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Starting to wonder if this is adoption-related?

(34 Posts)
GirlsWhoWearGlasses Mon 05-Jan-15 19:39:18

DD (2) is a sociable wee soul, once she gets over initial, appropriate, shyness. She does struggle a bit with seeing people and then them going away, which seems logical, given the upheavals she's had. We have just reassured and she's settled down quite quickly.

However, there are two teenage girls at church who she seems to have constantly in her mind. She asks for them repeatedly, every day, all through the week.

They are nice girls, who make an effort to play with her, but we don't know them particularly well. DD gets a bit overcome when she actually sees them, so doesn't speak v much.

It just seems to be building into a bit of an obsession and is starting to feel a bit odd.

Is this a typical toddler thing? And how do I help her take it down a notch?

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Mon 05-Jan-15 19:45:37

Should add - they wouldn't remind her of anyone from foster care or BM.

RhinosAreFatUnicorns Mon 05-Jan-15 20:01:02

I don't know if it's adoption related, but DD was similar with an older girl who used to help in her dance class. It reached its peak when she was 2.5 and has calmed in the last 6 months or so. It got to the point when she would say, "I love "girls name", I love daddy and I love mummy".

I have no advice, I'm afraid, but it just seemed to fizzle out. She does still talk about her if we are on our way to class, but nowhere near the amount she did this time last year.

Pollywhatshername Mon 05-Jan-15 20:39:05

Hi, I'm
Not an adoptive parent....and have never even posted on the site much before, but your post made me want to reply-hopefully to out your mind at ease.
My little boy is 2, nearly 3. He's COMPLETELY obsessed with the teenage girl living next door. Like your situation she is lovely to him, if we happen to see her out on the road she will chat with him or whatever. He on the other hand talks about her all the time....always asking if "she's ok?" Even when we haven't seen her in weeks he asks about her randomly. Also, he acts like a complete loon when he does see her...kinda shy, but more just crazy...can't even explain the stuff he does. Mad looking!
So I can't tell you if it's normal toddler behaviour blush but I can tell you my child isn't adopted but acts exactly the same.
We just saw it's his little crush. Just hope he acts a little cooler by the time he's a little older!! shock

slkk Mon 05-Jan-15 21:58:23

Our lo has some obsessive behaviours but the most concerning is his obsession with his sister (my dsd), also a teenage girl. The obsession has been so severe that he will 'punish' her (spitting, hitting etc) if she leaves the room or lets go of his hand (not allowed to hold hands any more - feeds obsession) or he cries outside bathroom if she is in shower. We think this is definitely adoption/attachment related and are getting support from psychiatrist. D has just turned 4. Interestingly if she visits her dm he is fine and lovely when she comes back. Have you talked to your sw about it? It might be normal toddler behaviour but I would start having conversation with professionals in case the obsessions develop rather than reduce.

Tangerineandturquoise Tue 06-Jan-15 10:06:42

It might be attachment related- and if it feels "not quite right" to you then it probably isn't.
Generally though there will be many things if it is attachment so it might be worth making a list.
You say she is "sociable" is that more sociable than other children her age? Is she over friendly?

Can you direct her to other people at church or keep her closer to you?

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Tue 06-Jan-15 16:45:25

Thanks everyone.

I am starting to feel that is she is a bit over-friendly, but it's so hard to know what's 'normal'. Like at a soft-play, she'll ask one of the other parents to push her in a ride-on toy. Would most toddlers do that? I'm not sure.

Tangerine is right. We were very into our funnelling when she first came home and I think perhaps we need to rein things back in a bit. It's difficult though, as we don't want to stifle her.

Tangerineandturquoise Tue 06-Jan-15 23:13:27

Funneling to me is that you cocoon the butterfly so it has time to grow and then you can let it fly off safely.
It does sound a little bit like she is over friendly, and funneling may help that. The asking for pushes and rides is probably more than most children would do, especially if they don't know someone well, it can be a safety thing, befriending people so you don't get hurt, it can be an attachment thing, never getting too close to anyone but charming people to get what you want or need, also it can be a slight rejection of you to have someone meet a need, such as being pushed. Our little one was over friendly with others, especially mums, and it was really hurtful, they all leapt at the chance to do something, our child never seemed uncomfortable in them mothering but was rejecting my advances sometimes in very subtle ways other times it was more blatant. Others really took it personally when I tried to curtail it by stepping in. It took a while but things are much more as they should be and I am glad I nipped it in the bud once I realized what was happening.
I do know it is hard everyone has an opinion, but you probably do know her best and you should trust your heart.
I know for us, we do funnel (slightly differently, keeping them close, fewer people around, meeting needs babying a bit if necessary) even now when our little one finds things tough, sometimes it's just for a day or two sometimes slightly longer and it sort of acts like a reset.

steppeinginto2015 Tue 06-Jan-15 23:20:11

All mine have had teenagers that they adore and become a little obsessive about. There is something very attractive to toddlers about older children.
none are adopted, so some of this at least is normal behaviour.

steppeinginto2015 Tue 06-Jan-15 23:21:15

dd2 would definitely do the ride on toy thing, she constantly goes up to complete strangers and 'makes friends' She is now 7 and STILL does it!

MrsMincePie Thu 08-Jan-15 14:55:05

My adopted toddler can also be noticeably over friendly, especially with men. But, it does seem to have improved with time.

I would trust your instinct and keep working on attachment.

KristinaM Fri 09-Jan-15 07:58:03

I agree that you should trust your instincts and go back to funnelling. Only the two of you to do all caring activities, picking up , carrying, changimg nappies, bottles, food , sitting on laps .

I'm wondering if the teenage girls carry her around ?

Is she at nursery, or is one of you at home full time ?

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Fri 09-Jan-15 09:36:54

She does 2 nursery sessions a week Kristina, so a total of 7 hours a week. She doesn't use nappies or bottles any more, but yes to everything else, I think we do need to keep her closer.

I do think that naturally she's pretty sociable, but lately there's just been a bit of a jarring note and it feels like we need to, as Tangerine put it, reset things.

We'll pull things back for a while and keep a careful eye, thanks all.

Kewcumber Fri 09-Jan-15 09:42:39

How long as DD been home with you?

Indiscriminate slightly obsessive affection and inviting strangers to push her at 2 would ring some bells for me.

It isn't that it couldn't be just a toddler phase - of course it could. However with an adopted child it could just as likely be signs of an attachment problem brewing. So I certainly wouldn't ignore it and would as many others have said go back to funnelling.

My DS is now 9 and around 2-4years there were signs that he had attachment problems (different to your DD's) and I allowed myself to be convinced by everyone else that it was a totally normal phase of clinginess. It wasn't and if I'd had the confidence of knowing my own child better than anyone I would have admitted that and done something about it then. I have no idea if it would have made a difference but he certainly still suffers with an insecure attachment (my diagnosis, waiting for an assessment) which has made school difficult for him in the past few years.

In my experience, people around you are way too quick to reassure you that its normal and there's nothing wrong because they either think:

a) you're being a bit precious and attention seeking (very common!)
b) that they want to believe that there is nothing wrong and that their beloved granddaughter/nephew/godson is "normal"

You won't lose anything by treating it as an attachment issue and you could potentially have a lot to gain.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Fri 09-Jan-15 13:07:33

She's been home for a year Kew. For the first six months or so we were dedicated funnellers, but we've gradually loosened off since then. I'm aware that those around us may well think we're still very uptight, but, as you say, people just don't want to see any difficulties. My parents clearly dislike any reference to DD being adopted, which irritates me greatly, as it's part of who she is.

I'll be 100% honest and say that I'm worried this is my fault. DW recently returned to work, which is the biggest change DD has experienced since she came home. I work part-time flexibly. We're now together much more and suddenly I'm noticing these signs of attachment issues. I'm worried I'm messing up, as she seemed to be setting well on DW' s watch.

The first thing I noticed as not being quite right, was when I took her to a particular class that DW normally takes her to. She was trying to get the attention of other mums, running up repeatedly to show one woman, who was playing with their own child, what she was doing. I steered her away and tried to distract her, but she kept wanting to go back to engage the other mum.

Logically I know that she is missing spending as much time with DW and I know it's been a significant change, which the festive period hasn't helped with, but what can I do to resettle her?

KristinaM Fri 09-Jan-15 13:34:02

Can I check Im understanding correctly - her other mum was the main carer but now she's gone back to work FT? And you work PT so she's at nursery when you are working ?

So the nursery AND other mum working FT are both new things in her life ?

Sorry if ive misunderstood

Please don't think of it as anyone's fault BTW , its just about you as a couple managing the inevitable changes that happen in family life .

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Fri 09-Jan-15 13:49:39

Almost Kristina. We started her in Nursery after the summer so that DD wouldn't have 2 big changes at the same time. She has gone from 5 to 7 hours a week at Nursery.

I am working when she's at Nursery. I was able to be around a lot last year, compared to a parent working fulltime, but my DW was there almost all the time, which is quite different.

Apologies, I should have said all this in the OP. Classic dripfeed! But this thread has really helped me realise that the timings show a connection.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Fri 09-Jan-15 13:54:06

Oh, and although DW is FT. It's a bit flexible, two early finishes a week and a day off a fortnight.

I was working more last year, knowing I wouldn't get that much done over the next eight months or so, til DD is ready for her 15 hours at Nursery.

KristinaM Fri 09-Jan-15 17:46:02

I suspect tht you are right, there IS a connection. She seems to be struggling with the changes . Though I guess the solutions are the same -

stop any other changes for a while - even simple ones like bed linen, food, clothes, bath time, any other routines

keep things very simple at home , whether you are two or three . Perhaps give the class a break for a few weeks, if DD is struggling

Start funnelling again

Do other attachment stuff - I'm assuming you have the books / have done the training etc

How long ago did she stop a bottle ? Why did she stop so young - such a shame as they are great for bonding

Tangerineandturquoise Fri 09-Jan-15 20:18:20

How old was she at removal?
There is a body clock thing that happens with our DC1 around the time they were finally removed, and at that time of year behavior is very unsettled.
There was also the time frame of how long each previous carer had been in their life. We had to cross those time frames each time to see two steps back but generally also three steps forwards.

So it may be a bit of a body clock reaction going on as well- and if the last time carers changed was when she moved to be with you, your daughter is probably very anxious and unsettled and seeing everyone as a potential carer.

I think with the class she knew the other mum was supposed to be there, but perhaps didn't see you as belonging in that box, children with a traumatic start often compartmentalize and if you don't belong in that box she will struggle with you being there.
I will be honest I didn't find classes helpful for building attachments, and we stopped, but I am sure some adopters do find them very good. If you want to try a class maybe have a break and perhaps find something else to do with her that is yours.

Do you use a sling with her? This may help her a lot, I really recommend them, there are some for the toddler age range, they are great for physical connection and also reassurance in busy/strange places.

I do think maybe keeping everything tightly funneled will really help for a while.

The thing with settling is that she may have started to a little bit- or she may just have been getting getting comfy is maybe the way to look at it, and then it all changed, and change is difficult for her because changes have been difficult. That isn't you it's the change, but what you can do is support her through the change, and if you are now the primary carer I think you should probably do most of the primary care stuff even when your DW is at home.

Caroline Archer has a good book that might be worth a read around primary carers role and the supporting role of the other parent if their is one in the family.

Starlight9 Fri 09-Jan-15 20:29:06

My (non-adopted) 2 year old is OBSESSED with men, usually builders. She is rarely interested with strangers unless they are big, burly men! I think it's normal (I hope so) that they have toddler fascinations, I'm sure that they will grow out of it.

Copper13 Fri 09-Jan-15 23:28:29

Girls, my DD sounds very similar to yours. Home just over a year and 2years X months old. Before being "removed" she was described as a "happy smiling baby" and these were the ever repeated comments from there on after. Foster family said how their family and friends adored her due to her happy, giggly friendly nature and how she loved to engage with them. DD was with them until placement with us so "only" 2 moves in her early life, not multiples.
I have had niggling concerns all along about this "friendliness" as it really doesn't seem normal toddler behaviour as far as I can tell. Your church scenario struck a chord because we took DD to a Christingle Service this Christmas, it was our first church visit with her and we don't know anyone there. The building was familiar though as it is where her weekly playgroup is held. She's always been fascinated by the piano there and it was bring played at the service for carols etc. A young woman/late teens was playing. The "mood" of the service was very informal, we were advised to let children wander, explore, sit on mats at the front, play with toys etc. Our DD sat on the mats, alone, looking up at the vicar, then stood beside him looking at the congregation as he spoke. Cue lots of laughter. She then stood beside the pianist watching her play. When she stopped playing she wanted to look at the keys and put her arms up to be lifted by the young woman. She then sat on her lap for about 10 minutes whilst they waited to play the next piece. Again you could see people thinking "ah, how sweet" and people said to us "your daughter is just so cute, isn't she confident" etc. whereas I was thinking, yes she is but is that "normal"?
At the park yesterday afternoon we bumped into a nanny with her "charge" who we know well from play group and another class we attend. DD is attracted to her and often goes to her to show her what she is playing with etc. We started walking with her. DD was encouraging her LO to jump in the puddles but after about 15 minutes stopped and took hold of the ladies other available hand and walked along with her. We then saw another mum with her children who I've struck up a casual friendship with. We know them far less well than nanny lady. After a while she asked if she could help push her babies pram and after doing this for 5 minutes took hold of that mums hand as we walked along.
It's difficult because I don't want to make mountains out of mole hills but I do wish she was that content to hold my hand :-(
Positives are; she does come to me straight away for comfort if poorly or hurt. She does love our early morning "bottle" for a snugly cuddle whilst watching postman pat! And in the evening, the same but with Ben and Holly! She does call for me if she wakes in the night. She does seem to want to be with me more often recently. If I'm in the kitchen with the stairgate dividing us she will often ask to come over "carry mum carry"
Negatives are; the above type scenarios. Not staying close when out and about. Shopping centres and parks are a nightmare (she's been a pushchair refuser for about 9 months now but maybe I should be more insistent?)
Slapping me when she's frustrated/tired. Nappy changes and getting dry after a bath are triggers (both times when she's not in control?)
I'm her main carer and have been lucky enough not to have to work since she was placed and won't be returning to part time work for another year or so. I'm trying to be consistent with her but my H thinks I meander off the routines a bit too regularly with her. I might have to eat humble pie and accept that! I'll take on board the advise you've been given so far and funnel funnel funnel again.
Good luck with your LO, it's a horrible feeling having the niggling anxieties isn't it? Xx

Copper13 Fri 09-Jan-15 23:28:58

Crikey,that was long sorry!

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Sat 10-Jan-15 10:03:07

Don't apologise Copper, that's really interesting. Spookily familiar!

Some great points above re time frames and also DD seeing us in particular boxes.

DD never lived with her birth family and lived with the same FC until she came home. There are huge advantages to that, but I guess also means that even if she's been here a year, she can't be 100% sure she won't move again.

We do use a sling, which DD loves, and we do a lot of attachment-type things.

Re the bottle Kristina, the way DD took her bottle, which seemed absolutely hardwired from FC, didn't promote attachment, as DD took it into her cot with her, so I don't think it's too much of a loss.

We're making a list of things we've let slip a bit that we want to get back to doing consistently, so hopefully with time, that will help.

Kewcumber Sat 10-Jan-15 12:08:11

Certainly being with one FC from birth is a benefit but it also means that she suffered a huge loss at a time of (for my DS) the perfect age for separation anxiety anyway!

And I agree that you needn't think of it as anyone's "fault" if my experiences are anything to go by, you will need to reassess things many times over the coming years and responding to a change in your childs behaviour can't in any way be deemed to be a failure!

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