Monday, March 8, 2010

I am raising two only children

Sigh, the foster parent strategy of raising them as only children seems to be working for me so far. However, I have forgotten how soul-sucking having both of them at home can be.

When FS#1 moved in I realized that he needed to be the only child in the house. He needed and deserved to have 100% of a parent's attention for a change. I told the foster care people that I couldn't take in another teen until I was certain that FS#1 felt secure enough to be ready to share me. I figure that would happen, oh about the time he went to college. So I set about spoiling trying to provide a ‘normal’ senior year experience for him. Which included such things as getting and paying for his cell phone, getting him an x-box for christmas, throwing him a big-ass 18th birthday party, helping him get his driver’s license AND letting him drive my car, buying him a dress shirt and a decent tie (from a department store instead of Wally World) for his prom, allowing him to have friends over, allowing him to spend the night at friends houses and traveling all over the state to attend athletic events (you really know you have become a parent when you are sitting in the pouring rain at a athletic event and the only other people in the stands are the other parents of the team).

So, after FS#1 went to college, I decided that I could have another foster kid (ok so I was experiencing empty nest syndrome!). Ran the idea by FS#1 and he was concerned until I assured him that the new kid would not be put into his room. New kid would have his own room. Funny story, FS#1 sw, Wonderful, was also concerned what would happen to FS#1 if new kid moved in. I had to assure her too, that I was still committed to FS#1 and that his place in the house hierarchy would not be altered. So it was all cleared for FS#2 to move in.

Now since FS#1 is at college, for all intents and purposes, FS#2 is an only child except for school breaks when FS#1 comes home (Oh and when I travel all over the state to attend FS#1 athletic events; he is playing sports in college). The problem comes in that both boys are used to being only children and having 100% of my time and they still behave that way when they both are in the house. It is subtle, there are no fights or confrontations between them, in fact that are quite courteous with each other. But do not be fooled they are still competing for my attention. For example, FS#1 wrote on my christmas gift tag “From your first born”. A not-so-subtle reminder of his place in the hierarchy. They are always checking to see if I have given the other something they don’t have or I’m doing something for the other that I didn’t do for (with) them.

Trying to balance both of their needs is exhausting, emotionally and physically. I hate to say it, but as much as I love having FS#1 home, it is always a bit of a relief when he goes back to college. I always feel like I need to sleep for 24 hours, but of course I can’t ‘cause I’m busy helping FS#2 become a ‘real’ boy (traveling all over the state for athletic events, helping him get his driver’s license....)

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