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 ūüôā

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!

trialing a new coronavirus therapy

kia ora friends,

flipping ol’ August – I guess I utterly failed to post in the month of July. Sheesh. Not that I was sitting around idly, though. Friends: I have been nurturing my PhD project through multiple layers of ethics approval and have temporarily stalled in my mission to register the work as a clinical trial owing to having succumbed to the dreaded virus.

Flip. Fudge. Fart.

I started to feel very crappy on Sunday night, sweating like it was my chosen profession (well above the norm) and aching so aggressively I couldn’t get comfy enough to sleep. About 2am I got up, tested, and LO! After 2 1/2 years of fearing it – COVID 19 is in my body!! Luckily my office is in a separate building so I can isolate effectively from the rest of my fam, who (miraculously) are still well!

Anyway, I felt pretty wretched for the first 2-3 days, and then I remembered my great healing strategy for all upper respiratory sorts of illnesses – – WEEPING. Focused, purposeful weeping. Dripping the virus from my system. Tears contain cortisol, tears are a tap that expel tension. Crying lowers blood pressure and I believe it to be a wonderful medicine.

For joyful crying, I find it hard to go past AURORA, and you can enjoy glorious concert performances both HERE and HERE. This gal might just be an angel on earth. No jokes.

The end of this documentary invoked a less joyful type of cry, but friends: please don’t let that put you off. It’s a SUPER important watch and I urge all parents (well, and grandparents, aunties, professionals, teens, kids … ) to watch it. Childhood 2.0. SHEESH.

I have also been watching telly & movies, listening to lotsa podcasts and RNZ, sleeping like a champ, and sweating.

Did i mention all the sweating? So elegant! Classy! Self esteem through the roof!!

My attention span and thought abilities seem a bit shot, too, but that might just be tiredness. I found myself talking about “brain frog” so that’s not ideal. When the fog is a frog you got troubles.

Take care out there, my darlings. OH! And mark your calendars for Phone Free Day, October 6th.

supermoons and chickenpox

Good morning darlings,

Stayed up late last night to check out the blood eclipse super lunar extravaganza (almost 11pm when I went to bed … CRIKEY that’s late for this geek!). Worth it, dashing out onto the freezing deck and marvelling at the magic (I know, science, not actually magic …BUT STILL).

Thankful that Little Girl’s chickenpox saga was in its second week during the lunar excitement, because last week I’d have been too tired to wait up and behold the spectacle. Chickenpox would have – ahem – eclipsed the eclipse. It was almost like having a baby in the house again – broken sleep, lots of active, hands-on caregiving, needing to put a wee rashy body in the sunshine. A lot! With thanks and praise to the awesome Story Store podcast from the CBC! You got us through the calamine lotion sessions. What a sadness that there are no new episodes on horizon. You will be missed.

In other news: I got my copy of Bruce Perry’s new book “What Happened to You?” in the post (written with some unknown co-author … Oprah blimmen Winfrey is who!!) and I’m enjoying slowly making my way through that. It’s a super read – here’s an excerpt – it’s just taking me a while as I am also reading the amazing ‘The WEIRDest People in the World” by Joseph Henrich (click here for a write up in the NY Times), as well as the fascinating “The Attention Merchants” by Tim Wu (here is a review in the Guardian) and I have yet to finish Sarah Wilson’s “This One Wild and Precious Life” (read about it on the RNZ website). So glad that Ms. Wilson shines a light on the dangers of hypercapitalism (speaking of which – this is also a great book) and the challenges of life in a society still reeling from neoliberalist nonsense.

“Can’t control your tech use? That’s YOUR FAULT! Never mind that big tech is largely unregulated, never mind that we are in an enormous experiment, never mind that the your psychological vulnerabilities are being exploited by attention harvesters … it’s on YOU!” Same neoliberalist argument gets trotted out for all kinds of things – the great Pacific garbage island is YOUR FAULT for not recycling devoutly enough. Never mind that a handful of corporations produce most of the waste, never mind that regulators don’t insist on cradle-to-grave corporate responsibility … ETC!

Anyway, I was a bit naughty in just ordering another book, which I JUST DID. It’s called “Goodbye Phone, Hello World” by Paul Greenberg and you can read about here, also from RNZ.

Speaking of Goodbye Phone … major admiration and respect for a Chch high school for doing away with the phones and allowing their kids to be unplugged kids! It’s working!

In other news, I was super delighted to learn of this excellent resource from my Pals at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, about tech use in the presence of infants. I mean, talk about important! And SO my cup of tea! Amazing. The only resource of its kind that I am aware of! And this is precisely what I obsess about for a living (well, not really for a living … but as a PhD student, so … um … y’know …)

Also fascinating (albeit somewhat depressing) is this piece from the Guardian about older adults’ relationships with tech. A place where we live … we are snails. OMIGOODNESS. The stress that emerges as a result of reading that research review must be countered by some cosy yoga, thank you Adriene.

Did I share this yet? An excellent piece from a nursing journal about the experience of new babies in a frequent facemask world. I think it’s so important that we continue to use our mature skills of mind mindedness to consider how life is for today’s babies (apparently we’re calling them Generation Alpha. I thought Gen Q was better – hubby and I invented that. But I’ll go along with Gen Alpha if it encourages contemplation of infant experience!). We must remember that their access to faces (which is SUPER IMPORTANT for optimal development … hello still face paradigm, G’day Polyvagal Theory!) … babies are having limited access as a result of masks, sure … but also as a result of our PHONES.

Beware! And I can feel my face sitting in a blank affect. I’m going to sign off and wish you all an emotive, expressive, and temperate time of it until we meet again x x x arohanui x x x

Thanks for today’s lovely pic … Photo by Ahsan Avi on Unsplash.

computers, compassion

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

If you are in NZ, I hope the school hols are treating you kindly.  Today has been a great day for a warm fire, baking and puzzles.  Soon I shall get serious about creating a delicious dinner for my crew.  Till then, I gotta lotta quality links to share.

Shall we?

First, I’m a little into the whole notion of Technology Shabbats, brainchild of Tiffany Shlain.¬† I heard about them via promotion for¬†the upcoming webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.¬† Those webinars tend to be pretty awesome.

There are a great many reasons to try something like a tech shabbat, to declare yourself a member of the resistance.¬† We are part of a mass experiment and our brains are changing as a result¬†…. or should we say, our brains are being changed.¬† There is something intentional and manipulative at play, although many will deny it.¬† Like Google.¬† Jeez, Google. You do WHAT?¬† Profit from pedophiles with your crazy recommendations and asymmetric algorithms?¬† Taste the shame.¬†

What to do?¬† If you’re New York rich, you might hire a coach to help raise phone-free kids,¬† which would be lovely, because all sorts of suboptimal outcomes are associated with too much tech … like these things in this blog post by Rae Pica, and read about¬†diminishing physical skills¬†in that there Australian article.¬† Pals, tech insiders don’t use the stuff like we’ve been coerced to.¬† Children are being predated on by the tech companies as well as the weirdos on their platforms.

Sigh.¬† Too much tech gets in the way of lots of other important things that children need to do.¬† They have WORK to do (they need “love, attention and plenty of free time”), if they are to be allowed to be thought “ready for school” at the appropriate age.¬† They gotta figure out how to make sense of emotion, they need adults helping them to process trauma¬†before it gets lodged in their bodies, and they gotta climb trees.

I mean, we all gotta get outside more, preferably to dig in the dirt.  We are going to have to continue to raise a little hell, like this mama in Maryland who I salute from afar as she advocates for saner screen use in her school.  Put books in all waiting rooms!!

Happy Screen Free Week, y’all

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 1.03.54 PM¬†Here are Little Girl and I promoting Screen Free Week 2019 in our local paper.¬† The Week’s begun here in NZ, so I’ll make this snappy and save the multitude of awesome new links till next time!¬† Enjoy your week offline, I know I will.¬† Arohanui x x

DIY petrichor

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 12.05.47 PMSpringtime is lovely in this garden.  These past couple of weeks I have spent many blissful minutes under various blossoming trees, eyes closed, breathing deep, smelling sweet smells and hearing the productive meditation that is the buzzing of bees.
Another blessing of spring is the excuse to hang out in my glasshouse.¬† I’ve gotten some seeds started for the year (bit slow, actually, compared to my neighbours!) but nonetheless I relish the opportunity to go watering in there.¬† It gets so parched in my glasshouse that when I water I can sometimes fake the most beautiful smell in the world, aka petrichor.¬† Here is legendary Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly ¬†performing¬†his song of that name.

What else?¬† Some brain stuff: here is a gorgeous website, Knowing Neurons, and this is a nice li’l cellular research update from the good folk at Harvard¬†Check ‘er out!

And tech stuff … an article about the ways children’s social interactions are being warped, and this is an article about the case against teaching kids to be polite to AI.¬† The number of homes in the USA using devices like Alexa is staggering.¬† This is a worry: Canadian parents wanting to opt out from having their kids participate in the google-ification of classrooms are finding it difficult to do so.¬† ¬†Here is a report going deeper into the the ways that tech companies discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy.¬† Deceived by design!

AND THIS!!!  A report  about the impact of persuasive design on childhood.  Crikey.

Don’t wait till next year’s screen free week: reclaim your weekend right now!¬† ¬†(and you might wanna register for the next free webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network).¬† Irony of connection via a screen is acknowledged!!

More goodness here: I love the TRUCE toy guides, and this is one especially for infants and toddlers, this is a newsletter with an adolescent focus from our pals at Brainwave, and I flippin love these images of working archeologists doing their thing with their pregnant bellies along for the ride!

Here is a cool book to encourage confidence in our girls, this is an episode of the NPR show Planet Money ¬†with a focus on female computer coders (where’d they all go?) and here is a report from Ohio about a concept I used to dream about: our young folk and our older folk all together.¬†

Home stretch: a resource from the Center for the Developing Child about the impact of early adversity on child development, an article for dads of daughters, and I love this piece from by Lauren Porter published in Natural Parent Magazine, about infant sleep.

Finally: hooray to Jacinda at the UN.  Kei te whakakake matou ki a koe!!  We are so proud of you.

(and Clarke … Hi, it’s me.¬† Your cool auntie.¬† The one who has been reading & thinking & learning about babies for decades.¬† I only say this because I love you, and I want what’s best for Neve and therefore her parents and therefore the ever-outward-rippling circles of humanity … it’s cute to quip intimate moments of family life as a contrast to the formality of moving in diplomatic circles, but honey, what you did there with your whole “cute alert: busted watching late-night TV” thing is make a joke about the equivalent of blowing second hand smoke in baby Neve’s face.

And I know you don’t mean to do that, and you kinda get a pass because you’re bearing the brunt of being the cocoon to this precious infant in strange places with uncanny time zones and YOU GO, you’re doing great.¬† But honey, remind me when I see you, we need to talk about infant regulation.

People are going to be looking to you, Clarke, as first Dad of Aotearoa, and it’s not cool to make light of the casual saturation of babies into a digital world which held no regard for their wellbeing, in design nor implementation.

You get a pass, you’re traveling.¬† I’ve done that, with babes.¬† It’s tough.¬† Look, we all make comprimises between what we want/need and what our baby wants/needs, but if you’d read what I’ve been reading about the scale and extent of the potential harm done when parents don’t limit their digital use in the presence of their children – especially their babies – you would keep this joke among your close friends, and you’d model skilful behaviour for the benefit of the watching public.

New parents have to amend their digital habits. We don’t smoke inside the house, and we don’t consume digital media like we did before this baby arrived.¬† Cool auntie says: Not in our family.¬† We are world leaders now, Jacinda has made it so.¬† And, Clarke!¬† You are the first Dad of Aotearoa!¬† ¬†So let’s be a bit more careful how we talk about a habit, in this case the casual consumption of entertainment media, that will be come to be thought of, if not like tobacco, like alcohol.

My grandad was given whiskey when he was an infant, he survived.¬† Neve will survive this too!¬† I’m not giving you a hard time, Clarke.¬† I’m telling you cos I love yiz.¬† ¬†Just come over and stay and we can talk all about it.¬† But wait till my dining room repaint is finished, K?¬† xx

super fast roller coaster, with a deliberately chilled out soundtrack

oh babe new septKia Ora e hoa ma,

What a day.¬† What a week!¬† A week in which the pictured issue of OHbaby! was released, there is an article in there that I wrote about our Minds … with deep and humble respect to Dan Siegel!¬†¬†

And there was this luscious bit: last Monday I heard (shout out to the hardest working researcher in showbiz!¬†¬†TńďnńĀ koe, Keryn!)¬†that Sue, Executive Director extraordinaire of¬†Brainwave ¬†Trust Aotearoa¬†had shared some goodies with our Prime Minister, new mum Jacinda Ardern.¬† Well, blow me down … one of the three articles she passed along is one that I had written some years back.¬† It still stands up, I’m stoked.¬† I could barely be more excited … I long for some sit down conversation with Jacinda, and until then, this will do nicely!

I had a useful couple of meetings at university, I got a truckload of work done here in my office (aka my happy place) and as I type this, my kitchen is undergoing a long awaited massage!  This means I am without an oven for the foreseeable future.  Bring on the weird dinners!!

Also today, I watched the most recent webinar by the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, featuring the authors of the book Screen Schooled.¬† ¬†It was all sorta energizing, kinda depressing.

HEY: For face-to-face training of a different ilk (love that word) then won’t you please check out this offering¬†‚ÄúThe Approach of Dr Emmi Pikler in AotearoaNew Zealand‚ÄĚ … I’m confident that anyone attending will be inspired, educated, and will find community.¬† It’s in October, in the central bit of Te Ika a Maui.

A few random links to finish: this is Evolutionary Parenting, which I love, and one of the peeps on the webinar today shared this link, which is some interesting research dealing with how long it takes us to get back in the groove when we’re interrupted.

This is an interesting article from Mothering Mag, reporting on a study about how our workplace interactions can overflow into our homes (and it’s the kids who cop it!) .¬† Speaking of kids copping it (!!!) here is a call for more thoughtful design in high rise apartments, and this is a most fascinating something from Harvard about sleep deprivation and subsequent possible effects.¬† Nap time, anyone?

vive la France!

Salut mes amis,
Kia Ora e hoa ma,
G’day mates,¬† hey y’all, hello my friends.

The resistance is rumbling.  There have been courageous law changes in France meaning that the children and adolescents there are being given mandated time away from the persuasive design of the tech companies that live in all our cellphones and feed off our attention.

Speaking of which, I enjoyed this trifecta of articles about Yondr, which is a simple and exciting option for creating tech-free oases.  Yes, schools are a perfect place to be phone-free, (may I remind you of this report from the London School of Economics) but also at live shows (we should all be allowed to be one with the music without fear of some meanie uploading our gyrations & undulations without permission!)

Meanwhile, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood have sent this open letter to Mark Zuckerberg (if you know him, give him a nudge will you?)¬†the Children’s Screen Time Action Network are continuing to advocate and agitate, which is just as well; because there are multiple layers to the weirdness of tech in kids’ lives, like¬†how¬†our distracted parenting can lead to bonkers patterns of child misbehaviour¬†(and subsequent avoidance … the downward cycle of technoference, just like¬†McDaniel told ya), OR¬†like how our tech habits at bedtime are robbing our children of sleep.¬†¬†

(ah, Sleep!  I love you so!)

Other stuff: crazy finding reported here by Scientific American, about the likelihood of women with heart problems dying/not dying upon admission to an emergency room depending upon the gender of the doctor on duty that day, HERE is a transcript to a wonderful interview with Ashley Montagu, and this is a link to an article I wrote aaaages ago, for my pals at OHbaby!.¬† Love y’all!

Finally: new podcast obsession this week … Song Exploder.¬† All hail Jonathan Van Ness, whose Getting Curious podcast led me there.

Podcasts.  They are amazing.  Put them on the list of things I do quite like about tech.

 

 

BYO sunshine, outrage, action & poetry

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

Warm soup and winter sunshine.¬† What a joy it is to be alive when you’re fortunate in the birth lottery (yay, NZ in the 70’s!¬† Yay!¬† Thanks Papatuanuku!) but jeepers, mate, there is lameness and horror a-plenty.¬† I was just crapping on to my big brother over coffee a few days back about how if we could just ask all scenarios an overarching question (be the scenario designing a town hall, or prioritising health funding, or creating immigration policy) all would shift.

The question:
What would this mean for babies?

Whatever it is.¬† Going for a walk.¬† Approving an irrigation scheme.¬† Consent processes and elected officials would all have to prove how their decisions impact babies.¬† Most parents are pretty good at considering how their decisions impact their own babies (“if we stay for dinner, what does that mean for our bedtime routine?”), so we must now all consciously expand to our infuse all our decisions, large and small, with babyhood.

Because if it’s good for babies, it’s good for everyone (friends!¬† You know why!¬† Because attachment and neurobiology and human potential.¬† Because overstimulation and pace and wellbeing.¬† That’s why!

The only group I can think of who will suffer if we truly prioritise infant wellbeing are those with financial interests in selling nonsense to babies’ families.

And they can stuff off, anyway.

We have a rare opportunity here, because our Prime Minister just gave birth to her first child.¬† Well done, Jacinda!¬† And now you get to view decisions large and small through a lens you didn’t even know existed.¬† None of us knew, till we knew.¬† Welcome.¬† Nau mai, haere mai.¬† Welcome, Baby Neve, to the world.¬† And welcome, Jacinda, to motherhood.

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?