new year, new links

Image result for felt nz bubbles

Highlight of the summer thus far: giant bubbles.  (thanks, Bubbleon)

Sisters!  Brothers!  Geeks of all breadths and hues … welcome.

This geek has been attempting something akin to a holiday … a staycation, in the modern vernacular.  I’d like to pretend it’s been all drinks-with-umbrellas and joyful laughter, but the truth is much crunchier than that.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall of other homes, to see what happens when nobody’s watching.  Are other mothers as grouchy as I?  Do other husbands retreat to their devices as quickly as mine?  Are other 5 year olds as swift to dissolve into rage as my daughter is?  And what of the other teens?  Are their eyerolls as accomplished?

I do believe that it’s too easy for us to imagine the best of others and the worst of ourselves, when the more useful thing would be to offer the same compassion to ourselves (and our spouses, our children, heck … even our slow-to-mature potato plants!) that we routinely offer to others.

You know what helps me?  Yoga.  January means 30 days of yoga with Adriene.  I’ve done 3 of these challenges before, and they are DIVINE.  This year is no exception.  Check ‘er out here. LOVE YOU, ADRIENE kiss kiss x x x   I’m up to day 12 and finding such joy.

Anyway, alongside my attempts at holidaying, the year thus far has been a time to work on getting ducks in a row for the new year.  I have study in my future, research to do, issues that I’d like to sit and stare at.  I need to think deeply for weeks at a time.  The trickiness emerges when us mamas have hopes for our lives beyond parenting (be it work, advocacy, study, training of one kind or another) and then parenting rises up – daily, repeatedly, at least a half dozen times already during this itty bitty post.

The constancy of interruption in my life is one of the consistencies thereof.  Irony!  Hi!  How’s it going?

And listen: the fight for our own attention is one of the reasons I continue to oxygenate the battle against the dominance of the screens, especially with regards to our kids.  Please: behold this webinar “Screen Time & Family Relationships“, brought to you by the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, and starring Dr. Richard Freed.   I watched it live (ok, I put some laundry away as well …I’m still working to break the multitasking habit, oK?) but watch it NOW!  And join the Network, it’s free.

Other links, then I’m off down the river with my peeps.

The same beautiful peeps who challenge and berate and INTERRUPT me.  I will try to find something new in each of them, today.  Esther Perel  would insist!

This is from Zero to Three, and it’s some sobering data about how little most people report to know about early brain development.  Still got work to do, homies.  Speaking of work to do, this is one take on the early childhood education scene in NZ at the mo.  Factory Farms.  Sigh.

Here is a link from Mothering, describing Pope Francis and his healthy attitude to breastfeeding.  And this is a link to an article I wrote for OHbaby! a while back.   Did I tell yiz about the most recent issue and the work I did in there?  Might have to share that laters.  That is a special magazine, y’know.  The calibre of editors is second to none!

As we put the final shovels of earth onto the grave of 2017, I must acknowledge the beauty of this writing by Emily Writes for the Spinoff (so good) on the subject of parenting at Christmas time.  I tried to create a similar type of comradery the previous Christmas, just with different words y’know.  And as January chugs along, I once again wish to raise a toast to the kin keepers, because we are sorting school uniforms, assessing the state of the 1B4′s (how many can be reused?  How many must be bought?) and sniffing lunchboxes.  Repairing zips on backpacks, stocking up on socks.  Unseen.  Undervalued.

Is it any wonder we can get a bit worn down and cynical, hmmm?

If you ain’t feeling the new year, check out these 5 ways to get motivated.  If you can muster the enthusiasm to click the link, that is.

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?

articles, links and love

IMG_5134Tena koutou, e geek ma.  Here is the sweet cover picture of the latest issue of OHbaby!  I’m proud of the articles in there that I created … one is full of wisdom from my friends/colleagues (i.e., frolleagues) and the other is about play.  YEAH.

Speaking of wisdom: check out this excellent interview from Scientific American about an education system producing “smart fools”.  Robert Sternberg is talking about the situation in the US, but I wonder how different things are here in NZ?  Discuss.

You know what would help?  An emphasis on the li’l kid versions … like promoting social-emotional learning in preschools, as described by this work supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This link will take you to an account of how infant massage just might have benefits that extend even beyond the all-important mother:baby relationship, and here is a serious set of trauma statistics.  All the more reason for solid relationships: they anchor us when the world gets stormy.  Which it does.  And probably will.

This link is from Zero to Three and has some chilling news about the impact of the most recent US budget on the lives of children, families, and the poor.  Speaking of the T-word, check out this beautiful and horrifying art installation in New York.

Now: from the Chicago Tribune … about the way that smartphones can interfere with relationships EVEN WHEN THEY ARE SWITCHED OFF, and what a surprise, more research about how tech use is interfering with relationships, this from BYU.

Those of use who’ve studied how kids grow & learn won’t be surprised to learn that all this ‘technoference’ points to problematic child behaviour … as described in this study in the journal Child Development.  The study is also reported in a reader-friendly way … right here.   

Join the resistance!  Behold: Time Well Spent.  Check out the work of Sherry Turkle (thanks, Lauren), Anil Dash, and consider a relationship with Common Sense Media.

My husband shared this cynical piece from Slate with me, on Mother’s Day … It’s kinda funny but also a bit depressing, so I will make this my final gem for the day: a link shared with me by my Big Girl, from the beautiful Flow magazine.

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

 

Kia Ora, 2017

220px-Daisy_chainAren’t you a tantalising new year then, eh?  Unfolding provocatively, with your opportunities and stressors, joys and delights!  I welcome you!

Quick few links to share, then I’m gonna crack on with my yoga practice – 31 day challenge, love you Adriene!

First up, please join me in celebrating the values of scheduling fewer activities for our children.  This term we have Big Girl about to start high school and Little Girl gearing up for primary school … I have hit ‘pause’ on ALL activities.  Swimming, piano: PAUSE.  We’ll pick ‘em back up term two.  Let’s all catch our breath with a new system, first.

Here is an article from the NY Times about a loving librarian (dreamy … the moral of the story is TURN UP for what you believe is important) and on the subject of books, check out these wee beauties, from Japan.  COVET!

From reading to writing: those of us with children and things to say will appreciate this article, from the Guardian.  I have not shared with my Geeky brothers and sisters yet, but OH MY CRIKEY GOODNESS look at this amazing project I’m getting to work on just now. Careful what you wish for!

Here is an article from Scientific American about the changes to our brains after pregnancy (just as well, really) and from the Atlantic, an article about the amazingness of babies.  It blows my mind how many people still think that infants are ‘blank slates’ and still haven’t received the memo of their magnificence!!

This is interesting: an examination of the skills that job seekers need to thrive … of course we all know that the best time to influence job seekers is DURING THEIR INFANCY!  Thanks, Professor Heckman!  For realz, how long has it been since you brushed up on The Heckman Equation?

Time to crack on.  My yoga mat, she calls to me.  And my kids will awaken at any moment! x x x

running somewhat behind …

oh baby dec 16I got my latest issue of OHbaby! magazine a good week ago, but life has been so intense and my children so needy that I have not had an opportunity to tell you about it.  It includes my Open Letter to the Dads of Aotearoa.  I hope you will read it and enjoy it.

Speaking of Dads, check out this interesting research as described in the Guardian … it tells how a man’s attitude to fatherhood impacts his kids’ behaviour.  We are not even talking about his actions, just his attitude.  INTERESTING.

More later.  To close I’ll share that my family and I are currently obsessed with Bad Lip Reading … Star Wars, Presidential Debates, High School Musicals, all of it.  It makes me laugh till I cry, which is a phenomenon I adore!

Now, to get in the washing and make the dinner and unpack from the school trip …

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

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!

benefits of bailing

mar 2016 ohbabeKia Ora geeks!  Here is the latest issue from our friends at OHbaby!  I am proud of the piece I wrote in there, about quitting, and I enjoyed many other gems, tooski.

Speaking of OHbaby!, I wrote an article for the Winter 2014 issue, about maternal anger.  Just last week, one of the mamas I interviewed at the time sent me this article from the Guardian, about expressing emotions around children.  She reckons we were ahead of the curve.  How exciting, for a reclusive hermit anti-fashionista!

Now let me share these great many links with y’all.  From the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, this is a fab resource promising real-life strategies for reducing screen time.  Next, because who doesn’t love a good infographic, this is a resource from Zero to Three summarising the impact of poverty on early child development.

And from the Child Trauma Academy (I promise not to use the word ‘resource’ again …) is this excellent slide series/video about … well, child trauma.   Similarly awesome is this report from the Berry Street whānau in Australia.  They do amazing work for children and families and they call on the CTA wisdom to do so.

Also from Australia: this news report about a Mother’s milk bank, and this from Scientific American will tell you what wee babies can see that we no longer can.  Also from Scientific American: this article describes how the wiring of your brain reveals the real you.

Some research and a grunty report now … Here is some open access research about how Mindful Parenting lowers stress in children (frankly I should flippin well hope so!!), while this research identifies types of humour exhibited by children, and links them to resilience.   This report from the USA examines what investments are needed to get kids ready for school.

Finally, this from the Independent newspaper tells us what parenting techniques have been used by parents of successful children (*would love to see a definition of what ‘successful’ means) and BOY OH BOY would I love to do some shopping at Kanikani Kids.  Tino ataahua enei!