Friday, March 28, 2008

Signs of Healthy Attachment

If you have been reading this blog for a while then you know that attachment has been a big issue with us and our new son. Zboy (his new nick name) came home with moderate attachment issues and thankfully, we have been seeing a lot of improvement. I took this attachment quiz when we first came home, at 3 months, and today, at almost 7 months home.

Even children who are experiencing attachment strain may have some of these signs of healthy attachment. Knowledge of positive attachment will help parents build on the areas that are strengths, but should not be used to ignore indications—even mild ones--that a baby/child is experiencing difficulty.

~Joyful the majority of the time. No. No. Yes
~Seeks out primary caregiver for comfort and to meet needs. No. No. Yes.
~Likes to be cradled and held facing primary caregiver. Hell No! No. Usually.
~Makes good eye contact with primary caregiver and initiates eye contact--both close & distant proximity. No. Only on his terms. Yes, always!
~When primary caregiver makes eye contact, the child smiles back, showing signs of being happy with the interaction. Nope. Sometimes. Definitely.
~Smiles and exhibits pleasure when seeing self in the mirror. No. No. No; maybe he just doesn't like the mirror?
~Frequently engages in playful interactions with primary caregiver (interactions initiated by both parent and child.) Sometimes. Usually. Yes.
~Uses different cries to alert primary caregiver of needs and wants; easily consoled by primary caregiver. Cries but is not consoled. Sometimes. Mostly, but is still not easily consoled.
~Accepts limits placed by primary caregiver. N/A. N/A. Not really, big fits!
~Willingly allows primary caregiver to hold bottle, hand feed, and nurture. Yes, but no eye contact. Yes, occasional eye contact but turns away. Yes, likes to play with face while bottle feeding.
~Melts into primary caregiver when held; lays head on shoulder; holds on when held; faces primary caregiver rather than away. No. Sometimes. Mostly.
~Enjoys cuddling, hugs, and kisses given by primary caregiver and initiates cuddling, hugs, and kisses without wanting something in return. No cuddles or hugs, likes kisses but doesn't initiate. Same. Yes to all.
~Can co-sleep without major difficulty. No. No. Sometimes but likes to lay on mom's head!
~Prefers primary caregiver to all others. No. Usually. Yes.
~Imitates primary caregiver regularly (actions, language, etc.) No. No. Sometimes.
~Content to sit on primary caregiver’s lap or stay in primary caregiver’s arms for an age appropriate amount of time. No! Sometimes. Yes.
~Settles quickly when held by primary caregiver. No. No. Usually.
~Enjoys skin on skin contact. Yes. Yes. Yes.
~Prefers close proximity to primary caregiver but not in an anxious, desperate way. Not really. Sometimes. Yes, but can be anxious - similar to the girls at that age though.
~Consistently sleeps well and peacefully. Yes and No. Mostly. For the most part.
~Wants to please primary caregiver because he knows it will make his parent happy. No. No. Not sure.
~Reacts appropriately to pain; wants primary caregiver to nurture him when in pain or sick; easily consoled. No. Over reacts and can't be consoled. Still over reacts but can be consoled.
~Uses food appropriately. Recognizes when hungry and full. No. No. Not sure - always wants to eat.
~Shows true personality to primary caregiver and family and friends (discovering a child’s innate personality takes time.) Can't tell. Can't tell. I think so.
~Initiates “sweet nothing” talk with primary caregiver. No. No. No.
~Shows appropriate stranger anxiety. No. No. YES!
~Displays age appropriate anxiety at brief separation from primary caregiver but is able to be reassured. No. No. Sometimes; goes to childcare provider willingly and doesn't want mom in the morning but wants only mom at pick up.
~Reunites happily with primary caregiver with eye contact and physical contact. No. Sometimes. Yes.
~Show signs of feeling safe in social situations; able to play and interact with others, but stays close and checks in with primary caregiver regularly but not in an anxious or desperate way. No. No. Usually.
~Is gentle to self and others. Mostly. Not really. Sometimes, tends to be rambunctious and hits/bites more when frustrated.
~Gets along with other children & siblings most of the time. Yes. Yes. Yes.
~Is okay with primary caregiver leaving the room for short periods of time. Yes. No. No.
~Conversely, cares that primary caregiver has left the room and shows happiness when that person returns. No. Sometimes. Yes.
~Speech/language skills are developing appropriately. Yes. Yes. I think so.
~Angry outbursts/tantrums are infrequent, short in duration. Parent can soothe child. No. No. Sometimes.

As you can see. We are making headway but still have some things to work on. It's hard to tell what areas are attachment related issues and which are normal developmental stages and personality. I also don't know which things are just him being a boy verses the girls I'm used to. It's hard to find that balance between normal behavior and an attachment issue we don't want to ignore.

He loves his day care provider, Wilma, and happily goes to her in the morning and refuses to hug me good bye or let me hold him after she has taken him. I think this is his way of letting me know he wants to stay and is afraid I'll take him away before he can play. When I go pick him up in the afternoon, he squeals with delight at seeing me and comes speed crawling over to get me. Then he won't go back to Wilma and only wants me. He's a pretty smart cookie.

He loves his sisters and drives them crazy by following them around the house and destroying whatever they are playing with...typical little brother stuff. He's walking more and more but will not walk if you push him to do it; he'll only do it on HIS terms. He loves being outside and will sing songs and babble away the whole time were out. He just started giving kisses and hugs without being prompted. He LOVES any kind of fruit, especially bananas "nan-nan." We actually have to hide the bananas because if he sees one he'll start screaming until you give him one.

He has a strong will. He loves to play with the laptop and the stereo and when you tell him no he'll turn and give you a big mischievous grin and then keep doing what you told him not to. When you take him away from whatever he shouldn't be doing he screams and cried like your torturing the kid. He asks to go to bed when he's tired and still gets up once or twice a night for a bottle of soy milk.


Maggie said...

You've made a lot of progress in a relatively short time. Way to go.

Mom of 5 said...

Sounds good- it all takes time !

rebekah said...

Thank you for sharing this - we are about to leave to bring home our 5 month old from Ethiopia. I'm glad to have this all forefront in my brain.

shelly said...

it's wonderful to see all of those yes, yes, yes answers!