This post was bought to you by Dettol.
Before you have kids, you ‘know’ things will change. Work, money, some household roles. Your body. And you also ‘know’ that you won’t let some things change (bahahaha!). We’ll still do the things we love to do, baby will fit in with us….. And to some extent that’s true. Like, for perhaps the first few months. Then baby is not a newborn anymore. Baby becomes a small human intent on making you focus solely on them at all times – for food, for nappy changes, for entertainment, for laughing, for cuddling. So you know, mostly, it’s all good and pretty much why lots of people have kids. It’s when they’re slightly older – preschool/toddler – that you realise how the small things have changed. There are loads of things that have changed for me because of kids and below are just three:
Music. Now I’m not talking about seeing live music. Clearly that’s changed. The last live show I saw was Hi 5. Lord. But even listening to it has changed. I do it less, for one, mainly because I listen more to the ABC during the day now. Because I don’t get to watch the news etc on the tv anymore. For one, it’s the kids bed and bath time when it’s on and two, I don’t want them seeing it. I can have the radio on and turn it off quickly if I need. And also, when we put music on now, it’s with a lot of thought. Music from the 90’s features a lot and earlier, and we pick stuff that we think the kids will enjoy – that they can jump around and rock out to. Because they actually love doing that which is awesome, especially for The Mister. He’s been in bands for most of his adolescent and adult life, so it’s good to see them enjoy music.
Books. I used to read and read and read!!! And I do read blogs and new sites a lot but I used to read books. Stories. Things that took me to other places and times and gave me different views on things. Now, books are read and re-read but aren’t quite the same. Jessie, Iron Man and the Wonkey Donkey have taken over from Elizabeth, Frodo and Jo. Which is quite lovely in one way, but something I’ve recently tried to change. I’m so pleased the kids have always been interested in books and stories, but I need to make sure I keep reading too. Even if it’s re-reading the one’s I love and throwing in a new one every now and then. I’ve been trying to go to bed a half hour earlier to get some book time in.
Hand Wash. I never used to buy hand wash. I would have soap in the bathroom and that would be it. Why would I a spend more on liquid soap, I thought. Ha!! Since having kids, the amount of time I have spent washing my hands must of quadrupled. And that’s being conservative! Multiple nappy changes a day, washing out said nappies (we use cloth), cleaning up after the kids, and all the normal reasons to wash hands. It’s now an essential and since using the Dettol No Touch system I’m thoroughly converted. I think I need one for the laundry as well as the one I have in the kitchen. The laundry is where we store and wash nappies, feed animals and change kitty litter. One in the laundry would be pretty handy actually. I sometimes make my own – I recently worked out how to make the foaming hand wash which is great, but I think the No Touch system is really god for the kitchen – think washing hands after cutting raw chicken and think about what the pump on the hand wash must be covered in. Yeah. Nice.
So tell me, what are the small things that have changed since you had kids? Is it something that surprised you or were you fully prepared for the change?
We love where we live. We’re in Melbourne’s outer east, nestled at the foot of the Dandenongs, and bordering the Yarra Valley. It’s not unusual for us to head out for a day trip on a weekend or a long weekend, to explore what’s around us. And let’s face it. We’re a one wage family at the moment, so we don’t have money to splash around. Turns out, our little corner of Australia is perfectly located for all sorts of day trips. So come and take a look at three of our favourite, family friendly spots to picnic.
Winter or summer, we love heading down to Dromana. It’s a 50 minute drive, give or take, from home, so it’s perfect for a day trip. Located south of Melbourne, it’s on the Mornington Peninsula. The beaches are smooth and great for kids, and finding a park is never too much of a problem – except maybe mid summer on weekends! We’ve done day trips and long weekend trips to Dromana and always enjoyed them. I think it was the first place the kids had their taste of the beach.
There are loads of places that you can grab lunch or snacks – cafe’s, fish ‘n chip takeaways, restaurants. But it’s perfect for a picnic, with tables along the foreshore, grassed areas with play equipment and public facilities. And there are several good places for coffee. Because even when we’re not spending a lot, we can usually find coin for the good stuff 🙂
Collingwood Children’s Farm
Now you may have heard of the Children’s Farm, and with good reason. It’s a real farm, 5km from the city of Melbourne. It’s located in a gorgeous spot along the Yarra River, and is open to everyone – school groups, individuals, families and more. They host regular Farmer’s Markets and you can even have kids’ parties there! It’s a gorgeous spot, and whenever we go, it feels kind of surreal that it’s so close to such a major city. This one does have a fee – $18 or $10 conc for a family. But if you take your own snacks its a special treat. Our little ones go up close with chickens and horses and guinea pigs, and ran freely amongst the space. It is a lovely spot to visit. Although I think Peppa Pig has confused them a little – they found real pigs to be whole lot more intimidating!!
Warburton and Mt Donna Buang
I love heading further out into the Yarra Valley and the surrouding mountains. I was raised out this way and I know whenever I drive out through Wandin and beyond it feels very much like home. Mt Donna Buang is about 15-20 minutes further up from Warburton, a 45 minute drive from our home. Recently we took an impromptu trip to Mt Donna Buang and thrilled the kids with snow! It’s perfect for those not able to go to the snow and stay. Not too far from Melbourne means you can do a day trip. When we went, Queen’s birthday weekend, it was busy with lots of snow. There is usually tobogganing as well. And because it’s so close to Warburton, it’s perfect to take a picnic with you! Once you’ve been up and seen the snow, travel back down to Warburton and make use of the many picnic tables. I love Warburton. The way they’ve set out the public facilities is great. Along the river there are tables and access to bbq’s and toilets. Our kids loved the river! There are many ducks who are pretty comfortable near people, and very vocal. There is also a fabulous path along the river, where the kids were able to climb and scramble over big rocks, find almost hidden paths and swing on ropes left on the trees by previous kids. It was lovely.
So these are some of our favourite places to picnic around Melbourne’s east. Where are yours? Check out the #ShareAustralia tag for more inspiration from Australia’s bloggers!
And it’s pretty scary, actually. We had been taking Mr 2 back to the doctor on a seemingly weekly basis. It wasn’t actually weekly, but that’s what it felt like. Constant coughing that turned into wheezing, that sometimes turned into heavy, laboured breathing where his poor little ribs sucked in and out.
It started about September last year. Initially it was croup – meaning a steroid dose was taken. The next month, we were away on the Great Ocean Road for a weekend, and his breathing became wheezy and his ribs were working hard. So we called the Lorne hospital and they recommended we come in. It was a Saturday evening of a long weekend, and we had never needed to take the kids to an emergency department before. And we weren’t in Lorne, we were probably 25 minutes further on the winding ocean road. That had Mr 2 vomiting with car sickness the day before. Awesome.
So we headed in, with Ms 3 happily bunked in with friends in their cabin. I was, of course, completely anxious the whole way there – was he going to spew on the way, was his breathing going to get worse, was Ms 3 ok with us leaving her when it was night and we were in a strange place. Naturally, he didn’t spew, slept the whole way there and Ms 3 had an awesome time with the big girls! When we got to the ED, the staff was great. Saw us straight away and were lovely. They monitored him for a bit, gave him a dose of steroids and diagnosed bronchiolitis. Rest and fluids, and get another course of steroids for him.
Over the months since, we’ve been back to the GP at least five times with similar symptoms – particularly the wheezing and coughing. Each time leaving with redipred and ventolin, and sometimes antibiotics, but no diagnosis. When kids are under two, there is a reluctance to diagnose asthma, mainly because they can ‘grow’ out of it. Their airways are small and more sensitive to inflammation. So they wait a bit and see if the symptoms will ease off. That’s my understanding.
We had started considering going to a different GP, to push for a bit more assessment. He had turned 2 at the start of the year and it was still happening. Around March, he was wheezy AGAIN. Of course it came on later in the day and I only managed to get an appointment at about ten to five and with a different GP. I got in to the clinic, with Ms 3 and Mr 2 managing to climb all over every inch of the waiting room and the GP’s room. They cannot sit still when we are in a GP’s office!
Well, this one was awesome. She read the file, listened to what I was saying and assessed Mr 2’s presentation. “It is asthma” she pronounced and proceeded to instruct me to take him to the local emergency department for assessment. Wait, what? She was concerned that he needed a thorough assessement that she couldn’t do at this stage of the day. He needed to be monitored over a three hour period, to assess his breathing and his response to medication.
So off we went to the local emergency department. The Mister had just got home from work, so he met us there. Luckily, it went fairly well. We didn’t have to wait hours and hours. Saying that, whislt we were waiting, his breathing worsened and we heard that real rattling, whistle type breath for the first time. That wasn’t great.
He was assessed and monitored and sent home with ventolin and spacers and instructions to see the GP, having responded well to the ventolin. And that was how we found out our child has asthma. Since then, we have had an appointment with the nurse at the GP’s to develop an Asthma Management Plan and to learn a little more about asthma. That appointment really bought home to me how serious asthma is. We don’t have it in our family and neither does The Mister. So I’ve never really been exposed to it. The nurse made it clear that it can and does kill children when not managed properly. Scared the bejeesus out of me. So now he is on preventer medication, morning and night, with the plan to reassess once we are through winter. For Mr 2, coughs and colds appear to be a trigger, so winter can be a difficult period. And we carry ventolin, spacer and mask with us all the time, in case an attack flares up.
Luckily, the younger kids are when they’re first diagnosed, the more likely they seem to grow out of it. Fingers crossed that happens for us too. He’s been travelling well so far through winter, with only a few episodes of needing ventolin, usually when he has had a particularly severe cold/cough.
Did you know there is an Asthma First Aid Plan? I didn’t, I had no idea. Click through if you are interested in knowing more about it. It’s simple and straight forward, and good to know if you’re with someone who appears to be having an attack.
How about you? Do you or your child have asthma? Was it a surprise, or does it run in your family? Let me know, I’d be keen to hear (read!) your experience.
Here are some more links you may find useful:
- The Asthma Buddy App – great for slightly older kids learning to manage their asthma.
- The National Asthma Council Australia – lots of information for those with asthma, or caring for someone with asthma, for professionals and for media.
- Asthma Australia – again, has lots of information and links to state/territory specific sites.
Today the kids had their first Easter Egg Hunt of the season. They had a ball! A lovely friend organised it, and graciously invited 10 small and not so small kids into her home to find and devour chocolate. Did I mention she is brave? The house was decorated with lots of gorgeous Easter themed pretties, and the bigger kids even did some Easter craft. So Ms 3 managed to get her hit today, without me having to pull out the craft box – win win!
And then the kids were let loose on the backyard, and everyone managed to find sufficiently equal amounts of eggs to keep everyone happy.
And the big kids made sure the little kids had enough, which was lovely. With minimal prompting from the grown ups.
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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?
Victoria had a long weekend recently, so we took advantage and headed up the mountain for a picnic lunch. We live a stones throw from Mount Dandenong, and it is such a beautiful place to live. We decided to head to the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, in Sassafras. I have never been there before, which is amazing, given I grew up in the area!
So we drove up the mountain, winding our way past the huge line of cars and people who had decided to visit the Dandenong Ranges National Park and, I’m assuming, the 1000 steps Kokoda Memorial Trail. Yep, you heard right, the 1000 steps. Have you been there? It is a three km 1.5 hour return walk, that was created in the early 1900’s and was adopted by Victoria Veterans of the Kokoda campaign (WW2). Apparently, the walk is very similar to the first 100 metres of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. People were parked for miles up the road!
We kept going though, and found ourselves at the lovely Alfred Nicholas Gardens. They’re amazing, and we didn’t even get to see the majority of them. Because, you know, small children. We took a picnic and a pram, but the next time we go, I would not take the pram and I would pack the picnic in a back pack. The paths are great, and if you need a pram, they are definitely suitable, but it would have been easier without I think. Unfortunately they were draining the lake for maintenance when we visited, but there was still a lot to see. Ms 3 insisted we would find fairies, and took along her wings to help the search.
The paths lead down to the lake, and to a boat house, and to a fabulous large space, where the kids just wanted to run and run. They found a ‘fairy’ tree, they were amazed by the size of the trees and it was just so wonderfully quiet and peaceful. Just gorgeous.
If you’re in Melbourne, and haven’t been, I recommend making the drive up the mountain. Especially now, as we head into Autumn. The colours are always amazing this time of year, and I think we’ll be taking another trip soon. Plus, all that walking tuckered out the little ones!
Do you like to take breaks in your own backyard? Tell me about it!
*I received an ASG Little Learner Pack in order to complete this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*
Have your little one’s started school or kinder this week? How are you feeling – anxious, proud, relieved?! Our Ms 3 starts three year old kinder this week, and BOY is she excited. For the past five days she has appeared next to my bed in the mornings declaring it is kinder day, and wanting me to get up. She’s very gorgeous 😉
This will be our first year parenting in the world formal education. So I thought, why not start a series about it. With tips, hints, resources, product reviews etc that might just be helpful to other parents out there, new or otherwise. I think I’ll call it The Kinder Files.
To kick the series off, I’ve got a review of ASG’s Little Learner Pack. When I was offered the opportunity to do this review, it was perfect timing, having just started planning this little series. So let’s start with the nuts and bolts. The Little Learner Pack comes to you from ASG. ASG is focused on supporting children’s education – it’s all they do. They’re typically known for their educational funds, however this pack is an example of the educational resources they provide.
The pack contains the following:
- The Cat in the Hat DVD
- five hardcover children’s books from highly regarded education consultant, Michael E Bernard, featuring stories on how to get along, confidence, resilience, being organised and persistence
- a membership to MY ASG, an ever-expanding source of articles and resources from parenting experts
- discounted access to Parentingideas Club, an online parenting centre founded by Michael Grose – one of Australia’s leading parenting experts
- discounts on CDs and DVDs distributed by Marcom Projects, ASG’s multimedia educational products division
- discounted health insurance with MediGUARD Health Cover, provided by Australian Unity
The pack is targeted to pre-school kids, up to about six years of age, and contains $180 worth of products. I’m really impressed with this pack. Of course, MS 3 loves the DVD – Dr Seuss has been a hit in our household ever since we started reading to her, when she was just a wee bubba. I love that she loves Dr Seuss stories. They are such fun to read. But the books have also been a great hit with her. I thought they may have been a little ‘old’ for her – they’re stories about things like getting along, being organised and persistence, but she loves them. She loves the story about getting along, all about Sally learning that other people’s feelings matter, and she loves the one about Lucy and her dream to play the violin. Given that she is starting kinder, I really think these books will be a lovely way to talk with her about these subjects. The fact that she keeps suggesting them at bedtime is a pretty good indicator that they’re a-ok 🙂
Something that I think is going to be of great benefit is not only the MY ASG membership but the discount to the Parentingideas Club. MY ASG provides articles and resources aimed at supporting children’s education. The subjects covered span from toddler tantrums to teaching children about social media and safety. The Parentingideas Club provides support, information and resources covering age appropriate parenting strategies. I think I’ll be signing up for this ASAP! I’m finding this current stage of development with Ms 3 to be “challenging”, and the Parentingideas Club covers parenting styles, birth order of children, sibling matters and a whole lot more. It looks to be a fabulous resource, for parents with children of all ages.
If you think any of this sounds like it could be of use to you and your family, head on over to the ASG site here, where you can purchase ASG’s Little Learner Pack. It costs $49.95 and has over $180 worth of material and resources.
As an added bonus, check out the competition ASG are running – you could win a share of $15,000 to put towards your child’s education. Enter here.
If you decide to purchase ASG’s Little Learner Pack, or are already a MY ASG member, let me know! I’d love to know what you think. And I can’t wait to develop this little series further – let me know if you have any topics you think would be useful and I’ll see what I can do 🙂
ASG website: http://www.asg.com.au
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