sharing, by clearing (tabs)

Sooner or later I’m going to have to learn how to use some of the tools at my disposal.  I can barely use my computer, I’m not sure I could even thread up my sewing machine, and I’m terrified of the new software I need to master.  To reference, graph, and get my shit together. 

I’m so mad at tech.  How will I learn to love her?  Appreciate the good bits.  Get playful with leaning new software.  Play with the wonderful communicative bits.

Like sharing stuff.  That is a cool gift.  Access to all the stuff.  I need to share some:

Here is an awesome article (with some blue language, look out) from Esquire magazine, about Fred Rogers.  The man is a hero.  Apparently there is a new movie coming out about Mr Rogers’ life.  If I was a diligent blogger I’d go find you a link, but I’m due at a school assembly, and my computer is running slow!

Very good resource here, based around Bruce Perry’s Regulate, Relate, Reason, which is some life changing stuff.  Ain’t foolin.

Now here is an article from the Huffington Post, about how we are all checking our smartphones more than we know.  It’s becoming apparent to me that the ‘checking behaviour’ is possibly more an indicator of worrisome stuff than just straight ‘time on screen’ measures.

More on that later.

Hey, anyone lucky enough to be near Sydney in September could go hear Stuart Shanker.  How about all the S’s in that sentence!  Here is a gift from his blog, about defiant children and diagnoses.  

Last year, I had cause to spend a lot of time in an ICU.  I was the family person in charge of an intense scenario.  I am so glad that there are people working to make that scene less weird and terrifying.  

Here is a cool 2 minute video intro to Roots of Empathy.  If you don’t know what  I am talking about, you needa watch it.

I am obsessed with this photo and this bathmat.

The more my iPhone plays music to me and the less I look at it, the better.  Singing rules.

school holidays = best and worst times of a mama’s life!

Hello my friends,

All is sunny and cold on this bit of my island.  We plan a road trip, hubby and gals and I, business mixing with (what I hope will be) some pleasure.  I am struggling because I really would rather my kids looked out the window, bickered and grizzled and “are we there yet?”-ed, but everyone else – from the kids themselves to my goodly husband to the lady who waxes my legs – insists that it’s oK to use devices on road trips.

Aeroplanes – fine.  But road trips?  Through devastatingly beautiful scenery?  Aargh … I cannot find peace around that one.  Not today, at least.  Ask me tomorrow, 5 hours in to the 6 hour drive.

ANYWAY.  Some links for the baby geeks among us.  First, some shame and outrage.  The current government of the USA just seem determined to be the baddies of the world.  Not only did they oppose the WHO’s resolution to support breastfeeding, they bullied Ecuador like a bunch of corporate loving monsters.  I want to be loving to all humanity, really I do.  But if I had the chance to poke the 45th prez in the eye, I’d do it.  If I could shove his cronies into icy river water, I’d do it.  If I could push him down a flight of stairs, I would.  If I’m doing the pushing, shoving and poking out of love for others, does that make it ethically OK?

NOW, in other news, here is a cornucopia of goodness from Stuart Shanker (who I have met, and did not push in a river or poke in the eye, but rather shook his hand) and his Canadian crew.  It is a slew of resources about self-regulation and I think you’ll love ‘em.

Also, a trifecta of resources dealing with the same thing: here is the original report from the London School of Economics, this is an article from the Guardian which summarises the findings,  and here is a recent opinion piece  which references them both.  What are we dealing with?  The case for banning cellphones in schools, and the demonstrated gains in academic performance that would flow from this bravery – especially for poorer performing students.

This is a piece from the Harvard Medical School which celebrates the work of one of their whānau, elevating the importance of mental health care (why, yes!) and this is a youtube video in which Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal theory (which is amazing, important, and brain-achy) is made most understandable.  Enjoy!

 

by the way …

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 12.24.04 PMKia Ora e hoa ma,

Hello friends.

As we honour our pals across the Pacific continuing to raise a loving hell on behalf of the babies that are being caged by Prez#45, (truly: my pal flew from SFO to DC to chant loudly and get arrested.  Bless you, thank you!), those of us in somewhat saner Aotearoa deal with challenges of different sorts.

But we hold you (babies, children, immigrant mothers & fathers).  We wrap our wings around you.  Crikey, I feel an Einstein quote coming on:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Life is holy and complex, as it is mundane and relentless.  The clock is a tyrant, and relationships are everything.

Anyway, friends, today’s picture is of the most recent issue of OHbaby! magazine, which holds two articles that I am proud to have written.  One is about Respect, the other about toddler development.  Which are a couple of my favourite subjects.

Other links now:

Here is a lil something from Scientific American, about what babies know, and here is something for all the solo parents out there: a Buddhist perspective on the teachings available just for you.   Meanwhile, this gift is for all parents of every ilk … it’s about self-compassion.  Yikes.

I’d never seen this particular Dan Siegel talk till my gal Pennie Brownlee sent me the link earlier in the week … I am grateful!  (You will be too) … and it is kinda cool how a seemingly unrelated link from a seemingly unrelated source (my dear friend and superstar of academic pediatrics, sharing this piece about Ubuntu) is so in harmony it’s not even funny.

There’s no “me”, y’all.
Or even a y’all, y’all.
It’s all about “we”.

Somehow the coincidence of receiving both those links on the same day feels like confirmation.

Less perky is this link, shared by another wise woman.  Electrosmog?  Jeez Louise.  Imma learn more about that.  You know I’d be happy to have waaaaaaaaaay less tech in schools, and I certainly think that we oughta teach our young ‘uns to think more critically about the tech they’re using.  For example – how do we teach children to examine the news for potential biases?

Take a break from the screens, homies.   And consider different ways of using tech – LOVE the work of Tristan Harris and chums, and here is another effort to rejig the current scene.

Finally, a cool fact I did not know about breast milk, specifically how it changes along with a mother’s circadian rhythm.

Not enough o’s in cool, baby.

BYO sunshine, outrage, action & poetry

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

Warm soup and winter sunshine.  What a joy it is to be alive when you’re fortunate in the birth lottery (yay, NZ in the 70′s!  Yay!  Thanks Papatuanuku!) but jeepers, mate, there is lameness and horror a-plenty.  I was just crapping on to my big brother over coffee a few days back about how if we could just ask all scenarios an overarching question (be the scenario designing a town hall, or prioritising health funding, or creating immigration policy) all would shift.

The question:
What would this mean for babies?

Whatever it is.  Going for a walk.  Approving an irrigation scheme.  Consent processes and elected officials would all have to prove how their decisions impact babies.  Most parents are pretty good at considering how their decisions impact their own babies (“if we stay for dinner, what does that mean for our bedtime routine?”), so we must now all consciously expand to our infuse all our decisions, large and small, with babyhood.

Because if it’s good for babies, it’s good for everyone (friends!  You know why!  Because attachment and neurobiology and human potential.  Because overstimulation and pace and wellbeing.  That’s why!

The only group I can think of who will suffer if we truly prioritise infant wellbeing are those with financial interests in selling nonsense to babies’ families.

And they can stuff off, anyway.

We have a rare opportunity here, because our Prime Minister just gave birth to her first child.  Well done, Jacinda!  And now you get to view decisions large and small through a lens you didn’t even know existed.  None of us knew, till we knew.  Welcome.  Nau mai, haere mai.  Welcome, Baby Neve, to the world.  And welcome, Jacinda, to motherhood.

raise your hand if you’re fed up

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 12.35.10 PMKia Ora my friends.  Here is the image that accompanies the Proceedings of the 2nd International Neurosequential Model Symposium from 2016.  Y’all, I was there!  I presented (and sobbed.)  And guess whose scrappy l’il piece closes out this auspicious document?  Can you even stand it?  Because I’m not sure I can!

Now I need to share some links, before my cranky old bones prohibit any more computer work.  First, get ready for outrage, and then please share it with at least a half-dozen of your pals in education.  This is an article about the way that Google has infiltrated schools and is making loyal clients of children, and praps it’d be a good time to brush up on the ways that a Google search is not a neutral beast.  How many of the children googling away in their classrooms today know this?  How many of their teachers have even considered it?

NOW, then: check this out … from PC Mag, no less, making the case for less tech in classrooms.  It exposes that same notion: that tech in schools is for the benefit of advertisers and companies, not children.  UGH.  And LOOK at the lengths that tech companies will go to, distancing themselves from the idea that they have a part to play in child wellbeing: “Our children’s apps aren’t directed at children.”  PARASITES.   We simply must share the truth about the ways that we (and worse, our kids) are being manipulated!  Love you, Tristan Harris!!

For resources, info, inspiration and community in the fight against such nonsense, please behold the proceedings from the first Children’s Screen Time Action Network conference.  I know, you gotta get online.  Irony is a funny gal.  And ALL HAIL Maryland, who seems to be leading the way in having legislative challenge to the “all-tech, all-the-time” school landscape.

Instead, we gotta emphasise what children need.  They need time with their family (mate, I LOVE this article ….) They need actual humans to read them stories.   They need adults to pay attention to what they actually need!  And they need schools that do more than just market to them.

Meanwhile, we need to spend time offline (quiet time alone, every day!  SWOON!) we need to resist the pace of the on-demand lifestyle, we need a bloody good night’s sleep, and we need community.

An article here from Mothering with a new take on the ACE study, and this is a link to an article I wrote aaaaages ago, for our pals at OHbaby! mag.

a wildly satisfying life!

What’s up party people?  Kia Ora te whānau!

I have just committed an act which could be described as mildly rebellious OR exceptionally sensible, depending upon yer point of view.  When I could have (should have?) been hitting the books I was, instead, undulating my spine with the exceptional Kelle Rae Oien, who has been in NZ teaching.  How lucky am I!?!  Such joy.  So sweaty!

I adore her language when she expresses her desire for her students to live lives that are wildly satisfying.  Wildly satisfying!  I dig that contrast.  It’s like … passionately content.  Enthusiastically calm.  Playfully satiated.  Wildly satisfying.  Yeah, imma keep that one!

What else?  Just had mother’s day … probably a good time to share this excellent article from Harper’s Bazaar about emotional labour (aka invisible labour, aka mental load, aka kin keeping).  Oh, young women, study before you procreate!  The mental and practical energy that it takes to keep the home fires burning while you’re committing the audacious act of betterment is something that you cannot possibly know, yet.

Casserole, school trip, reference list.  Dishes, flu shots, literature review.  Wha …?

Now, some links.  Let’s clear a few tabs before I do battle with the referencing software.  I know, I know, that is NOT the attitude.  Not doing battle with, playing with!  I’ll play with it…

First … here is an article that freaked me right out.  It’s about the ways that millennial parents are raising their children.  I could weep.  The needs of human infants have not changed, just cos our technology has.  Interesting that the writer acknowledges the longing that “parennials” (millennial parents, apparently) have for simpler times.

Meanwhile, from the Atlantic, another look at the tech habits of parents.  This deserves multiple and repeated reads, cos I tell you what, it’ll take you to some terrifying places.  Like this and this.

And you know the bit that kills me, crazy baby lady that I am?  There is this cyclic thing going on, where new motherhood seems “boring”, and sure enough the literature points to women going online (eg during the intimate act of breastfeeding) because they are bored and seeking distraction.  But by succumbing to the distraction, mothers aren’t practicing SEEING their babies.  Really seeing them.  And we know that with older kids, the distraction leads to child misbehaviour, which leads to parental dissatisfaction, which makes a big’ol’ downward spiral of technoference.

Boredom? What would happen if we could sit quietly with that, and even lean into it.  Incredible things happen when we let ourselves just go with the tricky things that motherhood offers us – even exhaustion!  (My struggles with describing invisible labour – what do those struggles offer me?  I’ll report back!)

I remember when my girls were babies, (1 pre-, 1 post- smartphone) people would confess to being bored/lonely at home with their infants, and I would think that if they could only see their babies as the exceptional scientists, sociologists and artists that they are, and if we honoured the power of home visiting as transformative in the lives of families, then mamas would be neither bored nor lonely.  There is something afoot with our culture that we deny so many people the chance to KNOW babies before they become parents themselves, then we physically isolate new mothers (now with a damaging tool for adult communication/distraction at their fingertips) and all the while we radically undervalue infants (and therefore parents).

Anyway, I gotta get dinner sorted before school pick up.  We do a Meat Free Monday, and I try and make it extra delicious, so my omnivorous family won’t grouse.  Also, it’s swimming lesson day for little girl, so time’s a-wasting.

Quick round up of the tabs I need to clear … an article from NZ’s Stuff website about the Modern Learning Experiment.  I’m far from convinced, especially about the “screens for all!” attitude of it all.  A couple more things about schools: this from Sir Ken Robinson (oh, hell yes!  Dance is as important as mathematics!) and I would also like to share a quote that has been rocking my world:

“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”


― Chris HedgesEmpire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

LOVE THAT.

For no good reason, read about an inspiring, alternative method of farming, here.  Here is a gorgeous blog post about childrens’ spontaneous singing , and finally, an article from Mothering magazine, about missing your mother.  I posted a comment at the end of the piece which I’m kinda disappointed the author hasn’t acknowledged.  Maybe she doesn’t know how to.  I will keep a compassionate heart.  But only just.

 

quick and squinty

Geeks!

I have a bit of a headache and I suspect tech use is not helping.  Eyes are unhappy, so I’ll make this snappy.  Damn, I’m poetic under pressure!

K: so, let’s begin and end with podcasts, shall we?  The first one I have listened to already – it’s good.  From the Urban Monk podcast, with our new pal Dr. Freed.  IT was a response to this awesome article on Medium, which we’ve linked to previous like.

While we are reviewing the need for caution around familial tech use, check out this article from the Atlantic, wondering how much we know about the tech habits of parents.  I’ve been doing a TON of reading on this very topic, now that I have university library privileges (WHOOP!! WHOOP!!).

This is why we are joining in on Screen Free Week – at least some family members are.  We just seem to need to be reminded about other stuff we love doing.  Lego!  Cross stitch!  Playing guitar!

I get the irony that I am online posting this during said week, but I’m at least trying to clear tabs before children return home.  And this is not entirely entertainment media.  So there.

Here is an article from Scientific American about implicit bias (cos, why not?) and this is a link to an abstract for a paper about doing postgrad study with a title that made me smile.

And check out the smartypants commenter on this article from Mothering magazine.  Oh wait, that’s me …

While we’re talking parental leave and Mothering mag, here is an article about the attitudes of women around the world maternity leave laws in the US.  Mate.  I shake my head.  If a culture isn’t cherishing mamas and babies, that is called Devolution.

Finally, to get us back on track, behold the wisdom and wonder of Dr. Dan Siegel, interviewed here on the Doctor Paradox podcast.  This is the one I haven’t listened to yet, but will tend to that tomorrow during school hours!  Thanks to the lovely Dr. C for this link.

becoming my own wife

Kia Ora my lovelies,

This beautiful picture accompanies an article I wrote for the fine folk at Family Times magazine.  The article can be found here, I hope you will enjoy it.

It’s very, very cold in NZ this week.  Autumn just decided to be Winter, for a few days.  We have had snow, sleet and gales and we’ve all busted out our puffy jackets.  At my house, I’ve relocated my laptop from my office (separate building, poorly insulated and fairly freezing) to the main abode.  Here I can keep a potbelly stove alight in the kitchen, and just now I lit the main firebox in the living room as well.  I know!  Bad ass!

I do this despite knowing I have electric forms of heat available, but my rural setting gives me permission to burn wood freely, and my state of self-wifing means I delight in performing these loving acts of care and nurture.  When I gather yet another heavy basket full of firewood, I do it as an act of love.  When I empty ashes a la Cinderella, it is as a gift to my future self.  As I vaccuum the inevitable trail of wood bits and sawdust, it is because I recognise my own right to pass the evening without crap stuck to my socks.

For weeks (years!) I have been grousing about my lack of a wife, (I know, greedy … because I want to keep my husband …) and sometimes I’m fairly jealous of my husband, because he has one.  So I’ve decided to imagine that I am my own wife.  In contrast to lots of the thinking I usually do about Self (or lack thereof!)  I am mucking around with the notion of compartmentalising my time – here I am at my desk, researching and writing.  Here I am folding a load of towels just so, so desk-self doesn’t have to worry about that domestic task.  Worker me, wifely me.  Both equally valuable.

Righty ho … I will now do the baby geek thang, and that is to share a variety of interesting links with you.

First, a news report about some important research highlighting the way that parental distraction by cell phones interrupts a child’s language learning abilities.  YIKES.   Tech is a risk to children in other ways, tooski, like YouTube stealing childrens’ data.  Classy.

Next, a TED talk about neuroplasticity, and LOOK!  The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne has issued another of their excellent Policy Briefs, this one about the first 1000 days of a child’s life.

Now an article from Scientific American, about being a scientist and a mother  at the same time (I know, radical!) and that led to this piece by the same author about conferences and provision for breastfeeding mothers.

Here is a blog post advocating for sane social media policy in schools … love it.  I want to quote a paragraph from this and ask you to substitute”Social media”, “Facebook” and “tweet” in the following with “SeeSaw”, which is an app showing up in schools and EC centres in NZ.  I’m not a fan.  (I’m also not a fan of an education strategy which aims to put digital devices in the hands of all 6 year olds, but I’ll save that convo for another day).

Here goes:

Finally, when teachers or administrators are using social media in the classroom or at school activities, it models the addictive, life-negating behavior that we don’t want our kids to emulate. If teachers are looking for social media opportunities during the school day, then they are being distracted from the face-to-face, in-person contact that defines classroom education. Taking a selfie with a student, however well-meaning, conveys that the moment is less significant than the Tweet. Sad. I want my kid to feel that what she’s accomplished in class matters in its own right, even if it is not posted to Facebook!

 

I know plenty of y’all are keen on SeeSaw, and will disagree with me, and that’s OK … let’s discuss.

the stress of abundance

Kia ora te whānau.  What’s up?

This time of the year is achingly beautiful … clear, calm blue skies and leaves just beginning to colour.  But holy ravioli I feel the pressure to make good use of the masses of fruit and produce.  Corn, beets, peaches, apples, beans, tomatoes, pears, zucchini (aka courgettes).  All that.  I’m cooking and gifting and breathing deep.

The gorgeousness is tinged with the awareness that winter is gearing up, which makes these indoor jobs more difficult.  Office – as much as I love you, I just long to be pottering outside with the sun on my back!  Weeding, watering, hanging washing.  Whatever.

Soon enough, self.  Soon enough.

Meanwhile, let me throw some links your way.  See what speaks to you, where your head’s at.  Mine has been expanding – creaking and groaning as I ask it to perform new and different tasks.  After years perfecting speedy task-switching (tending to the interruptions of childhood and honing skills of responding to everchanging needs) I’ve been attempting to sit quietly and think deeply.  IT IS HAAAAAAARD.

So what a treat to end this posting moment with a flurry of quick thoughts (this is a comfy place!)

First up – I don’t think I’ve shared this yet.  It is excellent viewing, well worth your time.  It’s another webinar from the fine folk at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, this one calling attention to the way that the burden of tech overuse seems to sit disproportionately on the shoulders of families at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.  OUCH.

Now an article from the Washington Post urging us to stop spreading Math Anxiety.  Speak your love numbers and all the dances they perform!

This is interesting, from MIT.  It’s an indepth look at language development and the researchers use brain scans to draw attention to the ways that interactional back-and-forth is the true gold, in terms of early development and trajectory setting, it’s not just the number of words a kid hears.  We’ve spent years admiring that important research re: word count, and this adds nicely to it.  Cool.

A little family of alarming tech things, now.  First, a piece from Richard Freed about the tech industry’s psychological war on kids, next an expansion on one of the ideas therein, about the science of persuasion in app design, and finally an article from Stuff to put it all in a real-life, actual-human context (thanks Stats Geek).

And I end with a massive gift – the coolest and most inspiring thing I’ve read in a while, about a longitudinal adult health study at Harvard.  “Good genes are nice, but joy is better”.  Oh, hell yes!!  x x x

joy. ease.

Kia Ora geeks.

Those are my words du semain … the concepts I’m looking for in decisions great and small.  How do I increase joy?  And can I find ease in this?  Amazing what it does to a day.

I will increase joy if I can share some links with y’all before cooking a nutritious dinner for my peeps.  So here they come …

First, from the Atlantic, an article about the complex lives of babies.  Blank slates they are not!  Next, from Slate, a review of a book which encourages parents to consider a more German method of parenting (ie, let them roam!).  I appreciate that the review acknowledges the conundrum for folk who consider a parenting method which sits well outside of their own cultural norms.  Ouchie.

Here is a 20 minute interview from RNZ National’s Jessie Mulligan, about the science of perfect timing.  INTERESTING.  And HOORAY for the rise of the ol’ fashioned board game!  I’m in!

This is cool, from Harvard Medical School.  “Nature, meet nurture!”.

And an excellent perspective from the NY Times about teens and sexuality and pressure and sexism and the need to talk to both boys and girls, instead of just holding the girls responsible.  It’d be easier for girls to resist sending nude pictures if boys didn’t ask in the first place!  Right on!