- I have been teaching Kerri to put her dirty clothes in her clothes hamper since she came home with us from China. And no matter how many times I tell her, she still undresses and throws all her clothes on the floor. Sometimes I walk into the bathroom and find a pair of pajama pants in front of the toilet. Sometimes I walk into her room and find half a wardrobe strewn carelessly all over - even under her bed! I find pants under the dining room table! I make her pick them up. I try to reason and explain how much easier it is to do it right the first time - but no.
- Kerri has a bookcase in her room. I used to spend hours straightening all the books, so you could see their spines and read the titles. I have finally given up. Her books are piled, thrown in, upside down, backwards - you get the picture. And usually there is a pile on the floor in front of the bookcase, because she likes to lie on the floor to read.
- I have been teaching Kerri table manners since she was ten months old and could hold a spoon. But now she refuses to use utensils. If I don't pay attention, she has to eat with her hands/fingers. It doesn't matter if it is a protein, a vegetable or a carb, she uses her fingers. I cannot stand bad table manners!
- And on the subject of food - lately Kerri has become so picky. She chastises me if I don't pack her a "healthy" lunch for school, yet when I do she refuses to eat it. She won't eat sandwiches. She won't eat fruits or veggies. She brings home her puddings, her cheese, her crackers. She no longer likes anything I make (except latkes). She complains and whines and only wants to eat junk! Mealtimes are becoming very frustrating, because I have to tell her to eat what is on her plate or go to bed hungry. I always win (only because Kerri really dislikes going to bed).
- Ah - sleep. Kerri has not slept soundly through a single night since we brought her home from China. It is not as bad as it used to be (the night terrors were truly horrible!). As soon as her head hits the bed, she starts saying "I can't sleep." She doesn't even give herself a chance to get sleepy. She comes up with several reasons to avoid going to bed (I am thirsty, I have to pee, the closet door is open, I'm hungry, asks questions, etc.) but the reality is that she just does not want to be in her room alone. And I have put a stop to Daddy staying in her room with her until she falls asleep, because they start talking and laughing and no sleeping happens.
- "I have a question." Kerri says that at least several dozen times a day. "Let me tell you about my dream.". That normally takes an hour. This girl talks, and talks, and talks.....even when watching TV. At the end of the day I just want silence. And two aspirins. But that doesn't happen until she falls asleep, followed closely by me passing out in sheer exhaustion.
- Messes. We have lots of them, and usually you can tell where Kerri has been if you follow them. It takes me hours to clean and tidy up - and it takes her just a few minutes to destroy all order. The family room looks awesome for a few minutes once a week. The rest of the week I have to watch where I step. The dining room table gets emptied once a week. And then slowly it begins to accumulate Kerri things. I will find things in the most unusual places - and most of the time I don't even know why they would be there. Seriously, who takes a Lego piece to brush their teeth? Why is there a rubber ball by the toaster? And then she asks me where her stuff is! As if I would know. Well actually, if you want to find something of hers, just look in the last possible place you would think to find it - and there it is. But you won't find anything in her hamper.
And although I have failed Kerri in so many ways (many are listed above), just maybe I have succeeded in the lessons that matter most - the ones of the heart and soul. Because Kerri is sweet, and funny, and empathetic, and kind. Our home is full of love, and fun, and hugs, and laughter. But the house is an absolute mess.
Life with Kerri is going to tidy up. Again.