"It's not enough to love them, they must know that they are loved."
I know I go over this again and again and again, but there are a lot of really loving people in my life. I can't help but think of each of them when I'm trying to show these girls that they are loved. Many of them have been left here with a lot of healing to be done. The Salesian sisters have been giving us a great example and we're doing our best to show them.
It's not enough to love her...
She must see you wearing the enormous plastic pre-teen jewelry she bought you for Christmas
She must know that you're ready to sit for hours listening to her scratch and wack at the guitar while she's trying to learn
She must see you celebrate the first day she makes it through class without a tantrum
She must know that you're willing to carry her on your back dance after dance until midnight because she dislocated her foot the day before and so badly wants to celebrate tonight
She must see that you're ready to climb up and get her off the roof because she's too scared to get down, no matter how much trouble she is for climbing up in the first place
She must see that you're interested in the very long and dramatic tales of her teenage romance
Honestly, some days it's a lot harder than simply saying "I love you." Especially when they act like all they want is to push you away. But the more I look for ways to show them that I want to be here with them no matter what, the better things get.
My little ones are a riot. A few examples that I may have already shared. I really don't remember. Oh well...
Salet (5) was asking where Johanna was when she was sick.
"Does she have the flu?"
"Does she have a cough?"
"no, her tummy hurts"
She thought about it for a minute and then nodded slowly. "I know what's wrong!"
"Oh really? What?"
Gee, why didn't I think of that?
Then she explained, "When you're pregnant, your tummy hurts, and then a baby is born!"
All she needs now is to finish learning her ABCs and she'll be on the way to medical school.
We were practicing our letters the other day and Mariluz (6) was trying to think of something that starts with K.
"Kuh...kuh...kah..caca!" She was so genuinely proud that she had thought of an answer that she forgot to giggle over the word caca. I almost didn't have the heart to tell her that caca starts with c.
We have a new girl in the hogar who speaks mostly quechua. The littlest ones in the class have been trying out a few words after listening to her. They love playing with the sounds but really have no idea what they're saying. Nilva looks at them so seriously even though, even with my limited quechua, I know they're yelling something to the effect of "come here! no four how are you yes eyes!" Meanwhile, Nilva has picked up "hacer caso" and, proud of her developing Spanish, yells out "pay attention!" about every fifteen minutes.
A few of the girls recently were playing something similar to plastic army man war. Only instead of action figures they were using cockroaches. Cockroaches also serve in place of hotwheels.
If the girls are good, at the end of class they can play with paper dolls. They earn points for answering questions which they can spend on clothes for their paper dolls. If they have to choose, their dolls usually attend parties naked with cute shoes and little paper dogs.
If you haven't seen the pictures, check them out.