It's not that she's being defiant. Tidiness seems to be completely beyond my daughter's skill set.
Beth Falkenstein: There are many aspects of my oldest daughter that are proof to me of nature trumping nurture. She's easy going; I can be pretty intense. She's into modern; I like antiques. She can sing like Laura Nyro, Linda Ronstadt, and Patti LuPone; I am not Laura Nyro, Linda Ronstadt, or Patti LuPone. (I can already hear some of you saying "What about her father?" He doesn't sing like Patti LuPone, either.)
For the most part, I am pretty proud of my teenager's departures from the mommy mold. But there is one area in which we are so different that I'm about to tear my hair out:
She is a slob!
And, well, let's just call me fastidious ("neat freak" is so judgmental). In the early years, it was hard to tell this was going to be a problem. I mean, what three-year-old can fold a T-shirt? Of course Mommy should be expected to straighten up the room while baby watches -- and learns.
But then she got older and I got tired-er. And the room got messier. Now, "put this away" somehow translates as "drop this on the floor," while "clean up your desk" means "put everything on top of your desk." Towels are never hung. Bottles of shampoo are left open. And how I long for a three-year-old to come and fold her T-shirts! I've tried everything: rewards, punishment, bribery, yelling, yelling, yelling. Nothing works. And some of it makes my throat hurt.
It's not that she's being defiant. She can and does clean up her room -- but only when I stand there and point things out. Left to her own devices, tidiness seems to be completely beyond her skill set. It's like she cleaned her room in the dark. That's why I'm starting to believe it's a problem with her eyesight. Maybe those wads of paper on the floor just outside the waste basket are a symptom of myopia. Maybe those drawers left just a half-inch open are evidence of a lack of depth perception. And all that dirt left around the sink ...
Is there such a thing as brown-white color blind?
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 13 and 10), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|