deep breaths and crossed eyes

oh babyat last … I’ve made it out into my glorious office and photographed the OHbaby! mag which houses my article about Technoference.  Oh, friends and gentlegeeks, if money (and courage!) were limitless I’d rush off to Rome for the World Infant Mental Health Congress in May next year.  Just to hear Jenny Radesky and her “Digital Media in the Dyad” prez.  Swoon!

But alas … I’m neither rich enough NOR am I sufficiently brave.  Travel often feels pretty daunting.  I managed a trip to Canada last year, communing with other disciples of the Gospel according to Bruce. 

But a foreign language, another whole continent away?  For a New Zealander to even think about Rome you’d have to pad it with ages either side, to justify the costs.  Both the monetary expense and the time.  Uproot the whole family for a good month.  Spend as much as it’s going to cost to fix the laundry/kitchen conundrum.

Too much, too soon for this geek.

Ah … a wise local recently reminded me: for everything there is a season, etc.

For today, I’ll stay home with an ailing teen and tend to some office time.

First … may I share some links?

I’ll start with some light reading for the nerdily inclined … a paper published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  It’s by Jenny Radesky and others, and then an awesome longread article by the Guardian about smartphone addiction … the dude who invented the “Like” button and his peers all send their kids to schools without screens.

Mark my bloody words:  To learn to think creatively enough to be able to build such immensely complex and innovative things as iPads and apps and pull-down refresh functions. … you gotta have a childhood full of relational richness and hands-on play.  Nature and sunshine and eye contact.  Opportunities to lose yourself in discovery and enjoyment.

Meanwhile … what are we like?

What are we actually like?

Honestly, I could go on all day.

Between the angsting about technoference (think of the children!  And not just to sell stuff to them!)  and the all the coveting I’ve been doing (WANT and WANT) I’ve barely had time for much else.  School holidays are over, of course, which changes things a bit.

Speaking of schools, there’s been another conversation about teaching values/life skills (dare I say it!  Social and emotional intelligence stuff!) in the classroom.  I’m kinda all for it, but remind us all that amazing things like Roots of Empathy, and the Nurture Groups, and other cool things exist.  We can call on existing ideas with evidence based results.  We can do better than dodgy posture and other forms of self harm.   We can find ways to heal.

We bloody well ought to.  Digital focus, my eye.

Life, eh!   What, ho!  What a ride.

 

quick … while the room is empty

you know, one of the more challenging bits of being outspoken about the dangers of tech overuse … my kids have zero tolerance for a hypocritical mother.  (Yummy blog post HERE from the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood about the Camp Grounded experience).  So school hols are a difficult time to get to my computer and do even the bare minimum.

But OH!  The links I have to share!

Here come a flurry thereof: First, from the Washington Post, this is AMAZING on so many levels!  This is your brain on Art … enjoy.  Next, further evidence, it seems, of our profound interrelatedness.  This is a snippet about some research done at Penn State, demonstrating how a mother’s relational wellbeing with her partner may have implications for her baby’s state.

Speaking of research: this is PROFOUND … it’s from MIT.  Behold the poetry of the academic abstract!  Wade through for useful insights.  Shared meals, touch.  Yup.

OH MY GODDESS I just loved this, from Mothering.com, about Mother Culture.  Sign me up.  I reckon Podcasts go a long way toward filling my head with juicy content.

Here is a small local piece of news (I think it’s from Rhode Island?) where students are requesting screen-free time in classrooms.   Poor buggers.  And it’s so modest, what they’re asking for.  Meanwhile check this out … an organisation called Protect Young Eyes, who are all about digital safety for kids.  As am I.

For the Halloween inclined, this is a list of costumes for girls … non-slutty costumes, non-princess-dependent costumes, thanks to the awesome “Mighty Girl” website.  In a totally different direction, here is a sheet for teachers … what you oughta know about adoption.  

This is a link to an odd and cool take on the relationship between sleep and brains (oooh!  Jellyfish!) and another conversation about brains and other creatures … what the heck, pusscats, poop, and brain parasites.  YOWZER.    Finally, and this is from Mothering as well, an article about what Self Care looks like when Mama is depressed.  Thank you.

Anyway, I have to share a pic of the most recent OhBaby, which has an article I wrote about Technoference … but the rain is relentless and my office (in a separate building, albeit on the same property!) seems a long way away.  So bear with, K?

fetch wood, carry water.

Geeks!

When it all gets a bit much, I like to try and get back to basics.  And last week I heard the most beautiful summation of this need.  You probably already know it: Fetch wood, carry water.

It cuts through the busy-ness and the monkey mind and reminds us what is needed, here: today.  It also reminds me that sometimes even my calls for simplicity are too complex!  This is my t-shirt slogan of the week.  And it will inform my activities today, firewood being a vital part of my daily routines at this time of the year.

Before I head out and stack wood (*message to self: wear work gloves!  Why flirt with acquiring more splinters in my fingers … I’m currently nursing one on the ring finger of my right hand … OH how painful the o’s!) I will share a bunch of links with my fellow geeks.  Strangely, this serves to simplify my thinking.  It clears my desktops, literally and figuratively.

Here’s a lovely blog post about simplifying … it’s about satisfaction with a mediocre life (which doesn’t actually seem all that mediocre!)

Paradoxically now: some coveting.  Check this out … it’s a marble run that makes music.  Want!

This is a post from the Australian organisation called “baby in mind” and it is a list of books they recommend as relieving parenting anxiety.  LOVE!

Something completely different: a long essay by the amazing Elisa Albert (who wrote the mind-blowing After Birth) and this is about ambition.  It kicked my bum, a wee bit.

Now a reminder from Mothering magazine, that harsh parenting will lead to worse behaviour from kids, later.  Even the picture breaks my heart a wee bit.  And here is a splendid resouce that might break your heart a wee bit, too.  It’s a teaching video from the University of Washington’s iLab, thanks be to Jean Clinton for sharing it.

Here is an open letter to husbands from the Huffington Post – there is a break coming when you’re 67 – and THIS from Scientific American reminds us that most adults are spending more time on their digital devices than they think (want your kids to unplug?  Do it your damn self!!)  Super important, y’all.  Here is an article from the Independent in the UK linking toddler’s poor sleep patterns to touchscreen devices.  Holy ding dong.  What the heck?

This is a gorgeous online magazine made by teen girls for teen girls … Rookie.  Enjoy.

I think that’ll do for now.  Time for some wood stacking.  And gratitude for functional indoor plumbing, so that the second half of the “Fetch Wood Carry Water” mantra is theoretical only.

xxx

 

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.