Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Amy L. Peterson' s blog tour. She is the author of From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds. Welcome Amy. :) Before we get to her guest post and chapter excerpt from her book, here is the book summary that tells us a bit about her book. For a chance to win a paperback (International) please leave a comment + email address on the comment box. Giveaway open until 28th April,2012
Mark is an older, divorced man with four kids. He sleeps on an Army cot and eats out of pots and pans given to him by his therapist. He has a Ph.D. in stream ecology, a VW Rabbit with 285,000 miles on it and enough fishing tackle to sink a small boat.
Amy falls for Mark hook, line and hundreds of dollars in sinkers
A Guest Post and Excerpt by Amy L. Peterson.
First, thank you CeCe for giving me this opportunity and for being a host for my April 8-28th book tour. I hear I hit you up for this during a time you are promoting your own book, and I’m really glad you figured out which book was more important to promote today (hah!). Seriously, thank you.
From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds is my humorous story about falling hook, line and sinker for a guy with four kids. They were three, five, 13 and 15 when I met them; the man in question was older and divorced; and I was 30 and clueless. I didn’t know that a Water Baby needs to have water inside it to come alive, that teenagers are seldom happy in the company of adults, and that men can sometimes act like teenagers.
As a result of learning these and other important things, my book is filled with tips for stepmoms and future stepmoms. Consider “Tip #17: Not everyone will be happy with your choice of men.” That, of course, was my mother, who had foolishly envisioned my future husband as having a car with fewer than 295,000 miles on it, pots and pans that were shiny and new instead of from his therapist, and a bed other than an Army cot. Mom was also good for “Tip #36: Anyone who says you have no idea what you’re getting into, is right.”
My goal in writing my book was to provide a few good laughs and a whole bunch of sound, light-hearted advice for other stepmoms and future stepmoms. Because, with the right guy, being a stepmom is worth the misadventure. And I know I have the right guy because he didn’t care that on my book cover, the bride’s fishing pole is connected to a larger fish than the groom’s.
I was also blessed with four great stepkids, and I must say, that helped a lot. Only one called from jail in the wee hours of the morning, only one jumped on top of the roof of their car and used a toilet plunger to suck it back out, and only one called in “sick” to work so they could play video games with their friends. All four kids are 21 and older now, and seldom miss out on birthday parties and holidays. That’s my best evidence that at least some of my tips might prove useful.
The excerpt below is from Chapter 9, “Can’t We Just Duct Tape Them Together and Send Them Outside?” This chapter describes what it was like to have all for kids move into a two-bedroom apartment with Mark and me for the entire month of July. This chapter includes “Tip #39: There is no time to unwind when children await you at home.”
After work, I stood outside my apartment and took a deep breath.
“What’s the matter?” Mark asked.
“I just realized that my days of unwinding after work are gone.”
“Welcome to instant parenthood.” He grinned as he opened the door for me.
The first thing I heard was the shrill voice of Alfalfa so-called singing in a “Little Rascals” movie.
From what I assumed was the kid’s bedroom, came a Beatles song, interspersed with the bleeps and dings from the Sonic the Hedgehog video game.
I put my purse on the dining room table next to the Creepy Crawler cooker. On the kitchen stove, several rubbery red and black rubbery scorpions, butterflies and the like were cooling. In the living-room-family-room-storage-area, there were two glasses of pop on the TV.
“You’ll get used to it, Honey,” Mark said.
“That’s not comforting, but thanks for trying.”
I followed him into the living-room-dining-room-storage-area where Conrad was watching TV and Elizabeth was making “presents” out of pieces of construction paper and tape. “Off the TV,” Mark said. “Get your butt outside.”
“See my presents?” Elizabeth asked.
Mark bent down and complimented her on her presents. “Now, clean up this mess and get yourself outside.”
He then addressed the reverberating walls of music with, “Simone, shut that radio off, now!” Once it was silenced, he said, “If you can’t play it quietly, I’ll take it away from you. Go blast it outside somewhere if you need to be cool or whatever.”
“Whatever, Dad,” Simone said.
“Hey, Samantha,” Mark said. “Why don’t you wrap it up with ‘Sonic’ and head outside, too. It’s nice out there.”
By the time Mark and I changed our clothes, all four kids had wandered outside, looking sad and forlorn. Mark and I immediately started making dinner and had five minutes of relative solitude before Elizabeth popped back inside and said that Samantha and Conrad were being mean to her.
Mark told her to come in, and when she did, Conrad tried to follow. Mark kicked Conrad back outside with, “And stay out until I call you for dinner.”
“Can I help make dinner?” Elizabeth asked.
At four, she wasn't particularly helpful with the tasks she thought she wanted to do -- like chopping onions -- and carrying out the tasks she could do -- like setting the table -- took step-by-step instructions on what to place where and how many of each item was needed and let’s practice counting now, okay? So exhausting was this play-by-play that by the time she was done with one task, I suggested that she go outside to see what her brother and sisters were doing, giving me five minutes to sing, twirl around, swear and have one single, private thought.
And then they came in for dinner.
It was like a mini-stampede, complete with one monkey, one elephant, one gorilla and a puppy dog, all trying to beat each other into the bathroom so they could dewater themselves and wash their hands. The pecking order was by size, so as expected, Elizabeth was the last one to get to the table.
Once everyone was seated, all four kids started talking at the same time. Mark let this go for a few seconds, then raised his hands and said, “One at a time.”
As we listened and tried to respond to the days’ events, we also had to direct the movement of food around the table, as it seemed taking some of something and passing it wasn’t the norm yet. We had no napkins and Mark and I didn’t have the energy to get napkins or tell one of the kids to get some. Besides, no one knew where the napkins were.
After dinner, Mark and I cleaned up and encouraged the kids to go swimming, feed the ducks, catch frogs, or go skating. Later, a video was thrown into the machine and I escaped to my room to write.
Only at 11 o'clock -- after three kids were tucked away in the kids' bedroom, and with Simone on my futon in the living-room-family-room-storage-area -- did the movement stop and the noises blend into the gentle hum of the air conditioner.
Exhausted, I collapsed into Mark's arms and mumbled, "Is the entire apartment moving, or is it just me?”
To read more about how I coped with four kids, you just might have to buy my book at Amazon.com. It is available as an e-book and a paperback. Review comments are summarized on my web site.