The time has come for another Heads Up! in which I tell you about some blog awesomeness of which you may not have been previously aware. And to sweeten the deal, this particular blogger has been awesome enough to write a guest piece for us here at The Little Mumma.
So I am very excited to feature the work of a good friend, MJ from A Mad World. MJ started her blog after moving the family (including a pretty much newborn baby) from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles in the United States. So, you know, the other side of the world. Needless to say, she has a tale or two to tell.
A Mad World follows the adventures of MJ and her husband, J, and their kids, the Faery and Miss Pie, as they navigate their way in a strange new (LA LA) land. And she takes some particularly awesome photos too.
A few of my favourite posts;
1. About the time she was pipped at the good-deed-doing post
2. About not begrudging Angelina her nannies
3. About how one man's term of endearment is another man's sodomy…what?
And my favourite piece thus far
4. About creative yearnings
Since I still carry the acting gene deep within, following MJ's life in LA is nothing short of thrilling for me. I am all vicarious.
Now, enjoy MJ's guest piece - about motherhood the second time around and relearning the ropes with two kids. She wrote it just for us!
Unchartered by MJ from A Mad World
Having read every single one of The Little Mumma's posts in stalker-ish fashion over the last couple of years, I hope I'm not about to repeat a topic already covered. If I do, I'll blame it on baby brain. It doesn't matter that the baby is actually a toddler,right? Baby brain is legitimate for a few years – surely – so I'm going to milk it.
I am all about convenience.
Convenience is why there are three and a half years between my daughters. I have a pretty good idea of where the mercury hits stress overload for me, and I'm under no delusions about how I would have coped with both the demands of a newborn and a toddler. Nope, not for me.
Over the past year, I've mostly given myself smug little pats on the back for this wise choice I made. My eldest, the Faery, has been thrilled with having a real, live baby doll to hang out with and is a great little helper. My youngest, Miss Pie, has made things easier by possessing a fairly laid-back nature.
It's not like she had much choice, though. Her first few months were spent basically living out of a suitcase and napping wherever, in her stroller, as we packed up and moved overseas. To this day, I thank my lucky stars for how much smoother she made that whole process. It could have been a nightmare, but it wasn't.
Before Miss Pie was born, I was worried that I'd forgotten everything I'd learned when the Faery was little. And to a certain extent, I had forgotten a lot, but it came back to me quickly.
Things seem so much easier the second time around, don't they? It's like the return trip when driving home from a holiday. It goes by more quickly and things look familiar.
Breastfeeding? Yep, done that before. Broken sleep? Well, it couldn't possibly be worse than the first time (which was particularly bad in our case). I'll be fine. Cleaning the girly bits after explosive poos? Yep, got that down pat too. Introducing solid foods? Eh. Just fly by the seat of my pants on that one (it was the one thing where my memory had failed to retain anything useful). Increasingly mobile baby? Ah, yes. Child-proofing, here we come.
Learning to drive on the right-hand side of the road? Oh, hang on – that's nothing to do with the kids…
Before Miss Pie was born, I was assured by a good mate (with two young ones already under his belt) that having two kids isn't really like having, well, two kids. More like having one point three kids because you don't have to figure out so much new stuff. The waters aren't as unchartered as when you first become a parent.
However, there are complications after that second little person arrives.
No one told me how repetitive it is to get two little people in and out of the car all by yourself each time you venture out. Or how you need proper wrangling skills in the shopping centre carpark. The thought of doing this with three kids makes me break out in a sweat.
I'd never thought about the logistics of going to the supermarket with both of them. In the beginning, the Faery would sit in the trolley – as usual – and I would wear Miss Pie in the babycarrier, which made bending down to lower shelves, or over the trolley, challenging. Now that Miss Pie is so much bigger,she sits in the trolley, while the Faery sulks at having to walk alongside, or runs off out of sight, in pursuit of an unhealthy snack that I give in and buy. I need some peace from the whingeing so I can think straight. But hey, at least I can bend over. That's something positive to focus on, right?
The latest challenge is the girls both fighting over me. Miss Pie is the chief offender, and is becoming quite possessive. If she wants cuddles with me, and the Faery dares to come anywhere near us, Miss Pie lashes out at her with a howling fury. She does not want to share me. Eyes are poked, hair gets grabbed at. I've never witnessed anything like this before – not under my own roof. And of course, it results in the Faery having a good old sulk and cry. Sigh.
This is where it's all new to me. With the Faery, I've not once had to discipline her for physically hurting another person because she's never done that. Eye-poking, hitting and hair-pulling have never been an issue. I would say partly because she was an only child for three and a half years and had my undivided attention as a toddler, and partly because that's just the sort of kid she is. She's always played beautifully with other kids.
But I'm a little lost with Miss Pie right now. How much a does a fourteen-month-old really understand? Sure, I tell her it's not on, and remove her from my lap when she does this… but just how much can she grasp that it's wrong? It seems more like a knee-jerk reaction that she doesn't have much control of yet.
The fact that she was such an easygoing baby makes this current behaviour so hard to comprehend. Where did this feistiness come from? She had a little rough patch a few months back with clinginess and screeching, but it passed and she went back to her old jolly self. Happy, calm waters… only now there are some choppy waves at times.
There is so much ahead of me that I am absolutely clueless about. Although a long way off, I'm beginning to feel very nervous about the tween and teenage years.
Parenting, huh? People refer to it as a journey but to me, that word doesn't do it justice. It's a trip. A psychedelic one. It's not just a collection of events that we learn from. Some of it is
downright nightmarish. A lot is uplifting and does make you a better person. There are plenty of moments where all you can do is laugh. And laugh. And laugh (or else you cry)… Oh, and forget about convenience. There is nothing convenient about this gig.
I wouldn't change it, though. All in all, I'm pretty taken with the two little people I have.