9 days without Mom: the story of little John

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Categories: Children

More than once or twice I had to deal with the opinion that small children are completely stupid and do not think much. And that psychologists, they say, come up with all sorts of nonsense about child psychotrauma and their impact on later life.

And recently, something really wild has appeared — some seriously believe that a child can be taken away from his mother for a couple of months if she behaves badly or earns little, shake a finger and not give it back until she gets better. And when it gets better, give it back (or not give it at all, or else, they've lost their temper, let them be afraid!).

For those who think that he is so smart, and especially for those who believe that instead of helping the family, it is better to just temporarily place the child in an institution, it is highly recommended to get acquainted with D. Bowlby's attachment studies. And also with the works of M. Ainsworth.

And be sure to watch the Robertson films. These are documentaries shot in real time, with real children, in real conditions. The Robertsons studied, among other things, the peculiarities of the child's experience of grief from parting with his mother. We managed to find only one of these films — "John". We apologize for the poor quality of the images.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

So, the cheerful and glorious baby John is 18 months old. He has a wonderful mother, she loves John very much, they have a warm relationship, and John has a great time with her.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The baby has never had to stay without a mother. But very soon John's mother is due to give birth to a baby, and John will have to go to Baby's house. The boy's parents took him there at night when his mother went into labor. He cried when they left, but half an hour later he fell asleep, covered with his favorite homemade blanket.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

In the morning, John finds himself in a new environment for him, among other children.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

These children are about his age, but they have spent most of their lives in this Baby House and already know how to protect themselves and how to get what they want. The kids are in a situation where the sisters caring for them change all the time. They have to constantly be in a common, rather noisy group. And it's nothing like what John had at home. John plays well with toys, but most of the time he spends alone, looking around and watching other children. He prefers to be closer to Sister Mary. But she's busy with other kids. The kid brings her a big teddy bear to attract her attention.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

During lunch, John eats well, but noticeably worries about the sounds of the struggle that unfolds around him: he closes his eyes several times and covers his ears with his hands.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

While going to bed, John easily communicates with his sister. He gets upset when she leaves. After sleeping, John's father comes.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The boy begins to smile at him only after a few minutes.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

When the time comes, the baby allows his father to leave without protesting, and quickly returns to his business. Soon a girl approaches John and takes away his toy. The boy from the family has never dealt with aggressive children. He is confused and does not know what to do to get his toy back. He comes to the door several times and knocks on it with his palms. Sister Kristen, to calm John down, takes him on her lap, and he enjoys playing with her.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

But in the evening, another sister bathes him in the bathroom. This is the fourth sister who takes care of John on the first day of his stay. During this day, John still shows no signs of stress. He enjoys communicating with each sister, and before going to bed, he plays hide-and-seek merrily, hiding under his blanket.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John often stands on the sidelines alone or sits quietly next to his sister. He's waiting for her to be able to play with him. But the sisters pay attention to more demanding children, such as Martin, and the quiet children are left to themselves.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The father comes. And again, it takes time for John to be able to answer him.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

This time, when the father leaves, John tries to follow him. He shouts loudly and protests in response to Sister Mary's attempts to take him away from the door. This is in stark contrast to his quiet demeanor throughout the day.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

This time John calms down pretty quickly in Mary's arms and starts playing with her. But she needs to take care of other children. And she leaves.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Since the morning, John looks unhappy.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

He often turns his back on everyone and plays with small toys. There's a new sister in the group again. John tries unsuccessfully to get her attention. And then he goes in search of someone who can take care of him. The kid approaches the big bear, tries to hug him, puts his lips to his nose.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

A feeling of confusion and anxiety grows inside John. He sucks his finger more and more often, snuggling up to his new friend.

Day Four

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Sister Mary is back on duty again. John got sick at night, but the doctor didn't find anything dangerous. John tries to get Mary's attention, but he fails to compete with the other children. Over and over again, a little unhappy boy hugs a big teddy bear…

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

During lunch, while the sister goes to get food, other children behave in the same way - they make a lot of noise, take away each other's dishes, knock on the table with mugs, and it's difficult to control.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

If in the early days John was interested in watching the children, now he doesn't care.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

After a few minutes, the baby begins to cry very hard and bitterly.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

He refuses to eat.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

After lunch, his behavior does not change. He approaches Sister Mary. The boy is no longer able to remain quiet, and only a loud expression of his grief allows John to get what he wants: Mary sees how unhappy he is, and finally gives him a place next to her. On Mary's lap, John covers himself with a bear and lies, not reacting to other children.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

When Mary has to leave, he lies down on the bear and cries bitterly.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Mary is coming back. John tries to get Mary's attention again and again. But she's too busy. Then he tries to get Joyce's attention again.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

After the failure, he goes to a corner, and sits there quietly alone. John didn't eat anything for breakfast and lunch. During dinner, he refuses to eat again. Before going to bed, the boy cries very much.

Day five

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

On the fifth day, Sister Mary began to worry- John's misfortune became too obvious. But because of the large number of children, she can't pay enough attention to him. John does not give up his attempts to take a place near her — he gets close to her again and again with a big bear. When he succeeds, he goes quiet. And again he sucks his finger, hiding behind a bear from the outside world.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John is always trying to be closer to Mary. He already refuses to play with toys. The child needs reassurance, not a game. Unable to get a place next to Mary, John puts the bear on the floor and buries himself in it. It's very hard for him. But his grief remains unnoticed in the flow of the group's life.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The kid stands near the door and looks around in confusion. Other children sometimes approach John. They pull his hands and slap his face. But John doesn't react to them.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The baby can no longer cope with his grief and begins to cry a lot. Only then does Mary give him her full attention. But even after that, John is inconsolable for a long time.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

After a while, it thaws a little. It is noticeable that he has developed a warm relationship with Mary.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

But Mary's need to leave him to take care of other children interferes with this relationship. She moves away from him, and he begins to grieve again.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

His grief is so great that Mary has to leave the other children completely and stay with him. John doesn't want to get off her hands. It is noticeable that he feels bad even in her arms. Sitting on Mary's lap, he sucks her finger all the time, staring blankly at one point.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John is suffering. He goes to his sister, hugging the bear.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

But the new sister underestimates John's serious condition, although he does not stop crying. It cannot be said that the sister is not kind to the children, but the daily routine does not allow her to pay enough attention to John. John stands at the door for a long, long time and cries bitterly.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

A visit from his father brings John hope. Animation appears on his face.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The kid hopes to return home.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The boy points to the door and brings his shoes to his father.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

But the father continues to stay in place. And John starts crying. He gets off his father's hands, lies down on the floor at his feet and sucks his finger. And then he goes to Sister Mary.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John doesn't approach his father anymore.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

After he leaves, he goes back to Mary for reassurance.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

In the evening before going to bed, Sister Mary is forced to take care of other children. John looks at her, calling her in a weak voice.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

And starts crying in the crib again. Bitterly and inconsolably.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John doesn't want to play. He doesn't want to eat. There is no one he can be with. The boy is lying quietly on the floor in the middle of the group.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

At lunch, John throws a plate of food on the floor and leaves.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Several times he approaches Joyce, trying to get her attention. He touches her hands, flips through the papers, lies down on her lap. He cries and cries and cries.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Crying and weak John is no longer trying to get his sister's attention. Resigned to not getting it, he hugs the bear again and again and covers himself with his homemade blanket.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

He is sitting on the floor alone and crying, covering his face with his hands.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Mary is on duty again in the evening. John lies down in the crib, no longer protesting. He lies there quietly for a long time and sucks his finger, until finally sleep comes.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John is apathetic. He is lying on the bear, not reacting to the actions of other children. Sometimes he comes over and silently lies down on Joyce's lap. And then he lies down on the bear again. John has been crying constantly for the last few days and hasn't eaten anything. He's very weak. Sisters change. But John doesn't seem to care anymore.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The sister tries to comfort John, but there are too many children around and they won't let her be with him. John no longer pays attention to anything.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

He sits on his sister's lap, snuggles up to her and sucks her finger. Every time one of the children approaches, John begins to cry bitterly.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

He lies limply on his sister's lap. And she cries again and again every time one of the children goes to them. He covers his face with his hands more and more often and lies down on the floor. He doesn't calm down even in Mary's arms.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John sits alone on a high chair for a long time, holding his blanket in his hands. He doesn't respond to the door opening. John is hungry. He's sitting at the table, but he can't eat—he's too upset. The father comes. He tries to feed John, but his arrival does not ease the boy's condition. John takes the bread, but because of his sobs, he can't even take a bite.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John cries for a long time and in his father's arms. Finally he quiets down.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

But it's time for Father to leave. John begins to sob. Joyce is trying to calm John down, Sister Kristen is trying to do it, Mary is trying to do it. But John is inconsolable.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

Finally, John lies down on the bear in the far corner of the room and starts sucking his finger again, not reacting to the world around him.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

John has been crying since this morning.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

It's ten o'clock, and his mother should be here soon. When she comes in, John suddenly starts clinging to the nurse more and crying a lot. He doesn't want to go to his mother's arms.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The mother is confused, she tries to talk to John, but he turns away from her and starts crying even harder.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

He lies down on his sister's shoulder, casts a brief glance at his mother and turns away again. His mother picks him up. John quiets down and starts sucking her finger without looking at her.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

A minute later he leaves his mother and returns to Joyce. He cries very hard, throwing short glances at his mother and immediately turning away from her.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The mother tries to take her son in her arms, he breaks free. Then he calms down again, snuggles up to her and sucks her finger. Just as he had done in the last few days in the arms of his sisters.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

The father comes. And John immediately breaks out of his mother's arms, moving to him.

9 days without Mom: the story of little John

In his arms, John looks at his mother for the first time. The woman has never seen such a look from her son.

Irina Semirina, psychologist

Keywords: Grief | Documentary | Research | Boy | Maternal love | Crying | Psychology | Family | Trauma

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