This morning, I finally spoke to the person who was supposed to be our big help with the sleep issues. Now, I feel like everything we've been doing has been wrong.
The conversation went a bit like this:
Me: So, we've been having sleep problems with Yummy, and they seem to have gotten worse in the last month (then explaining the problems).
Her: Well, it's obvious she's having anxiety issues. Do you know if she was in the orphanage or with a foster family?
Me: No, despite a few attemps, we were never able to find out in China and her paperwork wasn't clear on that.
Her: Oh... (The kind of "oh" strategically followed by a silence that very clearly tells you you haven't tried enough...)
Her: Well, you need to create a routine, make her world almost boring, very predictable, stop going out with her, so that she comes to rely entirely on you for everything. Don't let her hold her bottle (she never has), make sure to feed her yourself (feeding a one year old when she wants to feed herself? Can you say "war"??? which is the very last thing that should happen with feeding...), make her become completely dependant on you. You have to create a symbiotic relationship.
(Those weren't her exact words, but it was close. And with more sentences.)
She then proceeded to tell me that:
- We shouldn't really leave the house if possible (before asking me to go meet her with Yummy in a few weeks...).
- A family she knows did the cocooning thing for 8 months before sleep was settled. And then started going out to dinner with their child, who totally freaked out, meaning it obviously wasn't long enough (huh??? couldn't it be that by then, she was terrorized of change and strangers?).
- Since Yummy now takes 2 naps a day, one of them way too late in her opinion, we should cut it down to one, in the hope that tiredness would make her sleep better at night (OK, I'm buying the anxiety thing no problem, it even makes sense. I'm good. Won't let her cry anymore. But we are going to solve the sleep issues by making her tired??? Her answer was that we are in a trial and error period...).
- When I told her how well her development is going, considering everything, she said great, but that we should absolutely not stimulate her to learn, as she has to regress first. I was basically told that she's doing too much in the development area. And I have the feeling that if there would have been a delay, I would have been refered to professional developmental help...
- The one that puzzled me most: I talked about the fact that co-sleeping wasn't really an option, as Yummy tends to get worked up, and play with me, or the bed sheets, instead of fall asleep. Her answer? Well, it's obvious she is not ready for co-sleeping: the proximity makes her anxious. (It that why she's coming to us more and more for hugs during the daytime? Is that why being picked up is still one of her favorite things and way to travel (that we are quite happy to indulge)?...)
I have to give it to her, the poor lady was quite patient though, as I'm sure I've been put into the "annoying mom" category that health care workers tend to create. The moms who ask a lot of questions, and will pick up on the contradictions. The moms who don't agree with everything. I stayed patient, and polite, but if someone tell me I'm doing something wrong, I expect them to tell me how to make it right, not say "let's try different things and see" or support their argument by giving me "convincing" examples of horror stories from other families who might have had an entirely different situation.
A big question stays unanswered, and if anyone has an idea, please let me know. Why is it that for a bio kid showing all the same problems (I think 90% of our friends with kids told us they had gone through the exact same phases), it's a normal behavior, and for an adopted kid, it's interpreted entirely differently? I'm not saying I don't believe there's been a trauma, because there has certainly been more than one, which I unfortunately will never fully know or understand. And for whatever reason, that phone call really helped me believe that we can't let her cry yet. But are we "over-diagnosing" our adopted children? Is it really the right thing to keep my baby from learning, from being proud of herself, from showing her to communicate and lower her frustration in the hope that she'll bond quicker with us? I'm really not sure...
I still have 9 months off, and a new goal: research the research on all this! I really, really want to know, and do what's best for my baby. And if that means challenging what people say, so be it. Hey, the psychologist who did our homestudy basically had 2 advices: to take and hold her together when we first met her (yeah, right... when everything happens so fast!) and to remind her that she's chinese while we rock her, saying "my beautiful chinese baby"... Not a word on sleep problems. Or any other problem for that matter. Needless to say, we're thinking of asking for another one for the 6-month evaluation.
Back to my topic... Fortunately, I still have access to a medical library, and all the resources that come with it. I'll see what I can find, and I'll keep you posted...
In the meantime, I'll listen very carefully to what anyone with any knowledge and experience has to tell me. And try not to let them make me feel like a crappy mom. And then, I'll do what I think is best for my child, for her to grow into a happy, strong, skilled, confident woman.
I finished this post while Yummy happily ate her green beans ON HER OWN besides me. Bad mommy. But I redeemed myself by feeding her some food MYSELF from my plate. Do I break even?...