June 04, 2012

Trying to Reason With an Infant

I'm trying to reason with Miss A. It is not working.

Rejection is not fun for anyone, I get that. But some people cope with it better than others. People who have Borderline Personality Disorder tend not to be among those who cope well with it.

Out of all the people who Miss A encounters, guess who she seems to have developed an aversion to?

Yep, my mother.

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that this is not a good thing. To her credit, she seems to be coping with it better than I would have expected. (Keeping in mind that "better than I would have expected" and "well" are still two very different things.)

I don't know what the problem is.

I've been trying to give Miss A to her to hold at least once a day so that they can have some bonding time. It had been going fine, until two or three weeks ago. Then, suddenly, the rejection began.

I would feed Miss A and change her, then play with her for a little while. When she started to get sleepy, I would take her to my mom.

It goes well for about the first 15-20 seconds. Then, whether I walk away or stay there, the screaming begins. My mom gently bounces her and pats her, to no avail. So then my mom starts to say "no, no, no" increasingly loudly, which only serves to have them see who can increase the volume more. Then my mom starts to mimic Miss A's cries, apparently out of some false belief that that will soothe her, which of course has just the opposite effect.

After a few minutes, my mom concedes, and I pick up Miss A. The crying stops immediately. I calm her down, gently place her back in my mom's arms, and the crying and screaming resumes. Same thing if R takes her from my mom instead of me.

Like I said, so far, my mother is handling it better than expected. But she already has a bit of resentment/jealously that Miss A stops crying for us, and that resentment/jealously is only likely to grow. Plus, she is getting frustrated and hurt at Miss A for rejecting her.

She is trying to comfort herself by pointing out that when I was a baby, I would cry if anyone other than my mom held me.

Either she hasn't noticed or isn't allowing herself to acknowledge that Miss A does not do this with either of R's parents. In fact, whenever we see R's parents, Miss A lays in R's dad's arm, and the two of them usually take a nap together like that for a couple of hours. Last weekend, R's mom was holding Miss A while sitting on the couch, and R's dad was sitting next to them. He was holding his hand up so that Miss A could hold his finger, and the two of them fell asleep like that - it was so cute!

I keep trying to explain to Miss A that the phrase "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" has nothing on the phrase "If grandma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy".

I can't figure out what is causing Miss A to be unhappy when my mom holds her, or how to fix it. Any ideas??


MyTwoLines said...

Well, hopefully your Mom won't figure out that she's OK with other people and it's just her...otherwise she'll just be more frustrated! I can't imagine that saying "no no no" helps much...does your daughter have a special blanket or cuddly that she can have near her when your Mom is holding her? Maybe if something smells familiar and good she'll start to associate more positives with your Mom. Or if she likes to go outside, maybe your Mom can be the one to take her outside? I'm not much help here, we did not have infants this young ever.

Hopeful Mother said...

I'll second the scent idea... does your mom wear a perfume? Or have heavily-scented clothes due to detergents/fabric softeners? Just an idea.

Anonymous said...

I'm of the opinion babies are sensitive to blood pressure/heart rate and whatever else happens physiologically when people are nervous/excited/etc. Since it sounds like your mom is placing so much importance in A liking her...it's likely she's anxious. And Miss A is sensing that and doesn't like it. Now, as far as how to convince your mom to be calm and think soothing thoughts instead of being full of nervous energy...I'm not sure. :)

Mo and Will said...

I have no idea how to reason with an infant, but I do know that for someone with BPD, validating, validating, validating can help her feel (at least momentarily) less insecure. And also validate that it's hard to have the baby cry when she holds her, etc.

The scent idea seems like another good one.

good luck. thinking of you.

Libby said...

That's tough, and I don't know how your mom takes instruction as far as how to make the situation better, but I imagine Miss A can sense your mom is tense or reallllly trying? I honestly don't know, but I also think the blanket idea or maybe a toy that plays soft music would be a good comfort or distraction for Miss A while your mom holds her. Hang in there, sounds like she has a lot of people who love her :)