By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 at 10:05 pm in Baby Borrowers.
My ragging on Alicea is officially over, at least for now. After the baby round on “Baby Borrowers,” I pegged her as hopelessly deficient. Ever since, she has come around nicely. Last week, she showed real promise with toddler Isaiah. This week, she really shined with pre-teen Hannah the “drama queen.” Alicea opted to ignore Hannah’s temper tantrum — and instinctively, I would have done the same. Hannah’s mom, Leslie, had another tact so she intervened, suggesting Alicea engage the child in some sort of activity.
I braced myself for the meltdown. The last time someone dared to challenge Little Miss Know It All, she essentially gave up on her parenting duties. But surprise, surprise, Alicea handled the constructive criticism with some maturity. Ditto Cory. When Hannah locked him out of the house, he put her in timeout. She threw yet another tantrum but Cory found a way to outlast her. Love the “I’m sorry” letter Hannah pushed under the door. And his rewarding her with a popsicle — nice parenting move. But still, I wondered if this couple could truly make it when the sleepover edict arrived.
Leslie summed it up nicely. No sane parent invites NINE kids, the youngest of whom was 6, for a sleepover. Tossing that challenge in the laps of Alicea and Cory seemed downright nasty. Almost as if the producers wanted them to fail. Wow, did they surprise me. They actually got the kids to settle down and go to sleep without incident. And Alicea came through again when she took Hannah to her room for a little one-on-one comfort when she hit her head. Alicea and Cory have come a long way.
Not so with Kelly and Austin or Morgan and Daton. What’s up with the bathroom at Kelly and Austin’s house? Anytime these two get mad at each other, they lock themselves in the bathroom to sulk. Austin was none too happy when the show’s latest twist dropped Kelly’s best friend, Amber, on the doorstep. Kelly wanted some one-on-one girl talk; Austin left the room in a huff. Kelly’s response: “I’m going to have nights when just want to be with the girls. Austin doesn’t need to throw a tantrum about it.” This from the girl who has thrown two tantrums herself already. And Kelly really tipped her hand to what she’s thinking — in front of Austin, no less — when she asked the pre-teens’ real mom how she knew her husband was the one. Later she confessed that she has doubts about whether she wants to be with Austin but is “nervous” about breaking up. Talk about an unhealthy relationship.
Morgan and Daton are no better. They got along great with Seth, mostly because they acted as his friend instead of his “parents.” They never had Seth brush his teeth or take a bath, and they failed to get him in bed on time — although at least Daton recognized that as a parenting blunder. But the bigger problem is that these two lack a solid relationship, too. Daton jumped at the chance to go off with his best friend, and he summed up how flawed his relationship is with one statement — “I’m with someone who doesn’t make me a good person.” To think, these couples actually wanted children when they can’t even function together as a couple.
While I usually side with the real parents in this experiment, I thought mom Gabrielle stepped over the line with Kelsey. The mom of two vegetarian sons, Gabrielle told Kelsey she can never raise healthy kids if she is not healthy herself. Granted, Kelsey isn’t a fruits and veggies girl. Eating bacon and lots of syrup is hardly healthy. And Sean would like to see her take better care of herself nutrition-wise, but sometimes those who struggle with their own nutrition work twice as hard to insure their kids eat right. Sean had no business letting Tristan and Nicholas gang up on Kelsey for her excessive syrup-use. Children should be respectful of their elders, even if Kelsey was just subbing in the role of mom. Maybe Gabrielle should take a harder look at her own parenting shortfall.
And finally, Sasha. She decided to stick it out after last week’s train wreck with the toddler. She and Jordan seemed to have it easy with well-behaved Sara. It was a hoot seeing Sara’s dad give Jordan props for getting her to do math — and enjoy it. Looks like these two are back on rebound road.
As for the “and their pets” twist, what a waste. The pets were a major afterthought.