Kids... they definitely need to come with a warning label: "I am exactly like my father." Sorry dads, but in my case it really is true.
After our visit with Charlie-Anne (my step daughter), I've come to see just how much Glen's kids are just like him. I honestly thought it was just Dayton, and seeing as how he is my only child, I now see just how naive I've really been...
I love Charlie to death, I really do. There's little I wouldn't do for that girl. I gave her my sweet sixteen family daughter ring, did all her laundry, brought her meals to the table, did all the dishes, and when I wasn't doing that, I spent every available waking moment with her, making sure she didn't get bored. When she left us, I felt like she took a chunk of my heart right along with her. I miss her like crazy and can't stop thinking about her since she's gone back to Regina last Thursday.
I wish I could say our entire two week visit was flawless, but she is fifteen, a teenager. You know there will be some disputes, especially since we just met her last September for the first time since she was two years old.
Dayton loves her to pieces too, and when she showed a wee bit more attention to his little buddy, he got a wee bit jealous. Of course, since he doesn't understand his feelings, he's not able to say what the problem is, and decides to push his little buddy in the pool in a fit of jealously, rather than try to talk out something he doesn't understand.
Some of the similarities I noticed the kids have with their dad is that none of them want to "talk" about their feelings or what they're thinking. When upset, they prefer to hide out and have a fit. They all pout in the same way. They prefer to learn things the hard way rather than seeing a simpler solution, they value money more than anything else, and they don't feel comfortable with affection or intimacy. How am I to survive this when I'm a touchy, lovey kind of gal? I love hugging both of the kids and kissing them good night. I refuse to go to bed angry or upset and don't want to be responsible for someone going to bed in this state of mind either, so talking things out is important to me. The learning things in a more difficult way I can deal with, providing they're learning. But when it comes to love and the emotional side of things, and preferring "things" over "love"... how do I deal with that and still be me?
As a teenager, Charlie-Anne things of me as... wait for it... OVERPROTECTIVE. Oh my gosh! Furthermore, her friend who happens to be my best friend's daughter AGREES with her and so does my best friend! Oh my goodness, I feel another brain aneurysm coming on. And to think, all I did was ask where they were off to and what time they'd be home and showing a little apprehensiveness about Charlie-Anne meeting up with a boy and ending up in the wrong part of the city, and asking for her not to go alone anywhere in the dark... I joked around a lot about it, but it seems no one thought I was funny... Ugh. Well hell's bells... If anyone needs to know anything, call a teenage girl. It seems they know everything. Should save us a lot on college and university. It appears my life experience and yours amounts to nothing of importance.
Seems another mistake I've made during our visit was trying too hard to please her by hugging her and embarrassing her so that she would know she was a part of our family and had a place in our home. Jeez! All I did was hug her in public and when she showed interest in a boy, I asked him if he thought she was pretty and asked him for his phone number. Well, at least she was pleased with me getting the phone number... I did something right!!! Wooooo-hoooooooo!!! Little does she know I did it as a joke. I do it to my best friend all the time. Back fired on me now, didn't it. I bet the little schmuck is calling or texting her as we speak.
To answer your question, after years of observation, multiple hypothesis, well-structured analysis and deeply reviewed interpretations, my friends and apparently Charlie have finally came to the conclusion that I'M NOT NORMAL. I like my children safe and sound. I like to make sure they're not bored and are having a good time. I like to make sure that when they venture out at night when it's dark that they don't do it alone, and I enjoy 'family time,' playing games like bocci ball, croquet and swimming. I want them to know how much I love them, and give them all the attention I humanly can. I also think that a boy must pass a breathalyzer, drug test, lie detector, back-ground check and psych evaluation in order to qualify for a first date with my girl. It seems that this is not what a responsible, loving, caring step parent or parent is supposed to do. We're supposed to give our children freedom to do as they choose and go wherever they please at any time they want. I'm not suppose to worry about them getting hurt or kidnapped. Oooops. My mistake.
I've learned some things about me during our visit with Charlie-Anne though. Even with our opposing views on how I should 'behave,' I love her no matter what. When she was unhappy, I cried in private. I love her a tiny, smidgen, half a millimeter less then I love my own son, something Dayton's not crazy about, but I can't help myself. I think she's the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. I think she deserves more than I can give her, and whether she likes it or not, I don't think there's a male on this planet that is good enough for her. I suppose I love her as though she was my own daughter. She somehow completes my family, and without her, I feel truly sad. I just wish she had a little more patience for me and how I think. Speaking about the way they think...
I've been trying to teach Dayton how to tie his shoes for the past three years. I figured the easiest way was to teach him the two bunny ears way, you know, the two loops, cross them and flip one 'bunny ear' into the whole and voila! You have a tied shoe. He just couldn't get the hang of it.
After coming home from shopping for school supplies for both Dayton and Charlie, I asked Charlie if she wouldn't mind showing Dayton how to tie his shoes, as Dayton desperately wanted to wear his new shoes outside and show his buddies. I told him if he learned how to tie them, he could wear them... Charlie showed him once and taught him for a whole five minutes... and Dayton tied his shoes!!! Wow!!! He really did it!!! I was thrilled!!! I watched him tie his shoes and thought the way he did it was tricky, but Charlie-Anne said that she thought the bunny ears way was too tricky... Obviously, so did Dayton, and so does their dad... Way too many similarities. The only difference between Charlie-Anne and Dayton is Dayton's pervasiveness over words, toys and activities. Also, Dayton's communication skills are obviously weaker and his understanding of feelings.
Now if I can just get the girl to understand my feelings... Walking away from this vacation, I learned that raising children is like raising monkeys on acid. You just don't know what they're thinking and have no idea what they're going to say or do next. All you know is that you should brace yourself, cause it's gonna be a roller coaster ride. Autism or no autism, children are wild!
Consider yourselves hugged,