Ruthie gets really upset in the evening. I’m not sure what set this off exactly. I fell asleep for a while in the afternoon and nothing seemed to be okay after that. Everything just seemed strange.

And then Ruthie got mad at me. She didn’t want to talk to me. I tried to ask what was going on and that’s what she said. “I mad at you. I not want talk you.”

She seemed, though, to suddenly be growing up. She wanted to make tea for Charlie—she likes him, she wanted to make him happy. There were suddenly all these thoughts about wanting to help. Instead of being tucked just inside while I did things, she was out doing them herself without any input from me. She took a bath. She scrubbed the laundry. She made lunch. She was suddenly able to do them herself—not just physically, but emotionally. She wasn’t walking around the house with me, in a sense, holding onto my apron strings.

But that was before the meltdown. Then she had the meltdown. She started hitting her head. She said she felt confused. She wanted to knock sense into it. She finally started to watch a Russian movie and after five minutes of that—before all the balance went—she started to calm down. She said she was sorry she got mad at me. She said it was because I was interacting in an online group with someone she doesn’t like.

I said we didn’t have to talk to him. He’s not important. If she doesn’t want me to talk to him, I won’t. I’m not that interested anyway.

It didn’t seem that that was the real problem though. It seemed more that something had happened in her head that she wasn’t prepared for. It seemed more that something had happened too quickly for her to be prepared for. Her mind was suddenly different, and she didn’t know how to handle it.

She was becoming independent. She could get angry at me and stand to be separate and not speaking to me for half an hour. It was like she’d gone in her room and slammed the door. And this had never happened to her before. She’d never felt like doing that.

Maybe that’s what happens after you start internalizing an attachment figure. You can afford to be away from them for a bit—you know they’re still there—and it opens up all kinds of possibilities. You can fight with them. You can do things they aren’t interested in doing with you. You can do things all by yourself.

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