Well hello there! *Sheepish wave* It’s been a while, hasn’t it? It seems I have taken an unintended, rather extended break from the old blog. Like I said, certainly wasn’t a planned event. However, I am still here and feeling like I just can’t let the blog go. I thought about it, but it just didn’t sit right, so I thought I would just start writing again when it felt good.
It’s been a busy first half of the year for us – Ms 5 is in kinder and Mr 3 is in three year old kinder. They attend a small kinder, which is lovely, but also means that the sessions do not run concurrently. So a couple of days a week I am up and back, up and back, up and back! Some days we have a little half hour break in between their sessions, which the kids love, because they get to run around the kinder yard with their friends a bit longer.
With Ms 5 in kinder, it’s meant we have had to choose a primary school! Oh, all the feels! It’s not like we were making a choice between private and public, but we did have a couple of options in our area. We’ve gone with the closest one, right near her kinder, which has thrilled Ms 5 no end of course, because that is where nearly everyone else from kinder is going. It’s such a mix of emotions, isn’t it, choosing a school for the first time. She is not ‘small’ anymore, not a baby, not a toddler, nearly not a preschooler anymore. Oh! How did that happen so fast. She is hurtling toward being a big girl, she is sooooooo desperate to be a big girl! And I am just trying to hold on as she speeds by, desperate to have her not grow up too quick, to stay with me just a little longer. Then she told me this morning, after discussing how grown ups live with friends or by themselves, that she won’t because “mummy I will stay with you and dad. Because I don’t want to leave you.” Heart. Melts.
So, I am still here. I plan on writing a lot more, in between kinder runs and school planning and dealing with the fact that my first born little daughter is rapidly growing up!!
Tell me – what have you been doing this first half of the year? Anyone else approaching school for their kids for the first time? Tell me how you’re going with it!!
Last week, our little family, The Mister, Ms 4 , Mr 2 and myself, participated in the 2015 Walk For Prems. It was a great day, and we all had fun! Although it was quite windy for much of the day, it didn’t seem to put anyone off and there was a great crowd gathered around Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. The Walk For Prems is a regular Walk, that raises funds for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is Australia’s leading charity dedicated to the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation. This year, the aim is to raise $250,000 and the walk was held in six cities around Australia simultaneously. The major sponsor for the race, was Medela. Medela understands the importance of human milk in the NICU and know that the content of human milk makes a considerable contribution to the best possible development of premature babies. According to Medela CEO, Jarrod Percy, the organisation is looking forward to helping the foundation in the very valuable work it does to support the families of premature and sick babies.
We have been blessed with healthy, full term pregnancies with both our children, and feel incredibly grateful for this. When I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the walk with Team Medela, to raise awareness and funds, I discussed it with The Mister and we both agreed it would be a great way to support those that have not been as lucky as we have.
You see, this cause is also important to us, as we have friends who have experienced the roller coaster ride that comes with the premature birth of your baby. Their little man Thomas was born at 27 weeks. What followed was three months in the Royal Children’s Hospital with surgeries, IV tubes, humidicribs and more. The family received support from Life’s Little Treasures, and others throughout this bewildering and scary time. Eventually, they were able to take their wee little man home, where he received lots of early intervention in the form of physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the Royal Children’s Hospital. Thomas is now in primary school, and continues to work on his motor skills and is also learning keyboard, riding his bike and participating in running try outs. He is an amazing little man, who in the words of his mum “is a very caring boy who loves learning about the world he lives in and it has been possible because of the Royal Children’s Hospital including all the staff and availability of equipment”.
It’s amazing what babies and families can do when they have the right supports in place. The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation want to ensure that no family endures the traumatic and life changing experience of having a premature of sick baby without easy access to critical information and community support to help them through their journey. The Walk For Prems event continues to raise money, and in the last three years has raised half a million dollars. The actual Walk was great – there was such a fun atmosphere, with families walking with their babies and kids and even their dogs! There were prams and toddlers and lots and lots of teams walking for the little one in their life who made their way into the world too early. At the end of the walk, the kids enjoyed music and food and all sorts of fun activities. It was a great day!
If you would like to find out more about the work that Life’s Little Treasures do to support prem babies and their families, click here. And if you feel like you would like to donate some money, and help the Foundation reach their goal of $250,000 you can do so here.
Have your kids participated in a fundraising walk/run? How did they go? I would love to know!
Anyone who lives in Australia can’t help but be aware of the commentary this week surrounding AFL player Adam Goodes and racism. It’s been an issue brewing for some time, and it boiled over this week into a seemingly unstoppable flood of outrage, denial, anger and hurt. For most of the week I’ve listened to and read a lot of people’s opinions. I’ve felt a rising sense of frustration and disbelief. I’ve nearly called ABC 774 several times! I’ve never called radio talk back! Frankly, the only thing stopping me calling in has been the two small children yelling for my attention every 2.3 seconds!
I’ve had a page of notes on my phone and my computer, waiting for me to form into a coherent post. And then yesterday, I decided to email my club, the North Melbourne Kangaroos. I wanted to know what they were going to do to support Adam Goodes. I’m a paid member, so I wanted to know. I intended to write a quick email, just to find out if anything was planned. But it became longer, as I explained why I was so concerned. And it clarified to me just why I have been so upset by the lack of respect shown to Adam Goodes. By the apparent intelligent people I know who have so easily dismissed him as a ‘sook’, as ‘thin skinned’. As someone who needs to ‘man up’. It’s for my children. It frightens me, that in this day and age, our country still struggles to address this issue, to discuss the matter in a mature fashion. So this is what I wrote to the club:
I wanted to contact the club today regarding Adam Goodes. I have become increasingly upset and I have to say angry at the way he has been treated. As a paying member of NMFC I was wondering if the club was planning or talking about ways to show support for Adam Goodes?
The current commentary and fan reaction to Adam has made me feel angry and upset, because it makes me question – can I take my small kids to live matches, when this behaviour is accepted and apparently encouraged (by ex-players saying he is a ‘sook’ etc). I want my kids to feel that AFL is a community that they will feel safe in, that they will feel AFL will give them opportunities, joy and a sense of team. I do not want them to learn that bullying is ‘normal’, that racism is normal or that men cannot express feelings or discuss matters that are emotionally important to them.
I really did not know where else to express this opinion at this point, but I figured as a member of NMFC I could start here.
I love this game, I love this club. I do not love this concerted campaign against one of the greatest players we have.
I’m pleased to say they got back to me really quickly, explaining that they were finalising plans and would be updating fans soon.
Today, I have felt slightly less upset by this, and a little more hopeful. Of course, some actual leadership by our politicians would be nice, but let’s not hold our breath for miracles. But perhaps now, this is a tipping point into a discussion that we need to have. Perhaps this will be a catalyst for broader understanding and acceptance. Let’s just hope we haven’t let an outstanding leader, advocate and person be broken in the process.
Recently you may have seen that Mark Latham decided to write down his opinion on Rosie Batty, domestic violence and how things just aren’t like they used to be. And the editors at the Financial Review, in their wisdom, decided yet again, to publish his writings. If you haven’t read it, and feel you must, click here.
I wasn’t going to write a post about his nonsensical ramblings, but I’m furious. Furious that someone who apparently has the capacity to access the statistics and to talk to the relevant people can write such ill-informed, disrespectful and damaging twaddle. If you don’t want to read it, fair enough. The gist of it, from my reading, was this: he started off questioning how Rosie Batty is grieving her child, reminiscing for the days when the ‘working class’ would keep their grief private (I am not joking, he used those terms). He then moved on to having a go at her for speaking at events, like business functions, and for having an agency who arranged her bookings for these events. He bemoaned the way we turn grief into celebrity these days. He had a go at several writers for airing their issues in public, and made light of one man’s discussion on alcoholism, by stating that his writing made him feel like drinking. Hilarious. The ultimate point of his piece then seemed to come through, where he attempts to argue that the issue of domestic violence is a fiction made up by left feminists, and it only really affects indigenous and “other underclass communities” anyway. Yes, he refers to indigenous people as “underclass” and apparently anyone else who experiences domestic violence is also a part of the “underclass”. Wait, what? What year are we in?
So here are some of the things that sprang to mind upon reading this. Mainly, why the hell is the Financial Review still publishing this drivel? But also; who is Mark Latham to dictate how a person grieves? Who is he to tell Rosie Batty that she isn’t grieving her murdered child in the correct fashion? How are we at a point, as a community, where it’s ok for someone to so publicly shake their head and ‘tsk tsk’ at a woman who is working through a grief that will be life long, life changing and very nearly soul destroying? Rosie Batty must every day deal with the violent loss of her son, and every day she manages to get up and step into the world with the purpose of helping others and preventing more family violence. Oh yes, truly worthy of dressing down.
To the comments on her being represented by an agency, and horror of horrors, being paid for her work: This is coming from a man who works within an industry where people regularly use agencies to manage their speaking appearances, his ‘dismay’ is questionable. He is pedalling smoke and mirrors. Having an agency representing her merely means she has someone sorting out her speaking appearances, whilst she gets on with the actual work. You know, the important work, of speaking, educating and raising awareness of an epidemic of violence that in the majority, impacts on women. Women like you, me, your sister, cousin, girlfriend, colleague, boss, mother.
To his claim that the idea that women from all socio-economic communities are at risk from domestic violence being a “Big Lie” of the feminist left. Well, one can only imagine he hasn’t actually read anything about domestic violence in Australia. He follows this up with this zinger. That domestic violence is concentrated in indigenous and “other underclass communities”. Putting aside the charming, retro use of the word “underclass”, so what? Just because there is a higher prevalence in indigenous communities means we shouldn’t speak about it? Shouldn’t do anything to address it? The truth is, the numbers are so high that it means it is prevalent across all communities. Low, middle and high socio-economic.
His assertions that Rosie Batty is putting women at risk is not only insulting, but also flies in the face of all that is known by those who have actually studied, worked, researched or experienced family violence. You know, the ACTUAL experts. Being an ‘almost’ important person, does not make you an expert.
Being a white, privileged, “well educated”, well paid male does not give you the right to belittle the indigenous, the working class or to dismiss the ongoing horrific experience of thousands of women. An experience forced upon them by men.
Feeling miffed because a “working class” (I shit you not, he referenced ‘working class’) woman isn’t sitting at home hiding her grief does not give you the right to belittle her, nor does it make you an expert on family violence.
I’ve worked with it, I’ve sent it. I personally know women who are well educated, well employed, highly regarded, white and other, who have experienced varying degrees of violence against them. By well educated, well employed, well regarded white men. Because they are women. Don’t be fooled by his apparently racist, sexist dismissive ramblings. This issue is huge, it is relevant and his scared, pitiful whining against the “left wing feminists” ie women who don’t conduct themselves in a golden age, 1950’s fashion, speak more of his fearful close mindedness, than anything actually resembling fact.
Well Mark Latham, here’s my opinion. We are not in the 1950’s anymore. We are no longer shackled by old fashioned views on grief, violence, abuse and the role of women. Men and women today are able to talk about the terrible things that can happen in our society because as we evolve as a society we recognise that education is important. Education where we tell young men and women that violence of any kind is not acceptable. We do not hide at home in our grief anymore, unless that is what we want to do. Indigenous people and women ARE NOT underclass. Violence against women DOES happen across all parts of our society and WE ALL need to do more about it. Rosie Batty suffered an unthinkable loss, and has somehow managed to focus her life so that to help others. To speak up, to make others aware and to educate our society on the violence that is harming women and children daily. For that, we should be gathering around Rosie, lending her our strength and asking what can we do? We should be standing with her. I know I am.
Did you know, that in Australia each year 260 children die and 58,000 children are hospitalized from accidental injuries? These are big numbers! Would you know how to help a child who was unconscious and not breathing? That’s what the people at KidzAid want to know. I have vague memories of my first aid training, pre-children, and I keep putting a paediatric first aid course on my to-do list. I still haven’t completed one.
Here are some more stats for you. For every minute that CPR is not performed when needed, the chance of the child’s survival decreases by 10%. After 4 minutes without oxygen, your child can suffer irreversible brain damage. That’s scary stuff. So basically, what happens in the first five minutes holds the key to saving their life. Five minutes is not enough time to allow professional help to arrive.
We therefore need more people of all ages who are trained and willing to provide immediate CPR to our kids, while waiting for help to arrive. And that’s where KidZaid Paediatric First Aid Training comes in. And to highlight the issue, and raise funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, the KidZaid team will convert the Palladium at Crown Melbourne into a large training centre, and offer training to parents and families, and break a world record at the same time! There will family fun day activities; celebrity CPR challenges, jumping castles, roving princesses and superheroes, toddler playzone and more.
We’ll be there – it should be a great day! We’ve never gone into the city on Good Friday and with all the family oriented activities happening with the Good Friday Appeal, it should be a really fun day. And I’m so pleased this opportunity to learn paediatric first aid has arisen, and in a way that provides support to the excellent Royal Children’s Hospital.
Details: Entry is free, with a $5 registration fee to complete the CPR training (all proceeds to the Good Friday Appeal). To make this even easier, there is a special $15 family CPR registration price, that allows parents to take advantage of the opportunity to have all the important adults in their child’s life trained for one low cost. Training sessions will run hourly throughout the day and to secure your spot, register today at www.cprchallenge.com.au. Check out the website for more information and follow along with the CPR Challenge on facebook, & twitter.
Tell me, have you completed a paediatric first aid training? Is it up-to-date? Are you going to attend the CPR Challenge?
By the end of February this year, 14 women had been murdered in “domestic violence incidents”. There have been more since. That’s two a week. It’s also a number that has doubled for the same time last year. It’s an atrocious number. But it’s also not just a number. They are women. Mothers, daughters, sisters. Humans.
On February 26 I was honoured to be able to take part in The Nappy Collective‘s Blogger #DVForum. A number of bloggers were invited to participate, with the view to developing connections and conversations aimed at challenging “misinformed view points” (Rosie Batty). The forum was MC’d by Giaan Rooney, who did a fabulous job, and the discussion panel was Rosie Batty (Australian of the Year), Sandra Jacobs (The Nappy Collective) and Detective Superintendent, Rod Jouning (Head of Sexual and Family Violence Unit, Victoria Police). Richenda Vermeulen (nTegrity) then guided the blogger conversation.
We listened to these amazing speakers, and I’m pretty sure that we were all at times horrified, moved, amazed and fired up. As some of you know, prior to having children I worked for over a decade in Child Protection and with at risk children and families. The stories of domestic violence were not new to me. The climbing numbers outrage me. The continued victim blaming dismays me.
The question of a ’cause’ of domestic violence was raised. And Rosie Batty, and Det Supt Rod Jouning were both crystal clear in their responses. This is a gender issue. As Rosie Batty said, domestic violence is a choice. It is about power and control. Det Supt Jouning described it as men having a sense of entitlement to control women. “We have an ingrained culture of victim shaming. The responsibility is on us to change”.
It was acknowledged that people often, don’t know how to help. That those who have not experienced domestic violence do not know where to begin to help someone in this situation. Rosie talked about this, and about her experience. “One of the most disappointing responses is judging the victim” ie why doesn’t she leave? She spoke about how the well meaning advice from friends left her feeling judged and critiqued. Because it was all simple, straightforward advice. That doesn’t help someone who is in survival mode. Someone who is at greatest risk of harm when they decide to leave. Her advice – guide the woman to a Domestic Violence crisis line. They provide perfect advice, they understand the situation and are focused on safety. They do not judge. Rosie talked about us needing to believe women. To have compassion, to support and to empower women. That “we need to demand change. Let’s get feisty about it!”
Also present was Fiona McCormack, CEO of Domestic Violence Victoria. She was very clear also, about this being a gender issue. About the excuses that are made when men choose violence against their partners and children. That they ‘feel powerless’. This only serves to boost their sense of entitlement. She spoke about us needing to challenge sexism, and to have “zero tolerance to the reasons men choose violence”. To demand change.
There were several things I took away from this forum, but the main point I wanted to highlight today was the need to demand change. From our political leaders, from perpetrators and from the social norms that support, if not encourage, some men in their choice to use violence. With thanks to The Nappy Collective and ntegr!ty, there is now a bloggers collective, that I am proud to be part of, with a structured plan to take this conversation further. So stay tuned! This is an issue that I feel very passionate about. I am amazed I have an opportunity to be part of this collective, and a movement to change.
If you would like to do some more reading, check out the posts from some of the other bloggers who attended the forum: A Blog of Her Own, Seeing the Lighter Side of Parenting, Engaging Women, and The Mother Load are a few who have already started the conversation.
If you would like to join this conversation please do so! Let’s keep the conversation respectful and mindful that everyone has different experiences.
If you feel you need assistance in relation to any of the issues talked about here, please, contact any of the following:
Safe Steps: www.safesteps.org.au Manage crisis response and refers to state-wide refuges. 1800 015 188 (Toll free)
Domestic Violence Victoria www.dvvic.org.au
For immediate assistance contact 000