A Kid’s Life: Melbourne, Australia

14 Jan

Hello everyone.  Time for a new interview in my A Kid’s Life series.  I have to admit that I’m really proud of this series and all of the great interviews I’ve had over the past few years.  I’ve loved “virtually meeting” every single one of these families and luckily enough I’ve kept in touch with them all.  These families have been warm, friendly and open to share the details of their daily family grind.  I have big plans to meet them all in their native countries in the coming years (don’t worry, I won’t show up unexpected on your doorsteps!).  But what a great excuse to travel around the world!  Here are the previous interviews in case you missed them: Italy, Japan, USA, The Philippines, Tasmania, Canada, BelgiumNew Zealand, Holland, Germany, Colombia, France, Switzerland, South Africa, India.

Today we get to hear from Bron and her family who live in Melbourne, Australia.  I thought it would be interesting to hear from a family living on mainland Australia after reading all about family life in Tasmania in a previous interview.  I was curious to see if there were differences between the two.  So far I’ve noticed that more languages are offered in Tasmanian schools, both love to eat Weetbix for breakfast and dinner is eaten at about the same time that Italian kids eat their afternoon snack!

Bron contacted me last week about participating in the interview and after hearing her family’s story and feeling her energetic and positive energy just by reading her email I was excited to read all about their life.  Bron and her husband Andrew have three kids.  Their oldest son, Cooper, has Cerebral Palsy (Dystonic Quadriplegia) as he received a brain injury due to lack of oxygen during the birthing process (read more here).  What this means is the damaged parts of his brain can’t communicate properly with the muscles all over his body.  His whole body is affected including his arms, legs, trunk and mouth.  He is cognitively a typical 8 year old boy who loves cricket and Lego though!

Last year Cooper started a fundraiser which involved him walking for 1km using his walker.  He ended up raising $15, 000 AUD to help build a kindergarten in Cambodia.  The family visited the school several times and were overwhelmed with the reception and gratitude that they were shown (especially Cooper).  

Is this not an amazingly inspiring family?

Bron writes a blog about her family life in Melbourne, Cooper’s developmental accomplishments and their travel adventures.

And now let’s hear what they have to say about daily life in Melbourne, Australia…

Sihanoukeville in Cambodia

Sihanoukeville in Cambodia

What country do you live in?

We live in Australia, in the state of Victoria.

Are you and your husband the same nationality?

Yes we are both Australian born in different cities/states.image-4

Do you both work. Or does someone stay home?

Andrew works as an arborist and I’m a stay at home mum.

How many languages are spoken in your house?  Which one(s)?

We speak English.  We also learnt a lot of sign language and gestures before our son began to verbally communicate.

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?

We have three kids.  Cooper is 8, Pepper is 5 and Elwood is 2.image-7

At what age do kids start school in your country?

Primary school starts typically the year your child turns 6.  In our state they have to be 5 before April 30th.  It differs all over Australia and is somewhat confusing.

During the school year what time do your kids usually wake up?

Early!  We are all up 6:30am most mornings.  Andrew leaves for work at 6:30 so it’s just me and the kids in the morning.image-5

What do your kids typically eat for breakfast?

We eat a cereal called Weetbix, porridge or toast and the kids have a milo.  Cooper loves a cup of tea.  We sittogether at the table.

What time does school start?  What time does it finish?  What is the weekly school schedule?

School starts at 9am.  We drive to school, it’s around 3 kilometres away. Cooper uses a wheelchair and a walker so we always have extra stuff to transport.  School finishes at 3:30pm and is 5 days a week.  Cooper attends four days as he has a day of therapy (hydrotherapy, speech, physio) he attends a mainstream school with the support of a full-time integration aid.  He is going into grade 3 and Pepper starts her first year of school in February.  In Victoria it’s called Prep.  They wear a uniform to school everyday.  They have specialist subjects such as German, art, music and PE.  It’s a public/government school from Prep to grade 6.

Do your kids learn a second or third language at school?  From what age?

At our school the kids learn German from age 5.  It’s a 45 minute class once a week.image-3

Do your kids eat lunch at school or home?  What is a typical lunch for your kids?

The kids have lunch at school.  They have fruit snack at 10am (during their classes), snack at 11am and lunch at 1pm.  Our school has a ‘nude food’ policy to eliminate rubbish and lunches should be healthy.  Cooper usually has four serves of fruit, yogurt, sandwich and then some homemade biscuits or banana bread.

Do your kids do any after-school activities?

Cooper does swimming and loves it.  He has a 1:1 lesson once a week.  Pepper has done ballet and swimming and this year is enrolled in circus training which she is so excited about.

What time do you eat dinner?  What is a typical dinner you would eat?

Don’t laugh but we eat dinner at 5pm.  We call it eating on Florida time.  We love fresh easy food especially in summer so lots of salads and wraps, steamed fish and vegetables, curry and rice.  We love a variety of foods from different cultures.

How much computer or television time do your kids have on a daily basis?

During school term they might watch a little TV before bed or play with the iPad (after homework, dinner, showers etc).  During holidays it’s much more relaxed and flexible.

What time do your kids go to bed?

Elwood goes first around 6:30pm and Pepper around 7:30pm.  Bedtime and sleeping for that matter is a sensitive topic!  We play musical beds a lot but Elwood sleeps all night.  It’s the older two and me that are in a bad habit.

What are some typical week-end family activities?

Andrew works most Saturdays so we really cherish our Sundays.  We might go for an outing or to the local beach, park, farmer’s market or family.  With the three kids and their ages we find ourselves splitting up a lot.  I might take the older two to a movie and Andrew will have Woody and well just potter around the house.  After being at home all week I love to get out whereas Andrew wants to relax.  We usually do some cooking and baking too.

When do your kids have vacation from school?

They have two weeks in April, 2 weeks in June, 2 weeks in September and 5/6 weeks over Christmas/summer.  Never seems long enough though.  I am always looking forward to holidays and time away from the school routine.  We love to travel near and far from home.  We are planning a 6 week holiday to Europe this June/July.image-9

What do your kids do during the summer vacation?

We live near the beach so we spend lots of time there.  We can walk there in 10 minutes.  We spend most of the day outside.  Friends and family visit, we eat dinner outside and we stay up later.  The kids also go on special outings with their grandparents, aunties/uncles to museums or shows in the city.  We always stay home over the summer and we like to escape our winter.

What are the typical ‘first foods’ for a baby to eat in your country?

Typical first foods would be fruit and veggies.  Cooper’s first food was apple, Pepper loved pumpkin and Woody seemingly ate family foods from the start!  Guidelines seem to change all the time.image-6

Many thanks to Bron and her family for the lovely interview!


4 Responses to “A Kid’s Life: Melbourne, Australia”

  1. giova brusa January 14, 2014 at 16:48 #

    What an amazing family!! I love stories like this, with so much love!!

  2. Sara January 16, 2014 at 19:25 #

    Such an amazing family. Loved reading this interview.

  3. Ilaria January 16, 2014 at 19:31 #

    Australia really seems like a great place to bring up a family. I was so surprised when I read they eat dinner at 5pm! I grew up eating dinner hours later! Do the kids eat a snack before bed then?

  4. jandinewall January 17, 2014 at 10:47 #

    This is a really interesting series! I enjoyed reading this! Oh and we eat at 16:30 & the girls are in bed by 18:30….,

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