Mama Mayhem

My part-time growing family

By Ivy Jensen

NOW don’t get too excited or ahead of yourself but I recently became a family of four.

So no, no new man to make my household an even number – and add some balancing hormones in a house of women (however, if his name is either Adam Levine and/or Ty Burrell then that’s a whole new conversation).

And definitely no, even the mere suggestion of another child is enough to give me nightmares.

No, the girls’ younger half-sister Loghan came to stay for a week. As much as I hate calling her halfsister, that’s how I have to explain it otherwise people think Loghan is mine.

Not that I wouldn’t be happy to claim her as my own, of course.

Just so you can follow the rest of this (in case you didn’t already know) Loghan is the daughter of my exhusband Jace and his second wife Amanda.

And several years ago we decided to park our differences for the sake of all our girls and (sort of) operate as one family living in two homes.

Most of all to spare the three of them as much as possible from being the emotional collateral of divorce and separated families – and while it’s not perfect, we muddle along doing the best we can.

I truly believe if you can give your kids a safe and happy childhood, they are much more likely to become welladjusted, resilient adults.

And so sometimes LoLo, as we affectionately call her, comes to stay with us over a weekend – or longer if her parents are away.

And while she doesn’t have my genes, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to her sisters.

She has Ayla’s temper and humour and Maya’s charm and kookiness – plus her own little case of youngest sister craziness.

As well as the endearing, overwhelming enthusiasm of the only child to whom everything belongs, whether it’s theirs or not.

And if she doesn’t get it, she waits until said sister grows out of it and then it becomes hers by default.

She has waited patiently for months to see any sign of Maya growing out of/or losing interest in her Barbie playhouse.

I’m pretty sure she’ll be waiting for at least another six months because Maya is glued to it almost as much as Lo when she comes over.

Another of Lo’s endearing qualities is her determination to make sure everyone we bump into doesn’t have any confusion about the mix and match family in front of them.

Such as the supermarket checkout where I was at one end shovelling groceries along the counter and the three sisters were standing at the other end hoping I would weaken and provide each one of them with an impulse item at the last moment.

The lady zapping my shopping looked down at the girls and asked if they were going to help their mum with the bags.

Lo turns to me with that exasperated expression she saves just for such occasions at this.

While I would have let it go, the Little Miss never can.

Turning back to the lady she said “step mum” and the lady filling the bags laughed and gave me a sympathetic smile.

Sometimes I start to clarify the little tyke’s misinterpretation, telling people who seem a bit confused by the explanation, that I’m not really her step mum.

But yes, she is the half sister of the two older girls.

Nowadays though, I invariably wrap it all up with “it’s complicated”

But A for effort, Lo is not often happy to let that one sail by either.

Explaining it all to her teacher the other morning: “My dad was married to a woman called Ivy, and they broke up because they didn’t love each other anymore.

And then Dad married my Mum and I was born”. Technically she is 100 per cent correct.

Socially it can get drawn out a bit.

Personally I know I am always able to let a deep breath out when she heads home, and have no doubt Lo’s parents let out at least a double breath when Ayla and Maya come home after spending time with their father and a real step mother (of the non-evil variety).

Then it’s a breathless wait until Lo’s next interpretation of where she fits in her little world.