BASKET CASE

I’m in Struggletown. Have you heard of it? I’ve been there ever since entering parenthood and found myself in a chronic state of sleep deprivation. Thought I was a transient visitor but I’ve unwittingly become a local tenant. On occasion, I’ve forced myself outside its’ boundaries but ultimately, I stay entrapped within.

I often wonder what I’d surrender for a good night’s sleep (I’m talking deeper than the Mariana Trench sleep), and I’ve decided that I’d offer just about anything….money (who needs it!), fame (I’ve got none), coffee (*shrug* maybe I’ll become a tea sommelier). That’s how much I value my sleep.

As a mother of a toddler who likes to torture me by being awake during the wee hours of the morning, sleep for me is a wild-goose chase.

So it comes as no surprise that I constantly find myself in unfavourable situations. It’s almost expected of Struggletown residents.

On one unfortunate morning, my synapses must have misfired because it wasn’t until we were all strapped in the car and my hands resting on the steering wheel that I realised something was amiss.

“Where the heck are the car keys?!” I say aloud.

I pat down my pockets, I look in bags, I check that I’m not sitting on them and then the panic sets in. We have fifteen minutes until the school bell rings.

I get out of the car and sigh with relief that I left the garage door unlocked. There are some advantages with being absent-minded. I call forth my inner zen and aimlessly look around the house. They’re not in the usual place on the dining table. A quick glance at the time tells me there is only ten mins left. I do not want to get a late pass. That’s just a slippery slope.

“Mandy! Help me find the keys or we’ll be late!” I yell.

Mandy goes off to her bedroom to look for the keys. Why they’d be there I’m not sure. I don’t question the logic of a six-year-old.

Henry is just running around, hands in the air and making head noises, accurately mimicking my panicked thoughts.

I’ve looked everywhere. In my frenzy, I overturn the washing basket. I cringe at the mess. I spent all last night folding those damn clothes. Such a wasted effort.

I finally find the wretched keys inside my shoes by the door. I blame Henry’s fondness for posting.

We race to school. Mandy and I run for class. I’m struggling with Henry on one arm and Mandy’s school bag on the other. Those darn bags are so heavy they could be used as weights.

“Mum! The bell’s going!!” Mandy exclaims.

“Run faster then! We’re almost there!” I puff out.

Sweat trickles down my back and my face is flushed. I’m a bloody mess. Exercise and I just aren’t friends.

Mandy zips through just as Ms Frean is closing the classroom door.

“Almost too late Mandy,” Ms Frean admonishes.

So what was the life lesson here?

Car keys are never in the washing basket so don’t overturn them.

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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NAMASTE

Housing and vacating two babies from the residence of my extended and swollen belly has left me feeling self-conscious of my battle scars and subsequently acquired blubber. Gone are the slim thighs and flat stomach (not that my paunch could ever have been labelled ‘flat’), and replaced by stretch marks and a potbelly (I tell myself that I’m just constantly gassy). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not embarrassed by my body. I just happen to have a penchant for black shapeless outfits that make me look like a nun.

So after loads of needling from my brother (a selfie-loving Instagram gym junkie) and other well-meaning people (not my husband because he knows better!), I decided it was time to exercise. If not to lose weight then at the very least improve my mental health with all those supposed happy endorphins. After making the conscious decision to start exercising, I procrastinated for another week pondering what type.

There was no way I was going to a gym. My last venture ended with my personal trainer, who by sheer coincidence was my neighbour, banging on my front door trying to drag my sorry ass to the gym and me pretending not to be home.

I tried the One-Minute Workout and had the kids join in to keep me motivated, but I’m ashamed to admit that I even found that taxing.

In the end, yoga seemed like the best way of re-introduction to exercise. Not cardio-intensive or sweat-inducing and sympathetic to my sedentary form. So armed with my new mat and some fancy-pants gym wear, I joined a yoga class. To say I was nervous is an understatement.

“Namaste. Welcome to Flo Yoga,” says Judy, the friendly and warm instructor. “Just find a spot on the floor, when you’re ready.”

I give Judy a hesitant smile, put my belongings into the cubicle and find a place. People begin trickling in. It’s a relatively subdued atmosphere.

Suddenly the shrill sound of a phone blares. Mortified, I realise that I had forgotten to turn it off. I clamber towards my phone and turn it to silent, apologising to the group.

“Please make sure you’ve turned your phones on silent if you haven’t already done so,” Judy tells the rest of the group and gives me a reassuring smile.

While everyone is on their mat doing stretches and poses, I sit there feeling awkward and pretending to check out my nails.

The beeping sound of another phone penetrates the silence. I sit up straight listening. That couldn’t possibly be my phone. Feeling insecure I go to check and sure enough, it’s me. My damn alarm for yoga went off. I shut it down.

“I’m so sorry everyone,” I say. I am beyond horrified at being made centre of attention.

The class begins, and I struggle to keep up. There’s a lot of phrases being thrown around; downward facing dog, mountain pose and cat-cow stretch. I am so far out of my comfort zone that I’m in a head spin. I’m sweating like it’s my job and my underwear has lodged uncomfortably between my butt cheeks.

“Now if you want to push yourself a bit more, you can try the Kapotasana,” says Judy as she expertly manoeuvers her body.

I gape at her bent shape. My mind is suffering a nervous breakdown from even contemplating it. I’m no contortionist.

“Listen to your body. You can go into child’s pose when you’re ready.”

I opt for laying flat on my back instead. I call it my ‘Defeated’ pose. My muscles are screaming in pain. I’m gulping in air like a fish out of water.

“Ok, let’s lie on our backs and into Savasana.”

I swing my head to the side and see that everyone is laying down. “Oh good, cos I am NOT moving,” I think to myself.

“Close your eyes. Take deep breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Cleanse your soul.”

Upon leaving, Judy tells me that I did a great job. “Namaste. See you next time.”

As a reward for all my hard work, I head to the bakery next door and grab myself a coffee and roast pork roll. On the way back to the car, I bump into Judy.

“Namaste!” I say awkwardly, giving her a sheepish look.

She glances at my hands.

“Nothing to see here, just cleansing my body,” I blurt out.

Eye roll. Facepalm. Is there a cleanse for verbal diarrhoea?

Copyright © 2019, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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THE ART OF PACKING

Before I had children, I used to leisurely stroll each and every aisle of the supermarket, picking things off the shelf when I remembered. I didn’t bother with a grocery list. There was only two of us and if I forgot something, I’d return the next day.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought of this simple act of necessity as being an enviable task. I miss the days of languid and uninterrupted meandering, just like how I wish I had luxuriated in more sleep. Oh, how I miss those days!

I go to the supermarket with either one or two kids in tow. The most pleasurable part of the experience is leaving. I don’t know about other parents but to me having two pipsqueaks continually saying, “Mummy, can we buy this?” and “Mummy, can I get that?” drives me insane.

I almost never leave home without a grocery list, and I speed down aisles to collect items like I’m on a My Kitchen Rules cook-off. I obviously pass the chip, chocolate, and soft drink aisles because seriously, who needs the drama of wrestling contraband off a raging kid?

Normally, I go through self-serve because it’s the quickest way out of the store. With a kid that can drop a tantrum like a hot potato, it’s best not to procrastinate in a place with too many temptations and “get the hell out of dodge” is my shopping mantra.

Today I had too many things in the shopping trolley to go through self-serve and seeing that Henry seemed eerily calm, I opted to go through checkout. I methodically placed items in groups that I hoped to get bagged together. The young man at the register began packing the bags, taking time to arrange items like he was a Tetris prodigy. Simply perfect for my anally retentive grocery packing personality. I appreciate good packing skills. No one wants a dirty tango between raw meats and fruit.

As he continued to pack at the rate of one item per minute, Henry started to grumble about wanting to hop out of the trolley. I tried to placate him with a yoghurt and silently prayed for the dude to hurry the hell up. Henry was about to throw down and no one would be ready for the impending Hiroshima-like explosion that would be unleashed.

I twiddled my thumbs, glancing nervously at Henry’s whining and thrashing about. I gave checkout dude one more minute for good measure but my eye twitched at the sight of him taking out a punnet of tomatoes and replacing them with the punnet of mushrooms. They were the exact same size!

“Mummy!” Henry wailed.

I suddenly jumped into action. I grabbed the tomatoes off the dude and shoved them into a bag.

“How about you scan and I’ll help bag,” I told him with a smile that was too wide to be considered normal.

He recoiled at the sight of my crazed look and started quickly scanning. I shoved items left, right, and centre into the bags, practically arm sweeping them in. I worked at a rapid pace and only paused for breath once I handed over my card to pay.

I stood back and took stock of my surroundings. The people behind me and the checkout dude were giving me strange looks. I started from the realisation of my erratic behaviour. Embarrassed, I quickly left with my screaming child. It was a sobering moment of self-awareness at how different my life had become.

Did I regret having kids? Definitely not.

Would I change anything? Probably not.

Oh, wait. Yes. Avoid the Tetris guy.

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