Drawing the Line Between Homes
For a blended family, holidays require a little more effort if you want to make memories and keep traditions. This year, the boys were set to spend Easter with their bio mom. For us this means they will stay the evening before Easter with her and we will get them back the evening of Easter. We wanted to have a family get together so to accommodate the schedule we chose to have a brunch Saturday morning with Easter festivities to follow. Keep in mind we had just gotten home from the Hospital Friday afternoon for Carlos’ neck surgery and had to pick the kids up the same evening along with a grocery store run for Saturday’s brunch menu - so the house was a little hectic.
I chose to make a super yummy breakfast crescent ring that I’ve made only once before and something new I hadn’t tried, a french toast bake that everyone loved. The adults indulged in tequila sunrise mimosas and the kids enjoyed fresh fruit cut into bunny and egg shapes. The brunch was an all around success - which is crucial to my southern roots of perfectionism and hospitality. Plus we got to use our newly built table that comfortably fit everyone including the food.
After stuffing ourselves with tequila and breakfast we retired to the backyard for the traditional easter egg hunt. This year was a lot more fun because Dex, who is almost 3, was able to run around on his own and find his egg colors without too much help.
Once everyone had found all their eggs and the adults did a walk through of the yard for stragglers (which turned up hours later when the kids went to play outside) we went inside to unveil the goodies.
As the kids emptied the eggs, we blew up all the balloons which kept the kids entertained for a couple hours popping them, hiding them, and trying to see who can keep their balloon up the longest. It was also Carlos’ mom’s birthday so we did cake and candles. We got blessed with some beautiful spring weather so of course we went back outside to take advantage of that. Around here you never know when another snow storm will pop up. It was so nice being out in the sun while the kids played in the yard.
We finished up our early Easter by dying eggs. Dex really enjoyed this, he was so fascinated by his eggs I could barely get him to look into the camera with the others. Before the kids left to go to their moms, their aunt and grandma surprised them with easter baskets. What a day!
My heart was so full. We couldn’t believe all the stuff we were able to accomplish in a few short hours but everyone had such a great time. These are the things I look forward to and hope that the kids always remember and cherish. Happy Easter!
Call it my pursuit of imparting independence into the children or my vile hatred of changing poopy diapers. Whichever it is, I have been working hard at potty training the two year old. Mind you we only have him every other week and at least one day that week is spent at his grandma’s…where no effort to aide the training seems to be taking place. Not to mention his bio mom has admitted that she’s not around him enough to make much effort in his potty practices. So the job has been tough trying to teach a consistent habit to a child who currently lives an unfortunately inconsistent life (#stepparentproblems). But, have no fear, for I have had great success this past week! Dex turned 2 in May and I believe we began introducing the idea of using the potty the beginning of June. Of course some people have made comments that it’s too early for him, we’re expecting to much out of him. I totally disagree. Although every child is different, I believe parents have a common tendency to hold back from challenging a young child because they’re just not ready for their baby to grow up yet. Add this to the busy lives we all lead and the many people in a child’s life (family members, teachers, daycare providers) and it can be difficult to stay on top of something when everyone else has their own way.
One thing that has been helpful in the process is that Dex has an older brother to mimic. Of course Vince is completely potty trained and wearing regular underwear so Dex has a role model of sorts to look up to. Outside of his older brother’s help it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been blessed to be home so I can put Dex on the toilet literally every 45 minutes to an hour. Carlos and I keep a jar of treats for Dex that he gets every time he uses the potty. We started out with Reese’s Pieces and have moved to Gummy Bears, he really enjoys those. He’s also in pull-ups which of course makes the process a lot easier than having to take a diaper on and off. We’ve also found that Dex aims to please, so when he has an accident all it takes is a simple look and statement of disappointment and he’s utterly heartbroken (which is pretty hard because he’s so stinking cute). Of course we have to consider whether his accidents were our doing if we waited to long to check in with him or if we didn’t let him finish using the bathroom while he was on the potty. All in all it’s been going very well. We’re now working on his efforts to tell us he has to go. Right now we simply ask him or just put him on the potty.
I think it’s amazing the things a child can do and accomplish in such a short time when given a little nudge and some opportunity. I always tell Carlos that one benefit the kids have of me is that I’m not their bio mom, so I’m not swayed by the cuteness or the baby feelings mom’s go through with their kids. If I see they need direction I can give it to them straight without getting all emotional about it. I’m proud of that, because I have a two year old who goes to sleep with no fuss every night in a full size bunk bed, who can dress and undress himself and who is on his way to being fully potty trained long before he’s three - I may not be their real mom, but I’d say I’m doing a damn good job at something! High-fives to all the step parents out there, you’re doing great! :0)