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Echoes of Early 'Attachment' Work live on...

Published: 22.02.14 by monty

Daisy has been with us nearly 8 years now, and many aspects of her behaviour have changed since those dim, distant (well, for us they are) days. But a few things remain.

The half-hour before bedtime was always a time to try and wind down the tempo and create some calmness before sleep washed over Daisy.... OK, we can dream. It was more often a case of drawing a line under the chaos of the day and creating a less full-on space in which we could all wind down a bit - before several 'false start' bedtimes ensued!

Nowadays, it's busy busy school days, swimming lessons, clubs, and so on - but that little oasis still takes place and we can see Daisy's state of mind visibly change to something slightly calmer as we turn down the 'tempo' control on the day and dig out the bedtime stories, cuddly toys etc. I think we'd all miss it if it weren't there.

The other thing, that sounds quite trivial, is an echo of a calming technique we used in the early days, straight out of the Caroline Archer school of tempo adjustment. When things got a bit manic in the house, I would take the 18-month-old Daisy out for a little walk along the darkening winter streets. I would hold her hand and just rub the back of her hand gently with my thumb, and she would come down from the hyper high that was driving her - and us - up the walls at home. We felt more attached as the weeks and walks went on through that first chilly winter of Daisy's placement.

Just the other morning, as we walked to school together, I took Daisy's hand again and found I was still doing the gentle stroke thing on the back of her hand. The incessant chatter stopped for a few minutes and I sensed a real calmness come over her - not in a highly-obvious Hollywood movie sort of moment, but in a very subtle way. Was it a reminder to her of those early attachment-building attempts of ours? Dunno, but I noticed the same thing happening on a few occasions; a sense of 'ease' in our restless little daughter, just while the hand was being held.

When we started those winter walks all those years ago, I don't think we expected anything profound - it was more a case of survival and sanity at the time - but do wonder if we were laying foundations that still provide Daisy with some reassurance today. I'd like to think none of the stuff we do, in order to promote attachment, is wasted. Some of it doesn't work - and I won't be blogging those! - but these might have helped, and resonate today.