After two years of no extra time and no sleep, I’ve been compelled to start looking after myself again. I’ve been up at dawn every morning to do yoga and meditate so that, before attending to Zi or anybody, I’ve put on my oxygen mask first, to use an airplane analogy.
I’m on the patio at 6am, ready to rejuvenate. I start to breathe. Three breaths in, Zi begins to bawl like an ambulance siren in the bedroom. Stone has been working all night on Bunji’s Differentology remix so I run in to grab her and bring her outside with me. An older woman, mother to four big adults and grandmother of one, sagely told me not to make it a problem, Zi will see me doing yoga and try to follow and all will be well.
I put her on the step in front of me with her chocolate rice milk. She gets upset that I’m using ‘her’ yoga mat and starts declaring, ‘it’s my mat, mummy, nooo!’ Thus, all stops while I explain that we have to share. Naturally, she insists she wants to sit on the mat ‘to share’.
Back to breathing. She spills the entire contents of the cup on the mat and knocks over her bowl of cashews too. I can only think angry, non yogic thoughts at this point and I’m looking at Zi without sympathy while she complains that her bum bum is dripping chocolate milk.
Five minutes later, she is sitting in dry clothes on a second mat.
I put her at the top of ‘our’ new mat, allowing me majority. I begin to breathe. ‘No, mummy! I want to sit in the middle!’ she insists. ‘Mummy can’t exercise if you are in the middle Zi,’, I move her back. Well, that back and forth – literally – involved a lot of flailing, kicking and protest. You can understand why at this point I’m centred and calm.
I pull my ace and threaten to put her in the crib and leave her there until I am done. I’m exercising zero tolerance about fussing, crying and tantrums, except for the kinds I’m clearly getting very close to myself. ‘I stop, I stop,’ she says as I start to haul her inside.
Back to breathing. She’s playing with her car. I’m doing sun salutations. I’m flowing into ‘upward dog’, lifting my heart to the sky, she’s climbed on my back to ride me like a maltreated Coney Island donkey. I try to breathe. I cannot. I get her off and explain again that I’m exercising. I start again, she grabs my leg like it’s the only thing holding her to earth and says, ‘I’m hugging you, mummy, I’m loving you up’.
I did not, at this point, think ‘awww’. I thought other, darker, non-parental thoughts. I try again, this time getting her to count while I go through the sequence. That works. We count. I breathe and stretch. Then, we sit and do Buddhist chanting while I rock her in my lap and clap her hands, trying to imagine myself filled with light, gratitude and peace. It’s wonderful and happy. ‘Mummy, I want to tootoo’, she says halfway through. Meditation? I can only take one big deep breath, feel grateful for the challenges and lessons the light of my life brings and find peace in the little I can accomplish before I make a mad dash into the day.