Our children are not a burden

Today I cried down the phone as I was told my son had made it to the top of a wait list for early intervention support. I called my husband and loved hearing how happy he was – “How soon do we go?” he asked. I rang my son’s kindy’s head teacher, and my son’s key teacher – the kindy has been our biggest advocate in supporting our little one. I sobbed with happiness and they celebrated with me. The relief, the joy, it’s indescribable.

Parenting a child with learning delays or other needs can be exhausting and isolating – it’s made worse by shitty takes by people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

The Government announcing a plan to fund 600 new learning support coordinators to work one-on-one with students with complex needs was met with relief by parents and educators alike. It’s been a long time coming and we know how much this is needed. But with this announcement has come many bad takes. The commentary is a shitty reminder to families and children needing support that some people believe they don’t have enough of value to warrant inclusion in our society. Because school is indeed society.

When a national newspaper runs an editorial saying: “With one in every five children requiring particular support, every classroom must need three, four or five teacher aides. We can only wonder how the rest of the class functions with all this support going on, leaving aside the behavioural problems associated with learning disorders.” — The inference is clear – “the rest of the class” is the “normal” kids, the “worthy” kids.

Today’s frankly horrible editorial in the Herald focused on the cost of teacher aids: “The Ministry of Education is now employing 21,673 teacher aides, nearly one for every two teachers on the state payroll. That is a cost of more than $700 million, money not available for other educational purposes.”

The money is for educational purposes!

Please do not separate our children like this – it’s 2018. And we need your support, we don’t need this division.

I don’t believe most people think the way the writer of that piece thinks. At least that’s what I tell myself. I can’t believe that people think children who require support aren’t deserving of an education. Because that’s what we’re talking about, when people rail against mainstreaming, only focus on the cost, fixate on imaginary classroom problems as if all children don’t have needs in some way – we’re denying an education to all children. This rhetoric adds up.

More support in the classroom helps ALL children. More funding for teacher aids helps ALL children. But even if it didn’t – what do you want parents like me to do? Should we beg you to accept our children as worthy? I can promise you despite any challenges my child has, he has so much to offer to your child.

Please don’t talk about our children the way you have been. Don’t isolate them and us further. We are your community. Our children are not burdens. They’re precious – they’re just as precious as your children.

Sponsored attempts at adulthood

Quite often, around 2am usually, I think to myself “I really need to grow up”.

At various points of my life I’ve basically thought – Am I an adult yet? I mean I’m 32. With two kids. So clearly, I am. Wait, I think I’m 33. Anyway…

I still often don’t feel like an adult because:

  • An adult would pre-order contact lenses and not just go to put contacts in and realise you haven’t got any despite wearing contacts for a decade or more.
  • An adult would be able to drive without having panic attacks when they sit in the front seat.
  • An adult would not run out of toilet paper.
  • An adult would have a will and insurance.
  • And an adult would know how to secure their internet and phone and make sure their kids don’t accidentally access porn or Trump rally videos.

So, 2019 is going to be my year of being an adult. I’m going to set an auto-renew for my contacts. I have my license but I’m going to actually drive for the first time in eight years. I’m going to buy toilet paper every week. Get a will. Get insurance (maybe – or at least think about getting insurance). And thanks to a random email from Norton – I am going to start NOW on being an adult and securing my phone and I guess, my kids. In the online world anyway.

The kids on my iPad

Now, yes, this is sponsored. But y’all know I don’t often do sponsored content. I’m doing this one because I figure there will be some of you out there, who like me, don’t know what the cloud is and just want to sit in peace and look at photos of Jason Momoa emerging from water or Richard Madden saying Ma’am on a loop.

But we have to be adults and we have to make sure nobody gets our ill-advised nudes taken during a post-30 birthday party when we were feeling a bit low and like we’re invisible in our mom-bods. Just me?

So anyway, I’m trialling the Norton Security Premium software. Basically, the goal is to protect my computer, tablet and smartphone from viruses and hackers.

To be honest, I’ve never worried about hackers – I mean who wants to have the 100 photos of my kid’s rash that I have on my phone? But then I realised I have photos that are very dear to me, and I don’t want to lose them.

Norton’s back-up security was the first thing I used when I set up the programme. It has 25gb of online storage, so I immediately transferred everything from my phone. Now I can actually use my phone rather than delete apps, so I don’t have to delete the thousands of photos of my dog’s ears.

Look, I don’t know what ransomware is, but I feel like my photos are protected now if my phone gets nicked or I somehow get hacked.

The other part of the service I’m enjoying is the Norton Family tool which means I can set limits on my iPad so that my son can only watch 20 minutes of that stupid Paw Patrol game before I can say LOOK IT RAN OUT OF BATTERIES.

This is how the profile is set up. You then choose what they can and can’t view. And you can also set time limits.

We monitor what our kids watch, but it’s hard given how savvy the little one is. He can get into my iPad and go straight into YouTube from any app. We removed the YouTube app and he still found out how to get in. We now sit with him while he watches anything, which is a pain in the ass but is also recommended by John Parsons who is my guru on keeping kids safe online.

If you don’t have the ability to do this – Norton will monitor what your child is watching, then send detailed reports for each of our children straight to your email inbox. I imagine this would be super handy for teens who want privacy but who you don’t want watching Jordan Peterson MRA podcasts.

Snapped!

I have a lock on my phone for credit card in-app purchases, but Norton also provides this.

I often hear from parents worried about their kids online. Around 87% of us worry our kids are spending too much time in front of a screen, 77% worry they’re giving out too much personal information to strangers and 70% worry about their kids posting something that will come back to haunt them in the future.

Monitoring what your kids do online is tiresome, but we have to do it to protect them. According to Norton, the number of parents that check their children’s browser history decreased in 2017 by six per cent to 34 per cent. I don’t know why, but we probably need to get onto that.

Supervising our kids online is the ideal, and the service doesn’t erase that need. But it does help with peace of mind and being there if you have a teen who you need to balance their privacy with.

Norton gave me some online safety tips to share with you, so we can be adults and stop hiding away from this:

Educate: Get security software that keeps kids from clicking on the wrong links and visiting the wrong sites. Teach kids about suspicious activity online and encourage them to ask for help if something seems suspicious.

Mobile security 101: The mobile app marketplace is laden with hidden dangers such as illegitimate apps. Your kids can check if an app is real by reading the comments on the download page. If they can’t tell, use Norton Mobile Security, which alerts you to suspicious apps before they’re downloaded.

Stranger danger: Ensure your children do not give their personal information to anyone they have not met in real life. If they do share this information on social media sites, be sure to check the privacy settings on the site to make sure none of it is viewable by the public.

Strong passwords: Encourage your kids to use strong, secure passwords across their devices. A secure password is no less than eight characters, plus is a random combination of upper and lowercase text, numbers and symbols.

Get wise to phishing: phishing tactics are low-tech, like sending spam emails that can contain links to malicious websites or attachments that carry hidden malware. Tell your kids not to click on URLs from suspicious emails or social network messages.

I’ll be posting again in a few weeks about using the mall or Chipmunks’ WiFi and keeping my shit safe. Something I’ve never thought about before. So hopefully it will be useful to you!

Thanks y’all for supporting this paid content. It’s sponsored by Norton Security. #nortonnz

Manaaki Day

Hello – As some of you know, my son Eddie has been working on an idea since his last “Wish Day”. On Wish Day you helped him raise almost $8k for Wellington Children’s Hospital. At the beginning of the year he started planning Manaaki Day which will be on Friday November 16. Here’s Eddie’s letter for you read so you can decide if you and your workplace want to join Manaaki Day. Thanks to Wellington City Council, Mayor Justin Lester, Volunteer Wellington and Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens Association – any kindys who want to be involved will have pick ups of gifts and toys. But Eddie wants to be clear that there are lots of ways to get involved that don’t involve money. Here you go (and yes, I’m very proud of him and all kids):

Volunteer Wellington are going to be sending out an invitation to Kindergartens from Justin and Eddie for Eddie’s Manaaki Day. Children can donate gifts, books, toys, food, clothing (new items only) for a child or animal for Christmas.

Dear friends,

I learned about Manaaki at kindy it means when you are kind and show manaaki by sharing and caring for people around you to make everyone feel nice in their hearts. Sometimes you think because you’re small you can’t do lots of things to show manaaki but you can. Even if you are big you can do manaaki for other people and dogs and cats as well and turtles and the environment. On Manaaki Day we can do this:

  • Collect nice things for people who don’t have enough dinner or breakfasts
  • We can bring dinners for dogs and cats without homes
  • We can give some money for places with broken roofs like Tonga
  • We can make a sign to say WELCOME TO WELLINGTON if you come here from a place that is not safe for babies and children and family
  • We can put coins in for the babies when they come
  • We can make letters of thank you for teachers and the midwives for the babies when they’re born
  • Give our clothes to Aunty Dana’s or the animal shop
  • Make badges for what we care about
  • We can collect toys for children with not enough toys
  • We can bring a book for all of the places with not enough books
  • We can pat sad dogs or maybe if you’re sad you can get a smile from a dog

We can help out our friends as well and our friends at the childrens hospital and our friends at the cats house for protecting cats. Here’s all the places you can help my mum helped me do a picture.

You could also if you wanted you could get your friends and do something fun for your friends like go to the beach and pick up rubbish or go to Capital E to give money in the money holes so that everyone can have fun. You can give some toys to kindy or playcentre so they can sell it at the fair. Or you could give some bird seeds to the Zealandia because they have so many birds. You can’t give stuff to the Zoo they don’t want it. But they do want you to get rubbish and put it in the bin or the otters might eat it and die. You could give a zoo pass if someone doesn’t have a zoo pass but you can’t bring your dog to the zoo.

That is all. Anyone can do Manaaki Day and my mum will do all the phone numbers*.

*Hi, it’s me, Eddie’s mum. If you want to get involved you can do any of the suggestions above or drop new toys/clothing/books/unwrapped gifts to Volunteer Wellington, Level 7, 186 Willis St, Te Aro or email wellingtonmanaakiday@gmail.com (that email is managed by the WCC).

Happy Manaaki Day and Merry Christmas and also Happy Halloween and also Happy New Years and Happy School Holidays too.

Love Eddie..

*

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged Eddie in this kaupapa.

E , taku kupu ki a koe, kia manaaki i te tangata rahi, i te tangata iti

My friend, let me say this to you, care for all people both great and small…

This post is about menstruation

So periods aye. Tampons. Pads. Menstrual cups.

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Rants in the Dark: The Play is NEXT WEEK!

Rants in the Dark The Play is NEXT WEEK OMG OMG
 
I have a double pass for you thanks to Circa Theatre and Good Times Company!
 
You can come on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday night (Friday is almost sold out – Saturday is sold out!!!)
 
Just comment on my Facebook page with I don’t know your favourite 3am fantasy or the nickname you have for your child or a rant in the dark – whatever you like and please tag a friend and please buy a ticket here lol
 
Also if you need babysitters WE HAVE THEM! The best babysitters ever The Babysitters Club have partnered with us so you can see the show! The Babysitters Club is proud to be supporting Rants in the Dark – the play at Circa Theatre and wish to support parents who want to enjoy a night out. For the duration of the season (25 to 29 September) any Sitters booked by parents attending the play will get their service fee waived. There will still be a cost for the actual Sitter, but The Babysitters Club will not be charging for their time to organise a suitable Sitter for your family.
 
You can choose to have a babysitter come to your home to babysit your family, or team up with friends and family to pool children at one house and get one (or more) sitters to look after a group of children. Ratio of 1 sitter to 5 children.
 
And that’s not all! My favourite shop ever Madame Fancy Pants is gonna have a stall. The beautiful and wonderful Clare is selling books by moi and also books by XTOTL who is my fave and also The Hello Cup because I am one of those people who is like HEY GET A MENSTRUAL CUP BECAUSE THEY’RE GREAT (and they’re designed and made in NZ). Support local mamas killing it!
 
Opening night is TUESDAY and I’m doing a Q&A on THURSDAY after the show so get ya tickets babes – it’s a besties night out without the kids we’re going to get buck wild Circa is not gonna know what has hit them!
 
Also let me tell you about the incredible mana wāhine who adapted Rants into the play you’re going to see. It made me tear up reading it – Mel is AMAZING. Look at what she has been through and she’s still giving and creating for mums:
 “Theatre makers and friends Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and Mel Dodge have been working to adapt Emily Writes’ hilarious and heart-felt book about parenting into a play over the past year. Mel and Lyndee-Jane’s previous collaborations include the solo show Miss Brontë, based on the story of writer Charlotte Brontë, which was performed at Circa in 2014. Mel and Lyndee-Jane subsequently toured Miss Brontë throughout Victoria and NSW (Australia), with Mel’s first child in tow. Earlier this year, during the writing phase of Rants in the Dark the play, Mel gave birth to her second child, Rafferty.
“Mel recently wrote these words about the parallels between the work and her own life: “When I was first approached about helping to adapt this play I had no idea about the parallels that I would experience with the material. It is 3am as I type and I am up with my four month old baby who, in three weeks’ time will be having surgery to repair his cleft lip and palate. Every time we go to the Sydney Children’s Hospital I hear Emily Writes’ words and am reminded that I am not alone. That many mothers have come before me. Every time I’m up at 3am wishing I was still in bed, I’m reminded of all the other mums who are wishing they were asleep. Every time I lose my patience or drown in parenthood, I hear Emily’s words… you got this. Although I wish I could be in New Zealand creating the preview season of this work, I know that my little one needs me right now.”
 
Mel’s son Rafferty has come through a successful first surgery to correct his cleft lip and palate, and is recovering well. Mel is Sydney based and in addition to raising her two boys she works as a Teaching Artist for Sydney Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare.
 
Renee Lyons who is playing ME has eight month old twins!! She is rehearsing every single day and looking after EIGHT MONTH OLD TWINS. I mean.
 
Bronwyn Turei is performing every single night for Modern Girls in Bed while rehearsing all day for Rants in the Dark!
 
Emma Draper made my husband laugh so hard he sneezed and he is the most difficult to impress guy ever.
 
LJ and Bevin are #relationshipgoals and they’re the most inspiring team – bringing together this amazing play. They are the ones who have made this happen and I cannot ever thank them enough.
 
Wai and Ebony BOTH have little babies – Wai’s gorgeous girl Kora has been in a front-pack at every rehearsal (she is feeding her in that photo where I’m so happy my eyes have disappeared).
 
Honestly, you can feel the power of all of these amazing women. They are just beyond. I just know, I know, I know, that you will love this play. So much heart has gone into it and it’s fun and funny and it’s ALL FOR YOU!
 
Remember: By supporting this play you’re supporting dozens of mamas – the cast and crew and the local businesses supporting it are all incredible women following their dreams. Help make those dreams a reality – share, share, share, buy tickets, come along and have an awesome time! It’s easy <3
 

Jeremy Wade

Jeremy Wade has climbed onto the back of a tiger shark.

Jeremy Wade is not just fucking with this tiger shark. He would never do that. Jeremy Wade has a deep respect for sharks. For all underwater animals.

I imagine him sitting in a producer’s office. They break the news to him that is show will be called River Monsters.

He is torn. He knows this name will be good for ratings but he doesn’t view these beasts as monsters. He wants to humanise them.

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Why y’all need to discover the joy that is just getting your hair did at home

The other week I was just sitting there like what am I going to do with my damn hair. I love going to the salon but I can’t find the time. If I go out during the day I miss work hours and I have to catch up in order to be paid. And then that impacts on kindy pick up and being able to be at home with the kids.

So I just don’t get my hair cut enough. And I have short hair so I need to get it cut often.

And then there are my precious children – Hamigotchi is the worst. THE WORST. At getting his hair cut. We have had barbers refuse to even start doing his hair, others who have stopped half-way through and said no more and others who have just given up and given him a rat-ass shit haircut and then I’ve had to pay $30 for the pleasure.

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A definitive review of Skyscraper

No spoilers.

So I read the synopsis of Skyscraper and it began “Dwayne The Rock Johnson”  so I didn’t read any further because I didn’t have to. Because it’s Dwayne The Rock Johnson. I know it’s going to be a masterpiece. He cannot fail. He is built to succeed.

The opening scene of Skyscraper is pretty hardcore and I thought wow, this is going to be tough for me to get off to – but then, I saw Dwayne The Rock Johnson with:

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I will not let you hurt them

I wonder if it was when I was pregnant that my heart started moving. It left the safety of my rib cage and began its journey out of my body and into the world. It rested on my sleeve and I didn’t want it there.

I could feel its travel because as soon as a second beat began in my body I felt my eyes begin to water. My emotions are on the surface always now.

As my heart went to live outside my body I no longer felt protected. I cry easily and often now. My heart hurts from being battered by all the sadness in the world.

I feel bruised and I wonder if this is the constant state of motherhood. We enter into a new world when a little hope begins to grow inside our belly.

I spoke to a woman the other day, pregnant with her first baby, and she said “I’m sorry” as her eyes began to well up. “I cry at everything these days. I’m just so hormonal”.

And I thought – maybe, or maybe we are just conditioned to believe it’s wrong to show how we truly feel. The anger, the hurt, the raw ugly feelings….Why?

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I saw Hereditary

This doesn’t contain spoilers unless it’s a spoiler to say I almost shat my pants.

So. Here is my internal monologue (and some was external let’s be real here) while watching Hereditary – the sick as all Hell horror movie that everyone is talking about:

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