Monday, January 5, 2009

Other people's children

I get asked all the time what it's like to "raise other people's kids." It really doesn't occur to me that Oliver or Manolin are other people's kids. They seem like, well, just kids to me. Even the short-term foster placements we've had have felt like members of our family. Temporary members to be sure, but members who slid into the framework with just a little bit of effort. I feel the same way about the children of close friends--I don't hesitate for a second when there's a booboo to be kissed or a hug to be doled out or a "Simmer down there, mister," that needs to be issued. They don't grate on my nerves and they don't make me heave deep, heaven-help-me-through-this sigh.

So why is it, then, that there are some children who just strain every ounce of your being whenever they're around? Children who go left when you say right. Children who buck and twist and kick at every little suggestion. Children who test every rule, who are loud and uncouth and who never, ever remember to flush.

Children who drive you crazy, in other words. You know--other people's kids.

What is it about these children that makes them absolutely unable to go with the flow? What renders them unable to grasp even the merest shred of self-discipline? Is it nature or nurture? Parenting or personality?

I don't know. I really don't know. But I tell you this. Taking on other people's kids is a big job not to be undertaken lightly or without coffee and chocolate.

Come to think of it, maybe it's best if you put the chocolate in the coffee.

There you go: my new rule of thumb. No more other people's kids without a mocha. Period.


Emily said...

I don't do other people's kids unless I love their mommy. And then, yes, I need candy and Diet Coke as my backup.

blessedmomto7 said...

AMEN to the chocolate and coffee!

Liz said...

well, i have a child of my own who is all these things and more. lol . he requires lots of coffee and chocolate!

Benny said...

You are so mean, Mary Grace.

But oh how honest!

I'm sure glad my brood falls into the category of receiving mocha-free booboo kisses and simmer downs from you! ;o)


secondofwett said...

As a former foster mom and an adoptive mom of many, I have to agree with you 100%! I like my chocolate with a nice cup of tea in solitude!

Rachel said...

I feel a bit bad...because I am not particularly jazzed about other people's kids, unless I am running things. I run a tight ship, and I don't like wild tomfoolery. I can totally imagine adopting (and making no distinction between my kids and "other people's kids"), but having neighbor kids visiting all afternoon? Nay.

The Hayes Zoo said...

snicker, snicker....

This is why I LOVE your blog, MG. You don't mince words. :)

Coffee = s.u.r.v.i.v.a.l.......

At least most days. :)

Dearest Jessica said...

Great post...there is no way I could or would do it with out coffee!

Luke said...

I have no problem teaching Sunday School, no matter the age, because I'm in control and I can threaten to return problem children to their parents (and will if it comes to that).

Other people's children bother me when the child is acting up and the parent isn't taking care of it. That drives me bananas: DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR MONSTER! Or, leave them in my charge so I can do something, like give 'em a "Simmer down now, ya hear?" [smile]

May your mocha serve you well today.


~ Angi :) said...

A woman after my own heart!

{sipping coffee as I read}

Care for a refill?


Tree Climbing Mom said...

I'd say chocolate and a Mr. Pibb, but otherwise I'm so with you on this one.

Anonymous said...

As a single mom of 2, one of whom is a CRAZY WILD hyperactive 3yo boy, I cannot survive without coffee and chocolate. As my mom says, "A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands."

Kim M. said...

AMEN sista! I just finished my 3rd cup of coffee so I can face a day of hopefully 3 well-behaved children *smiles* but if they aren't perfect, the coffee helps huh?