The day I lost it with my kids
It was a rough night. One of those nights when my 15-month-old (Noemi) decides to wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for 2 hours! And of course, she woke up at her usual time, at 6:30 or so. I woke up with a huge headache that did not go away the whole day. Afternoon came, and I was super tired, moody, and fed up with kids’ complaints and their scolding of their toddler sister.
I lost it
See, my step-children are with us only 3 days a week, and Skye (my 3 yr old) gets super excited when they are with us. They are 12 (Anthony) and 9 (Mae), so I guess Skye sees them as little kids who can play with her.
Well, Skye was doing things that she was not supposed to be doing, and they were scolding her but Skye seemed to be doing it more on purpose.
However, one of those times I looked, I saw that she wanted to be sitting close to Anthony. He moved to our love seat, she followed him, and he was telling her not to sit with him because it was only for one person (they both could have fit but he was just getting tired of her.)
So I just had to say something but I was in the kitchen and they were in the living room so I was kind of yelling. “Why can you guys just get along? All she wants is to be with you guys. She loves you guys so much, she’s always asking for you when you are not here. You only see each other 3 days a week. It is not like you guys see each other every day to be annoyed by her.” Stuff like that. I had tears in my eyes at the end because I knew I was not supposed to be yelling. Also because it hurts that I see Skye always wanting to be with them and all I hear is scolding from their part like she annoys them.
Meanwhile my husband was there. He obviously looked at me when I was yelling but did not say anything against it. Obviously, when we were alone we talked about it and yes, I was wrong about yelling and getting so emotional but I have been keeping that inside of me for a long time. I had the same “talk” with my teenager because she was doing the same to Skye; but with my step-children, I was just putting it off because I did not want to come across like a lecturing parent. This was a worse way but it happened already, and as much as I wish I could take it back, I cannot. Just to be clear I was not yelling at them. It was more in general because my teenager was there too. I brought up how I told her the same thing about not being more patient with Skye and how she just wants to be part of whatever they are doing.
For some reason, they seem to forget they were once that “annoying” toddler.
I have no doubt that the “mother” in me came out to protect her child from whoever was doing “wrong” to her. But, I made sure in my mind that this was not the case because they are my step-children and my teenager is my daughter and I was not playing favorites.
When I had this “talk” with my teenager (yes, I yelled at her many times before because I got frustrated with that attitude towards her toddler sister,) I had to really think that if by saying something, she was going to think that I was favoring Skye. And no, the more I thought about it, the more I remembered that it was the same feeling I got when someone would talk about her when she was little.
When I was in the kitchen hearing the kids scolding Skye, and how she wanted to be next to them, I thought about times when other people would do the same to them or talk about them when they were not present. I would feel bad. Sometimes I would say something to those people and sometimes I would not, but the feeling was the same. That motherly feeling to protect her children. However, because I knew Skye did not need my protection from her siblings, I got so emotional with them, started saying those things, and then tears came out.
Having no siblings makes it hard to fully understand
My husband says it is somewhat hard for me to understand how siblings get along because I am an only child from my mom’s side anyway. I grew up having no siblings living with me, so he says I do not understand that dynamic. He could be right, but as a mother, I think those feelings are the same. I might not have the full perspective of having siblings and how they get along; however, I have some experience getting along with cousins with which I lived for a couple of years when I was a little girl. Actually, now that I think of it, I lived with cousins when I was 9 and 11, just about my step-children’s ages! Yes, we would argue, but then we would get along just fine after a few hours or minutes. We would say mean things to each other but then we would be fine. Kids do not hold grudges for a long time as adults do…
The complexity of it
So I have no experience in getting along with siblings, nor with “half-siblings” even though I have them. The thing is, I did not go to my dad’s house for a set number of days or spent nights there to hang out with my “half-siblings.” I did see them but only for a few hours. I never experienced the arguments and all the stuff I sort of experienced with my cousins. My daughters are experiencing that and it is a blessing. Even if they are “half-siblings,” my husband and I, are committed to teach them to see past the “half” and consider themselves just siblings. It is hard because my step-children are somewhat old in comparison to Skye and our 15-month-old (Noemi), and they have grown together taking “care” of just each other. But, that is a topic for another story. My teen just goes with the flow even though sometimes she acts just like a typical teen. She has always wanted to have siblings and a family so I guess she does not complain because now she has all of it!