Saturday, March 25, 2006

My Worst Nightmare

It's a gorgeous day for a family picnic.
The Sun is shining. The Sky is a glorious blue dappled with fluffy white clouds.
I am sitting down at a picnic table enjoying the warm Spring breeze and smile as I take in the scenery.
At the other side of the park, The Mouse is being held by the Matriarch of this Family gathering. All around Her family members travel between the tables with their plates of food, while children run and play weaving in between the grown-ups who effortlessly step out of their way as if guided by some parental radar.
A member of my Friend's family approaches me. We chat about the day and what a beautiful Baby I have. I do not know Her name but she is a pleasant woman and I feel comfortable in her presence as I do with the other Family members.
I glance across the park to check on The Mouse and see the Grandmother. Her arms are empty. She no doubt has passed the Baby off to another doting Family member.
The Mouse is an easy baby. She will happily go to anyone.
I stand up from my seat to get a better view of the park. I scan the crowd looking for my Baby Daughter.
The Aunt remains at my side and helps me with my search. We don't see Her anywhere.
I decide to walk towards the Grandmother. I will ask her who has my Baby.
I am sure She is fine but with the exception of my Girlfriend, her Mother and Grandmother everyone else here is a Stranger to me.
As I am walking and scanning the crowd for my Baby, I see The Boy across the street with my Friend's Cousin.
I walk across to retrieve Him.
I do not know how he got over there but I'd rather He play in the park with the rest of us.
I begin to escort him back across the Street.
The Boy is 3 years old.
He has a bit of a willful side to him. More and more he wants to do things His way. Instead of walking in the crosswalk back to the park-side of the street he starts to take a diagonal route.
I trail behind trying to guide him across the street quickly.
His pace quickens as I get closer. He keeps just beyond my reach.
I tell him to slow down and hold my hand.
He starts to run because he is a Big Boy and Willful and
I panic and Yell for him to hold my hand and
This only makes Him run faster.
I try to grab the back of his collar but he remains just out of reach.
He doesn't see the car coming from the opposite direction. He is too preoccupied with running from me and exercising his own independence.
He stops only after colliding with the side of the vehicle.
His body falls down across the double yellow line of the street.
I scream and drop down over him.
I resist the urge to scoop him up in my arms and run to the sidewalk. I know not to move him but every maternal instinct inside me is telling me to pick my Little Man up and cradle him in my arms. To kiss the Boo-Boo away.
But all I can do is scream. Scream his name, and NO and OH.MY.GOD.WHY.
I Scream and I Wait.
Wait for the ambulance. wait for my my Husband. Wait for Someone. ANYONE to tell me my Boy is going to be OK.
Wait for Him to open his eyes look at me and say I am OK Mommy.
At the Hospital he is still unconscious. His little body lies motionless on the gurny which brought him in.
Monitors blink and beep. The Doctor hovers over him.
He will need a transfusion. That's all. Just a little something to help with the blood trauma.
I then realize that I still do not know where The Mouse is.
I am uncertain if She was ever found and who might have Her.
The Boy will be fine but where now is My Baby.

I open my eyes.
My alarm clock reads 6:54am.
I get out of bed retrieve The Mouse from her crib and quietly nurse her as my head reels from the images still bouncing around in my mind. I cuddle her close inspecting every inch of her little body. Yes She is here with me and she is Fine.
Moments later The Boy emerges from his Room.
Good Morning, Mommy.
I pull Him to me and bury my nose in his hair and take in the sweet smell of his sleep as I try to recover from the worst nightmare I have ever had since becoming a Parent.

What's your worst nightmare?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Discipline Dilemma: When BioMom Disagrees

It was a morning like any other.
Cinderella was eating breakfast getting ready for school. I was in the living room nursing The Mouse.
When She got up from the table to put her bowl in the dishwasher I tell Her the dishes are "clean" and to put her bowl in the sink.
Oh, ok.
She goes back to the table out of view. I hear the sound of her spoon scraping along the bowl. When she steps back into view her cheeks are full like that of a chipmunk who is busy foraging for nuts before a long winter's nap.
What's in your mouth?
Cheerios. Her words are muffled by the soggy cereal in her cheeks.
What were you going to do in the dishwasher?
Put my bowl in it.
With the Cheerios in it?
She gives me a sheepish "yeah."
I ask why as I struggle to keep my head from exploding.
Because I was full.
My thoughts then turn to the night before when I ran the dishwasher and had to stop it during the final rinse cycle because it started making a horrendous screeching sound. A noise that sounded like a cross between a rusty helicopter rotor and fingernails on a chalkboard. It occurs to me that the mystery of what's causing the sound might be unfolding before my disbelieving eyes.
I then think back to the prior week when I found not one but two bowls with soggy Cheerios in the kitchen sink over the course of two days. Each time Cinderella turned out to be the culprit. Both times She was asked not to waste food and to please.don'
How many bowls of Cheerios have you put in the dishwasher before.
I ask again. And then one more time for good measure.
Each time She assures me that she is not lying but telling me the Truth. She has not put a bowl of Cheerios in the dishwasher before.
I give her the benefit of the doubt because what else could I do. I had not yet had my coffee so I did not think it wise to pursue this matter any further for fear of some under-caffeinated psychotic episode.
Later that evening after dinner She finally confesses.
What was put in the dishwasher to break it.
So you lied to me this morning.
I tell her to not say another word and please sit quietly on the couch while I pick up the tiny pieces of my skull and gray-matter from the floors and walls. We then both sit in the livingroom in silence as we wait for Hubby to get home to deal with this. These days I find myself deferring to Him more and more where Cinderella is concerned.

The dishwasher is brand new. Mr. Landlord installed it within the last year after our stone age one sprung a leak. It's one of those space-saver ones which means I recall Mr. Landlord bitching about how much this thing cost him.
Lucky for us, he works in the Product Repair department for a major home merchandise retailer and is bound to have access to whatever part has been broken.

Even luckier is that Hubby is very mechanically inclined and can fix anything better than McGyver so Mr. Landlord does not have to be troubled.
Unlucky for us, we are too afraid to call Mr. Landlord as we are two months behind on our rent.

After three days Hubby gives in and leaves a message. That was three days ago.

I am beginning to get dishpan hands. I would make Cinderella do the dishes but she barely knows how to wash herself (what is it with kids and soap, anyway?) so I am not inclined to entrust her with our family's dishes.

Cinderella is entering pre-teendom. The hormone fluctuations are apparent, the sneakiness and deceitfulness starting to occur with greater frequency. Punishment was handed down for this infraction (no TV for lying to me, no dessert for wasting food) but BioMom did not agree with it resulting in a 5 day stay of execution which results in a loss of effectiveness especially for a child that is borderline if not full blown ADD not to mention painting BioMom as the "fun" parent.

We realize that we cannot control what goes on in BioMom's House.
The discipline styles in each of our Homes are polar opposites. Hubby is concerned that this may compound the problem with Cinderella's behavior and cause her to begin to think of our Home as a POW camp.
We need to find a Happy Medium he tells me.

::deep breath::

Is there a Happy Medium with regards to disciplining a stepchild? One that will not create a double-standard and then resentment and rebellion with the younger BioChildren?

How Do You...

... convince a terrified 3 1/2 year old that Preschool, which he has just started attending 2 mornings a week, really isn't that bad and to Please.Don't.Cry and BEG Mommy to take you home because she is breastfeeding and therefore an emotional wreck hormonally challenged and can barely hold it together as she tells you to Be Brave as she desparately searches for the moment where she can RUN AWAY from your mournful sobs into the sanctuary of her own car where she will BAWL all.the.way.home because OH MY GOD I am the worst mother ever for abandoning my Little Man at the evil, evil school.


What's a Mommy to do?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Finding Common Ground: It's a Girl Thing

I am watching the clock.
It’s approaching 4:30pm. The time Hubby’s Ex Cinderella’s Mom is coming to pick her up and take her to Dance Class.
I pace the living room scanning the street for her car. I want to meet her outside before Cinderella knows she is here.
This conversation is not for Her ears. It’s between her Mother and I.
The familiar silver SUV pulls up to the curb. I send the kids downstairs to play, quickly slide on my shoes and meet BioMom on the front stairs.
I have something to talk to you about and I don’t want Cinderella to hear me.
What’s up?
She immediately folds her arms in front of her chest but then realizing her body language is betraying her she quickly slips her hands into the tops of her jeans pockets all casual-like.
She is nervous. What could I possibly be so anxious to discuss with her in Private.
Cinderella went to the library this weekend with Hubby and brought home a book. It's called
It’s A Girl Thing.
Oh yeah, she was telling me about that.
I told her of the night before when Cinderella showed me the book. And that it opened up a conversation about first bras and other "Firsts" that would be of interest to a young girl teetering on the edge of puberty.
She seemed really curious about the chapter on bras and this thing called an "underwire" so I showed her some of mine. She seemed a little shy and uncomfortable so I wanted you to know because I thought it might be easier for her to talk to her Mom about this stuff.
Her face softened. She was grateful for what I was telling her. Since losing custody she has been afraid that she would miss out on this important stage of Cinderella's development. My gesture reassured her that she would not miss a moment.
The truth is that Cinderella was perfectly comfortable talking with me about these things. She always has been. And it's these little moments that serve to strengthen our bond. Bring us closer together.
But I am trying to find some common ground with BioMom and this seemed to provide us the perfect opportunity to move beyond the past and connect on some new level.
And at that moment She and I were no longer ExWife and NextWife.
We were simply two women reminiscing about our first bras and other firsts that seem to be visiting girls at an earlier age these days.
We were two mothers sharing the excitement in watching Cinderella grow into a young lady.
A Girl Thing brought Cinderella closer to me.
A Girl Thing brought me closer to Cinderella's Mom.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
With the help of
this and a magical sprinkling of fairy dust, the fairies were able to leave these St. Patrick's Day gifts for us.
  • For each petal on the shamrock,
    This brings a wish your way -
    Good health, good luck, and happiness
    For today and every day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Yet More Proof That A Penis Does Have A Mind Of Its Own

The Boy: I told my teacher "nevermind" today.
Me: Huh?
The Boy: I told my teacher today that I had to go potty .
Me: Really?!!! That's great!
The Boy: Yeah, but then I went into the bathroom and came out and told her "nevermind!"
Me: So you didn't go potty?
The Boy: No.
Me: Why not?
The Boy: I didn't want to use the potty at school.
Me: Do you have to go potty now?
The Boy: No.
Me: Did you go pee-pee in your PullUp?
The Boy: No.
Me: Why don't you use the potty since we're home.
The Boy: Well, I don't feel like I have to go potty anymore.
Me: Where did the pee-pee go, then?
The Boy: It came down, then it changed its mind and went back up my penis.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Blurring the Line Between Step & Bio

It's Monday and the phone rings. Caller ID reveals the familar phone number. It's lunchtime and my Stepmom is calling. I am nursing The Mouse so I let her call go to voicemail. Later when I listen to her message I hear the familair script:
Hi, it's me. Just checking in. I was eating lunch and thinking about you so thought I would call to see how your weekend was... blah, blah, blah.
She ended the message as she usually does promising she would call me back again when she has a free minute.
Her boss does not like her to make or receive personal phone calls so I do not call her back to avoid getting her in trouble with the asshole.
It's Tuesday and the phone rings again. I cannot get to the phone to see who it is. It's only later when I check voicemail that I see She called again. Again it's during her lunch time. Again she leaves the same message and let's me know she will call again when/if she gets the chance.
It's not unusual for us to play this kind of phone tag. She knows I cannot always get to the phone. I know it's risky if I call her. Her messages do not give me any indication that anything might be wrong.
It's Wednesday. Late morning. I am blogging avoiding housework near the phone when it rings. Caller ID lets me know it's my Stepmom again. I pick up.
Our conversation begins as the usually do.
How are the kids. Is The Boy enjoying preschool. What are your plans for the weekend.
She then tells me The News.
Her mother has been "in a coma" since Sunday.
She developed some kind of virus is on oxygen and antibiotics and has been unresponsive since Sunday afternoon. My Stepmom has been to see her every day in the nursing home since then (this is not much of a stretch as she usually sees her Mother every other day) and she tells me that she thinks her Mom is dying and won't be around much longer.
I am taken slightly aback by this news and find I am a little insulted that she waited three days to tell me. That she did not give me any indication in her messages that there was anything going on.
She knows you're busy with the Baby and she probably didn't want you to worry. My Mother tries to reassure me.
Don't get upset at her. Her heart is in the right place.
Whenever there was an illness or death on the biological side of my family, my Mother would always call me immediately. No matter what time of day or night. Messages would be left if she could not reach me right away. That's how my family operates. When one of our own is sick or has passed we rally around each other for support and comfort. We don't think of ourselves or that it might be inconvenient. Our place is with our family. Period.
The idea of familial obligation seems foreign to my Stepmom. At least when it comes to me and my relationship with her Mother who is for all intents and purposes my StepGrandmother, my kids' GreatGrandmother whom they affectionately refer to as "Granny" just as I did with my own GreatGrandmother.
My Stepmom has been my Family from the moment she came into my life vis-a-vis my Dad. I have known her and her Mom since I was 7. I am now 36.
Yet despite this she never expects or assumes that I will be available for birthdays and always seemed genuinely touched when I "made time" for her or her Mom.
It's nice to know that spending time with me is appreciated but this expression of gratitude also keeps me at arm's length emotionally. Drawing an imaginary line in the sand between Step and Bio.
My StepGrandmother passed away last Friday. I never got to see her one last time.
There was no wake. The Funeral was yesterday morning.
Again my Stepmom made no familial assumptions. And was genuinely touched when I told her I would be there.
Oh you're so busy with the kids. Are you sure?
That's what Family is all about I try to tell her. This is where I belong.
There were 10 people at my StepGrandmother's funeral.
My Mother was one of them.
The lines between Step and Bio were blurred for that day. We all rallied around my Stepmom for comfort and support. Our place was with our Family.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

What Would You Do? (StepChauffeur)

Stealing from Inspired by The Blogfather's, I would like to pose the following "hypothetical" scenario to my thousands hundreds tens of readers:

Your partner's EX Stepchild's Non-Custodial BioParent has been ordered by the courts to attend a 4 week session of parenting classes. This BioParent has refused to schedule their classes for the past 3 months and now as a result has no choice but to take said classes on one of their visitation days. [Your partner has already completed their classes and even taken a few extra.] Your Stepchild also has dance class on this day - a class which said BioParent enrolled them in without your partner's consent but has taken the responsibility of driving your Stepchild to and from for the past 3 years. Now this BioParent will be unable to take your Stepchild to dance for the next 4 weeks and you are asked if you would bring your Stepchild. The class is from 6:30pm-7:30pm and the dance school is a 45 minute drive both ways. You currently have a 3 year old and a 4 month old at home.

What would you do?

Monday, March 6, 2006

Rabid Fire

Last Thursday started out like any other day.
7am. Alarm goes off. I get Cinderella up for school, put on a pot of coffee and nurse The Mouse.
The Boy awakens and informs me that he wants breakfast.
I was able to catch 15 minutes of the Today Show. That's 5 minutes more than yesterday and yet I STILL haven't seen Ann Curry's new hair-do.
I finish feeding The Mouse put her down in her Boppy pour The Boy a bowl of cereal and get myself a cup of coffee. Cinderella gets dressed and then all three kids and I hang out in the living room while we wait for her bus.
8am. Cinderella's bus comes and chauffeurs her off to school. I finish my coffee get The Boy dressed put The Mouse down for her morning nap and call my Mother.
9am. I noticed The Smell when I first woke up two hours earlier but we live in the 'burbs so it's not unusual. Wildlife abounds in our area and we are subjected to a variety of odors on any given day.
But then I spot it. The owner of The Smell. There. Outside. In my neighbor's yard.
Walking circles in the falling snow, disoriented and not aware that it is morning and should be tucked away sleeping by now.
A Skunk.
That's not right I tell my mother. It must be sick.
I hang up the phone and decide to call Animal Control.
Rabies runs rampant in our County. It's snowing and the kids will be dismissed early from school. I don't want them to have a run-in with this creature while getting off their bus.
I struggle to keep one eye on the Skunk while frantically searching the phone book for the number.
I cannot find a listing for Animal Control.
I call Town Hall instead. They will know what to do.
Our town doesn't have Animal Control I am told. Call the State Troopers. They handle these sort of things.
I call State Police.
What's the Emergency?
Yes, I am calling about a possible rabid Skunk in my neighbor's yard.
What do you want us to do about it ma'am, we don't handle these sort of things.
I was told to call you.
After an audible ::sigh:: the female officer reluctantly takes my address and then informs me that they will send an officer out but it is snowing and there are a lot of accidents so they are a little busy right now fuckyouverymuch.
I'm not satisfied with that response.
Not satisfied with putting our neighborhood children at risk.
Not satisfied with letting that poor animal suffer.
I see my neighbor outside and run to the front door to warn her of the potential danger lurking in her side yard. She tells me the Skunk has been there all night. She has called the State Troopers as well and was given the same brush off.
I head back inside resume my Watch and pick up the phone again.
I call the Rabies Info Line. No luck. Just an automated information line.
I call the Department of Health.
They suggest I call the Police in a neighboring city. They have an Animal Control Officer. My block is so close to the town line maybe they won't notice.
I call.
Sorry we can't come there, jurisdiction and all.
I call the Department of Public Safety. They transfer me to County Police.
Yes, I am calling about a possible rabid skunk in my neighbor's yard.
What makes you think it's rabid?
Umm... It's walking in circles, pacing back and forth IN.THE.DAYLIGHT.
Ok. I'll page Animal Control. What's your address.
Some relief at last. Soon this will be over.
10am. I am still perched in front of the kitchen window. Watching. The Skunk has been walking in circles for the past hour. I am afraid to walk away. I want to be sure I know where it is for when the Police arrive.
Snow continues to fall.
11am. The Mouse awakes from her morning nap so I must abandon my post to feed her. As soon as she is finished I return to the window.
It is still there and now having seizures. Its small body begins falling over limbs rigid and shaking uncontrollably. Each seizure lasts about 60 seconds before it gets back up and resumes its pacing.
Back and forth.
Left and right.
It pains me to watch yet I cannot look away. I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to Cinderella, the neighbors and the poor helpless animal suffering before my eyes.

I begin to pace too. From the kitchen window to the living room. Watching. Waiting for some help to arrive.
Pacing. Back and Forth.
12pm. Still no one has arrived.
My neighbor is obviously as anxious as I am. Outside her son is with a young man holding a rifle. I do not know if it's real or a BB gun.
This young man raises the rifle, takes aim and then lowers his arms. He either can't get a clear shot or lacks the Courage of his Conviction.
I call County Police again and tell them what's happening next door hoping it will spawn some sense of urgency on their part. The Officer tells me he will page the guy again.
Another seizure. This time the Skunk falls down the small hill and is up against the fence that separates our yards. Its head gets stuck between the pickets of the fence and it is temporarily unable to free itself because of its trembling limbs. Its small face dangles over our side of the yard as the rest of its body twitches and convulses in the snow. I watch helplessly as my anxiety progresses along with this animal's sickness.
Snow continues to fall.
I wonder if the Skunk feels the cold and if it will wind up freezing to death before it can be put out of its misery. Lacking faith that County Police will be any more responsive than State Troopers I pick up the phone again.
I call the SPCA. Their automated message provides a number for Wildlife Rescue.
I call Wildlife Rescue. Again and automated message provides me with three numbers. The first two prompt me to leave a message. Someone finally answers the last number. I tell the woman who answers my story but she is a wildlife rehabilitator and cannot help.
You need to call the State Troopers.
12:30. This is ridiculous. Desperate, I call Town Hall again only this time I get the Town Supervisor's Office. The woman on the other end is shocked by the run-around I have received and tells me she will call the Troopers herself in the hopes that a call from her office will prompt them to action.
It's been 3 hours since I first called for help.
12:40. The phone rings. It's a local trapper.
County Police called me about a skunk in your yard. I'll come out to take care of it for you. It will cost $250.
ARE.YOU.JOKING.ME? It's not MY skunk.
I called the Police because this is a matter of potential public safety and it's their job to protect and serve fuckyouverymuch.
12:43. The Town Supervisor's Office calls me back. NOONE answered the public line for the State Troopers so she called the Commander's Office. She assures me that someone will be getting in touch with me ASAP.
12:49. Trooper #1 calls. They know of the Skunk and will get someone out here ASAP.
1:17. Trooper #2 calls. He wants to confirm the Skunk is still here.
I can dispatch it but once we kill it it will smell.
It already smells Officer. The animal is seizing and every time I has a seizure it urinates or sprays and so the entire neighborhood stinks.
Oh. Ok, I'll dispatch it right away. Once it's dead you will have to bag it up and throw it out.
I call DoH again.
Is this correct? You don't want this animal? You want us to dispose of it?
No ma'am as long as it hasn't come in contact with a person or pet you can dispose of it. Please have the Trooper call me when he arrives. I want to make sure he doesn't come in any contact with it before he shoots it.
1:30. My Savior arrives. I tell him DoH wants to speak to him. He goes back to his car and makes the call. He returns to my front door. He will let me know when it's over.
He walks around to the side yard where the Skunk is now lying in the snow unable to move. The seizures or perhaps the cold have gotten the better of him. It now just trembles helplessly.
Haven taken a moment to assess the situation and choose his plan of action the Trooper takes aim with his firearm.
This I cannot watch. I hide behind my refrigerator bracing myself for what's to come. This will be the first time I have ever heard a gun shot in person.
I peer at the Trooper from my porthole window in my living room. His gaze is fixed on the Skunk. His Target.
He suddenly raises his firearm for a second time.
Through the window I see him shake his head.
He takes aim for a third time.
Unaware that he has an audience the Trooper breaks character and shows his human side. He is visibly shaken and fixes his gaze upward as if to pray for some Divine Intervention as he is struggling to complete the task.
He turns away. His shoulders drooped as a man defeated. Gun powder streaks across the snow on my side of the yard. From the other side of the fence I can see the Skunk. It's still trembles.

The Trooper knocks on my door.
It's still shaking. It's possible it's just nerves firing and that it's really dead but I already put four bullets into it and don't want to fire any more and upset the neighbors. I don't want to take a rifle to it because it will splatter all over. I'll come back in an hour to check.
For the next two hours I continue my vigil painfully aware of the fact that the Skunk is.still.alive.
Over the next 120 minutes it slowly drags itself 2 feet from the spot where we attempted to end its misery and back again. I am overwhelmed with guilt. I wanted to end this poor animal's misery and only compounded it leaving it to suffer in agony for 2 hours with 4 bullets in its tiny body.
It's still snowing.
3:40. The Trooper returns. Even he can't believe what he sees.

From the window I see him make the sign of the cross. It is over.
6 hours and 5 bullets later. It's finally over.

The Skunk lies lifeless beneath the falling snow in my neighbor's yard. Its carcass is quickly covered beneath a blanket of white where it will remain for another 2 days before the weather warms up enough for my neighbors to exhume it from its frosty grave and dispose of it. Its final resting place to be "double-bagged" and thrown to the curb.
I am disgusted.

A Question for You: Your Labels?

I called both of my stepparents by their first names. Cinderella calls me by my first name.
My parents she calls Grandma & Grandpop. As does The Boy and [eventually] The Mouse.
My stepmother goes by the name "Nanny" and her mother "Granny".
My stepdad was referred to as "Poppi" (we all called him that, actually).

We use pretty traditional monikers in our family and they are used by ALL of the kids, step and bio.

What kind of labels do you use for/with your "steps"?

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

I Label You, You Label Me

More and more I am realizing that the labels assigned to Blended Families have a strong influence on our emotions.
Stepfamily. Blended Family.
Stepmom. Bonus Mom.
Broken Home.
StepBrother. Half Brother.
ExWife. BioMom.
Not unlike Pavlov's Dogs we can't help but react with conditioned responses when we hear and use some of these terms. Our reactions may be positive but it seems that they are all-too-often negative.
I began to wonder.
If we were to take more control over our choice of assigned labels might it also change our emotional reactions for the better.
I started wondering this when The Husband began attending a post-divorce parenting group. The group has one very specific rule: when referring to your Ex you are not allowed to refer to them as your EX. Instead Husband must refer to her as his Daughter's Mother.
I think they may be on to something.
Use the term ExWife and it conjures up all the negative and sometimes hateful emotions one might expect. The ExWife label defines her in relation to HIM and their fucked up marriage.
However call her Cinderella's Mom and it almost humanizes her and softens the imagry a bit.
A more delicate label evokes a more positive emotional response.
Stunned by own insightfulness I began exploring this theory and found that I had unconsciously been applying this practice in my own "step-relations" with a positive outcome.
The first application began with my own StepBrothers. I have two and am much closer with one than the other. The StepBrother I am closer with always refers to me as his Sister and likewise I call him my Brother. The omission of the "step" label has resulted in a much stronger bond between us.
My other Stepbrother was married before our parents got hitched so he was out of the house when I moved in. He and I never developed much of a relationship and we always referred to one another as StepBrother & Sister. Until recently that is when I began calling him my Brother. Now a new bond has developed which I feel is directly related to his new label of Brother.
I want to do what I can to improve my own relationship with Husband's Ex Cinderella's BioMom.
Maybe by giving her a more positive label I can soften my own emotional response to her.
Maybe I can learn not to dread the days when she and I must interact.
Maybe I can learn to like her tolerate her accept her.
Just maybe.