Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Step-son: An Introduction

I have never written about my step son...let's call him Nolan. I have not written about Nolan becasue....well.....I have not had much of anything to say that was not a complaint. There, I said it. I know, it sounds awful and it probably is awful but there it is. Society has different standards when it comes to step-parents. Parents can say, "Man, my kid is driving me crazy", but if a step-parent says the same thing it sounds really mean and nasty. Try it, "Man my step-kid is driving me crazy." See? Mean.

He came to live with us when he was 14 and was with us full-time until he graduated high school (Well...he didn't actually "graduate"). Being a custodial step-mother of a teenager is more difficult than you can imagine. I don't recommend it. Seriously, step-parenting is hard to begin with but teenagers are just a whole other ball of wax. I remember myself as a teenager and I can't imagine my parents liking me very much for a few years either and they raised me with their values and expectations of behavior. So having a 14 year old teenager who has had a difficult life dropped into your newlywed lap ain't no picnic...for anyone.

Nolan is the type of kid (and now young adult) with lots of "issues" only they are not the typical "teenager" issues one expects, are developmentally normal and that they usually grow out of. No, Nolan has some very deep-seeded character issues that I fear will negatively impact his entire life.

On my 2nd date with Mr. Peeveme he told me he had a 9 year-old son. Nolan was supposedly an oops baby. His mother and Mr. Peeveme dated for 6 months in College. The plan was to graduate and go their separate ways..but she "accidentally" got pregnant. I swear I am not being a bitchy person when I accuse her of doing it on purpose. My evidence? She was charting to prevent pregnancy. Who does that? Nobody. I have charted and there is no way a women does that to avoid pregnancy. She also went on some huge "body cleans" 2 months before she got pregnant. Stopped drinking, caffeine, ect. Accident my ass.

Mr. Peeveme and Nolan's mom tried to make it work but, of course, it didn't. Much like Nolan, she lies habitually. If you meet her in person she seems like the nicest, most gracious, most interesting person...much like Nolan. And she is all those things....like Nolan. But she's lies, uses people, never plans, thinks the rules don't apply to her and does whatever she damn well-feels like doing no matter what the consequences are to her or other people and never takes responsibility....just like Nolan. A nice word to describe her would be a "free spirit". Thankfully she and I have not had much interaction and the times we have interacted she has been nothing but lovely and I, lovely right back.

Nolan was about 3 when they split for good after much going back and forth. When Nolan was 5 his mom found a new man and moved across the county (the first of many many, many new men/home situations for Nolan). We are not talking about a mom who does drugs, beats him ect. No real "abuse" as a court would define it but it certainly was not a stable home. Noland had a destructive combination of spoiling and neglect. One day they were best friends (I do not think parents should be their kid's friend. Kids need parents...not friends)...next she was off on another adventure (usually because she had a new boyfriend) and Nolan was left alone a lot.

Nolan lived on the other side of the country so we didn't see him much so it wasn't a part of everyday life. Six weeks in the summer...alternate x-mases, a week in Spring. Mr. Peeveme and I didn't live together so even when Nolan was here I was only sporadically around him but I knew from the start that the kid had problems.

He always embellishes. Nothing is ever his fault. Nothing is ever the complete truth even when there was no incentive to lie. He's arrogant beyond belief. When I first met him he was failing the 6th grade and his reasoning was that his teacher was jealous of him becasue he was smarter than her. A notion not discouraged by his mother. My mother would have slapped my smart-ass mouth if I ever dared to be that disrespectful and delusional. ...even Mr. Peeveme was buying into it until I explained he was not doing Nolan any favors by letting him think/talk that way.

By the time Nolan was 13 he had moved 14 times. His mother would get a new job...get canned after 6-12 months then have to move. She'd get a new boyfriend...move in....18 months later he'd get sick of her crap and kicked her out. Many times Nolan moved mid-year to a new school.

A few months after Mr. Peeveme and I got married Nolan's mom met a new man and wanted to move in with him. Only they'd have to move to a different city where all the public schools were very bad. They thought they'd just get Nolan into some fancy East Cost private school...never mind that his grades were very poor and nobody could afford the 30K per year tuition. No matter....he'd just get a scholarship. Yea, realistic indeed. Well, surprise, he didn't get into any school let alone get a scholarship.

So 3 weeks before our California public schools started he moved in with us. We live in a wonderful community with fantastic schools. And no, it's not an accident. We PLANNED it that way for when we had kids (pre-infertility days).

And so, I become the custodial step-mom of a teenager. Also, since Mr. Peeveme traveled I become the primary care-giver much of the time.

Next post...the teen years.


Riley said...

All I can say is wow! I don't know how you are able to deal with all that - wow. Isn't it funny how after reading someone's blog over time, you think you have some sense of their life and then it turns out that you really don't! I'm impressed that you've been able to deal with all these extra challenges that have been dropped in your lap - and that you haven't been posting complaints - daily!

Anonymous said...

I don't envy your situation at all.

Pepper said...

That Nolan sure sounds like a piece of work!

Teenagers. Gotta love 'em, but they sure make it hard.

Old Mom New Baby said...

I hope I'm not rude but this is a little (lot) OT. Are you going too (or did you) find out what your having? I just never knew your status on that.

I dont envy you either. I had a similar situation that I'd rather leave out any details other than this person was NOT a peach when she was dumped on us.
I'm a Love and Logic mom and teacher so decided to use some hard core L&L on her and was amazed how it helped, but it was sure exhausting for me.
I relate to the part of not wanting to say this person drives me nutz. She is not my blood relative - but she was everyone elses and it hurt them for me to be frusturated. (but what do you do, if her own family cant handle her - why should I enjoy it all)

LaceFace said...

Sounds like Nolan had a rough up bringing. Being around someone like his mom didn't do him any favors. Hopefully, with some love and discipline from you and your husband, he can become a better functioning young adult.

April said...

Wow. I feel really, really bad for Nolan. He is a product of his deluded mother's life and that's so sad!

And I, too, don't envy your situation. It's GOT TO be hard dealing with a difficult child/teenager who it sounds like has never really been told "no" before. Like you, I don't believe parents should be their child's best friend. I grew up respecting my parents and I think that is KEY!

charmedgirl said...

well you've certainly got yourself a situation. looking forward to the next post.

Bluebird said...

Can't wait to see where this story is headed! Sounds like you've all had your hands full :)

eden said...

Ahhhh, the joys of step-mothering. I always say, if I'd known what I was getting myself in for with Dave (who had THREE kids when I met him ...) I wouldn't have hooked up with him.

But I did, and it's hard, sometimes harder than I can bear. My stepson is almost 17 .... he has actually matured a lot lately THANK GOD. But it's still hard, to not let my resentment seep through. Even though I love him!

Can't wait to read more ... I'm always in awe of other stepmothers. We get such a bad rap in fairy tales!

eden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renovation Girl said...

I, too, am anxious to hear the rest of the story. Teenagers are a whole different breed of creature, and the ones with issues are so difficult to reach/change/whatever. To do it in the step-parenting role and primary caregiver...yikes!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't even imagine how hard it would be to function in that situation! Poor all of you! But at least you are a stable influence - which will hopefully matter someday.

nancygrayce said...

You could have been describing my oldest biological child! And I didn't raise him like that....drugs happened to him, although he was always a difficult child.

I also have been custodial step mom to two boys...also with an "easy spirited" mom....that made me laugh so hard!.....the oldest was also 9 when we started dating. I had some problems with him, mainly clashes over his girlfriend and a few drinking issues and finally I just announced at supper one night that everything had to go through dad from now on....I would do NO discipline at all or say if he could do anything....he would have to call dad at work. That made things much better! The younger step son said that night, "not me, I want you to do the discipline"....now that was one smart boy because I'm really not that hard to get along with.

Today said step son and I are very close....biological son and I...let's just say, not so close....go figure!