Thursday, April 19, 2012

Musings about attachment

Sometimes I sit and look at my children and try to figure out where they are in their attachments.

Last weekend while playing basketball outside with some neighbors I overheard Tortuga and Corazon talking about loving me:

Tortuga: I really love my mom.
Corazon: Really? You don't show it.
Tortuga: I do love her and need her.
Corazon: For what?
Tortuga: Everything! Food. Clothes. Our house. Toys. Books. Homeschooling.
Corazon: Yes, but that isn't loving her. That's needing her to do things for you.
Tortuga: It's the same thing!
Corazon: No, it's not! Crying because she goes away and worrying that she might die because you miss her shows that you love her.
Tortuga:  That's what I do! See! I do love her.  (Pause) Corazon, YOU don't cry when she leaves or worry that she might have an accident and never come back. YOU don't love her.

Last weekend on our drive to her dance competition, Corazon asked me what "resent" felt like. After we sorted out that she meant "resentment" I tried to explain it to her then asked what she was thinking about. She said she resents the other kids and C. because she always wishes she had me all to herself. "Why?" I asked. She couldn't answer that except to say she doesn't mind sharing anything else but she minds sharing me. "Do you think I feel like that because I love you?" she asks. "Perhaps." I say. This is a child who is hyper vigilant about me. I feel like I am being stalked by her. If I am out of her sight for a few minutes she cannot function. I regularly find her waiting for me outside the bathroom. She stares at me when she thinks I am not looking at her. But she doesn't treat me particularly well when she doesn't have an "audience."

Pollito struggles to give and receive affection from us on our terms but is getting better. Recently he is obsessed with drawing pictures of us together. This is a new pattern for him. In the past 3 days he has given me 26 drawings of the two of us together and 8 drawings of sharks. What is he trying to tell me?

Then there is Milagro. She seems to have pretty strong attachments to all the important people in her life but sometimes I wonder about her being too attachment. Not to us but to things.  She has a box full of "special rock-ies" and "Y" sticks. Heaven forbid we break or misplace one. On our evening walks she must greet several special rocks and plants around the neighborhood. Sometimes she talks to them. Currently she is "saving" the eyes, teeth and bow tie from her chocolate Easter bunny so she can "remember" it. And then there is the almost empty potato chip bag on her desk with a lone potato chip in it: "Chip-y."


GB's Mom said...

Corazon sounds a lot like my oldest RADish when she was that age- right down to the waiting outside the bathroom door. At least she is thinking and talking about feelings.

Last Mom said...

I so relate to having a kiddo waiting outside the bathroom door. My daughter times how long I'm in there and comes becomes frantic something bad has happened if I take too long!

Katie said...

Milagro sounds like me as a child...I hoarded all kinds of weird things as "memories", andwas sensitive to any change in my environment. If it makes you feel better I grew out of it once I was old enough to realize my memories existed even without physical items, and I'm mostly normal now :P

Dia por Dia said...

These days I found myself calling out "MOM Is going to the bathroom STAY where you are!!!" I look forward to the day when they don't follow me everywhere but then again, I bet someday I will miss having them around to do this!

Dia por Dia said...

She really is so sentimental and it's so sweet but that four year old has so much stuff she is attached to. "Chip-y" (her spelling by the way) disappeared recently and we are still hearing about it! LOL!

Tee said...

Our little guy (3) won't let my partner go to the bathroom without being in there with her. It's intense. He also melted down HARDCORE when I came home from Parenting in SPACE (which, btw, you should go to next year!) I'm not sure with a kid his age (who doesn't display RAD symptoms) how concerned to be about attachment stuff and what to DO about it. *sigh*

Dia por Dia said...

Thank you for your comment. Pollito was 2 1/2 when he came and is 7 now. He doesn't have RAD but certainly has some attachment challenges. I would always be concerned about attachment if a child had multiple placements/caregivers in the early years. We did a lot of carrying (even in a sling since he was a tiny kid), holding and cuddling and babying with Pollito during those first 3 years of his life with us. It helped that we had a new baby a week before his third birthday so we just started to let him experience all those baby things and milestones along with her. Most of the time he ate it up. Email me if you ever want to hear more....

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