Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places



Atticus is one month old

Yes, it’s gone by pretty quick – mostly because we’ve had three lots of family come through (Brisbane, Singapore and a surprise one from Adelaide/Brunei). And then there was the Christmas week. And then just like that, the little man is a whole new moon bigger.

But to be very honest, our days have lengthened of late. Sometimes, I count the hours, the minutes, and they pass all too slowly. We’ve hit that awful phase of endless crying for no good reason – or rather, the stretches in which Atticus refuses to be comforted or settled are getting longer and longer. It feels like the crying:sleeping ratio is about 3:1, with some eating, weeing, pooing, burping, and fluffing in between.

At least with Arddun, she slept lots during the day because she was so terribly jaundiced and groggy. Atticus isn’t orange. But he isn’t sleeping.

The mind knows that this is normal; newborns are all over the place. Their body clocks are erratic, and there seems to be a developmental milestone that goes hand in hand with yelling till their little heads turn purple with fury. But emotionally, mentally, spiritually… we are feeling our age. The idea of accidentally falling pregnant with a third is starting to terrify me enough to want to run out and tie tubes.

But he can also be such a cute kid.

So let me start with the honest portrait. This is Atticus for majority of the day, at present:

Atticus yelling his head off
He doesn’t have a piddly cry either. He’s LOUD, make no mistake of that.

But then he can also look at me like this:

Atticus one month picture smiling
“Oh hello, it’s you! You’re a sight for sore eyes!”

And he also smells so, soooo good. I’m convinced it’s God’s way of building in self preservation for the poor tykes.



Those pouty lips are definitely his father’s. I think the flat nose is, regrettably, mine.
There’s no sweeter baby than a peacefully sleeping baby. Especially after 5 hours of fussing.

Birth Plan discussion, continued

“Birth plan? How’s this for a birth plan?

Next Friday (5 December) is when the first Indian test match is playing. Bub’s gonna be a few days late by then. You go into labour, I’ll sit outside with a transistor radio and wait for you.”

~ Tony, loving husband, mad cricket fan.

Daddy Day 2014

The rock of this family
This little girl’s hero
My complement
And Love.

Collage of photos of Arddun and Tony playing Horsey
Daddy: sometimes the knight, sometimes the steed. Sometimes, even an elephant.

Collage of monotone photos  with Tony and Arddung hugging

Bentspoke Brewing Co.
A chilled-out early Father’s Day luncheon at Bentspoke Brewing Co.

Collage of photos of Arddun placing necklace on Tony

Tony and Arddun looking serious
Her eyes may be mine, but that stare is definitely her father’s.

Father's day gift from Arddun

Tony at Blackfire solo shot
Ain’t nothin’ sexier. Happy Father’s Day! xx

Conversations with Daddoh

Now that we’re starting to have whole conversations with Arddun, Tony has taken to messing with Arddun’s head by deliberately calling a spade anything but, and seeing how she copes with dissonance.

Like this, for instance.

Arddun: “What’s your name?”

Tony: “My name is… Bill.”

Arddun: “Noo… it’s not Bill. It’s Daddy.”

Tony: “What’s YOUR name?”

Arddun: “My name is Arddun.”

Tony: “Noo… your name is Jemima.”

Arddun: “Noooo…” replies the sage child, “that’s Play School.”

Ori’s birthday party

(I’m in the process of backdating a bunch of posts, so at least when I look back, I know when the photos were actually taken. So yes, I’ve posted this on the 29th even though it’s dated the 6th of April. Better late than never, etc.)

Melissa and David were so sweet to invite Tony, Arddun and I to Ori’s first birthday party on this date, and were we glad we made it. I was nursing a slight sore throat that day, but that didn’t stop me from hoeing into the cake and mian bao ice-cream…

Arddun at birthday party
Clockwise from top left: Arddun slow-dancing with Daddy; Arddun rocking out on rocking horse; Mian Bao ice cream man in the driveway, coaxed from his usual business spot in the nearby park; Arddun, still rocking out on the rocking horse because let’s admit it – I’m a mother of an active toddler. I don’t have time and hands to take lots of interesting photos!

Mel and David did such an amazing job putting together this party. Usually, they say parties for 1-year-old are really more for the parents than the kids… but I think they had something for everyone. Stupendous cake, champagne, activity stations, music…

Admittedly, the music was more a reflection of Mel getting nostalgic about her youth (hence the many ’80s numbers!) but we weren’t complaining. The personal gosh-aww moment at the party for us turned out to be when Arddun pulled Tony out to the “dance floor” to dance with her daddy.


Yes, she did look a little drunk… or high on chocolate cake… And yes, there was a bit of in-and-out-the-cherry-window followed by lots of odd dance moves partially inspired by Bjork… And there’s no denying the wails of children in the background so we are in no doubt that this WAS a children’s party… But there you have it. Arddun’s first slow-dance with her daddy.

Hopefully, they get the steps worked out a bit better by her wedding day, some day.

We Are Family

Water, water everywhere

Until we became parents, I don’t think we realised how well set up Canberra is for young families. But now that Arddun is starting to interact with others and her environment, the challenge is on to find new places of toddler interest. And the discoveries just keep getting better.

One of the things I’ve discovered this week is the Dickson Aquatic Centre. I had heard wonderful things about it before, but as I had visited the outdoor pool at Philip in my Uni days and found it to be, well, awful, I wasn’t holding my breath for the one at Dickson. After all, Singapore’s public pools with its cheap-as-chips entry fees, its theme-parkesque water slides, and wave pools replete with those huge doughnut floats had pretty much spoiled me for life.

But lo! We went to the Dickson pool on Wednesday past. And it has been renovated. And it is good. So good, that we had to come back two days later to show Tony.

Water spray area from a distance
Lots of different pools for different swimming needs, but there’s also this lovely water spray area that the tiny tots absolutely adore. Great introduction to big-time water fun for Arddun. She spent half of our morning there.
Close up of Arddun with the spray gun
She can barely reach it, but Arddun loves playing with the spray guns.
Arddun with Tony at the spray guns
Arddun with Tony at the spray guns.
Arddun waiting at fountain sprouts
Waiting patiently for this fountain to start. Whoosh-ka!
Grassy area between pools
I love how they have these tall, old trees that reach out to the sky and touch fingers, forming this natural canopy over soft grass. Just perfect for picnics, as you can tell by our set-up in the middle here. There’s even barbecue pits and picnic tables for bigger parties!
Canopy of trees
The view when lying down on my picnic mat to have a quick snooze.
Horsing around with Daddy's hat after our picnic lunch
Horsing around with Daddy’s cap after our picnic lunch
Arddun with Tony at Dickson Aquatic Centre
What a lovely day well spent with my Daddy!

Happy Daddoh Day

Tony and I aren’t terribly mushy to each other. We have mushy moments, but I think we communicate affection best through humour and reruns of West Wing, rather than in Hallmarkesque prose. Which is why I’ve deliberated over writing this post – for someone who really doesn’t like calling attention to himself, this post could turn out to be the complete opposite of a Nice Father’s Day gesture for Tony.

So as a means of insurance, I’ll also state that this post is primarily for Arddun’s sake. Because I pray she’ll grow up fabulous, and I know she’ll grow up loved by her daddy. And I also know there’s going to be some spots in her life when she will think she hates her parents. And decide she’ll let them know about it in so many words and actions.

So Arddun, if you’re reading this in the future and you’re mad with your father, here’s what your relationship with your father was like when you were 14½ months old.

You are
Your daddy’s girl
And he is the first man in your life.

He is
The first you see when you awake
The last you cuddle before sleep

You reserve
All frantic, excited, whole-body-wave Hellos and Goodbyes
For him alone.

Everyone else
Gets the more muted version.
A non-verbal “Yo. ‘Sup.”

Daddoh was
The second word you learnt, after “Boo”.
(You still don’t call me anything.)

You carry
His ugg boots, and
His going-out boots, and
His work shoes, and
His socks
All. Over. The House.
And then you try and wear them. Sometimes.

You are
The only one who can make your father sing
Repeatedly. Willingly.

Very non-Jimmy Barnes songs.


We’re convinced
You’ve started counting up to 3
(Except you say “1… 2… wheee!”)
And it’s only because your Daddoh reads
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Every night
Because you wouldn’t have him read any other book.

Your eyes
Grow big like the moon
And sparkle like the stars
When the back gate creaks at night
And you’re so excited Daddoh’s home
That you run a victory lap around the kitchen island
Before running into his arms

Every week night.

You’ve made
His eyes go tender
And his heart say things

And both of you have such a way
Of bright’ning up each other’s day

Like no one else can.

Happy Father’s Day, Tony. xx

Photo montage of Arddun and Tony

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