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.

Shout out to the kin-keepers at Christmas-time

Hello friends.

Kin-keepers: I see you.  People like me: the card-senders and list-writers and picnic-packers of the season.

Kin-keeping is all the stuff we do to maintain strong bonds with friends & family. It’s the name given to the invisible raft of tasks that supports the rich social connections required for optimal health.

It’s thinking ahead to get the ingredients for your dad’s favourite birthday dinner.  It’s remembering to call your mother-in-law on the day of her medical appointment.  It’s about making a list and checking it twice.

This is often invisible work, but it deserves to be a separate line-item in the imaginary time budget of our lives, but because it tends to morph itself into the general busy-ness of family life (pack the swimming bag, unload the dishwasher, soak the collars) even those of us who facilitate the lion’s share of the kin-keeping underestimate the demand it places on our resources: time, energy, funds.

Ideally, kin-keeping is a joy.  With a little bit of breathing room about it, a gift for a friend can be a loving creation (I love making smart-arse cross stitches for my significant ladies) and preparing a casserole for an ailing relative can be a lovingkindness meditation.  But when time is short and energy is stretched, buying the gift or making the meal can feel more like pressure – even resentment – than love.

At this time of the year, when New Zealanders are preparing for the whole world to shut down for a few weeks, with school prizegivings and work dos, let alone a massive feast to cater, it can be really hard to find that breathing room to create a joyful kin-keeping heart.

I find it much easier to take the advice about slowing down, being mindful, practicing gratitude if I identify kin-keeping for what it is.  Give it a name.  Recognise what a vital function I am performing for my family when I remember that Little Girl will need a gift for Olivia’s 5th birthday on Sunday.  (CRIKEY that’s tomorrow.  No worries.  Zero panic.  She’ll be right, etc.)

How about this for a cool name: te ahi kā.  I am told that this is what the first New Zealanders would have called the person who (quite literally) keeps the home fires burning.  There are hunters, there are gatherers, there are gardeners, and there is te ahi kā. 

I salute your work all the year round, but I especially honour you now, 8 days from Christmas with kids rattling around hereafter.  All that food, those bathroom wipe-downs, the gift-wrapping: it all happens in the service of family relationships, and that makes it such noble work.

Someone has to keep the meals chugging and the laundry flowing, and I sing a song in your name.

Arohanui, keepers of kin, ahi kā ma.

x

 

 

 

 

Thankful for … Los Amberleys

Kia Ora Friends

The weekend has almost evaporated.  I’m trying hard to get a bit of rest in, after a huge day of cooking a thanksgiving feast for our half-American family.  The trees and pollen of late springtime are having their way with my respiratory system, and I could use a lie down!  Later, I promise.

SO: we had a buzz-out about all sorts of stuff at the Amberley Medical Centre’s forum last week, and – as promised - here is an intro to Temperament research, and here is an assessment scale.  More on that later!

Here is a talk by Bruce Perry, thanks be to YouTube, and if you’d like to muck around with the “think of child rearing in terms of what our ancestors did” idea, I recommend “The World Until Yesterday” by Jared Diamond, and “The Continuum Concept”, by Jean Liedloff.

**AND … I”m adding these in later … here are a couple of pieces I’ve written on the concept of Good Enough Parenting.  This is from the Newsletter of the Brainwave Trust,  and this was written for OHbaby! magazine.  ENJOY **

Better go, as I am trying to model healthy screen habits.  That’s step one, peeps.  A great book on this topic is “The Big Disconnect”, that’s your homework!

disasters: natural and unnatural

Another natural disaster has had its way with my community.  Thanks a lot, Rūaumoko.

So I’m gonna share this excellent resource again – the Open Letter to the carers of  Infant/Toddlers.  The mums and dads and others looking after the small humans.  It was produced by IMHAANZ (the Infant Mental Health Association of Aotearoa/New Zealand).  There is another, equally awesome, on their website.  It deals with sleep and it is here.

We will be well advised to learn how to respond intelligently to trauma.  If in doubt, check back with Bruce Perry and the Child Trauma Academy. 

And do some yoga.  After all, the body keeps the score.

Playcentre, baby

Kia Ora Geeks, what’s up?  So Little Girl and I started our week with a beautiful visit to the Playcentre in Leithfield.  I wanted to follow up with a few links from our conversation there.

First: May I say how much I love Playcentre as a movement, a philosophy, and a thing in general.  It’s uniquely kiwi, supportive of families (therefore is grounded in Bioecological theories of human development, whoop whoop!) and it is a monument to play.  And play rules.  That’s that. As I told the lovely Kate, who is writing about the morning for a Playcentre publication, being in a Playcentre makes me proud to be a New Zealander.

I also happen to adore Kay Henson, who runs that Monday morning session at Leithfield Playcentre.  What a lucky little village.  And what lovely, devoted mamas all hanging out that day.  I am grateful to have spent some time with you all.

I see the way you attend so patiently, selflessly, (exhaustedly!) to your settled, loved, inquisitive children.  I see you.

Some of the things I wanted to follow up:

This is a good intro to temperament theory, and, to follow on, here is an article about the concept of Goodness of Fit.  And this article does a lovely job of explaining Self Regulation and highlights the link between it and Goodness of Fit.  Good times!

An extension of our temperament conversation led us into talking about Elaine Aron and her Highly Sensitive Person work.  Check out more here.

A couple of musical links now: first with regards to behaviour.  This is Accentuate the Positive, which is more than just a classic tune.  It’s also a great strategy for dealing with our families.  It’s a behaviour management anthem, about choosing your battles, and celebrating the bits that are going well!

The next musical link is a live version of Dixie Chicken by Little Feat, from the year of our Lord, 1977.  It’s for Dixie and her mama.

What else?  Here is a link to learn more about Madga Gerber, this is a book I highly recommend, this is one of the Buddhist inspired parenting books I wouldn’t live without (I chatted with one mama about this), and won’t you please have a peruse of my writing page for many expansions of some of the topics we discussed.

Finally, this is a random and cool link from Mothering mag about baby birds and the power of song … ooooh.

Speaking of birds, I’m off to give my poorly chook a spa treatment.  I wish I was kidding.

life after the Olympics

220px-Daisy_chainwe are fans of the Olympic games, in this house.  It’s one of the only times that our rigid “No TV in the mornings” rule gets bent.

Little Girl and I have had several re-enactments of races, victories, and awards ceremonies.  She likes to gaze reverentially at an imaginary flag being raised, and has a warm way of congratulating other imaginary competitors on their good runs.

The weird bit is how she’s turning everything into competition, now.  An example, from yesterday, as she’s gathering daisies off the lawn: “Pretend I won the flower-picking competition!”  Flower picking as competitive event?  Break my heart!  Go on!

I’m not a particularly competitive person, so my instinct is to detract from this trait.  One beautiful strategy for turning away from rampant competition is to embrace the wonderful world of yoga.  I’m on my mat several times a week, and will feel more competent in supporting my kids to enjoy their bodies and their own practice having had the great fortune to attend a day of training with the beautiful Michaela from Yogi Kids.  Namaste (now let’s play!)

What else?  A flurry of important, informative and slightly depressing links from Australia.  First, from the Early Trauma and Grief Network, an excellent PDF about supporting children who have witnessed family violence.  I’ve linked to it before, but I’m linking to it again because it worthy: it dispels some myths and is altogether excellent.   This is a link to the website of an organisation called Lifespan whose mission is to prevent suicide, and please behold this (important!  Slightly depressing!) from the Valuing Children Initiative … it’s about public perception of children.

This is an important li’l piece written by a Scientist … it’s about keeping the ‘A’ in STEAM (instead of narrowly obsessing about STEM).

This is a report from the Pew Charitable Trust, summarising vast amounts of information about the efficacy and awesomeness of Home Visiting (unnecessary captials, I know!  But I flippin love home visiting).  Kiwi Midwives do some home visits, Plunket do a little (and used to do more) and Parents as First Teachers (PAFT) have just tragically had their funding cut!

A couple of gifts from Scientific American, and then I gotta go be an attentive parent once more.  First: Data Visualization and Feelings (I feel that I flippin love this, so what does that look like?) and finally, here is neuroimaging exploring what new thoughts look like as they take shape in the brain.

link salad

Ladies and Gentlegeeks,

I sat down to share some links with y’all and had to pause the job in order to take Little Girl outside with warm gears on, so we could crunch the ice on some puddles.  The reason for my playful outdoor interruption?  This article from the Guardian about the important role of language in maintaining a positive relationship with the natural world.

Next: a collection of videos dedicated to exploding brain myths.  Enjoy.  Less enjoyable, but equally important, here is a report from the Australian government about children’s exposure to family violence.  If that has you reeling, here is a slew of info from the American Psychological Association about increasing adult resilience.

Another gathering of useful links from another amazing crew is this collection from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

I’ve been revisiting my appreciation for Motivational Interviewing as a result of seeing a (FRICKIN’ AMAZING) presentation by Stuart Ablon at the conference in Banff.  His Collaborative Problem Solving approach seems to have a bit in common with MI.  Add it to the list of stuff I love!

Just a few more.  A li’l something from Scientific American about the ways that diversity makes us smarter,  some examples of how Richard Scarry books (which we adore, round here) have been made more relevant to today’s audiences, and finally, because Little Girl has been asking heartbreaking questions lately, some links for talking with your kids about death.

Life!  It’s amazing.  It’s awful.  And in between, there’s laundry.

x x x

is jet lag an agent of disregulation, or is it just me?

 

Kia ora te whānau … whaddup homies

Got back from beautiful Banff yesterday, where I spent a little too much of the remarkable International Symposium for the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics stumbling about in an overtired state, searching for English Breakfast tea, or fighting back tears.  Oh, unless it was one of those moments where I simply succumbed and had a wee cry.

Perhaps I could apply Dr Perry’s excellent awareness of biological rhythms and accept that fluffing around with the circadian rhythm of wake/sleep (not to mention leaping across the equator and confusing summer/winter) is bound to create discombobulation.

So more links will follow when I have caught up with myself.  Right now I’m practicing compassion, and housework.  x x x

talking, writing, and handouts

Kia Ora te whānau  … what an unseasonably warm day it is in North Canterbury.  The trees say “autumn” but the temperature says “summer”.

Tomorrow kids (in NZ) will return to school and kindergarten and their families will return to a term-time state o’ mind.  I’m always on the fence about it … could use some more time with the kids, not stoked about packing lunches, but pretty thrilled to reinitiate the ebb and flow of a consistent routine.

And a few days back I had the great pleasure of working with some lovely kindergarten teachers and early childhood folk are my TRIBE so it was super yummy.  I will now have a crack at attaching a link so that you can download the handouts, as promised.  Wish me luck.  My computer is a bit antique and my blog software due an update!  Here we go:

OK.  That’s going to be more complex than I thought.  The files are too big.  I will need to figure out how to make them smaller and do that again.

Bear with.

Meantime, here are some links to edify and entertain:

Here is an article from Scientific American about creativity (*it’s more than just rehearsing!) and I’m loving this link from Mothering about healthy eating on a tight budget.  For tips about child health of a different kind, I’m sending you anew to the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, specifically their resource ‘Healthy Kids in a Digital World’.

This link will take you to a website from Australia, called Kids Matter, telling us three ways to help children become more confident, and check out this explanation of normal sleep expectations … a gift for tired parents, also from Mothering.com.

Here’s an interesting notion about brain hacks to increase motivation, from NPR, and TIME magazine have an article here warning of the practice of time-outs in child discipline.  Discipline = to teach.  And what are we really teaching, hmmm?  x x x

Slow Down. And hurry up about it.

I am painfully aware of the frequently contradictory nature of my instructions to my children.  I have literally asked Big Girl to ‘please hurry up’ just seconds after I’ve instructed her to ‘slow down and take more care’.  Ghastly.

Before I throw links in your direction, may I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all y’all American baby geeks out there.  I’ll be cooking a turkey for my half-American crew on Saturday.  In the heat.  Harvest festival at the beginning of Summer?  More contradictions.

Right-ho.  Here we go.  First up: here’s a report from the Australian Psychological Society about the well being of Australians.  Interesting how FOMO and social media immersion are making folks less content.  Also from Australia, also dealing with mental health: read about how flippin hard mothers are working and how it impacts them.  No prizes.

This is the legendary annual pre-Christmas TRUCE toy guide … please read and share.  The opposite of that is to be found HERE: it’s voting time for the annual TOADY  awards from the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood.  Such hideous toys to choose from this year!  What will you select?

Here is a link to an abstract for some research about toddler’s language acquisition – turns out our ums and ahs are more valuable than we might’ve thought.   Here is a cool site from the Badass Breastfeeder, and this is a wee audio piece from Scientific American about our brain’s responses to music.

And for your Big Kid, a lovely teeny youthy positive website from Oz.  Rosie Respect.  I dig it!

Finally, in “Be Careful What You Wish For” news, I submitted a proposal to present at The 2nd International Neurosequential Model Symposium: Advances in Implementation and Innovation in Practice, Program Development and Policy.  

Blow me down, geeks, I’ve been accepted!  Bruce Perry!  Banff!  See you there!