a blessed bee sting

kia ora e te whānau

the other day I set off across the paddock in an open toed shoe – RECKLESS. I barely made it through the gate when OUCH I was stung. When sharing this story (my version was about pain, discomfort, self pity) one of the gorgeous women in my dance class saw this as a wonderful thing – the health of our bees is so important, and she hadn’t heard of anyone getting stung for ages. For her, this was evidence of bee-flourishing!

Speaking of flourishing – hurry, lovelies, and you can join this international online conference about human flourishing. YES, please.

Here is a timely reminder to all parents about letting children decide who to kiss & cuddle at holiday shindigs (thanks Mighty Girl!) and this is a resource to local families in the Chch NZ area… nature play, darlings!

A couple more links, then I might oughta get back to work. I’m organising my surveys so I can start recruitment as soon as my Chrissy hols are over!

Here’s a lil something from the New Yorker about algorithmic anxiety, and while we are at it … this piece asks why American teens are so sad and anxious. No prizes for guessing. This is the Guardian talking about the overexposure of kids to tech, and this article gives reason to pause when it comes to ‘sharenting‘.

Take care out there … life is busy and beautiful. xx

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

she’s a clunky old girl

I’m talking about this website, but I could be talking about myself …?

Darlings, I can scarcely believe we are 3 days from Christmas already. I have not written this blog since flippin’ September, I keep hoping I’ll be ready for a relaunch/reconfigure/resomething but then I keep being busy with all the other things and not getting it done. So I delay, and delay, and here we are.

SInce September I have been concentrating on PhD stuff, namely a systemic literature review, which gobbled up most of October and all of November, part of December. It’s in a reasonable second draft form as I put everything to bed for Summer hols. Which I am loving. So much festive food prep, and not done yet

Oh, but early in December I was lucky enough to be invited to a private zoom meeting with the exceptional Stephen Porges. I took my questions about the physiological and psychological impacts of parental smartphone use in the presence of infants, and he both confirmed my findings (my fears!) and offered his customary wise, calm reassurance.

It would all help if we had codes of ethics for designers that encouraged people to think about children (won’t somebody please think of the children!!?!) as they design for tech. That previous link is a goodie about design, as is THIS link to calm tech … and here is a reminder of why we need such things – a piece from Fairplay (formerly the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood) about the nefarious lengths Facebook will go to to deceive young users.

I’m increasingly obsessed with older accounts of our interactions with tech – check this out, from 1969, asking whether tech can be humane. Sometimes people are so prescient and on to it … other times they get things all higgledy piggledy – like this piece that describes how futurists could foresee self-driving cars, but not women in the workplace.

Really, I think that’s what is at play in my corner of the world – people are so unused to thinking about the unique developmental needs of infants that they just have a big ol’ baby-shaped blind spot in their thinking about all manner of issues. I will keep working to shine a light and to change hearts and minds, but this will require tenacity, grit, and a self-care strategy!

Here is advice from A Mighty Girl about how to get beyond admiring little girls’ looks when you interact with them over the holidays. I get it – I love a frock and a ribboned hairdo – but let’s not let girls think that this is all we admire about them.

And for the love of God, don’t let your daughters get instagram.

My Christmas wish for everyone is that you will get to share family stories. Storytelling is a joy and a resource, as confirmed by this piece from Scientific American and as I reference this, may I offer a belated honouring of one of NZ’s storytelling treasures, RIP LIz Miller.

Now, how about some delights to end? THIS Is an amazing hot wheels racetrack that took an entire month to set up, and here is an awesome corner of the internet called Real LIfe magazine, this is smart writing from a young thinker, this piece is about logging off.

Which I will do, for the day, right about … NOW.

xxxx

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.

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.

we can do hard things

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

August already. The almond tree outside my office is in bloom already, and I relish standing underneath and basking in the buzzing. I reckon that I have buzzed out about that very phenomenon on this very blog, on previous years. Consistent, or boring?

It’s nice to count the good bits, eh. The bad bits clamour for attention and our poor little prehistoric brains can struggle to deal with the slow burning dread of our multiple crises: global pandemic, voracious inequalities, heating planet – our stress response systems weren’t made for this shizz.

The hard things I’m referring to do include living in the shadows of those aforementioned disasters, but hard things extend even beyond those. My li’l girl is away on her first school camp – we talked about how ‘excited’ and ‘nervous’ can feel like they sit side by side in our bodies. We are both excited by the temporary respite from some of our routines, and we have both been nervous about being separated.

Did you hear about the downturn in premature births during the pandemic? Pretty wild! And it shouldn’t surprise us that children are making sense of the COVID via play – cos that’s how kids make sense of the world.

Multitudes of tech related links … cos … y’know. This one is about the way kids’ tech habits mimic their parents’ (see … they get it “protect developing brains”. YES. (I do love the Hechinger report… check it out, it’s all about reducing inequalities in education) and if you don’t protect those li’l brains, they’ll fail to direct small bodies to adequately move. I’m talking about inactive toddlers. C’mon! Toddlers are designed to be active. It’s right there in their name! They toddle!

now check out this news item from India, sharing their struggles with excessive screen time at the moment.This is a piece from The Conversation in Australia about similar concerns.Jeez, whaddya do? Go to school too soon and risk COVID or succumb to online school and wind up depressed and cross eyed? Oh, for real, I offer my thoughts and angst to all the teachers in the USA … here is a tragically sad piece written by a teacher and published by McSweeneys. Speaking of school – in unrelated news, here is a piece how about how boys bear the brunt of school discipline.

Let’s be as informed as we can manage, lovelies. Try this piece from Common Sense Media about Tweens, Teens, Tech and Mental Health … worth a look … and HOLY DING DONG listen to this episode of the Being Well podcast: an interview with Stephen Porges.

Look for the Helpers – here is a strong piece of work by ARACY – the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth – it’s about Building Children’s Potential. Here’s a bit by our man Rick Hanson about looking after mothers (or, as I like to yell at my family, periodically: “MUMS RULE!”) THIS is a funny bit of satire from McSweeneys, here is a link to some kiwi made masks, and here is a collection of lessons from the great Brain Pickings. ENJOY x x x

PS: shout out to Glennon Doyle, whose book Untamed brought “you can do hard things” into lovely, crispy focus x x x

compassion and social distancing

For a while there, the public health professionals were trying to amend the term “social distancing” and replace it with “physical distancing”. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that we are inherently social l’il mammals and we needed to prioritise our emotional bonds even as we severed physical ones.

Anyway, I’m very physically distanced from the pain in the USA and simultaneously socially tied and connected. My husband was born there, my daughters are hybrid citizens. One of my dearest mama friends is Minnesotan, we danced and laughed in Minneapolis when I was 23. I had no idea, then, how advantageous my fair complexion was as I moved through the world. I wouldn’t hear the phrase “white privilege” until 1999, which was years later.

Party over, oops … out of time.

As a sidenote, all hail the Program for Infant Toddler Care in California. I was lucky enough to do their training in the late 90s. I remember a photocopied handout, “unpacking the invisible backpack of white privilege”, a solid 10-15 years before the concept began to be explored in the wider world. Early childhood teachers have long been the avant garde practitioners of that which will prove to be even more important than we could have quantified.

Anyway, so I”m rambling on because I’m in pain and a bit muddled.

Here’s what I think we could do. And by “we” I mean the work-from-home mums, the mums on the opposite side of the world to the protests.

If we can afford it, we can chip in a few bucks to help one of the organisations supporting those making a stand for justice in the USA. Here is a link to fundraising campaigns supporting bail for protestors in these various cities. This is the Action Center on Race & the Economy, they highlight issues of racial injustice, highlighting the need for wall st. accountability. Just a couple of options.

And if you are someone who works with kids (or if you have kids), be even more ready than usual to have some conversations with them about race. This is an awesome resource from the National Museum of African American History & Culture, and here’s some more ideas, … um … y’know … that’s us.

Then we gotta surf that line between staying informed about the world’s events, (even if via satirical works that are brilliant and hilarious and tragic … like THIS heartbreaking, knee-slapping McSweeney’s gem. Or THIS one)(or, for flip’s sake, THIS ONE) and keeping a lid on telly, internet, smartphone for reasons of self preservation. If no news is good news, how much time should we really devote to the news?

(not to mention the fact that we are still having our data mined, pandemic or no, race riots nonewithstanding. The world might be on fire, but too much time on devices is still messing with kids’ minds. In fact, it’s arguably worse, because so many kids are online even more during lockdowns all over the world – homeschooling or recreating. This has led to a terrifying increase in online sexual exploitation of children , among other ills. And we cannot really trust them (tech companies), because they keep proving themselves to be such snakes. ) Sigh.

Mind our influences. Listen to beautiful music, watch some stand up comedy, go for a blimmin walk. Support your favourite online physical (& therefore mental!) health expert. I love this local gal, and I love this local gal, and this one, all of whom have made switches to some kind of online delivery to support their communities. AND I love this international practitioner of strength, who has always had an online community! Thanks to all the people helping people to keep moving! You too, Adriene!

But yeah, if you can, donate.

on mites, lice, and COVID-19

Kia Ora lovelies. What a time to be alive, eh? Lessons a-plenty, as seen here in this bit of deliciousness showcasing the work of the awesome Bagshaws. (And Lyndon Puffin, no less!)

I’ve been putting my faith in Dr Bloomfield and Ms Adern, which was easy when we were on full on lockdown (I heart home) but it’s been a test today … sending kids back to school … YIKES.

Part of the reason for my trepidation is my first hand experience with what happens when one gets too lax, too fast, about controlling a vile outbreak. During lockdown, I had to sort lice from a child’s head and mites in my henhouse. Lemme tell you: you gotta keep your foot on the gas or outbreaks return without regard. Ya hear me, Ministry of Education? Did you SEE this proposed future, laid out by NZ Geographic? We gotta be careful!

Trusting you, Dr Bloomfield. Trusting you …

Some more links now, some COVID resources from Bruce Perry & pals, and this article from Reuters is about the need for green solutions in the rebooting of economies. There is lots we can do as individuals, too … like these inspiring ideas from Retrosuburbia.

Meanwhile, here is a post from Sensible Screen Use which reminds us that all this online education is experimental, this is an important portal to thinking about digital use and wellbeing at the mo, thanks be to the Center for Humane Tech, because let’s not forget: too much tech isn’t great for kids. It’s like the mites: they don’t care if there’s a pandemic on. It’s like the potential for damage to my dear wee liver because of excessive alcohol consumption … it still counts, pandemic or no.

Finally, here is an article from the NY Times which explains how and why Zoom can feel so unsatisfactory.

I mean, thank you Zoom, you’ve been helpful, but y’ain’t face to face. You can’t help it.

OH … by the way … today’s picture shows the latest issue of OHbaby!, which features an article I wrote. It’s about Growing Great Flatmates, and i hope you will enjoy it 😉

OldTryCovidPosters-01Kia Ora e hoa ma, g’day mates. Here is another lovely image from the talented folk at The Old Try.  Free to download!  If you’ve a printer, put one on your fridge!

We have at-home schooling starting in NZ today – I’ve tried to put some reasonable guardrails in place for my two. Sorry to say, but there are still a great many reasons to be cautious about tech.  I know people are all jazz-hands about online learning, but let’s not forget that kids’ data is still being harvested, that children need our protection from online sexual predation (MORE THAN EVER), or that we learn best hands-on, pen & paper, face to face.  And we gotta get outside to play!

Not to be all Captain Bringdown … just speaking truths that are STILL TRUE.

Here’s some lovely stuff, to counteract the grimness … some beautiful tips from a zen master for staying sane in challenging times are here, and this is a cool little video clip about making it out of lockdown without murdering anyone in one’s bubble. Here are some cool ideas for families from the excellent Sparklers website, and darlings: make space for your grief.

Another tech caution is HERE, in an article I wrote for OHbaby!, and here is a lil’l something from the brilliant Bruce Perry about responses to trauma (which I suspect an unprecedented number of people will be relating to, right now!) and if that all has you feeling a little verklempt try moving your body! Take it away Sam Shorkey!

Or try a little meditation, thank you Adriene 😉

Love y’all x xx take care x x x arohanui x x x