Monday, April 16, 2007
Reading up on older child adoption before Pipo arrived, one of the main things I saw over and over was the word 'attachment'. I wasn't all that worried about him, as I knew he was coming from a home where he was well loved, with family who had always been close. Most severe attachment issues come from situations where there has been abuse, neglect, or institution-like settings. But it was always in the back of my head, and I knew it may take a while for anyone to bond with a group of complete strangers after going through a tremendous upheaval. Looking back, I am still amazed at how quickly Pipo just jumped right in here. But even so, I still like to reinforce things as often as I can.
One of the greatest ways I have found to build in some good bonding time is by doing his hair. I didn't plan this...especially with a boy. But Pipo himself decided to let his hair grow out last summer, and so I had to learn pretty quickly how to take care of all that hair. At camp this past summer, I had a counselor (who became a good friend very quickly!) sit with me and walk me through doing "coil twists". 3 very long hours later, Pipo looked great. Unfortunately, 3 days later, after running around, swimming and rolling in the grass...the twists were gone. Since that first attempt, I have experimented a bit, and Pipo and I have compromised a bit. He allowed me to shave off a good portion of his head, and now we do 2 strand twists just on top. Even with all my practice, and twists only on top, it still takes close to an hour. But it is a solid hour of just 'me and Pipo' time. Hands on, one on one, serious bonding time.
Tonight, he was in a grouchy mood heading up to take a shower, having had his TV time interupted. When he was done, I told him I needed to put lotion in his hair. He did the usual eyerolling, and heavy sighing, but came and stood still for me. Sneaky mom started to re-do a few twists, and before you know it, he was relaxed against my knees, sitting on the stairs, and chatting away. One thing that helps is that this kid loves to look good. And he knows when he is done that he looks great. This picture was taken immediately after I finished tonight... when he ran to look in the mirror, and said "Quick, get the camera, I look good!"