This is the end of week 6. In some ways it is hard to believe we’ve had Catherin with us for only 6 weeks. Some days it feels every bit as much as 8 or 12 weeks and other times it feels like it has only been couple.
We are falling into a routine of sorts during the week. The weekends still seem somewhat odd. I think part of it is Catherin doesn’t play anything. Our girls will play Barbies, or puzzles or something outside. And Catherin sits. She does like to play cards but she has been rude and/or cheated enough that neither girl really wants to play with her much. I can’t say I blame them. She taught them one game and constantly changed the rules so she would win every game.
Our girls also read a lot. Catherin claims to not be able to read American English. Which is not true at all. If she couldn’t read English she wouldn’t be here and wouldn’t be able to do anything in school. Catherin did bring two books but I’m sure she has read them already.
All the Chinese students are to speak only English, since they are here to learn it. Catherin and all the other students refuse to do that. They all know the rule that was made by the organization that sent the children. Some children have been very rude and snapped at their host parents, “It’s after school!” but really that doesn’t matter. The Chinese sponsors have told both the host families and the children it is to be only English.
In light of this we have the consequence of washing dishes by hand when she speaks in Chinese. She already has one week out of 3 to wash the dishes. But for these weeks we have a dishwasher she gets to use. When she knowingly breaks the rules, she gets an extra night to wash dishes by hand. No dishwasher. I can’t say it’s been too effective.
Yesterday Mr. FullCup, Catherin and our girls went on a field trip to Denver. They went to the Denver Mint, Museum of Nature and Science, and White Fence Farm. It was a very long trip. The girls were up at 5 and didn’t get home until after midnight.
I was supposed to be out of town at a ladies retreat but that fell through. So I spent the day painting our kitchen.
We are finding we need to limit the amount of food Catherin eats. I know it seems cruel. But really. I made 2 roasts the other night and we had barely enough leftovers for 3 of us. We had to stop her after 5 helpings. I’ve heard of other families saying “no more than 3 helpings.”
We also had to institute a new rule. No rude faces, noises, or comments about what is prepared or you will go without. She is very vocal about food she doesn’t like and her comments/faces etc are generally very rude. She will snap her teeth together while chewing (in essence chewing with her mouth open but really it goes beyond just that.) She makes rude noises and oh the looks she gives me. Mr. FullCup and I talked about it and made the rule. When we told all three girls if they didn’t like the food that was prepared, they were free to go hungry.
I understand we all have foods we don’t like. I don’t like veggies but I eat them and I’m not rude about it.
Cheese. Cheese is a big thing in this house. We eat cheese every day. Catherin, like most Chinese, hates cheese. The first time I made something with cheese on it she told me “I love this. I love cheese!” A few days later I made homemade macaroni and cheese. You would have thought I’d sent her to the gas chambers. “I HATE cheese!!!!!!”
I haven’t made macaroni and cheese since. And when we have burritos or something with cheese, she is allowed to go without the cheese since we make those on our own at the table. I go without sour cream. She goes without cheese.
It’s funny though. She loves pizza loaded with cheese. I haven’t quite figured that one out.
Oatmeal is another thing we’ve had trouble with. She doesn’t like it. I don’t blame her. It’s not my favorite breakfast food. But since eggs are expensive and so is milk and cereal when we have been low on any of those we have oatmeal. I’m not talking plain oatmeal either. I get a couple of the jumbo boxes of instant flavored oatmeal at Sams.
In the past 6 weeks she has had it twice and both times I refused to look at her. And really twice in 6 months won’t kill anyone.
With my understanding the dislike of oatmeal also comes with the knowledge that if someone made me a bowl of oatmeal, I would eat it and make no comment about hating it. That would just be rude.
She told Ariana one day last week “I didn’t like my lunch so I did this” and pantomimed a disgusted look and throwing it in the trash. She was very pleased with herself. Until I asked if she was rude about. Of course she wasn’t. I then told her that someone had spent all morning at the school preparing that for her. I told her the school spent money buying the groceries for people to make sure she had a good lunch at school and to be rude was just not acceptable.
I find it hard to think, imagine, or believe these children have not been taught manners at all. I can’t imagine anyone would get very far being rude about things others have done for them.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m the oddball who taught her children to be polite even when they don’t like something.