Christmas with the kids is over

Today was the day we celebrated Christmas with the kids.

We had low expectations.  Or at least I did.  My only hopes were that:

1. Nobody would have a meltdown.

2. We would talk about the birth of Jesus in a meaningful way at some point during the week.

3. Nobody would sulk.

We managed to accomplish #2 and #3.  The meltdown(s) of course, starred Bee (6).  They were small.  But they reveal the emotional underbelly of a kid who has so many issues I don’t even know where to begin to help her sometimes.  From the time she was born, according to my husband, she was born into a home of discord.  Since her mother has become a lesbian and is now living with her girlfriend, and I’ve married her dad and I’m living with them . . . she has even more to negotiate.  I feel for her.

She experiences so much shame when she is corrected.  Even when she is lovingly corrected, like this:

Parent: Bee, honey, you know, you might want to try cutting your crepe with . . .

Bee: I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW . . .waaaaahhhhh. <sobs>

Parent: ?

Or it could go like this:

Parent: Bee . . .

Bee: WHAT? WHAT? (in this tone of voice that is like she’s been accused of grand theft auto)

Parent: We asked you not to climb on the back of the couch, right?

Bee: <from the back of the couch> I DON’T CARE! I KNOW! LEAVE ME ALONE!

Parent: Seriously, ,you’re going to fall and crush the . . .

<the thing gets crushed>

Parent: Bee! Dang it!

Bee: WHAAAAAT??? Waaaaaahhhhhh. . ..

Etc.

The other day I was with my friend who has a three year old daughter.  She was more able to communicate her feelings and receive correction than Bee.  It was sobering to see a three year old explain to her mother why she didn’t want to do something.  She explained very carefully and slowly, like her mother was a recalcitrant, stupid employee.  It was funny and inspiring at the same time.

Having a kid who is unable to control herself or her reactions is draining in the same way that having an asshole boss is draining.  You know you aren’t going to influence the boss all that much in one or two conversations.  You know the boss isn’t going anywere.  You know that any change, if it comes, will be slow.  You know that you are all in the same company and somehow have to find a way to work together.  But you go home at the end of the day worn OUT.

I know that other parents have children with similar issues.  I know this is not some special, unheard of disorder.  But this is my shout out to all the parents and step-parents out there who feel slightly inadequate to the challenges laid before them.

Set low goals, people.  And have a three year calendar on the wall.

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6 Responses to Christmas with the kids is over

  1. Kim says:

    Megan! Bless you. God put into this little girls life for a reason. She needs a mother and you are what the doctor ordered. It is not to late to turn this child’s life around. She is asking for it and doesn’t even know it. We are very lucky all of us that we don’t have dysfunction((at least minimal dysfunction) in our own lives and the people who are around us that have dysfunction like my former sister in law you need to keep at an arms length. It will take time for Bee to know what non-dysfunction looks like and of course it will always be at the other household but you need to just keep her one household functional and loving and eventually she will know where her sanctuary really is. If you stay consistent she will eventually too.

  2. shauna says:

    I know how painful this is to see, live with and to try and ponder how on earth those places will ever be met. I can only offer my prayers, my example that no life is beyond God’s restoration and healing and that miss B has her own life to walk out. Not only does she have you and D as parents, but she is God’s dearly beloved daughter. You are in her life which is saying a LOT and taking the long (very very long) view is all we can do. Just the fact that all this is SEEN for what it is, well…my dear…she has more than many kids:) And also, miss M is probably an extraordinary 3 year old. I’m just saying!
    xo

  3. missionseeker says:

    Dear Megan, Peace and Happy Holiday Greetings, 6 yr. old step-daughter, Yes, I had one of those too. She is now 14. Wow, they grow fast. I remember praying for her when she was 4, out playing in the yard with some friends, smiling and running and very happy. I prayed that she could keep that happiness in her heart. I knew that before too long she would begin to change. As we all do when we get older. I, many times leveled with her and tried to give her the advantages of being who she is. She lives with mom and a new (step)Dad which makes it difficult to keep up with all she has become. She has had Xmas with them and Xmas with us. We made sure she has had a space to call her own when she is here. A little different than yours, my situation became ghosts. What do I mean you ask? There you are with the homosexuality issue, well, mine was ghosts. Ghosts as I can know God is a Holy Ghost, spirit God, at Jesus baptism the Holy ghost was as a dove. Angels are angels. But, ghosts are not, but one ghost is, the Holy Ghost. Firmly, God’s word has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He has given us only one ghost, at baptism, the gift of, salvation, the gift of the H.G., Christ can live in us, the hope of glory. Well, then, there are spiritual forces. Demons even, being spiritual forces of evil, but, only one true ghost. So, in humiliy I taught her that truth, there is a ghost, and it is called the Holy Ghost. Question, does her mom still believe and teach her there are ghosts, maybe. But, she knows what God says, in the bible, and what better words to come out of my mouth than just to repeat in proper timing, with gentleness and humility, there’s no such thing as ghost(s) just one. Battles of wits, Yes, but, hey, we are all in the battles of wits, each in one way or another. Today she knows God’s word, and gently I remind her, and beings that God is smarter than all of us, we can apply His wisdom to the situations that come up and they are the best guidance regardless of what Satan comes up with. Plus, every time I could, I said something nice about her mom, I let God be smarter, not step-mommy and when ghosts were brought up I never made fun of that belief. Just simply, stated the facts, and let her weight the evidence. Then, fast forward to today, she still knows that when she is in my house I lovingly insist that we worship God with the Saints on Sunday and Bible Study on Wed night. If she comes over, she’s going to church. God bless you in all your endeavors, May you find His strength and answer in every situation. I had a wise teacher once who told me that in divorce situations, the parties parted are worried about what the other parties say about the other party (in front of the child) when they are not around, so speaking God’s truth in love, I made a purposed effort to find something, anything that was nice to say about the missing parent . My step daughter used to bring her mom up all the time. It was okay, she just wanted to remind me that she had not forgotten her mom, just because her mom wasn’t in the same room that her and I were. In Christ, M.seeker

  4. sarcasticredheadedgeek says:

    Low goals are right, my dear. My 6 YO StepDaughted isn’t my trouble one, its the 7 YO. She’s a nightmare and would love to dismember me. She shows no respect whatsoever.

    I have no words of advice, just lots of prayers and good vibes sent your way.

    If you ever want to stepmommy to stepmommy vent, let me know

  5. Kim says:

    Hey there, even though I’m not a stepmom, I really can relate. I have an adopted 13 year old daughter who has had major issues due to spending her infancy in an orphanage. You didn’t say how much of the time she is with you and her dad, but a major turning point was when I had “holding time” with my daughter. In your case, it’s her dad’s duty. Holding time is time spent one on one, with the child in your lap, every day, touching, talking, and (eventually) sharing. There is something about physical touch that breaks through when all the talking in the world won’t. Our minds and souls are embodied, that’s the way we’re made.
    My daughter still has issues … but I keep reminding myself that so do I. And so do her brothers, who are my husband and my bio-children. None of us are perfect. But when a child’s world has been shaken up so early, you do have to work to make them feel secure.
    And yes, low goals are probably a good thing for all families to remember anyway. From the elderly relative that complains, to the bossy relative that thinks they should be able to show up once a year and criticize your teenagers’ mode of dress, down to babies and toddlers who want to unwrap everybody’s presents, everybody benefits when we don’t expect a Hallmark Christmas. Hallmark Christmases are fantasies in the minds of TV execs anyway.

  6. reallifeinsc says:

    I understand how you feel! Just don’t give up on her! God put you in her life for a reason, he knew she needed a mom, a woman in her life who would love her uncondionally, set her straight when needed, and would be able to display some patience when things get tough! You were called to do this and I’m glad you can find the humor in your daily experiences with the kids, and with your friends’ children! It really does help to get through the tough times when you can find something to laugh about!

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