“Dad! It’s not fair! She’s held him for like the past 45 minutes!”
The first week Matt and I brought home our adopted son, Owen, we understood my three stepdaughters’ excitement surrounding their new little brother. We were excited too!
Let’s just say we underestimated the extent of their joy and the love for their new little brother.
Two months later…
“She fed him last time. It’s my turn!”
“LoLo, it’s my turn to change him!”
“It’s my turn to dress him!”
“Dad, she won’t let me hold Owen!”
When the girls were at our house, it felt like there was a new dispute with Owen in the middle every time I turned around.
Let me pause here and say, I recognized right away that our new “problem” was really a blessing.
You never know how adding a new baby to a family will change the family dynamic- especially a blended family. Sometimes babies bring jealously or competition. I knew we were blessed that our “problem” was the girls were arguing over spending time with baby Owen.
But two months in with no end in sight, we had to find a solution!
At first, we made a rule that anyone who asked to hold Owen lost their turn for the rest of the day. We, the parents, would decide when it was time to change turns.
Well, these smarty pants started making very lawyerly statements like “I’m not asking to hold Owen. I’m just commenting that Bailie has been holding Owen for the past hour and a half.”
Whoops! This plan meant we still had to keep up. And the comments (but not questions!) were multiplying.
Finally, we established a rotating time-share agreement for our son. Yes, a literal "time sharing" agreement!
Friday: 5PM-8PM, Sister A
Saturday: 8AM-2PM, Sister B
2PM-8PM, Sister C
Sunday: 8AM-12PM, Mom and Dad’s turn!
12PM-8PM, Sister A
The following week, Sister B rotates into the Friday slot, and so on.
As silly as it sounds, this “block” scheduling has solved the problem for the adults. We love it!
The girls have started negotiating with each other now. Last weekend Reagan gave Bailie 15 minutes on her day, so Bailie returned the favor. The new system encourages the girls to work together and resolve disputes among themselves without dragging us adults into the squabble.
The real winner? Owen! My goodness, our little boy is so loved. And so happy all the time!
I’m always looking for ways to make things easier and less complicated at home. Life seems to go smoother that way.
I run my probate and guardianship practice the same way. We are always looking for ways to simplify each process for our clients.
During my consultations, I give clients the big picture and a general outline of the whole process that suits their family. When we get to work, I break the process down into smaller, simpler steps and delicately guide clients through each one.
Speaking of steps, you can download our FREE Survivor Checklist: Six Steps to Take After a Loved One Dies in Florida here:
The Survivor Checklist is also a good resource to print and keep with your estate planning documents so it is available to your loved ones when the time comes.
We also offer a FREE Guardian Advocacy Report: How to Support Your Special Needs Child Without Losing the Right to Make Medical, Educational, Financial, or Legal Decisions. If you are interested in learning more about how you can protect the rights of your special needs child once he or she becomes an adult, you can download the Guardian Advocacy Report here:
Although I worked part-time from the hospital and from home throughout my maternity leave, I was happy to return to the office last month so I could resume assisting clients full-time. A big thanks to all our current and future clients who were so patient and understanding during my limited availability. My time home with Owen was priceless!
Lauren “New Mommy Trials & Tribulations” Merritt
P.S. If you would like to schedule a probate or guardianship consultation with our office, please us at (850) 741-2999 or email me at email@example.com.