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."