Several people have asked when I'll write a column again. I can hardly believe it's already been six weeks!
Many readers might remember that my husband and I acquired an instant family at that time. The sudden addition of three kids to this happily married couple has filled my days more than I ever could have imagined. I've become chauffeur, cook, therapist, first responder, scheduler, disciplinarian ... and did I mention chauffeur?
Since I'm most definitely not a morning person, my husband has taken charge of breakfast and getting the children ready for school and day care. Every parent knows what a challenge that is. I get the kids where they need to go throughout the day and handle after-school and dinner prep time. We share baths and bedtime. He does most of the dishes and I do the majority of the housecleaning.
Without this cooperative effort and mutual support, parenting three adopted kids with a difficult background would be impossible. I have the utmost admiration for anyone who can successfully parent healthy kids. I'm incredulous at those who can parent special needs kids, and can't even fathom what it takes to be a single parent.
The following is just a little of what I've learned in the last six weeks from my three kids ages 6 and under.
You can never have enough milk, bread and eggs on hand. Fortunately our three kids love milk. I've never been a milk lover, and when I was single a pint of skim would certainly spoil in my refrigerator. Now it's not uncommon to see three or four gallons in the fridge, and they never last more than a couple of days.
There is no easy way to overcome constipation in a 2-year-old. Adding fiber to the diet is a great idea, but bran cereal doesn't come in fruit flavors or with marshmallows. Crushed Fibercon tablets, however, do mix pretty well in applesauce.
Before-school vomiting changes the day's schedule for the whole family. And it smells a lot worse than dog puke.
I've learned about childhood colds and ear infections. This is closely followed by the fact that children's Motrin is yummy and makes every child want medicine.
Three large dogs quickly find 2-year-old fingers when they're covered with ketchup, hot dog, American cheese, oatmeal, chocolate, applesauce, Tootsie Pops ... need I continue?
If a kid loved green beans (or broccoli or asparagus) last time, that doesn't guarantee the same vegetable will be a hit again next time.
Kids have a different internal thermometer than adults. I can wear a sweater, jacket and mittens in the car, and all three kids will beg to take their jackets and shoes off and for me to turn the "cold heat" on.
Temper tantrums are loud, sometimes painful for the adult and usually happen when least expected.
I've learned about Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob, Arnold and The Wiggles. "Be quiet" means something different to me than it does to a 4-year-old in church. Another church finding is that "Amen!" is logically followed by "I'm hungry!" to a 4-year-old who is learning to say grace at suppertime.
I've also learned that:
* I must have had a dormant "mommy" gene hiding inside me. Within a few hours of becoming a mom, I'd already completed the transformation -- I sounded exactly like my own mother.
* My husband has an incredible knack for making kids laugh. And it's hard to resist getting caught up in the fun.
* A genuine smile and "I love you" from a child can turn my heart to mush.
* There's nothing that compares with a greeting by an enthusiastic child running with arms open yelling, "Mommy! Mommy!"
Above all I've learned that neighbors, friends, coworkers and people I don't even know can be generous beyond my wildest dreams. My heartfelt thanks go to those people who have offered support in the form of gifts, hand-me-downs, advice and prayers. You will be remembered and appreciated always.
(Diane McCormack is a correspondent for The Brainerd Dispatch and a freelance writer living in north central Minnesota. Comments and story ideas are welcome by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (218) 821-5297.)
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