2:02 PM

Happy Birthday Baby

It is Elora's second birthday.  I am awash with emotion.

More about my emotional rollercoaster, but first I want to tell you about her birthday party.

You may be one of those parents who read the adoption books and got to the part about the loss that an infant experiences and how it can imprint them for the rest of their lives.  You might have rolled your eyes, because they are just babies.  Babies can not have complex emotions like fear, loss or anxiety and if they did it would promptly be forgotten.  This was my initial reaction.  Do you remember the part in the book where they said that a child's birthday and adoption days could trigger in them profound feelings of loss and anziety because these days were full of triggers, smells, events, activities, sights, sounds that reminded them on a conscious or unconscious level of a previous trauma?  Well apparently Elora read the text book because this is what played out starting the eve of her birthday party and the day of her party to. the. letter.

About two days before the party we started talking about it a lot, she had been to other children's parties so she had some idea what to expect.  We practised singing happy birthday and blowing for the candle.  We talked about the friends who would come and the fun presents she would receive and the cake she would eat.  She seemed excited and really liked the song in particular.  Then the night before the party she woke with her first ever night terror.  Even when we went in to sooth her she still cried in our arms, I took her to bed with us.  It was so nice to have her warm sleepy little body snuggled so close, something I don't get much of from her any more, she is always on the go.  This night terror was a blessing in disguise since I was feeling so sad about how fast she was growing up.  The next morning she was still off, then when daddy left the house to get the party ready she melted down.  She grieved and cried for 3 hours.

People some times ask me how do you know she is grieving and not just crying.  Before Elora I wondered that too, how will I know?  Although some situations are more questionable in regards to the source of the problem, when she cries this way there is no mistaking it.  I knew it instantly the first time I heard it.  It sounds a lot like the adult version of grief, that cry that comes right from the gut and sounds like the person is dying right along with their broken heart.  If you try to distract them from the grief you will be met with disgust and anger, imagine trying to placate a new widow with a rattle and you will get the idea.  This cry turned me into a believer, the text book was 100% right and I was super glad we had read it even though at the time I might have thought it was over the top.

So it was her party and she would grieve if she wanted to.  I wondered what the trigger could be?  Was she wishing that nanny could be with her with the rest of her friends and family who had joined to love on her?  We tried all the things we do when she is missing nanny, we looked at pictures, we watched the adoption day video we looked at her orphanage room.  It did not help.  Then we talked about the big change that happened, this is how we talk about her adoption at this age (also straight from the text book).  Bingo.  She was scared that this birthday/party was going to trigger another big change and she would be taken from us too. I still don't know what the trigger was.  Maybe the last time all her loved ones and friends gathered was the day before she was given to us.  Did she have a good bye party that had cake and presents?  I know she was given a gift and a new outfit the day she left the orphanage, likely this was the one and only time she ever got either of those luxuries, so perhaps it was the idea of presents that scared her. Was she thinking of the day that she turned one and left the infant room and every thing she had just come to understand to move to the toddler room with every thing new?  All I do know is that she is much more emotionally complex then I ever would have given a 2 year old credit for.  She has real emotional memories from her life experiences.  The most amazing part to me is how she is able among all this sadness to be able to open her self up and love.  To love nanny, and us and her extended family and friends.  She loves big, and she lets you know that you are among her loved ones.  Being loved by her is nothing short of magical.  She is truly a privilege to know.

Now for the sappy stuff.

P.S. I so wish I could share with you a darling photo of her all dressed up for her party, she was cute as can be.  I am still trying to work through a plan to keep blogging and keep her privacy, so until then, no photos.  I am as bummed about this as you are :(


杨东妮 said...

Happy Birthday Elora!! I bet mommy made it such a special day!

Thompson's Journey said...

Happy Birthday!

Bonnie, Jim, Ainsley and Sofie said...

Happy Birthday to Elora!! Beautiful blog post :)

Neicy said...

Happy Birthday to Elora!

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