Peter is our first born child.
Currently a middle schooler, he swings between extreme maturity and total regression. At his best, he is our first strong support, able to lead the foster children in appropriate behavior just by example. At his worst, he makes me want to shoot him.
O adores him and jumps for joy when he returns home from school. Peter responds to the worship with grace and gentleness. He reaches down to hug this little preschooler with a grin that makes O's day and patiently reads him a book at bedtime. He gets down on the floor and shares his train tracks and racecars -- I suspect enjoying the excuse to play with these toys he claims to have outgrown. L looks to him for approval in little things, even glancing his way at times to determine if a laugh is acceptable or not. He rarely, if ever, abuses the power this gives him, choosing instead to gently guide them in how they should behave in our home.
But, he's still a pre-teen boy. Sometimes, he gets too loud or too rowdy. Sometimes, the pressure of being constantly the leader gets too much and he snaps at someone. Sometimes, he expects too much of the younger children and reacts too strongly when they don't remember to give him some space. I have to remember to allow him spells of rest, time with his peers and not make him grow up too fast too soon. Ultimately, this experience has made me even more proud of him than I was before.