SHE-DEVIL NEEDS A MATE

After almost four years, my son is finally sleeping through the night. I no longer have to hold his hand, lay on his bed, sing lullabies, commando crawl out of his room or listen to his wailing cries for me. Hallelujah!

Now it’s a much more civilised routine. I sit on a corner chair. We chat about our day, I answer the same nightly question of why rabbits hop and in twenty minutes he’s fallen asleep. No more drama!

What changed? I grew a backbone. I stopped caving in because it was the path of least resistance. I kept my butt glued to that corner chair and did my best to ignore the cries. It took about three weeks of persistence on my part before he accepted this was the new norm. Reaching new development milestones and growing that wee bit older would have been a contributing factor too. Plus, we made a fire engine dream catcher specifically to get rid of all those terrible dreams.

My body and brain needed about two weeks to readjust and not automatically wake to check on the kids.

In the last week, especially with the bursitis in my shoulders and hip beginning to improve, I have begun sleeping through the night. It’s a relief! I feel almost normal again. A good night’s sleep does wonders for the mental health.

Imagine my absolute horror when two nights ago, I woke to the screeching and growling sounds of a monster outside my bedroom window! A red-eyed, mangy fur, sharp-clawed, razor-like teeth monster called a possum… in heat.

What the heck? I’m finally permitted into the Land of Nod and what happens? I’m violently ejected at three in the morning every night because the resident possum needs to get laid. Come on! Why my tree? Why?!

I feel like I’m getting pranked. Like a group of higher beings are watching my life through a fish bowl and thought it might be funny to f@#k with me a bit more. You know, to see what it will take to break me.

Don’t they say that the path through misery is pain? So now I wait for she-devil to find her mate.

What’s next I wonder? Feral cats yowling and paw punching over my scrap of a courtyard? Roof rats deciding to move into the space over my head? Sounds quite possible.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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A CASE OF THE UNWANTED PEE TUBE

Reflection from 28/6/20 – prior to the second wave of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown.

My kids are always pestering me to go for overnight stays at my parent’s house. And why wouldn’t they? TV on demand, hand delivered snacks (hand feeding also optional), vegetables are decorative garnishes, bedtime is when you nod off, two-minute noodles is a breakfast option, and NO is as elusive as seeing me exercising or spotting a unicorn. Visiting my parents is like visiting the Candy House from the tale of Hansel and Gretel, and we can all guess how that really turned out.

Not to mention that my parent’s house is a death trap waiting to happen. I’ve mentioned this before but to newbie readers… my dad is a prolific collector – a hoarder if I can be so bold. He has six fish tanks, glass furniture everywhere, shelf upon shelf of breakable ornaments and electronics galore. He’s gotten worse with age but neither my brother or mother are willing to do anything about it.

Anyhow, for sleepovers, I insist on being there for supervision and that’s why they are few and far in between. With the pandemic and limited outdoor activities, we’ve all suffered from cabin fever and I thought the kids would benefit from a different scene. I was quickly reminded why we don’t do sleepovers at my parents.


“What is that?” asked my seven-year-old daughter, Mandy, pointing at a clear perspex tube sitting underneath the taps of the bathtub.

My three-year-old son, Henry, made a move to grab the metre-long tube.

“Don’t touch it!” I yelled at him. “Mum!”

The kids were having a bath at my parent’s house. We were having a sleepover for the first time in years.

My Mum poked her head into the bathroom. “What?”

“What is that?” I asked my Mum, looking at the suspicious tube and the nearby glass vase. You never know with my parents. Their house is full of strange, random, embarrassing, and dangerous-to-children things.

“Uh. Don’t touch that. It’s your Dad’s pee contraption,” replied my Mum, shaking her head in disbelief.

“EEEWWWW,” exclaimed Mandy, “Why does he have a pee tube?”

“Your Grampa is too lazy to go to the toilet at night. He made THAT so he can pee into it and pours it out in the morning. It stinks. Why do you think we have separate rooms?” explained my Mum, shrugging her shoulders as if we should have known better.

“Can I use it as my horn?” asked Henry, reaching for the offensive tube.

“NOOOOOO!!!!!” I screamed, pulling his arm back before he could connect his mouth to the tube. “Did you not hear? It’s a PEE tube.” I can’t believe those words have come from my mouth.

“It’s clean.” My mum replied in a matter of fact way, like it made a difference.

“His room is right next to the toilet. Why is he being so lazy? It’s not hygienic!” I cried out.

But then I peeked into his room and understood why he created the pee tube. He had two TV’s mounted on the wall, massive loudspeakers lining the perimeter of the room, a couch and a wall to wall table. All squeezed around a wooden platform bed in his three by three metre room.

No wonder he doesn’t want to make the nightly trek. It makes the Kokoda Trail seem like a walk in the park! He’s likely to lose a leg against a sharp corner or two.

You know that proverb… Like father, like son? I’m glad I’m a daughter.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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JOURNEY TO MATURITY

During lockdown, we bought a Nintendo game called Animal Crossing. Have you heard of it? It’s a popular social simulation game where you play a customisable character that willingly moves to a deserted island run by a (shady-ass) raccoon named Tom Nook, the island landlord. He gives you a tent and some tools. You make ‘money’ through selling fish and bugs that you catch. Pillaging and pilfering for resources from smaller islands and trading on the turnip stock market gets you the big bucks (ahem… just a tip). You can recreate your own dream island filled with friends, fruit and money trees, a museum and a clothing store. If you don’t mind repaying exorbitant mortgage loans to Tom, you can turn your humble tent into a three storey house and hoard furniture and clothes until your heart’s content.

Anyway, I’m getting off track. The point is, the kids love this game and so do I. It’s fun, friendly and ever so addictive. Whenever my three-year-old son has a turn, he likes to take off all his character’s clothing and run around in his underwear. Whenever my seven-year-old daughter has a turn, she likes to go to the clothing store and spend all her money on unnecessary fashion.

It’s painful to sit and watch them play. I have a habit of telling them what to do. I remind them that there’s fruit to harvest and sell, weeds and fallen sticks to pick up, mortgage loans to repay, and island star ratings to consider.

My husband always says, “Let them play their game how they want.”

You see, I forget that each child is playing the game to their level of maturity. Each person is unique in their definition of success and their journey to maturity. What a three-year-old boy finds interesting is different to that of a seven-year-old girl. And the same goes for adults.

My son is a hoarder of fish and furniture. He has a room filled to the brim with fish tanks and furniture stacked randomly inside and outside of his house. My daughter has questionable taste in fashion and wallpaper. She will spend her entire savings at the clothing store. But that is their game. That is what’s important to them. That is where they are in their journey.

As an adult, I am used to running on that pesky treadmill of life (obviously not literally because sweating and I have a hate-hate relationship). I am much further along in my journey to maturation, having experienced some high and lows of this rollercoaster called a life. Sometimes I forget to have realistic expectations of my children.

I need to remind myself to give my children the freedom to grow emotionally, socially, spiritually and intellectually at a pace that meets their needs. They will have plenty of years to be burdened by the complexities of life but as a parent, I can try to shelter them as best I can. Hopefully, in a way that doesn’t turn them into precious snowflakes!

In the meantime, I’ll wait until they’re asleep to log onto Animal Crossing to harvest all those unpicked fruit, make some money and pay off their loans. Hey, I’m not addicted! Someone’s gotta do it. Well, that’s the excuse I’m sticking to.

Copyright © 2020, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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