Greetings!

We designed this site in order to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away and in order to communicate with other adoptive families from around the world.

When we first started researching this wonderful way to become a family we read everything we could get our hands on. Even though there are a lot of great books out there, nothing was as informative or touching as the blogs we found by adoptees, biological parents, and adoptive families. So we are writing this blog now in hopes of returning the favor. We hope that if you are dear to us you will enjoy keeping up with our adventures. If you are someone out there involved in a part of the adoption triad we hope you will find information and comfort here and provide us with some of your own!

If you would like to get in touch with us we can be reached at: becomingafamily@gmail.com
Feel free to stop by anytime. We're happy to share our family story.

Take care,
Brian and Rosemary

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Button's Massage

Those of you following our journey will remember from my previous posts that we had been reading about infant massage as a way to foster bonding and attachment. We heard a lot of positive things about the power of touch and everything we read really compelled us to try infant massage.

I would like to immediately go on the record saying, "Toddler massage is not infant massage!" Button was 18-months-old when we met him and getting him to sit still (even when exhausted) was a feat of miraculous powers so the massage seemed as if it could never happen. The infant massage book calls for these long sessions with the child prone on their back, gazing up into your eyes, totally relaxed at your touch. Yeah right, my poor kid hasn't been relaxed since he met us (don't blame him) and he never lays down until he passes out. But we really did feel that if anyone ever needed to relax and feel calmly loved, if only for 2 minutes, it was our over-excited, traumatized toddler so we persisted.

Every night before bed, after his final diaper change, when he is just in his nappy, we lay out a soft towel on the floor of his nursery, put on a lullaby cd, and let him sit between the two of us while we put lotion on our hands and rub it all over his body. At first it was like wrestling an eel into a garbage sack. He would scream as if we were hurting him and use all his rather considerable muscle to get away. We would quickly finish slathering him and let him get up. Then one day as he was crawling viciously away from me, I was rubbing his legs and I moved onto his feet to keep hold of him and he started making almost a moo-ing noise and quit moving. That was the first positive sign of physical contact during the massage. After that we started and ended with long sessions on his feet.

Tonight when we went upstairs to change his diaper and get the "going to bed" routine started he grabbed his lotion off the low shelf and sat down in the middle of the floor and started pretending to rub it on himself. When Brian and I went and sat next to him he pretended to rub our legs. We have a lot of road left to tread with massage (and all of the techniques we are working with) but I am really glad we didn't give up. He still won't lay down and let us massage him and the massage never lasts past 85 seconds but each second is pure happiness for all 3 of us and it always ends with a kiss. WORTH THE EFFORT!
--Rosemary

10 comments:

Elizabeth said...

omg.....totally made me cry. Is there a massage book you would recommend?

Robin and Kyle said...

Your post is really taking me back. Tea didn't like being touched, either, and lotion was the BEST at helping him learn to be comforted! Keep at it. One day soon (or in 6 months), you'll finish a nice long session with him lying nicely and looking into your eyes, smiling, and you'll wonder how all those barriers fell away so fast. =)

Jessica said...

I'm loving these "just home" posts, I'm learning so much. Big massage kudos to you and Button.

Gretchen said...

Rosemary and Brian,

Hey Guys, I'm a massage therapist. I love that you're massaging Button. It is so healthy for you all! I've worked with many of my clients and their children. This is a great way to foster communication and bond.
Try not using any lotion. That's for later ( Kids 7 and over). You can initiate massage during a bedtime story/TV by gently stroking his hair or back. I just know what I do, and lotion/oil is for big people unless your applying it after a bath and singing making it fun. For little ones, massage can be snuk in in an unstructured way while talking, watching a movie or storytelling. Little people get overstimulated. Rubbing hands and feet while singing is a great way to introduce massage. No lotion is the best policy for his age.

Drop me a note, I'd love to talk about it.

GandJ (Gretchen)

Maci Miller said...

You guys are such great parents. That was such a good idea with the lotion to get him into massage. Sounds like you are making a little progress!

Annie said...

That is perfect Rosemary. Even if you get a few moments in with that wiggly toddler, it makes a difference. I love he got the lotion down are was ready to take part in his own way!

rosemary said...

Gretchen,
Thanks for the tips! Very helpful! The lotion we use on Button is not massage oil but rather a fragrance free lotion his pediatrician asked us to put on him twice a day for his eczema. Poor little man has dry skin! We just thought it was easiest to work it into his massage.

Sarah said...

I love it! Your posts bring back so many memories of our first months home...crying, eczema, massage, what to do. Anything that would soothe! I think I quietly chanted "Is there no balm in Gilead?" for the entire first summer. But then I remembered an earlier post from someone on the Holt forum about soundly whapping on the bottom. Not anywhere near a spanking but rather a rhythmic firm pat. It instantly soothed our daughter and I still use it when she's upset, which is no where near as often so hang in there. You're doing a fantastic and thoughtful job with Button.

Brazenlilly said...

Hi Rosemary! My name is Jen, and we are about 2 years behind you in the Holt Thailand adoption process! (Just beginning our homestudy.) I'm soaking in all the information and stories I'm finding, and so appreciate your blog, your stories and your honesty. Keep it up, b/c I know we'll keep reading!

Mireille said...

Loved to massage my girls when they were babies. So cute that he is already getting used to it and grabbing the lotion :-) Really good that you didn't give up!!