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Regression - Is She Stuck?

(15 Posts)
GirlsWhoWearGlasses Wed 05-Oct-16 09:46:57

DD came home aged 1, now 4.

For the past year or so she's been progressively into playing at being a baby. This morning she has been a baby growing in my tummy, been born, needed her nappy changed, breast fed, burped all while googoo gaa gaaing. I appreciate that she is going back and filling in her blanks that she missed out on, but I'm worried that her need to do this again and again over such a long period is a sign that she's somehow stuck.

It does come in peaks and troughs, but pretty much every day she will want to do this in some way. She absolutely loves it, but it never seems to fully satisfy her, she never has enough of it.

Developmentally she has now caught up with her peers after a shakey start.

Does anyone have any advice? Should I just keep going along with it as she wouldn't be asking for this if she didn't need it, or is it a sign of a problem that I should be helping her with or seeking external support? Any advice?

RatherBeIndoors Wed 05-Oct-16 10:54:04

Is it always led by her, or do you build some of it in? On a course I did recently, they had changed their advice from "respond if the child wants it" to "definitely build it in and they can always say if they don't need it". My LO is 5 and we still do it (came home a bit later than yours though). I find it easier to have it structured by me, so she knows we will have baby-time (like, bedtime milk will be in a bottle with a cuddle; after lunch we'll sit in the rocking chair together and have lullaby-type songs for a few minutes). I can't honestly remember when I started this, but it does seem to have reduced the requests to do it at other times. I also do lots of reassurance "You're a big girl now but you'll always be my special baby too", and she still asks lots of questions about when she was a baby.

Have you been doing lifestory stuff with her (just wondering if that triggered it)? Any other big changes lately - have they started school, new pre-school, or anything that is likely to send them emotionally right back to feeling very vulnerable?

When it's all getting a bit much, I try and remind myself that LO really isn't going to still be needing this at 18, but she needs it now, and it's just another form of nurture and reassurance. I do sometimes try and substitute or add some nurture theraplay games, especially the ones about noticing and stroking each part of her hand or her face, because those have a lot of the "gaze" benefits of bonding as if she was a baby. I am rambling, sorry!

Buster5187 Wed 05-Oct-16 11:10:40

Our LO came home later than yours but we do this every now and then. Like RatherBe has said on a course I attended they also suggested that it be led by us - to try to manage control issues involved with it (for our LO at least). But we just play by ear to be honest, sometimes we feel he needs it so swoop in and do some regression with him, other times we go along with his role play. We also say he is a big boy but will always be our baby, he really loves us saying this to him.
Have there been many changes recently? I know when changes occur at home that is when DS will appear to need more regression / hunts out his old / baby teddies etc.
I can'y really advise on whether doing it more, will lead to her wanting it more so to speak as ours is really every few month etc. But perhaps trying to structure it into your day a little bit more might help manage it a little?

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Wed 05-Oct-16 11:45:47

Thanks for your replies.

We do loads of "You'll always be my baby", bundling her up, rocking, stroking, gazing that is initiated by us. I don't initiate the breast feeding, nappy changing kind of play stuff. I see them as a bit different, but maybe I'm wrong.

No particular changes and this is on going.

Your point that she won't be doing it when she's 18 is very useful to bear in mind. I just worry that it's a sign of more underlying worries.

RatherBeIndoors Wed 05-Oct-16 12:31:59

You could try a bit of out loud wondering "I'm wondering if you want to play at babies when you're feeling a bit not sure? Does it maybe help you to feel safer when we do X?" If you get a nod, or at least really get her attention, you can keep wondering and try things like "I've been thinking that maybe we could find some extra ways to help you feel safe and comfy. What I liked doing when I was a little girl was X,Y,Z because they made me feel all OK inside" (wrapping tight up in a blanket / you both hiding under a blanket/ using a hammock / building a cushion den - really any activity that you'd like to try and gently move her on to using, instead of some of the baby-play). You can test these out by getting teddy to have a go first.

Or maybe doing some gentle lifestory stuff might help get the worry out there, like chatting about all the things babies need (food / milk / cuddles / comfort / clean / play / safety / place to sleep / medicine - sometimes you can draw those as building blocks, showing how each one is needed) and how it was sad that she didn't always have those when she was tiny, but she has them now...that you wonder if she sometimes feels worried about not having food/cuddles/comfort, just acknowledging those feelings are really hard to hold, but you are there beside her, always.

I'd say go with your gut though - if you think there's more to it, and she's trying to process something in particular, then definitely ask for help, and a post-adoption support assessment. It's not going to do any harm, even if it ends up reassuring you that you're on completely the right lines already smile

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Wed 05-Oct-16 15:26:42

Some wonderful ideas here - thanks so much everyone.

I wonder if with her life story work we've been too factual, focused on ensuring she has the age appropriate info rather than helping her explore how she feels about it.

Rather you are a genius. I will try some of these out.

Italiangreyhound Thu 06-Oct-16 08:25:12

There is a great book called 'You'll always be my baby.'

The baby grows up but is still held like a baby.

I wonder if this book might help her see she will be a baby but grown up of whether it is too much.

In your shoes I would seek post adoption support. In my VERY humble opinion every day is too it is full on. In theraplay we do things to encourage eye contact, touch, trust etc but it is not overt.

I think if I were you I would want to move this on, maybe to doll play where you are caring for dollies together and talking about how dollies feel BUT that is a total guess on my part!

I would not take my own advice without checking with post adoption support!

My little one was nearly four when he came, he is still very emotional but this kind of thing is not on his radar so I am not speaking from authority, just musing!

Italiangreyhound Thu 06-Oct-16 08:30:01

Sorry the book is called 'Love you forever' by Robert Munsch (spelling) but the song alludes to you'll always be my baby and is refrain repeated through the book. But do take advice it is not a book for adopted children specifically.

RatherBeIndoors Thu 06-Oct-16 09:26:55

Sounds like an interesting book Italian, I'm going to look out for that one. I am completely OK with doing baby-type activities every day with a 5 year old (partly because it's such a clear need for her, and partly because emotionally/internally she is far younger than her bio age), but of course it's going to be led by the individual child, and what's just right for one, would be too much or too little for another smile

Italiangreyhound Thu 06-Oct-16 20:11:29

Absolutely and I bet the experts would say you are all doing TOTALLY the right thing and just carry on. I guess I don't know enough about it all so for me and our little one (now 6) I've really welcomed the post adoption support because it has opened my eyes to things. I mean I have read stuff and understand principles but I have really welcomed the tailored support. I realise we have been very lucky.


NuffSaidSam Thu 06-Oct-16 20:34:56

'Love You Forever' has got a lovely message at it's heart, but it is really, really creepy!

It ends with the Mum being really old and sick, which was upsetting for my youngest DC (he's not adopted).

I just thought it's worth mentioning that you should probably give it a pre-read before letting your children read it. One of mine brought it from the library and we read it together (I hadn't checked it first), the older ones thought it was hilarious, but the little one was terrified!

hildredmubble Thu 06-Oct-16 21:29:35

Love You Forever is really creepy and weird. Doesn't the mum sneak into her adult son's bedroom to cuddle him? While I understand the sentiment, I'm not sure I'd recommend it here!


I'm no help, OP, sorry. Thoughts are with you, though!

Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Oct-16 02:47:33

Absolutely yes, as NuffSaidSam says pre read it. Get it from library before you/if you buy it.

I heard it read by the author somewhere (on line) and I totally think it is creepy in places, but also actually rather lovely too. I guess you either like it or not.

I read it to my dd, who is not adopted but is quite sensitive and she was fine.

hildredmubble re "Doesn't the mum sneak into her adult son's bedroom to cuddle him? While I understand the sentiment, I'm not sure I'd recommend it here!" * yes* she does and I too found it weird but surprisingly uplifting, it is a kind of circle of life story.

I am not recommending it necesarily, I said "The baby grows up but is still held like a baby.

I wonder if this book might help her see she will be a baby but grown up of whether it is too much. "

I was musing, because it is about a mum who cuddles her grown up child, and say she will always love them. But as I also say later "But do take advice it is not a book for adopted children specifically."

I really do not want to freak anyone's children out, but I did kind of like it.


Italiangreyhound Fri 07-Oct-16 02:52:46

This one is read by Robert himself, I think, with sound effects...

OK I will not mention this book again!

As I say GirlsWhoWearGlasses I am sure you are doing everything right, I am sure you are weighing your dd's needs and doing what she needs, which is great.

OlennasWimple Sat 08-Oct-16 03:16:57

interesting - DD loves hearing us say "you'll always be my baby" too. I hadn't thought that this might be a common thing, but from this thread it seems to be!

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