It was almost 3 years ago that we travelled across the country to meet the girls, amongst many other memories I distinctly remember how baby girl clung to me like a baby monkey on that first day and whimpered in to my ear ‘when can I come to your house?’ ‘When am I going with you?’.
Over the next year or so she impressed everyone with her independence, her ability to dress herself, fold her clothes even tidy away her toys, there were no supermarket tantrums, no nagging for things endlessly, no whinging and whining. Her first day of nursery went without a tear or tantrum, unlike the other children she didn’t cling to her mummy and beg her not to leave. Instead she confidently walked past her crying class mates and went off to play. ‘She’s so well behaved’ people would say. ‘Too well behaved’ I would think.
It didn’t take me long to realise my girls were not ‘well behaved’ they were ‘compliant’, too scared to show themselves to us and the world around them.
(Extract taken from Adoption Voices Magazine)
‘For the compliant child the situation can actually be devastating. As a compliant child who is either not causing problems or actually well engaged and visibly successful, she is not seen as having any problems at all. Parents see this child as well adjusted to life, including being adopted, and with no outwardly troubling signs of concern, this child is often overlooked and not given any form of counselling or assistance in dealing with life or emotional wounds. It is difficult for anyone to see that the child who is often referred to as, “mature for her age” or “pleasant and articulate,” is actually in equal distress to the child who is acting out. Both are hurting, both are devastated by the trauma and both have no way to articulate, understand, contextualize or grieve the loss they have endured’
More recently baby girl has been testing some of the boundaries, she’s argued her point, sulked and even stamped her feet. She’s expressed her needs of hunger and tiredness, she’s told me of the foods she doesn’t like and asked for the foods she does. She’s asked for things in a shop, almost nagged for them in fact. She’s expressed her ‘need’ for the latest toy craze that her friends at school have and she must have now! She’s left her toys out and moaned at having to tidy them away, she’s chucked her clothes on the floor and forgotten how to dress herself. She’s left the bathroom without washing her hands and she’s even sometimes come out of school having forgotten something. She’s protested at having to brush her hair and sprayed my perfume all over the floor. You may be reading all of this and thinking ‘well she’s 6, this is what 6yr olds do’ and I’d totally agree with you, however for the last almost 3 years, she hasn’t done any of these things. There is still an element of compliance, its a work in progress for whilst she may protest at doing things, she generally protests whilst doing the very thing she’s ‘refusing’ to do. Baby steps!
So is this regression? Is she going back to being the stroppy lazy 3yr old that she should have been when we first met? Or is this just her feeling safe enough to relax now?
Either way I love it, I’m embracing the fact that she is starting to show me some of her true personality rather than the fake robotic compliance she’s given me before.
However I must try to remember how wonderfully normal this expression of defiance really is, when she next stamps her feet and rolls her eyes at me 🙂
My blog can also be found alongside some amazing blogs at The Weekly Adoption Shout out #WASO this weeks theme is ‘regression’.