Young children in blended families experience a great deal of confusion, or at least that's what my toddler tells me. I forget sometimes that just because I have the custody arrangements for her older brother and sister figured out, that doesn't necessarily mean that they actually make any kind of logical sense. So on the couple of days in the week when her brother and sister are sleeping at their mother's house, my two-year-old daughter either misses them quite a bit, or just assumes that they are around, and she can't find them. Some mornings, after getting dressed and watching her shows while I do the same, she announces that she's going to find her brother or sister, and no amount of explanation or logic can dissuade her. If she can't see them, then they must be in the bathroom. Once she searches the bathroom, she goes knocking on their bedroom door. After she looks in their bedrooms, including the closets, she goes back to the bathroom, or the den, or the kitchen, or outside. After about five minutes, she's satisfied that they're really not there, but I'm not sure if she understands that they have another mommy that they stay with sometimes.
However, the worst thing happened this morning - something that I kind of knew was coming, but didn't know when. The older kids obviously don't call my wife "Mom." In fact, it took some real negotiation to come up with a name for them to use that was appropriate for their step-mom, but not offensive to their bio-mom. The name we settled on was MyTy, a kind of derivation of her real name.
So, this morning, the baby asked me, "Where's MyTy?"
I wasn't sure what she was saying at first, but she repeated the question three or four times. And I get it - she hears her brother and sister use that name all the time, so why not her. Plus it was a particularly confusing morning, as everybody's schedule was off. The kids were there already when she woke up, when normally they would be at their mom's, and my wife was gone before the baby had a chance to say goodbye, since there was a big project at work, and she had to be on the road even before first light. So I corrected her the best I could, but it was still difficult, and I know she was confused.
It makes me wonder what else is coming.
The thing is, I don't think it makes much sense to try to explain these things to her, at her age, and we can't anticipate what sense her mind is going to make of things. So until she's old enough to really understand, maybe another couple of years, we'll just have to help her out when times like this come.
Although, I'm really glad my wife wasn't there when it happened.