My last post concerned a 9 year old boy who was sleeping over at my house, sleeping over without knowing where his parents were. Well..... the next day lil' G's friend called his mother. From what of the conversation I overheard, the mother instructed the child to ask to stay another night. I agreed, with the conditions that I have some phone numbers. The little boy then called his older brother and instructed him to do the same.
This still struck me as a bit odd, but it wasn't until we spent more time with the boy that I started to be glad that my house was open to him. Day two in sleeping over the husband took the kids to get some Mickey D 's (I swear we don't eat crap often!) The little boy insisted on buying his own food, so he let him. After eating, he took some french fries to his brother who was staying nearby.
Wow, what a great kid, huh? I might add again that his brother is at least 12 years old. That night after dinner he thanked us for the meal and made a passing comment that his mother had never made that. What manners! I have to say it wasn't much, just some spaghetti that was thrown together. So, maybe mom doesn't cook?
He stayed again and well his attitude seemed almost relieved when I exerted some parental rights and made them go to sleep. I have to say when I checked in on them that night, I felt like I was seeing one of my own chickens asleep.
His mother did drop some things off for him, but he saw her outside of the house. I didn't get to meet or speak to her, again. Since they would come and pick him up on day three, I assumed I would meet a parent then.
The next morning, they showed up to pick him up quite early. I wasn't up and moving yet, but I heard the interaction. It went something like this:
"Thank you for letting him stay, was he good?"
" We really appreciate you keeping him, are you sure he wasn't any trouble?"
and so on. I was a bit confused as the voice saying all these things didn't quite sound like a parent. Well, it wasn't. His pre-teen aged brother had come in to collect him. The same brother that the child would have been staying the night with had he not been with us. The same brother that he took food to. The same brother that he would have gone to if I had let him when he was scared.
After he left, it occurred to us that these children seem to be awfully close. Close in the way that you don't see often. It reminded me of children who are protecting household secrets or maybe have had to fend for themselves a good bit. I can not speculate as to what goes on in this household. I simply do not know.
I do know that I often doubt my parenting skills. My children are not expected to take care of the house, but they do clean up after themselves (when asked.) My oldest can cook a meal by herself. My children can get themselves up and ready for school without me. I hope that they can do these things because I have shown them how. I am always around and open to what they are doing and thinking. I do enforce household rules and bedtimes.
In being around other children I often wonder if I am parenting in a different time. My children have chores, they get grounded, they help me when I ask and if I thought it actually worked I would spank. To me this all sounds practical. I was personally raised with a fear of god and my father. We were not beaten, but if necessary we had to go get "the belt." It wasn't a wear every day belt. As a matter of fact, I don't remember him wearing it at all, but oh good lord if you tried to go fetch the wimpy canvas belt......
Anyway, I guess what I am getting at is even though I rarely feel like mother of the year, maybe I am not doing such a bad job? At any rate I have decided that his friend is welcome to stay with us anytime and I will be go out of my way to make him feel at home.