THE ART OF PACKING

Before I had children, I use to leisurely stroll each and every aisle of the supermarket, picking things off the shelf when I remembered that I needed them. I didn’t bother with a grocery list. There was only two of us and if I forgot something then I’d return another day. No biggie.
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 and the most pleasurable part is getting the kids back into the car and going home. 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 toddler?

Normally, I go through self-serve because it’s the quickest way out of the store. With a toddler 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 place items in groups that I hope get bagged together. The young man at the register begins packing the bags, arranging items in particular positions like he’s a Tetris prodigy. Simply perfect for my anally retentive grocery packing personality. I can appreciate good packing skills. No one wants a dirty tango between raw meats and fruit.

As he continues to pack at the rate of one item per minute, Henry starts to grumble about wanting to hop out of the trolley. I try to placate him with a yoghurt and silently pray for the dude to hurry the hell up. Henry’s about to throw down and no one will be ready for the impending Hiroshima-like explosion that will be unleashed.

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

“Mummy!” Henry wails.

I suddenly jump into action. I grab the tomatoes off the dude and shove them into a bag.

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

He recoils at the sight of my crazed look and starts quickly scanning. I shove items left, right, and centre into bags, practically arm sweeping them in. I work at a rapid pace and only pause for breath once I hand over my card to pay.

I stand back and take stock of my surroundings. The people behind me and the checkout dude are giving me strange looks. I start from the realisation of my erratic behaviour. Embarrassed, I quickly leave with my screaming toddler. It’s a sobering moment of self-awareness at how different my life has become.

Do I regret having kids? Definitely not.

Would I change anything? Probably not.

Oh, wait. Yes. Avoid the Tetris guy.

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

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THE WATER BOTTLE

The morning school run is the bane of my existence and the after school assault is akin to corporal punishment, especially if you take into account the dreaded “tantrums”. Bring home an exhausted prep child from school, add in some “hanger”, plus some poorly received words from just about anyone and you have yourself the formula to a ready-made explosion waiting to be unleashed onto some poor fool. Namely, Mum.

Mandy is always on the precipice of a meltdown after school, so I tend to tiptoe a little in order to keep some peace. More importantly, to cling onto any shred of sanity I may have left for the day.

“Darling, would you like a piece of fruit as a snack before dinner?” I ask sweetly, hoping for the first time she relents and takes the healthier option.

“Can I have chips?” she asks, expectantly.


Henry hears the word chips and sidles up to his big sister, hand reaching out expectantly.

“No sweetheart. How about some Vegemite cheese sandwiches?” I counter offer, praying that I haven’t set off the bomb. I’ve still got to prepare dinner, get their lunches ready for tomorrow, bathe the troublesome two and help with school readers. A gigantic tantrum would be a setback. One that I could do without.

Mandy’s face starts to collapse in untold pain at my sheer audacity to refuse her the one thing she ever wanted in her life. Tears start streaming down her flushed cheeks. The wailing begins. Henry looks at her in confusion. He’s not sure why she’s crying, but he’s become worried. He mirrors her behaviour and starts crying himself.

I look to the heavens above and ask why? For the love of my sanity, why?!

I look down at my crying offspring and debate the merits of relenting with a few chips versus my sanity.

Giving in will mean I’m reinforcing bad behaviour. Bad saturated fats and salts aren’t good for growing bodies and minds. It’s almost dinner and it will ruin their dinner.

A slew of thoughts crosses my mind in a frantic disorderly manner.

The wailing becomes louder. There’s screaming involved now. Slamming of doors is probably not far off. I don’t think our doors can handle another beating. Ah heck! I don’t want to deal with this. I need a wine, possibly a long tropical island vacation, away from any wailing.

“Fine!! Only a handful. I mean it,” I say with as much conviction as I can muster.


“Yeah right. I’m such a bloody pushover.” I think to myself.

“Please watch your brother for a minute, so I can get dinner ready and your lunch organised for tomorrow,” I plead with Mandy.

“Yes Mum,” Mandy replies, walking away with her brother and the chips. The tears stopping as quickly as they began.

I turn around and potter about in the kitchen for a few moments. I’m about to wash Mandy’s school water bottle. It’s a silly expensive Smiggle bottle that she insisted she needed otherwise she couldn’t possibly go to school. This bottle had a flimsy soft body that was collapsible. The darn thing was hard to open and clean.

As I am about to lift the lid, I see in the corner of my vision Henry pushing his high chair towards the counter. As quick as a flash, he uses it to climb up onto the counter top. I squeeze that damn bottle upon reflex as I race over to grab Henry before he falls off the counter and hurts himself. Water ends up everywhere. I look at my cheeky giggling child and the watery mess on the floor.

Blast that stupid water bottle.

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

https://knj.home.blog/privacy-policy/