Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places



Where we’re headed

I’m driving. Atticus has a full tummy, and is gurgling at the view zipping behind him in reverse. Arddun is strapped in the seat directly behind mine, her awareness of her whereabouts, the general geography of Canberra, the routes we take, the slightest departure from routine ever minutely recorded and questioned.

Ever growing, ever impressive, ever exhausting.

It’s 60kmh down Northbourne Avenue, plenty of time to discuss where we’re going.

“Where are we going now, Mummy?”

“We are going to the Singapore High Commission.”

She chews on that for a few seconds. It’s dinner time, and we are not at home. She notes the quick sinking of the sun, grows a little excited that we are deviating from the norm.

“We are going to see Grandma Singapore?” She turns to a toy companion immediately to give her the news. “We are going to see my Grandma!”

“Er… no, darlin’. We are going to the Singapore High Commission. It’s a different place.”

“Where is Grandma Singapore?”

“In heaven.”

“Are we going to her house?”



I pause. Do I tackle the bit about venues, or do I tackle the bit about the afterlife. Decisions.

“Because she doesn’t live in the Singapore High Commission. We are going there for dinner. There’s going to be lots of yummy food! Are we going to try new things tonight?”



“And then,” she continues, “We are going to Grandma Singapore’s house.”

So we are back to that.

“Will she have beds ready for us?”

“Er… no…”

“Does she have a house?”

“Probably. A very big one, I think.” (Will you please turn your hymnals with me to “I got a mansion just over the hilltop”.)

“She’ll have beds for us,” Arddun decides confidently.

“We are not going to her house.”


“Because it’s in heaven.”

“Where is heaven?”

“It’s outside this world.”

“OOOOOHHHHH!” she cries, as if that finally makes complete sense. And then,

“Are we in the world, Mummy?”


“Then where is Grandma’s house?”

“Out of this world.”

“Does she have a dog?”

I give a short bark of laughter. And then think about it in earnest. Dogs don’t have souls, but maybe that isn’t the way to tackle that question for now.

“Probably not,” I reply slowly. “Grandma doesn’t like dogs.”

“Oooohhh…” I imagine her nodding wisely. And then, confidentially,

“Heaven doesn’t have elephants.”

“It doesn’t?”

“No. It has squirrels.”


“Yes,” my sagacious four-year-old replies. “And cats. And some dogs. But not elephants.”

Atticus and Arddun in car

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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