Thankful for … Los Amberleys

Kia Ora Friends

The weekend has almost evaporated.  I’m trying hard to get a bit of rest in, after a huge day of cooking a thanksgiving feast for our half-American family.  The trees and pollen of late springtime are having their way with my respiratory system, and I could use a lie down!  Later, I promise.

SO: we had a buzz-out about all sorts of stuff at the Amberley Medical Centre’s forum last week, and – as promised - here is an intro to Temperament research, and here is an assessment scale.  More on that later!

Here is a talk by Bruce Perry, thanks be to YouTube, and if you’d like to muck around with the “think of child rearing in terms of what our ancestors did” idea, I recommend “The World Until Yesterday” by Jared Diamond, and “The Continuum Concept”, by Jean Liedloff.

**AND … I”m adding these in later … here are a couple of pieces I’ve written on the concept of Good Enough Parenting.  This is from the Newsletter of the Brainwave Trust,  and this was written for OHbaby! magazine.  ENJOY **

Better go, as I am trying to model healthy screen habits.  That’s step one, peeps.  A great book on this topic is “The Big Disconnect”, that’s your homework!

disasters: natural and unnatural

Another natural disaster has had its way with my community.  Thanks a lot, Rūaumoko.

So I’m gonna share this excellent resource again – the Open Letter to the carers of  Infant/Toddlers.  The mums and dads and others looking after the small humans.  It was produced by IMHAANZ (the Infant Mental Health Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand).  There is another, equally awesome, on their website.  It deals with sleep and it is here.

We will be well advised to learn how to respond intelligently to trauma.  If in doubt, check back with Bruce Perry and the Child Trauma Academy. 

And do some yoga.  After all, the body keeps the score.

nearly November

geez.  I know everyone says time speeds up as we age, but this year is beyond ridiculous, isn’t it?

I can feel myself on the verge of becoming one of those people who just keeps the Christmas decorations up, year round.  Because I’ve barely put all the tinsel into its boxes and back in the barn … and it’s time to get it all out again!

Anyway, my geeky brothers and sisters.  There are plenty of links I’d like to share with y’all today.  Here they come, with no particular order and no promise of snazzy segways in between …

A couple of foodie bits first, this about children’s ‘pester power’ when it comes to the marketing of junk food, and this one wondering about the alleged secrets to getting children to eat their vegetables.

This is a report from our Families Commission, back in 2013, reviewing evidence of efficacy for parenting programmes targeted at supporting vulnerable parents, and here is a similar (albeit more recent) effort from the UK.  Meanwhile, this is what the state government in Western Australia is up to, to help vulnerable families.

What else?  Um … Here is the You Tube channel of Stony Brook University’s Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics.  We’ll never run out of stuff to view, eh?

This link will take you to a publication from the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s about virtual violence (and children’s exposure to it …) AND here is something v useful from the Australian Council for Educational Research.  It’s going to be very useful for classroom teachers, it’s about the implications of exposure to trauma.  Speaking of trauma (aren’t we always?) this is a link to a useful website about such thangs.

Finally, from the magnificent Center for the Developing Child, a paper about using the Science of child development in Child Welfare systems.

thinking out loud … why ‘Self Care’ is vital, and ‘Me Time’ is gross

Whaddup geeks?

Happy holidays to the kiwi families.  I’ve a list of jobs as long as my person, but I’m as happy as a clam about it, because most of them speak to my hermit like tendencies.  Clean the glasshouse?  Happy to.  Muck out the calf’s stall?  No worries.

Go to the supermarket?  Awwwwwwww … Can’t someone else do it?

So yesterday I had an excellent lunch and rant and conversation with some hard working and wise education legends in North Canterbury.  While we were examining the woes of the world (I was possibly blahing about the impact on child development of growing up in a society whose leadership values measures of GDP more than indicators of Human Flourishing)  I laid on the table my profound dislike of the phrase “Me Time” … and my seemingly paradoxical, overwhelming passion for Self Care.

“They are not the same thing.  One is about indulgence, the other is about nurture.” I offered. And the women agreed, adding that there is an element of separation in one that is not necessary in the other.

I will be back to this.

I’m not done.  But for now I need to get some firewood in and do a spot of forward bending.  Yoga is self care, you know.  Not me time.

I wonder

sept tots teens eleanor wonderHello friends, Kia Ora e hoa ma

A couple of things to update before I go heat up leftovers and pick some silverbeet leaves to throw on top (oooh, exotic!).  I was supposed to go to the fruit and veg shop today but when I pulled up outside I discovered I left my wallet at home.  Durrr.   It’s times like this I love my huckery old silverbeet plants.

But that’s not the point.

I wanted to share this cool link from the Lammily doll people about the creation of their new, realistic boy doll, and please enjoy this delicious gift from the folks at TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment) … this about using books to spark play.  

This is a link from the LA Times about the fear raising of a nature-phobic generation (not here.  Not yet.  Thank God(dess)…) AND you will see in today’s picture that Little Girl is reading the latest issue of Tots to Teens, which features a wee article I wrote.

I wonder what it’s about.  I’m being silly.  It’s about Wonder.

Finally, a giant shout out to my friend and colleague (*frolleague?) Sarah Best.  She is a writer, a teacher, and a like minded play enthusiast who spent her birthday weekend here with her husband, staying with my family.  Arohanui!!  x x x

Playcentre, baby

Kia Ora Geeks, what’s up?  So Little Girl and I started our week with a beautiful visit to the Playcentre in Leithfield.  I wanted to follow up with a few links from our conversation there.

First: May I say how much I love Playcentre as a movement, a philosophy, and a thing in general.  It’s uniquely kiwi, supportive of families (therefore is grounded in Bioecological theories of human development, whoop whoop!) and it is a monument to play.  And play rules.  That’s that. As I told the lovely Kate, who is writing about the morning for a Playcentre publication, being in a Playcentre makes me proud to be a New Zealander.

I also happen to adore Kay Henson, who runs that Monday morning session at Leithfield Playcentre.  What a lucky little village.  And what lovely, devoted mamas all hanging out that day.  I am grateful to have spent some time with you all.

I see the way you attend so patiently, selflessly, (exhaustedly!) to your settled, loved, inquisitive children.  I see you.

Some of the things I wanted to follow up:

This is a good intro to temperament theory, and, to follow on, here is an article about the concept of Goodness of Fit.  And this article does a lovely job of explaining Self Regulation and highlights the link between it and Goodness of Fit.  Good times!

An extension of our temperament conversation led us into talking about Elaine Aron and her Highly Sensitive Person work.  Check out more here.

A couple of musical links now: first with regards to behaviour.  This is Accentuate the Positive, which is more than just a classic tune.  It’s also a great strategy for dealing with our families.  It’s a behaviour management anthem, about choosing your battles, and celebrating the bits that are going well!

The next musical link is a live version of Dixie Chicken by Little Feat, from the year of our Lord, 1977.  It’s for Dixie and her mama.

What else?  Here is a link to learn more about Madga Gerber, this is a book I highly recommend, this is one of the Buddhist inspired parenting books I wouldn’t live without (I chatted with one mama about this), and won’t you please have a peruse of my writing page for many expansions of some of the topics we discussed.

Finally, this is a random and cool link from Mothering mag about baby birds and the power of song … ooooh.

Speaking of birds, I’m off to give my poorly chook a spa treatment.  I wish I was kidding.

life after the Olympics

220px-Daisy_chainwe are fans of the Olympic games, in this house.  It’s one of the only times that our rigid “No TV in the mornings” rule gets bent.

Little Girl and I have had several re-enactments of races, victories, and awards ceremonies.  She likes to gaze reverentially at an imaginary flag being raised, and has a warm way of congratulating other imaginary competitors on their good runs.

The weird bit is how she’s turning everything into competition, now.  An example, from yesterday, as she’s gathering daisies off the lawn: “Pretend I won the flower-picking competition!”  Flower picking as competitive event?  Break my heart!  Go on!

I’m not a particularly competitive person, so my instinct is to detract from this trait.  One beautiful strategy for turning away from rampant competition is to embrace the wonderful world of yoga.  I’m on my mat several times a week, and will feel more competent in supporting my kids to enjoy their bodies and their own practice having had the great fortune to attend a day of training with the beautiful Michaela from Yogi Kids.  Namaste (now let’s play!)

What else?  A flurry of important, informative and slightly depressing links from Australia.  First, from the Early Trauma and Grief Network, an excellent PDF about supporting children who have witnessed family violence.  I’ve linked to it before, but I’m linking to it again because it worthy: it dispels some myths and is altogether excellent.   This is a link to the website of an organisation called Lifespan whose mission is to prevent suicide, and please behold this (important!  Slightly depressing!) from the Valuing Children Initiative … it’s about public perception of children.

This is an important li’l piece written by a Scientist … it’s about keeping the ‘A’ in STEAM (instead of narrowly obsessing about STEM).

This is a report from the Pew Charitable Trust, summarising vast amounts of information about the efficacy and awesomeness of Home Visiting (unnecessary captials, I know!  But I flippin love home visiting).  Kiwi Midwives do some home visits, Plunket do a little (and used to do more) and Parents as First Teachers (PAFT) have just tragically had their funding cut!

A couple of gifts from Scientific American, and then I gotta go be an attentive parent once more.  First: Data Visualization and Feelings (I feel that I flippin love this, so what does that look like?) and finally, here is neuroimaging exploring what new thoughts look like as they take shape in the brain.

grass is green, sky is blue

grass green sky blueLast night I had the great pleasure of eating ginger crunch with the good folk of the North Canterbury network of excellent teachers.  OK, that’s not the real name of this network, but it’s a splendid collection of teachers from the non-compulsory sector (my Early Childhood peeps!  Holla!) and new entrant teachers from local Primary Schools.

We are talking about supporting children and families with their transition into school, and it’s a rare treat to get to work with a group more than once – we are two down and one to go.  It means we can follow up with one another, revisit content and keep the conversation bubbling.

First up, may I share this link to the ERO report illuminated for us by the good work of our thesis writing colleague.  I vow to have a jolly good roam through this content before our next meeting.  I have kinda planned our next session, so revved was I yesterday upon my return home, and so impressed am I by the committed, caring, professional and hardworking crew of teachers in my community.  RESPECT!

Also … we were talking a bit about Home Visits … here is one report about the awesomeness thereof.

More links: THIS is an article from Scientific American magazine, called “The Serious Need for Play”  and just this same week Mothering magazine also published this article about Play.  ENJOY.

I think this will be the next book I read (when I finish at least a couple of the many I’m simultaneously reading at the moment) – thanks MJJ for the recommendation.

AND lastly, the New Zealand Bumblebee Conservation Trust.  Let’s all ask for memberships for Christmas.  I’m planning ahead.

the book I’m reading …

book coverKia Ora to my geeky brothers and sisters

Although I’ve spent weeks recommending this book to anyone who’s vaguely interested (seriously … tried to shove it down the throats of my book club…) I FORGOT THE NAME OF THE BOOK today.  The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.  You can read about it here, there is an excellent article from the New Scientist about the book here, and now I share a link to a 100 minute lecture by Dr. van der Kolk … thanks be to YouTube … FINALLY … you can get your very own copy of it here.  Not that I get a cut from Book Depository or anything.

So many blog posts I long to write … so little time … oven timer has dinged so I gotta mosey x x x

link-o-rama because that’s what we like

Kia Ora geeks

First up: here is a guest post I wrote for the OHbaby! blog.  It’s about work travel and missing one’s family.  Stuff like that.

Next, this is an excellent PDF from Australia, about the realities for young children who observe family violence and HERE is a 3 minute video from the Center for the Developing Child that I think you will dig.  Cos you’re into stuff like this, or you wouldn’t be here.

This article is about the value of handwriting, and here’s why you oughtn’t read in the car.

Finally, from Harvard, something for the brain geeks … about visual cortex neurons.  Wooooohoo!