Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The children of single parents

Ha ha ha ha!!! The kids and I are snuggled in the bed watching American Idol. This is the only reality show, and nearly the only television, that we watch. Its so much fun to watch in this stage when its SO bad.

Entertainment... sometimes like watching a train wreck too!

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Rose is not feeling well. She's been feeling stuffy headed for almost a week now. On Friday of last week, she woke up with a sore throat and begged to stay home from school. I thought she may have been running a fever so I called into her school to inform them of her first sick day.

Ten minutes later, she was playing with Grace and jumping on the trampoline.

I was ticked but I'd already called in for her. Turns out she wasn't running fever after all. Thankfully, I could still drop her off at Grace's preschool so I could go to work. I also warned her about crying wolf.

So this morning, when she woke up crying about how bad she felt, I sympathized but I sent her to school anyway.

(She's not contagious but I get the feeling I'll be working from home tomorrow. My job is a blessing.)

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Can you imagine three girls trying to get ready in the morning?

It's a rare morning that we get out the door without someone breaking down or losing it about something! The funny thing is, we each seem to take turns being the calm one, the one who holds it all together while the other two melt down.

Yes, even I've been known to melt down too.

Grace has this thing with shoes. She hates wearing socks. She doesn't like the "dots" (her term for the ends of the toe seams on her socks) and freaks out every time she has to put them on.

Rose is usually on top of things but there is the occasional morning, like today, that she just can't deal. I was dreading it when Grace woke up. I knew they'd be losing it and I couldn't handle it today.

But my sweet 4 year old, my baby girl, held it together while I tried to get us out the door.

"Mommy, I've brushed my teeth and hair. I grabbed a muffin and I'll just eat it at school."

Aw.

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Tonight, Grace has continued to be my "big girl". She likes being 4.

"Mommy, we have to take care of Rose. She doesn't feel good. Can I put a warm washrag on her face to make her head stop hurting?"

"Can I help you with the laundry?"

"I've got it Mommy! I will help you carry everything in the house."

I love how my little ones step up to help me. I assume most single parents experience this. I think our kids have to mature a little faster than those in a two parent home.

I think we, as single parents, possibly expose our children to more at an earlier age as well. The Exception had a post up about some of the possibly adult themed musicals her daughter has seen already, at the age of 9. My kids' favorite movie at the moment is Grease. I watched it at their age and I never caught on to the sexual references.

I too am quite positive that the leadership qualities of both of my children have probably been acquired due to the responsibilities I've already given them. I'm raising them to be independent children because I have to. I also emphasize life lessons like the fact that sometimes, things don't always go the way we'd like them to. I've even introduced a little psychology with them - explaining that when another child is acting mean towards them, it is probably due to a sadness that they are trying to hide. It helps the both of them to have compassion for those that seemingly attempt to hurt them.

Perhaps we expose our children to other types of situations due to the differences in ours vs. a two parent home. Either way, I think our children are accepting the challenge and becoming well rounded individuals (like, um, the next president?).

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Its getting late and Rose is crying in her bed. I may be in for a long night with fever and tears. I'll try not to beat myself up too much for her lesson today.

It's tough sometimes to be the heavy but I'm also the big softie who will stroke her face, wipe her tears and remind her that everything is going to be ok.

Bless their hearts, they do the same for me sometimes too.

13 comments:

  1. This is so sweet, it sounds like you are quite blessed!

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  2. I've been lurking around your blog here and there. Sounds like you've got some great kids.
    My mom used to always take my temperature if I wasn't feeling well. If I had a fever, she wouldn't send me to school. Though always on the days I wanted to go and I had a fever, I wasn't allowed. :S
    And if the 'dots' are that annoying, they can be made more comfortable by turning her sock inside out. The 'dots' always bugged me too when I was little.
    Just in case you hadn't though about it.

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  3. What a great post! You sound like such a great mom. With all the press about single moms lately you bring up some great points about how our kids can actually benefit from our singlehood.

    With FOUR girls I know all too well about the drama and meltdowns. My 3 yr. old likes being helpful too, a lot like your daughter, but the older ones? They have long since grown out of that stage. Unless of course they want something!

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  4. Sounds like you are doing a great job. Parenting is imperfect at best and it is important that we are able to accept our imperfections.

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  5. I hope Rose feels better soon.

    **hugs** to all 3 of you

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  6. Kids are so cute. Yeah, I always believed my kids when they didn't feel up to going to school. But they knew that there would be NO playing that day or that evening. So if they faked it, they were very, very sorry later. Pretty much nipped that in the bud.

    It is so great when kids help out. In fact, I believe it's essential to the entire family unit, and to their individual growth. What's neat is when they get older and out on their own. And they help each other. I love that. :)

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  7. Oh my goodness, Em has the SAME problem about her socks. I head to Stride Rite, they make seamless socks for kids - which make for better mornings for us. ;)

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  8. I took my daughter to see Rent when she was 10 (she's 12 now). So yeah, I definitely think I expose her to more than some 2 parents families would. For one thing, I think with 2 parent families there is usually one parent who is more rigid. I like not having to answer to anyone else... it's all me! And also, I have to admit that part of it, for me, is that I miss having adult company, so I use her for companionship and therefore expose her to things I might not otherwise, like letting her watch Desperate Housewives with me so I don't have to watch it alone. I'm careful to make sure she's smart and mature enough for something before I expose her to it, and I think the exposure is good for her. And a lot of these things spark conversations or become learning tools. Like in Rent, when Mimi is going through drug withdrawals. I'd like to think that scene might go through her head when she's at a party in a few years and someone offers her something.

    As for sick days, my rule is if there's no fever or puking, she goes to school. That's not to say I've never broken it when she seemed more pitiful than usual, but for the most part that's the rule we go by.

    Oh, also I envy you for having kids that want to help. I hope they keep doing that as they get older, but right now mine is in that lazy teenager stage, and it takes enormous effort just to get her to do little things like throw away her trash or hang up her towel. It gets so bad that she will hand me the remote control because she can't even bring herself to fast-forward through the commercials of the show she's watching. UGH. Of coures I give it back and tell her to cut the crap!

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  9. Regarding Grace and the "dots" on the socks...

    What always helped with my children was having them turn them inside out. The seam never touched their skin, and it was a huge help!!

    Has worked for others I've mentioned it to also. Let me know if it helps!

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  10. My nine year old loves grease too!! Your kids sound great! Hope she feels better.

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  11. I so agree with this!! My kids are exposed to alot more responsibility than kids with 2 parents!

    Its the way it is! We are a tag team and need to work together otherwise the wheels will totally fall off!!!

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  12. I hope Rose is feeling better. I actually wrote about this the other day. I had an abcess tooth and everything was going wrong and I just lost it. I was blown away when my 2 year old put down his toys and came and sat beside me rubbing my back and my 4 year old wiped my tears away and told me "It'll be ok, Mommy. I don't know what we'll do but we'll find a way to make it better." Those are the same words I've said to them so many nights since their dad and I separated and now he was being the man of the house and trying to comfort me with them.

    The 4 year old has strep throat now and when we were in the doctor's office the other day, he was sicker than I've ever seen him. He was laying on the examining table wrapped in a blanket and my 2 year old kept brushing his hair off his face and kissing his cheek and making sure the blanket stayed tucked around him. The nurse thought it was so cute...she left the door open and kept telling people to peek in. It's those moments when I know that in spite of all my mistakes and shortcomings, I really am raising two beautiful, sweet, sensitive young men who will make the world a brighter place! Ann Coulter be damned!

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