I had grand plans for getting caught up on my blogging this weekend and getting a few posts scheduled for the remainder of my Sorta Step-Parenting Gig, especially since my own children are away, so I'm down to just three kids right now.
This step-parenting thing is weird when you aren't really the stepparent and are just "dad's girlfriend." Normally under these circumstances, I'd just defer to Lawn Boy, but this time, for the first time, I'm the one home with them all day, so waiting for him doesn't fly. Adding to the complications is the fact that we don't live together, so we are splitting our time between two homes. It's easier at my house: my house= my rules, but the children want to be at their dad's because it's where they feel most comfortable, which puts us in a little bit of a grey area, because Lawn boy has different expectations and parameters than I do. He has been clear though; I'm in charge.
The biggest hiccup has been establishing levels of respectful behavior. His children are permitted to speak to each other AND their parents in a manner that is simply not acceptable to me. That's been the biggest obstacle, because while sometimes they are deliberately testing me, sometimes they are rude and don't even mean to be!
On a more humorous note, we also had to tackle the whole lift the seat and pee IN the toilet, not ON it thing more that once. I addressed it a my house and then had to do it again at Lawn Boy's. His 9-year-old said to me, "but I wipe off the seat." Not well enough my boy, not well enough! Pick UP the lid and put it back down when you are done!
My landmark discovery of the week was that 'new' toys are extremely helpful in getting them to clean up, when they aren't normally required to. Especially when that 'new toy" is a small Dustbuster. Then they'll fight over who 'vacuums!"
It hasn't been easy, but I'm glad I offered, because the extra time it's allowed them with their father has been priceless. I'm hoping that as we go forward, and are all in one place, it will get a little easier, although I know that each time they come back, they will have fallen back into what's permissible when they aren't with us and there will be a learning curve as we find our groove again!