Jason and Hailey are coming tomorrow

Colin has two biological half-siblings named Jason and Hailey. They are 11 and 13. They have the same mom as Colin, but Jason and Hailey have a different dad. They live with their dad’s mom.

They live about 2.5 hours away from us. Tomorrow, we are going to drive up there to visit with Colin’s aunt, cousins, and maternal grandma, and then bring Jason and Hailey home with us. They will stay Wednesday through Monday.

They came to stay with us for a few days this summer. I’m not as anxious this time as I was then, but I am still a bit nervous. It was a little strange “disciplining” them the last time they were here. They were both very good, but we still have to enforce things like what time they get up (if we’re going somewhere), that Jason has to take a shower at least every other day, we eat dinner together at the table, etc. Then there are little things: Our kids aren’t supposed to burp unnecessarily, and when they do, they should say, “Excuse me.” Jason is 13 and thinks burping is funny, and it makes my kids laugh. Do we say something, or just let it go? Also, our kids have to stay at the dinner table until everyone is finished, and then they take their plates to the sink. Do we announce that before dinner? Address it if they get up from the table? Just let it go? It’s strange because they don’t know the rules of our house, and we don’t know the rules of theirs. It’s strange because we are just getting to know them and they are just getting to know us. It’s not like a niece and nephew we’ve known since they were little. We haven’t had all  that time to figure it out.

We had things pretty scheduled the last time they were here, but decided we would have a little more free time this trip. Hailey likes to roller skate, so I did buy a Groupon for $50 that included admission and skate rental for ten, two pizzas, and ten soft drinks. The zoo has a Christmas light display that I think is up through New Year’s, and they really liked some of the indoor stuff there, like the shark-petting tank. They told us last time that they like Chuck E. Cheese’s, so we will probably oblige and go to the Mouse House of Hell.  Other than that, I guess we’ll kind of wing it.

Any other great ideas for things that will keep five kids (aged 3, 5, 5, 11, and 13) entertained?

Oh, and wish Christian luck. I have to work Thursday, so he’s on his own with five kids. (Ha!)

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8 thoughts on “Jason and Hailey are coming tomorrow

  1. You might have the kids tell the visiting kids what the rules are. Make it a game. It will reinforce your rules to the little kids and at the same time get the point across to the big kids.

  2. We deal with this when Tony’s kids come. They are living a totally self-raised/neglected life so they have absolutely no rules or expectations and I know the transition is hard on everyone (us and them!). We do a lot of what kerryanne said – keep it simple. We don’t outline all the rules up front because I think that’s overwhelming and scary (I’d worry if I was the guest that I’d have to remember them all and couldn’t break one!). Instead just say things kindly and at the time – like when they leave the table just say “Can you please carry your dishes to the sink?” They are old enough that they’ll get the picture after a few days and asking like that won’t make them feel as if they did something wrong/dumb. When in doubt, think about if you were a stranger in a foreign land (say, Vietnam :)) trying to figure out what the customs and expectations are. How would you want to be spoken to? Would you want guidance? Give that type of guidance.

    I hope you all have a great time! It’s hard to appease the older and younger kids, both. Sounds like you have some great ideas.

  3. I think you could go with the approach of telling them a couple of things before hand, not in a preachy way, but more of a “could you help us teach the little kids by doing ________ while you’re here?” I don’t know how to type it the way you can hear what’s going on in my head, but I think if you told them ahead of time that they’d be “helping” you teach the little kids how to act, then they wouldn’t feel like they have all these “new rules”, they’d feel more like they’re helping you show the kids how “big people” act. (all the quotation marks are killing me, btw.) I feel like the “in our house we…” sometimes gets old. And then, as things come up, just address them in an off-handed way. You don’t have to go into all the reasons with older kids. Like the burping with Jason, when he does just say something in a non-angry tone like, “say excuse me when you do that, ok?” I’ve found in working with middle schoolers and high schoolers that when I just talk to them and tell them what I want, they’re totally fine with it. It’s when I start to go into lecture/preach mode that they roll their eyes and tune me out. In the end, it’s your house and you don’t have to compromise what goes on there for anyone. Just my .02. You don’t have to listen to me at all! 🙂

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