It is as I expected with the Buddy. He's doing great. He's handling the transition. He's happy to be with his mom and dad. He feels secure with them and we've transferred the bond. I picked him up for Sabbath School yesterday. He was cute and coy and full of mischief, and tired. He loved his class. He was just as happy to be returned home. I feel completely at peace about him and it's easy for me to let him go.
It hit hard when I returned Buddy home to find that the Duckling was having a rough morning. He was so happy when I first saw him earlier. He wanted me. He was all smiley and sweet as I greeted and held him.... but then I left him with his mom and took his brother to Sabbath school.... and apparently he screamed himself into exhaustion. When I went back he was sleeping in his mother's arms.
I know that because he is small people don't thinks as much about our bond and his attachment to me as much as they worry about the bigger kid. It isn't as easy to recognize his distress . . . A friend, who is a mental health professional, and has had infant mental health training, talked with me about him last evening at the church. She pointed out several things that show he is stressed about this transition.
I told her that when the CASA recommended that we return the babe but keep the Buddy for another month I felt completely at odds with her. The mother expressed to me that it was the Buddy she needed back first. She felt horrible saying it, but her mother heart was just longing for this child back. My friend validated her strong emotional desire by reminding me that the mother's primary bond is with him. He has lived half his life with her, whereas the baby has lived with me nearly since birth. The mother is still building a bond with the baby. She is going to have to actually work at building that attachment. She loves him dearly... but there is work to do to help that baby transfer.
And because that little duckling is experiencing some pain, I'm feeling it, too.