Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places



About the blob

There are 11 of us in my mother’s group, and I’m number 10 of 11 to be pregnant with #2. (#11 is preggers too.) The first time ’round, we all had a pretty even split of boys and girls – 6 and 5 respectively.

But the second time ’round, everyone started getting boys. And the more boys we got as our Number Twos, the more we marvelled over the math. Because that’s like flipping a coin n number of times, and getting Heads n times in a row. That’s pretty spesh.

Which is why I think I’ve been suspecting that New Blob (for want of a better name) is going to be a Girl Blob. Law of averages and all that. Because what is the likelihood that there would be 10 little boys in a row, right?

Turns out, the probability is 0.0009765625.

Yes, we are proud and shiny to announce that New Blob is a Boy Blob! Which means we now have what Australians charmingly refer to as a Pigeon Pair – one of each. I should have known better than to trust my gut on this one, because the last time I hazarded a guess for Arddun, I was wrong too.

Our ultrasound technician this time has over 30 years’ experience, and was adamant about his sex. (“Definitely a boy. Loooots of photos of his penis.”) Except of course, all we saw were shadows amidst constantly moving legs, and had to take her word for it. I found myself laughing. At the math. At the fact that I know so very little about little boys. At the realisation that Arddun is going to be a big sister to a little brother. At the sheer and utter joy of knowing I am going to have a son. I have a son.

That was almost 2 weeks ago. A few things since then…

  • At my MIL’s clever suggestion, we have been gently reminding Arddun that the baby is her little brother. And that she is like Peppa Pig, about to have a little baby brother, George. Except that his name won’t be George, any more than her name is Peppa. It gets confusing for 3-year-olds.
  • Arddun still seems more thrilled about cats and dogs.
  • Because we are packing to move eventually – and to de-clutter the house so we can give the illusion of living splendidly organised lives during any open houses we might be giving in the near future – we have been sorting through Arddun’s baby clothes. Omigoodness, so gobsmackingly cute and tiny they are! And there are so many pieces I can never throw away because they were all from my mother. The trouble is… even though we had assiduously stayed away from Too Much Pinky Pink Pink clothes… Arddun’s clothes are still decidedly girly. We salvaged quite a few tights and socks and some tops, but the rest are going to good homes one day. IF I ever get my butt in gear to sell them at a Baby & Kids’ market.
  • We found a name for Boy Blob! Which just means we might change our minds a few times more before we actually meet Boy Blob. Which is why we aren’t telling anyone his name yet.
  • I bought my first piece of baby boy clothing… which turned out to be this cream onesie with a faux cotton Mandarin-collar shirt over the top. For $6! How not to buy???

Our baby girl is 2!

It’s quite mind-boggling to us, her parents, that on this date 2 years ago, we welcomed our munchkin and she looked like this:

Arddun just born
Bright light! Bright light!

And her first mutual scrutiny of family ties with Tony looked like this:

Brand new Arddun with daddy
“I am your father” moment

And then last year, on her first birthday, she looked like this:

Arddun with the chickens
Duck and chickens

And then – whooshka! She turned 2, weighs a hefty 14.6kg, and stands about 90cm++. And she is more entertaining than ever.

Arddun and mummy with cheese
Taking the whole “say Cheese to the camera” thing a little too literally
Arddun and Tony ring a ringa rosies
What started out as a prayer for lunch soon turned in Ring-a-ring-a-roses.
Arddun in purple coat holding banana
Purple fashionista
Arddun at Big Kids table
Guest of Honour at the Big Kids table this evening
Waiting to blow out candles
Suddenly Shy during Happy Birthday song, after rehearsing about eleventeen times on the way over… (Also, sorry I chopped off her friends’ heads.) 
Arddun's second birthday cake
Happy Birthday, Irresistible You

2 anniversaries in 1

Happy Wedding Anniversary to Us! It’s been eight years, after a quick check at what year I’m in, and actually counting on my fingers. We didn’t celebrate officially today, because we thought we’d lump it together with our upcoming long weekend that starts this Thursday and goes on until 2 January.

The best long weekend, ever.

So yes, it’s been pretty low key. Arddun and I did normal things. We had breakfast. We built towers with wooden blocks that Arddun delighted in destroying. We read lots of books. I cooked and cleaned and prepared for a work meeting. Arddun drew pictures on the floor while lying on her front and singing a smooshed version of Baa Baa Back Shee and A-B-C-D, with some occasional jazz tangent I don’t hope to understand.

Arddun lying on floor and drawing with crayons on mat.
If she could whistle, I believe she would have.

The highlight of the day… well, there were 2.

Or rather, 2 dozen:

Roses from Roses Only
Surprise! A beautifully wrapped bouquet of 2 dozen long-stemmed roses.

Also, Arddun made 2 really successful voluntary deposits in the White Seat of Poetry and Prose. It’s tragic, but true: it actually made our day as parents. It was the highlight of my day, after the roses. I am not kidding. I wish I was. Fantastic way to mark her 18th month, I thought.

Even if she did stand up straight after, looked at what she left behind, and with a half-shake of her head, said “Oh no! Oh dear. Oh no.”

My cat in a hat

I’ve been reading The Wonder Weeks off and on for a year. (Thanks, Saz V!) Great book to follow, as it outlines really useful details about growing children aged newborn to 20 months – namely, what their brain is going through, what skills they are capable of (or not), and what growth spurt they’re about to embark on. The book also flags what behavioural changes are coming up with the leap and so far, it’s proven bang on target for Arddun.

If you’re new to the baby thing as I am, I recommend getting this book. At the very least, it has helped reassure me that some of the rough behavioural patches Arddun goes through are perfectly normal, predictable, and can be managed – even harnessed for the greater good.

Anyhoo, Arddun is currently making a “leap” in her mental development – what the book calls the stage when a child crosses over from one mental and physical milestone to another. She is starting to figure out Systems – the concept that principles can be adjusted to fit circumstances. All rather technical speak but basically, she is starting to develop her notion of Self. She is starting to understand that she owns and controls her own body, that she can make decisions… and that she can therefore orchestrate things.

Welcome to the world of plotting.

So far, it’s resulted in some lovely things. Like how she waits for Tony to undress from work, before picking his clothes and trying to stuff them into the washing machine to get washed. And this morning, she started to try and dress herself.

Arddun wears her pink hat herself, and waves goodbye.
Missed the photo opp when she was walking around the house wearing her sandal (on her right), which she had put on herself. But hey, she’s put on her hat herself (backwards, but who cares!) and striking a modelesque pose.

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

Arddun’s solo playdate

The trouble with short hair is that it eventually gets long and untidy. The trouble with vanity is that it starts to bug you after 2.5 months, when your hairdo looks less carefree and vogue, and more careless and vague.

The trouble with being a SAHM of a newly-walking tot is that you can no longer hope to do your hair while she sweetly lies in her pram asleep, or thoughtfully munch on baby biscuits while watching MTV Classics for the entire duration of your revamp.

Thus started my serious look into ad hoc babysitting options.

I was initially going to foist my daughter on the Family Kirkpatrick but after an unforeseen late nap which destroyed my carefully strategised afternoon, that plan had to change in a tremendous hurry. Enter Mommy Lisa, who lives up the road from me and whose daughter has been a constant companion and friend to Arddun. Lisa, emboldened by her husband’s day off today and not having seen Arddun crack an absolute fit yet, volunteered to watch Arddun as I dashed into town for my haircut.

I was so grateful, but also apprehensive because

  • I would be cutting it real close to Arddun’s bedtime by the time of my return.
  • I’ve never left her with non-family before, and didn’t know how she would take it.
  • She hadn’t napped much the whole day, which meant she would either bounce off the walls, or sit quietly like a happy drunk.
  • I didn’t want to unwittingly hand over a baby that would unexpectedly
    • produce a lethal diaper
    • projectile-vomit, and/or
    • regress to that crazy period when she’d cry non-stop from 4pm till 1am.

Slightly irrational and over-imaginative? Perhaps. But it’s one thing to cart your baby off to childcare or the parents’ place. It’s quite something else to hand a child over to friends, only for that child to not cope when you’re gone.

But brought her over, I did. And then I scuttled away when Arddun got distracted by Charlie’s impressive toy stash. And even though I knew she was in terrific and experienced hands, and even though I knew this was a good exercise – both for me and Arddun – my heart felt rather funny.

As usual, I got stopped at every traffic light, and my hairdresser was especially chatty and artistic tonight. I’m partly convinced that he spent about 45 minutes trying to even up my hair on both sides – and quietly failing. Which meant I got out a half hour later than expected, looking like a button mushroom had landed on my shoulders.

As usual, I caught every red light on the drive back. And got stuck behind a lady driving 60 in an 80 zone. And a 4WD driving 50 in a 70 zone. And missed the turn to Lisa’s place. Which meant that by the time I pulled up their driveway, I was about ready to pole-vault their back fence, just so that I could get into their house ASAP and hug my child.

Turns out Arddun was fine. She didn’t projectile vomit. She didn’t release a stealth bomb in her pants. She finished her dinner without drama and she didn’t maim her friend. There was apparently a moment when she got over-enthusiastic and knocked Charlie over, but both girls literally kissed and made up. She also ran laps around their kitchen island, and apparently gave Lisa lots and lots of cuddles towards the end of the evening.

But then she saw me, and smiled. And lunged for me, as if to say, “I really enjoyed myself, but I missed you.” And then kissed me repeatedly on both cheeks like an Italian mobster at a wedding.

And it was a small milestone for both of us, but a necessary one. I knew we’d survive it. But it was surprisingly harder than I thought it’d be, emotionally. I guess that’s what happens when we’ve been each other’s company for a week shy of a full year, huh.

Month Eleven

Arddun in highchair

Month eleven - close up 1 Month eleven - close up 2 Month eleven - close up 3 Month eleven - close up 4

It continually freaks everyone in my mother’s group out that all our babies are 11 months old. Just one month shy of the Grand Milestone: the First Birthday. I vaguely remember carting Arddun around in cafes when she was as light as a feather, and looking at 11-month-old babies lolling about their highchairs and scoffing their grubby faces with their fat little grubby hands, and thinking, “Geez! They’re HUGE! I can’t imagine Arddun getting that huge! And I really like her this tiny. Please stay this tiny, Little Arddun.”

But then, she went ahead and thrived and grew. And time marched on. And suddenly we’re here. She’s eleven months old. Almost a year. And she’s huge. And bizarrely, even cuter.

What can I say about Month Eleven? She’s walking. Sorta. On carpet, she goes quite far on foot – perhaps to avoid carpet burn on the knees. But on tile, she walks two steps before she drops to her padded, dimpled knees and crawls away to whatever fascinating toy that has caught her fancy. Usually something plastic that makes a loud clackety-clack noise on tile when you drop it repeatedly.

She has her own timing, that girl. She tells you in her own way that she’ll walk when she’s ready. You know that thing where you try to hold her up by her hands so that her legs hang down and her feet touch the floor? And then you try to “walk” her by standing over her and holding on to her hands? She’s onto you like a snap. She turns her knees to jelly. Just keeps buckling her knees, so there is no way you can keep her upright. And her body? Also jelly. Suddenly, she’s invertebrate, and she keeps at it till you let go and she slithers to the floor before gleefully – GLEEFULLY – crawling away.

The girl has her own timing, the girl.

And her hair has gotten long. First, she looked like Kramer with her hair all standing. Then she looked like a little old man with a receding hairline. But now, her hair’s grown over her ears and she’s starting to look sweet. Feminine even. I’m wondering if it’s coincidence that she hasn’t been mistaken for a boy in the last month since her hair’s grown over her ears. But perhaps it has more to do with the fact that I dress her in cute stockings and pinafore dresses.

And black, shiny, patent leather Mary Janes. Don’t forget the Mary Janes.

And finally – Grey’s Anatomy.

For some reason, she adores the plinky-plonky of the song they play in the end credits. Because as soon as it comes on, she stops whatever she’s doing and stares at the screen. There’s this tiny giggle, like “Hey! It’s my song!” And then she starts to groove.

Don’t believe me? Watch.

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