Blended families certainly spice life up. Waking up one morning to take care of two children and then having that number increase to four the next morning poses some interesting challenges.
Think of it in mathematical terms of portions. Portions of time and portions of attention.
Mostly I think in terms of portions of food.
How does anyone feed boys?
I mean seriously, where do they put that stuff? My stepsons are 9 and 11 years old, and most people delight in telling me "wait until they're teenagers."
I'm sure the manager of the grocery store wept in relief when I wrote the check.
I don't even know how to cook that much food.
My girls -- who have no clue what a grocery bill even is -- think it's Christmas and that Santa brought them brothers.
When we brought the boys home last week, the girls couldn't contain their glee and couldn't stop hugging them. Katie even hugged me, saying, "thanks for my Alex and my T.J."
It's so sweet.
She gets upset when they leave the house, not sure if they'll come back or not.
Our house is busy, messy and loud.
I've never enjoyed it more.
Our first "family" activity was setting up a yard sale. The boys, hearing they would receive 100 percent of the proceeds of anything they sold, ransacked their room.
That was the idea.
Them hauling out everything was not.
They were a little less enthusiastic each time we said, "You're not selling that!"
The girls' reactions were completely opposite. Toys they hadn't seen in a year became much loved and impossible to part with.
They were convinced the yard sale was staged expressly for their entertainment.
It was hard when they found the electric guitar and drum set (kid size) in a sale box.
OK, I caved on the Whinnie the Pooh fishing pole, and Katie was allowed to keep it, but there was no way any musical instrument was coming back in my house.
We sold the set for $2.50 and were glad to get rid of it -- surprised even. Parents don't buy that kind of stuff for their children. It usually is received as a gift from a sadistic relative -- most likely in reprisal for a battery-operated noisemaker you delighted in giving their children a few years earlier.
That wasn't quite the case in this instance. The guitar was a Christmas present from Nana, who after I rolled my eyes when she told me it didn't have headphones, ran out and added a drum set to the mix.
Learned my lesson.
Three days and two harsh sunburns later, we stacked the remnants against the house, poised for another stab at getting rid of it. Slowly, sereptitiously, I'm adding some more toys and am formulating a plan of action for distracting the girls during the sale.
So far, I'm coming up with zilch.
I mean, please, Katie still wears her Easter dress from two years ago -- it's her "princess" outfit.
Selling last year's Halloween costumes when she's not looking isn't going to be easy.
Especially when she shoots nasty looks at anyone touching them.
Oh well, it's a battle that'll have to be fought. The house already is so crowded that there's a freezer in the girls' room (needed to stock bulk food for the boys), I store paper towels in their closet, and my clothes in the boys' room.
And that's just the beginning.
We needed space before. Now, with two boys in the house, you wouldn't believe how small it seems.
So, everything goes.
Anybody in the market for a short-term lease agreement on some children?
We'll throw in a talking fishing pole and some frozen pizzas.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.