Over the last few months, she has gotten a little closer to her step-brothers/sister, but ultimately this will take years. (I think her plan is to be long gone before this happens.) Right now I am lucky if I can bribe her to take them places......, now if I could only get her to change the destination from the homeless shelter . . . . . . One thing my daughter reminds me of constantly is that I let these kids get by with stuff I wouldn’t let her get by with at that age. What she doesn’t realize is that I don’t have the energy anymore to keep up with them the way I did her.
The transition to parenting a mob as opposed to a one-person army would not be complete without an understanding of some basics. For example, the old adage of what happens when a piece of food or the pacifier hits the floor is very illustrative. I know that with my own daughter, if her pacifier, a/k/a Binky, hit the floor it was a major effort to get it sterilized for her continued use. I went into mob parenting with the same concept, only to find that my new wife was far more pragmatic about such things. It seems that the 7 year old’s binky got that kind of sterile treatment, but by the time the 5 year old’s binky was at issue it just got rinsed off.
When I arrived on the scene in this mob we call a family, the three year old was just getting rid of her binky and I noticed something quite disturbing. This particular binky had been through the wars, and when it hit the floor she was lucky if it got wiped off. Often the only time it got wiped off was when the dog licked it. Naturally I was quite concerned and so was my wife. The only difference was that I was worried about the kid, Mom on the other hand was more concerned that the dog would catch some rare disease. In retrospect, I now see that my wife was right. God only knows where that kid’s mouth has been!!
This pragmatic approach carries over into all aspects of the kids’ lives. Weekends are prime time for fun outdoors, and with day care having recess outside, the kids are no strangers to the joys of playgrounds, backyards, and the woods. They get their fair share of scrapes, bangs, open wounds, gunshots, and shrapnel injuries. So much so, that we are now fairly oblivious to the little injuries. If nothing is broken, bleeding, or otherwise inhibiting an airway, we seldom get excited. Mom just says, “Is the bone sticking out? Are you spurting arterial blood? No? Then you’ll be OK. Let’s fix you up. That’s gonna leave a cool scar!” The advantage to this is that the kids don’t seem to be too swayed by the little stuff.
The other day the 7 year old came in from wiping out on his bike. There were the requisite scrapes, bangs, and raspberries on his knees and arms, but was he crying? Nope. Instead he was very tough and I was proud. If one of these kids whines over a little bang, it is because they really want attention, which in a house as full as ours is not always that easy to get. Unless you are trying to get some sleep, ...... with one eye open ....... or worse yet, sitting in the living room at 3 am. ~ Michael S. Pauley