Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places


shopping with baby


Friday mornings are when we aim to do the grocery shopping for the week. Friday mornings, I find, strike the happy balance between crowded, stocked shelves and empty, peaceful malls. And so it’s been our thing to browse the aisles together after breakfast on Fridays, and then break for an early lunch before heading home for a snooze.

Today was no different from most Fridays, I suppose. We had just commenced our shopping, and I had parked Arddun next to the broccoli aisle where it’s near enough for her to appreciate nature in all its biotechnological splendour, yet far enough for her not to help herself to a carrot. And then two little old Greek(?) ladies happened to walk past our trolley.

“Oh!” one exclaims, and starts stroking Arddun’s cheek lovingly. She brushes her fringe aside, tucks a lock of her hair behind her ear while my daughter beams and basks in her newfound adoration.

“Oh!” the same one exclaims, and sighs and clasps her hands. She signals her elderly friend over and says proudly, “Look at this beautiful one! Look at her! She reminds me so much of my Yarni!”

“Oh she does!” agrees the other, and they both continue to coo and touch her face and hair. Arddun’s loving it. I’m pretty chuffed myself.

“Is Yarni your granddaughter?” I hazard a guess.


“Yarni… you say my daughter Arddun looks like your Yarni. She your granddaughter?”

“Oh no no,” smiles the old lady, love shining in her eyes. “No, Yarni is my [insert foreign word].”

“Pardon?” I ask, shaking my head.

“My… ah… my…” she searches for the word. “My pooch-a. My dog.”

True story.

Carting about

The New and Improved mega supermarket at our local town centre has finally introduced kiddy-sized shopping trolleys. Guess who had a whirl…

The closet mommy

So yes, I’ve grown a pair of hips, multiple curves, and cannot wear most of my clothes anymore. Especially the tops. Anything NOT resembling a sack – take it away, please. The women whose bodies bounce back? Another breed altogether. My body hasn’t bounced back so much as reluctantly re-grouped. And some members are slower than others in joining the pack. Like my distended mid-section.

But I digress.

SHOPPING. Now that I’ve got a wedding to attend but will be taking Arddun along for the ceremony, this much is clear.

  • I cannot wear a dress if I’m planning to feed Arddun.
    Not unless I want to hoike it up in the middle of some faraway bible classroom, and potentially scare other God-fearing, church-going children playing hide-and-seek.
  • I cannot wear anything fancy that I currently own.
    Not unless I wear one of those torturous body socks that really just redistribute your muffin top, so it pops up somewhere further up north and suddenly, you have a back cleavage. Or an extra chin.
  • I haven’t stepped into a really beautiful garment in ages.
    Because almost everything I buy recreationally nowadays comes in sizes 6-12 months. 

And because I’m running off to Brisbane soonish, I’m running out of days to try stuff. So off to the shops we went today. The mission: to find something feminine yet structured, practical yet pretty. Blouse and Bottom, was what I was thinking.

And I timed it all perfectly. Feed Arddun at noon. Drive to town. Scoff down sushi at 1pm. Meet friend for afternoon tea at 1:30pm. Get Arddun down for a nap at 2:00pm till 3:00pm while I shopped.

Arddun did not get the memo. Because she slept from 2:45pm… till THREE O’CLOCK.

Fifteen miserable minutes.

As soon as she woke up, she was agitating to get down from her pram. That’s her new thing. She’s oh-so-mobile now, so of COURSE she can just crawl along beside me while I browse shop to shop. Is what I think she was hoping.

Nothing would console her while she bayed in her pram. Not rice crackers, not stern words, not rocking one-handed while I contorted into blouses with the other, not playing peek-a-boo in between skirt changes.

In desperation, I got her out of the pram – if only to turn down the volume in a confined space. And then spent the next few minutes almost dribbling her like a soccer ball so she wouldn’t crawl out the dressing room at the speed of light. You try doing that while putting on pants.

But then… a moment’s lapsed attention, a quick turn of the head – and she was out! She popped out of the changing room like soda from a shaken bottle, all effervescent and giddy with success. The little monkey was gleefully out of reach, and I was stuck in my change room in a state of undress debating which was more embarrassing – my baby running amok in a chi-chi boutique, or a half-nekkid thirty-something lumbering after her.

Thankfully, the sales assistant was only too glad to play babysitter. It became obvious that she’s almost used to this. And then it dawned on me that it’s 3pm, and there’s hardly anyone else in the mall except mommies with prams trying their darndest to have a good time with a restless baby.

I wised up after that. Went straight to Review, and bought the first outfit there. Moral of the story: always stick to brands you know. And shop online if you can.

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