~Welcome to my personal story as a first time wife and stepmom. I use this space to share real life happenings in a blended family, funny stories, my personal frustrations, failures, and occasional victories as I journey through this life with two beautiful and challenging stepdaughters. Thanks for reading, and I hope you find something to help you have a better day!~

Thursday, April 18, 2013

First lesson with Kate

Kate was just 4 when she became part of my life. She accepted me so warmly and without any question or judgment. That was so reassuring for me. She was on the tail end of pull-ups and sippy cups. The first thing that impressed me about her was how much of a cuddler and snuggler she was. I felt like she barely knew me, but she was perfectly content to grab her blankey and curl up with me on the couch to watch a movie. At first, I felt like I was overstepping my place. "I shouldn't be snuggling with this girl. Surely she can't trust me yet. This feels way too much like a mom for me." But once glance over at J's face let me know he was perfectly okay with it, even emotional over the sight of Kate curled up with me. So I had to swallow the big lump of insecurity and fear, and the "mom" feeling that was completely foreign to me, and just hold her and snuggle. Even to this day, that is one of Kate's favorite things to do.

My first "teaching time" with Kate was over her constant fake crying. It was at least a full five or six months of us eating together before I can remember one time that she didn't cry at the dinner table. Every little thing that happened, she just made herself cry to either get out of something or get some extra attention. Being raised myself by a complete "no-nonsense" drill sergeant mom, this really bothered me. J would try to talk to her, but he would lose his patience after a while and just end up yelling, which made her cry more. I just started by saying a few things here and there in a non-chanlant way such as "Why are you crying? You're not hurt. You should only cry if you are hurt." As time when on, I added a few more lines like "Crying all the time means you are acting like a baby." And then the bribing started. Ok, Kate, if you can make it through this whole day with no tears, you can have a special treat. The first time she did it, we celebrated like it was a birthday! She eventually got through it with a lot of encouragement, prodding, and pushing on our part. The worst part was, I would feel like I made a lot of progress, and then she would go to her mom's for five days, and when she came back, it was like reprogramming. One step forward for two steps back, right? (She was consistently very babied and favored at her mom's until the age of seven when their mom had another baby. So that just made our job even harder!) She got it though, and now she is always happy and smiling and talking and singing. She hardly ever cries, and has turned to less exhausting tactics to get attention!

So with my first lesson finally a success, I thought maybe I really could do this stepmom thing.

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