Yoga baby
EXTREME YOGA NECESSARY: I love these little dolls, but when they get wet, they're difficult to fully dry. UNLESS you hang them on the line just right, when you think they're dry and take them down, residual water in the head, a foot or a hand dribbles back into the soft belly.

Although not that domesticated, I must admit that I did think a lot about laundry before we started a family. Sure, it was just a chore that piled up throughout the week and had be tackled on the weekend with our giant washing machine, but I got clothes clean and dry in just the right way.

The colour of the pegs had to be just so. If one peg was on the wrong line, I had to correct it before starting to hang the washing up.

Socks had to be together according to whether they were black or white — complete segregation. Undies on the inside line. Shirts on hangers around the outside, clipped neatly through the toggles that held the rotary lines.

It was perfect. I hung clothes on the line in the same order in which I wanted to bring them in and put them away, so all the same kinds (nicely sub-sorted by gender) were together. OCD bliss…

In the early months of Aisha’s life, I waded through the fog of post-natal depression and sought to find fulfilment in the mundane tasks of motherhood which held me captive. So in what did I take pleasure? Hanging the clothes on the line!

Although I can’t recall much from February to August 2005, I do remember the specific pleasure of cool winter days when I could arrange the rainbow of Aisha’s one-piece suits and associated mini-garments around the centre of the rotary clothesline in a fine display of the Roy G. Biv spectrum.

I would take particular enjoyment if I could successfully complete the spectrum in one diamond of lines, carefully spacing out the clothes so the purple Wondersuit hung adjacent to both the tiny blue-jeans and the red singlet. (If I had been blogging then, surely I would have taken photos and documented what I considered a fine moment in housekeeping history, whereas now I’m just as excited by a silver coin in the bottom of the washing machine — watch this space!)

But, sadly, having children has changed me. Slowly, as the laundry load grew bigger and my time was squeezed, I started to hang clothes on the line in a more haphazard fashion.

First I had to give up the rainbow array. Then slowly I stopped segregating the wash. (Whites vs. colours? — everything can use some colour!)

Nowadays, you’ll find socks hanging (and racially integrated) with children’s clothes, boxer shorts next to little dresses and even the odd pillowcase flapping among the hats. It would make a clothesline purist shudder (although they could still look at the colour-coded pegs with pride).

Recently, a new wrinkle has entered my laundry routine. Several times a week I carry my basket out onto the deck and more often than not, I receive a solid thwack across the crown of my head.

It appears that the handle to the rotary hoist line acts as essential navigation equipment for the girls as they engage in outdoor adventures, and so the line height is adjusted — inevitably downwards.

(I was curious about this and staked out the line to see why it was always moved down and never up. It appears that the girls only have strength to turn the handle of the line in one direction — away from them. And they can’t move around to the other side of the pole because the edge of the deck is too close. So that’s why the line’s pole always gets shortened.)

When people tried to tell me what to expect when starting a family, no one warned me that my clothesline would be sabotaged, unless they meant to include the general idea in the phrase “everything will be different”.

So if you pop around to my place and notice a mark across my forehead, no, I have not just removed my 80s tennis headband — I’ve just been doing the laundry again. Come outside and admire my colour-coded pegs — just remember to duck!