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!