~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!~

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mind Games

I've written before about a time when Kate put me into an awkward position by stating, "My mom doesn't like you. Do you like her?" Ah, the innocent frankness of kids! Gotta love it. Anyway, lately she has been playing these mind games with me, like she intends to trap me saying something negative about her mom or spending time with her mom. It goes something like this:

Kate: Are you going to miss me when I go to NY with mom?

Me: Of course I am! I hope you have a great time!

Kate: Oh, you want me to have a good time? So that means you're glad I'm leaving you?

Me: Well, I'm not glad you won't be with me, but I AM glad you have the chance to go somewhere and do something fun!

Kate: So you're mad that I'm leaving you?

Me: No, I'm not mad! Of course I'll miss you, but I'm glad you get to go.

Kate: Oh, so you want me to leave you? You're glad I'll be with mom instead of you?

Me: UUGGGGHHHHH!! You are impossible, child!!

Kids always know just how to test your patience, don't they? As if it's not already complicated enough to explain our "blended situation" in 100% positive-"we're a team; everyone loves everyone"-approach, she has to go and try to trip me up!

So there you have a Kate story since it's all been about Jane lately =). Next week we have our family vacation, and then it's right back to school..... Where did the summer go??

Thursday, July 24, 2014

ADHD and Forgetfulness

I'm admitting right up front that I have NOT researched this at all yet. I'm just putting my thoughts out there, and will research next! I know that's backwards, but I don't want all my reading on the subject to cloud my original thoughts. I had never noticed or thought of Jane as forgetful before. But this past week, there were three MAJOR incidents that honestly really worry me. My husband thinks it has something to do with different "levels of brain alertness" with ADHD, and that while in one level of alertness, she forgets what happened while in other levels.... if you follow! My question is why is this "symptom" just now manifesting itself? She's had ADHD forever, and has always been disorganized and forgets to finish things. But this seems different to me. She is now suddenly forgetting entire conversations and interactions. (For those of you who haven't read before, Jane is my 12-year-old daughter with moderate, but well-controlled ADHD). Here are the three incidents:

1. Wednesday morning: Jane decides (impulsively) to put her swim shorts over the dog's head. She cracks up and laughs hysterically until I come to see what she's up to. I have to tell her to take that off and remind her the dog is not a toy (for the umph-teenth time), and ask if she would like to have some tight, constricting clothes wrapped around her face. Move forward to Wednesday night as we're all playing a card game together. I make a joke about Jane doing crazy stuff to the dog. She has a confused look on her face and insists she has never done anything to the dog. I was like, "Uh, this morning? You wrapped your shorts around her head??" She was literally dumbfounded, jaw dropped and all, and says, "I did that??" She honestly had no recollection of any of it.

2. Thursday morning: We're driving to surf camp passing this one community of beautiful bright and pastel multi-colored houses. Jane goes on and on asking everyone which is their favorite color, which is their least favorite, which color would look best on our house, etc. The conversation lasted for at least 10 minutes. Friday morning: Passing by the same houses, and Jane says, "Kristi, which of those houses is your favorite color?" I thought she was just being funny trying to repeat the conversation. "Jane, we've already had this conversation." Jane again, completely incredulous, "We did? When? I don't remember that! We did not! Maybe I wasn't here. What was your favorite then?" I exchanged worried glances with my husband. He was like, how could she forget an entire 10 minute conversation?

3. Friday afternoon: We pass a sign for snow cones, and the girls start oo-ing and aah-ing in the back seat about how good they are. I announced that I really don't care for snow-cones because it's just sugar syrup over ice, and if I have a treat, I'd rather have chocolate or ice cream. They didn't agree with me and kept talking about their favorite flavors and the difference between snow cones and shaved ice. Saturday morning: Jane says to me, "Kristi, do you like snow cones?" as we pass the same sign from yesterday. At this point, I'm really worried and thinking she's just been bluffing this forgetting stuff all week. I decided to try to trap her. I said, "Yeah, I love snow cones. Key lime is my favorite." She just said, "Yeah, me too." She had no remembrance that I just said yesterday that I don't like them! It hadn't been just a passing comment that she didn't hear. Everyone heard and was stating whether or not they would rather have snow cones or ice cream. She was involved in the conversation, and a day later it's just Poof!--gone.

After all these things, my husband and I were talking it over, and that's when he had this "levels of alertness" theory. I had just told him the week before that I hoped when she's over puberty, we could start gradually decreasing her medication. Now, I'm not so sure. I would like her to see her doctor or a counselor, but she's very resistant towards doctor trips, and I (as stepmom) am not in a position to just set something up like that without consent from her other parents. So I guess I should stop typing and stop worrying and do my research, because I'll probably be able to find something to make me feel better and realize it IS normal.... I sure hope so anyways.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Daddy Effect

At times, I feel like Jane and I are subconsciously fighting little dirty fights to see who can get more attention from my husband. If she feels or senses that I'm getting a little too "comfortable" in this family, or a little too "cocky" with everything I think I know about J and her and Kate, she will bring up something from "before my time" to make me immediately feel like an outsider or like I don't really belong here. I don't think she really is intentionally pushing me out or hurting my feelings. She just wants to feel like she has more history and connections to her daddy than I do. She tries so hard to please him and do things she knows he will like--WAY harder than she tries to please me! =) Over the last week, there were two different instances where this "Daddy effect" really started getting under my skin.

Scenario 1:

We were dropping the girls off at surf camp, and J pulled over to let us out while he went and parked. (They're always reading or on electronics in the car, so we have to warn them that "we're here; unbuckle; get out") Anyways, I had to tell Jane 3 times to put her book away and jump out. The last time I raised my voice:


Jane: (Proceeds to stomp out of the car, slam the door, and walk noticeably in front of me.)

Me: (Caught up and ignored it.) "Have a good day at surf camp and don't be rude to your sister like yesterday."

Jane: (Turns up nose and starts walking in front again.)

Me: "Is something bothering you? You're acting like you might be upset."

Jane: No. (Walks away)

Me: (Gave it a minute to blow over and tried to help her with sunscreen.)

Jane: (Standing with arms folded and pouty face.)


Jane: Smiling really big, skipping up to him, "Daddy, daddy, can you watch me surf today?"

My thoughts: "What the heck just happened? Is this not the same kid who was just giving me such attitude? Wow. I feel like I just got slapped in the face. I feel so belittled and unimportant to her. I'm just a means to an end, unless there's a better means around. Then I'm just nothing."

Scenario 2:

We're all out playing on the beach, and I had to ask Jane to please start sharing the rafts with Kate.

Kate: "I'm sorry Jane for not playing nicely. Want to help me with this raft?"

Jane: (Turns her back to both of us and stomps away.)

Me: (Go help Kate get her raft out in the water to where Jane is brooding. "Y'all play nice. You can't be mad all day."

Jane: (Turns back on us both and swims away)

Kate: (Comes in from water crying because Jane won't play)


Jane: Swims over as fast as she can all smiles. "Daddy, daddy, help me with my raft too!"

My thoughts: "Well, what am I, chopped liver? I feel like I completely don't even exist to her sometimes. Does she really hate me? No, I honestly don't think so. But how can she be so hurtful without even knowing it? Maybe she does know it. Maybe she doesn't mind making me feel bad, but she doesn't want J to know or suspect how she treats me behind his back. I can't process all this. I just need to cry."

I tell my husband later what is actually happening when he walks up, and he is shocked. He had no idea any of that drama was even playing out. There was another time that Jane got so mad that J wouldn't take her with him to run an errand, that she stormed out to the garage and waited there the whole time. I asked her to come in and join us in a game or movie, and she literally screamed at me and slammed the door. As soon as J got home, she was all sweet and smiley and asking for ice cream. REALLY?? J told me not to let it bother me because there's just something about Daddy's and little girls.... I sure hope that's all it is and not that she really hates me!