Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places


23 April 2011

Highlights from the babymoon

View from Windradyne
The view of the Blue Mountains from the dining room of the B&B we stayed at. It really doesn't get better than this.
Tony getting into car
Tony getting ready to drive the SR3
Tony in driver's seat
Future message for Blobette: “Look, I am your father!”


Tony and Velle
Just happy to be alive and together.


P.S.: Told you I’m complete rubbish at the photo-taking.

I am a versatile blogger!

The Versatile Blogger AwardOooh… some validation! And from a perfect stranger, no less! For there, sitting pretty in my inbox last night, was a WordPress comment about me winning a blogging award.

Comments from the rest of the household:

“Ooh! You’re a versatile bugger!”


“Oh. Blogger. Sorry. I misread.”

“So… where’s this award from?”

“I’m not sure. Someone named Simone liked my blog and gave it to me.”

“Right. So there’s no authority behind this award whatsoever?”

“I guess not.”

“Okay then.”

So yeah. As far as I can tell, this award is really more like a glorified meme than anything else. I mean, what does being a Versatile Blogger actually mean anyway? That I’m capable of writing silly across a spectacular myriad of topics? That I appeal to a wide spectrum of readers, or that I can blog in poetry and prose? I suspect it’s a title that’s genial enough to fit any blogger. Kinda like the Miss Congeniality category of a beauty pageant.

When I tried to track down the origins of the award, I came up with diddly squat – which led me to concur with the conclusions made by onefinemess. Still – I am completely chuffed that a complete stranger took the time to say that she likes what she’s read here. I mean, friends love me because they have to. But complete strangers owe me nothing.

So thank you, Simone! It’s an honour. :)

Anyhoo… in the spirit of accepting this award, I now have to tell you 7 things about myself.

  1. The last time I was awarded something as dubious-but-awesome was when I was dubbed The Chilli Queen, both in Secondary School and Junior College (school ages 13 to 18). I like it hawt.
  2. I was the sixth and last writer for a Muppet-type children’s show (same humour, same puppetry, different premise), but then the Asian recession hit and the entire joint evaporated before we got to sign the contract. Dodgy much?
  3. I am a chronic knuckle cracker. It soothes me. It grosses everyone else out.
  4. I’m Singaporean by nationality, but I’m completely torn between nations emotionally. I love Australia. I love the version of Singapore that I grew up with, but I find I am now a stranger to my country of origin. Its people, its essence has changed and this saddens me greatly.  But say anything nasty about my homeland, and I’ll rugby-tackle you.
  5. I’m vaguely interested in doing a degree in creative writing. Or a Masters in Communications. Or a course on theology.
  6. I’m vaguely interested in writing and publishing a novel, but I can’t decide which genre. A perverse part of me thinks it would be tremendously funny if I wrote a Mills & Boons, but I suspect I’m a bit of a snob.
  7. I was never clucky. My biological clock never went into overdrive. But I love being pregnant, and I’ve never loved and cherished Tony as much as I do now. Even if he thought it read “versatile bugger”.

And to pass on the love, here’s 13 bloggers – newly-discovered and old favourites. I was supposed to put 15 in, but I phail.

Lessons learnt from the poster child for contraception

Today, I got about 90 minutes’ worth of reminders that I am NOT kid-tolerant. Just because I’m currently shiny with mumsy hormones and feeling all goo-gah over my baby bump does not a lover of ALL children make. Not even close.

How foolish of me. I thought I’d been cured. Lately, Tony and I have been getting a teensy bit mushy every time we pass a baby girl doing anything microscopically adorable (pulling a face, gurgling, digging her nose). Lately, it feels like the invisible veil of awkwardness between me and the babies of strangers has been lifted, and there’s light shining through, and I no longer scare children, and aren’t they all God’s wonderful creatures? It’s been, frankly, liberating.

Yeah. All that kinda died this afternoon at Jenolan Caves.

It all started when Princess Apple Cheeks threw herself on the ground at the cave entrance, and howled like a midget banshee.

OK, rewind. Tony and I have been away since Tuesday on a babymoon. Except, instead of it being restful and packed full of massages and aromatherapy, we ran off to the Blue Mountains and climbed everything. I have now perfected my pregnancy waddle, purely because my calves hurt like the dickens. But I wear my waddle like a badge of honour because hey – 7 months pregnant, and doing the outdoorsy! w00t! 

Our last stop before we turned back for home this afternoon was the caves at Jenolan. We had booked ourselves in a smallish cave that was deep (470m, 358 steps) and required 1.5 hours for the full tour. The fitness level was stated as “average” and although I was keen, my main concern was that I’d hold everyone else up, huffing and puffing up ladders and stairs.

Until we rocked up to the cave entrance and found ourselves in a tour group with five pairs of doting parents… and over a dozen littlelies aged 1 to 12.

Back to the midget banshee.

Princess Apple Cheeks looks adorable. I mean, her father’s Caucasian and her mother’s Asian, and she’s got the best of both their features – her father’s big eyes, light brown hair, pinch-me-hard rosy cheeks flanking her mother’s wide, generous mouth. Which, we found out, she uses frequently and to great effect. She’s just old enough to scream “Mommy” and then all else is unintelligible, so I think she’s about 18 months going on 17 years – because she also thinks she’s boss enough to call the shots. In fact, she does.

She wants to be carried when she’s let down. She wants to be let down when she’s carried. And oh wait, there’s a flight of stairs that’s 56 steps long, but hey – she wants to do those steps all by herself. Never mind that we are in a cave and it’s semi-dark and kinda wet and there’s 15 adults and 12 kids trying the negotiate the same narrow staircase. And oh, if she doesn’t like any decision made by her mother (who, by the way, is as benign as Queen Elizabeth on Prozac, crossed with the Dalai Lama – also on Prozac)… she tests out the acoustics of the cave with lovely, grating effect.

Her oldest sibling, meanwhile, is as attention-seeking as Pauline Hanson and insists on either answering all rhetorical questions made by the poor guide, or raising his hand to ask a question just to be smart. The only kid whose company I enjoyed was the sister – the middle child – who was perfectly content to sit on her father’s shoulders quietly throughout most of the tour, and only asked to be put down when she was in danger of having her head bashed against a cage or a pokey stalectite. Good call.

By the 87th minute of the tour, I was over it. Princess Apple Cheeks was now playing with her daddy’s iPhonesque camera, and was howling every time he wanted to take it off her hands. And instead of wrenching the thousand-dollar thing off her and teaching her that’s the way the world works, the man made this paltry attempt at retrieving his gadget, before getting deflected by yet another authoritative squeal.

The inevitable happened. She dropped-threw the phone. It crashed to the rock-hard ground with a sickening crunch, and Tony winced enough to breathe,

“Well… that was predictable.”

“Oh, that?” smiled the man although his eyes also said, you know nothing. “My phone’s survived far worse.”

And I wanted to scream, “YOU IDIOT! YOU’RE SPOILING HER ROTTEN! YOU WOULD GIVE THAT LITTLE GIRL A HERNIA IF SHE ASKED FOR ONE!” But I didn’t. Because it’s not polite, is it. Because I don’t know any better, do I. I’m not a parent – not of a 7 year old, a 4 year old or a 1 year old. And so I must sit tight and not get lippy.

But lord, did I clock a few lessons in my head this afternoon.

  1. 18-month-old baby girls are not too young to be disciplined. And it’d be better for the whole world if they were.
  2. Don’t let your kids play with any of your electronic gadgets, and then look completely surprised when they wreck it. Duh.
  3. I’m so going to eat my words when I have my own feral baby girl. But until then, I am praying for the perseverance, thick skin, and duty of care to bring up a human being that’s, you know, fun to take holidays with. And if I have to sit out of a cave tour while little missy learns a thing or two about the consequences of throwing gigantic tantrums, then I pray for the discipline to do just that.

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