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Not much to report today.  Our food was just the same as yesterday, except I used a splonge (terribly accurate scientific term, don’t you know) of peanut butter in tonight’s stir fry.  Yum!

D and I are obviously adjusting to less food, as we both haven’t felt quite as hungry as yesterday.

Today I took Eloise to her usual Wednesday playgroup.  It’s a music-based group which is loads of fun, and very noisy.  I’m not sure which one of us enjoys it more!  It costs $50 a term ($5 a session), and today I was reflecting on how fortunate my daughter is.  I don’t take her along to these things because I think they will make her smarter (And if anyone says baby groups will, they are selling something.  Don’t buy into the spin, all you Mums out there!).  I take her so she can socialise, learn some songs, watch the other babies and toddlers, and so I can laugh as she tries to eat all the musical instruments I put in her hand. Plus it gets me out of the house!

When you live below the line there is no extra money for things like playgroups.  In New Zealand there is a huge push to try and get those living in poorer areas to participate in early childhood education, because so many children living in poverty don’t – even though the government provides 20 free hours a week of childcare for 3-4 year olds.  The reasons for this non-participation are extremely complex, and all I can say on the matter is that more desperately needs to be done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all children are going to suffer if they don’t go to kindy.  There are loads of kids out there in the world that didn’t, who are probably Nobel Prize winners.  But my daughter will go to school knowing how to play with others, how to pay attention to the teacher, how to hold a pencil, how to hold a book.  Many New Zealand children start school without any of these basic skills (I have many Primary School Teachers in my life who will verify this) because they’ve never participated in any kind of early childhood education programme, and there’s certainly no money at home for frivolities such as books.  Living below the line can mean you are two (or ten) steps behind everyone else when you start school.  

So today I am so grateful for the education I had.  That my parents had.  For the opportunities that I can give my daughter.  For D who works hard to provide for us so that I can stay at home with my daughter and take her to playgroups.

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