I have a sanctuary.
That’s what I call my shower recess. It’s that one little place where you are perfectly entitled to be on your own and also, be undisturbed.
But my children were born with a huge amount of ignorance towards understanding that their mother was not just having a shower to shampoo her hair, but trying to enjoy a few minutes reprieve.
I must have said it a million times, ‘I am going to have a shower. I will only be a few minutes. Please do not disturb. In the event of an emergency, please defer to your father’.
My children’s hearing is selective. It is as if no words came from my mouth.
I’ll have the water to just the right temperature and be at that moment where I’m about to relax when the interruptions begin.
‘Mum, have you seen my iPod charger?’, and, ‘Do you know where my library bag is?’ and, ‘Have you seen my USB?, and, ‘Can I get some money for bus fares?’, and, ‘I don’t have any socks’, and, ‘I can’t find my blazer’.
‘I can not help you, I am in the shower.’ It is as if no words came from my mouth.
When I’m in my sanctuary they pick that moment to organise their lives. ‘Mum, have you signed the excursion permission slip? It’s due in today’, and, ‘Can you return the DVD because it’s overdue and I can’t because I’ll be at school’, and, ‘There’s a career’s night on at school tonight. Are you taking me or is dad?’ It is as if no words came from my mouth.
Locking and bolting the door is of no effect because they just bang on it and yell through the key-hole. ‘Mum, I’m thinking of going to Canada at the end of the year. I’m going skiing with some mates. I’ll work over there, illegally of course, but how much do you think I need to save?’
‘I’m in the shower, Archie’.
‘I know, but I’m just telling you because I need to start saving. How much is a flight to Canada?’
‘You can’t ski, Archie’.
‘I’m not going to let that stop me. What about a world ticket so I can go to the States as well. How much is a world ticket?’
‘I’m in the shower and I can hardly hear you.’
‘Okay’, he says yelling louder, ‘Well I’m going to Uni but I just wanted to let you know that a few of the boys and I are going to Canada in January’.
When I’m in my sanctuary there will be a medical emergency. When Archie was eight months old he split his head open. There was a great big gash across his forehead and blood was everywhere. I was in the shower in that moment between the shampooing and the conditioning when the screams started. Archie had crawled into the bathroom and thought he would take a shower with me. He was climbing in (fully clothed) when he slipped and crashed his forehead into the tiled edge of the hob. The time it took me to turn off the taps and be fully clothed was a new record.
And between the gash to his forehead and the pending ski trip is a period of nearly two decades. I’m ready for a new sanctuary.
Perhaps my new sanctuary should be the kitchen. I’m here cooking a Chinese Banquet from Kylie Kwong’s Simple Chinese Cooking.
Stir-Fried Chicken Fillets with Honey and Ginger
Degree of Difficulty: 3/5
Cost: This is an fairly low-cost meal for a family of four.
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbspns light soy sauce
- 2 tbspns shao hsing wine or dry sherry
- 2 tbspns finely diced ginger
- 1 tbspn oyster sauce
- 2 tspns dark soy sauce
- 2 tspns five-spice powder
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 800g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2 cm (1 in) slices
- 2 tbspns vegetable oil
- 1 tbspn light soy sauce
Combine chicken with marinade ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight.
Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add half the marinated chicken with the marinade and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove from wok with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add remaining chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Return reserved chicken to the wok with soy sauce and stir-fry for a further 2 mins or until chicken is just cooked through and slightly caramelised.
Arrange chicken on a platter and serve.
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