Regression visits our home on a regular basis at irregular times and at seemingly inappropriate moments and regularly outstays his welcome.
Regression occurs when my undivided attention is lost. The phone rings, a friend calls round, a professional visits, I am clearing away the main course from dinner and regression steps into the breach and takes centre stage.
There are several acts to this play.
Act One, Scene One: scribble on the walls, running around the room or bouncing on and off furniture, demanding attention, tears, hitting or kicking or throwing things or chasing the cat.
Act One. Scene Two: There may be silence in the regression as PJ becomes self absorbed, lost in her own little world whilst squidging play dough into the carpet or spaghetti on the plate or soup being sipped through a straw, or paint smeared all over her body and the floor and the table, or lip balm smeared all over hands and up the arms in a gooey, sticky mess as if it were soap.
Act Two is a quick escalating regression that occurs when faced with new experiences, which can go either way. Either we regress aggressively through taking control where being bossy, assertive, wanting to take charge and speaking over others are hallmarks. Running around like a whirling dervish in and over and through anything or anyone in it's wake is a common feature. Tears, tantrums, hitting, kicking and biting quickly become inter-twinned with these other features.
Act Three in this regression is the flip-side where anxieties flourish. Fear and flight take root. Of course running around, on and off furniture may feature as may tears and screams and kicks but running through this torrent is distress. Clingy, contrary, confused and crying like a baby, unsettled and unstable. Regression occurs when our world is rocked.
The foundations are void in places, so a few bricks of stability and routine being threatened and there is a gaping hole that is revealed. The fear of falling, falling, falling down in to a bottomless hole, is too great a risk. Resilience must be found from somewhere. From deep within her soul, a reversion to what is familiar and known is found.
The familiar fear, flight, fight pattern.
Regression to a time once known before: baby talk, throwing food, drinking with sippy cups or teats on a bottle.
Act Four is the final Act: The Aftermath. After new experiences, new places, change, new routine, new people and professionals visiting regression occurs. Tears, tantrums, wet pants, unsettled sleep, distressed crying, hitting, kicking, biting.
The final curtain of regression closes some days or weeks later as the symptoms subside. A few more bricks are placed deep within the cracks in the foundation stones and a sense of resilience, calm, peace and an "all is well with the world feeling" takes form.
It is something beautiful to behold.
We regress to move forward.
We dance with you regression.
Sometimes, we are on tippy toes.
Sometimes we stomp.
The dance of Regression.
How well do we dance?