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Showing posts from August, 2012

Get with it, already!

Earlier this month, Port Macquarie mum, Ana Amini lodged a complaint on Target's Facebook page about their 7-14 year old girl's range making little girls look like tramps. This comment received resounding support from parents on Facebook with tens of thousands of 'likes' and 1000 similar comments. I caught up on the news about this event on ABC's The Drum that evening and was shocked by the responses of the panel of The Drum. They blew this mum's complaint off as 'just another social media beat up'. The consensus was that if parents don't like the clothing offered at Target, they're not forced to buy their children's clothes there (of course, this was said by people who earn 100K per annum and can afford more expensive clothing stores). Parents can vote with their feet by shopping elsewhere (if they can afford to).

The issue with this is there seemed to be an attitude that offering only a restricted choice of items to children which forces t…

The bad, the good, and the AWESOME!

The Bad

Waking up at 10.55am (thanks generous Grumpy Old Man for letting me go back to sleep after kids left for school, but...) and realising you're supposed to be at an appointment you've waited six weeks for, in five minutes time!

The Good

Calling them and finding they are happy for you to hop in a cab and turn up to the appointment 40 minutes late.

Finding out someone can come to your house to tutor you in the voice over commands on your own computer - because you've tried to teach yourself (it's supposed to be user friendly says Apple) and find it all very, very confusing and lumpy to use.

Hearing that there are employment services you can access as soon as you feel the need of them (considering I've just applied for a PhD, I'm kind of in a grey area regarding work, though part time work would still be acceptable, I think, under a certain limit of hours. I need to find out. If I don't get into the degree, well, then full-time work is very much needed).

I feel like I just finished my final exam!

Since the first day of Masters of Education at Melbourne University way back in February 1999 - when I was just into my second trimester of pregnancy with the biggest boy, I've been working towards being able to apply to do a PhD.

Circumstances led to me transferring from a research Masters to a coursework Masters in early 2000. That was a very hard decision to make, I have to say because I knew it meant I would not be eligible to apply for a PhD at the conclusion of the degree. Nonetheless, I carried on and before I finished that Masters degree I had a second baby and postnatal depression, and a deferral for six months, but eventually I did complete it.

I gave up on doing a PhD for a few years, or rather I put it on the way, way, back there, back burner - something I might try again after the kids were grown.

But then in 2006, I heard that the tertiary college mum was studying and working at, was offering a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing by distance education and there was …

Homeschooling on my mind - again...

No, I'm not thinking of homeschooling Ari, or pulling any of the boys out of school, but nonetheless the topic of homeschooling is on my mind again.

In recent times I've happened on homeschoolers without looking for them. I've been out of the homeschooling loop for a few years now, but in May I ran into an old acquaintence from a homeschooling group we used to attend. Late last year one of my eldest son's friend left school in year five to be homeschooled because the primary school was unable to meet his needs. Last month I met a friend of a friend who is homeschooling - something I only discovered after we became Facebook friends. Then last week a friend of my second son left school - again in year five - to be homeschooled, though she is still attending school for sports and art.

I have other friends who homeschool, so I never completely lost contact with homeschoolers, but I guess the most recent contacts have been more and more from unexpected quarters, people who …

Patterns in child development - a.k.a the benefits of and to a child second.

I'm a first child, so I can't claim to have any idea what it is actually like to be a second child.

My brother is a second child and says that I used to boss him around a lot. That's probably a fair call, in hindsight - but I can only admit to that after many, many years of self-reflection and pushing myself to see the good, bad and ugly in the mirror.

I was often quite envious of him because he had a talent people could see. He could draw with ability far beyond his years. Once, when we were nine and seven we entered a Father's Day drawing competition. We had to draw our dad. I drew a very 'proper' picture of my dad with a perfectly oval face and almond shaped eyes, a straight nose and neat ears and his beard was nicely trimmed. Michael drew an irregular head shape and big puffy beard and oddly shaped eyes and funny ears and completely nailed the 'feel' of my dad. Michael won the contest, I didn't even get a commendation. It was a hard life!

I had …

Everyone has their own challenges to overcome, their own measure of success.

Earlier this afternoon I posted this poster on Facebook.


And told a story of how an ex's cousin had put me down many years ago because my ex had a degree and I had deferred my own degree - and the cousin assumed I'd dropped out. I ended the story by saying he may have one degree, but I now have three. In other words, I turned out not to be the failure this cousin had thought I was.

To my surprise the first comment in response to this post was set to dress me down, saying that letters after your name is not the only way to succeed. I realise this comment came from a place of hurt and upset in the person who posted it. That person has had a lot to deal with lately, I totally get that. I have offered my support where I could.

Nonetheless, the comment was wholly uncalled for. I was not saying degrees were the only sign of success.

All my life I've had to work pretty damn hard to be consider 'equal' to other people. I have two disabilities which affect my life. I have l…

Ari loves trains, trams and buses! Musical clocks? Not so much!

Ari is constantly pestering us to go on train rides. He just loves trains! He also loves trams and buses, but trains hold some sort of magical attraction for him.

Yesterday, I had to go into Melbourne University to get a new copy of my Masters transcript, so we decided to make a day of it and the Grumpy Old Man and Ari came with me. Ari was thrilled to be able to go on a train!

He's such a little man on the train. Unlike his oldest brothers who have only learned to sit quietly on trains in recent years, he sits very still and quite.


Often he likes to read the paper if he can find one...


Sometimes, he likes to look out the window and spot all the other trains and buses and trams...


Yesterday, we got off at Melbourne Central Station. I love this station - not for the shops - for the architecture, well some of it, anyway...


I noticed we were just in time to watch the clock at Melbourne Central do its musical number. Ari had never seen this, so I thought it would be a lovely surprise …

PhD application - getting there...

I've been kicking on with the whole PhD application process since July.

I was fortunate enough to find a potential supervisor; a lovely, enthusiastic academic who seems as excited about my area of research as I am. She's also very prompt with her feedback, which is very, very encouraging! I've done a bit of online research about her and she's an overachiever who leaves me feeling altogether slack and lazy! I'm going to attempt to use that knowledge as inspiration to pick up my game!

So, anyway, I have written my proposal and she's happy with it. I wrote a first draft which was a bit clueless and she was very encouraging anyway, which led me to research proposals and bounce ideas of mum and the Grumpy Old Man and generally go back to the drawing board. I wrote a second draft last Sunday, with a much clearer idea of my thesis statement and research questions and my potential supervisor was very happy with the second draft. Now I just need to make a couple of mino…

Bryn Turns Seven - our parenting report card...

On Thursday, Brynjar Jonas Dal (Bryn to his friends) turned seven! In our household turning seven is a big deal.

I subscribe to the theory that a child's base personality and traits are formed from their life experiences in their first seven years of life. During this period, they form their schema of life. How life and the world around them works and what they can expect in response to their actions. So, turning seven is a BIG deal and it's the time when I do a bit of stocktake on how the Grumpy Old Man and I are fairing in the parenting stakes. It's when I write our first parenting report card...

Bryn was born on my mum's 55th birthday and this year we decided they should spend their birthday's together for the first time! I had been promising Bryn a solo trip to South Australia for about two years, and he'd waited [mostly] patiently all that time. On Wednesday we flew from Melbourne to Adelaide so he and his Amma could spend their birthday together.







So, how …

Homelessness...

This week I've been thinking a lot about homelessness. In fact, I've been researching resources for homeless people in Melbourne. It has not been a good week and I'm not in a good way.

As things stand at the moment, we have just been granted a six month lease for this property. We don't know if the owner will include a rental increase in that lease, but it doesn't matter either way because we can't afford to move.

We specifically asked for a 12 month lease, but were offered a six month lease. We had our agent go back and ask if a 12 month lease would be at all possible, and the owner stood firm with the six month offer. Landlords only do that if they want to keep their options open. If they have plans for change in the near future. We're expecting a notice to vacate in November - well, that is to say, I'm expecting that. I don't know what the GOM is thinking.

The Grumpy Old Man has been unemployed for nigh on 3.5 years now. As I type this, he is at …

Water-on-stone theory of parenting...

Now that I've vented my spleen in my last blog post, let me talk about something else that has been brewing away in the back of my mind for the past few days.

A few days ago I participated in a big reunion, on Facebook, of members from an attachment parenting site I used to frequent, um, frequently in the first decade of this century. It was a lot of fun to catch up on everyone's lives and see photos of the much bigger children I used to read about when they were babies.

Many of us have children who are now tweens or teens and I realised this might be a good opportunity to get some feedback on how parents are dealing with those non-baby issues that arise in parenting older children.

For me, the big issue was behaviour in one of my children I found unbecoming. Behaviour I wanted to change in my child because I felt it was too rough and pointy, like the edge of a rock. Behaviour I felt it was ugly and didn't fit the image I had of my child as a grown up, all smoothed out an…

Let me be clear about something...

I have a few things to write about, but my other two blog posts have been sitting in the back of my mind for a few days, this one has been sitting in the foreground. I'm not even going to advertise this one because, I know, no one really wants to hear it - next to no one, anyway. But I need it out and this is my blog for my thoughts, even if you don't like them.

I often hear people say that non-vaccinators piggy back off the safe places created by people who vaccinate. I hear that we don't feel we need to vaccinate because 'Well, it's not like measles is that common, right, and no one gets polio anymore.'

This may be true for some vaccinators.

It really isn't true for me.

I would prefer my kids to get measles, and yes, even polio. Seventy-five percent of polio cases are a-symptomatic. That means the vast majority of people who contract polio show no symptoms, no high fevers, no aching bodies, nothing. They have the disease and don't even know they have i…