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Wednesday
Feb202013

Blocks on the Brain

Dear Internet,

Yesterday, February 19th 2013, my now 7.5 year old son discovered the beginnings of a hole this generation knows as “Minecraft”.

Let the games…. begin.

 

Friday
Feb012013

On Stepparenting...

I have a stepfather.

In all senses, he is my Dad, but he is not my father.

I could write an entire post on what an amazing man he is, but this isn’t about that - at all.

I’m here to brush with a one-eyed, one horned flying monster much like the ones who roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws (I absolutely didn’t steal that from Conner’s favorite book from circa 2011).

Stepparenting.

You see, I can see both sides of this convoluted soapbox where The Law meets The Heart (and oftentimes, unfortunately, The Finances). Talk about a gumbo-o-poop-town.

I know people that are stepparents.
I know people that are becoming stepparents.
I know people that are the product of stepparenting.

I am a stepchild.
I have children with a stepparent.

and…

I also know there’s the Good and the Bad.

Having been through a divorce, I understand that there’s My Version of my ex-husband, the Reality, and His Version. There’s also EVERYONE ELSE’S VERSION - EVER.

There’s also His version of Me. There’s also His Version of Me During Our Marriage, His Version of Me During Our Divorce process, His Version of Me in Present Day… the list continues.

You see, as much as I understand my ex-husband has changed (believe me, his current wife wouldn’t have married that other dude), he appears to have a complete LACK of understanding that I too am not Amanda of 2009. Or 2010. Or even 2011. If you knew me KNEW ME in 2012, you pass, but otherwise? No.

(It’s been a bit, ex-husband. People change. Accept some of that crap.)

Here I am, being a mom. A mom to these children, offspring that I had swimming around in my uterus, babies I held for the first time, young beings my genes created and so on and so forth… in present day JUST as I have since they were conceived.

And somehow, when the father of these children creates a legal document with another individual (in my case - one they’d known less than say… 7 months), that person is MAGICALLY transformed into a word that even sounds terrible “stepmom”.

{No really, there’s a possibility I may have to be one of those one day, and I would like to pre-vote that word be changed}

Congrats. You are now bound by nothing more than your ethics to assist in raising these children. That’s right - ethics. As some of you may or may not be aware, unless the biological mother of the child is unfit, deceased, or has relinquished her parental rights, Stepparents have NO legal rights.
Technically, you don’t have to do squat.

Sorry. It’s harsh.

You see - I’ve been here longer. I know their quirks. More importantly I know their medical history like it’s my life’s recital, their socials, their lullabies and their smell. I signed their birth certificate. Best of all - I have the motherly instinct forced into my nature at some point during pregnancy. If you’ve never had children before, you can only partially understand what it’s like to have your child flirt with anything dangerous.

It yanks at your brain from your ovaries. It pulls from your insides and screams “SOMETHING. IS. WRONG.”

And for me? It’s how I got Chase into this world.

Remember that thing about change? I changed with each child, each birth, but also, I changed with Chase’s fight for eight days in critical condition. I have a bond to my children that you can not have.

And I know that’s hard.

One day, you can have a similar bond. It takes time.

To the stepparents that dedicate energy, stress, love, tears, sweat, laundry detergent and tons of other resources - thank you. That’s all we, as the biological parent of that child you assist in caring for during custodial time, can say. One big “thanks for not being a douchebag”. 

We can only hope that you do YOUR BEST to treat them well. And that you take your time, and watch their hearts, as they HAVE a mother, but it takes more than her to raise any child.

(Should you push too hard, a boy will push back - all the way to his Mom)

What you may not understand though is “BEST” is a relative term. And the ironic thing about the world “relative” in this sentence is that it’s literal. The people “in charge” of determining what’s best for the children at question, in this case - Conner & Chase - are their relatives and in more specific and legal terms: Their biological mother (me) and their biological father (my ex-husband and your current husband).

Or as my children like to call me… “Mommy”. Just as they’ve done since Day 1.

To future Stepparents out there, I think I’ve come up with some advice.
Never make assumptions about the other parent. Never force yourself into a role that is already filled. Take your time to ask questions, observe and learn. There isn’t a test. You don’t get a report card, a thank you basket or a trophy.

Allow them space to breathe. Let them come to you. Give them time with their biological parent during custodial time.

And above all else - stop acting like immature fools.

 

Thursday
Jan242013

Give your Uterus a brownie.

Sunday
Jan202013

When Reading turns to Reviewing

Conner downloaded a new game on my iPhone, then played it for about 2 days (during his acceptable iPhone time, naturally).

After this trial period he’d placed, Conner decided to delete it as one of the Known iPhone Rules of The Homestead is “you don’t play it, it doesn’t stay”. It was in this way he came to me to input my Apple password because he’d written a review after being prompted to do so for deleting the game. It’s as follows:


“Do not play this game. It shows the trees on fire but you can not make the trees on fire with lava. Lava makes fire on wood.”

That’s as honest a review as any app will ever get. And I’m proud he’s contributing to the better good of the internet. 

Tuesday
Sep182012

The Smell of Off-Brand Fruit Loops Reminds Me of Daycare

 

I have a very sharp recollection of sitting in the window of a 2nd story assembly room waiting anxiously for about 30 minutes, really hours on my mother’s car to take a right off the main road and wind its way up to the parking lot directly below where I sat. I did this almost daily.Oh, therapy. You ‘aint cheap.

Daycare, off and on for years, in varying degrees, was this Big Huge Deal for me. I hated it, and still manage to feel the same way. Although many establishments would easily pass my own standards as a parent, daycare was just a damaging thing. 

First World Problems, I know, but the idea that my MOM couldn’t KEEP me just SUCKED.

I sit here, wasting minutes away typing this, while two boys (7.5 & nearly 5) fidget away wondering just what the heck are they going to do for the next 4 hours till bedtime.

It’s raining and for once, we do not have soccer practice, goalie practice, games or cub scouts. I don’t a function to attend, class to take or event I’ve RSVP’d for. There’s also not a football game on.
In short: The people in my house this evening have nothing to do.
Was this what that 7? 8? 9? year old girl so desperately yearned for every afternoon? An afternoon of nothing? In my house? With my family?
Now that I say it that way, perhaps that little girl wasn’t so wrong.
Which is why I can’t be more thankful that I can spend this time with them (in proximity),
… that their family is their daycare,
… and that it’s raining.