BUTLER, PA–New mommy Alison Leuchter is "a lot prettier," Courtney and Brady Leuchter announced Monday, moments after old mommy Joan Leuchter ordered them to put away the Nintendo and do their homework.
"Our new mommy at Daddy's house is so pretty. She has long hair and wears pretty dresses, and she has a tan even when it's snowing out," 9-year-old Brady Leuchter said of his father's former secretary and new wife. "She's so pretty, she could be on TV."
"And our new mommy never makes us turn off the Nintendo," Brady added. "She lets us play all day Saturday, as long as we keep the door shut."
Courtney, 8, had similarly positive things to say about her new mommy.
"Our mommy-mommy is always crying. But our Alison-mommy smiles so much. She giggles whenever Daddy says anything," Courtney said. "And she has lots of pretty gold bracelets and necklaces. Plus, she lets me put on her lipstick, even though my old mommy says I can't wear makeup until I'm older."
Alison, a 28-year-old nursing student at Butler Community College, married John Leuchter, 36, on Jan. 3, three months to the day after his divorce from Joan, also 36, was finalized. The children now live with their mother in a cramped two-bedroom apartment and spend weekends with their father in their spacious former home.
"I'm thrilled to be with John, and I honestly don't even mind his kids at all," Alison said. "In fact, it's kind of fun to have them around the house a couple days a week. But hopefully someday, John and I can have some of our own."
At first, the children didn't like Alison, protesting when she moved her belongings into the bedroom formerly occupied by Joan. But after months of enduring their old mommy's crying jags, their opinion has changed. They say they find their new mommy not only "prettier," but "funner," too.
"Mommy-mommy is always saying she has a headache and we have to quiet down," Brady said. "But our new mommy let us be as loud as we want. She even let us go outside at night to have a screaming contest once. She's the best."
Among the things the children are permitted to do during weekends with their daddy and new mommy: eat Cap'n Crunch for lunch and dinner, ride their bikes in the street, and watch television until 10 p.m. The weekends come as a welcome break from Monday to Friday, when Joan makes them do their homework before playing, help wash dishes after meals, and go to bed no later than 8:30.
In addition, Joan frequently refuses to buy the children new toys and clothes in an effort to "make ends meet."
"Right now, I'm just barely getting by, working two 30-hour-a-week jobs without health insurance," Joan said. "So, unfortunately, I can't buy the kids all the things I'd like to. But hopefully, by the fall, I'll be getting enough hours at one of the jobs to be considered full-time and get full health and dental. That'd save us some money, especially with Brady's asthma medicine, and then maybe we could loosen the belt and buy some nice things."
Even daddy has been nicer since the arrival of the new-and-improved mommy.
"Daddy never used to take us anyplace, because he said our old mommy was boring and didn't like to do anything," Courtney said. "But now we do stuff every weekend. On Saturday, me and daddy and Brady and Alison-mommy are going to the mall to see Snow Day and get ice cream."
"Alison-mommy said if I keep bugging daddy, he'll put a hot tub in the backyard," Courtney added. "She already bought three new swimming suits and even tried them on for us. She looked so pretty in them, like a beautiful model. I love old mommy, but I think I love new mommy even more."