well we are a year and a half in of fulltime parenting (we both have full custody of kids) and things are better, but definitely still a work in progress. I think the boys are starting to realize that no matter what they do or feel, or how they act (good or bad) I will always be there for them and try to help them. The little things can add up - making sure they have their school stuff, buying their favorite dinner, etc...I have been a work in progress as well. Trying not to take things so personally, both with how arguments may occur where my daughter is concerned and/or what they may say to me. Things will irritate you - if they dont then you are amazing! The youngest boy loves to act like a know it all and the middle constantly tells me how to cook and he can be so obnoxious. If my bio daughter did it Im not sure I would be AS annoyed because i know how to handle her - she knows i love her no matter what . Anyway sometimes i wonder if it is that annoying stuff that you will remember when you get older and the kids are gone and just laugh. I think for me I try as hard as i can to look at them as bio and not step, and infuse that patience, love, etc...every day for the rest of my life (can be a challenge)! I saw this special the other day about a football player, who was an adult - raised when he was younger by a stepfather. Anyway he was talking about (by this time he had to be 35yrs old) going back to visit his family and just showing his step father how much he does love him and appreciate him. I think that kind of sums it up. Step children - especially when you are introduced to them when they are older may not show you how much what you are doing is appreciated, but the rewards will come - you are making an impact.