Been There; Not Doing That

Just like I thought, I can still be a good parent.  As a matter of fact, in a lot of ways, I can now be a better parent.  First of all, I have experience and confidence.  I know the basics from raising my own boys; I am confident in my abilities because they turned out fine.  On top of that, shows like Supernanny gave us even more knowledge and strategies for dealing with temper tantrums and bad behavior although with Big Daddy’s booming voice and authoritative presence, we didn’t get much of that with our little guys.  Finally, I’m just so much more laid back these days.  Parenting is still hard work, but it’s just not so stressful anymore.

I’m happy to say that Bonus Child seems to have settled in and is actually allowing herself to enjoy living with us.  She hums and smiles a lot, has had friends from school come over, and even has confided in me to having one or two schoolgirl crushes!  Instead of shouting at us about how we’re ruining her life and then sulking, her occasional bursts of anger now usually are followed by a contrite apology–from her–without us even asking for one.  This is HUGE!  Sometimes she has these fits of giggles, and I ask her if she’s eaten feathers with her lunch.  I can’t figure out what’s tickling the child so much!  She sometimes even acts like she likes me!

Bonus Baby is still a piece of work–and we love every energetic ounce of her.  She’s got Big Daddy wrapped around her little finger.  This is exactly why I was happy to have boys.  I know Baby loves me, but I’m not much more than chopped liver when “Daddy” is around.  Her face lights up when he comes home from work, and of course he just eats that up.  “I miss my daddy,” she wails, and when I tell her we’ll be visiting him (her bio dad) next week, she’ll cry and say, “My daddy outside,” and points to where Big Daddy is working in the yard.  My two younger boys confided recently that they used to feel the same way about me.  Whenever they were visiting grandma, they always hoped that I’d be the one to come and pick them up.  “Hope it’s mom, hope it’s mom,” they told me they would say, although their daddy was an awesome dad and I know they loved him very much.

I can be a good parent to these children, but I can’t be the same kind of parent I was with the first batch of kids.  It has nothing to do with them being girls instead of boys, nor do I believe it has to do with them not being my biological kids.  I just have to do things differently–for my sanity!    We’ll go to open houses and teacher conferences, but I’m not getting roped into PTA meetings and events.  I’m not bugging the neighbors and relatives to buy the crappy overpriced fundraising junk so the kids can win some cheesy prize that falls apart in two days.  I will happily find an extracurricular activity or two for the kids and will enjoy watching them participate, but I refuse to serve on any more committees.  I did this all once, and I’m tired.  I can’t even imagine living at that pace again.  It’s someone else’s turn, and I think the kids will be just fine.

12 Responses to “Been There; Not Doing That”

  1. 1 lynette October 10, 2010 at 9:45 am

    les, it is so wonderful and selfless the responsibility you have taken on. i have so much respect for your ability to give and love these two little girls who needed someone to give them a home where they are safe and warm and happy. i am glad to hear you are happily making them a part of your family.

    i am still “doing that”, but have always held the line at the things you say you won’t do now — lack of time, plus being an “older” mom myself, have made it something i just have to draw the limit on. i admire the moms who do it, but it ain’t me!

    my kids are turning out alright anyway….

    • 2 les@mamaneeds2rant October 10, 2010 at 9:53 am

      I am grateful to the moms who are super involved. And I’m glad I did it the first time around. I think my age might be a factor, Lynette. Plus I put so much into everything the first time around, I have nothing left for some things. There are different ways of doing things, and I’m taking another path.

  2. 3 Kathleen October 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Les – they sound adorable yet I remember all the work. Glad to hear that “Bonus Child” is settling in. You guys are in my prayers.

    • 4 les@mamaneeds2rant October 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks, Kathy. I would have never imagined we’d have daughters, whether permanently or temporarily. I love the surprises life tosses our way. I’m glad she seems to have settled in also. It was somewhat frustrating!

  3. 5 Cyndi October 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Sounds like the girls are doing great, I knew they would! How adorable that the baby has your hubby wrapped around her finger.

    I have to confess….I already don’t do any of that stuff and it’s my first time around. Committees and organizing things and fundraisers…just the thought makes me tired and extremely bored. Like you, we do have the kids in an activity or two but I’m much closer to “slacker” than “over-involved” and they seem to be doing just fine too. 🙂

    • 6 les@mamaneeds2rant October 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      Tired and bored. Exactly, Cyndi! The thought of doing it all again overwhelms me. It’s the same reason I turned down the two infants they asked if we’d take in before we got the girls. I loved it the first time around and would never trade my boys’ baby moments, but I never want to go through those very exhausting and difficult years again! “Slacker” does not necessarily mean uninvolved in our cases.

  4. 7 Consuella Banana Hammock October 14, 2010 at 9:04 am

    yeah i’m a member of the same club as you and cyndi. when those fundraisers come in the mail i immediately toss them. why bother my neighbors with overpriced candy? not going to do it. surely that doesn’t make me a bad parent and add yet another thing to the list that they will need therapy for!

    i’m glad things are going well les. i am sure that your relaxed approach to parenting is exactly what these kids need. keep it up. we are all so proud of you!

  5. 9 Tammy October 18, 2010 at 12:39 am

    I am so happy for your family and those little girls. They are very lucky.

    I gave quite a bit of my time to participating in the PTSO/PTA and volunteering at the school. After two years, I am done — at least for now. It is unfortunate the pettiness and controlling behavior of others drives away good volunteers.

    What I enjoyed about being involved was having an inside view to the school and my sons educational environment. I know that my son has appreciated me being around the school. It was away for him to see me actively involved in a big part of his life.

    It also helps that one of my passions is event planning and fund raising.

    Additionally, I did meet some great people that I enjoy being social with….I just don’t want to work on committees with them!

    • 10 les@mamaneeds2rant October 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks, Tammy. I agree with your reasons for volunteering–a lot of them were the same reasons we got involved when the boys were little. But unlike you, I HATE event planning and fund raising. So a lot of it was torture for me. However, I already know our school district is great, the girls know we care even if we don’t work at the parties, etc., and I don’t need any more social outlets. And I also agree that some people take this volunteer stuff WAY too seriously!! Life will go on when they’re done running the show!

  6. 11 robinaltman December 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Les, you are too cool! It’s totally awesome what you’re doing for these girls, and I love you for it!

    I must confess, that I never did the committee thing the first time around. I watched my friends with older kids get sucked in, and they were kind enough to warn me away. Plus, I changed my name and made my number unlisted.

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October 2010

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