adoption Honeybee milestones

Of Milestones, Of Experiences, Of Separation…

Guess what?!  Our Honeybee is seven months old!  That kind of snuck up on me.  I was more than a little shocked to look on the calendar and realize that, oh my goodness, she is getting older.  I know.  I know.  It’s not like she is going to stay young forever, but wow that ca

me a lot quicker than we were expecting.  It’s been great.  Lately every day is an adventure for her.  She recently started grasping for bottles, extending her hand to be picked up, and *gasp* she said “ma ma” the other day.  Granted, she was just babbling, but it was really great to hear it from her lips.  Though I must admit, I melt a little every time she says “da da” and is clearly speaking to my husband.  The love in his eyes makes hearts stop. (Plus I think it makes him quite handsome).

 Our Honeybee has been growing happily.  Her eczema medication has been working wonders and she is every bit the beautiful, bouncy, attentive, seven-month-old that she can be.  Recently, she has started displaying signs of mobility.  She is subtle though.  We’ll put her in her crib on one side and when she wakes up, she has made it the length of the crib.  She has begun scooting and is actively trying to pull herself up, which is amazing in itself.  She will roll up to FatherWinter and pull until she gets a good grip and will then get into a half-stand/half-crouch position.  This child is clearly not going to settle for lying down, being held, going with the flow.  J  We’re fine with that.  Personally, I think she is trying to keep up with SuperBug who is her constant source of entertainment.  She sees him and starts bouncing.  He’s her best buddy and Superbug feels the same way. 
Honeybee, herself, is having fun showing off J.  We recently had our supervisory visit with Honeybee’s social worker.  It is always a joy to see her and she enjoyed watching Honeybee blow raspberries and babble.  We went over a list of things she is doing and not doing according to “milestones” and it got me curious.  I remembered with SuperBug I used to write out on a blog everything that he had achieved and wasn’t quite doing.  So, I pulled up the list for Honeybee…just to see where she is.

·   Movement Milestones.  According to the developmental charts, Honeybee is doing just fine.  She is rolling front to back and back to forth.  She is sitting with and without support.  The without can sometimes be wobbly, but she does it.  She is supporting her weight on her legs and reaching with her hands.  She transfers objects from hand to hand and does the raking grasp to pick up things.  (We’re about to introduce her to the soft dissolve treats to help her pincher function and feeding ability).

·         Visual Milestones.  Honeybee is definitely tracking objects and seems to favor brightly colored outfits.  I’ve been having fun allowing Honeybee to “choose” her own outfits.  I’ll select two outfits and set them in front of her.  The one she grabs is the one we will wear.  I know it is an unscientific approach, but I remember hearing my grandmother say she did it with me.  I did it with my son.  It’s enjoyable doing the same with my daughter.

·         Language Milestones.  Honeybee is responding to her own name.  She knows when you call her by her name.  She knows when she is being spoken about.  It’s funny to have her sitting and occupied with her activity mat and then see her turn her head and grin when she hears her name.  The checklist says she should soon begin to respond to “no”.  Hmmm….I haven’t really seen that yet, but we really haven’t had to tell her “no”.  We have had to say “shhh” a couple of times.  She sometimes likes to scream during prayer lol.  (Making a joyful noise I imagine).  The guidelines say she should respond to sounds by making her own.  Yep.  She has that one down!  If you scream, she screams.  If you blow raspberries, she blows them back.  She’s all in on that.  Likewise to the requirement that she use her voice to express joy and displeasure.  Honeybee can “fuss” with the best of them.  A string of dadadadadada and incoherent babbles let me know she is NOT happy with someone.

·         Cognitive Milestones.  Honeybee is a fan of looking for partially hidden objects.  That doesn’t mean she always finds them.  But she won’t stop looking and that’s good enough for me J.  Honeybee definitely explores with her hands and mouth.  Nowadays anything within arm’s reach tries to go into her mouth including my earrings ON MY EAR lol.  I’ve learned not to wear danglies and she is learning not to pull the shiny things on Mommy’s lobes. 

·     Social and Emotional Milestones.  Does she enjoy social play?  Yes and yes again.  Honeybee can play for hours just with her brother running around in a circle while she is in the activity chair trying to follow him.  She is often joyful and loves looking in the mirror to play with her reflection there.

And then, there is the one that has me torn.  It’s the one that has me overthinking and addressing everything.  It’s separation anxiety.  I noticed the other day that when I was preparing to leave the house for work, Honeybee started to cry.  She appeared genuinely upset that I was leaving her.  NanaNorth picked her up, spoke lovingly to her, and made her smile, but when she saw me by the door, it reminded her that I was leaving and she got teary eyed.  I felt awful, but thought it was just a fluke.  The next day, it was the same thing, this time I was about to run to a doctor’s appointment and couldn’t take her.  She had been quite content in FatherWinter’s arms watching the game.  She turned her head, saw me leaving, and once again got teary eyed.  I walked over, hugged her, talked to her, and soothed her for another five minutes before walking out.  Again, I felt awful.  And now, the past two days have seen her cry or get teary eyed every time I leave the house.  Both days were for work. 

Last night, I was about to leave for choir rehearsal and let her stay with FatherWinter and NanaNorth.  But she looked so pitiful.  I asked my husband if he wanted me to take her with me.  Normally, it would not have even been a question as rehearsal ends right at her bedtime.  She would have been up an extra 30 minutes just getting into bed and for the ritual.  But, again, she looked so pitiful.  She stayed smiling with me the entire time listening to Mommy learn the songs for Sunday, playing with her fingers, and then it was time to go home.  She stayed up for another hour (fortunately FatherWinter was up also) just “talking”.  Then, she slept.  But this morning, when it was time to walk out the door.  There she was again.  Upset that I was leaving.

On one hand, I’m pleased to see the anxiety.  Well, not pleased, but understanding.  It means to me that she has bonded with me, that she knows I am Mommy, that she knows I am about to go, and she wants to experience what I am about to experience.  On the other hand, I worry about the anxiety because even though she was placed with us as a newborn, studies have shown that chemicals are passed in the womb that equate to rejection.  Not to say this occurred, but the overthinker in me wants to make sure that Honeybee knows that I am not rejecting her when I walk out the door.  I’m leaving to make sure provisions are made for our family.  Just like FatherWinter does.  I remember this was about the same that my Superbug showed his separation anxiety.  It only lasted a couple of weeks, so I’m hopeful this will too.  BUT, there is an entirely new caveat to consider.
Soon, Honeybee will be old and mature enough for daycare.  She will be more mobile and it will be easier on NanaNorth if Honeybee is with more able bodied and energetic caregivers who can keep up with her during the day.  While no one is rushing this day, we know it is coming.  FatherWinter and I have evaluated numerous locations and are fairly certain that we have a good location for Honeybee’s daycare experience.  BUT I would be less than honest if I said I wasn’t concerned about the timing of placement and her separation anxiety.  I would love it if Honeybee could stay with my mother-in-law until she is much, much older.  But I also recognize, remember, and appreciate the confidence that was gained in my son when he was allowed to interact with children his age.  He forged some close bonds and learned some great socialization.  I’d like to hope Honeybee will experience those things too.
I suppose the thought processes in my head are those that go back to the training session my husband and I recently had.  We focused on 7 core issues in adoption for birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children.  Loss, Rejection, Guilt/Shame, Grief, Identity, Intimacy & Relationships, and Control.  While most people would think of separation anxiety as part of the normal developmental process, I see so much more.  I see our Honeybee possibly being exposed to feelings of loss and rejection.  She doesn’t know if I’m coming back.  It may feel like I’m not there.  I know.  I know.  I’m overthinking, but still I don’t want her to ever think that she isn’t a priority in her family’s life (and her family includes her birth family).  Everyone has done what they believe is best for her.  I would hope that this anxiety only lasts a couple of weeks (or less).  I am certain it will, but I have to admit.  It still bothers just a bit.


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