Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

I turned down the radio as I listened to my kids discussing the intricacies of Star Wars relationships from the backseat. My three-year-old stepdaughter London kept insisting that Luke marry Leia, but for the “millionth” time six-year-old Ferris reminded her that Luke and Leia are brother and sister. London told Ferris she wanted to marry him too, and that set Emilia and Ferris into a chorus of giggles. It made me laugh too. They were sounding like such fun kids.

“Mom, tell London that she can’t mahwee Fehwass because he is her bwutha,” said my five-year-old daughter Emilia.

I nodded from my driver’s seat. “Sorry London, it’s true. You three probably have not even met the person you are going to marry yet.”

London wasn’t too bothered.

“Okay. I will just maehwee Luke.”

More giggles from Ferris and London. I smiled to myself and decided I’d leave that one alone for now.

Driving home from our local YMCA last week, something occurred to me: I was having a really, really nice time.

When Did They Become The Fun Kids?

The four of us had just come from the pool where my oldest swam the length of it several times, alternating between above and under water. The second oldest doggy paddled away from the wall and floated on her back, making a friend in the process. The youngest of the three (present) spent her pool time on the stairs, playing with an array of toys from the lifeguard’s plastic bin of treasures. Each time she wanted a new toy, I told her to put back the one she already had. She nodded enthusiastically at each reminder. She walked carefully back and forth. I had managed to forget my own bathing suit so was watching in my sweaty workout clothes from a plastic chair right next to the pool as they each called to me at different points to observe some sort of amazing trick they could perform.

My stair-step children, 2013

I thought back to two summers ago, when our combined family first started living under one roof. I brought the three kids — then 4, 3 and 2 — to the pool often. My husband came when he could, but because of his work schedule it was usually me corralling all three in two long arms, yelling at one or another not to run, and listening to all the sweet aqua-walking retired ladies give me advice on keeping my sanity. Going to the pool, or the beach, or the library was all under the “fun” umbrella — but was not exactly a cake walk for me. I believed we needed the activities for bonding, and exercise, and just getting out of the house so I did them. Not because I really looked forward to them. My kids seemed to enjoy those times so I knew it was worth it. But was it fun for me? Not really. No.

But now that they are all two years older, and wiser, and better swimmers (for starters), hanging out with them IS something I looked forward to doing. I love watching them at their swimming lessons, or walking down to the beach together (baby in tow), or when they ask me to sit with them for a few minutes before bed. Since the baby only recently celebrated her first birthday, there is still a lot of “work” there but the others are actually able to help me in small ways (that feel huge!).

Today we all went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and I even had a good time there — particularly because they were all well-behaved, gracious to the host and having a blast in the process.

Maybe I’m just more relaxed since time has passed. Or maybe all that forced bonding is actually working on time release. But even with occasional outbursts, and defiance, and bickering, hanging out with my kids is something I really look forward to doing.

When did my kids get to be the fun kids? I don’t know, and I’m not complaining. Just looking forward to more good times ahead with these amazing fun kids.

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Category: Kids

Tags: combined family