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Resourcing parents in Two Wells: Analysis of interviews with Flag playgroup participants Sue Nichols 2008.

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1 Resourcing parents in Two Wells: Analysis of interviews with Flag playgroup participants Sue Nichols 2008

2 You haven’t got the traffic congestion around it, in the area, too. So it’s safer, I feel, in that respect. Yeah. And smaller and it’s not as hustly bustly and they should get more one on one attention, I suppose, for kids going to school (Debbie) Quiet town: known people Main services, I mean we’ve got them here. We’ve got a doctor, we’ve got, along the main street we’ve the IGA, the butcher, a chemist and I prefer to go to this chemist [ … ] because you get to know him and he knows you. [ … ] We’ve now got our hole in the wall! The ATM. (Amanda) I know I can ring up my local doctor at 6 o’clock at night and say “My child is doing this”, and he’ll say “Bring her in”. That’s the joys of a country town I guess! (Belinda)

3 Knowledge on the country grapevine Amanda:James had started a croup-like cough, and I did the 3/2/1 method, which is 3 parts water, 2 parts vinegar and 1 part methylated spirits, [ … ] when I was talking to the doctor about it, he looked at me and said “You’re from the country aren’t you?” and I said “Yes”. He said “Because city girls don’t know that”. I actually heard that through Belinda, and she got it out of the CWA* book or something, or it had been mentioned to her. Denise:She mentioned it from her cousin or his cousin, and yeah, it had come down the line. * Country Women’s Association I rang up the bike shop and got solid tyres. I wouldn’t have known that unless I lived out here type thing, because I knew, like we used to get (inaudible) tyres and all of that. Half the women in suburbia have no idea. (Hayley)

4 I hear a lot of people come out to get the country lifestyle. [ … ] A lot of the people around here aren’t farmers either. They’ve probably got a hobby farm if they’ve got a farm, and it’s just for horses, a few acres for horses, but that’s generally what Two Wells is, Two Wells/Lewiston, a horse community. (Denise) You’re getting a couple of acres, or a large block, as opposed to what you get in the city, which is just this tiny little space to put your house on and that’s all you’ve got, whereas here you’ve actually got land that you can put your house, and you’ve got room for the kids and animals to run, and what not. You can yell and scream and not everyone can hear you – which is good! (Amanda) Future urban fringe

5 Well you haven’t got a hospital at Two Wells. So you’ve got to go to the doctors and hospital. Gawler is the closest facilities in that respect. (Debbie) I have a lot to do with Munno Para. I do my shopping there, and there’s a nurse in the chemist there. I saw him from when he was a few weeks old. The Priceline there has got like a little CYH room. (Hayley) I’ve actually been shopping at Angle Vale, because they’ve got a new big Foodland there that’s lovely and clean and yeah. Because Virginia’s very expensive and we’ve only got a little IGA here. (Alice) I have nothing to do with Two Wells basically. Playgroup is the extent of it, and even then next year that will probably come to a bit of a halt because he’s going to a Craigmore kindy because the schooling up there to me is private, and I want him at Xavier, which is private, so the two schools he needs to go to are Gawler or Craigmore. (Hayley ) I think most people generally do their grocery shopping either at Virginia, Munno Para or Gawler (Amanda) North rural –urban fringe TW mothers’ use of places: shopping, health, schooling We go down to Virginia for the doctor [ … ] or actually into Adelaide. Because I’ve worked with doctors, I know. (Alice)

6 Cultural differences: Two Wells & Virginia Sophie:Would you go to Virginia? Belinda:Very rarely. [ … ] Normally no, I don’t shop at Virginia. I don’t like it down there. Sophie:Why is that? Belinda:Oh, you’ve got to be so careful, like you have everywhere, but I mean you can pick up a cake mix and it can be four months out of date. I think it’s very much a separate town, sadly, it is, because we’re so close. I wish there was … I don’t know where to advertise Flag in Virginia, but I wish we could get more people involved from Virginia to come. [ … ] Even when Andrew went to school it was a ‘spot the Aussie’. So it’s been that way for a long time with the Asians and the Greeks and the Italians. (Debbie) Virginia is becoming more and more Asian orientated, like the community itself is just becoming more and more Asian. (Amanda) My husband actually said he’d prefer the girls to go to Virginia [Primary School], because they do a lot of teaching like Vietnamese. They’ve got Vietnamese teachers. So they teach Vietnamese as well. So I think at this age they pick up a second language like that. (Alice)

7 Experiences of Flag playgroup in Two Wells We need to know that “The way I’m feeling is actually quite normal”, and that’s what we want a lot of the mums to know. You don’t have to sit at home thinking “I feel terrible”. (Denise) Let’s face it, we don’t just go to playgroup for the kids, we go for ourselves as well. [ … ] Two Wells playgroup anyway, was more focused on “These are my children, they’re your children”, and there was a lot of trying to outdo, like “My Johnny is doing this, and my Johnny was doing that” [ … ] whereas at Flag it’s “Yep, these are your kids, these are my kids, but we’re all looking after everyone’s kids here (Amanda) I’d had enough so I said to Jason “I’m going to go to playgroup because I can’t handle it anymore, and get the kids out”, [ … ] so that’s what I did, that’s exactly what I did with the kids and we went to playgroup. (Hayley) I think we sort of click. Because we’re not sort of out to – we’re not snobby people. You’re just the run of the mill. You talk amongst each other and we all sort of – yeah. There doesn’t seem to be too much cattiness. You’re just plodding along mothers and trying to do the best you can and help out. (Debbie) Sophie: You were attending Flag? Alice:I was. With everything, it was just too much, getting too much. It was a time factor, yeah. We’ve got one mum who comes from Gawler just because, like well her parents are from Mallala and so she’s the country type of person, but I also remember her saying there’s not a real friendly type of … you have to be in the cliquey group to fit in over there, whereas the Flag, she fitted in quite easily. (Denise)

8 Flag’s church connection The church felt there was a gap for outreach basically in the community, because in the church themselves we had old generation[ … ] Jo and I started it up, another lady from church, and we also felt that there was a gap in the community, for people that didn’t know anybody, had no family place, hubby worked away during the week, not a very outgoing person that would, you know, didn’t have a car (Belinda) We got a budget of $200 which the church gladly handed over and said “There you go”, … and we were able to have access to the Sunday School craft stuff in that, and then sort of because the lady I started it with was head of Sunday School as well. (Belinda) Denise and Belinda organised this Bible Study and then asked me if I wanted to come along, and I thought “Yeah”, because I have absolutely no knowledge of the Bible whatsoever, and some knowledge wouldn’t hurt. (Amanda) We heard rumours when Flag first started, from playgroup, “Don’t go to Flag because they are only going to push Christianity into you”, because we were in the church, so it was really hard to get started, but we’ve beaten that myth. (Denise)

9 # TW Uniting Church member Flag Centrelink local office (Govt welfare services) Two Wells Uniting Church provides $, venue & volunteers # Paul Manager Jude – Social worker provides advice & ideas Windsor Uniting Church provides toys from closing Sunday School Two Wells Council # ‘Greg’ councillor provides advice about funding & regulations MTA distributors for learning materials – ‘Greg’ is a sales person

10 Flag as a distribution point Denise:Yes, if somebody comes to speak and they’ve got pamphlets, we ask them to bring enough pamphlets to have, and we’ve always got, I don’t know whether you know this, but we’ve always got pamphlets and things in one of the boxes from previous speakers to bring out. Some might not be up-to- date anymore but we’ve got … Amanda:And we do get copies of Adelaide’s Child or something, isn’t it? When we’ve got them we’ll put them on the table and say that if parents want them they can take one. Denise:We used to put pamphlets out on the table so that if parents were interested in anything, or had a problem with anything, and they saw a pamphlet there that they thought might help them, they were quite able to take that. I know that I got some sleeping information at one stage and so I just photocopied it and took it there and left it for other parents to look at because we all have problems with our kids sleeping. It was about Flag offering to the parents information that they wanted to know, whether it was going back into the workforce, how to read to your kids, disciplining, because there’s so much about, you know, ‘don’t smack, don’t yell, don’t do this, don’t do that’. (Belinda)

11 Early Learning at Flag I’m a strong believer in you don’t put all the toys out, because then the kids are going to get so confused they don’t learn to sit down and play. [ … ] When I first started we would go through and say “Right, well this is really good for their coordination, thinking skills, problem solving”, but we don’t really, but all games and toys are good for a lot of those things anyway. (Denise) The craft things that we do are aimed sort of more for the older ones, but the younger ones can still get involved [ … ] and of course the mums obviously get in and do their bit to help out as well, but yeah, it’s not pushing the limits of the older ones. [ … ] Yeah, and then it helps their development to start trying to copy and do what the older ones are doing. (Amanda) We have an organised activity where parent sat with child or carer sat with child, and they did an activity together because when you’re home, you’re busy doing housework or answering the phone, or if you work from home, you know, you don’t get that one-on- one with your child (Belinda) One term we might do ‘all about me’. Another term we might work on the alphabet [ … ] we’d make cookies and we’d make them in the shape of our name, you know, we might sing an alphabet song; we might pull out all the puzzles with the alphabet, you know, look at books with the alphabet. We actually made, we bought little exercise books and I went through and we wrote all the letters of the alphabet, and then we gave the kids magazines and scissors and glues, and say “Find something that starts with ‘a’ ” [ … ] We might have did that over two weeks or so, you know. “Go home and cut pictures out, bring them in next week”. (Belinda) At playgroup you never heard kid stuff [music] on because my two would just go nuts, they just run away from it. It used to be on all the time last year and I just used to go “Oh my God, turn it off”, but they don’t like the Wiggles or Hi-5 or anything. You put Bon Jovi on and they’re happy, and Pink. (Hayley)

12 Case studies Denise: “I love the internet” Amanda: “I just wanted a reference book” Alice: “I’ll ask three or four people” Belinda: “That’s what the books say” Debbie: “I try to learn by trial and error” Hayley: “Followed their footsteps somehow”

13 Denise: “I love the internet” I’ve looked at a few parenting books at the library, but I’ve never really … I’ve borrowed them and never really found anything, not that I know everything, just like that I didn’t know. Like reading those books it was like “Yeah, I know that.” [ … ] I’m not a book reader so I can’t get a book and just read it, yeah, whereas it’s much better, from my point of view, I am much better to hear it from … like my mum always taught me, you can listen to everything that people say to you but you only need to do what you want to deal with, like you don’t have to take it all in, and I think that’s the best advice mum’s ever given me. Denise:Yes, I love the internet. I go on the Hug You site a lot. That’s very interesting. Sophie:What kind of information do they have there? Denise:Toilet training, feeding, temper tantrums, lots of things. Sophie:And do you print any of it out, or save any of it? Denise:I have before yeah, and games, colouring in for the kids. [ … ] I typed in ‘horses’, and it came up with a lot of pictures for colouring in, to colour in, or activities to do all about horses. [ … ] I use it for everything. I use it for organising birthday parties and all, everything. I get lots of ideas. I love the internet. [ … ] I know one mum came to Flag once and said “Oh, I just don’t know what to do with something”, and I went home and printed off some information from Parenting SA, because they have all the pamphlets on the thing. [ … ] There are hundreds of good websites like for children and medical conditions, not to self-diagnose but give you some idea of what the child might have.

14 Amanda: “ I just wanted a reference book” I did a behavioural management course just before James turned 1. Our CAFHS nurse here at Two Wells at that time [ … ] suggested that I do it, and yeah, I have found sometimes it’s been beneficial and other times it’s sort of “Oh yeah, OK”, but it did reinforce a lot of what I was doing, you know like singing to them about nothing, making up songs as you’re getting them dressed I actually said I would like some sort of reference guide to help me, because I was a new mum at the age of 40 almost [ … ] I didn’t really have a lot of contact with a lot of other people who had babies, and my mum is interstate, so I didn’t really have her to rely on. [ … ] So I just wanted a reference book, something that I just sort of refer back to and “Oh yep, that’s OK”, put my mind at rest and not worry about it sort of thing, and then I was given The Mighty Toddler and reading that, it actually referred to Baby Love, so then I went and bought Baby Love. [ … ] I don’t know of any others to be quite honest. [ … ] I just borrow books kids’ books yeah. I haven’t actually borrowed a book for me from the library yet. I don’t use the internet much because I don’t have time. I can’t afford the time to sit down in the study as it is right down the other end of the house, so I don’t have time to sit down there with the boys up here. And everybody always puts in their two bobs worth, “You should do this” or “You should do that, and you should do it this way or that way” [ … ] you’ll say “Yes” and smile sweetly and take it all in, and then you’ll just sift through everything that everybody’s told you and then say “Well OK, we’ll try it this way. If that way doesn’t work well OK, then we’ll try this”. [ … ] And what works for Alan hasn’t worked for James, or the other way around.

15 Alice: “ I’ll ask three or four people” Sophie: Do you ever look at websites? Alice:Very occasionally. Like I went on the Women’s and Children’s one once. I went on the Huggies once or twice. [ … ] Like it’s all the time factor. Like – yeah, nuh. [ … ] Like if I wanted to find out information, like the doctor said ‘oh the girls have got croup’ or whatever, I might go on it and research it and that sort of thing. But as a rule, I don’t – I just don’t have the time to be on there and surf and do all that sort of stuff. [ … ] You don’t have time to turn a computer on, boot it up and that and that sort of thing. Alice: I prefer just to ring someone up and say what’s your opinion on this? Sophie:Yeah. Would that be friends of yours? Alice:Yeah, friends or mum. [ … ] I’ll get three or four. So I say, does my eldest – like she’s walking funny. I’ll ask three or four people. Or I might take her to the doctor and then, you know, sort of thing. [ … ] I just took everything on board and then just processed it myself and make my own decision from there… Quite often, I’ll just ask the childcare centre now. Because they’re very good. Like if you asked them – we’re having trouble with their toilet training. Because they deal with it, day in, day out. Like I actually spoke to them and they actually photocopied some stuff. I read it and that sort of thing and passed it on.

16 Someone gave me a magazine called Practical Parents. I actually subscribed to that [for two years], because it was actually quite good reading and stuff. I mean I only took on what I wanted to take on, on board sort of thing. [ … ] I gave them to my sisters when they were having their babies. So I just said take onboard what you want to read and what you don’t want to read. That was the last one I got left. I didn’t even realise I had that. She [daughter] found it the other day. So I just flicked through, because it’s got all sorts of things, like people talking about their birthing experiences and everything and then to like practical stuff like oh if your baby won’t settle or whatever, what they recommend, sort of thing. [ … ] Because the information doesn’t really date as such or some of the basics don’t anyway.

17 I’m not a great book person. At that stage, it was too tiring. Actually – no, there was one other one. When you’re tired, you don’t feel like reading. I got that in one of the – you know when you have babies they give you show bags and things like that. I found that very good. It’s kind of a bit of basics from A to Z. Like when they get their teeth and this sort of thing. What’s what and what their body temperature is? It’s like a little easy version. Like instead of getting a big encyclopaedia out, sort of thing. [ … ] So I just kept onto it, because it’s to five years old.

18 Alice on toys and play Megasketch, she got that for a present. Probably 90 per cent of their toys are presents. I’ve hardly bought any of their toys. I’ve got educational toys and that. But most of them were given to us. We’ve got like books, flip cards and then interactive toys too, like where you put shapes in things and all that sort of thing and stacking blocks and things like that, as well as soft toys and that as well. We’ve got like their normal balls and ride on things and things as well. [ … ] But I’ve kind of said to them like don’t do all this anymore. Because you just end up with so much stuff, you know. That’s alright. I’m giving my sister half of their toys. [ … ] I might sit down and play drums with them with our saucepans and they like that more than going and playing with a flash dangle toy. Yeah and they prefer actually to be outside. So most of the thing, they love being outside.

19 I’ve got 6 billion books, anything. They like quite often, that’s why there’s a heap of them on the floor there. They’ll get them out just sit and look at the pictures. [ … ] Well [my youngest] has to have medicine every night and insulin. So we tend to read her a book then, because it keeps her quiet. She goes and picks whatever book she wants me to read that night. Because they used to like the bright sparkly ones. But I’m perhaps starting to read them like the ones that are on the floor there. Because they look at animals and pictures and stuff. I used to borrow ones like this from the library. Sophie:So is that something you do regularly, go to the library? Alice:We haven’t actually been down for a while, because we’ve just been so busy. She’ll get a book out and say to him, read Daddy, read. So he’ll sit there and – she usually gives him two or three books actually. Actually a bookie girl, actually.

20 Belinda: “That’s what the books say” Some people say “Oh, you just go along and you just talk … hands-on experience is better than …”, but I like reading books and articles in magazines and, you know, when I was pregnant with Nathan I was always buying mothers and babies magazines, or parenting magazines, whatever they were, you know, and reading them and all that sort of thing, and when I was pregnant with Nathan I’d read lots of books, you know, and stuff like that. Listen to other people and gone to the library and borrowed books on sleep problems, or … and all of that too, yeah, but basically just talking to people and, yeah, going to the library and borrowing books, and if I find something that’s really good I might buy it, go to the shop and buy it because I might want to reference it later. I borrowed the book Raising Boys from the library. Someone said it was really, really good [ … ] so I borrowed it and read it and thought it was fantastic. Raising Girls I bought myself because, you know, it’s nice to have a book, and I bought some of Nicky Gumble’s books, Toddler Taming. I bought that book because I rather like Dr Professor Green books. They say, like everyone says like, you know, “You’ve got to teach your child to sleep. They don’t know how to sleep, you have to teach them to sleep, you know, the wind-down, the relaxation, the warm milk, teach them that’s where you sleep, that’s where you stay, I’ll see you in the morning” sort of thing. I don’t know about that but … Sophie:Is that what other people have told you? Belinda:That’s what books say. Sophie:The books say, yeah. Belinda:That’s what they say in books.

21 Belinda & CYHS And they hand out a lot of information and stuff like that through that too, so a lot of that come from off of their website, which I could never get on to, I found it a hard thing to use [ … ] and they said, you know, “If you need anything, you can always get on there and have a look at these things”. They used the old kindy before they moved. They don’t do that anymore now. What they do now is when you have a baby, they suggest you go and visit them within one to four weeks after you come home, or before your baby is 4 weeks old. They actually come to you and they have this one-on-one, but I don’t think that’s as good as in, you know, you can keep them coming out but I think that’s pointless, than actually having a load of mums together. When I had Nathan, he was about 3 months old I suppose, they did a six weeks course, so you’d go in one day for a couple of hours, and you bring your baby along, for new mums, and so there would have been six plus of us I suppose, with all babies around the same age, within a month or two of one another, and we’d get together and we could talk about sleep problems, feeding problems, introducing solids

22 Belinda & the internet Wendy, she gets on the internet, and we found Enchanted Learning website for activities, and so we used some of their activities, you know like we had, we were doing animals I think [ … ] Now just recently I’ve found a few others on the internet that I rather like as well. There’s Kid Spot I don’t mind, and Our Little Treasures. Out Little Treasures does actually have weekly programs and activities on there and you can, you know, print them out and it’s like a little schedule http://www.ourlittletreasure.com.au/ http://www.ourlittletreasure.com.au/ My relatives live at Blinman [remote town] and her child does RICE, which is like School of the Air type thing, they do it through the computer, through the internet, and she sends me all his kindy stuff down here, so I pinch ideas off of that, and then we try to reduce it down to another level again.

23 Belinda resourcing her child preK When he was little, you know, you had the offer and I bought him the Dr Seuss books, and from the time he was born I’d read him like you know, ABC books, like you know, ‘A’ and I’d show him all the pictures and I’d point to them and tell him what they were, and he’d sit, when he got a bit older, when he was about nine months old, he’d sit there and I’d point to them and he could tell me it was ‘armour, abacus, avocado’ and all that, so he knew all of that, so that’s really the only thing that I’ve really worked with him with. Then when he was probably about 2 or 3, I bought the Wide Eye Series for him, and we pinched that and used some of that for Flag, the eye teeth out of that, and instilled in that, you know, especially the ‘all about me’ and some other stuff.

24 Belinda resourcing her child kindy & school I know when Nathan started kindy they said, you know, if they know how to socially interact with other children and follow guidelines and all that sort of thing I suppose too, then they can get on with learning, not having to worry about ‘Where do I fit? Which hole do I fit in, in life?’ [rather] than trying to do that and learn, and that’s why kindy is good for before you go to school Nathan struggled when he first started school, and having a school teacher friend I said to her, you know, “He’s doing this, and they want him to do this”. She said to me … and she come up with the idea that write his name in bold texta, or in texta, and then have green traffic light, red traffic light, because green is for go and red is for stop They will assign him extra work because they know I’m willing to do it with him, but I mean I’ve only learnt things from (a) doing Flag, talking to people, kindy, and basically helping at the school. I had nieces and nephews that were just starting school and they knew about this Letter Land, so it was helpful for me when they were talking about their Letter Land, and they were trying to read to me if we were up there [at the school] When Nathan went to kindy, I didn’t know what to expect. Nathan really needed to know his name before he went to kindy. Now I, I mean, to the point that he would have had to walk up to a wall and find his own name on the wall, and pull it off and post it in a box, because that’s how they do the roll at kindy. He couldn’t do that to begin with.

25 These come from Learning Ladder. A friend of mine sells them from Learning Ladder, [She asked me if I’d have a party and I said no, but I said “I’ll do one at Flag for you”, so we had a fundraiser at Flag] We used to have these in primary school when I was a kid. And then you have your little book, because Nathan has always struggled with his reading a little bit, so we got these, and you just shove this under here, and see like number 1 is ‘jam’, so it’s ‘j’, so number 1 tile goes in there [ … ] If I told Nathan this was homework, he’d never do it, if it was educational, but because it’s fun, I just say to him “Oh, you haven’t played with your Styles in a long time”.

26 Debbie: “I try to learn by trial and error” Well I never – parenting tips never really – to me, I try to learn by trial and error. Like what works? If you find it works for you, do it. Like if you find that it – if not, like you talk amongst your mates at playgroup. If not, you might overhear them talking about something. [ … ] Facilitator:Are there any other books that you… Debbie: Probably my pregnancy book that I had. I had a – Miriam what’s her name? She had a – I reckon that was a great bible. That was a good…that one. That was the one I got when I had Morgan. That was a good one and bits and pieces and stuff in there. But books, yeah. I think it’s mainly coming across like pamphlets. I don’t think – for parenting things, I haven’t really – because you’re trying to do it off your own back. Like you try to learn from your own mistakes and try to do the best you can, I suppose, in that respect. But no, you don’t get a bible for bringing up kids. That’s for sure.

27 Debbie, the Bounty Bag, the Huggies Club & Target Once you get your baby – like have your baby, you’ll get your little baby bag of goodies when you’re in the hospital, with a nappy sample and bits and pieces. Maybe a singlet. I think I only got two when I had Morgan, but there was three you could get when I had Bonnie. They all have samples of stuff. Then you can join the Huggies club. You get emails from Huggies. When they were babies, they used to get a magazine. Monthly, was it? That was through the stage of the age of your child. So that had little bits and pieces in it to help, read stories, like what other people are going through [ … ] It was pretty exclusive to Huggies itself and they sent it through your mail. Because I think you wrote your name down and you sent it back to them and then they – it’s like a mother’s club thing. I just can’t think of what the name of the book. But they come in handy. Then they get to a point – to a certain age and it will cut off. They used to send little samples and vouchers and stuff. Not that I ever used the vouchers, but yeah. It was all connected to Target, yeah, Baby Target, and get your bits and pieces. In with the little booklet, like your booklet, your pregnancy stage booklet. There’s a thing in there that you fill out and you send it away. It was the Coles Baby. Was it Coles Baby? Because you went to Coles to pick up your box of goodies.

28 Debbie and health services I prefer to go into Gawler for doctors. I’ve never utilised the doctors here at Two Wells. I took Morgan to the CAFS [nurse-run clinic] when she was a baby quite regularly in Two Wells, when it was at the old Kindy. Then they shifted it. I think I went one time and they’d changed the hours. I think it was with Bonnie. Then I never ended up continuing taking Bonnie too much. Then I got to a point I was having feeding problems with Bonnie. I think the – well the couple of times I did take her to the CAFS, then they referred me best to go to a doctor [ … ] I haven’t been and utilised that since I started taking her to the doctor with the feeding problems. So you just – you start one thing and it’s like, oh, well I’ll just take her in. Where – you know. So that he can still see the progress that she’s making.

29 Immunisation: An issue of concern I’ve put my views out there. I’ve probably talked. Like anybody who could talk about immunisation and meningococcal. I still believe – yeah. That’s what I’ll say every time. But I can’t back it up. It’s not factual. But I just think it seems strange that what – for the era of those kids that are coming down with it [ … ] You’ve got to look at the whole lot. See like in England, they reckon it’s caused a lot of autism, the immunisations and the MARS and all that. That it’s increased the rate of autism. So what’s that trying to tell you? Like is it a fact or what’s going on? Are we mucking too much with nature? Facilitator:Have you heard anything from the nurses or doctors about – have they ever discussed it with you? Interviewee:Would they tell you? Facilitator:[ … ] So to me, there’s something going on that they’re not – or if not, they’re not relying on you telling that they’re giving – you’re giving them the right symptoms to get the right treatment. But I think there’s more to it. I think – yeah. I think there’s this bird flu may be an issue or there’s more epidemics going on.

30 Debbie: Aspirations for children We wanted to send Morgan to a public school, because like I grew up public in primary and secondary. I wanted her to experience going – even just to go to the school on a bus. Like something as simple as that. Because that’s how I got to school. So hopefully for secondary I want to send her to Trinity [private college] down here at Angle Vale. So that sort of my strategy is to – that it’s going to be a little stricter and she’s got to knuckle down a bit. So that may pull her into gear when she’s going through her rebellious stage. [ … ] I left high school when I was in fourth year. Like that’s nothing. You know.

31 Debbie: Early Learning at home I try to – sometimes I neglect them a bit because I’m on the computer too much probably. But they’re not backwards in coming forwards to – they know I’ll play with them and help me this and help me that. You try to teach them things. They love learning. They’re like little sponges. So they’re going to sop it all up. [ … ] I suppose they ask you a lot of questions. Mum, read that to me. So I’d read it to them. Child:You need to play with me. Debbie:Yeah, in a minute, in a minute. Don’t panic. Go for it. Talking to Wendy with Chloe and her taking her to the Women’s and Children’s [Hospital]. They said that children aren’t supposed to learn words through parrot fashion. Okay. How do they learn? You know. That was a funny comment [ … ] I’m thinking like well then how are they learning if it’s not parrot fashion? It’s not – well it’s repetitive, as everything’s repetitive, isn’t it? [ … ] It’s like even growing up yourself, you watch people. If you’re interested in something, you will watch people. Like it’s how they do it. Some people – I know growing up and watching people shear sheep. Because I was always up in the shearing shed and that.

32 Sophie: Where would you get those? Interviewee:Well from your $2 shops. Facilitator:You just go for what… Interviewee:What I think that they probably could benefit from, from using it. Like it’s even like – when you get like your soft foamy blocks and it’s got the numbers and the ABCs that you get given to them when they’re babies and they can’t even – what’s a block? You know. But it’s all there. It’s the visualisation [ … ] like well then later on you’re telling them that’s a one. Oh, that’s what a one looks like. Like I’ve seen that. I know I always used to encourage counting and we’ve got letter alphabet boards – like jigsaw boards. You encourage that. Get them to familiarise with the letters. So that, when they went to kindy, that they’d know that was an A and the number. Because – you just sometimes, even in the car, you’re mucking around like singing nursery rhymes or counting or whatever.

33 It’s got their name on it. That’s – I think that’s special. Facilitator:So where did she find these? Interviewee:That’s Jigsaw. Facilitator:Oh the shop. Interviewee:Is it actually a shop? I know you can get it online. [ … ] I think you can have Jigsaw parties. So you can – you probably could get them a lot cheaper if you had a party. Because you invite people and they come and see things. You can get the letters if you lose them. You can get them replaced. [ … ] It’s not cheap. It’s not cheap. But it’s fun. Oh, you’ve got to have your special things, I think.

34 Morgan got a couple of books or Bonnie got a couple of books for Christmas. You could get four in the set. So then I discovered Cheap as Chips. So I got the two that she didn’t have. They were just ones that they were animals. Like the pig and it went [oinking noise]. Let’s get the whole lot. They’re not – they’re $2 books. You know, like who cares. [ … ] Fifi books that you get through the newsagent. Well see that and My Little Pony stuff. Well see they’ve got magazines that have got little activity books in them now. You get stickers or you might trace the numbers. It’s got little activities in there. Fifi got colouring – little colouring book and magnets and stuff. But it’s an educate – even though it’s Fifi, it’s still educational too. It’s not as if I sat down with her and I’ll read you a story now. Like that’s just not me. [ … ] You get books either given to you or your little counting books, like you’ll get from birthdays, like when they’re one or two. You’ll get books with numbers and you’ll get inundated. You’ll get a lot. Counting book, alphabet books. Learning to count. Learning – yeah. Learning the alphabet, whatever. Picture alphabets. Animal bloody alphabets.

35 Debbie & Scholastic book distributors Once you have your baby, too, they somehow get hold of your address and they will send you stuff. Here’s Cat in the Hat. Let’s start your library. So next thing you’re inundated with all this Cat in the Hat stuff. So then they send the other stuff, like Winnie the Pooh and all that. That’s Scholastic. Because when you put your birth notice, it’s connected to putting your birth notice in and they get your address from the advertiser. So I’ve been told, yeah. So you expect little bits of stuff.

36 Morgan was going to Kindy and they had a bloke. They had a bloke comes around with books of all sorts of descriptions. They had them for sale. They’re usually like $10 books or whatever. Like all sorts of stuff. Anyway, they have kids stuff in there sometimes. That’s how I got that one. The Wiggles one, yeah. I think that was 12 bucks. That’s not bad. It was good. See that was a Christmas present, I think. Birthday, Christmas present. Bonnie loves them. They love the Wiggles. They love the Wiggles. They get into it, they really do.

37 Debbie & Andy and the library Debbie:We’re not really library lovers. Not really, no. Morgan… Andy:It’s called the internet today, isn’t it? Debbie:Yeah. NB: This might refer to the recently opened CABRI (local internet centre which is near the library); however there is still a separate book repository type library in town.

38 Debbie & digital EL resources I’m addicted to that [internet], yes. Morgan used to always sit on my lap and that when she was younger and we’d utilise – and then I – she’d watch me. That’s why I think she’s fairly computer savvy at such a young age, because she used to watch what I’d do. And then we’d buy stuff for the computer. You can get your PC educational games and stuff like that. Eureka, I think, is one brand. Like you get phonics stuff and math programs. [I got them from] Big W. It was only through looking through catalogues and looking for educational things to stimulate – like instead of just being a basic game They do it at the Children’s Centre. [ … ] They can do drop and drag and up and down and just general commands and write their name and they’ll print it out and send it home. This is what your kids can do. [ … ] But that’s what we – some of us, the uneducated ones who have got to go to TAFE to learn it all. They should have those programs. So you can bring home, instead of going through school. [ … ] You got all that drummed into you. Only smart people use computers. So you won’t ever be able to use one. You always had that stigma.

39 I should have got Leapfrog. But I got Powertouch and that was a Fisher & Price. They had little sleeves. But you press that and it will go through the alphabet. It’s quite – and you go through your – everything you press on here will do something. [ … ] Fisher Price brought this out in competition with Leapfrog, try to push them off the market, I suppose. Because Leapfrog – but I think Leapfrog’s got it in the bag. Because they’ve obviously got access like – Winnie the Pooh stuff, Disney stuff [ … ] See poor old Fisher – I think you’ve got – what have I got? Franklin goes to School. Ernie and his Neighbourhood. That’s the little starter book that you get there. [ … ] So that was, what, a third of a price, I suppose, to what Leapfrog was.

40 Morgan & digital resources During the interview, the eldest girl (6) had her and her sister’s Nintendo DS. She had them next to each other and was holding a stylus in each hand and operating them both at the same time. Facilitator:What are these? I have no idea about these. Child:It’s brain training. Facilitator:Oh, goodness. Debbie:See that’s – brain training is educational. That’s got math in it, like your times tables. Facilitator:Are you using two at the same time? Child:Yeah, of course. Facilitator:Oh my goodness. You’re multi-tasking here. Andy:That’s a woman’s right, isn’t it? Child:Now I’m… it’s downloading. Facilitator:Wow.

41

42 Hayley: “Followed their footsteps somehow” I didn’t get books and that, because a lot of people I knew had young kids … I’ve got little cousins that are 14, so I just sort of picked a bit up here and there I was with Jason 5 months when I fell pregnant, whereas mum and dad were together 6 months, so a lot of it sort of followed their footsteps somehow, but if I got stuck I’d ask her. If I don’t know something like I’ll ring, the Women’s & Children’s are really good with certain things, but I always use the nurse at Munno Para, like every Tuesday if she’s there and we’re doing shopping, if I’ve got anything, I’ll go see her, or mum, or I’ve got … I don’t think you met Naomi from playgroup. One of my friends that lives around the corner from where we used to live, we used to walk every day [… ] We met at mums and babies and she’s a bit like me, kind of down to earth, say what she thinks, where all the others were a bit, not stuck up but they were very … they’d sort of talk about you without talking to you and things like that. Sophie:Did you read any of the parenting magazines, any of those? Hayley:Nup, not unless they were free and I flicked through them, looked for prams or something. A few people gave me books and I just handed them straight back [ … ] I know people that are involved and they do do a lot of the stuff out of that, but their kids are no more better off than mine,

43 Hayley: Views of child behaviour My kids run amok, whereas Jason and his brother are 3 years apart, so they never play fighted or they never jumped on you if you laid on the floor, and things like that, whereas my two, you lay on the floor, you’re free game. You give them junk mail, you expect it from one end of the house right through. Ethan turned around and smacked her and he grabbed Ethan by the hand and he said “No, you don’t do that”, and I’m like “Don’t tell my kid off if it doesn’t affect your kid”, type thing, and he was giving me advice on my son’s attitude when he’s got one daughter and girls are generally a whole lot calmer and more placid. They’re supposed to be hypo and not listen and clash with their younger siblings, it’s just the way it is. ADHD is over-read, over-diagnosed, especially when they’re that young.

44 I think I threw the first book that’s all about pregnancy, I threw it at Jason and it had a book of what to expect through pregnancy, I threw it at Jason’s (inaudible). So I just went “Here you go, you can read that, there you go you know I’m going to be a bitch now”. Sophie:And did he read it? Hayley:Bits and pieces of it, yeah.

45 Sophie:So you said you had those Scholastic books. [ … ] So all of these came in the bag? Hayley:You get a thing, it’s a book club, I think it’s 3 books for $16 or something, so I got two free and bought one lot and said “That’s enough, I’ve had enough”. She’s too young anyway Hayley & Bounty Bag: Good for the free stuff I’ll get another two Bounty bags and whatever I feel like picking up anywhere, in any centre for kids. In the bounty bag there’s a 10% off voucher or $10 off voucher for Baby Target and things like that. Yeah, you get all the skincare stuff and all that in here, like that 4D stuff. We had that done with Tamsin, can’t afford to do it with this one, it’s still $200. I was happy like when we got hers done she had her arm in front of her face, so the guy didn’t charge us for it because all you could see was that, sort of thing

46 Hayley & Jason: Finding materials for outdoor & pool play I wanted foam for around it, rang Clark Rubber and all that, and they go “There’s no foam you can get that’s waterproof that will last in the weather”, so I went straight into Big W in the pool section and got, you can get like strips of foam that the noodles and all that are made of, well I bought packets of that and cut it down. It just happened that they were just that right size to cover the poles so the kids, if the kids fell, they didn’t smack their head on a hard surface, so we just went in and did that, and black-strapped it so if we’ve ever got to replace it we just cut the black straps. The dogs just ripped one apart last night, so yeah, it was … but yeah, it was pretty much like we learnt ourself. [ … ] We just sort of get on the phone and source around. I can knock people down pretty good price-wise from place to place

47 Hayley’s children and Leap Frog They’ve got the Baby Leap which tells you colours and shapes and that. They’ve got the Leap Pad reading books where like Ethan’s is the 3 years plus and you touch it and it reads to you and things like that. Well he’s only got that and uses it because there’s a dinosaur book in it and it tells you that it’s a T-Tex, and it will read you the story and that. They’re not into it. She’ll only use hers because she can touch the animal and it makes the noise. You put a storybook in there or a counting one, no, don’t want a bar of it. As long as it’s animals or something, they’re happy, otherwise you can just forget it.

48 Hayley: Resources from Gawler hospital You get bits and pieces from the hospital, I’ll grab that actually. I tended to use that more. When you book in to the hospital, you get an orange book full of information It’s got all your medical records and that in it in case anything happens. So yeah, I mean that’s probably more useful than the bounty bags, to an extent, because it’s a lot more certain to an extent. It’s like where can I get advice and all that sort of thing. Most of it’s through pregnancy but most of it has links to everywhere else, like that’s just pregnancy and alcohol. It’s cheaper to photocopy it than for them to put the coloured brochures and stuff like that. Most of it will be probably, bits of it will be generalised to Gawler, yeah, I mean there’s still, if you contacted the hospital they’d give you information. And when you go in like you can do ante-natal, swimming lessons and things like that for me if I wanted to, and all that sort of thing. There’s no point because I’ve got two kids in swimming lessons that I get in the water with anyway.

49 If you walk into the right place, and any CAFS office like the CYH, the big ones, there’s Munno Para, Salisbury, Elizabeth, and all that, they’ve all got them. You walk in there, they’ve got all the brochures and information and got someone there all the time to talk to, and you can have appointments or no appointment. Sophie:So did you read that information? Hayley:Not unless I needed to. I think I’ve grown up with kids and babies I went in and got one of them and sent it to my friend because she had a baby, and she put bumpers on the cot for the baby from newborn, and I told her and then I got the information packet sent out from SIDS Kids for her. Hayley: CYHS resources


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