Thursday, November 15, 2007

Creative solution

So Ayden has always found saying goodbye tough, especially when I go to work. Matthew is more cheerful about it, for which I have several possible theories:
#1, his personality is more content. He has always been a flexible child who is pretty happy in his present circumstance and makes the best of most situations, given he is not overly tired, hungry, or afraid.
#2, he has already experienced every child's deepest fear; the loss of a primary caregiver, and survived. Some part of him seems more resiliant because of this, as though his psyche is saying, "We've survived losing a parent, so we can survive a day of separation from our present parent." By the loss of a parent I mean the loss of his foster mom when he was one year old, since his birth mom relinquished him when he was only 10 days old. I'm sure the newborn separation from primary caregiver also affects adopted childrens' psyches, but I think the loss of his foster mom was more emotionally devastating for him since children of one year of age have more awareness, reciprocal and specific attachment, and developmental capability than a newborn.
#3, he is more of a 'wait and see' guy. He'll wait to see if things are worth getting upset about before getting upset. Daycare is familiar and fun, and he knows I will return because I have always returned. That is enough for him. Ayden also knows I will return, but he mourns the short separation more than Matthew does.


Anyways, I was getting weary of pulling in with only minutes to spare before shift change because

will finish later,
got a call at work


I'm back.
So, if he was awake when I left in the morning, or if it was evening, Ayden would scream and cry and carry on for ONE MORE HUG and PLEASE, PLEASE DON"T LEAVE MOMMY, frantic and panicky. If I snuck out while he was sleeping (I know, aweful of me, and I don't believe in it, but it made leaving SOOOOO much easier and about 15 minutes faster), he would wake up in a panic. So, with much pondering on my own, and discussion with Ayden, I devised a solution. We agreed on a goodbye ritual of 3 hugs, 3 kisses, and then as I drive away I call him on the phone to talk for a few minutes to ease the transition. I wasn't sure if it would work, but we talked about the ritual a lot, and then tried it out Tuesday evening when I dropped him off at Grandma's. Success! He was sad, but didn't cry, as we did our 3 hugs and 3 kisses, and when I called him we talked for all of 30 seconds and he was ready to go.
Coincidence, or real success?
This morning when I dropped him off at daycare we did the same ritual, 3 hugs, 3 kisses, and he was sad again but no tears: I phoned him as I was driving away and we talked for all of 15 seconds and he was ready to go.
Real success!!
It is amazing how 'knowing what to expect' calms peoples' panic and fear. If we have an agreed upon ritual, Ayden knows how many hugs to expect and how many kisses, and knows he can count on me to phone him. That's all he needs.
Hooray for solutions!!!


Tonya said...

Horray for you! Success! I love it when I stumble on a good solution to a problem with a child. Or, does God give me the solution and I don't credit Him? Probably that, ya think? I do find that sometimes just changing what happens, warning ahead of time, discussing with the child what to expect can work wonders. Funny how we don't think to do that all the time!?! :-)

Roboseyo said...

you're an awesome mom.

that kind of routine really helps little ones -- teaching a class of ten six-year-olds, those kinds of routines are the only thing between you and utter, on-the-table, out-the-window chaos.

great idea. I bet after a while he'll say to you "Mommy, Im getting bigger now, so it's OK if we skip the phone caww."