This attachment and healing process is definitely a two steps forward, one step back deal. Sometimes it's one step forward, three steps back, two more steps forward, one more back.... etc. We have a lot of good days, we have a lot of bad days. There are still days of almost non-stop temper tantrums and other days of happiness, laughter, and playing.
This past Sunday at church, N out of the blue was very anxious, clinging to both me and his daddy. He was going back and forth between us and just couldn't calm down. It wasn't just normal toddler busy-ness, it was definitely an anxiety response--we could see it in his face and his body language.
So we held him close, we whispered to him that he was safe, he was okay, Mommy and Daddy were right here with him. He calmed down and played happily in the nursery when we brought him. I was prepared to go right back in and stay with him if he didn't settle down, but wanted to try since he's been doing so well there lately.
That night he had a very difficult time getting to sleep, which is not normal for him anymore. Usually after his bedtime routine, he falls asleep within a few minutes of being put in his bed. But that night he screamed, he cried, he would not settle down. His daddy went in and hugged him and laid him back down, but still he cried. I went in and rocked and sang to him. Now usually he will not let me rock him unless I'm giving him his bottle--and as soon as that bottle is done he begs for his bed! But that night we rocked and sang, and when I put him back to bed he cried,
"Rock Mommy! Rock Mommy!"
Healing is happening. He actually wanted me to rock him, wanted me to comfort him. Eventually I did leave him in his bed to fall asleep, since he will not fall asleep in our arms and it was well past his bedtime. He did settle down and go to sleep, and slept well through the night.
This morning was a completely different day. I brought him grocery shopping with me, and he was absolutely delightful! He smiled, we talked together, he was happy almost the entire time. He had people grinning and waving at him, and one woman even asked if she could give him a piece of candy. ;) (Which I had to say no to, because he is not very good at chewing yet--side effect of being fed only very watered-down food until he was about a year old, along with being given enormous mouthfuls at a time to speed up the feeding progress. But I digress...)
Then this evening, he let me read him a story. I mean the entire story. I held the book, he helped turn the pages. And we read an entire story together. Doesn't sound like big news? Trust me, it is! Never before has he been willing to let us hold the book for an entire story, or turn the pages only one at a time, or sit through the whole thing. But he sat in my lap. We read the short story, we pointed at the pictures. And then... he chose another book. And got back in my lap. And we read the whole thing. And he was mad it was bedtime because he wanted to read yet another.
When I told his brothers about it they were so excited and already making plans to read him a story the next day. "But probably not a chapter book, Mom," my seven year old said. :) Will N listen to a story again tomorrow? Who knows, but now we know he can do it! We may be due for another day of screaming, or he might play happily most of the day. Who knows?
But when I compare now to a year ago, or even six months ago, I see enormous healing in this little guy's life. It's such a privilege to watch him transform. It hasn't been an easy road, and we're not at the end of it yet, but it's worth it. So very worth it.