quick and squinty

Geeks!

I have a bit of a headache and I suspect tech use is not helping.  Eyes are unhappy, so I’ll make this snappy.  Damn, I’m poetic under pressure!

K: so, let’s begin and end with podcasts, shall we?  The first one I have listened to already – it’s good.  From the Urban Monk podcast, with our new pal Dr. Freed.  IT was a response to this awesome article on Medium, which we’ve linked to previous like.

While we are reviewing the need for caution around familial tech use, check out this article from the Atlantic, wondering how much we know about the tech habits of parents.  I’ve been doing a TON of reading on this very topic, now that I have university library privileges (WHOOP!! WHOOP!!).

This is why we are joining in on Screen Free Week – at least some family members are.  We just seem to need to be reminded about other stuff we love doing.  Lego!  Cross stitch!  Playing guitar!

I get the irony that I am online posting this during said week, but I’m at least trying to clear tabs before children return home.  And this is not entirely entertainment media.  So there.

Here is an article from Scientific American about implicit bias (cos, why not?) and this is a link to an abstract for a paper about doing postgrad study with a title that made me smile.

And check out the smartypants commenter on this article from Mothering magazine.  Oh wait, that’s me …

While we’re talking parental leave and Mothering mag, here is an article about the attitudes of women around the world maternity leave laws in the US.  Mate.  I shake my head.  If a culture isn’t cherishing mamas and babies, that is called Devolution.

Finally, to get us back on track, behold the wisdom and wonder of Dr. Dan Siegel, interviewed here on the Doctor Paradox podcast.  This is the one I haven’t listened to yet, but will tend to that tomorrow during school hours!  Thanks to the lovely Dr. C for this link.

becoming my own wife

Kia Ora my lovelies,

This beautiful picture accompanies an article I wrote for the fine folk at Family Times magazine.  The article can be found here, I hope you will enjoy it.

It’s very, very cold in NZ this week.  Autumn just decided to be Winter, for a few days.  We have had snow, sleet and gales and we’ve all busted out our puffy jackets.  At my house, I’ve relocated my laptop from my office (separate building, poorly insulated and fairly freezing) to the main abode.  Here I can keep a potbelly stove alight in the kitchen, and just now I lit the main firebox in the living room as well.  I know!  Bad ass!

I do this despite knowing I have electric forms of heat available, but my rural setting gives me permission to burn wood freely, and my state of self-wifing means I delight in performing these loving acts of care and nurture.  When I gather yet another heavy basket full of firewood, I do it as an act of love.  When I empty ashes a la Cinderella, it is as a gift to my future self.  As I vaccuum the inevitable trail of wood bits and sawdust, it is because I recognise my own right to pass the evening without crap stuck to my socks.

For weeks (years!) I have been grousing about my lack of a wife, (I know, greedy … because I want to keep my husband …) and sometimes I’m fairly jealous of my husband, because he has one.  So I’ve decided to imagine that I am my own wife.  In contrast to lots of the thinking I usually do about Self (or lack thereof!)  I am mucking around with the notion of compartmentalising my time – here I am at my desk, researching and writing.  Here I am folding a load of towels just so, so desk-self doesn’t have to worry about that domestic task.  Worker me, wifely me.  Both equally valuable.

Righty ho … I will now do the baby geek thang, and that is to share a variety of interesting links with you.

First, a news report about some important research highlighting the way that parental distraction by cell phones interrupts a child’s language learning abilities.  YIKES.   Tech is a risk to children in other ways, tooski, like YouTube stealing childrens’ data.  Classy.

Next, a TED talk about neuroplasticity, and LOOK!  The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne has issued another of their excellent Policy Briefs, this one about the first 1000 days of a child’s life.

Now an article from Scientific American, about being a scientist and a mother  at the same time (I know, radical!) and that led to this piece by the same author about conferences and provision for breastfeeding mothers.

Here is a blog post advocating for sane social media policy in schools … love it.  I want to quote a paragraph from this and ask you to substitute”Social media”, “Facebook” and “tweet” in the following with “SeeSaw”, which is an app showing up in schools and EC centres in NZ.  I’m not a fan.  (I’m also not a fan of an education strategy which aims to put digital devices in the hands of all 6 year olds, but I’ll save that convo for another day).

Here goes:

Finally, when teachers or administrators are using social media in the classroom or at school activities, it models the addictive, life-negating behavior that we don’t want our kids to emulate. If teachers are looking for social media opportunities during the school day, then they are being distracted from the face-to-face, in-person contact that defines classroom education. Taking a selfie with a student, however well-meaning, conveys that the moment is less significant than the Tweet. Sad. I want my kid to feel that what she’s accomplished in class matters in its own right, even if it is not posted to Facebook!

 

I know plenty of y’all are keen on SeeSaw, and will disagree with me, and that’s OK … let’s discuss.

things I get to do …

Alrighty … so the power of language is well documented (*never more enjoyably than in THIS EPISODE of the podcast “On Being”) and just lately I’ve been playing with “get to” instead of “have to”, or “should”.

I have to feed the calf.  I have to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I should weed my veggie garden.  I should write that essay.

I get to feed the calf.  I get to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I get to weed my veggie garden.  I get to write that essay.

Reminds me to have gratitude for the blessings that are wrapped up in those sentences.  Reminds me to look for the blessings.

Quick link dump, then.

Fab article here about the many and unexpected benefits of teaching kids philosophy in schools (YUM!!)  Even pro-business publications are making the case for it!

Parents want some life skills in schools, too, apparently.  Could we categorise philosophising as a life skill?  Man, teachers are going to be busy.

Good paper here, balanced and calm writing about adolescents and tech.  FLIP.   We gotta set some limits.

(OH MY GOODNESS it works here too.  Instead of “We have to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use …We get to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use.  Empowering.  Yeah!)

Anyway, This is a quote from that aforementioned paper:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project Foundation synthesized results from their survey of over 1000 technology stakeholders and critics in a report with the less-than-decisive, but I think ultimately accurate, title of “Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives”

 

Here is a list of scary things about the internet (with an outdated Halloween theme.  Sorry.)  And here is an article by a doctor from Harvard about what parents need to know (*Get to know!!) about children and mobile digital devices.  Kids and cellphones.  Y’know.

I read this some years ago, but it’s still great … and for some reason, this week it recrossed my path so, SHARE I shall.  Wild Play.  God, I loved the book Savage Park.

In other news, I was super proud of the kiwi doctor who has had self care put in the medical oath.  Is it called Hippocratic?

Finally, for joy’s sake:

Flower beards: I love them SO MUCH.

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?

many things, much stuff

Kia Ora dear friends and lovely geeks

I’m just gonna dive into some link sharing, sans preamble.  Tons, today:

First, a link to a report about some research that reminds us to hold our babies, A LOT.  There is no such thing as too much!  (*unless your arms are sore, in which case you gotta get a sling).  And THIS is from the London School of Economics, about the role of money in children’s lives (spoiler that is not really a spoiler: inequality is not our friend).

Here is an interesting wee article from Mothering mag, it’s about breastfeeding practices all over the world.  Go, Mongolia, go!  And here is the Washington Post, reporting on research about fathers’ differing habits with their girl- or boy-babies.  Meanwhile, this is a li’l something from Harvard Medical School about the evolution of our brains.

So this weird thing happens now and then where the people raising a ruckus about the stuff I care about are those who seemingly sit on the opposite (i.e. Right!) of the political spectrum to me and my lefty ways.  It is true here, where a group of concerned New Zealanders are questioning the amount of screen time in schools.  Yeah, I’m worried too! On a similar subject: check out THIS from Scientific American, about the ways that students are better off WITHOUT a laptop in the classroom.   And one for good luck, research from Penn State about how texting is just too tempting for students.

Finally, cos I gotta sort domestic stuff before school is over and my kids need their mama, this is a link to a page from the excellent Conversation about parental involvement in education.  Irony!  Hello!  You’re never far away, are you?

living in all kinds of worlds

IMG_4071Yesterday there was lots of media chat from our Ministry of Education about the digital focus of this next chapter of NZ education.  That’s their priority.

Because we live in a digital world.

Cool.

But as a mate reminded me, let’s just ensure we don’t lose sight of our natural focus.  Because we also live in the natural world.

And our relational focus.  Because we also live in a relational world.

An emotional world.

A sensory world.

And without a shadow of a lie, all kinds of sciences collide on the notion that there is a unifying reason we have evolved the brains and skills we have – the ones capable of the incredible and complex things our brains can do … like building iPads, for flip’s sake!

(I mean, I can barely understand the TELEPHONE , let alone bluetooth, wifi, or how to create an app.  Full credit to the mighty cortexes and superb fine motor skills!  Hooray for the opposable thumb!)

Friends, the reason we can do all that stuff is because we are social mammals.  Evolutionarily, we are not the strongest or the fastest.  But we win because we know how to function in groups.  We developed language.  Accumulated knowledge over generations.

We are top of the food chain because we have nurtured this brain into being.   And now we have this brain that has developed into something capable of witnessing itself for the first time in history (thanks to extraordinary brain imaging technologies).  I mean, at random, let me share an example of the profound stuff we are figuring out.  This is just one of a quadrillion things published, it just happened to hit my inbox this week.  From Harvard, about the way that pondering hardwired!  YUM!

I love what Dr Tara Brach says when she reminds us that with our understanding of neuroplacticity “We can train our ways of paying attention”.  She encourages excitement in living now: “at this juncture of our evolutionary history … we can actually evolve our own brains.  We can choose to pay attention in ways that open up our heart and mind”.

Right on!

So let’s try not to lose sight of all that.  The digital world is cool, but it’s our social brains that brought us here.  Undermine the health of them and … YIKES.  It’s like icing a beautiful cake but then obsessing so much about the icing that the cake itself might be raw.  Or mouldy.  Or something.

Here is a special treat … my dear friend Nathan courageously advocating for children on ‘Nine to Noon’ on RNZ. The question: Does NZ education policy align with recognised research?  (the answer … um … nope).  Love it.  Those parenting sections on a Thursday morn are often really good.  I miss them all the time but LOOK!  Oh, wondrous internet!  We can find them all here.

What a time to be alive!  Hot running water, and now all this!

Anyway, big thanks to the hardworking and glorious teachers of young folk in North Canterbury who came to the meeting yesterday.  Thanks to Swannanoa for hosting.  Amazing.  Can’t wait till next time.  But we failed to set a venue … d’oh.

If I may, I just need to clear a few tabs.

A few things from Scientific American, this one is why dads downplay their feelings, and it led me to the wonderland of journalistic adventure that is The Conversation, from Australia.  

This is a wicked downloadable pamphlet from the Campaign for a Commercial FreeChildhood, it’s a fact sheet about screen time and you need it.   You will be able to get one from the excellent people at the Amberley Medical Centre when we have our “Technoference” prez on the 2nd of August.  That’s a wednesday.

Nerd alert (Me, too) this is the Journal of the Psychology of Popular Media Culture, and with much love to soon-to-return-home Lauren for alerting me to Sherry Turkle, here is an amazing Ted Talk.

Arohanui,

Stay warm, kiwis.  And stay cool, if you’re lucky enough to be somewhere warm.

x x x

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.

April? May!

Kia Ora friends

Sometimes family circumstances chew us up and spit us out.  As I pull rumpled bits of life back together, straighten them out like tin foil, I am grateful when they fit back together but open to the notion of rearranging the whole thing, altogether.

Anyway: what I’m saying is, April slid through my fingers like water.  Much love and big ups to the warm and loving group of early childhood teachers I workshopped with in late April.

A few links that have been on my mind and in my heart:

This is about how we are manipulated as we move around the internet.  It’s written by someone who was a Design Ethicist for Google, and is a magician.  Brilliant.  Important.  Makes me wonder why our children are being allowed internet technologies at school without being given information to allow them to critically think about the ways they’re being toyed with.

Because oh-ho-ho how they are being toyed with.  Did you see this?  About the leaked info demonstrating how cynical and uncaring Facebook are in the way they use information about their users, including (especially?!) vulnerable youth.

Meanwhile: something positive and cool … next Tuesday this event is being held at the Champion Centre, thanks be to IMHAANZ!  Can’t wait to get all up in Prof Jean Clinton’s sphere of influence!

Other goodness: this from Taranaki where their Circle of Security programme is being expanded HURRAH! and in Minnesota there are doulas helping incarcerated mamas.

Gratitude.

Waiau, Lincoln, and in between

If I were a cleverer geek I’d be able to insert a nice graphic from Saturday’s ECE Expo.  Alas, I am supremely human (ie: flawed as can be!) so I’ll ask you to just tolerate one of the ultra uncool, non-web-wonderful posts that are my default setting.

What a time it’s been.  I never reported back on the excellence of a visit to Waiau with the glorious Dr. Jackie and the extraordinary Steph from the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa.  What an amazing opportunity to connect with a warm, authentic, courageous group of families.  I honour the whole darned lot of yiz.

And this weekend was also an utter treat: Libby and her crew organised a professional and enriching day and I greatly cherished being able to present.  The folks in my session were open and engaged and willing … we had some fun, eh?

If you’d like to hear more from Dr. Perry and his profoundly transformative recipe:  ”Regulate, Relate, Reason”, check out this link, which includes a podcast.  Listen while you prep dinner!

And here is a link to the Buddhify app, which is just one of a quadrillion breath/meditation type helpers.  I adore it.  And give Adriene’s “Yoga Quickies” a try, for if you’ve just got a few minutes and need a reboot.  Love her!  Amazing!

(*btw two things I should have referenced on the day: the line “set yourself up for greatness” is one of Adriene’s, and the Imaginary Extra Day activity was inspired by a book called “The Gift of Play: Why Adult Women Stop Playing and How to Start Again”, by author Barbara Brannen. )

Also I referred to the awesomeness of Dr. Rick Hanson, you can find more about him here.  I enjoy all of his writing, including his weekly newsletters, and I subscribe to his podcast, too.  Check out Episode 4 for more of that “noticing that you are already oK” practice.  SO YUMMY AND WISE.

In other news, a couple here from Scientific American, first a graphic look at the impact of poverty on the brain (ugh) and this article expands the ideas represented in the first.

Another one from the “What the HECK?” file, this is a piece from Harvard Medical School about the far reaching benefits and implications of supporting breastfeeding.  American data, but interesting nonetheless.

This episode of the podcast ‘On Being’ blew my mind, and now I’m going to have to check out more from Anil Dash, because he might be the hope for a generation.   The latest episode of On Being has an interview with Bessel Van der Kolk, he of the Body Keeps the Score.  Y’know, I keep trying to get everyone to read it!  Can’t wait to listen to that one.

Another podcast in my queue, recommended by one of my favourite gals, and from one of my favourite ‘casts!  This looks awesome, from Radiolab.

Oh, and did I share this yet?  It’s about parenting teens.  Love them!  Trust them!  Cuddle their big bodies whenever they let you!

I haven’t time for much else this morning.  But look after yourself, please.  And look after your people.  And look after our beautiful land that we love as much as we love our people!

the normal baby geek thang

Kia Ora my friends

Today I’ll quickly do what I usually, traditionally do.  That is: to consolidate a variety of links of interest to today’s nerdy family enthusiast.  A one-stop shop for the modern overthinker.

I’ve been a bit derailed of late, and that is how life goes. Bear with: I will return to the campaign to free children from the tyranny of cellphones, but until then, enjoy some links.  Here they come, no particular order!

What Ho!  We begin with a couple of articles about screens!  Here is information about the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood’s annual screen free week, and won’t you please read this article in which the writer describes being without her smartphone and draws attention to MoodOff Day.  Right on!!!

No doubt: tech may have benefits but there are oh-so many ways she oversteps her bounds in the lives of families.  Check out this story from Germany.

Next up: an article to file under “I cannot believe this is a concept that needs defending” – it’s about the need to protect what Americans call recess.  We’d call it playtime.  Anyway – the article is from the Atlantic and here it is.   Speaking of Americans, one of my favourite gals on the globe shared this link with me this morn.  It’s the 5 Phrases that can Change Your Child’s Life.  Love it!  Thanks, MInne. x

Here is a very useful summary of Attachment Theory, in an article from the New York Times, and WHAT THE WHAT?  Trees talk to each other and recognise their offspring.  Science said so!

Two more: this is a super cool PDF about Play from the Alliance for Childhood (the book on their homepage looks wicked cool) and this is about marketing food to children (as in, let’s not).  

That’s all for now my geeky friends.  It’s AUTUMNAL out there, and I wanna be in it.