too little too late (too busy!!)

Kia ora friends,

The busy is a bit much at the moment. In my life, the hurtling will be somewhat inevitable till we put the thesis to bed, in about 7-8 months. Hurtling. Data collection is complete, analyses mostly done and the descriptive chapter will burst into life in forthcoming weeks.

It’s a weird wee patch, where I’m having to pause and see it through, even as I can see what needs to happen next.

As ever, it’s hard to put my attention too squarely on the ol’ work during school holidays. The (not so) small person is now eleven, and I gotta keep finding ways to focus on her and be super productive in the moments that surround intentional interactions. That link is a funny gag, btw. I will be working my bum off at every available moment! It’s the only way!

Time is precious, we know that.

Time is the thing we can’t make more of. We can’t forget that.

And our kids are kids just the once! My firstborn will soon be twenty! When’s the last time i pushed her on a swing? But many of us are still on the phones more than we are with our children.While we’re thinking ’bout it, we could do a bit better at keeping phones away from children (babies!) too.

Can we agree that’s heartbreaking?

And sheesh, may I hold my hand to my heart and whisper sadly about the passing of a beautiful and beloved early childhood kaumatua, who I have acknowledged here in the old bloggity many times, and I’ve quoted her liberally in work for OHbaby! and others. Darlings, Pennie Brownlee has died. My go-to book for gifting to new parents has always been “Dance with me in the Heart” and many of you will also know “Magic spaces“, both of which were written by Pennie.

Yeah.

Exhale.

Life is short and precious and there is heaps to do.

The things which Pennie wrote so well about were the truly important bits that make child development magical and wonderful and make the most of the exuberant synaptogenesis of brain growth that rockets along in those early years.

Relationships. Play.

That’s it, y’all. that’s what makes children thrive.
and both those things are disrupted by by-God tech!

Anyway.

Walking in the woods is good for us, says Harvard, and this is the website of Diana Suskind, whose work I was reminded of by a lovely colleague last week. Cool rock play. Love. Here is a fab new post from our friends @ Sensible Screen Use, about the need to think more critically about our tech use in classrooms. OH! And ECE centres, brothers and sisters. It is most unsatisfactory what seems to be going on all over the show. May I remind us all that what’s ‘normal’ and what’s ‘healthy’ are not always the same thing!!

I’m doing that broken record thing again, so I’ll send so much love and go put a load of washing on. x x x

All Hail the Bold and brilliant Special Interest Group in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health of the Psychological Society of Ireland!!

Honestly … the tenacity and ferocity of their advocacy meant that my work was featured in TWO national newspapers in Ireland – the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner … and I just did a radio interview for a nationwide station, TodayFM (although my voice held a nervous wobble, and apparently they don’t say “judder bar” in Ireland!)

I’m in Dublin because I’ve been attending & presenting at the 18th Congress for the World Association for Infant Mental Health. It’s been amazing, but I’m ready for my house, bed, cow, chickens and routines now, please.

Arohanui x x

How can this possibly be my first link share of 2023?

Well, crikey. Blame the workload (helloooooo data collection!), blame the family, heck – blame me if you like. It’s been a long-ass time since I posted, but the good news that accompanies this is that I have a backlog of fascination for you to peruse.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin!

First, may I share this super practical piece from Oregon Public Broadcasting about supporting young people’s positive body image through purposeful use of … you got it … smartphones/screens. Because let’s face it – as those behind this lawsuit understand, social media messes with people’s minds, and especially the young fellas. In breaking and yet unsurprising news from Bloomberg, Zuckerberg had been warned about this very thing.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I volunteer to give that young man a crisp and hearty slap.

Here’s a smart essay about the creepiness of AI, and this is another smart essay, about attention.

I highly recommend this article from the Cut, about the trap that is inherent in giving a child their first phone, and LISTEN! How have we not been following the work of the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development? (Thanks to my colleague at Auckland Uni for the detective work).

Speaking of child development, here’s a wee piece I wrote for OHbaby! a while back, it’s about play and toys and it’s tech free (no surprises there). And here’s what Scientific American assert is the best way to soothe an infant. Hot tip: It has absolutely nothing to do with birthing in a full face of makeup. Ew.

This is an alarming description of the ways that TikTok tracks you across the web, and this is about an increasing number of schools and universities who are banning the platform from their campuses.

I love this, from the Washington Post, about making children peer reviewers for science writing, to ensure its digestibility, and this is pretty interesting … from Stuff, about the rise of for-profit childcare in NZ. Also ew.

Three quick links to end this … all more personal than I usually post here! This is a review to an amazing concert I was lucky enough to attend, here is a piece about George Michael and the injustices of “that” scandal (because I have loved him since I was a literal child) AND I’m super proud of my friends who hosted this gig. For flip’s sake, Tennessee. Stop reinforcing the stereotypes of small mindedness and redneckery, would ya please?

good and bad things

One good thing is this latest issue of OHbaby! So nice. And within is an article I wrote about parenting styles. Enjoy …

Conversely …let’s just put it out there. On the record:
I FLIPPING HATE DAYLIGHT SAVING. There. Said it.

We just changed our clocks in NZ (“Spring Forward”) and this is faux time. I mean, all time is a bit faux. As my dear, late mama used to say “Time is a societal construct”. Clocks are only a thing cos we say so. And as for changing them, depriving whole communities of circadian goodness…? I’m agin it! NOT A FAN.

I mean – if this is about making those dreamy summer nights longer… guess WHAT! Mother Nature already does that! Our days get longer in summer without any need for tampering by silly people and their dumb timepieces. Even my delight with the “extra” hour of sleep when we ‘fall back’ and put our clocks back to normal time – it’s not worth the price of admission. This springtime grumpiness is REAL, and I blame Daylight Saving. HUMBUG!!!

Right. Rant over.

Now for some links for my geeky brothers’n’sisters! After all, that’s what we do, here 🙂

First up, here is an academic paper which describes a study using the Still Face Paradigm as a mechanism for understanding the impact of technological interruption on mother-baby interaction.

Also tech-related: here is a piece from the Conversation about toddlers’ use of touchscreen technology (*hot tip: use in emergencies only! eg on aeroplanes, or while a parent is receiving medical care!) and this is from the Washington Post, about making a media plan for your family. Bloody good idea, and the basis of my PhD research… what, WHAT?

I’ve been reading/hearing/thinking a lot about TikTok, lately. She’s not your friend, y’all. Here is a piece which highlights the advocacy of Fairplay (formerly the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Loved them then, love them still!!) and YOU GOTTA hear this podcast from our pals at the Center for Humane Tech. It casts a calm and concerned eye over the platform. It’s not all cute dance moves, my darlings. Our poor young people need protection from data harvesting and capitalism, itself!

Another piece from the Conversation, now: about phones in schools (*I know – let’s just DON’T!) and just cos it’s fascinating – enjoy this cognitive biases cheat sheet.

Finally, please enjoy this piece of relatable satire from McSweeney’s, and some exceptionally beautiful Land Art. Let those beautiful images hold you till the pain goes away!

Winter at last

Kia ora darlings,

Temperatures make a gal say BRRRRR, but the power of love oughta keep her warm. Full disclosure: I am typing this with a heater blowing on my toes and a scarf wrapped around my head and neck.

I have so very many links to share, today: first up is something I worked on with Kate Barber for Family Times, aiming to give sensible advice to parents in these bananas times. Hopefully the impending Matariki celebrations in NZ (new year, really!) will shift the bananas flavour of things. Redemption. Repair. Renewal.

Next, something I wrote years ago, about new parenthood, and another oldie-but-goodie is in this list of past articles from Ngā Tau Tuatahi. Where are they all? I might have to scan/post, like it’s the olden days. Speaking of the olden days: remember THIS, from North and South? JEEZ it caused ripples at the time. Yup, I’m quoted in there.

Now let’s change gears: please enjoy this bit of tragi-comedy from McSweeneys. Satire so apt it hurts me. (PS: MUMS RULE).

Next: an excellent blog post about “making the internet small again” and here now is the blog of the incomparable Pasco Fearon, who will encourage you to think about child development. Another awesome child development blog here = the laughing baby. And howzabout this … a lovely resource for new parents, from the UK.

Forgive me if I’ve shared this before, but it’s important: this is research exploring the impacts of starting one’s life during the COVID 19 pandemic. How are babies doing? Speaking of COVID, this is good, from Scientific American, about weighing up risks, and here is a link to the World Health Organisation’s COVID data-o-rama.

Similarly, I don’t know if I have shared this before either, but it’s bloody fascinating. The human Screenome project. Sheesh is the word!

Nearly there … a responsible tech jobs board … and you might need a new job because I’m about to wind out this post with a bunch of coveting … a book about the design of childhood (the untold story of blocks! Yes!) some BEAUTIFUL Māori and Pasifika toys from It Takes a Village, an oldie but a goodie textbook from Oxford University Press and some beautiful downloadable bits and pieces from Flow Magazine (we miss you).

Finally: we can now buy environmentally sensible bean bag fillers in NZ (mine have arrived and await the messy filling bit – if you live in Chch they’ll fill ’em for you in their warehouse AND there is a new Nick Mulvey album GET EXCITED x x x

reading, writing, thinking … a wee bit of stressing out.

Kia ora te whānau,

What’s up, lovelies? This picture shows me in my office, reading the latest OHbaby! magazine. There is an article in there I wrote about Joyful Routines, and I hope it will be of service to all those who read it!

If you could see the state of my office you’d encourage me to take a bit of my own advice, and get some joyful tidying/filing routines going on my desk. Sheesh! The paperwork piles are precarious!

Meanwhile, here are a few interesting links for the enjoyment of the geekily inclined. THIS is from our pals at the Center for the Developing Child @ Harvard. It’s a deep dive into childhood mental health, and it includes this doozy of a quote: “Most potential mental health problems will not become mental health problems if we respond to them early.”

Speaking of deep dives, HERE is a link to the Center for Humane Tech’s explanation of the importance of the “Facebook Files”, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, and HERE is coverage of the same from CNBC.

Different but connected (aren’t we all?) is this report from Professor Sir Peter Gluckman and colleagues, about the impact of screen use on children’s development. I was stoked that their summary included a reminder to new parents to monitor their own screen use and its impact on interaction. Vital! One more wee thing, about considering the role of Affective Neuroscience Theory in our convos about kids’n’screens, especially in these coronavirus days.

This is a lovely piece written by one of my faves, Keryn at the Brainwave Trust. It’s about using this pandemic as an opportunity to support resilience in our children. Good idea, especially cos it’d seem that this COVID scene is here to stay (WAH!) … all the more reason to share this funny bit of satire from McSweeneys. Or maybe you would prefer this utterly profane, hilarious, and relevant piece!!! (Brace yourself, its cussy).

What else? A bit of seed raising, some orphan lamb feeding, and a bit of research about wicker mending. Thinking, and then not thinking. Mindfulness … and sometimes mindlessness.

Happy Spring, y’all x x x

listlessness

Kia ora friends,

I asked someone I love “How are you going?” and they replied “Listless”. It hit me like a ton of bricks … feeling listless? Write a list! Had you ever noticed that? That listlessness is a literal translation of “that state of unfocused apathy that can accompany NOT HAVING A LIST”.

Me, I love a list.

Anyway, remember a while back I talked about chatting to a reporter for a Stuff article? Yes’m. Here is a link to that. Also from Stuff is this write up about a study happening via the University of Auckland which included the finding that one in 10 toddlers in NZ has 3 hours of screen time per day.

How I wish this gorgeous resource from School of Life was widely disseminated … it’s a book of screen free fun and I am covetous. And here’s another handy resource – a brochure from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network written for new parents and giving solid advice about tech use.

Speaking of the Network, I attended an excellent (online) talk by Dr.Jenny Radesky and Dr. Roberta Golinkoff and there is a recorded version of it here. It was about making wise choices if selecting tech for young ‘uns to use. The next one looks good, too, about Green Time.

Another video, this one from the Evolved Nest … please check it out. It’s just six minutes and SO GOOD. A summary of Darcia Narvaez’ amazing book Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality. Very much my cup of tea!

Something that is NOT my cuppa is described here in a piece by Fast Company … it’s about AI in the classroom and I say BACK OFF, GOOGLE. Surely that’s technochauvinism at its worst? Hey, speaking of Back Off Google … the most recent (and rather bloody gorgeous) issue of OHbaby! has an article I wrote … called “Google Strike”.

What else? Here is a gift from Common Sense Media about 10 steps to a better YouTube, this is a link to a piece from the Conversation about teen girls’ rates of depression being higher than boys’, and here’s Dr. Gabor Mate on why attachment is everything.

Take a moment to bask in the glow of Italian Library Music (I KNOW! Thanks, NY Times!), here is a Washington Post piece by Jean Twenge (y’know … wrote iGen) … about gaming disorder being the tip o’ the iceberg and this is a Canadian news source reporting on sexism in academia. Gross.

Things I want to re-introduce to the world include THIS important report from the 5rights foundation in the UK, about the influence of persuasive tech in the lives of children. It’s called Disrupted Childhood and I wish everyone would read it.

I have a couple of McSweeneys pieces to share: both hilarious and tragic at the same time. Beyond bittersweet! This one is about women returning to offices, post-pandemic, and this one is a “to do list” for your baby’s 15 minute nap – frankly this is a moment for listlessness.

Screen Free Week, and other delights

About flippin’ time I posted to my dear ol’ blog, and showed off this most recent issue of OHbaby!, in which I have an article called “Use it Wisely”. It’s about … yup … devices & tech use.

Heaps has been happening since last we geeked out together – I’ve been a tad bedridden and coughy for a bit, we’ve had 2 weeks of school hols, and prior to that I had a poster presentation of my research at the Child Wellbeing Research Institute Symposium at UC the other week – shout out to all the dedicated supporters of whānau who attended! I also managed a phone call with a reporter at Stuff, thankfully before I lost my voice and things got all Stevie Nicks husky over here … anyway, I’ll letcha know what comes of that interview.

SO I figure that I’d better make this snappy, because if I start enjoying myself too much here on my computer I’ll be violating my terms of SFW2021, which we started this morning! For our family, using devices for work and essential communication is OK, but entertainment media and idle chatter are not. We can use the actual telephone for random chat, and avail ourselves of the wonderful array of screen free entertainment that is always available to us but is sometimes overlooked in our enthusiasm to watch The Crown. Instead, this week we will be listening to records, reading books, playing games, making music, drawing, cooking, building with Lego, on & on! Need more ideas? Here are 111 of them.

Alright – for something rich, deep & inspiring, look no further than this deliciousness in report form from Omidyar.com, whose work is thoroughly deluxe. Reimagining tech, capitalism, all of it. (because Lord knows capitalism has a lot to answer for …) Omidyar recognise the need to honour the work of caregivers … which this caregiver both digs and appreciates!

For a couple of different but important angles on tech stuff, here is the website of Reset Australia – Reset are all about addressing the threats posed to democracy by rampant online nonsense, and I’d also like to share this fantastic website from a fellow NZer … the Light Project , which is all about having sane and healthy conversations about pornography. Jeepers, we could use some sanity around this issue, eh.

What else? You may have heard that the sickos at Instagram are trying to launch a platform for children … RESIST. There is empirically gathered evidence pointing to the negative wellbeing effects associated with that platform in particular, and there are QUITE enough issues for our young people without pushing that baldedash on ever younger citizens. Harvesting of data and promotion of body image issues? NO THANKS, ZUCKERBERG.

A cool article here, about empowering infants & toddlers in group care, written by Dr. Katherine Bussey (holla!) and I always appreciate the excellent research reviews published by my pals at the Brainwave Trust … Kia Ora Keryn!!

Here is a beautiful performance about appreciating people’s faces – a bit harder when we are masked up, perhaps? Speaking of which, talk about unintended consequences … here is an important discussion paper about infants’ experiences of a masked world, and here is a write up about an app for mothers which looks helpful, I just HOPE it comes with a caveat about choosing when to use it in a way that is biologically respectful of babies’ needs …?

Oh, and I’ve got book club tonight.

Take care, friends. x x x

productive procrastination

Kia Ora lovelies,

I think the key to productivity is to ensure that you have something useful to be cracking on with while you are procrastinating from another thing. Not in the mood to exercise? Work on your conference presentation. Don’t feel like working on that? Do some reading and note taking. Can’t face that job? Go for a brisk walk. OH LOOK … now you’re doing the exercise you didn’t want to do in the first place! Ta-dah!

A few links to share today, then I’ve gotta get back to work. Submitted an article this morn, plenty more missions awaiting my attention!

First up: Tomorrow is Phone Free Day, a surefire way to lessen procrastination! Shout out to my pals at the UCDeFLab for rallying the troops. You could think of this as a lovely warm up for Screen Free Week!!

Good timing for many: check out this article from the Washington Post about the side effects of a year lived onscreen for kids in the US, and here is a write up about research highlighting the need to resist the behavioural crutch of giving screens to tiny children. They might seem to settle now, but really they’re just delaying their ability to develop self-settling skills. Meanwhile, work from researchers in South Australia concludes that excessive screen time is delaying school readiness.

Let ’em play! Unplug the devices and PLAY!

I’m hoping you saw this piece from Stuff, about awesome Māori dads. For more about the biologically respectful practices of traditional parenting by tangata whenua, check this out.

Some random bits and pieces, now: an excellent essay about understanding TikTok by Kyle Chayka (I understand this: it’s another mechanism for harvesting data!), a new post by the folk at Sensible Screen Use about privacy in schools (and I understand this: Google classroom = more harvesting of data!) and a kinda cool bit about libraries extending their services outdoors during the pandemic.

Here is a cool site I’ve just discovered which shares tech stories from around the world (it’s called “rest of world” which tells you quite a lot, really!) AND because it’s cooling down in New Zealand we are all about firewood around here – so I’m sharing these beautiful images of covetous living rooms with lovely fireplaces x xx ENJOY x x x x

on holidaying like you mean it: zozo and zozi, babies!

Kia Ora New Year newbies and lovely friends. Sitting down at last to share some bits and pieces on the dear ol’ blog.

Like … here I am drinking tea (you can’t tell, but trust me) and enjoying the latest OHbaby! magazine. Yup, happy to have an article in there .. it’s about routines v. go with the flow … what Dan Siegel would call “the river of integration”, but kinda from the baby’s point of view. Anyway, shout out to the visionary new editor Kristina for a great issue, and mad love to outgoing marvel Marianne as she works on nesting with her next baby x xx

Meanwhile: what else? I have been inching an academic article over the finish line for a v. flash journal – I will report back once complete. Like most, we have had a busy time of Christmas and New Year’s malarkey, lots of delicious feasting and loving gifting and a fair bit of grateful hanging out with our friendlies. Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am for New Zealand’s privileged position during this global pandemic? “Go hard, go early” said Jacinda. And so far the borders are holding steady.

We do not take these freedoms for granted – our bi-cultural family hosted a Thanksgiving meal, we had a lovely afternoon of celebrating the groovy mark I got for my Master’s thesis ( as the late Julia Child would say “a party without cake is just a meeting”) and there have been a couple of house parties in there, to boot. Busy, happy, joyful, messy, busy, exhausting, wonderful life.

Meanwhile, here are a few links before I sign off … a refreshingly solutions-focused emphasis to some of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) stuff, courtesy of NPR. It’s about the stress buffering impact of positive experiences in children’s lives. Speaking of a positive spin on things, here is a gorgeous little cartoony representation of some important behavioural concepts – I first heard this method of framing things from Stuart Ablon, who is quite the business.

Here is a family friendly collection of episodes from the legends at Radiolab, and while we are in a podcast state of mind, behold the latest episode of Your Undivided Attention, which is dazzling. And it references the legendary Fred Rogers. And yes, it is solution focused, with Eli Pariser making such smart analogies between the design of public spaces and online fora. I said fora. Having done a bit of playground design (and having learned at the feet of legendary teachers) I feel like I can dig this metaphor. Oh, and I own this book. Am I a town planner, or just kidding?

More from me later … lots of thinking going on in between trashy novels and domesticity.

Arohanui x x x

PS! Important announcement! In response to my daughter’s scrawling penmanship, I read her “2020” as ‘zozo’, and it occurs to me that this year must be zozi, next year will be zozz, and then I think it’s zoze, and 2024 could be zoza. At a stretch, we could follow that with zozs, zozg, (which, admittedly are a bit lame) but then you round out the decade with zozy, zate (best I could do) and perhaps zozg to finish.

No? Just an idea.