“Some have come to build, I have come to destroy.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
It has been a difficult week in our house. Our cute-as-a-button, darling girl has left a path of destruction in her wake. A month of illness, an ear infection and adjusting to full days at school have left her understandably needy and slightly grumpy. This never bodes well for our possessions.
Her usual M.O. is to hide things. To be fair, this is not trouble-making behavior. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’s trying to help. She sees me bustling around, putting things away, so she does the same. She may have inherited a touch of OCD from her parents. One of her favourite forms of play is to carefully arrange rows of toys, books, socks… (whatever strikes her fancy) into different patterns.
Unfortunately, her organizational plan and mine don’t always mesh. Which is why I often come across unusual things such as: potatoes in the Tupperware drawer, socks in the pantry, and cash in the recycling bin.
Although her intentions may be pure and honorable (or more likely, impulsive and benign) this hiding habit does cause problems. On two separate occasions we have had to send guests home in borrowed shoes as B has industriously stashed theirs in some obscure hiding spot. When we express alarm and concern she will eagerly join in the search, but rarely does she recollect where she put that special item.
NOTE: We later found one of the shoes in the downstairs shower and the other set had been stashed behind the books on the bottom shelf of Dad’s home office. STILL Missing: 1 DS game system, several DVDs, a favourite stuffie, a toothbrush, and various odds and ends too numerous to mention.
Recently, she managed to reach her box of CDs, remove each one from its case and hide them in an undisclosed location. The only survivor happened to be in the player at the time. The others remain M.I.A.
I’ve duct taped the slats of her bed and moved furniture around to eliminate some of her favourite hidey holes. We have worked hard to give B an idea of where things are SUPPOSED to go. She loves helping unload the dishwasher and putting dishes where they “live”. I’m optimistic that once this is firmly established she will become our most diligent tidy-upper. Someday I plan to label almost everything in our house to this end. You know, when I have some free time (ha!).
Things have been getting better… until this month. We first noticed it with her contributions to her sisters’ homework. Some added embellishment on a title page, unique decorative elements on math pages, and most shocking of all: an actual bite taken out of one assignment. “My sister ate my homework, for real!”
She is immediately disciplined, apologizes and seems genuinely contrite, then I open up my iPhone box and find the pocket guide ripped into tiny little pieces. It took me 1/2 an hour to figure out how to turn the ringer from ‘silent’ to ‘loud’. Grrrrrr!
If one more person tells me what happy and easy children with Down Syndrome are, I am going to kick them in the shin. Then they can help me pull every single card, from every single game we own out from under her dresser and put them back in order. Because, honestly, I’ve just left them there. I’m too tired to face it.
Am I frustrated? Definitely.
It’s at times like this that I have to have faith that our parenting methods and our God-given instincts will work in the long run. It’s happened time and time again. We don’t usually see results in a timely fashion, but consistent, patient and firm is bound to pay off… right? That or we seriously consider life in a human bubble – for me.
So here’s me, blogging from the road, on the way to a week-long family holiday. Just what the Dr. ordered. If nothing else, she can rip the cabin apart for a change.