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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

Month

December 2010

The bag lady is gooood

Fertility Friend has just introduced me to the world of yummy-mummy nappy bags, with enough pockets in each to tame even the most constipated compartmentalist.

Huzzah!

I’ve add the links on the side, but in case you haven’t noticed…

  • isoki – edgier, trendier bags that look more Guess than Mothercare. Also reversible, so you can tell yourself you’re buying two bags for the price of one. Whatever gets you by.
  • OiOi – more classic styles with options for Daddy. Because not all of us can stand watching our manly man tote a lady-bag.

Bags are thankfully not my big thing, although some of their wares are very lovely. There’s even quite a few discreet options in OiOi that won’t embarrass the new father. I actually really liked the Stone Washed Canvas one, and it was an added bonus that it belonged to the Daddy range.

If my mother were a new mother today, I think this would be her Achilles heel. But if FF ever shoots through links for pretty maternity footwear, I might be done for.

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Overpriced Pram, thy name is desire

I’m beginning to think that every new mother has an Achilles heel.

I could try and summarise the types of new mothers out there – and as with anything, there is a spectrum – but if I were to deftly and broadly do so now, I’d say there is 

  • The Bargain Hunter: Got everything on ebay and overseas for super cheap or second-hand. Will rather gleefully beat any sale price you got by 20% (but probably spent over $2,000 in labour hours doing the sleuthing.)
  • The Big Spender: Got the Rolls Royce version of everything you can think of, and even more that you haven’t. Has the latest gizmos money can buy. Her nursery makes Martha Stewart’s magazine look like the Kmart catalogue.
  • The Accidental Splurger: Goes middle of the road for most things, until she trips over the most ridiculously-priced [insert contraption that baby will grow out of in 2 years], falls fatally in love, and squishes the cerebral while the heart screams “GET IT NOW! WHILE STOCKS LAST!”  

And there are shades in between, of course. I suspect many of us secretly aspire to be the first or the second. But I have to say that most mothers I know seem to fit into the last category. They will try to be sensible. Look for the cost-savings. Be thankful and gracious for hand-me-downs.

Until they see this heart-stoppingly beautiful baby whoop-dee-doo, and all reason flies out the nursery window.

Some mothers do it with nursery furniture. Matchy-matchy everything. I’ve long given up trying to match ANY of the woods in my house, so my only criteria had been that our nursery furniture is clean, meets the latest safety standards, serves the child longer than the life of a hamster, and doesn’t come in a colour that makes me gag.

No, my kryptonite is the lowly pram.

Except I don’t want a lowly pram. I want to pimp my ride, so to speak. I want rims on the wheels, and a dashing silhouette that breaks hearts and makes burly men grunt, “Dang. That is HAWT.” I want the ability to swop and change colours. Actually, I want the ability to swop and change everything. Height. Handlebars. Front facing. Back facing. Hood. Bassinet. Umbrella. Conversion into makeshift bed or high chair. For newborns. For toddlers. For winter. For summer. In sunshine. In rain. To love and cherish till grown child do us part.

And oh yes. I want it to fit in our boot. And not break my back or my nails. And close in a single, elegant, one-handed move. And glide like a dream.

Which means our shortlist reads a little like this:

And yes, in that order.

In truth, only the Mylo and the Urbo fit most if not all the criteria. The Bugaboos have been a hot favourite with many mothers for years, but after wrestling with both in the shops for a good half an hour, I think they’d drive me crazy.

The Xplory we love, because the Xplory is tall. And it’s a handsome urban-chic pram, once you get past the office-chair legs. But it’s not the easiest when it comes to collapsing and stowing (there’s no safety catch when it’s folded, so putting it away in the backseat may be a small ordeal). And it’s a whopping $1,800. Without the “optional extras”. We found it online for $1,500, but still

And then I met the Mylo. At first, I thought it looked like a spider. But then as we got better acquainted, I noticed how much taller it is than the average pram (though not as tall as Xplory). How the price included the bassinet. How clever it was that the bassinet apron used magnets instead of velcro.

Then the sales lady placed the bassinet on the ground and gently rocked it, and I was intrigued.

Then she folded the entire thing in a single wrist-twist, and I was besotted.

I don’t honestly know why. There are heaps of other prams that fold easily. But the heart wants what the heart wants. The Urbo seems to be Tony’s favourite because of its price tag and the fact that it’s lightweight. But I can’t decide  if it’s industrial grunge or just resembles a shopping trolley. And it’s black, which years of living in Singapore tells me can get really warm. Not to mention the lovely juxtaposition of milk spittle. Ew.

We shall see. Another long weekend looms upon us, and I have yet to change my fickle, fickle mind.

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P.S.: I am not alone. There are others like me. Good to know. ~ 6 January 2011

Whoa, nellie

Like a cork suddenly released from a bottle of bubbly, our entrance into the second trimester has given Tony the boost he needs to Suddenly Take Charge.

With the shopping.

You have to understand my husband, to understand why this is so endearing. Because the man abhors the shops. He is The Most unmaterialistic person I’ve ever met, who will gladly trade mopping the floor using his tongue with an hour at the shops. While most men in Singapore profess boredom with shopping, at least they’ve grown up with it as the national sport. In Australia, ANY sport is the national sport. Except shopping.

Which is why his whole-hearted embrace of the world of baby paraphernalia shocks and awes – in that I profess to moments of stunned silence, followed by a definite and melting “naaaaawwwww”. Yesterday, we spent a total of six hours baby shopping – at his instigation. We bought a dryer in 15 minutes flat. Then we spent two hours test driving five ridiculously-cute prams. Then we went tallboy window-shopping, which was indirectly related to the baby shopping.

And then we got home and spent 2 hours online sussing out overseas options, and scouting All Classifieds for second-hand baby cots.

Today, he continued the hunt. Alone. He got the dryer installed. Braved Babies R Us and their ambivalent customer service. Checked out the pram deals at the Babies Direct shop. Test-drove prams in a manly man way. (Today’s mission was primarily to suss out the Urbo. More on that later.)

He also made an appointment to view a bunch of second-hand baby furniture. We ended the day as proud owners of a second-hand 3-in-1 cot, mattress, change table, and baby bath – for the feather-lite price of $235. Sure, the cot has teeth marks on one end. I say it gives it character. Like notches on a bedpost, only… not.

At the rate he’s going, we’re going to have the nursery done by Chinese New Year. I’m loving the energy.

Dryer dire straits

We’re about to embark on the end-of-year sales and one of the things we were thinking seriously about purchasing was a dryer, because

  • Blob is going to be a winter baby, who will no doubt
  • spew and poo everywhere, and we will be
  • rather stuck for drying space – especially since the outdoor clothes rack tends to sit in the shadow during winter.

We saw a good Electrolux one at the Boxing Day sales, going for 60% of the RRP. Perfect, perfect, perfect… except on closer inspection of our laundry alcove, we discovered that

  • our washing machine is smaller than the dryer, which makes stacking a little precarious
  • some silly architect had designed it so the light was directly above the washing machine area, which meant having a tower of white goods was going to block out the light, and
  • same silly architect had put tiles up to above mid-wall, which meant the brackets to hold up the dryer – if we were to install them – would have to start from nth height. Which might mean that I’ll have to take aim and FLING wet clothes into the dryer.

Not exactly winning Best Ergonomic Design of the Year award there.

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Edit – 29 December: We bought the dryer! Turned out that the washing machine wasn’t too small after all, which enabled us to stack. Hurrah! Fluffy towels are here to stay…

9 syllables

Steel Wool was just telling me how this blog title reminds her very much of Sylvia Plath’s poem, Metaphors. Which, incidentally, is all about being a human incubator for the next 9 months:

I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I’ve eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there’s no getting off.

Yeah, baby. We’ve boarded the train, and there’s no getting off!

Where did my house go?

So you start out with a three-bedroom house that is larger than the cosy shoebox you grew up in, and you think to yourself, “This is HEAPS of space. HEAPS!”

Then you get knocked up, and now decide that you need to convert your study into a nursery. And suddenly, you want to crawl under a large bed and hide from all that work you now find you have to do.

I don’t know what it is about us humans, but we seem to accumulate so much sentimental junk without even trying. I have TWO  humongous paperbags, each filled with paperbags. Enough wrapping paper to cover all my white goods – twice over. Books I will never read “but will sell on ebay some day”. Just a closetful of “just in case”.  

In order for us to prepare a nursery halfway decent, we have to touch the study, the garage, the sitting room, and the guest bedroom. I just started a list of tasks and I already feel exhausted and broke.

And then there’s the stuff to get for the baby. On the one hand, there’s the very real temptation to get everything brand-spankingly new and shiny. On the other hand, there’s the practical part of your brain screaming, “Don’t be such a ninny. You’re in Marketing. You know all about creating desire for useless goods.” So you sit there and go through a rather brutal process of elimination, asking yourself the Real Tough Questions, like:

  • Do you REALLY need to get a baby bath, when you have both a sink and a bathtub?
  • Do you REALLY need a mobile bassinet? Isn’t that, like, a glorified pram? In essence?
  • Do you REALLY need a change table? Didn’t generations of kids in Singapore – me included – get by with that trusty pink and blue rubber mat?
  • etc.

After which, you’ve gotten your list right down to the bare basics. And then you feel like a stingy, selfish human being incapable of providing her own offspring with the very best that a paltry thing like money has to offer.

Ain’t guilt grand?

Blob’s first Christmas

We were originally planning to spend the day with various families but at quite the last minute, Tony decided on a road trip – just the 2.5 of us. We thus hopped into the car with too much food and not enough of an idea where we were going.

Spent almost three hours driving around aimlessly and admiring the spring/summer countryside until we chanced upon a picnic table facing the serene (and man-made) Lake Eucumbene, in Old Adaminaby. Elevation: 1,021m above sea level.

Picnic at Old Adaminaby
Absolute serenity, and only one sticky fly
Old Adaminaby
The original Adaminaby used to be where all that water is now. The entire town got relocated across to higher ground - houses and everything! Lake Eucumbene is part of the Snowy Hydro scheme.
Cows on our road
On a rare off-road detour, we came right into the path of some lunching moos.

Next Christmas, we’ll be 3. It’s a lovely, sobering thought.

P.S.: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… >6,000 minutes of mindless Sunnydale drama “for my confinement”. The man knows me!

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