Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places



Bent on Bento
Did this for Arddun for her school lunch today, even though I strongly suspect that

  •  she’s not going to eat the rice
  •  or any of the salad leaves
  •  or even all of the capsicum
  •  or realise that it’s a sheep.

But it was fun putting it together, and if it means eventually stretching her food repertoire, then I’m willing to Bento more.

Arddun turns 4!

It’s hard for us to believe that we have known and loved Arddun for four years now. Three still feels like a toddler-ish number, but four — FOUR! — is definitely entering the Little Girl arena.

What is she like now? Bigger and better. Louder, yet gentler. In the last little while, she’s worked out what offends her personally, and so she’s started putting her distinctive stamp on things. Like her routine, the dinner menu, her wardrobe, and even the way we drive. (While waiting at lights, I am often told to “Just drive, Mummy. Just drive!”)

Emotions are likewise more intense and colourful. Her laughs can be huge and hearty. Fluffs are halarious. Burps are halarious. Ending any adjective with “poo” is both naughty and silly, and therefore rates very highly in her vernacular. And then the tears! Yes, there have been meltdowns over seemingly innocuous, inconsequential things. I’m learning to pick different battles from her. There has been the occasional arm-folding, and the one time she dared to roll her eyes. That had been interesting, because I suddenly heard my mother come out of my mouth. Malay words and everything.

She hasn’t tried that again since.

Oh but then she can be so gentle and funny and patient. I sometimes forget just how much I ask of both my children when they tag along to malls because I have to run through a long list of errands, and they do so without any complaint and with so much cheerfulness. I am so thankful that I can trust her to stay close to the car when I’m getting Atticus in and out, that she is willing to ferry the umpteenth item from house to vehicle and back. That she can still play by herself in her room quietly, that she’s willing to feed herself, bathe herself, and change into her clothes (with varying levels of actual success, but about 75% there.)

I love how she loves her brother, and totally delights in delighting him. She is soooo good at getting those baby belly-chuckles and he, in turn, is always looking around the room for her.

Lately, she’s been working out what letter of the alphabet words start with. It’s not unusual to hear her going, “W! Wuh… Wuh… Wednesday! Wednesday starts with W!” or something like it. Js and Gs get her a little mixed up, but she’s so receptive to correction, it puts me to shame. She’s also starting to sing nursery rhymes in Mandarin, thanks to a Chinese playgroup we’ve been going to for over a month. Her rendition of the Hokey Pokey in Mandarin cracks me up each time, but I love that she’s so unaffected, so natural and brave. These classes have become uniquely our thing because it’s about our shared racial heritage. It’s something I’m surprised I really enjoy and didn’t realise I crave.

I’ve been slowly preparing for her birthday party this Saturday, and I hope to dedicate an entire post to that later this week. But here’s a bunch of birthday snapshots. Some were taken at school on Tuesday when I ducked in after Arddun’s lunchtime to watch her blow out an imaginary flame on one of 24 cupcakes that yours truly baked for her classmates. (Uh huh!)

The others were taken today.

Yes, I baked AND decorated 24 cupcakes for Arddun’s preschool classmates. This explains the icing art. It’s amateur hour, I know. But I’m feeling all Pinterest-mum superior now.
Arddun blowing out imaginary flame on cupcake at school
It’s a little lame, but basically they are not allowed any open flames in the classrooms. So Arddun was asked to imagine the candle was lit and to blow the flame out when the class was done singing. True story, and thank goodness my girl has an active imagination.
Arddun in Cinderella dress at breakfast
Good morning, Birthday Girl! Standard breakfast request nowadays is a honey and cheese sandwich with a mug of milk. Why should your birthday morning be any different.
Arddun pulling face while tasting yoghurt
Silly faces while taste-testing our homemade strawberry yoghurt. (It’s not that bad.)
Arddun holding her mother's childhood spoon
That orange spoon was mine, when I was her age. So precious to see her use it now.
View of backyard in rain
With steady rain for most of the day and Atticus also feeling under the weather, we stayed in. Here’s hoping her party on Saturday will find the sunshine.
Arddun peeking out from behind sofa bed
Cheeky girl decides to hide behind the sofa to surprise me on my way out the backdoor.
Arddun behind sofabed, looking towards back yard
I think I might be stuck.
Contemplative. I wish I had been quick enough to take a sharper photo.  :-(
Arddun with birthday cookie
The cafe our family frequents sprang a birthday cookie and chocolate milkshake treat for our girl, and said it was on the house because they had practically watched her grow up over the years. Awww!
Arddun looking through Japanese kaleidoscope
Waited till after dinner, when Daddy was home, to finally open her presents. Looky what we have here!
Arddun tiptoeing in Cinderella dress.
I remember when she first wore her Cinderella dress and it reached below her ankles. That was a very short year ago.
Tony and Arddun looking at Cat in the Hat costume.
Examining her Cat in the Hat costume from Daddy Dearest. Except she is convinced the costume’s for HIM to get kitted out in.
Atticus, enjoying the evening's proceedings. Besides, crinkly paper is always so much fun at these shindigs
Atticus, enjoying the evening’s proceedings. Besides, crinkly paper is always so much fun at these shindigs

An interview with the Birthday Girl

How old are you today? I am 2! No… 3! No… 5! Hahahaha… I’m 4 today. *Big grin*

What’s your favourite TV show? Sofia the First.

What do you love doing in school? Singing and dancing

If you could choose a name for yourself, what would it be? Ivy

What’s your favourite colour? Pink!

What’s your favourite toy? Big Kitty.

What’s your favourite book? Wacky Wednesday (by Dr Seuss)

What’s your favourite movie? Alice in Wonderland and Cat in the Hat

What’s your favourite food? Breakfast.

What’s your favourite animal? Tigers. And lions.

Who is your best friend? Leila

What is your favourite song? 炒萝卜(a nursery rhyme we’ve learnt recently that involves tickling towards the end. How frying radishes can end in tickling is anyone’s guess, but that’s nursery rhymes for you.)

First (official) day of Preschool!

Our baby is in Big Girl School! Or at least, that’s what we’ve been calling it to distinguish daycare from School School. Arddun’s starting a year earlier than many her age, but we think she’s been ready and raring to go for a while now. We’ve been talking about it, showing her the campus in passing, and slowly adding to her Big School collection – school bag, socks, blinding white sneakers, fruit box…

The only obstacle seemed to be her new, not-so-glad rags.

A few months ago, we paid a visit to the second-hand Uniform shop to pick out her new uniform. (I balked at spending a few hundred dollars for full-priced preschool clothes, when she’s growing like a glorious weed.) The only “problem”, of course, was that the preschool uniform was really just the P.E. attire, and as unisex P.E. attires the world over go, they are usually ill-fitting and baggy. Arddun looked like a drowned rat. It was the first time in her life she very politely asked to be excused from wearing anything I put in front of her.

This partly explains the rather somber first-day photos we took last Tuesday, before her hour-long school orientation.

Arddun in uniform looking somber half shot
First day at Big School
Arddun in school uniform at home full shot
Unwilling Uniform Model
Arddun posing in house with uniform
That’s more like it.
Arddun looking worried in uniform
Slightly nervous about what the day was going to bring

But what a change this morning! After having a taste of her new classroom, friends and teachers, we had a totally different girl this morning.

“Take photos of me, Mummy!”

Yes. Take photos of me in my new Big Girl School Uniform, Mummy.

I happily complied.

Arddun in the garden in school uniform
Everybody’s wearing it, so it’s gotta be cool!
Arddun posing with Tony in school uniform
With my daddy doing the school drop-offs, I know I’m in safe hands
Bust shot of Arddun in school uniform
Yes, that badge on the left is her House emblem. She’s in the Gurabung house, which is an Aborignal word for “Stone”. And I’m sure the peach squidgy thing in the middle is meant to be Ayers Rock, but I can’t decide if it looks like Brain, or the cross section of a milk chocolate ganache. Mmm… chocolate…


Happy Arddun in school uniform
Goofing around
Selfie with Arddun 1
Last-minute selfie with my Big Girl
Selfie 2
This is what happens when you don’t invest in a Selfie Stick…


AFTER SCHOOL UPDATE – Came into Arddun’s classroom come pick-up time, and was rather perplexed when I couldn’t see her excited little face anywhere. I had half expected her to come bounding up to me and hugging my leg the minute Atticus’s pram pushed through the door.

Turned out she was fast asleep, face grubby, hair wild, polo shirt untucked, socks and shoes off.


A good first day, then. 😊

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