FALLING OUT OF BED

“Mummy! Mummy!” – my six o’clock wake up call sounds the same every morning, with my four-year-old son calling out for me from his bed. I know that if I don’t go over to tell him to be quiet, he will fuss and wake the whole household. If I brave the morning chill, I might be able to squeeze in another ten minutes of peace. 

Pulling back the blankets, I swung my legs to the side of the bed and stood up. Then I fell to the ground in a crumpled heap. My legs were not doing what I thought my brain was telling those porkchops to do. 

“ARGH!!!!” My son’s morning whinge might not have woken anyone yet, but my screams of agony certainly would have done the trick.

Three worried pairs of eyes peered over my prone body.

“What’s wrong with Mummy?!”

“Mum, what happened to your foot?”

“Are you ok?”

On occasion, I’ve woken up with pins and needles in my limbs and have collapsed getting out of bed. Never have I fallen in such an awkward position that I’ve injured myself in the process. Unlucky for me, I fell forwards and bent the toes on my right foot upwards. I wasn’t sure if the toes were broken or sprained but it hurt – BAD. Other than grab my foot, I could only manage to whimper in pain. After I had managed to collect myself, we examined my foot and came to the conclusion that if I could wriggle my toes, it probably wasn’t broken. To the kids, the excitement was over. 

“Mummy, I’m hungry!”

“Mummy, can you make me a toastie?”

“I’ve got to get ready for work.”

It was time to get back to Mum duties, bruised toes or not. So I hobbled about to get things done.

“Mummy, can you pick that up?”

“Mummy, can you get my water bottle from my room?”

“Mummy, can you get me a snack?”

“Mummy, can you wipe my bottom?”

Have I mentioned that being a parent is a thankless job? 

“I have broken (maybe) toes you know!” I had to remind everyone that I was an injured person and perhaps people could cut me some Mum slack and go do things themselves. I dread thinking how anyone would cope if I was really out of action. Dropped items would stay dropped, water bottles would never get refilled, no one would do a poop. 

Anyway, I’m sure you are all thoughtful folks and want to know how my toes are faring, right? I am unhappy to report I am back to 90% servant/cleaner/cook duties. Maybe if I want a break from Mum duties next time I’m injured, I’ll need both hands broken.

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THE CURSE OF IMPULSE BUYS

My husband and children like to gang up and tease me. It’s probably because I give them lots of reasons to… I’m giving in that way. I have a tendency to be explicit about obvious things and non-explicit about non-obvious things. What does that mean exactly? I’ll give you some examples. I might say “You should park here” when my husband is practically reversing the car into said space. Or I might say “Can you pass me that thing?” and no-one has any idea what that “thing” I’m referring to is but me. What can I say? I have my flaws.

I blame it on the fact that my mind is on constant overdrive, mentally juggling the billion life tasks that need to be done. That’s my excuse anyway! My husband suggests I should apply the “just in time” strategy to my decision-making processes and not waste time thinking too far ahead. In doing so, I might free my mind to make better choices or decisions in a timely manner. He’s probably right but then again, he would rather be wet than use an umbrella and thinks thongs have no place in footwear, so it’s hard for me to take him seriously at times!

Anyway, recently I went to a bookstore with our 8-year-old daughter and on an impulse buy, I bought an adjustable travel book holder that was sitting at the counter. Those merchandisers are sneaky bastards, and I’m the perfect example of an impulse buyer. I see colourful products and red on-sale signs and my brain goes off like a circus monkey on speed. I can’t help it! I reasoned that our daughter needed help keeping the pages of her book opened. She complained that one time, a few months back somewhere, and that was reason enough for the $17 purchase.

My husband took one look at the book holder and declared it a useless invention made to con easy prey like me. How dare he?! My daughter quickly sided with her dad and wanted nothing to do with the product despite originally agreeing to try it. My son joined in on the fun and soon, dissension was rife.

“I’m going to use it to keep MY research books open!” I argued, attempting to win the debate on the worthiness of a travel book holder, despite not travelling anywhere.

“See? I’m using it right now,” I said, as I failed miserably to prove the book holder useful. Instead of placing the thing on the sides of the book, I put it on top so I couldn’t turn the pages. Then when I realised my mistake and tried putting it on the sides of the book, it wouldn’t stretch far enough for the book I was using as my demonstration. Sigh.

The against team rebuttal included a Google search of the most pointless items ever made and my product happened to make the top 10 list. It didn’t help that my book kept slamming shut because the book holder was a useless piece of junk. Suffice to say, it destroyed my credibility and rendered my arguments invalid.

“That thing is cursed,” my husband joked, “you better get rid of it!”

He and the children went off on a tangent about what cursed objects were and ways to rid one of it. They even drew a pentagram symbol on a whiteboard and placed the book holder within it to keep the curse from wreaking havoc on our household. And to strengthen the protection spell, they drew three more pentagrams around the original symbol. They came up with the idea that the curse could only be broken if the cursed item was accepted by someone else. I couldn’t re-gift or throw out the book holder.

Obviously, it was all done jokingly and the children knew it was all said and done in good nature. But two weeks on, they are still taking the piss out on me. Every time there’s a misfortune, they joke that it’s because of the curse. Like when we couldn’t find a carpark at the shopping centre during the peak hour weekend crowd… it was because of the curse. Or when we had to walk up the broken travellator… again, the curse.

Every day, my 4-year-old son asks if today is the day I’ll rid myself of the curse and therefore, his curse through his association with me. I really don’t want to give it away because it cost me $17 and a stubborn part of me doesn’t want to admit that the book holder is in fact, useless. I’m still holding out hope that one day it’ll prove handy.

BUT at what point does a lie become the truth? If you believe something hard enough, would you eventually create an illusion of the truth? Because at the rate everyone is saying I’m cursed, maybe it’ll really end up that way. Maybe if I really think bad things will happen, it’ll end up true. And if that’s true, then shouldn’t happy thoughts lead to happy things? What if the Universe knows that I’m purposely thinking happy thoughts for happy things, will that mean something bad will happen? What if the Universe is really trying to speak through the curse?

Wait a minute! Maybe this is going too far. Before I book myself into a bootcamp for cosmic curse cleansing…

Does anyone want a free and really useful travel book holder?

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WALKING THE LINE

My eight-year-old daughter and her classmates had one of their six summer swimming lessons yesterday at the local pool. I volunteered as a parent helper to assist in the change rooms and to make sure the children were safe on their walk there and back.

I like volunteering as a parent helper for school/kinder excursions, incursions and in the classroom. It allows me to better understand what my children are learning, see how they interact with their peers and teacher and shows them the importance of participating in a larger community.

I’m in a fortunate place where I am able to volunteer my time, and I’m grateful for it. Not all parents are able to do these things for their children.

As the class started their journey towards the local pool, I found myself supervising the children in the middle of the walking line.

One of the boys sidled up to me and asked, “What do you think of being a vegan?”

How do you answer that? You can’t exactly be upfront and honest with young impressionable children who aren’t yours! What if I said something that was contradictory to his parent’s beliefs or opened a can of worms I wasn’t meant to?

So what do you do when you’re like a deer caught in the headlights by a tricky question from a kid? You deflect. “Um, what made you ask that? Do you know what a vegan is?”

“It’s when you don’t eat eggs and meat,” he replied with a shrug of his shoulders. “I just wanted to know.”

“Well, I guess you could give it a go if you’re interested and see?”

Obviously, I need to work on my deflecting and diplomatic skills. I should have told him to ask his parents or given a non-response. They could be meatatarians for all I know, and my flippant comment on trying veganism could really anger them.

I had inadvertently dropped a think bomb. Trying to limit the damage, I moved away and left the boy to ponder his lifestyle choices.

I noticed a couple of girls walking behind me and slowed down to talk to them. “Hello, what are your names?”

The girls were terribly shy. They reminded me of when I was a young girl and would reply with one worded answers and refused to make eye contact. I started to feel bad when one of the girls unconsciously moved further and further away from me and ended off the footpath. I realised I was making them feel uncomfortable with the questions and so I moved away.

I wondered how I would have reacted to an unknown adult giving me attention as a shy child and came to the conclusion that I’d have done the same.

By the end of the journey, I was near my daughter and her buddy at the front of the walking line. Yes, my daughter hadn’t wanted to walk with me. Apparently, I’m embarrassing. Oh, have I mentioned that last week she took a proverbial axe to my heart by declaring she was too old to give me goodbye cuddles at the school gates? Yeah, that happened.

My daughter’s buddy decided a walking line was the perfect place to pounce on an unsuspecting parent.

“Can I have a sleepover at your house? Or maybe Mandy can come to my house?”

“Maybe. We’ll see,” I answered, not wanting to commit to anything because like elephants, children NEVER forget promises.

“Do you work?”
“Can we have a playdate during the school holidays?”
“Could you organise a sleepover?”
“Mandy and I would really like a sleepover.”

My daughter was suspiciously silent throughout the onslaught, letting her buddy steamroll me.

“Mandy wants a lot of things but it doesn’t mean she always gets what she wants,” I replied, hoping her buddy understood nuances. But like most eight-year-olds, they hear what they want to hear and it wasn’t a firm no.

“I’ll get my mum to volunteer next week with you, so you can both talk.” The kid gave me a stern look. The teacher and I made eyes, and I’m pretty sure she was giving me a sympathetic look that said ‘Welcome to my world’.

As I was leaving the school grounds, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was possible to predict a child’s future career using their personality traits and temperament.

The boy asking about veganism seemed inquisitive and thoughtful. Maybe he’ll become a philosopher or an activist. Perhaps he’ll become a scientist.

My daughter’s buddy was assertive to the point of aggressive and possessed debating skills that would make her a great lawyer. God help her parents in the meantime, though.

While it’s easy for us to imagine or predict a child’s future career based on obvious personality traits, it’s not as straightforward when it comes to shy and quieter children. No one pays attention to the shy kids, who are often unseen and unheard, let alone being noticed long enough for someone to predict their futures!

These shy girls might not have much to say now, but I hope that with time they’ll learn to believe in themselves and find their voice. Maybe it’ll happen soon or maybe like me, it’ll happen later in life.

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