Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Pat On My Back

Younger Boy has been having some issues in his after school program as of late. He’s been experimenting with poor choice words he’s heard, getting angry when things don’t go his way and choosing to play by himself.

In other words, he’s been acting completely normal as not only a kindergartener but as the younger boy who has been getting the shaft from his biological mother and no longer the baby in either of his two families.

We had a discussion yesterday. Basically I explained to her the things we’ve been working on at home and some of the things I personally do when it comes to handling Younger Boy’s behaviors.

We’ve been working with him on trying to better understand some of these things. We had a family meeting about not using “Sad Choice” words and instead asking an adult if he’s unsure about a word. Younger Boy is very intelligent for his young age and he really grasps at vocabulary. With him I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to just calmly explain that “this” word is not OK to use and that it makes me sad to hear him say it. We even had the boys come up with the consequences for continuous use of Sad Choice words.

I’m still working on helping him to de-stress. Usually a change of his environment or giving him something physical to do helps a lot. Example, if Middle Boy (who has his own set of issues) is aggravating him I’ll often have Younger Boy come downstairs and play with playdoh or draw. I think of it as if I need a break sometimes then they certainly need a break sometimes from each other.

I also told her I was actually surprised that he was having issues playing with others. As it is Younger Boy who is always making friends and playing with others when we go out while the two older boys sit with each other isolated from everyone else. His teacher said “Perhaps he’s just tired of the kids here” which I honestly agreed could be a possibility. His friends in the after school program aren’t the kids he plays with during his kindergarten class.

Side Note: I’m looking up ways to help children learn how to play. My mom made a point to me that the three of them have either only had each other or themselves to play with and perhaps they just don’t know how to play with others. So if any of you have experience in teaching play I’d love to hear.

Back to the conversation – his teacher told me that she can relate. She too was only 2 years old when she had a stepmother come into her life. In fact, her exact words were:

“I can totally relate. I was only two when my stepmother came into my life and there were times that I just wanted to scream and kill her. But now that I’m older I’m really appreciative of how she raised me. And I just want to take a moment to say “Thank You” to you for doing what you’re doing.”

Now, the main point of this post is that it’s really weird to me when people thank me for doing what I’m doing … because what I’m doing is just being me. I’m being the best mom I know how, learning from my mistakes and hoping that even though I’m the authoritative parent that I’m making a positive difference in the kids’ lives and can help bring some sunshine back for them.

I’ve had quite a few people thank me for what I’m doing and I never really know how to respond. Usually I just say ‘Thank you, that means a lot.” Which don’t get me wrong, because it totally does mean a lot to hear. Who doesn’t like to have some validation of good to their actions? But having someone who was Younger Boy when she was a child say that to me … it really made me feel better about my role as a stepmom. And I wanted to share it with any of you that may be new or a veteran to instant parenthood. Perhaps it will help bring you a smile too. Keep on swimming. You’re doing good.

Friday, April 8, 2011

It Made my Day

The other day Younger Boy was sitting down and doing his homework. It’s an activity where the sentence starts with a vocabulary word of the week and the child fill it in and draws a photo to go along with it.

I was sitting on the couch nursing Baby JC when Younger Boy came out with his paper:

YB: How do you spell your name?
Me: C-R-Y-S-T-A-L
YB: That’s it! Because I heard the “l” and that means it’s the end of your name.
Me: Oh, OK.

He went up to take a nap afterward and I went into the kitchen to get a drink of water. I noticed his homework for the day was still lying out on the table. So of course I had to go take a peek.

This is what I saw: