For anyone who doesn't know my family. . . here is the cast of characters:
Brandi, aka me. The blogger, storyteller and Mama Bear when necessary.
R, aka boyfriend, honey and Daddy to 3 of our 4 blondes.
Shy, oldest daughter of R. Fourteen, freshman with serious boyfriend she's the greatest teenager I've ever met. She loves her family, makes good decisions, is beautiful and smart.
C-Bear, 7 years old today. She's special in her needs and her social interactions, and has a heart of gold. She's R's second little bear.
H-Bear, 5 almost 6 and has a firecracker temper. This is mostly to protect her tender little heart. R's youngest she wants to be the baby, but wants to be as grown up as her sister.
Miss A, 3 in January she is my little monkey. She loves R, C, H and the extended family that comes with them. She's incredibly smart and gets frustrated when she can't keep up with the older girls.
So, Miss A spends Monday through Friday with my parents until I can get her into Head Start full time. 1-2 weekends a month she spends a night or two with her father and her brother (considered my step-son, J) R's youngest two girls spend 2 nights every other weekend. That usually crams 5 people into the tiniest possible 2 bedroom townhouse. Eeek. I guess the first thing to do could be get rid of most of our furniture and my enormous piles of boxes--all filled with random shit. But we just keep hoping to find and afford an actual house with a yard. Shy we see about once a month for a visit at her grandmother's house. I'd love to see her more, but she's a teenager and very busy. She's going to need her own room at our new house too.
Getting these girls together over the last 1 1/2 years is really an intense process. R's two youngest are so close to the same age, they're almost like twins and they indulged in every whim by their mother's family. Which means they have a very hard time sharing with their much younger step-sister. Some days they do better than others.
Like I said, it's a process. At the beginning, Miss A was so young she didn't understand when the other two wouldn't share and C & H were just irritated. Lately, though she's so advanced that the three of them can actually play together and all be on the same page. Hide and seek, run from monsters, all sorts of little games. Puzzles and drawing especially. They seem to all be learning about taking turns at the same time.
But for the last few times that they have been here it's all fallen apart. Miss A is almost
But Miss A is almost 3. And she pretty much just whines constantly. Trying to debate every thing. Test every boundary, question every single moment of every single day. The questions never stop and I can't come up with enough answers. What do I say when she asks me why that bird is flying across the sky? A million different poses and faces, "Is this silly, Mommy?" "Is THIS silly?" "How about this?"
And C & H? They are sick of each other and completely against tolerating Miss A. So all weekend they were all three picking at each other. There was always at least one child bitching and whining, usually 2 and at the bad times, all three.
R was losing it. I was losing it. Tempers were short and all three girls have such tender hearts that they were devastated every time they got scolded. They all handle this in their own way. One runs away, one scowls and shuts down completely, and mine? She whines. Bawls. and won't stop for ANYTHING. This is the second weekend it's been like this. And this is seriously messing with our sanity. It takes serious concentration not to begin snapping at each other. We were not entirely successful in this respect, but considering how much we've been spatting the past couple of weeks this weekend was a miracle. Not quite tag-team parenting but more like team-roping. While constantly tiding and washing dishes.
So as Sunday afternoon winds down R's girls are back home with their mother. Miss A is in the middle of her daily 3 hr nap. The dishes are done, we're watching the Seahawks play the Chiefs (go green) and we are pondering what needs to change.
We're starting to think that C and H need some time apart. One possible solution is to have one of them every weekend. This is a hard decision. It would mean we would always have at least one of the girls, most often two.
It seems we need to start interviewing babysitters.