Saturday, 25 May 2013

DID YOU KNOW ...? (68)

Simpsons cop
Photo Credit
The term cop is the abbreviation of Constable On Patrol and it originates from England.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Choosing a primary school for your child can be a very challenging and overwhelming job that most cannot avoid. If you are a picky person, be ready for some never-ending reading, searching, discussing, listening, reading more, searching more, discussing more and listening to others' opinions (and getting confused) more. It may, or may not, end once your child starts school but until then, try to keep your sanity. Of course it depends on the individuals but from experience, it can be a very hard decision to make.

Our children are planned children, like most other 'important things' in our lives. When my husband and I thought that we were ready for children of our own, apart from all the excitement, there were concerns and questions in mind too. Choosing a school wasn't necessarily the biggest issue at the time but it didn't take long for us to get to a stage in life where we focused on it quite deeply. Many people around us thought we were over-doing it. It is hard to blame them for thinking that way but then again, that is who we are and it would have been unnatural for us to handle it differently.

Our search for schools started when I was pregnant with my son, approximately 5 years ago. We jotted down our expectations, worked out our then and future budgets, started reading up on the topic, rolled eyes at certain schools, drooled over others and so forth. Just to help you picture the drama we have been going through over this, I must mention that we started contacting some private schools that caught our attention and started reading the information packages we received from them while breastfeeding our tiny baby son at the time.

As time went by, there were times when the topic took a second, a third or even a further back place in our lives but there were always times when something triggered something and it hit us back again and took its place on the front row. However, we now understand that until the right time came, which was this year for us, when our child was due to be enrolled in a school for the next year, it was all too theory based and too idealistic.

We soon learned that the particular private schools in Victoria (Australia) that made us excited were way over our reach, unless we both chose to work day and night and found a way to get our kids looked after by others (then again, that would be quite expensive too). It was one thing we both could confidently say 'no' to unless we had to for another reason apart from paying for private school fees. That made us look more into public schools in the state, yes, it is not a typo, I meant in the STATE.

Even with the public schools, we soon came to a realisation that we may not be able to choose just any school we liked, as most schools that have a good reputation are in demand and therefore, they use a 'zoning system' to limit the amount of people that can be accepted to the school. Fair enough. Someone has to miss out as they can't afford to cater for each and every child that would like to study there. There has to be some sort of a limit. We thought of moving. We again did our research and thought of a few other suburbs where we could possibly relocate. I guess there is no need to mention that schools and real-estate work hand-in-hand. Better school areas mean more demand. More demand means higher house prices and so on. Of course there are other contributing elements that make certain areas less affordable than others but schools are very important too.

We drove around a few suburbs, we made the effort to get some insight information and comments on them, took a note of advantages and disadvantages of moving there etc. Then again, we decided that none of those suburbs was really where we would like to live in, possibly except for one, which is why we kept it as an option, up until we found something more local that we were happy with.

Early this year, I started visiting school websites and took a note of their open days or made appointments to visit them. I put them all in my diary as well as on our monthly family diary that we keep on the fridge along with all those gorgeous masterpieces of our children. We started our school visits a few months back and have visited 5 primary schools so far. We actually had to fit in some kindergarten visits too, as our son's current kindergarten, unfortunately, may close down at the end of this term. It is a privately run early learning centre/kindergarten that follows a particular philosophy and we all have been quite happy with it regardless of our awareness that it had some room for improvement. It is due to some financial difficulty but I will not get into details as this topic is a big topic on its own. The point is that, we ended up visiting over 10 centres/schools in total and we now feel so much more comfortable with school visits and what to realistically look for still keeping our own values and expectations in mind.

We now also have a good idea of what questions to ask and what to look at when touring a school. I am sure the list can be added to or changed by other parents or even by us in time but I will soon be sharing with you a guideline list that you may find helpful. Stay tuned!

Update: You can access to the list of questions that you can use while touring a school here.

Note: Please do share your experience, suggestions, opinions here but do not leave a comment saying something in the line of 'if your child wants to study, he will do well at any school. Otherwise, regardless of the school, he will fail". We have heard it a bit too many times and are aware enough to know that yes, a good school does not guarantee anything. However, we still believe that it is our duty to make the extra effort to choose a school that -we believe- suits them the best before leaving it all to its course. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013


Some of the most important benefits of rooming-in after the birth are as follows;

* Allows the mother to respond to baby quickly,
* More likely to successfully breastfeed, 
* Better connection between the mother and the baby,
* The risk of jaundice for the baby is decreased,
* More sleep for the mother.

Friday, 10 May 2013


I have been quiet recently mostly because I have been busy with my little bundles of joy, the customer orders and some temporary health issues.

A few weeks ago, I had a cold just like most other family members but fortunately, it didn't last long after paying some conscious attention to my well being, daily diet and the sun exposure. One of our secrets to getting rid of a cold is some fresh homemade soup (mostly vegetable soups with some lentils) and pouring a raw mixture of freshly squeezed lemon, homegrown chilli flakes and crushed garlic into it. It works like a magic!

Early this week, however, something happened that took me all unprepared unlike a cold and I just had to accept it and deal with it as it happened. As I was at an open day of a school, looking around, having some chats, out of nowhere came this pain in my spine on the neck that made me almost immobile for the rest of the day. I am a young and a fairly healthy person and this was a total surprise to me. It turns out that somehow, one of those gentle head movements pinched a nerve on my neck which caused muscle spasms. So, this week, I have been mostly robot-like, not moving much, not laughing much, trying not to cough or sneeze. It is getting better day by day and seeing a physiotherapist the day after it happened has helped heaps.

The one thing that becomes a real luxury when you have young children is to be sick, even if it is temporarily and I am sure if you are a parent, you know what I am talking about. My little ones, aged 4 and 2, do not comprehend it well yet. They cannot really understand that Mummy can get sick and she may need some time to rest or be not on the move as they wish, when they wish sometimes. It is only fair on their behalf too, I suppose. So, we have all been trying to do our best to compromise as a family, as much as we could. Mr. Hubby stayed at home the first two days, the little one didn't get to stay in my arms as often as she normally likes to, Mr. Junior had to settle with not being able to go to the library on the day he wanted to etc. I, in the meantime, have been trying hard to give myself some rest while still being the main carer around the house and the kids for most of the week.

Luckily, this week has been beautiful weather-wise here in Melbourne and I have been using it to our advantage. Instead of trying to keep the kids at home bored and demanding, I have been encouraging them to go out for a gentle walk with me as it is an activity that doesn't really put pressure on my neck. It keeps them busy, while giving them some exercise that helps them sleep well and feel better whilst giving us all some strength, a change of environment and some positive energy. Walking is definitely one of my all-time favourites.

Look what else has been helpful (apart from going for a walk) in keeping the kids happily busy while letting me take it easy this week! They are all low-demand activities that once you get the kids started, they do not need you much (if not at all) for a while and you don't even need to do much afterwards either as they are pretty much mess-free!

Some arts and craft activities.

Chalk drawing.

Chalk drawing for kids

Easy kids activities

Water paint (You can read more about this activity here).

Easy, mess-free kids activities

Have a healthy day!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

DID YOU KNOW ...? (67)

Shark kopek baligi
Photo Credit
Unlike human beings, sharks never stop growing, even when they reach adulthood.