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knox Monash


POPULAR TOYS Time to be a

SELFISH MUM Summer fun at

SUMMER 2020-21

About Us

knox Monash

Let’s celebrate summer WHAT a year it’s been - and as we are catapulting towards the end of 2020 (good riddance) I’m sure you are all as willing as I am to spend as much of it outdoors as possible. So rather than dwell on the past, we are here to focus on the future. Especially now that it’s looking a little brighter than we expected. We can travel again, people can visit our wonderful Yarra Ranges and we welcome them with our arms open. In this summer edition of Knox Monash Kids we boast about our wonderful playgrounds (some of them new), we’ve got a gift guide for Christmas and some words of wisdom from our regular columnist Steve Biddulph. We get an insight into twin pregnancies and all that can go right and wrong during our chat with teacher Bree Schranz and hear from a woman who has celebrated losing 50 kilograms

just before her 50th birtday. And facing her darkest, toughest days - Maddie Francis tells us how she turned the feeling of loneliness when her son Ashton was in NICU into something positive, now helping other parents going through the same rollercoaster of emotions. We also welcome our newest columnist, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Bronwyn Hamilton. There’s a great education section, books for kids, and some events too But I have to admit my favourite story is our chat with Melissa D’Arcy. She wants mums to become more selfish. She says the time is now for mums to take a little “me time”. And I totally agree.

I for one will be visiting as many local haunts as I can and supporting those who struggled through the year because after all we are in this together. I’ll also be making the most of the beautiful sunshine and fresh air as the kids tucker themselves out at one of the many amazing playgrounds. Take some time to take a deep breath and smell the roses. And remember, whatever 2021 throws at us - you’ve got this.


These stories will hopefully lift you up

Phone: 5945 0666 Published by Mail News Group Pty Ltd ACN 99 006 310 498. Publisher/Managing Director, Paul Thomas. All material is copyright to Mail News Group Pty Ltd. All significant errors will be corrected as soon as possible.

It’s time to be a Selfish Mum

The push for early career education




Steve Biddulph on being a good dad

REALITY BITES Becoming a fit mum PAGE 17



Mandy Clark


IVF, twins and a stroke - what a journey

244 Maroondah Highway, Healesville, Vic 3777 Phone: 5957 3700 Fax: 5957 3777


How you can declutter with kids


Knox Monash Kids

Phone: 5945 0648

If we have learnt anything this year - it’s that mental health is important and so is balance.


Slide into popular playgrounds

Knox Monash will be published quarterly prior to each of the school holidays.

melissa.meehan@starnewsgroup. com.au

A strong emphasis on learning


Knox Monash Kids magazine is a Mail News Group publication.

Melissa Meehan



and remain positive as we move full steam ahead into 2021.

The mum bringing cheer to all PAGE 18

Inspiring the hero in all of us

Cover Make a splash at Gumbuya World this summer. Picture: Gary Sissons

knox Monash

SUMMER 2020-21


KIDS CALENDAR What’s on this autumn



Top tips for toilet training

Homebirth in the face of Covid




Ikea and Gumbuya World PAGE 9

Time to be a

Starting life in the bus lane



Summer fun at

Christmas toy guide PAGE 11 Reasons to see a gynecologist PAGE 12

PARTY TIME Invites fit for royalty PAGE 13

EDUCATION The case for free childcare PAGE 14 New kinder management for Monash PAGE 15

knoxmonashkids.com.au 2 AUTUMN 2020

facebook.com/knoxmonashkids www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

It’s Your Life

Why it’s time to be a selfish mum By Melissa Meehan Melissa encourages other mums to build acts of self-care into their routines.

SOMETIMES mums need to be selfish. They need to go to the toilet by themselves, drink a warm cup of coffee before it goes cold, watch anything other than Bluey or even spend a few minutes alone checking Instagram when they are supposed to be showering. These things aren’t really selfish - but sometimes mum guilt gets in the way and caring about number one is often forgotten. That’s why Melissa D’Arcy set up an online support group so that mums from around Victoria, Australia and the world can support each other. The online group, found on Facebook and Instagram, allows its members to celebrate the wins and share tips and tricks to be #selfishmums. It all started when Ms D’Arcy went to see the maternal child health nurse for her son’s one-year-old appointment.

Melissa says it’s important to drink your cup of coffee before it goes cold.

“After only a few minutes of chatting, she said to me ‘you’re running on empty, aren’t you?’,” Ms D’Arcy said.

“There isn’t as much pressure on men to ‘do it all’ as there is on women,” she said.

“She was right, I was exhausted and hadn’t been taking any time to look after myself. I thought there must be other mums who are feeling the same way and it would be great to connect.”

“This is evident if you look at the recent situation where we have all been spending most of our time at home due to COVID-19. Women, generally speaking, have picked up more housework and managed the bulk of their children’s home schooling compared with their male counterparts.”

And that’s where The Selfish Mums all started. “The name of the group is meant to be a bit playful because selfish is the last thing most mums are - I’d say most mothers are selfless,” she said. “More often than not, we put others’ needs above our own and if we never make any time for ourselves that’s when exhaustion and burn out can become an issue.” The group quickly gained momentum and now boasts more than 300 members. Ms D’Arcy says it seems that despite the fact it is 2020, there is still a traditional view floating around that motherhood must equate to sacrificing your own identity. She says it’s time for mums to be more selfish. “I’d encourage mums to build in small acts of self-care into their daily and weekly routines,” she said. “I’m not talking about grand activities once in a while but small things done consistently like reading, a hobby, walks or catching up with friends things that will help you recharge your batteries. “Self-care isn’t selfish - it’s an act of self-respect.” It’s also important for mums to have their own goals and dreams, according to Ms D’Arcy, not necessarily connected to their families - learning a language, running your own business, mastering a sport are just some examples. “Mums shouldn’t feel guilty for nurturing their identities outside of motherhood,” she said. Often when we talk about mums and parenting, dads say they get the raw end of the deal - that the so-called bad dads make the good ones look bad. But The Selfish Mums isn’t about shaming dads - or telling them to be less selfish, Ms D’Arcy says, it’s allowing mums to step back and see that it is possible. www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

She admits everyone’s situation is different, but for many traditional expectations have continued throughout generations. And for some, society allows (or expects) men to be more “selfish” than their female partners. “I’d imagine many dads would love to use parental leave and flexible working arrangements available to them but feel pressure they will be judged as not taking their jobs as seriously if they actually use these entitlements,” she said. “Both mums and dads need time out for themselves and it’s important to communicate that within your family. Spending time together as a couple is vital too, although that can be tricky if you have very young children. “The key is to be flexible - you might not be able to go out for an entire day but even an hour together so you can talk in peace is helpful.” Balance, she says, is the key. As well as having confidence in knowing that being “selfish” is OK. And she must be onto something. What started as a group in Geelong, now has members spanning across the globe, with some members in the UK, New Zealand, Canada and the Philippines. And there are big plans ahead for The Selfish Mums - Ms D’Arcy is already working on a refreshed content plan for the group.

Self care isn’t selfish - it’s an act of self respect” - Melissa D’Arcy

And in the near future she’d like to explore supporting other mums on a one-to-one basis. “I’ve created a free self care step-bystep guide for mums, which will be available on The Selfish Mum blog, launching in June (www. theselfishmum.com.au).”

Melissa D’Arcy says it’s time for mums to be selfish. Pictures: Louisa Jones

SUMMER 2020/2021 3

It’s Your Life

Dadding around

By Steve Biddulph ONE of the good things about being old is that I can figure out exactly what I should have done 40 years ago, after finally having time to think about it.

years - being always that bit too rushed, worried about being a provider, radiating a feeling of ‘person doing urgent and important things’. And kids pick up on that. If I had that time over again, I would dial it way down, trust that we’d get by, and just plain enjoy life more, and give them more of the feeling that life was fun, at least most of the time.

It’s definitely true for fathering - if I could have it over again, I would do it so differently. Although in parenthood this also applies to the last 24 hours too!

We did have lots of fun. My kids had me around a lot more than many dads, and I was affectionate and close to them, but I was still too wound up.

Being a man and a dad, there are some key things to remember (and hello to all dads reading this, much love to you).

So my take home message? You’ll have your own view, but my idea of a wonderful dad is someone who young kids think hasn’t a worry in the world. He is amiable, slow, takes time with them, listens, and is good fun, while also being clear about boundaries. He is good mates with their mum. Only when they get older do they figure out you did all that other stuff like saving the world. And be impressed that you never let on!

Almost always, we men are the largest and loudest person in the family. We don’t think of it that much but it’s a key feature for everyone else, especially the littlies. So a dad often sets the mood in the whole house when he is around. For good, or for ill.

beside Niagara Falls!

I am not sure if you remember being a small boy and your dad kind of looming like a mountain wherever he went. So the ‘weather’ on that mountain had a big effect on you. Sunny was wonderful, stormy was not good.

But mostly with dads it’s their voices that kids are aware of. When researching my book Raising Girls, I discovered that some girls have far more acute hearing and they hate it when dad is too loud, and love it when he speaks gently. Our idea of normal sounds like shouting to them, and that sets off their adrenaline.

Luckily my dad was gentle, because he was also huge. I remember being in the bath, and him coming into the bathroom for a pee - it was like being

Being very serious for a moment, somewhere deep down a small child knows that an adult that big could badly hurt them. This only comes into

awareness if they ever see us really out of control, but then that memory remains with them for life. A boy who is hit is three times more likely to hit his wife when he grows up. Luckily people who read magazines about parenthood are generally pretty gentle, but some of us remember being a child in a home like that.

Steve’s renowned talks on Raising Boys and Raising Girls are now being hosted online. Have a look at his website for more info. www.stevebiddulph.com Steve Biddulph AM,

For most of us, it’s just anxiety that we bring too much of into the family environment.

Author - 10 Things Girls Need Most, Raising Girls, Raising Boys.

I am pretty sure I spent the years between 28 and 48 - my parenting

Complete Secrets of Happy Children, and The New Manhood

Premature babies affecting dad’s behaviour BECOMING a dad for the first time, or even the second or third, can be very daunting.

Led by Grace McMahon from the Turner Institute and conducted in the Centre for Research Excellence in Newborn Medicine at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the study asked fathers about their symptoms of depression and anxiety shortly after the baby’s birth, around the baby’s expected due date, and then again at three, six and 12 months after the baby’s expected due date.

baby’s health and managing family and work activities, as well as the importance of fathers for the babies’ wellbeing and development.

A Monash University study has examined the impact premature arrivals have had on fathers’ parenting behaviours.

At 12 months, fathers and their babies were videotaped during a play session to look at a range of parenting behaviours.

However, the study also found the experience of more severe mental health symptoms had little effect on fathers’ parenting behaviours with their baby at 12 months.

Ms McMahon said that fathers’ experiences following very premature birth are rarely studied but are crucial to understand given the potential stress associated with concerns about their

“While our finding of minimal impact of depression and anxiety symptoms on fathers’ early parenting behaviours is encouraging news for fathers suffering with mental health difficulties, we do believe that these relationships are complex and further research is needed to better understand the experiences of fathers following very premature birth”.

But spare a thought for those who have babies born very prematurely. For many, there can be extra pressures and responsibilities to navigate. A recent Monash University study has taken a look at the mental health of fathers of babies born very prematurely and the impact on their early parenting behaviours. It found that almost one in five fathers experienced high depressive symptoms, and approximately half of all fathers experienced moderate anxiety symptoms that persisted throughout the first year of their baby’s life. 4 SUMMER 2020/2021

“The high rates of fathers reporting persistent mental health difficulties in this study is concerning and highlights the need to include fathers in ongoing mental health screening and support following very premature birth,” Ms McMahon said.



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SUMMER 2020/2021 5

It’s Your Life

Slide into these popular playgrounds

Wellesley Reserve in Glen Waverley. Picture: Courtesy Monash City Council

OUR masks are off (outside), playgroundss are open and the sun is shining. Summer is the perfect time to get outside - even more so after Melbourne’s epic lockdown. There are more than 100 playgrounds in Monash alone, so we’ve y created a short list of popular and newly refurbished playgrounds in Knox and Monash. Some of the most popular playgrounds in Knox: ■ Corbert Reserve, Ferntree Gully ■ Eildon Parade Reserve, Eildon Parade, Rowville ■ Fairpark Reserve, Cnr Manuka Drive & Scoresby Road, Boronia ■ Guy Turner Reserve, Bayswater ■ Hillside Reserve, Rowville ■ Liberty Avenue Reserve, Liberty Avenue, Rowville ■ Peregrine Reserve Playground, Dandelion Drive, Rowville ■ Templeton Reserve Playground, Templeton Street, Wantirna ■ The Basin Triangle Playground, Mountain Highway, The Basin ■ The Tim Neville Arboretum, Dorset Road, Boronia

Guy Turner Reserve in Bayswater has a completely covered sandpit which makes it an all weather playground. We call it the Hungry Caterpillar Park because it has a caterpillar along the sandpit. Has a great playground too.

■ Wally Tew Reserve, Ferntree Gully

Popular playgrounds in Monash:

■ Wicks Reserve, Basin-Olinda Road, The Basin

■ Ellis Park, Mulgrave

■ Jells Park, Mount Waverley

Accessible Playgrounds in Knox:

■ Napier Park, Glen Waverley

■ Bayswater Park Playground, King Street, Bayswater.

■ The Grange Reserve, (UFO Park), Osborne Avenue, Clayton South

■ Ferntree Gully Playground, Ferntree Gully Community Centre, Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully. ■ Stud Park Playground, Rowville Community Centre, Fulham Road, Rowville. ■ Wally Tew Playground, Ferntree Gully.

6 SUMMER 2020/2021

■ Lum Reserve, Wheelers Hill ■ Burwood Skyline Drive In Playground, Sinnott St, Burwood

Lum Reserve in Wheelers Hill is a little hidden away, but it has wonderful open spaces, swings and a double slide.

Recently refurbished in Monash:

■ Melissa Street, Mt Waverley

■ Galbally Reserve, Hughesdale

■ Evelyn Street, Clayton

■ Adrian Street, Chadstone

■ Glen Waverley North

■ Wellesley Road, Glen Waverley

■ Catherine Avenue, Mt Waverley

■ Mannering Drive, Glen Waverley

■ Galbally Reserve, Hughesdale

■ Dennis Street, Clayton

■ Electra Reserve, Ashwood www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

It’s Your Life

IVF, twins and a stroke - what a journey By Melissa Meehan IT had been six years of trying. Six emotionally draining, financially taxing and physically demanding years. So when Bree Schranz and her husband Dale Gaylard found out they were pregnant they were over the moon. “We’d been trying for a baby with IVF for six years, so when it happened we just thought yes, our dream of becoming parents is finally happening,” Bree said. Almost as soon as her pregnancy was confirmed, the former Knox resident spent most of her days with her head in the bucket. But it wasn’t just morning sickness. She was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. And if she didn’t have her head stuck in a bucket, she was up at the local hospital on a drip. “Hyperemesis struck - but I didn’t look like Kate Middleton at all,” she said. “Hospital stays would be two to three weeks at a time and then I’d be discharged and the cycle would start again.” When the vomiting finally started to ease, her blood pressure started to rise. At 34 weeks, the decision was made to deliver them early. Milla and Samuel were born with no complications and super cute. They spent some time in the special care nursery. “This happy, caring room, became my ultimate nightmare,” Bree said. “Expressing one day, I knew that things weren’t right. I started to feel giddy and it escalated. I collapsed, and could not remember anything.

Bree says she’s amazingly grateful to have Milla and Samuel.

“I knew at this moment I had to put my feelings aside and be there for my wife and my new twins,” Dale said. “I would travel from hospital to hospital, expressing, feeding, sleeping then repeating. It took an emotional toll on me, but I knew it was what I had to do for my family.”

Twins Milla and Samuel.

Finally they were moved to the same hospital, which made it so much easier for Dale. The twins were fortunate to leave the special care nursery, however, Bree still had to stay in hospital. “I experienced many firsts, which normal husbands would share with their wives,” Dale said. “It was up to me to set them up in their routines at home. A few weeks later, Bree joined us at home. I was pretty much caring for three children. She had a lot of work to do, a lot of rehab, it was very taxing on me.” Bree says while she missed a lot of firsts, she is forever grateful for the time she has with them now.

“My family later found out, I had a stroke after having twins.”

“I have gone from not walking and talking and now I am the full-time worker, my husband is the stay home parent,” she said.

Bree was taken to another hospital where Dale would visit and help her express milk and then return to be with the twins.

“Although I have been told I am no longer allowed to have children, I am amazingly grateful for what I have today.”

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Milla and Samuel were delivered at 34 weeks. www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

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Enquire today for an obligation free tour:

SUMMER 2020/2021 7

It’s Your Life Baby Peyton was born at home.

Home birth in the face of Covid-19

Michelle and baby Peyton, who arrived on 13 May a healthy 3.8kg.

Pictures: Garry Sissons

By Melissa Meehan

Unprecedented interest in homebirth

SITTING in a pool at home with her midwives on the phone telling her not to push just yet wasn’t the way Michelle Wise expected to welcome her baby girl into the world.

BEFORE the Covid-19 pandemic had hit - Yarra Valley Midwives Lisa Wraith and Robyn Partington had a holiday planned.

But nothing in 2020 has really gone to plan.

Some time off from their busy schedule to put their feet up and relax.

Peyton entered the world. Michelle carefully unwrapped the cord from her shoulders and placed her daughter on her chest and describes waiting for that first breath as a little scary.

But it wasn’t to be. With constantly changing rules during the pandemic, Yarra Valley Midwives had an unprecedented number of women seeking homebirth as an alternative to birthing in a hospital. “Yarra Valley Midwives as well as all other Private Midwives in Victoria have experienced the same phenomenon,” Lisa said.

“It was then I was like, wow, we are really on our own,” she said. Soon enough Peyton opened her eyes, looked around and made a little squeak. It was then Michelle knew it would be all OK. Michelle hadn’t always planned on having a home birth. But the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and new restrictions across Victoria about only having one support person with you in hospital during the birth led to her decision.

Contractions started just before 2pm on the day Peyton was born. And by 3pm they were getting closer together and more frequent.

“It was very important for my husband and I to have our doula with us and even though she ended up missing the birth, we really wanted our photographer there too,” she said.

“I sent our doula, midwife and photographer messages just to let them know I was thinking we could have a baby later that night or the next day,” she said.

When she first fell pregnant Michelle looked into having a home birth, but after getting a few quotes for a private midwife she didn’t think it was financially viable.

Her son Logan was picked up by 4.20pm and by 4.40pm Michelle’s husband Josh started to fill the birthing pool.

Especially given she had already given birth to her son in a hospital setting and had a good experience. But things changed when the pandemic hit and they felt forced to change their model of care to one they thought would be safer, no matter the cost.

8 SUMMER 2020/2021

By 5pm he was on the phone to the midwives, who were 40 minutes away, and that’s when Michelle’s body gave an almighty push. “My body had taken over,” she said. “Mish our doula called an ambulance as it was clear the midwives weren’t going to make it and three strong waves later I yelled out ‘her head is out’.”

Just minutes after Peyton arrived, so did the photographer who was shocked to see Michelle already holding her baby girl. She was closely followed by ambulance officers who stayed until the midwives arrived. “Everything was absolutely perfect,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier with our decision to have a home birth and the whole experience was so surreal. “I keep looking at her in disbelief.” The Australian College of Midwives reported a flood of calls relating to home births in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. ACM CEO Ann Kinnear said, “Home birth is a safe option for a woman, but key to this is that her midwife is practising safely and competently.”

“We had so many women who just didn’t feel comfortable about giving birth in hospital during the pandemic and with the changing restrictions many were worried they’d have to do it alone, without a support person,” Lisa said. So they cancelled their holiday and worked hard to ensure they could help as many pregnant women through the pandemic as they could. The nature of their work meant Lisa and Robyn are often booked many months in advance, but cancelling their holidays meant they could help women in May and June. Upwey mum Michelle Wise was one of those women. And although they missed the birth, Michelle said knowing that she could deliver her baby safely at home free from restrictions and illness was exactly what she needed. www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

It’s Your Life

Gumbuya fun

IKEA’s evolving design

IKEA is committed to making a positive impact on people and the planet. With an ambition that by 2030, all plastic used in products will be based on renewable or recycled material, the journey towards this goal has already begun with a plan to replace single-use plastic in the range and use different kinds of sustainable plastic in an increasing number of products. The development of the HEROISK series contributes to one important goal for IKEA - that all plastic products in the future are based on renewable or recycled materials - or both. “These products are small but important steps on our journey. They are made of corn today, but in the future it might be a different renewable source. The development of renewable

CELEBRATE summer with your friends and family at Victoria’s home of cool action, loud laughs and wild adventure, Gumbuya World. Take the plunge on epic water slides, spin out on awesome rides and say hello to Pebble, the park’s newest baby koala! Throughout the summer, patrons can make the most of Oasis Springs which underwent a $10 million expansion last year. New features include The Break - a massive family wave pool that includes a standalone kids area, and a number of new water slides including the Tiger Snake Tango and Red Belly Racer. There’s also the 300-metre long Lazy River, and Surf’s Up - an epic wave machine.

plastic is fast, and other products based on more sustainable materials are on the way,” says Erik Ljungblad, who works at IKEA of Sweden and is an expert on plastic.

Thrillseekers can enjoy unlimited rides all day in Oz Adventure, with the mighty Rebel and the high speed, high altitude Tree Swing.

PLA plastic products are both durable and safe, just like all IKEA plastic products, but PLA leaves a smaller environmental footprint. PLA can be used for lots of different things, including products for children and food contact - product categories with tough safety demands.

For little adventurers there is Outback Explorers, with Dodgem Cars, the Outback Pirate Ship and the Berry Twirl. Finally, with more than 50 species of animals - including koala joey Pebble - The

HEROISK is the first product series made entirely from PLA plastic. It’s both microwave and dishwasher safe and can be recycled.

Wildlife Trail is the perfect destination to spot something furry, featured or fanged. For an unforgettable experience, visitors can book an Animal Close Encounter.

“We want to make it simple and affordable for customers to live a more sustainable life at home,” Erik says.

Tickets will be capped in line with government guidelines. All tickets

A positive impact for people and planet

Typhoon Island, one of the many awesome water attractions at Gumbuya World.

must be purchased via the website beforehand, with no tickets available at the entrance. From 11 December, the park is open daily right through to the end of January (excluding Christmas Day). Gumbuya World is located at 2705 Princes Highway Tynong. For tickets or more information, including the park’s Covid-safe guidelines, visit https://gumbuya. com.au/

In order to conserve our resources, we use as much of the tree as possible when we manufacture the LILLABO series. That’s why each item is unique with varying grain patterns and natural colour shifts.

HEROISK is a colourful tableware series made of renewable plastic. It’s made from corn in fact, a much more sustainable option than plastic from sources like fossil oil.

LILLABO 20-piece basic train set


$ HEROISK Plate with 3 compartments, light red, green 22 cm, 2 pack



MÅLA Felt tip pen, 12-pk



HEROISK Mug, 2-pk



Of course everything in the MÅLA series is non-toxic – we care just as much about the creative minds of the next generation as you do. MÅLA Watercolour box



Shop these and more baby and children’s products instore or online at IKEA.com.au



SUMMER 2020/2021 9

It’s Your Life

Ylana and Alain Giauque with kids Luke and Isabelle.

Starting life in the bus lane By Melissa Grant

feeling that well, that I just wanted to sit down for 10 or 15 minutes,” Ylana said.

LITTLE Luke Giauque started life in the fast lane - or more precisely the bus lane - after his speedy arrival on Wellington Road.

“I laid down in bed and within 15 minutes I was like ‘dad, we have to go to the hospital’. The pain went from mild cramping, to extreme hunched over pain.”

The Wheelers Hill boy burst into the world on 11 December 2018 in a quick 45-minute labour that started at home and ended in an ambulance at a bus stop on the busy thoroughfare.

The time from those pains to Luke’s arrival was a mere 45 minutes. Her four-year-old daughter Isabelle’s birth was also relatively quick at six hours from start to finish.

Mum Ylana was being driven by her father, Chris Burton, to Clayton’s Jessie McPherson Private Hospital in peak hour traffic when it became evident they weren’t going to make it to the birthing ward.

Isabelle wasn’t the first fast labour in the family either. “The funny thing was my sister was born at home in the house we are currently living in - it was just that fast,” Ylana said.

“He (Luke) was part way down, so I said ‘we need to call an ambulance, I’m not going to make it’,” Ylana recalled.

“It must run in the family.” While Luke was fine when he arrived, his grandfather was not.

“Dad was on the phone to the ambulance and driving at the same time. “We went onto Wellington Road and it was bumper to bumper. The ambos said ‘just pull over somewhere, we need to meet you’.” They pulled over at a bus stop near the corner of Elvara Court and the Wellington Rd Service Road in Mulgrave, with paramedics arriving shortly afterwards. A second ambulance, which had a midwife on board, also pulled up. It was just in the nick of time too. “His head was almost out in the car,” Ylana said. “It was lucky the ambulance got there just in time as I was able to get

10 SUMMER 2020/2021

The sign at the bus stop on Wellington Road, not far from the corner of Elvara Ct and the Wellington Rd Service Rd, Mulgrave, where Luke was born.

onto the stretcher and into the ambulance. Then it was one push and he was out.” Luke Alain Giauque was born at 9.45am on 11 December, two days before his due date, weighing a healthy 3.14kg. Luke’s birth was so quick that his father, Alain, missed it. Alain, an engineer, had been working in the city when he received a frantic phone call from his father-in-law to advise that Ylana was in labour. He jumped onto

an express train to Clayton, but that wasn’t fast enough to get him to Wellington Road in time, so he headed straight to the birthing unit. Ylana said she had little warning that Luke was on his way. The relief teacher was at home looking after her daughter Isabelle when she started to feel off. Fortunately, her father was visiting the house to offer some support given the due date was approaching. “I went outside to tell my dad I wasn’t

“My dad was white for three days. He was so shaken and shocked. He was about to deliver him!” Ylana said. Luke’s arrival at the bus stop was so quick that nobody thought, or had time, to take some photos. So on Luke’s first birthday, the Giauques returned to the same bus stop with a professional photographer for some special family pictures. Ylana is just glad she didn’t do the food shopping, as planned, on the day that Luke decided to make his grand arrival. “I was supposed to drop Issy off at mum and dad’s and to go do grocery shopping. If I had done that he would have been born at Aldi!”


It’s Your Life

The hottest toys for Christmas By Melissa Grant WHAT are the must-have toys this Christmas? It’s a question you are probably asking yourself as you scratch your head for gift ideas.

all-new picture cards, six themed headbands, and art. Pick a card, but don’t peek! It’s then a race against the clock to guess what’s on your card, by asking your opponents yes-or-no questions. For kids aged 8+. RRP $24.99

There are so many new toys and games that have been released in time for the festive season, not to mention all the old favourites sitting on retailers’ shelves. While it’s impossible to feature them all, we’ve put together a list of hot gifts for kids this Christmas.



BARBIE DREAMHOUSE Kids can use their imaginations to set up their perfect home with Barbie Dreamhouse. There are limitless ways to play and explore, from friend sleepovers to birthday parties and backyard BBQs.

This 4in1 trike can be used from 10 months through to five years. At 10 months, your child can use it in trike mode, Then at 18 months they are ready for the guided trike. By the time they’re 2 it can be switched to training tike mode before being switched to a balance bike.

This DIY hair studio lets children design, customise and create their own hair extensions. They will love decorating one of the coloured or pattern hair ribbons with marker pens then pressing a button to transform it into a super cute hair extension. The set includes a curling wand, hair rollers and clips, two markers and spray bottle. For ages 8+. RRP $39.99

RRP $299

Perfect for kids aged 3+. RRP $249

HOT WHEELS ULTIMATE GARAGE The newly released Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage is designed to fuel kids’ imaginations. Take vehicles all the way up in the kid-powered two-car elevator, then race down through the multi-level garage and experiment with dual-play mode for continuous thrills.


For kids aged 5+. RRP $129.99.


We’re giving away some awesome toys for Christmas.

Up for grabs is one Barbie Dreamhouse ($249), which offers so many options when it comes to imaginative play.

BARBIE DREAM CAMPER Kids can hit the open road and go wherever their imaginations take them, with Barbie Dream Camper. There are multiple transformations and hidden surprises make playtime exciting. For kids aged 3+. RRP $139

BOSCH DELUXE WORKBENCH A height-adjustable workbench with a drill press, vice, saw, pliers, hammer, wrench and more. With so many screws, saws, spanners and more to play with, this gift nails it. For ages 3+. RRP $79

PAW PATROL DINO PATROLLER Save the day with Dino Patroller, the first motorised Paw Patrol team vehicle. It features room for all six pups, oversized wheels, a projectile launcher and an exclusive Chase and t-rex dinosaur action figure. For kids aged 3+. RRP $109.99

We’re also giving away one Barbie Dream Camper ($139), and the newly released Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage ($129.99)

SPIN MASTER TOYS We’ve got two toy prize packs to give away, each valued at more than $200. Each pack features: Paw Patrol themed vehicle, Bakugan Dragonoid Infinity, Monster Jam 1:64 Basic Playset Season 2, Twisty Petz Beauty, HedBanz and Hatchimals Crystal Flyers.

GLOBBER TRIKE Win a Globber Explorer Trike 4in1 in teal ($299). The all in one tricycle for toddlers aged 10+months and balance bike for kids aged 2-5 years adapts as your child grows.


HEDBANZ Hedbanz, the classic picture guessing game of ‘What am I?’ returns with


You know this game needs no introduction! Players take turns matching a card in their hand to the card showing on top of the deck by colour or number. Skips, Reverse, Draw Two, Wild and Draw Four Wild cards can deliver opponent-beating moves. There is also UNO Junior, a simplified version for younger players. UNO RRP $10, UNO Junior RRP $6.99

SMARTRIKE TRAMPOLINE A ball pit and trampoline that folds small enough to fit just about anywhere. The SmarTrike Trampoline encourages development and growing with your child from 10 months to five years.

To put yourself in the running to win one - or all - of these great toys, visit www.knoxmonashkids. com.au/competitions Hurry - entries close Thursday 17 December.

RRP $169

SUMMER 2020/2021 11


Reasons to see a gynaecologist IN Australia, a gynaecologist is a women’s health specialist doctor who has trained for up to six years at medical school, undertaking rotations in general medicine and surgery at hospitals as a junior doctor, and then a further six years in speciality training in obstetrics and gynaecology (managing pregnancies, delivering babies and learning now to manage women’s health conditions). We are well qualified to help out with any issues you have with your reproductive tract, whatever they may be. Reasons you may need to see us can include: 1. Painful or overly heavy periods. If you are concerned that your periods are heavy, you have large clots or flooding during your period then it is time to seek help. If you are



experiencing pain for more than a day or two and not relieved by simple pain relief medications such as Nurofen and Panadol you should also seek medical review. You would usually see your local doctor (GP) first and they would arrange referral to a gynaecologist if needed. 2. Irregular periods. If you are having

large breaks between your periods (eg skipping a few months at a time), this can be a sign that something isn’t right with your cycles. It can be a sign of things like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disease or other hormonal imbalance issues. Similarly, bleeding more frequently than once a month is also not normal. 3. Painful intercourse. Pain with intercourse is not normal. Please seek help if you have new or longstanding pain with intercourse as there are many things we can do to help this. 4. Abnormal discharge. No one likes talking about vaginal discharge but it’s a part of everyday life for all women. You will find the days around ovulation (mid cycle) you will have some clear and watery discharge as your estrogen levels

increase. During the one to two weeks leading up to your period this will be thicker and a creamy/white colour. If there are any variations to this like increased odour, itchiness, increased volume or green/grey in colour this could be a sign of infection so go get this checked out! 5. Issues trying to conceive. If you have been trying for a baby for more than six months if over age 35, or 12 months if aged 35 or under then you should be seeing a gynaecologist or fertility specialist. This is particularly important if you are aged over 35 as time is of essence when trying for a baby. For more information on women’s health visit: https://www.instagram. com/drbronwynhamilton/?hl=en or www.drbronwynhamilton.com.au

Digital thermometers can be used orally.

What you need to know about thermometers By Eliza Henry-Jones

Ear Thermometers

WHEN your child is sick, often one of the first things you do is reach for a thermometer. With so many thermometers on the market, you may be wondering which one is best to use. From glass and mercury through to smart thermometers with their very own apps, this article has you covered!

Ear thermometers rest in the ear in order to measure body temperature. There’s a bit of controversy about whether they should be used in children under six months. When using an ear thermometer, watch out for a build up of ear wax (which can alter the reading) and be careful of how far you put the reader into the ear canal.

Mercury Thermometers You’ve probably heard of (or seen) mercury thermometers, which were invented in the 1700s. These glass contraptions have a thin line of mercury, which expands when heated. Given the toxicity of mercury and the fragility of glass, they’re no longer recommended for measuring body temperature.

12 SUMMER 2020/2021

The cost of ear thermometers varies. For instance, the Omron TH839S Ear Thermometer retails for $59.99, compared with the Safety 1st Easy Read Ear Thermometer, which costs around $24.99. Forehead (Temporal) Thermometers These thermometers need to be moved across the forehead to get a reading

and can be used on children from birth. Although potentially not as accurate as a rectal measurement, they’re far less invasive. While basic models will set you back about $49.95 (the Oricom IR Thermometer from BubMania), you can purchase smart forehead thermometers which link to your phone or computer, allowing data to be saved for the whole family. For instance, when using the Withings Thermo Smart Temporal Thermometer, the measurements will sync automatically with your iPhone or iPad. Based on the age, fever history and symptoms of the person being measured, the Thermo app will even give you health advice. This thermometer is available from the Apple store for $179.99.

Digital Thermometers Digital thermometers are relatively cheap and can be used rectally, orally and under the arm. Obviously, if you’re planning to take both oral and rectal temperatures, make sure you purchase two thermometers and have them clearly labelled! Digital thermometers can be used under the arm from birth and - like temporal thermometers - are much less invasive than oral or rectal measurements. Digital thermometers are the cheapest option - you can purchase a Vicks Insight Thermometer for $21.49 from a chemist. If you’re unsure about what thermometer might suit you or how to use them effectively, give your family doctor a call!


Party Time

Party invites fit for royalty By Melissa Meehan GONE are the days where mum or dad bought a pad of invitations from the supermarket and carefully wrote the details of their child’s upcoming birthday party on each one. Nowadays kids are receiving the kinds of birthday invitations fit for a wedding - glossy and professional. Many party supply businesses can create custom invites to suit any party theme. The end results from such businesses are often impressive - you end up with invites you are proud to send out. Not only that, the stylish invites can also be

a great keepsake for years to come. Best of all, you don’t have to write out the party details on a bunch of invites! There are also many websites that allow you to copy or purchase a custom made invitation that you can print at home. Or you can take the invites down to your local photo printer and print them. All you need to do is think about your theme, have a photo of your little one ready (if you want this on the invite) and provide the usual information of who, how, when and where. The same goes for birth announcements, christenings and any other event you have planned.

Finding ways to celebrate online By Danielle Galvin AS PARTY-loving Melburnians, we were forced to get creative when it came to get-togethers, birthday parties, baby showers and celebrations in 2020. When we couldn’t meet up in person and we had to keep our distance, we found ways to be together virtually. During the height of the second lockdown, I attended (is that the right word?!) a surprise virtual baby shower on Zoom for a dear friend. It was truly wonderful, and given the difficult year she’d had being pregnant in two restrictive lockdowns, it was lovely and memorable.

■ Reach out and find local suppliers it’s amazing how many cookie makers, cake bakers, and people there are in every municipality who have come out of the woodwork and who can put together grazing boxes, beautiful sugar cookies and more for whoever you are celebrating. ■ Make it a surprise (if it’s possible) Logistically this might be way too tricky - but it can work! We managed to do it for our friend’s baby shower and she had no idea, it was truly magical to watch her surprise as she saw 30 of her closest friends on a computer screen. ■ If there’s a few of you and you can afford it - band together and get balloons and flowers delivered. Just makes it a nice touch. ■ You can still play games and involve everyone attending. The group organising this baby shower had www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

The birthday trend getting high fives By Melissa Grant ARE you planning your child’s birthday party but dreading that you’ll end up with a pile of unappreciated toys. You might want to consider throwing a ‘fiver party’.

Many Melburnians found positive ways to celebrate milestone events - whether that was through virtual discos for kids birthdays, Zoom catchups - there were ways to celebrate. If you’re looking to host a virtual party again in the future (maybe with interstate or overseas family and friends) here’s some ways to make it easy and special!

There are so many classy ways to share your celebrations.

What is a fiver party? Well, it’s a pretty brilliant party concept that’s growing in popularity. Melburnians got creative in the face of the pandemic, organising online parties.

arranged for everyone to send their guesses for the baby’s weight, gender, name and had it printed off for the mum-to-be to read on the day. Similarly, we played fun guessing games with photos of the expectant parents and it was a lovely way to break the ice and involve everyone.

Basically, each guest inserts a $5 note in a card for the birthday boy/girl. It’s brilliant because it cuts down the number of unwanted toys and takes the pressure off parents when it comes to buying gifts. Mums and dads don’t need to spend a small fortune or struggle to come up with a gift idea, while the birthday child gets to put some money towards something they really want.

But asking for money can be awkward, you say? Well yes, but it’s only $5 and you can ask for it nicely on the invite. You just need to write something like “Mia is celebrating her 10th birthday with a fiver party. Mia has her heart set on (insert expensive toy here) so instead of buying her a gift please put a $5 note in a birthday card. Thank-you.” However, before deciding to host a fiver party, you need to consider whether your child will appreciate the concept. How old are they? Are they used to opening up a huge pile of gifts on their birthday? Do they have an understanding of money? Obviously a fiver party probably isn’t the greatest idea for a 4-year-old. However, a 10-year-old saving for that special something is likely to give you a high five!

■ Get different groups/family members involved - this is important. If you can, get multiple people on the party committee to help get in touch with as many people as possible. ■ If you’re hosting a virtual birthday party - there are some great local businesses who can run virtual trivia nights, virtual painting classes, and virtual discos. The cost is often pretty low and it is so much fun! ■ Keep it short - most people start to lose focus after an hour or so! ■ Lastly, it doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg to be special, memorable and beautiful. Seriously.


SUMMER 2020/2021 13


There has been a renewed push for free childcare in Australia since the pandemic.

The case for free childcare By Danielle Galvin WHEN Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in April that his government would roll out a free childcare scheme to keep parents in work amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, families across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief. For many it took the pressure off and eased some of the financial burden, with the government footing the bill and paying childcare operators directly. It was also meant to be a lifeline for childcare services, although it was criticised by some. “It means building a bridge for these valuable services to the other side of this virus,” Mr Morrison said at the time. In mid-July, the scheme was wound back. But since then, policymakers have been unable to avoid what many have been lobbying for: major reform to Australia’s early education. More importantly, there was all of a sudden a strong case for universal, free childcare in Australia. Georgie Dent is the executive director of The Parenthood, and a vocal advocate for reform. “While the case for universal access to high quality early education and childcare has been made for a very long time, this is the first time in Australia’s history that it has really seriously been considered,” she said. “Part of that is obviously because in

14 SUMMER 2020/2021

April, when the federal government made the decision to make childcare free for a period of time, it really did just show overnight that it is possible to do things differently and make change.”

The report stated reconstructing the economy should include a “broader strategy to roll-out high-quality, publicly-funded not-for-profit childcare services”.

She has been critical of the government snapping back to the old system so quickly, and believes there is a case, now more than ever, for a major overhaul.

“Economic studies have confirmed that public investments in early childhood education and care literally pay for themselves, once the additional output (and taxes) resulting from women’s increased labour force participation are considered,” the report read.

“There is so much compelling evidence as to why it is a really worthwhile reform to pursue while we are in recession,” she said. “We know unemployment is at the highest it has been for a really long time. “We are in situation where households are going to be squeezed in a way they haven’t been before, the cost of care become even more crippling. “It wouldn’t be surprising if more families decide they just can’t afford it. “That means children miss out on all of the proven benefits of attending high quality early learning. “And it means if and when jobs become available, if a family doesn’t have care, it’s impossible to take up those opportunities. “There’s a lot that is really specific about Australia’s position right now that makes this a compelling proposition than ever before.” In late July, Australia’s peak union representing workers, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, released a plan for national economic reconstruction after Covid-19.

Policy think-thank The Grattan Institute also put forward a case for reform in August of this year. In the report entitled Cheaper childcare: A practical plan to boost female workforce participation, the institute made a number of significant recommendations, although stopped short of encouraging a free system. “Making childcare more affordable is the single most effective policy lever the Australian Government has available to boost women’s workforce participation,” the report read. “We recommend the government increase the existing subsidy from 85 per cent to 95 per cent, with a simpler, flatter taper as household incomes increase.

“We estimate women with young children would do 13 per cent more hours of paid work, and GDP would increase by about $11 billion.” Ms Dent said women are overrepresented in casual jobs. “That then makes the ability to take paid work more difficult. “For families where there isn’t a certainty of shifts, the high out of pocket costs for care are a real barrier. “If we’ve got people who can’t take shifts they are being offered, that’s obviously not going to get the economy moving, that will contract the economy rather than grow it.” But is it a popular policy, for a taxpayer funded childcare model? “We have been tracking public sentiment, it’s roughly two thirds of people think that this is a good idea,” Ms Dent explained. “I think there is still resistance to the idea. “There would be people who would say (if you have a child) you have to pay for their education and childcare, but the argument that needs to be made in response is that no one says that about primary school.

“This would cost the budget an extra $5 billion a year - less than some of the alternative options - and deliver big payoffs to families and the economy.”

“If you’re a millionaire or if you’re unemployed, if you have a child who is 5 there will be a position at primary school, and that will be funded by taxpayers.

Under the institute’s model, 60 per cent of families would pay less than $20 a day per child for childcare.

“And that is because we recognise as a nation, that investing in children’s education is critical.”



New kinder management for Monash COMMUNITY based kindergartens in Monash will have a new provider in 2021.

Monash and we have done so,” Cr James said.

Ballarat YMCA has been appointed after an extensive process, according to the council.

“As a father, I appreciate the value of kindergarten in the lives of children and the contribution of these programs to their growth and development.

This followed a decision by current operator bestchance to move out of Early Years Management in the City of Monash from the commencement of kindergarten in 2021.

“I’m delighted to welcome Ballarat YMCA to Monash and we look forward to working alongside them on the provision of this important service to our community.”

Mayor Stuart James said the appointment was great news for the Monash community with the EYM provision now secure for 2021 and beyond.

The news follows the decision by current provider Best Chance to end its relationship with council at the end of 2020.

Cr James acknowledged the support provided by the state government in achieving this result.

They announced their decision that they would no longer manage Monash’s 18 community based kindergartens in November 2019.

“We made a commitment to the community that our priority was to provide a secure and viable EYM service and certainty about the continuation of kindergarten services in

Ballarat YMCA has been named the new provider for kindergartens in Monash.

A strong emphasis on learning

Let us take you and your child through a solid journey of growth like no other. Years 1 to 6 at school are very important in determining the www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

ability of a child to cope later on in life. And ages 3 to 7 even more so. There is a saying, “you see the man in a child by the time he is seven”. With this in mind, let us not delay in giving what the child needed yesterday. Before we know it, 2021 is just weeks away. There is a lot of catching up to do. More now than ever before! Contact us now on 0401109895, Smart Reader Wantirna South Facebook page or email info@ smartreaderwantirnasouth.com.au to learn more about our English, Mandarin, Mathematics as well as Arts and Crafts program.


Contact us now on 0401 109 895,

Smart Reader Wantirna South Facebook page or email info@smartreaderwantirnasouth.com.au to learn more about our English, Mandarin, Mathematics sessions for children aged 4 to 12 as well as Art and Craft program. Level 1/452 Burwood Hwy, Wantirna South VIC 3152


EVERYTHING has its beginnings in its root. Educating children is no exception. With a strong emphasis on early learning because afterall it is here that is most important, Smart Reader has been able to see it through many generations of successful adults who have had their early exposure through our proven system. A system that has been around for decades and still continues to evolve with the times.

SUMMER 2020/2021 15


Getting kids thinking about a range of careers starts earlier than some parents realise.

The push for early career education By Danielle Galvin A FASCINATING snapshot of young Australians and their career aspirations has raised the prospect of a formalised career education beginning as early as primary school. South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People Helen Connolly recently released the results of two surveys of young people and children. In ‘The Job Aspirations of 8-12-yearolds’ thousands of postcards were sent out to school kids asking what they care about, their hopes for the future and early career aspirations. Their responses are fascinating. Being a professional athlete was the single most popular choice, although teaching and being a ‘YouTuber’ were also mentioned frequently. For many children, jobs and careers are generally explored in the senior years of high school. However children are naturally curious much earlier than that. “Research has found that a majority of seven year olds can say what they would like to be when they grow up,” Commissioner Connolly said. “Other research has said that the subjects you enjoy and have an interest in at primary school will probably stay with you and it is unlikely you get turned onto science, technology, engineering and maths out of the blue in high school. “In primary school, the focus should be on creating more contact with jobs and careers to increase exposure to possibilities and interest in learning areas that relate to their interests and passions.

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“This contact with the world of work can also help demystify and debunk commonly held misconceptions about the types of jobs available in particular industries, including gender stereotypes. “While many kids hear that they can do anything they want, if they don’t know what they don’t know, they can limit their dreams from the beginning.” By way of example, if a child is interested in dinosaurs, it makes sense to introduce them to palaeontology and what that profession entails. “Or if a 10-year-old wants to be a dolphin trainer get Sea World to run a virtual class,” she said. “We just need to get students excited about their future and dream big. “We have often said you ‘can’t be what you can’t see’ but now after COVID-19 there is no excuse for not seeing everything, albeit online.” Wanda Hayes, the CEO of the Career Development Association of Australia, said children from a very young age form ideas about work roles. “They start to decide which roles have a connection to them, and which roles don’t,” she explained. “By the time they have reached high school, most children have internalised some (mostly unconscious) perceptions that some roles are somehow ‘out of reach’ or not appropriate for them - and those jobs are automatically ‘ruled out’ when they are considering their future options. “Then in upper secondary schooling, the focus of career education is often skewed to be about making decisions (about subjects; about university courses; about future jobs). “But in fact, career education at school should be about opening young people up to possibilities, not narrowing down their options.

“And the earlier this process starts, the better: get them thinking broadly before they start developing fixed ideas about what is and isn’t possible for them! “That’s how career education at primary school level can make a real and positive difference.” There’s also a role for parents to play in all of this too. “The role for parents is to expose children to opportunities through reading, talking and visiting online museums across the world,” Commissioner Connolly said. “Whatever it takes to enthuse passion and not cut off possibilities with negative facts. “If your child says they want to be an astronaut, or an astrologer, or an abalone diver, don’t put up all the reasons why not.” But the simplest thing parents can do is to let their kids play. “Play fires up the area of brain responsible for planning skills, organisation, critical thinking, reasoning and understanding,” Commissioner Connolly said. “Play facilitates the development of confidence, self-identity and independence. “If we want critical and creative adult thinkers, it is essential that playfulness be embedded in the lives of young people in childhood. “Parents should support curiosity and fuel wonder in children as there are too many other systems waiting to drill it out of them. “If you don’t have big dreams and feel invincible as a child, I’m not sure when you will.”

Some of the more noteworthy career aspirations from SA students: ■ Become a palaeontologist and farm succulents and sell stick insects when I grow up 11-year-old ■ Meet Jeffy on Youtube and Be a pet detective - 8-year-old ■ Be a bee keeper with my dad - 10-year-old ■ Be a dolphin trainer when I grow up - 10-year-old ■ Go to markets and sell my scrunchies from my business 12-year-old ■ Build a spider robot - 9-year-old ■ Create a company to help solve environmental issues - 9-yearold ■ Work on a Ferry - 12-year-old

Tips for parents to encourage your young child’s curiosity on future careers from the CDAA: ■ Encourage their natural curiosity and imagination. ■ Avoid the drive to make a decision: asking young children “what they want to be when they grow up” can create a level of anxiety about the need to decide. Instead, ask them about their interests. Notice and remark upon their talents. Encourage them to explore and play with the idea of using those interests and talents in different kinds of ways and in different kinds of work roles. ■ Most importantly, treat every career idea as if it could be plausible. Our world of work is changing so rapidly there really is no such thing as a “silly idea” when it comes to career options. Helping your children to explore and evaluate how their ideas might work will always be better than dismissing ideas on their behalf.


Reality Bites

A journey to becoming a fit mum By Melissa Meehan

lose as Marisa, but they all had one thing in common.

SINCE the age of 28, Marisa Bongiorno has struggled with her weight.

They all had children and didn’t have much money to pay for exercise or babysitters.

But it was after the birth of her first daughter that she reached her heaviest. She weighed over 121 kilograms and knew that she needed to take action to make some changes. “I painted the worst picture of my future myself, I had diabetes, was blind, had body parts amputated and ended up in an old person’s home well before my time,” she said. “I had to take positive action to avoid that outcome.” Weight wasn’t an issue for Marisa growing up. From her teens to her late 20s she was physically active, received plenty of male attention. But after turning 28 she started to put on weight. She met her husband George at 38 and while she wasn’t a “super thin bride” she was a happy bride. And while pregnant with her daughter she was super healthy. “I knew I had to look after another person, so I was really healthy,” she said. “But as soon as she was born, I put on 20kg straight away.” Talking to other mums at kinder, the Oakleigh resident realised she wasn’t alone. They didn’t have as much weight to www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

So they started a fitness group themselves, applied for a local grant and Mums Fitness Fun was born. “The kids would play down one end of the hall while us mums worked out down the other end with a personal trainer,” she said.

MARISA’S tips for body transformation: 1. Find a trainer that works for you 2. Consider semi-private training sessions 3. If it doesn’t exist, make it happen. 4. Set fitness challenges for yourself 5. Keep your diet in check 6. Set goals and actions

“That was almost four years ago and now I’m the lightest I’ve been in 22 years. “I lost 50kg in my 50th year and my life has transformed in every aspect.

Marisa before she lost the weight. Picture: Supplied

“I really hope sharing my story will help other women with their fitness journeys.” Marisa said she “selfishly” set up the fitness group because she needed a community to support her. “I needed them, I could never go to a gym, I’d take out a membership and go three or four times in a year,” she said. “It was a little bit selfish but it worked for everyone.” The older you get the harder it is to shift the weight. But Marisa proved it’s not impossible. “To lose 50kg in my 50th year is amazing,” she said. “I’m proof that it possible.” Marisa runs a bike riding group in Bayside. For those interested in joining the group on a Sunday morning, email mumsfitnessfun@gmail.com SUMMER 2020/2021 17

Reality Bites

Maddie Francis collects donations throughout the year to help families with children in NICU.

The mum bringing cheer to all By Melissa Meehan

for families spending time in NICU over Christmas.

UNLESS you’ve had a child spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit, you’ll never know the loneliness and worry that comes with it.

“So the idea to start up NICU Cheer started in 2016, and we did our first delivery in 2017,” she said.

Maddie Francis knows that loneliness all too well. Her son Ashton was born 10 weeks early in 2016. And while she and husband Aaron were relieved their baby boy was being cared for, they felt very alone. “It was really scary and we just didn’t get much support while we were in there,” Maddie said. “We felt very alone, and I sort of wasn’t even made aware that there were Facebook groups and all sorts of things out there until long after we left the hospital.” She said although family and friends were amazing - preparing meals, doing everything they could - it was so hard to describe the feeling of how traumatic it was to have a baby so early, so little and so sick. “The first time I saw him was hours after he was born, and he had eight wires coming out of him, it’s a little like a NASA space mission,” she said. “It was very overwhelming, and it’s so hard to understand unless you’ve had a similar experience.”

“I just thought I would put together a nice little hamper for the parent’s room or one for the staff room - but when I put the call out on Facebook, I got inundated with donations. “I just really love humanity, sometimes.” She started with hampers at Mercy Hospital for Women and then it just snowballed. She now delivers numerous hampers to the NICU wards at the Mercy, Royal Women’s Hospital, Monash Children’s Hospital, Royal Children’s Hospital and Joan Kirner Women’s & Children’s Hospital at Christmas time, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And while she’s yet to get official charity status, the long-term plan is to get deductible gift recipient status which would help more businesses get on board. “I’m not stopping any time soon, I just love it and we get such beautiful feedback from families and I’ve actually become friends with some of the mothers who received our bags,” she said,

And it didn’t stop when they went home.

Ashton still has some health battles ahead of him and spends a lot of time in hospital.

“When the baby comes home, and you’re waiting for them to roll over or sit up or meet anything - the milestones are very different,” she said.

But Maddie says that’s what keeps the idea of how horrible spending time in hospital with a bay really is fresh in her mind.

So, in what can only be described as inspiring, faced with her son’s own ongoing health battles, Maddie started thinking about how horrible it would be

Ashton, who is now 4, was 10 weeks early, but was allowed to go home after six and a half weeks in NICU.

18 SUMMER 2020/2021

Maddie Francis and her son Ashton. Pictures: Gary Sissons

Within three days, she was used to all

Maddie Francis and her son Ashton.

I just really love humanity, sometimes.” the terminology and acronyms that comes with NICU babies. “The staff are just amazing, I think nurses are wonderful, but NICU nurses are next level,” she said. “We love them all.”

departments across two hospitals as we strive to get a diagnosis for his extreme fatigue, and check-ups on his laryngomalacia, subglottic stenosis, brain bleeds, innocent heart murmur and more.

Ashton is attending a specialist daycare where he’s thriving.

But he’s the happiest little boy and enjoys making his mum, dad and sister Lily laugh.

He still has ongoing hospital and specialist visits with multiple

For more about NICU Cheer or how to help go to www.nicucheer.com.au


Reality Bites

Top tips for toilet training success

By Melissa Grant TOILET training is one of the hardest and messiest - tasks you will go through as a parent. And many of us are leaving it too late, according to a toilet training expert. Parents commonly wait until their child is well into their second year of life - or even their third - before they start the process. However, Tracy Fulwood, the founder of PottyTraining.com.au, says it’s much easier to start toilet training your child before their second birthday. “If you don’t wait until the terrible twos to start, when they are ready to assert their authority, then they are developing good habits before then,” she explained. “Parents do need to choose when it’s right for them, but the earlier we can break the bad habit (of wearing nappies) the better.” Tracy’s own toilet battles with her first child led her to developing her toilet training business. Her two-and-a-half-year-old would scream that she didn’t want to go to the toilet. Tracy concedes that initially she did “all the wrong things”. But when she sat down and devised a toilet system training system, her daughter was toilet trained in three days.


Tracy began toilet training her second child at four months of age, by putting him on the potty when it was obvious he needed to do number twos. She started the process with her third child at two months. They both were using the toilet independently by 19 months of age. As Tracy researched toilet training, a theme began to emerge - it’s easier to do it earlier. “A research project actually showed there was a window of opportunity. It found parents who started at 18 months to 24 months had less problems,” she said. So why are parents leaving it so long to start? Tracy says parents are often told to wait for signs of “readiness”, which may never come. She also says the multi-billion nappy industry has a lot to do with it. “You speak to many grandparents and they don’t understand why we are having problems. But they started earlier because they didn’t have the convenience of disposable nappies.” Tracy developed the Know Your Child system to help parents toilet train their children. Her system has two components - a know your child training module and a toilet game, offering a tailored approach so you can best engage your child. If you are reading this and think there’s no reason to delay toilet training any

longer, here are Tracy’s tips: KNOW YOUR CHILD’S PERSONALITY Before starting it pays to understand your child’s personality. The Know Your Child toilet training system identifies four different types of personality - courageous lion, lovable lamb, wise old owl and cheeky monkey. The courageous lion is the hardest to train, they tend to hold on because they don’t like to feel like they aren’t in control. The lovable lamb is also hard to train as they simply don’t care and are very stubborn. Then there’s the Wise Old Owl who doesn’t like change and will stick to what they know which is the nappy. The cheeky monkey can be inconsistent and the challenge is typically keeping them on the toilet long enough for them to go. Knowing your child’s personality helps you tailor your approach. If you have a strongwilled child you need to give them the feeling of control and ownership. SIGNS OF READINESS There are definite signs of readiness such as your child telling you about poos, removing or tugging at their nappy, and taking an interest in you going to the toilet. If your child shows these signs of readiness get going. However, some types of personalities won’t show those signs. LOSE THE NAPPY You cannot toilet train with a nappy. We feel wet, cause and effect. While the nappy is there it takes the sensation

away - you are actually making it harder for them to win. If you say ‘do you need to go?’ they don’t know. It’s like saying ‘here is a bike, ride!’ Pull-ups are a marketing tool. TOILET OR POTTY? The decision to use a toilet or potty is based on age and personality. If you start a bit younger and your child is more petite then a potty is great. The challenge with the potty is that childcare centres don’t accept potties and there is a clean-out process. If your child is nearing two years then going to the toilet makes it easier when you go out. Also, if you have a child who doesn’t like change then transitioning from potty to toilet will be another battle. HOW LONG TO TRAIN Often parents quit toilet training a day too early. It takes two to five days of concentrated effort versus a very painful effort long-term. So stay home for two to five days to focus on and create this new habit. Exactly how long it takes will depend on your child’s age and their personality. NIGHT TRAINING Wait until you finish day training before you start night training. Night training is something you can’t do for your child. There are uncontrollable factors such as heavy wetting, deep sleep and hereditary factors. The key is the bladder brain connection. Parents can make the mistake of waking up their child during the night.

SUMMER 2020/2021 19


Inspiring the hero in all of us By Danielle Galvin

message, anyone can save the day.

REUBEN Cullen certainly goes against the grain when it comes to children’s authors.

It also talks about the values Reuben was seeking in his own life: to be ambitious, healthy, reliable, selfless, caring, honest, confident, determined and happy.

He’s probably an unlikely character to write for young children, being a tradie and openly talking about his former battles with addiction, but that’s part of the magic of his story, and his new book, A Hero Born. It’s a self-published book he wrote to help him believe in himself again. “One day I just had an idea of writing a story, and being your own hero. “And I thought it was best targeted to kids given that they are really into superheroes. “Being your own hero is probably pretty important and it was what I was struggling with at the time, a bit of self-belief.” The book follows the story of a caped hero and an everyday hero, with the

His book is a message of self-love and awareness, simply, he wants children to be their own heroes. “I have had some people say to me (after writing A Hero Born) you have always had a way with words. “I didn’t really use poetry as a way to express myself until my early 20s and probably my mid-teens, more so when I had my battles with drug addiction I used it as a way to express myself.” Coming up with the story came naturally to him, once he’d established the message and the characters. The book is also dedicated to Kasey, the daughter of a woman he was in a long-term relationship with. It’s a deeply personal book, in that sense.

Street artist Michael Glenda, a father of three, illustrated the book.

“The message is that definitely no one is too old to know they can be their own hero. “I wrote it with the intentions of wanting to believe in myself and like myself again. “Kasey was a big reason I wanted to write the book. “I wanted to one day have something to show her and hopefully read to her. I just hope kids can learn to be the best person for themselves from reading the book - if I can just help one child not go through what I did then I’ll be happy.” And while the book is suited for children of any age, he said the message starts to ring true between that 4-9 age bracket. “When I’m writing, I’m not afraid to express myself and say how I am feeling. “Giving people the power to be self-aware is good, to learn to know yourself is really important I believe.”

A Hero Born is Reuben’s first children’s book.

There’s a mirror in the book at the end, with a powerful thought to end on. “I remember (Kasey) used to love looking at herself in the mirror. “It’s got a mirror on the last page, so the last page reads ‘when I look in the mirror what I want to see the best version of myself, so my hero is really me’.” To find out more and order the book, visit https://reubencullenkids.com/

Children’s books...

My Dad’s A Tradie Missy and Beefy Illustrated by Ogilvie The perfect book for a child with a father who is a tradie! It follows the adventures of Australian bull terrier Missy and her little brother Beefy, an Australian bulldog. Their dad is a tradie. It’s also Beefy’s dream to be a tradie. The pair visit worksites with their dad. Beefy is constantly asking ‘Are you a tradie like my dad?’ They meet all sorts of tradies including a tiler, electrician, foreman, plumber and painter. While Missy is pretty well behaved on worksites, Beefy tends to find himself in trouble! The characters are based on two real life dogs who live north of Sydney. A fun read for young kids. New Holland Publishers, RRP $19.99

20 SUMMER 2020/2021

Have You Seen A Tree for Me?

Powman: Find The Courage Within

Sarah Eccleston,

Dave Pow Tabain and Nadia Worland, illustrated by Shane Ogilvie

Illustrated by Jenni Goodman A beautiful children’s book that highlights the modern dangers koalas are facing in the wild. It’s a timely title given Australia’s koala population has drastically declined following the devastating 2019/20 bushfire season. Author Sarah Eccleston has been a koala specialist at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast for nearly 22 years. The book is inspired by her special bond with a three-yearold koala named Enzo, who resides at the sanctuary. A great way for kids to learn about the dangers koalas face in the wild, from loss of habitat to domestic animals. New Holland Publishers, RRP $19.99

Motivational speaker Dave Pow Tabain has teamed up with special needs consultant Nadia Worland for this empowering children’s book. The book helps equip young children to cope with their anxiety. It also encourages them not to be fearful of seeing a school counsellor. A young boy suffering anxiety around an upcoming maths test in the central character in this inspiring read. With the counsellor’s help, the boy comes up with the perfect POW plan to control his anxiety and ace his maths test. The book also features a helpful list of tips for kids to deal with anxiety. New Holland Publishers, RRP $14.99

We Are All Kind P Crumble and Jonathon Bentley A follow up to the bestselling children’s book We Are All Equal, this cute title explores the many simple ways we can show kindness. The text is beautiful. One passage reads: “We are all kind. You walk lonely miles. Life is much better when somebody smiles.” The text is accompanied by illustrations by award-winning illustrator Jonathan Bentley. This beautiful book teaches children the importance of being kind to others. It shows how they can offer a hand, make amends, solve a problem, heal hurt, love and share a laugh. A lovely read for children aged 4+. Scholastic Australia, RRP $19.99

The Bad Guys Episode 12: The One?! Aaron Blabey The Bad Guys are back for another enthralling instalment. For those unfamiliar, The Bad Guys are a crew of animals who sound, look and smell like bad guys but are on a mission to do good. The book is in a format similar to a comic book, with black and white illustrations and fun text. In Episode 12, something is up with Snake. He has terrifying powers and evil allies. Meanwhile, Agent Fox has suddenly become very mysterious. A great read for children aged 7+ transitioning from picture books to chapter books. A movie-adaption of the series is due for release in 2021. Scholastic Australia, RRP $15.99


Reality Bites

How you can declutter with kids By Julie Cliff professional organiser SCHOOL holidays are always a great time to declutter with kids. Having more time at home and a slower pace to the day (no rushing here or rushing there) seems to make the experience more enjoyable. Here are a few places to start. CRAFT Get the kids to help you go through their craft and sort it out. Put like items together. Discard paints and glue that have dried up or bits that are broken. Pass on items they have outgrown. Everything will be at their fingertips to whip up a masterpiece once it’s all organised. GAMES CUPBOARD Cluttering the games cupboard is much the same as the craft cupboard. Climb into the back corner of where the games live, get it all out and get sorting. You never know what you might find and want to play.

KIDS CLOTHES Check the current size the kids are wearing and go through each category of clothing and check that everything still fits right from their heads (caps, headbands etc) to their toes (socks and shoes). Have a fashion parade during the process to add a bit of fun. KIDS BATHROOM Charge the kids with the job of decluttering and organising their own bathroom if they have one. Turn it into a fun game where they display their own items or receive a reward of bath bombs or some other bathroom treat once the job is done. Encourage them to be creative in the way they put things together. Cover cardboard boxes with their paintings or drawings to use as dividers in cupboards and drawers. Put their toothbrush in a coloured plastic cup on the bench. Make a box out of Lego for the soap. SPORTS EQUIPMENT Get the kids to sort through all sports equipment. I bet they’re forgotten about the things that are in the bottom of the plastic storage tub in the garage or at the back of the cupboard. Pump up basketballs, soccer balls,

then clean items and sort them out. Put a collection of items into a bag or a box so it’s easy to grab and take to the park to play. TOYS

and undertake a bedroom renovation during the holidays. Make a detailed plan and give it a go. COMPUTER DESK / GAMING AREA

Bundle up some of the toys and store in their room or the garage so that their is less stuff accessible and rotate them regularly.

If your family is anything like mine they have their own desktop computer and another location for their Xbox. Work with the kids to check all cords are being used and neat and tidy (use cable ties or bread ties), discs are in the right cases, all rubbish in the bin, dishes in the dishwasher and then give flat surfaces a good clean.



Time at home is always a good opportunity to tweak the systems we have in place. If your child does not have a dedicated study space, the holidays are the time to do it.

Choose an area of the house to start to declutter with kids today. To make the process even more fun, put on some music and a timer and get to work.

Which toys have they outgrown? How can you use them in a different way? Which ones have they not used for a while?

RUMPUS ROOM Some kids are lucky enough to have a toy room or rumpus room dedicated for their stuff. Challenge them to declutter and organise it and set it up like a shop so that things are neatly displayed. Put like items together ensure everything is easy to find. Who knows they may even like to play shops once the job is done. KIDS BEDROOM Take decluttering to a whole new level

Julie Cliff is a Professional Organiser at Space and Time, which helps busy mums live easier, less stressful lives through simple and easy to implement organising systems. Sound familiar? Julie Cliff is a Professional Organiser at Space and Time, which helps busy mums live easier, less stressful lives through simple and easy to implement organising systems. Sound familiar? Julie would love to hear from you info@spaceandtime.com.au

Helping teen girls flourish By Danielle Galvin AS a former speech pathologist, TEDx speaker and model, Mandy Dante’s set of skills are particularly unique. But arguably it’s her personal story, growing up in Sydney as a Sri Lankan Australian girl in a largely Caucasian school, coupled with the normal challenges of navigating teenage life, that sparked her passion to find a way to support young women. She recalls the awkwardness of being a teenage girl in high school, wanting to fit in. And while she survived those years, she says looking back, she can see she wasn’t necessarily thriving and bottled up a lot of what she was going through. Reflecting on that time as an adult, she started Flourish Girl, a preventative mental health program aimed at teenage girls, which offers motherdaughter programs to improve communication. www.knoxmonashkids.com.au

The school program aims to create safe spaces for teenage girls to engage in relatable conversations around comparison, social pressures, body image and perfectionism. “We start to really ignite those conversations that aren’t being said and give girls an opportunity to feel safe enough to share some of the things they may be dealing with,” she said. Through the schools’ program, Ms Dante has gained invaluable insight into teenage girls through countless conversations with them. “We have a section in our programs where we ask girls what they really need from their mums - and this is where I get my tips for mums,” she said. Her tips include spending personal time with your daughter, creating a safe space with no judgement or opinions, open up with your daughter and be empathetic to the huge transition happening in their lives. “We have this common thread

around girls feeling like they are not being heard a lot from mothers but it’s also common with fathers as well,” she said. “They felt like there was a breakdown in communication and girls not feeling safe enough to share. “The lens we come from - we are not the parenting experts but we are experts in knowing how to start those conversations.” She believes there’s a chance for mums to better support their teenage girls, by showing them they don’t have all of the answers. “Mums want to rescue them and solve their problems for them,” she said. “The thing is there is no right way to have a conversation with your daughter. It’s OK not to have the answers all the time.” She said showing your vulnerability as a parent is a powerful tool. To find out more, visit https://www. flourishgirl.org/

Mandy Dante uses her platform as a model and her program, Flourish Girl, to try to get teenage girls better support. SUMMER 2020/2021 21

Kids Calendar

What's on

this summer


A virtual carols will be held from 7pm for the carols who will be hosted by Pete Smith.

This year’s Carols by Candlelight 2020 will be broadcast as a live virtual event straight to your home.

Go to the Monash Council website to watch livestream. 1am-2pm


6.30PM 0 Christmas Entertainment

DAILY U-PICK TRACTOR FRUIT TASTING ADVENTURE Make sure you are hungry as there will be at least eight varieties of fruit to try on every tour at Rayner’s Orchard, where you’ll be guided through the orchard with lots of fruit and interesting and entertaining facts along the way. Book your U-Pick tractor tour Online at www.raynersorchard.com.au or call 59647654 Open 7 days 9am-4pm. Closed Christmas Day. Rayner’s Orchard is located at 60 Schoolhouse Road Woori Yallock

Sing, dance and giggle with The Mik Maks as they perform their Christmas show. This award winning band of brothers are ready to take you on a magical, musical Christmas journey. Join Al, Joel and loveable friend Drums the Panda as they perform family favourite Christmas carols and their very own Australian flavoured Mik Maks classics.


Our grand finalists will be battling it out on the Knox Carols stage to take home the title of the Knox Factor Winner.

Seven acrobats push their physical limits without reserve.

Running until mid-2021


Bookings are now open for online Christmas-themed workshops that will be run by Laneway Learning and KraftyKats. There are six fantastic workshops to choose from. https://www.monash.vic.gov.au/ Leisure/Council-Festivals-and-Events/ Monash-Carols-by-Candlelight-2020 22 SUMMER 2020/2021


Recommended for all ages, presented by Arts Centre Melbourne and Gravity & Other Myths. Stunning and joyous for kids and adults alike, A Simple Space is stripped back circus at its very best.

CHRISTMAS WORKSHOPS Christmas is such a great time to get creative and we have put together a series of FREE workshops to get the Monash Community into the festive spirit and ready for Carols by Candlelight online.

Projections run every night 9pm to 11pm.

7PM - Knox Factor Grand Final -Knox Factor is a talent competition for aspiring vocalists from 5 years to 25 years of age, who either live, study, work or play within Knox.

8PM - Main Carols Concert

A Simple Space delights audiences with non-stop feats of exhilarating acrobatic ability. Feel the heat, hear every breath, and be immersed in every moment.

20 DECEMBER MONASH CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT Monash Carols by Candlelight at Jells Park is a well-loved and highly anticipated event each year, but Covid-19 means there won’t be any congregating in the park/.

projections return. Stroll Swanston Street to see animations at State Library Victoria and gorgeous static displays light up Melbourne Town Hall and Princes Bridge. The projections at State Library Victoria feature a thank you tribute to some of Melbourne’s COVID-19 heroes. It will have you feeling all the emotions. Visit all three sites for the ultimate Melbourne Christmas experience.

Watch it here https://www. artscentremelbourne.com.au/ community/content-hub/together-withyou/videos/a-simple-space

CHRISTMAS SQUARE, FED SQUARE The hub of the Christmas Festival, Christmas Square is a lush wonderland of festive cheer. See the 16m giant Christmas tree, Santa’s Workshop and enough sparkling lights to compete with the stars themselves. It’s Melbourne’s official Christmas destination, open until Christmas Day.

RUNNING UNTIL 21 JANUARY IMAGINARIA, THE DISTRICT DOCKLANDS Located in the heart of Melbourne, Imaginaria is a new form of immersive play.

Princes Bridge, St Kilda Rd

An hour long walk-through experience where imagination and technology collide to create a visually stunning audiovisual play experience from the future.

Melbourne’s famous Christmas

Visit imaginarianow.com



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Knox Monash Kids Summer 2020 - 2021  

Knox Monash Kids Summer 2020 - 2021