Thursday, March 4, 2010

GG's Memories of China

I've been hearing some interesting stuff lately from GG, now 4, and home for about 9 months. It goes something like this...

"In China [his name...I'll use GG] cry, cry, want Mommy. Mommy cry, cry for GG. GG here!" and he grins.

I think this started because I used to tell him that when he was still in China I missed him and wanted him to come home to Mommy. But over time it's like he's revising history. My interpretation of what he's saying now? "In China I was crying because I wanted Mommy and Mommy was crying because she wanted me and now we're happy because I'm home." I think he knows/remembers that he cried a lot in China but his mind is not allowing him to remember why...or perhaps the real "why" doesn't make sense to him anymore.

He cried because he loved his foster family and we--strangers--were taking him away from them. But now he loves us and the memory of them is fading and the only thing that makes sense (to him) is that he must have cried because he wanted us. Up until recently he's had very definite feelings of missing NaiNai (foster mom.) But today after he said the scenario above I said, "And NaiNai took good care of you in China." (He may have even mentioned her, but can't remember.) He didn't respond. So I tried again, this time in the form of a question, "Did NaiNai take good care of you?" He wouldn't answer. I think that he's forgetting just what role she played in his life. While it's sad, I wonder if that's how a child this age "moves on." He is basically having to put the framework for his new life on top of the framework for his life in China...and when they don't match up, he revises history to make things fit. It makes me wonder what, if any, lasting memories he will have.

It sure makes it easy to see how someone could plant a false memory in a young child's head. All I would have to do is suggest that NaiNai was somehow a negative in his life* and I think he would adopt that as factual history.

(*And to be perfectly clear...she was a huge positive and I would never do that! But even now I'm seeing how his own brain might be rewriting history only to force his world to make sense.)

Clear as mush?

On a slightly related topic...GG has recently started having more regular night awakenings. They look like a very mild form of night terror and I do think they relate to the trauma of his transition this past year. He wakes up crying 1-2 times a night in the first couple hours of sleep. He looks awake but pushes me away and refuses comfort. He's had night awakenings of one kind or another since he got home, but the regular, couple times a night, "night terror"ish things are new, I think. Interestingly enough (or perhaps sadly enough) LilDude started having night terrors after being home about 9 months as well. His, however, were a whole 'nother category of terror. True terror.

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