Springtime is lovely in this garden. These past couple of weeks I have spent many blissful minutes under various blossoming trees, eyes closed, breathing deep, smelling sweet smells and hearing the productive meditation that is the buzzing of bees.
Another blessing of spring is the excuse to hang out in my glasshouse. I’ve gotten some seeds started for the year (bit slow, actually, compared to my neighbours!) but nonetheless I relish the opportunity to go watering in there. It gets so parched in my glasshouse that when I water I can sometimes fake the most beautiful smell in the world, aka petrichor. Here is legendary Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly
performing his song of that name.
What else? Some brain stuff: here is a gorgeous website, Knowing Neurons, and this is a nice li’l cellular research update from the good folk at Harvard Check ‘er out!
And tech stuff … an article about the ways children’s social interactions are being warped, and this is an article about the case against teaching kids to be polite to AI. The number of homes in the USA using devices like Alexa is staggering. This is a worry: Canadian parents wanting to opt out from having their kids participate in the google-ification of classrooms are finding it difficult to do so. Here is a report going deeper into the the ways that tech companies discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy. Deceived by design!
AND THIS!!! A report about the impact of persuasive design on childhood. Crikey.
Don’t wait till next year’s screen free week: reclaim your weekend right now! (and you might wanna register for the next free webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network). Irony of connection via a screen is acknowledged!!
More goodness here: I love the TRUCE toy guides, and this is one especially for infants and toddlers, this is a newsletter with an adolescent focus from our pals at Brainwave, and I flippin love these images of working archeologists doing their thing with their pregnant bellies along for the ride!
Here is a cool book to encourage confidence in our girls, this is an episode of the NPR show Planet Money with a focus on female computer coders (where’d they all go?) and here is a report from Ohio about a concept I used to dream about: our young folk and our older folk all together.
Home stretch: a resource from the Center for the Developing Child about the impact of early adversity on child development, an article for dads of daughters, and I love this piece from by Lauren Porter published in Natural Parent Magazine, about infant sleep.
Finally: hooray to Jacinda at the UN. Kei te whakakake matou ki a koe!! We are so proud of you.
(and Clarke … Hi, it’s me. Your cool auntie. The one who has been reading & thinking & learning about babies for decades. I only say this because I love you, and I want what’s best for Neve and therefore her parents and therefore the ever-outward-rippling circles of humanity … it’s cute to quip intimate moments of family life as a contrast to the formality of moving in diplomatic circles, but honey, what you did there with your whole “cute alert: busted watching late-night TV” thing is make a joke about the equivalent of blowing second hand smoke in baby Neve’s face.
And I know you don’t mean to do that, and you kinda get a pass because you’re bearing the brunt of being the cocoon to this precious infant in strange places with uncanny time zones and YOU GO, you’re doing great. But honey, remind me when I see you, we need to talk about infant regulation.
People are going to be looking to you, Clarke, as first Dad of Aotearoa, and it’s not cool to make light of the casual saturation of babies into a digital world which held no regard for their wellbeing, in design nor implementation.
You get a pass, you’re traveling. I’ve done that, with babes. It’s tough. Look, we all make comprimises between what we want/need and what our baby wants/needs, but if you’d read what I’ve been reading about the scale and extent of the potential harm done when parents don’t limit their digital use in the presence of their children – especially their babies – you would keep this joke among your close friends, and you’d model skilful behaviour for the benefit of the watching public.
New parents have to amend their digital habits. We don’t smoke inside the house, and we don’t consume digital media like we did before this baby arrived. Cool auntie says: Not in our family. We are world leaders now, Jacinda has made it so. And, Clarke! You are the first Dad of Aotearoa! So let’s be a bit more careful how we talk about a habit, in this case the casual consumption of entertainment media, that will be come to be thought of, if not like tobacco, like alcohol.
My grandad was given whiskey when he was an infant, he survived. Neve will survive this too! I’m not giving you a hard time, Clarke. I’m telling you cos I love yiz. Just come over and stay and we can talk all about it. But wait till my dining room repaint is finished, K? xx