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From the mouths of babes… June 25, 2010

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What is happening to our girls.

This week, I have heard some truly disturbing, horrifying things, that our teenage girls are up to.

Some of the sexual behaviours that they are partaking in, I don’t even want to record here, for fear of the google traffic that I might pick up. But I can assure you that they are some of the most demeaning things I have ever heard. It’s probably enough to say that they regularly take place in a school toilet, there are cameras involved, and while even that sounds unsavoury, it is SO MUCH worse than you could ever imagine.

These kids are 13, 14, 15…

At the risk of sounding like an old codger, what is wrong with these kids? I left school less than ten years ago. I went to your average, rough, outer suburban public school. There was certainly a lot of stuff happening that shouldnt have been. But the girls that were sleeping around, weren’t looked upon favourably, they were the topic of hushed conversation. Now, the MAJORITY of kids are sexually active, by year 9. I really feel for those poor kids who do decide to wait – when I was at school it was unusual not to have kissed a boy by 15 – now you’re a freak if you haven’t slept with them by this age!

I overheard a conversation today in which one young lady, year nine, was relating the story of how she had told a boy that their baby would have been born this coming Monday. This was said at the top of her voice, in front of a whole class and myself, and rather than being received with shock, the other girls were laughing along with her. One of the other girls has a young baby. How did abortion become a suitable topic for banter?

These girls are regularly involved in full on fist fights – I’ve had to break up a few this year myself. They think nothing of smashing someone who has offended them in any way. Their fights are incredibly violent, and often result in significant injuries. I have seen whiplash, after a fist-full of hair was ripped out at the roots.

I doubt that these behaviours are limited to the young people that I work with, I am sure they are happening everywhere.

How can we make a difference?


Either I am premenstrual… November 4, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Just for Fun, Rants.
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Or I am just turning into an intolerant cow.

The object of my rage and derision this afternoon?

Car Bras

I hear you… “Sorry, what?”

Car Bras

I think the theory of these things is to protect your paintwork or something.

What I don’t understand, is why this means that you have to stick a gigantic, fugly, piece of black pvc or leather or something (imagine the google traffic I’m going to get with this post), over the front of your car, to protect it from stone chips and what-not. Which, apparently, are fugly.

Is it just me, or do these things seem COMPLETELY redundant?

Prevent ugliness with ugliness.

The driver who chooses to put these onto their (usually shitty, hotted up car) is clearly deluded. Who in their right mind thinks these things are attractive? Who would actually spend money on this crap?



Just… Stop. October 27, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Rants.

You. Again.

I don’t care how much you’re hating being pregnant. I just don’t want to hear it. Stop telling me you’re exhausted, stop telling me you’re sick of being pregnant, stop telling me you “want it out”.

I don’t want to hear it.

And I am pretty damn sure you don’t even know the meaning of uncomfortable.

What not to say… August 24, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Infertility, Rants.
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Me: I got my beta result today. Negative. Huge surprise there.

Her: Oh, sorry to hear that. If it makes you feel any better, I wish I wasn’t pregnant.


(I really wish I had made this conversation up)


What ridiculous things have people said to you?

The thing about grief is… August 22, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Infertility, Rants.
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“Few people know that the ‘i’ comes before the ‘e’…

I was thinking again last night that my experience of this failed dIUI, and of infertility in general really, is like a microcosm of grief.

When I first got my period on Thursday afternoon, I was in shock. I thought for a little while, that perhaps this was just implantation bleeding and cramping. I called the nurse, and my rational mind took over, telling her my period had started. She was fantastic, and ready to go with whatever I needed to do. It was when I got off the phone that I lost it. Screaming, breathless cries, hyperventilating, curling into the foetal position… you get the idea.

Yesterday, the guilt set in. Why should I feel like this? I don’t deserve it… etc, etc, etc…

Today, I’m angry. I was angry anyway, but then I read this post at Semi-Fertile, and it got me thinking.

Specifically about the Baby Bonus, and the ART bill.

A year or three ago, the Australian government decided that our population was in decline. Politicians of the day were standing up telling us all that we should have “one for Mum, one for Dad and one for the Country”.


If this wasn’t bad enough, they then decided that the parent/s of every baby born, would receive a $5000 “baby bonus”. No questions, no means testing, no guarantee that it would ever be spent on the actual baby and not a fancy plasma screen… just a “Bonus”. For being able to reproduce.


That was hard enough to handle.

Now I am very fortunate to live in a country that has a good health system, which, up until recently has made IVF if not reasonably priced (basic stim cycles are still $4500 AUD up front, but we do get some of this back from the government), then at least achievable for people, but not without some serious financial stability and planning.

Earlier this year, the new government (who kept the baby bonus, albeit with some minor modifications) decided that those Big, Bad, IVF Doctors, were RIPPING OFF all those women who decided to have careers first, only to find out later on that “whoops, I’m infertile now, never mind, IVF will fix me right up”. These Big Bad IVF Doctors were earning Millions! And it was coming from too much government funding!

The government’s solution?

(You have to picture Kevin Rudd saying this)…

In this Budget, the Government will change the [amount of government funding] for a small number of … services[…]

These changes will apply to [people who CHOOSE to use private, rather than high quality, readily available public] obstetrics, assisted reproductive technology (ART), cataract operations, the injection of a therapeutic substance into an eye [whatever that means], hair transplants … and varicose vein treatment.

(My bold).


So, Mr Government, what you’re saying, is that people who have a diagnosed, genuine, heartbreaking inability to conceive children, are ripping off tax payers, along with the bald people and those with varicose veins? Because, ART is an elecive procedure, right?

Yeah, that sounds about right. IVF is never used by ayone who actually needs it. People should just have babies when they’re young, and then they wouldn’t have these problems!

Of course, that makes perfect sense. Although personally, as a tax payer, I’m more worried about all those bogans who are electing to cough out their seventh child , simply so that they don’t have to work to afford their plasma screen and drug habits.

But they’re increasing the population!

Of course, how silly of me.

But those infertiles, you say, they can be dangerous people. Although we already know they have lots of money, because they have all had long, illustrious careers. Let’s make sure that they are SAFE! That they are ENTITLED to make these fickle, selfish decisions to undergo ART. Let’s make them all submit to Criminal Record Check and Child Protection Order scrutiny! And lets charge them for it! We couldn’t possibly give money to criminals now, could we?

OK Mr Government, so you’re also going to start police checking every single new mother or father in Victoria? Including those who have had their previous 5 children removed into protective custody, those who have crawled all the way from the Meth Clinic, and those whose blood alcohol and/or drug levels have seriously harmed their babies?

No, no, just the infertiles.


You, Mr Government, are moronic.

Hello teacher, tell me, what’s my lesson? August 20, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Infertility, Life, Rants.
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Rambly, horrible thoughts.

I’m trying to understand. I’m trying to find out what this *means*

Am I being punished?

I truly don’t believe that I have ever done anything deserving of this. I have faced trials, I have triumphed. N.O.T.H.I.N.G has come easily.

Am I being taught a lesson?

I GET IT! Babies are a gift, a treasure, a precious miracle. They are given to us so that we can give to them.

Why did this (not) happen?

I feel incredibly guilty for being so upset. I feel like I don’t deserve to be miserable. It’s not like it was our last try, its not like we lost embryos, or a baby. I feel like those naive, stupid girls who cry because they didn’t fall pregnant their first month trying.

This is somewhere around month 25.

And in brutal honesty?

I feel a monstrous, wrenching guilt, because I went into this knowingly…

I knew from day one that we would travel a path like this.

But that doesn’t make it any fucking easier to walk along.

I have failed. This is a waste. This is wrong. This is not fair.

5dpiui – aka, the biggest whinge I’ve had in ages. August 12, 2009

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One week tomorrow until I test.

Argh, sooo tired (after 9 hours of sleep). Sooo hungry (after 2 lunches and 4 bottles of water). Sooo Irritable. My memory is ridiculous. I walk into rooms and forget why I’m there. A little crampy still, but really I think I’m just thinking these things into existence. I have really sore sinuses, but its probably just dehydration from the heaters. Freezing here today.

This feels an awful lot like PMS.

I’m sitting at my desk, waiting for the bell to go in ten minutes, and I’m really wondering how I’m going to make it home without  a nap.

Work was completely awful today.

When I was having all these issues at the end of last term (when my teaching partner up and left), I was told that I would have lots more support. Well that hasn’t happened. One of the people I teach with now, who is the coordinator, likes to bring her laptop and her marking into the room with her, meaning that I have to teach and control 40 kids. You can imagine how well that works. I am doing 98% of the load that should be shared by 4 people.

I can never get over how incredibly selfish the kids are. I know that sounds crazy, because of course I am talking about year sevens – teenagers – of course they’re bloody selfish, it’s their job! But they are terrible. They can’t even watch a movie that has been put on for them.Soo self righteous, demanding, and obnoxious.

Whinge Whinge Whinge…

I’m going home to see my husband for the first time since Sunday, and to have a sleep.

an illness. July 29, 2009

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I’m sitting wrapped in a doona, surrounded by a pile of soggy tissues, red eyed, and sniffling. The shaking has subsided, but the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach lingers.

What terrible malady has befallen me?

A pregnancy announcement.

A girl who used to be my best friend. The reasons for the past tense are many, varied and long standing. But she is pregnant, with what must be her honeymoon baby.

She cursed her “stupid, super fertile body” because she “didn’t want it to happen now”.

This illness, makes part of me a bad person. Part of me hates her. Part of me is seething with jealousy. She has PCOS! I should be jumping from the rafters with joy! But I don’t know if I can ever see her again.

She doesn’t know how far along she is. She hasn’t told her parents.

Is every pregnancy announcement going to be like this?

“It will happen when you least expect it”

We’ve paid thousands of dollars, to stick needles into my stomach every day, have a stranger squirt a stranger’s sperm inside me,  to wait with that unique mix of pure hope and dread that only an Infertile’s two-week-wait can bring. Yes, you’re right, if it happens, it will be totally unexpected.

In a small way, she is right, because I don’t really expect that this will ever work.

And that illness makes me reach for fresh tissues.

Empty June 17, 2009

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I had a job interview today, and I was pretty confident that I would get it. It just seemed to fit so well with everything. I have been consoling myself through the past few weeks of misery at work with the fact that I won’t be there next term. With 8 school days of this term left, that is looking unlikely. Obviously the interview didn’t go brilliantly, because I didn’t get the job. This, oddly, for someone who has been in the workforce for 10 years, is a wholly new experience for me. I have never before today interviewed for a job I didn’t get.

Had to go back to Funkytown to clean some crumbs so that we could get our $1000 back. Yes, that is as ridiculous as it sounds. This was our first house, where we lived with our pets, where we got engaged and married. After mentally saying goodbye last time I was there, going back left me with an odd sense of disconnection.

While I was in Funkytown, I visited the Cattle Clinic to get some sort of advice about my knee. Saw Dr Dur0mine, who at first was convinced I was having knee pain because I’m “heavy” (yes, I quote). When he finally understood that it was more acute than that, he diagnosed a probable torn meniscus, and possible torn ligaments. Playing the waiting game.

Driving home, after finally shaking off the headache that had forced a freeway nap on the way down, I got to thinking about the dream I had woken from this morning. In it, my baby son was in a sling at my side.

I am feeling this ’emptiness’ with a lot more focus recently. Zappy and Mixy went some way to filling the void, but with them gone, I am noticing it much more. Having recently found out that our IUI/IVF plans need to be put off for even longer, the emptiness is becoming more painful.

It doesn’t feel right, having lived with my boyfriend –>partner –> fiance, gotten married, then moved in with his parents, then moving to a (part time) long distance relationship, then putting off starting IVF until we’re more stable, then facing work uncertainty on top of things. The very core of my being is reeling with the illogicality of it all.

I have only recently acknowledged my inner need to plan things, to have a goal, and directions. Right now, I’m jumping between a complex series of ruts.

Things I cannot do June 12, 2009

Posted by Natasha in Life, Rants, The Daily Grind.
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There are many things I can do. Things that I even do well. Teach, take photos, cook.

However, I cannot seem to be able to concentrate on deadlines, even when they are looming close. Like tomorrow.

Part of the reason for this, and I am talking about the reports I have to write, in case it wasn’t obvious, is that I really have a problem with the way that we have to write them.

I was having a discussion today with an older teacher, and she was recalling when she used to write reports, they were one page, with tick boxes, and a whole list of skills that a student of that age would be expected to have achieved. There were little tick boxes, never, sometimes, usually, always.

Simple, plain english statements. Parents understood them, kids understood them, and most importantly from my point of view, they made sense. The fact that they wouldn’t take nearly as long as the essays I have to write, is a bonus.

In Victoria, it would appear that we have the best education system in the world. Not a single student ever fails!

This may seem incredible, and of course it is. The reality is, that as teachers, we have lost all power to actually tell a student or their parents that they have failed. Now of course if we’re talking Prep students who have only been in the schooling system for 6 months, of course this is perfectly reasonable.

The problem with this is when we’re talking about middle and senior years students, some of whom are willingly deciding which classes they attend, which teachers they choose to listen to, and which work they choose to do. The choices some of these kids make are none, none and none. The very worst thing we are allowed to say about these students is that they are performing 12 months behind their peers, and they have yet to achieve the expected level. In fact, I would probably be censored for phrasing it so bluntly, and much of the detail would be hidden in some averaged out, standardised ‘dots’.

When it comes to the comments, the style of which was phased in during 2006 in an effort to make teachers write plain English statements that parents could understand, things get even more obscure. The sheer verbosity of what we are required to say, borders on the ridiculous.

In 2007, I had a student, let’s call him Billy.  Billy was of average intelligence, and had demonstrated on one or two occasions that he could actually do the work required of him if he chose to do so. Unfortunately, this was not a choice that he often made. More often than not, he would rock up to class late, with his straggler chronie of the day, and disrupt whatever lesson I had started. He would then open the door (or climb through the window), burst into class, screaming, run around the room, yelling, knocking student’s books off their tables, before sitting down at his seat. There goes ten minutes trying to regain some semblance of order. He would choose this point for a repeat performance, sometimes managing to get another student or two involved. Some variation of this, happened nearly every lesson.

I’m sure it is fairly obvious what his actual achievement was.

His report comment was required to read something like this:

It is difficult to accurately determine Billy’s true level of achievement in Literacy as he has completed very little class work or homework. In testing, he has demonstrated average levels of understanding, and has displayed a limited degree of creativity in his journal writing. Billy discusses with other students the ideas and issues raised in spoken texts that deal with common challenging themes.

In Numeracy, Billy has not yet achieved a satisfactory understanding of the Whole Number, Measurement and Data Analysis areas of study. He has faced problems demonstrating understanding of basic number concepts, including multiplication. He also struggled to apply this knowledge to a real-world context. In class, he has demonstrated a basic understanding of multiplication and basic operations with numbers, and has shown that when he is focussed he can attain good results.

In our Integrated unit related to sustainability, Billy has made progress in his research and analytical skills, through participation in activities related to the *Unit Title* investigation, which examined the extinction of an Australian species. He was able to demonstrate his understanding through a limited range of activities including poster making, model construction and multimedia presentations. Billy is increasing his proficiency and confidence operating unfamiliar scientific equipment.

Now a teacher can probably read between the lines and get a fair idea that young Billy isn’t the best of students. His parents however, in an area of generational poverty, low literacy levels, and low community engagement in education, surely don’t have any understanding of what a day in the classroom with their son is like.

Billy was promoted to the next year level, and the next, and is now one of the most difficult students in the school.

The only thing failing in the Victorian education system, is the system.