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!

canada

an old friend has just rung to tell us that the magnificent Gord Downie has announced that he has terminal cancer.  This link will take you to an article about that handsome young Prime Minister telling you more.

Justin Trudeau.  His name is Justin Trudeau.

And Gord Downie is the super cool singer (and perhaps songwriter?)  for the Tragically Hip.  I think he’s also the songwriter.   I’ll ask my husband, who is a huge fan of the Hip. Or I’ll ask the internet, which knows all sorts of things.

My husband and i had a Canadian soundtrack running in the background when we met and fell in love.  Blue Rodeo.  Sarah McGlachlan.  And yes, The Tragically Hip.

It all feels a bit poignant and personal, praps a bit cosmic, because this news come as I am packing my bags to go to Banff for the symposium of excitement.

Things to do:

  • load up with excellent music – increase quota of Canadian tunes, check podcasts.
  • Rapidly develop a comprehensive understanding of telecommunications and use this to practical effect (!)
  • Siphon toiletries into tiny plastic bottles.
  • play matching pairs with Little Girl
  • tidy up the raised veggie bed with Big Girl
  • print off paperwork for flights, etc.

ZOINKS x x

ps three links I just gotta share today …

First, an EXCELLENT article from the Atlantic about how kids learn resilience, a piece from the Harvard Business Review about the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership, and THIS is amazing “The Invisible Burden that Leaves Moms Drained” … This really resonated and I’m totally inspired to read more from the researchers cited in here.  You?

talking, writing, and handouts

Kia Ora te whānau  … what an unseasonably warm day it is in North Canterbury.  The trees say “autumn” but the temperature says “summer”.

Tomorrow kids (in NZ) will return to school and kindergarten and their families will return to a term-time state o’ mind.  I’m always on the fence about it … could use some more time with the kids, not stoked about packing lunches, but pretty thrilled to reinitiate the ebb and flow of a consistent routine.

And a few days back I had the great pleasure of working with some lovely kindergarten teachers and early childhood folk are my TRIBE so it was super yummy.  I will now have a crack at attaching a link so that you can download the handouts, as promised.  Wish me luck.  My computer is a bit antique and my blog software due an update!  Here we go:

OK.  That’s going to be more complex than I thought.  The files are too big.  I will need to figure out how to make them smaller and do that again.

Bear with.

Meantime, here are some links to edify and entertain:

Here is an article from Scientific American about creativity (*it’s more than just rehearsing!) and I’m loving this link from Mothering about healthy eating on a tight budget.  For tips about child health of a different kind, I’m sending you anew to the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, specifically their resource ‘Healthy Kids in a Digital World’.

This link will take you to a website from Australia, called Kids Matter, telling us three ways to help children become more confident, and check out this explanation of normal sleep expectations … a gift for tired parents, also from Mothering.com.

Here’s an interesting notion about brain hacks to increase motivation, from NPR, and TIME magazine have an article here warning of the practice of time-outs in child discipline.  Discipline = to teach.  And what are we really teaching, hmmm?  x x x

Work, play. Link.

Eleanor at kindyHere my Little Girl is at kindergarten.  I know, I’m dorky about protecting her image.  Praps she’ll thank me later.  I love this picture for the pure demonstration of how her play is her work.  If you’re lucky, you’ll also find yourself mixing together a nice wee melange of work and play.

My life is nicely like that.  Work, play.  Work = play.  Play = work.  Work = work.  Play = play.  Repeat.

Now it’s time for some links.  Some interesting, juicy links.  First up, a fantastic blog that my mama mate shared with me.  Welcome to the Queens of Constance.  I am awed by this … so brave, honest, important.  My eyes get a bit bruised by loose spelling and unorthodox grammar (I’m kinda an apostrophe nerd) but I forgive.  It’s a glorious site.  Enjoy.

Next, if you have a little time up your sleeve, check out this sensational series about the brain, from PBS in the USA.  What a world we live in … you can just look stuff up!  Any time!  I remember the 1980′s, when to re-view a clip from telly you had to write in to the special Sunday night clip show, and if you were really lucky they’d play it one more time.

Nice summary of babies’ learning here, from the Mental Floss website (*albeit a dorkily named article)  and check out this meta analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation about what children’s social competence means throughout their lifespan.  

Here is an article about making childrearing less expensive, and this a li’l something about the happiest/least happy places for children.  Apparently incomplete data, though.

Here is a piece from Mothering, showing how one legislator from Mississippi wishes to use the law to protect the rights of breastfeeders (and breastfeedees)

Take care out there.  Arohanui xx

american football v. cricket

Mine is a household populated by NZ born and US born people.  Usually it’s harmonious, but today we have the Superbowl being broadcast at the same time as the Black Caps vs. Australia.  There is a small degree of discontent!

The ways we express our culture are many, are they not?

Anyway, I’d consider watching nothing at all, in the hope that I’d get a wee bit bored.  Because boredom is splendid – here is a l’il something from Scientific American to that effect.  Ah, and if you get truly, magnificently bored, you may get to have a wee sleep.  And there isn’t much more awesome than sleep.

I’d also love to share this link to a yummy write up about life in a responsive classroom.  Gotta love it!  And please forgive the facebook-y nature of this link, but it’s dreamy.  About healthy body image talk and motherhood.

Speaking of healthy body images and motherhood – have you seen this?  The magnificence of breastfeeding on Sesame Street?  Dig!  You know what else I dig?  Yoga practice.  

Right.  My three year old is in danger of becoming v unpopular with the TV watching men. There is nothing developmentally unreasonable about HER behaviour …!

 

wonky typing

necklace b wmysterious, non?

a few cool links on a cool evening.

This first one is courtesy of our People’s Statistician.  It is called Useful Science … enjoy!  I’ll see you in about three weeks.  That’s how yummy the website is to those of us of a nerdy persuasion.

NEXT … I share news of a super fab looking seminar … fairytales, story telling therapy, Portugal!  Holy ding dong!  Don’t I wish!

Here is a very interesting article about the Politics of Playgrounds, and this is a link to the Neuropod podcast.

Finally, a blog I wish I’d found years ago!  All hail the Feminist Breeder.

Man, my index finger is sore after a run in with my car door (albeit a fortnight since that happened!!).  Take care out there, e hoa ma x

the confident mother

sherry bevan book wrinkly eyekia ora geeky friends.  Here I am hiding behind the new book The Confident Mother from Sherry Bevan in the UK.  There’s a chapter in there which was created after our interview together.  I’m awed by the vision and drive of this gal.

I’ve made fresh playdough in three colours today … do I get points for drive, tooski?

Quick flurry of links now, then I’ll continue with my list.  First day back to school for my big girl today, so little girl and I are kinda making the most, which does NOT include keeping my nose in a screen.  So swiftly now;

A piece from the New Zealand news about the “farming” nature of some child care centres.  And I don’t mean they visit farms.  I mean they are the farms.  This is a call from one mama blogger to abandon the whole ‘goody bag’ thing at kids’ parties.

I got two gems from Pop Sugar sent to me this week: this one is BEAUTIFUL pictures of REAL post partum mamas and babies and this is about the new Disney princess … the first Polynesian … hope she can give the other princesses a lesson in self reliance.

From Slate: a cool (albeit cynical) summary of conversations between parents and children, and finally, from the Huffington Post, a round up of sleep research as relates to children.  Night night.

 

Imperfection. Everywhere.

Photo on 2015-08-18 at 17.28Yesterday I helped to welcome Mary Gordon to our fair city.  She was talking about her magnificent Roots of Empathy project, which we’d dearly love to see back in Christchurch (funders?  philanthropists?  Kei hea a koutou?)

Seems to me that the Roots of Empathy NZ tour is well timed: check out this news item from late last week.

There is a new newsletter (new news?) from the Brainwave Trust, featuring an article I wrote, called “Embracing Imperfection”.  You can read it here.

My pals at OhBaby shared this article with me, about surfing the tide of motherhood exhaustion (cos ya might as well embrace …), and I know it’s 5 years old now, but I still reckon Sally Peters’ report for the Ministry of Education is one of the best places to gather info about successful Transition to School.

That might have to do for now.  It’s dinner time. x

overthinkers anonymous

Dear www.baby.geek.nz

You are a dear wee website.  You have given me a place to file my thoughts and preserve a gigantic number of links (* or portals to wonderlands of learning and discovery, as I like to think of them).

You’re a bit of a secret, though, which is cool, but there is this thing I love to imagine you doing.  Just quietly.  I love to imagine that you, www.baby.geek.nz, have improbably become a useful launchpad, catapaulting conversations between thinking parents and scattering chat among other assorted family-folk.

In a world gone bonkers, only you manage to somehow bring together a pot pourri of links that is JUST SO MY CUP OF TEA.  Which shouldn’t surprise me, because I posted every darned last one of them.  Beginning with THIS, my very first blog post.  Awww, cute.

I do love you, darling website, and I promise I can change.  Please, baby(geek), just give me a little more time.  I dream of a bright future for us,

love,

Me xx

End scene.

Anyway, I’m obsessing more than usual about these notions of communication and internet and purpose because last week I went to a Social Media 101 training day.   Holla, Enterprise North Canterbury!  Tumeke, Simplify & Amplify!

It’s all very fascinating, and I kinda dig learning about the psychology of marketing, and why people do stuff and how to get them to do the stuff you think they oughta, I am horrified by what my dear late mother would’ve called the Coca-colonisation of the world.  The blatant and aggressive enslavement of populations by corporations too slick and sneaky to be outfoxed.  Really, I think we should all buy less.  Use less.  Do more for ourselves.  

And the whole technology of twitter and facebook and all their chums is flippin amazing.   As a tool, it’s the way to find all the peoples who care about the things.  Nana over here has to do some work … cos I’d love to find some thinking mamas and I think that’s where they are and yet I FEAR the lure of the devices.  Both for myself and for all of us!

Pads and Macs and smart phones and regular (dumb?) phones … OH … behold these amazing ads from China about resisting the phone addiction FOR THE CHILDREN …

… here’s the thing …. I’d love it if we could all get the fact that societies of useful adults – that is, adults who are kind, competent, smart, healthy, capable, or at least not incompetent dicks – those sorts of adults are more likely if they were gifted responsive, warm, calm, loving care while they were babies.  There.  It’s that simple.  I said it.

Not just me.  Heaps of people.  Like Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child.  Heaps.

And you cannot tell me, not even for a second, that the brains of human young will be as effectively nurtured by distracted adults whose faces glow from their device du jour than they will be by an adult available to meet their gaze, respond to their vocalisations, and make up lame songs.

Ladies and gentlegeeks, I think we gotta unplug more.  For ourselves, and sure as the dickens for our babies.

I mean, I’m all for the flow of mindfulness teaching, (at school!  Love it.)  I am generally very Mindful of Mindfulness, but I can’t help but think we wouldn’t need quite so much mindfulness training if we just spent a wee bit less time skittering between devices and leaping between operating systems.

It’s like how we eat tons of fatty food and then obsess about weight loss.  I’m talking about us as a culture, not YOU.  Or ME.  Just all of us, you know?  Truly: if we did like Michael Pollan … “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” and then went for walks and did some yoga then VOILA!  Wellness.

Sorry.  I’m a bit didactic and grouchy tonight.  I’m angsting.

Yeah, I angst about encouraging folks deeper into the digital world and further from the juicy messy deliciousness of real life.  And yet I love the handiness of a magical box that sings the commercials of my youth and finds me amazing recipes and connects me to people I love, all over the world.

What the flip.  Modern life … I need me my online yoga before bed.  Love you, Adriene, my electronic friend!

Irony, she lives.

My kid is 3. Yes, I’m on maternity leave. Still. Any questions?

I have had a baffling few weeks as a baby geek and a toddler person and an educator and a mama and a professional and a slave(!).

Long and short of it: we (people who are kaiako/educators for the Brainwave Trust) had been invited to update our profiles on the website.  I got a snazzy new photo and was keen to rejig the text, which boldly stated that I was on maternity leave, caring for the child born in 2012.

And it’s true.  I am.

And I’m glad to.  Happy to.  Privileged to.  Proud to!

So why was my motivation in updating said profile the removal of those words?  Just what it is it about being a FULL TIME STAY AT HOME MOTHER that made me want to massage that truth and call it something else?

Cos yeah, freelance writer.  And yeah, doing postgrad study.  But oh, HELL yeah – I’m a mother.  I’m the keeper of the castle and I care for my kids.  So why, even amidst the most pro-family and child friendly of colleagues, do I find it necessary to deny that title?

Full time parent.  That’s me.

Yes, three years on.  Yes, at least until she starts school.  So there.

But I chickened out.  Not only rejigged text but made the decision to pull my profile down altogether, cos it’s gonna be years until I can offer to help anyone!  But quick, before it gets removed, check out my fancy new photo!

That’s not all.  I had a gig booked, my first for ages.  I was thoroughly looking forward to it, had learned new tricks in Keynote.  Great client, juicy content.  Lovin’ life.  But then, little girl was sick.  Little girl was sick and husband was not in a position to cancel his life.

So guess what?  I canceled.  Gutting for me, but the right thing to do.  Cos when you’re three years old with a raging temperature and strep throat, what you need is your mum.

Yeah!

Quickly now, cos it’s what we do on this website, I will now throw a variety of links into your lap: THIS is Kids in the House, which is a parenting website like no other!  Enjoy.  I’d love to share this excellent bit o’ writing from Mothering about a new mother’s body belonging to HER.  And it’s been a while since I sent y’all to this glorious collection, but this is a variety of Policy Briefs from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.  It’s fab.

Now here’s an interesting piece about infant temperament and culture, and here is a website from Arizona all about their initiatives to support family.  Next, a gift for new families about settling babies.  Yum.

Compare structured parenting with Free Range parenting here, and here is a very good thang from the Huffington Post about the power of home visiting programmes for changing outcomes for kids in poverty.

Finally, it may or it might not be the best kindergarten you’ve ever seen, but this is an inspiring TED talk all the same.

Big shout out of thanks and support to Jo, who organised the workshop I had to cancel, to brother Nate for always listening, and also to Pennie, who continues to be so flippin supportive of me, at home with my kids.