I'll ask her about it and all I can get from her on what she does there is sing. I know she does so much more, but what else can you get from a 3 year old?
But before that, all day yesterday I worried about Ashton being "left alone". I wanted to be sure I was prepared with some new ideas if things got worse for Ashton. I've done a lot of reading about adoption, before I ever was matched. Separation anxiety was discussed. So was the exact opposite. But still, to me it seemed only natural to go to one of my Facebook adoption groups and ask other parents what they've done. I got almost 100 comments. All those suggestions, it's a wonderful support system. I got all varying bits of information. From others relating their stories, some saying it's natural for even non-adoptive kids, most saying the kid will grow out of it - eventually, to others saying get her therapy, to here are some tricks to try.
As she's not screaming, crying, or anything extreme, I don't think she needs counseling. But I did write down my favorites to try.
- I bought matching heart necklaces which we both wore and touched to be close when we missed each other. - As Ashton loves jewelry, I could see this or a variation of this for her. I love her locket of us, but it's too valuable for her to loose at daycare, so she doesn't wear it. But maybe a cheaper version just for daycare... to see her family.
- Read the story "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn and then plant a bunch of kisses in the palm of each others hands ( unlimited supply planted every morning). That way during the day they can get a kiss whenever they want one. A reading of the book is below. - Ashton loves books and little rituals, so this could be a great thing.
- I would draw a little heart on her hand with marker and give it a kiss. She would look at it during the day whenever she needed some comfort. (even give it a kiss) Helped immensely. - Ashton loves face painting, so why not a heart on her hand from her Mommy.
- I would say I wanted 3 kisses. I would get 2 from her and tell I would be back for the 3rd later. This helped her to know I would come back, because I had to to get that 3rd kiss. It sounds silly, but it is totally logical in the mind of a 3 year old. - Easy enough to try, and I see Ashton waiting for it.
- Someone told a trick to give the child some thing to care for until you meet again. It can be a teddy or just something of yours so that she knows you'll be back and she will put her focus on the subject not on missing you. - Transference, I get that. She's not really into dolls, but maybe for this instance it may work. Would have to be sure it's something that can get dirty or mishandled easily since she's at a daycare. And get a spare for if it's forgotten, lost, etc.
- Give her something of yours she can wear. Sometimes I gave them my necklace that I wear all the time, to wear. It was easier for them to believe I would comeback for the necklace than for them.
Hearing some plans did my heart good. I felt armed with best intentions rather than feeling guilty that my daughter felt abandoned. So after the workday, I went to pick up Ashton, waiting to hear how it went. I assumed not worst case scenario as I didn't get a call from her.
So as for how she did yesterday "being left alone". Her daycare provider told me, unlike the day before, once I left, all was great. Her usual self. No problems. Of course! So I was the one worrying and she was fine. But if it happened once it could happen again, and at bedtime it's obviously a concern. So I wasn't going to let it slide.
Once I picked her up and asked her if she was ready for VBS, she immediately said, "Don't leave me alone". So I knew that yes, she'll be fine, but it's the initial leaving that is scary, not the actual act itself (except when she's alone at bedtime).
So as VBS was immediately after daycare, I didn't have time to do any of the things mentioned above. So I just used bribery. She could come home after VBS and instead of going to bed, stay up and watch a movie if she was a big girl and didn't fuss when I dropped her off. And guess what, worked like a charm. She so wanted to see "The Croods" again!
But that wouldn't work as a permanent solution for future.
So, what did I do? Last night, after VBS, since I didn't have time to buy a book or buy matching jewelry, I did the easiest ones. I played "The Kissing Hand" video for her before bed, and I kisses her hands and she mine. She seemed to really like it. It did nothing to help her go to bed with me leaving the room, but it was a start on making her know I was always there.
Then the morning of, I kissed her hands again and decided to give her a special gift. My heart.
I drew my heart on her hand for her telling her she had my heart and kisses to keep her safe and warm and knew I'd come back. She was so scared to smear the heart. She kept saying not to touch her hand!
She was so proud of the heart. When she was dropped off to daycare she wanted to show off her heart on her hand. Didn't worry about me leaving at all. Now I know this newness will wear off, but maybe if I do different designs, or try a varying arrangement of the suggestions to keep it fresh, perhaps it will help. Time will only tell.