom. Of course the first 10 minutes is her fighting with my husband to get to the bedroom door to beat on it and scream "my mumma". Its heartbreaking. We are also having these same issues at night. I feel your pain. If you ever find out a solution PLEASE let me know. I welcome some insight. :)

metaphase said...

Kelly, I want you to know that I had/have a very similar situation with my daughter that you're having with Annie. Thing is, she's my bio daughter! When she was smaller, she wanted me to hold her all the time to the point that I wondered what I had done to make her think I would leave her. Even now, at 3.5 I can't sleep in on Saturdays b/c she cries for mommy and if my husband lets her out of his sight, she bolts for my room. I must put her to bed at night, etc. I just wanted you to know some of this could just be who she is and not totally adoption related.

Wanda said...

First time commenter here. I appreciated you sharing the realities of attachment. Our first daughter was so easy, it lulled me into thinking "I had the power" but our second has shaken me back to reality, big time. We're only home for about 5 months now with our second but she is similar in her panic to touch me or need to be carried when I am in the room with her. Out of sight she is OK - which makes me stay away more often than I should. I sometimes wonder if our constant being there in the beginning sets up a pattern where they need us like a drug. I'm just not sure. It is exhausting though.

I wish you well!

Wanda (At Last...)
www.atlastmilanascominhome.blogspot.com

MKH said...

I don't really have any advice-we have our days similar to this as well. I think your devotion to prayer is going to help this-not sure how He will help, but I'm sure He has a plan-I sense you already know this! I will pray for you and Annie too (and the rest of the family :)

Nancy said...

Will Annie tolerate a baby carrier/sling/ergo/wrap/mei tai/something? It might make things a little easier (stuff like playing with Lucy) if Annie could be worn alot...still close to Mama, but hands free. I started with a sling, but found the mei tai to be much more hands free for me. Good luck - I'm sure it is not easy!

Michelle said...

It's draining, I know. Camden has been home exactly 1 year to date and is so clingy and only wants me 24/7. It's heartbreaking and makes me question what I am doing wrong, so I'm grateful that you have shared your struggle with Annie and attachment. I've read the books but I haven't seen much out there that I can relate too when it comes to this clinginess. They’re happy as can be when we are out of sight but the second they see us it's tears and anguish. Hugs, you are not alone...

Funny you should mention prayer life. This is something I am also working on. We all need to go to Him more often for answers and guidance and stop relying on ourselves. The word gets me through trying days without a doubt! Hang in there and I'll be praying for you and Annie.

KrisJ said...

Love those sun pics! Attatchment is hard, Malia struggles and Ive been feeling like maybe I should see someone about it.. its like you said nothing anyone on the outside would notice but I know something is missing. AAHH suckie! Malia takes 3 1/2 hour naps EVERY DAY!! WOOT WOOT its crazy sometimes I have to wake her up because shes still sleeping at 4:30 crazy sleepy head!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly,
As my mom (a very wise woman!) always tells me . . . "this too shall pass!"
Ellen/Boston

Nicki said...

Just want to echo what others have said and say that we've BTDT. Dalton was a LOT like this, very intense, extremely needy, there was no such thing as too much "me". It was easier because he was my first - when I had Teegan I often wondered how I would have survived if Dalton had been my second. But it does pass. You may want to check out Dr. Sears High Needs baby book to see if any of it makes sense for you. Dalton still has a lot of those traits but I think it is just especially super-duper hard for high-need toddlers who have the physical ability to walk away but the emotional need to be stuck like glue. She's grow through it!

auntstace said...

Kelly,

Thanks for sharing your concerns about Annie. Like many other comments tonight, I too can relate. Your description fits Ellie 100%. I have been beating myself up thinking I am a horrible mother because she is always so happy around others, but with me (especially lately), she is so clingy and whiny. The attachment worries are there for me too, especially since our trip to Prague. Being away from her for 5 days really did a number on her...I am hoping she "adjusts" soon. Breaks me heart. At any rate, thanks for your sharing. You are a rock star mama.

Kristi said...

Kelly,

I don't know if you were asking for practical ideas but here are a few for what it's worth.

Annie is probably just developing object permanence -- the understanding that an object continues to exist even if she can no longer see it. Development of this ability usually lasts until about age 2. The development of object permanence is very closely linked to motor development so Annie may just be catching up a little. If she doesn't firmly have this in place, she may not understand that you'll always come back and just because she can't see you doesn't mean you're gone.

To help her, you could work on playing games with her like peek-a-boo or games where you hide something and then she finds it.

You also might want to offer her lots of sensory opportunities as well. Two great sensory/object permanence games you can play are "hide a toy in the rice" and "hide a toy in shaving cream." To play the rice game just fill a plastic bin with rice and hide small toys in it. Let Annie see you hide the toys and then help her find them. You play the shaving cream game the same way. Buy a can of shaving cream and squirt it in a cake pan or plastic bin and let her hide the little toys and then find them.

You also could make a game of you leaving the room and then Annie coming to find you. You could play the game a few times with Lucy hiding and you and Annie going to find her.

I think this stage is also often described as "fearful attachment," meaning that she is so completely attached to you that she fears losing you. I've heard some people describe it as the "desperate cling" phase. The hardest part about attachment is that it's not a moment but a process.

You're a great mom. Lucy and Annie are lucky to have you!

Monique said...

I thought it was just my imagination but my husband confirmed it with me after I mentioned something to him. I was adopted when I was 2/5 yrs old but my parents did not have adoption resources like we do today. I have not read any adoption books because I thought I would rely on my gut instincts.

My daughter is approaching her terrible "3's". After having my son, I firmly believe 3"s are worse than 2's! Lately, Ava will get super whiney, screams at the drop of a hat and has a melt down if I leave the room. But if she's with my husband and son in the morning, before I come down, she's all peaches and cream. Never throws a fit. As soon as I walk in, it's like utter chaos.

I too am at a loss and would love to hear if you find any resolutions or if it just "works" itself out.

Good luck!

jacqueline said...

Kelly, i was gone due to computer problems...i missed you and the girls. i have four year old twins, and one of my twins struggles with detaching herself from me. it can break your heart...but, i tell myself to always have patience. i journal alot.

Becca said...

Your pictures are beautiful and I love when you share your heart! My little girl does the same thing and I know how exhausting it is -- I'll lift you up in my prayer time tonight!