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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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baby

Ponytail

I’ve been getting a lot of polite suggestions to cut Arddun’s fringe. And my answer has always been no. A few reasons spring to mind – sharp object near very wriggly child, too-short fringe, the return of “Oh what a beautiful boy!” comments… But the chief reason is that I really want to train her hair to part on the side and not the centre… and I really want to be able to tie a ponytail.

Arddun’s broken out into some sort of rash. At first I thought it was food related, and I’d blamed the tablespoonful of chilli-coated chicken pieces she’d helped herself to (from my plate!) when we were at a food court on Saturday. But when it got worst and actually spread to her face, neck and all over her body, I took her to the doctor who decided it was a viral rash.

No special name for it. Just “viral rash”. No cure either. Just stay clear of warm baths, keep cool, and give plenty of children’s panadol because she’s probably feeling achy and yuck.

Today’s warm by Canberra’s spring standards. It’s also Day Three of Arddun in Spots, and Arddun’s mood swings aren’t fun to deal with even though she’s trying so hard to have a good time. After taking ages to fall asleep, only to wake up again 45 minutes later crying and scratching, I decided to put her hair up so it’d be a lot easier to slather her neck with Dermaveen. Her very first ponytail!

Arddun in a ponytail, waiting to put on her white sandals
White sandals = the promise of going out for a walk very soon. We wait patiently.
Arddun with ponytail in cafe
My little monkey, waiting for her mini muffin
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Friendly Friday: Introducing Ryan

So I thought I’d hand over the blogging reins once in a while to Arddun, and she decided that she’d like to interview all her cool friends. So in no particular order… except maybe alphabetical… here’s

RYAN

Arddun and Ryan in the bumble bee car
Me and Ryan in the Bumble Bee car at The Marketplace

What’s your full name?

Ryan Pierce Auguszczak

What does it mean?

Ryan is the English version of Rian, which means “little king” in Gaelic. You see, my Mammy (an Irish mummy) has become very patriotic since she moved to Australia from Ireland so I’m actually very lucky I wasn’t called something like Conchobar. (Stop laughing – it is a real name over there!)
Pierce is after my Irish Grandad Pierce (Brosnan) and btw, that’s who I get my dashing good looks (and my modesty?), not to mention my bright blue eyes from… though I hope I can sing better than he did in Mamma Mia when I figure out this whole talking thing first. Of course… I am only 1 after all.

Only joking re the Brosnan part… my Irish Grandad’s surname is Wallace, which leads me to William Wallace and Mel Gibson in Braveheart and right back very nicely to my dashing good lucks and bright blue eyes!

Auguszczak is from my Daddy, who was born and reared in Australia but whose Daddy was Polish. This Grandad is an angel now and lives in heaven. I think he plays cards all the time there. My Daddy says he always had a very good poker face.

Yeah, but what’s your REAL name? The one your parents don’t know about?

My real name is Superbaby. It’s my alter ego. By day, I’m a normal 1 year old boy baby but when there’s trouble afoot, I wear my nappy on the outside and I can fly.

What is your secret power?

My secret power is that I can really walk and talk and read and write and do all that stuff. I just figure it’s a lot more fun to sit back and watch everyone try to get me to do those things. All in good time, my dears…

What’s your latest party trick?

I can poo on cue every time I hear my mammy grab her car keys. It’s amazing, really, this mind-over-matter business.

How would you describe yourself in 17 syllables?

B.A.B.Y – Brilliant. Adorable. Bouncy.Yummy

(Poetic license on dropping a few syllables, please? I am only 1 after all.)

Favourite food you cannot get enough of at the moment?

Chocolate. My Mammy won’t give it to me… and when she does, she gives me a tiny tiny bit and she eats the rest. I mean, hello? There’s not a lot to enjoy off a Freddo’s ear.

If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actor would you want to play you?

A half Irish, half Australian super baby who invents a nappy that never has to be changed. It regenerates itself every 60 seconds (with no harm to the environment, I might add.)

I think Pierce Brosnan as a baby should play me. We can dub over the singing bits.

Are you a morning or a night person?

I love the morning… the daylight shining through the bars of my cot; the birds singing, a whole new day dawning where I can have wonderful experiences… Now, when will I be old enough to have a coffee?!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten so far?

I had a little taste of Guinness on St Patrick’s day (17th March 2012) when I was the grand old age of 9 months. My mammy thought it would be a cute photo ‘pretending’ to give me a taste of Guinness. But I am a carpe diem kinda guy so I went for it. They’re right… it’s an acquired taste.

Name one of your favorite things about someone in your family.

My big brother Daniel. I love everything about him but most of all, I love how he’ll always pave the way for me. He’ll do everything first so by the time it gets to my turn, I’ll get away with anything!

How do you take after your mother?

Blond hair, blue eyes… Gosh, pretty much all my good points! (Disclaimer: not at all biased.)

How do you take after your father?

I like to sleep a lot… and with reference to the question about my latest party trick, let’s just say I’m not the only reason we’re late for everything!

What’s the most useless thing your mother keeps in your nappy bag?

Lipgloss. I mean I like to look good, but…

If you could have permanent possession of any single object in the world, what would you want it to be?

A super fast turbo jet that can travel between Australia and Ireland in a few minutes so all my family on both sides of the world could see each other all the time. Actually, I think there’s one on sale in Toys r Us at the moment. It’s my favourite shop!

Current dream job?

Jedi Knight, cos my big brother Daniel wants to be one and I want to always be by his side. Plus, girl babies dig it!

If you had to choose the title of your autobiography tomorrow, what would it be?

RPA – My Secret Power

What’s your favourite TV show?

At the moment it’s my own face in the mirror of my play table. I just haven’t figured out how to change the channel yet!

What is the first thing you think of when you wake in the morning?

Mammy and milk. Actually, will it affect my inheritance if I say milk and Mammy?!

Who are your buddies?

As well as my big brother Daniel, in my short life so far I have been blessed to meet 10 other babies born around the same time as me.. By the way,  they have the same secret power as me. Oh the fun we have when no-one is looking! :-)

Minding her Ps and Qs

So as I’ve mentioned before, we’re trying to teach Arddun how to say Please and Thank You. Which has been surprisingly successful, I must say. I don’t expect a 1 year old to say much at all, which is why sign language is such a nice stand in. She’s starting to understand how to put her point across to me other than tugging at my drawstring PJs till I’m on the verge of indecent exposure. Or screaming.

I toggle between teaching Auslan and American Sign Langauge (ASL), especially when certain signs are so similar that it’d be hard for me to differentiate what Arddun’s signing. So instead of “please” in Auslan  – which looks a lot like “thank you” or a flying kiss when literally left in the hands of a 1 year old – I’ve chosen “please” in ASL.

(She said thank you off camera, after 2 bites. We’re still working on it.)

Bizarrely, she’ll sign “please”, but say Kang Koo. Which is Thank You. Which is where this blog post really begins.

The great thing about her newfound manners is that she sometimes uses them unprompted. After each dose of antibiotics administered through a syringe – hardly fun stuff – she’d solemnly say “Kaaaaang koo”. She kang koos you when you hand her the water bottle. She kang koos you when she hands you her prized baseball bat.

And she kang koos you when she makes off with forbidden items.

Remote controls
Temptus electronicus

Yes. In her small but mighty brain, she has somehow uncovered the public service principle of asking for forgiveness rather than permission. And like a consummate salesperson, she assumes a close of sale by thanking you upfront for the privilege of playing with your keys, your mobile, your cordless phone, your remote controls, and anything else you’d expressedly forbidden the last 12 months.

For instance, I’d enter the living room to find her walking around nonchalantly with my handbag like a professional flower girl, leaving a trail of its contents in her toddling wake. But then as soon as she sees me, she’ll speedily toddle over (“Kang koo! Kang koo!”), while proffering her newfound stash of contraband as if to say, “See what I’ve been keeping safe for you? I wasn’t playing with it!” And we’re not taken in by that charade one itty bit. But it’s pretty darn funny.

Still, a rule is a rule. And the handbag and the keys and remote controls and cordless phones and mobile are still off limits. Or so we’d like her to learn.

This morning, I was in the bathroom when I realised that the house was suddenly too quiet. (You know what I’m talking about.) And then I hear it – the sound of hard plastic tapping lightly together. Which, in our home, could only mean that the one-year-old is trying to nick off with as many remote controls as she can gather in her stubby baby bandit arms.

I enter the living room without a sound, and then boom behind her, “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING, LITTLE GIRL?”

She literally jumps and all three remote controls clatter to the ground. She picks one up (the Universal Remote – one remote to rule them all!) and runs over as fast as her guilty baby legs can carry her.

“KANG KOO! KANG KOO! KANG KOO!”

“I told you not to touch the remotes!”

“KANG KOO! KANG KOO!”

She deposits the offending item at my feet quicksmart, and then runs off in a completely different direction to the scene of her crime and feigns sudden interest in shoe boxes.

And it takes quite a bit of effort not to laugh. God help me.

Take me out to the baaaaall game

Tony, if you haven’t already discovered this, loves baseball. Before he proposed, he took 2 months off and travelled across the States to watch 30 baseball games. That’s more than 90 hours of live baseball. That’s a lot of baseball.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that his first birthday present to his daughter would be a T-ball set.

Little Tikes T ball set
Happy Birthday from Daddoh
Unwrapping the present
Giving your daughter her first bat and ball is always a special moment.
Tony handing the bat to Arddun
“Have a go!”

Even though the box claims it’s good for children from 18 months, the bat is actually too heavy for Arddun to lift with one hand. She hasn’t quite gotten the concept of holding it with both hands, let alone swinging the bat over her shoulder and then spitting tobacco on the plate.

And so now it’s become their thing. When Daddoh comes home from work early enough, they play ball. Arddun will hold her pink plastic bat in her left hand, and smack the ball off the T bar with her right.

Then Daddoh picks up the ball, places it back on the T bar, takes the bat from her left hand, and shows her how it’s done.

Then Arddun picks up the pink plastic bat in her left hand, waddles over, and smacks the ball off the T bar with her right.

Rinse, repeat.

Arddun pushes ball off T bar
“This is how it’s done, Daddoh.”

Anyhoo, it’s their special thing now. And some evenings, when the sun’s almost set and it feels like Daddoh should be home any minute, Arddun will find that bat, pick it up, and walk with it to the door muttering, “Dad-doh… Dad-doh…” to herself. Methinks baseball might become her thing, after all.

The second 1st Birthday Party!

I think I’ve told you all quite a few times how my Mother’s Group gets along great. And because all of our bubs’ birthdays fall within a month and a day from the youngest to the oldest, we thought it’d be fantastic if we were to celebrate their first birthday at the midpoint – Saturday 30 June.

Thanks to Lisa, Xav, and the very magnetic personality of Charlie the Bumble Bee, we were able to engage a petting zoo for the afternoon! That being very much the centrepiece of the party, the birthday theme became Farmyard Animals, which meant I scoured ebay to score me a practical-yet-cute Winter costume for Arddun.

Observe:

Arddun in a duck costume
Daddy’s little duckling

There were lots of yummy animal-themed food and decor:

Party decorations and food

And many hilarious moments watching the babies interact with the baby lambs, the kittens, the teenage chickens, the dog… and Arddun’s favourite, the ducks.

She was also quite fascinated with the lambs:

And the rest of them:

Stroking the bunny
Practising her “gentle” strokes on the soft bunny wabbit in Auntie Carrie’s arms.
Lamb feeding time
“Oh look! A lamb!”
Arddun pointing at dog
“Oh look! A dog!”
Lamb sniffs Arddun's hand
“Tee hee! That tickles!”
Arddun stares at chicken
“Why do these fellas remind me of dinner?”
Arddun gets closer to the chickens
“My mommy calls you ‘Tandoori’, but I think you’re beautiful.”
Arddun with the chickens
Duck and chickens
Arddun sitting next to a lamb
“I’m having the best day ever!”

Unfortunately, I was trying to cough up a lung the entire afternoon, and so apart from snapping up a storm during the petting zoo bit, I didn’t take many photos at all. Was trying to keep a safe distance from most of the littlies and their mommies. Quite a bummer, because I had intended to take at least one shot of Arddun with each of her friends – and have some photos of me with the other mothers, too. After all, it isn’t just the babies’ birthdays – it’s a wonderful celebration of our first year as parents.

But the great news is that we had an event photographer on the day, thanks to Carrie’s sister! So yes… watch this space. xx

Month Eight

Standing tall and calling loud
You do both your parents proud
Crawling here, reaching there
Fearless lunges off the chair
Climbing anything that’s “stable”
Pushing prams and chewing cable
Standing every chance you get
Terrorising Leila’s cat
Doing laps around the pen
Watching Wiggles now and then
Playing independently
Seeking jiggles on my knee
Interacting with your toys
Hugging dad and kissing boys
Eating like it’s all the fashion
Trying new foods with a passion
Growing teeth and chewing more
Rice cakes, mango, meat galore
Laughing, clapping, every day
Always with so much to say
“Mum-mum-mum” and “ba-ba-ba”
“Oh look there, a zoom-zoom car!”
Chasing after vacuum cleaner
Once so scared, but now you’re keener
Finger-play and Peek-a-boo
Not a fan of Gymbaroo
Crawled through tunnels, kept the pace
Hated covering your face
Learning how to throw your voice
Across the room – your favourite choice
Testing bound’ries, making mess
Learning “no” does not mean “yes”
Once so helpless, now so bold
And you’re only eight months old!

MNG

Arddun eating mango
I love mango. Sometimes, I even get some in my mouth.

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