17 August 2007

day 3

i let them use my camera for staged lego photo shoots. they were impressed with the added gun blasts - i didn't know you could do that!

of me and the boys alone. (jack is in new jersey.) it's been thankfully uneventful, even though we've been stuck inside because of the storm. (i am so glad i do not have to drive on days like these...) they haven't asked for their dad (or mom) at all, which makes me proud. mostly they just play and eat. our apartment is all open which is nice because at all times we can see and hear each other.

it's weird to be a caretaker. i don't know what i'm doing at all, but it seems to be working. i think it works because i'm pretty fair and they know it. i make them pick up after themselves, and flush the toilet and wash their hands, sit at the table to eat, and not eat too many snacks, but that's about it.

i also think i'm less emotional with them than if i were not just the step-mom, and it helps. jack does his parenting from an emotional level, but i do it almost completely on a logical level. i don't get mad or take it personally when they do things like throw tantrums. i just go about my business. i also don't give in like he does, which i think is good for them.

i've always thought the most important is consistency (learned that from my parents, who weren't at all consistent), and i'm pretty good at that. i think kids like/need to know what to expect. and these kids are headstrong, so i make sure i don't ask for anything unreasonable (like giving them chores!), or too far out of line with what they get from mom and dad, it would just be asking for trouble. they call me on everything, and sometimes it feels ridiculous to be in a battle of wills with an 8 year old, but i guess that's parenting...

i do like showing them things, and teaching them things, and playing with them. i don't even mind cooking for them* and cleaning up after them. i really like when they ask for help, or will you play with me, especially when there dad is here and they ask me. it's touching. i like when they say my name. i like the thought that they are being exposed to things and learning things that they wouldn't without me - like taking them on "photo shoots" or watching my favorite movies from childhood.

i am pretty silly and can totally be myself with them. i've always liked kids because they give you a break to get on the floor and play and build and watch cartoons. plus they don't turn the radio up when i start singing. don't tell, but sometimes i pretend we're in a musical and sing everything i say to them. and they like it (as long as we're not in public - then it's apparently embarrassing).

*cooking is buying things like a fully cooked roast that you nuke for 9 minutes - since i do not touch raw meat (uck!). incidentally, i made the roast last night for dinner. they loved it, had seconds. and after i put them to bed last night and turned out the lights, the last thing i heard was a little voice ask can we have more of that roast beef tomorrow?

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