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Old 05-31-2012, 08:52 AM   #1
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Attachment Issues

Okay, this may be long and I apologize in advance.

My first son was born when I was 22 and ended up having a chromosomal defect called Angelman's syndrome. With that came a 3 week NICU stay, a G-tube and many other issues. He was a great baby, never cried, always slept in his crib (we needed to vent his tube), didn't fuss if I slept through a scheduled feeding...just generally happy baby all around. Most kids with Angelman's aren't diagnosed until MUCH later (3-4 years old generally), but Ryan was diagnosed at 3 weeks. So we got him into therapy by the time he was about 6 months old and he started medicine for seizures around 9 months, before he actually had any. (It's a matter of if, not when with Angelmans.)

Fast forward to today. He's 3 and in PreK (special ed) and doing much better than anyone ever thought he would. They said he'd probably never walk (he's been walking since he was 2), probably never talk (workingn on it, but can sign) and basically be a happy little bump on a log. We tend to do attachment parenting anyways (as we learned with our second son, who has no medical issues) and it's just our natural way to be. But we did the research and incorporated some aspects we weren't aware of before. So basically we've parented our two children completely differently. However, there were different circumstances as well.

My husband was actually asking me if I thought that Ryan felt less loved or attached than Erik, simply because we seemed to bond so much more with Erik. I'm still breastfeeding him, (he's 15 months) while Ryan got pumped milk for 4 months and formula after. We co sleep with Erik, but Ryan's always slept in a crib or toddler bed. We didn't really carry Ryan all that much because of the G-Tube, but Erik I tend to carry (well I did before he got so dang heavy!). Ryan started a medical based daycare when he was a year old and Erik's never been to a daycare in his life.

And now Ryan's 3 and behaving...like a 3 year old. He's moody and throws tantrums and hits and pushes...like most small boys. We quell the behavior (and Angelman's is associated with discipline problems as well), but it doesn't seem to get better.

We're trying to figure out if we should start more of the attachment style with Ryan now, or if it's even possible. And if we do, do you think that would change his behavior?

It's not that we aren't close with him, but it's definitely not the same type of bond that we have with Erik. I guess I'm just getting a little insecure with our decisions, even though I still firmly believe we did the best we could with what we had.

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Old 05-31-2012, 09:35 AM   #2
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Re: Attachment Issues

Hi, from another Tampa bay mama! My daughter has Mowat-Wilson Syndrome (very similar to AS). My dd is 3 too. I have a older son who is 6. They are two very different children, you are going to have a different relationship with each one. I bed shared with my 6 year old til he was 4! My daughter has had her own bed/room and while I lay down with her at night in her bed (she does not sleep through most nights), I can't lay with her for long because then it wakes her back up. So she has to have her own space. You adapt with each child. Message me if you would like. I love to talk to and get to know other sn parents in my area!
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:06 PM   #3
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Re: Attachment Issues

my son is 8 and I am doing a lot of attachment based therapy with him. He has adhd. but I DID nurse and co sleep and carry him.
I think we are too hard on ourselves as parents. attachment parenting doesnt just stop when children get older it is a life long process. that USALLy starts in infancy, with bed sharing and mothersmilk and holding. but it continues as your child's needs change. we are not less attacted to our children because they no longer need our milk or to be in our beds. But It is different. Try spending some 3 year old special time with him. doing child lead play, getting right down on the floor and let him guide you. go outside and make a mess with some soap paint. baking? bubble bath just you and him??
oh, baby needs me....... take care hope this helps a bit
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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Re: Attachment Issues

I agree with PPs. Don't blame yourself or think you did something wrong, you did what you felt was best for your older son, just like you're doing what you feel is best for your younger son. Each child is different and what they need from their parents is different. I also am a big believer in mother's instinct...if you think you should try some more attachment type parenting techniques with your older son, go for it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:25 PM   #5
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Re: Attachment Issues

My two children have also been parented very differently. DS came first and we were very AP with him. He co-slept and nursed for a very long time. He was never away from me for more than an hour at a time, and those times were rare, until after he was 2 years old (then he started going with grandma a few times a week). DD spent 7 1/2 weeks in the NICU and obviously I had to be away from her much of the time. You can't sleep in the NICU, and we lived 45 minutes away, so we didn't even make it up there every single day. I did co-sleep with her for a bit, but she did fine in her crib so I moved her there very early (and continued to co-sleep with DS). She's been left with nurses nearly every day of her life so I could run errands or even go on short vacations....DS never even had an overnight away from me until he was almost 3.

AP doesn't necessarily mean "stay with your kid 24/7". It means to meet their individual needs however possible. Some kids don't NEED to co-sleep or be with their parents all the time. DD certainly never needed it. She's medically complex, but she's also a very different personality than DS. DS is very high needs, emotionally. DD is very relaxed. Moving him out of my bed was a year long, very drawn out process between ages 6 and 7. DD, I could plop in her crib at age 1 and she was cool with that. I didn't stray from AP, I just read her cues and knew that she didn't need me like he did.

I did bond very differently with them. With DS it was almost instant. I was able to nurse him and cuddle him. DD...well it took a couple of years actually. When you never know when your child will be taken from you, you tend to resist bonding I think. But I bonded with her as well. My relationship with her is very different than my relationship with DS, but it isn't because we bonded at different ages, or in different ways. She's just a different kid!

If you think your DS would benefit from more attachment, it's certainly not too late to add some back in. But quite possibly any behavior issues you are seeing now have nothing to do with where he slept as a baby, or how he ate. My DS nursed and co-slept and age 3 was just horrendous!
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #6
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Firstly thank you so much for the responses! I'm so glad I'm not weird. My husband was more concerned with this than me actually since we're not sure if his behavior issues are "3year old" issues or "angelmans" issues. But this put his mind to ease alot. I've told him the same things but somehow it's different when it's from someone else. Silly men.
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