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!

link slam

Here we go … cos I’ve gotta go meet the school bus in a jiff, but I’ve also gotta share links with my geeky pals.

Nice article here about treating children with respect, and now won’t you behold this splendid long read from the Guardian about the diabolical genius of the baby advice industry.  (hehe)

This is an interesting paper about education and the 4th industrial revolution (ie tech) and I simply love the pushback against neoliberalism.  Says the woman who had to pay for fees at university when her parents’ generation did not.

Here is a summary of the AAP’s screen time recommendations for children under 6, and it sure as heck does not include social media for kids.  Tim Cook from Apple gets it, while Mark Zuckerberg clearly does not.  Please sign this petition  to tell him that you reckon Facebook for 5 year olds is a crap idea.   In fact, if you wanna, you could go ahead and use this awesome resource for creating a family screen time action plan.

Some cool stuff now: a post about the joy of making do (OH!  I get this! Love!), here is an awesome paper about doing good to feel good, and now from the NY Times, a piece about the benefits of having a purpose in life.  

How about some amazing birth photos?  Thanks OHbaby.  Last one, cos little girl is home and we need to hang out.  This is a crazy article from our hot NZ summer about how parents are so distracted by their flippin cell phones that kids are drowning.  For the love of everything that’s holy.  Turn the sucker off when poolside!

new year, new links

Image result for felt nz bubbles

Highlight of the summer thus far: giant bubbles.  (thanks, Bubbleon)

Sisters!  Brothers!  Geeks of all breadths and hues … welcome.

This geek has been attempting something akin to a holiday … a staycation, in the modern vernacular.  I’d like to pretend it’s been all drinks-with-umbrellas and joyful laughter, but the truth is much crunchier than that.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall of other homes, to see what happens when nobody’s watching.  Are other mothers as grouchy as I?  Do other husbands retreat to their devices as quickly as mine?  Are other 5 year olds as swift to dissolve into rage as my daughter is?  And what of the other teens?  Are their eyerolls as accomplished?

I do believe that it’s too easy for us to imagine the best of others and the worst of ourselves, when the more useful thing would be to offer the same compassion to ourselves (and our spouses, our children, heck … even our slow-to-mature potato plants!) that we routinely offer to others.

You know what helps me?  Yoga.  January means 30 days of yoga with Adriene.  I’ve done 3 of these challenges before, and they are DIVINE.  This year is no exception.  Check ‘er out here. LOVE YOU, ADRIENE kiss kiss x x x   I’m up to day 12 and finding such joy.

Anyway, alongside my attempts at holidaying, the year thus far has been a time to work on getting ducks in a row for the new year.  I have study in my future, research to do, issues that I’d like to sit and stare at.  I need to think deeply for weeks at a time.  The trickiness emerges when us mamas have hopes for our lives beyond parenting (be it work, advocacy, study, training of one kind or another) and then parenting rises up – daily, repeatedly, at least a half dozen times already during this itty bitty post.

The constancy of interruption in my life is one of the consistencies thereof.  Irony!  Hi!  How’s it going?

And listen: the fight for our own attention is one of the reasons I continue to oxygenate the battle against the dominance of the screens, especially with regards to our kids.  Please: behold this webinar “Screen Time & Family Relationships“, brought to you by the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, and starring Dr. Richard Freed.   I watched it live (ok, I put some laundry away as well …I’m still working to break the multitasking habit, oK?) but watch it NOW!  And join the Network, it’s free.

Other links, then I’m off down the river with my peeps.

The same beautiful peeps who challenge and berate and INTERRUPT me.  I will try to find something new in each of them, today.  Esther Perel  would insist!

This is from Zero to Three, and it’s some sobering data about how little most people report to know about early brain development.  Still got work to do, homies.  Speaking of work to do, this is one take on the early childhood education scene in NZ at the mo.  Factory Farms.  Sigh.

Here is a link from Mothering, describing Pope Francis and his healthy attitude to breastfeeding.  And this is a link to an article I wrote for OHbaby! a while back.   Did I tell yiz about the most recent issue and the work I did in there?  Might have to share that laters.  That is a special magazine, y’know.  The calibre of editors is second to none!

As we put the final shovels of earth onto the grave of 2017, I must acknowledge the beauty of this writing by Emily Writes for the Spinoff (so good) on the subject of parenting at Christmas time.  I tried to create a similar type of comradery the previous Christmas, just with different words y’know.  And as January chugs along, I once again wish to raise a toast to the kin keepers, because we are sorting school uniforms, assessing the state of the 1B4′s (how many can be reused?  How many must be bought?) and sniffing lunchboxes.  Repairing zips on backpacks, stocking up on socks.  Unseen.  Undervalued.

Is it any wonder we can get a bit worn down and cynical, hmmm?

If you ain’t feeling the new year, check out these 5 ways to get motivated.  If you can muster the enthusiasm to click the link, that is.

Tuesday cruiseday

I’ve been working on a collaborative writing project, but today I’ve been stood up by my writing partner!

Instead of fretting, I’m embracing.  Feels like an unexpected day off, to catch up on stuff like updating the ol’ bloggity blog (Kia Ora!) and I just might fold some washing and do a bit more work on an article I’ve been slogging away at.

Oooooh … or I could unroll my mat and indulge some sneaky online practice: Yoga with Adriene, I love you.    What would you do with some unexpected hours to yourself?

First, please enjoy some links from your geeky friend (that’s me).

First, another angle on the importance of relationship.  This is from the folks at Harvard Medical School and it touches on the value of existing relationships between patients and doctors.  You don’t say … !

Here is a link to a piece by the Scientific American summarising some interesting findings from (their descriptor, not mine!) a Giant Brain Fest.   And even though they shouldn’t have to, here is some info about the ways that the American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating for children to have access to recess (we’d call it ‘playtime’).

Here is a li’l something from Mothering mag, about the ways that loving touch can alter an infant’s DNA,  and HERE is a piece from the Atlantic about Tristan Harris, who I love.  He founded the “Time Well Spent” movement, and he is like Jamie Oliver promoting healthy eating to fast food lovers … except the fast food is addictive technology, and his name is Tristan, not Jamie.  But still … you get my analogy, eh?

I love how they use WMD – not as “Weapons of Mass Destruction” as that abbreviation has historically been used, but as “Wireless Mobile Devices”, with the destructive potential implied.

Also, same but different, this from the Guardian … a piece about a rehab in Washington State for those addicted to tech.

Finally, a sweet video from the lovely outgoing editor of OHbaby! mag, Ellie.  Enjoy x x x

things I get to do …

Alrighty … so the power of language is well documented (*never more enjoyably than in THIS EPISODE of the podcast “On Being”) and just lately I’ve been playing with “get to” instead of “have to”, or “should”.

I have to feed the calf.  I have to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I should weed my veggie garden.  I should write that essay.

I get to feed the calf.  I get to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I get to weed my veggie garden.  I get to write that essay.

Reminds me to have gratitude for the blessings that are wrapped up in those sentences.  Reminds me to look for the blessings.

Quick link dump, then.

Fab article here about the many and unexpected benefits of teaching kids philosophy in schools (YUM!!)  Even pro-business publications are making the case for it!

Parents want some life skills in schools, too, apparently.  Could we categorise philosophising as a life skill?  Man, teachers are going to be busy.

Good paper here, balanced and calm writing about adolescents and tech.  FLIP.   We gotta set some limits.

(OH MY GOODNESS it works here too.  Instead of “We have to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use …We get to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use.  Empowering.  Yeah!)

Anyway, This is a quote from that aforementioned paper:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project Foundation synthesized results from their survey of over 1000 technology stakeholders and critics in a report with the less-than-decisive, but I think ultimately accurate, title of “Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives”

 

Here is a list of scary things about the internet (with an outdated Halloween theme.  Sorry.)  And here is an article by a doctor from Harvard about what parents need to know (*Get to know!!) about children and mobile digital devices.  Kids and cellphones.  Y’know.

I read this some years ago, but it’s still great … and for some reason, this week it recrossed my path so, SHARE I shall.  Wild Play.  God, I loved the book Savage Park.

In other news, I was super proud of the kiwi doctor who has had self care put in the medical oath.  Is it called Hippocratic?

Finally, for joy’s sake:

Flower beards: I love them SO MUCH.