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!  Tēnā 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 “The Approach of Dr Emmi Pikler in AotearoaNew Zealand” … 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?

for the time being

Ladies and gentlegeeks,
What is UP?

My body craves movement, and caffeine, so I won’t linger at my desk for much longer.  I finished an article this morning (huzzah!) and now I will turn my attention to domesticity.  With an impending (long-awaited!) renovation about to kick off at my place, I’m supplementing my usual household quests with a truckload of packing, cleaning, discarding.  I have been amazed aplenty: by the number of socks under my washing machine, how I really do need more than one rubber scraper, and by the pressure I feel to buy new tea towels.  Which I might, or might not do.  I am the gatekeeper of tea towels!

Now, friends, some links:

FIRST, with a belated shout-out to a beautiful lady geek based in Auckland, here is a link to a Stuart Shanker gig in that fair city.  GO, if you can.  Go.

A couple of links from Australia, now.  This one will tell you all about one of their home-visiting programmes, right@home.  Our parliament were just briefed about this project, and as we know, home visiting is an exceptionally effective way of supporting families.  Something completely different; here is an analysis of the gender imbalances in the top 100 selling children’s books in Australia.  So well done, you wanna see it.

What a conundrum – but finding decent books to share with children is so very worth it, here is an abstract to support that idea!

From the New York Times, now: there will never be an age of artificial intimacy … and this is a stunner of an essay about how we are more than our brains.  I was lucky enough, in the midst of my deepest days of brain science worship, to have mentors reminding me of the interconnectedness of our everything.  I mean, appreciate the neuro-stuff, but also cherish the rest.  Heck, you probably already do.  I just had to relearn that a while back.

Hey, with an ironic wink, here are a couple of brain links.  This is about the benefits of forgetting, and this asks “does living around violence change a child’s brain?” (answer: yes.)

ANYWAY … here is a lovely downloadable calendar for self care September (LOVE!  Thanks, Action for Happiness)  and now that you’ve girded your loins, check out this hideousness from the Washington Post about little kids and their online shopping habits.  Jaysus!  Can I please share another essay?  This one is about how children need to move and play and step away from the screens in order to learn.

Now, where were we?  A cuppa and a brisk walk both sound pretty good about now.  Arohanui x x x

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 oasesYes, 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.

 

 

sharing, by clearing (tabs)

Sooner or later I’m going to have to learn how to use some of the tools at my disposal.  I can barely use my computer, I’m not sure I could even thread up my sewing machine, and I’m terrified of the new software I need to master.  To reference, graph, and get my shit together. 

I’m so mad at tech.  How will I learn to love her?  Appreciate the good bits.  Get playful with leaning new software.  Play with the wonderful communicative bits.

Like sharing stuff.  That is a cool gift.  Access to all the stuff.  I need to share some:

Here is an awesome article (with some blue language, look out) from Esquire magazine, about Fred Rogers.  The man is a hero.  Apparently there is a new movie coming out about Mr Rogers’ life.  If I was a diligent blogger I’d go find you a link, but I’m due at a school assembly, and my computer is running slow!

Very good resource here, based around Bruce Perry’s Regulate, Relate, Reason, which is some life changing stuff.  Ain’t foolin.

Now here is an article from the Huffington Post, about how we are all checking our smartphones more than we know.  It’s becoming apparent to me that the ‘checking behaviour’ is possibly more an indicator of worrisome stuff than just straight ‘time on screen’ measures.

More on that later.

Hey, anyone lucky enough to be near Sydney in September could go hear Stuart Shanker.  How about all the S’s in that sentence!  Here is a gift from his blog, about defiant children and diagnoses.  

Last year, I had cause to spend a lot of time in an ICU.  I was the family person in charge of an intense scenario.  I am so glad that there are people working to make that scene less weird and terrifying.  

Here is a cool 2 minute video intro to Roots of Empathy.  If you don’t know what  I am talking about, you needa watch it.

I am obsessed with this photo and this bathmat.

The more my iPhone plays music to me and the less I look at it, the better.  Singing rules.

school holidays = best and worst times of a mama’s life!

Hello my friends,

All is sunny and cold on this bit of my island.  We plan a road trip, hubby and gals and I, business mixing with (what I hope will be) some pleasure.  I am struggling because I really would rather my kids looked out the window, bickered and grizzled and “are we there yet?”-ed, but everyone else – from the kids themselves to my goodly husband to the lady who waxes my legs – insists that it’s oK to use devices on road trips.

Aeroplanes – fine.  But road trips?  Through devastatingly beautiful scenery?  Aargh … I cannot find peace around that one.  Not today, at least.  Ask me tomorrow, 5 hours in to the 6 hour drive.

ANYWAY.  Some links for the baby geeks among us.  First, some shame and outrage.  The current government of the USA just seem determined to be the baddies of the world.  Not only did they oppose the WHO’s resolution to support breastfeeding, they bullied Ecuador like a bunch of corporate loving monsters.  I want to be loving to all humanity, really I do.  But if I had the chance to poke the 45th prez in the eye, I’d do it.  If I could shove his cronies into icy river water, I’d do it.  If I could push him down a flight of stairs, I would.  If I’m doing the pushing, shoving and poking out of love for others, does that make it ethically OK?

NOW, in other news, here is a cornucopia of goodness from Stuart Shanker (who I have met, and did not push in a river or poke in the eye, but rather shook his hand) and his Canadian crew.  It is a slew of resources about self-regulation and I think you’ll love ’em.

Also, a trifecta of resources dealing with the same thing: here is the original report from the London School of Economics, this is an article from the Guardian which summarises the findings,  and here is a recent opinion piece  which references them both.  What are we dealing with?  The case for banning cellphones in schools, and the demonstrated gains in academic performance that would flow from this bravery – especially for poorer performing students.

This is a piece from the Harvard Medical School which celebrates the work of one of their whānau, elevating the importance of mental health care (why, yes!) and this is a youtube video in which Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal theory (which is amazing, important, and brain-achy) is made most understandable.  Enjoy!

 

by the way …

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 12.24.04 PMKia Ora e hoa ma,

Hello friends.

As we honour our pals across the Pacific continuing to raise a loving hell on behalf of the babies that are being caged by Prez#45, (truly: my pal flew from SFO to DC to chant loudly and get arrested.  Bless you, thank you!), those of us in somewhat saner Aotearoa deal with challenges of different sorts.

But we hold you (babies, children, immigrant mothers & fathers).  We wrap our wings around you.  Crikey, I feel an Einstein quote coming on:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Life is holy and complex, as it is mundane and relentless.  The clock is a tyrant, and relationships are everything.

Anyway, friends, today’s picture is of the most recent issue of OHbaby! magazine, which holds two articles that I am proud to have written.  One is about Respect, the other about toddler development.  Which are a couple of my favourite subjects.

Other links now:

Here is a lil something from Scientific American, about what babies know, and here is something for all the solo parents out there: a Buddhist perspective on the teachings available just for you.   Meanwhile, this gift is for all parents of every ilk … it’s about self-compassion.  Yikes.

I’d never seen this particular Dan Siegel talk till my gal Pennie Brownlee sent me the link earlier in the week … I am grateful!  (You will be too) … and it is kinda cool how a seemingly unrelated link from a seemingly unrelated source (my dear friend and superstar of academic pediatrics, sharing this piece about Ubuntu) is so in harmony it’s not even funny.

There’s no “me”, y’all.
Or even a y’all, y’all.
It’s all about “we”.

Somehow the coincidence of receiving both those links on the same day feels like confirmation.

Less perky is this link, shared by another wise woman.  Electrosmog?  Jeez Louise.  Imma learn more about that.  You know I’d be happy to have waaaaaaaaaay less tech in schools, and I certainly think that we oughta teach our young ‘uns to think more critically about the tech they’re using.  For example – how do we teach children to examine the news for potential biases?

Take a break from the screens, homies.   And consider different ways of using tech – LOVE the work of Tristan Harris and chums, and here is another effort to rejig the current scene.

Finally, a cool fact I did not know about breast milk, specifically how it changes along with a mother’s circadian rhythm.

Not enough o’s in cool, baby.

raise your hand if you’re fed up

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 12.35.10 PMKia Ora my friends.  Here is the image that accompanies the Proceedings of the 2nd International Neurosequential Model Symposium from 2016.  Y’all, I was there!  I presented (and sobbed.)  And guess whose scrappy l’il piece closes out this auspicious document?  Can you even stand it?  Because I’m not sure I can!

Now I need to share some links, before my cranky old bones prohibit any more computer work.  First, get ready for outrage, and then please share it with at least a half-dozen of your pals in education.  This is an article about the way that Google has infiltrated schools and is making loyal clients of children, and praps it’d be a good time to brush up on the ways that a Google search is not a neutral beast.  How many of the children googling away in their classrooms today know this?  How many of their teachers have even considered it?

NOW, then: check this out … from PC Mag, no less, making the case for less tech in classrooms.  It exposes that same notion: that tech in schools is for the benefit of advertisers and companies, not children.  UGH.  And LOOK at the lengths that tech companies will go to, distancing themselves from the idea that they have a part to play in child wellbeing: “Our children’s apps aren’t directed at children.”  PARASITES.   We simply must share the truth about the ways that we (and worse, our kids) are being manipulated!  Love you, Tristan Harris!!

For resources, info, inspiration and community in the fight against such nonsense, please behold the proceedings from the first Children’s Screen Time Action Network conference.  I know, you gotta get online.  Irony is a funny gal.  And ALL HAIL Maryland, who seems to be leading the way in having legislative challenge to the “all-tech, all-the-time” school landscape.

Instead, we gotta emphasise what children need.  They need time with their family (mate, I LOVE this article ….) They need actual humans to read them stories.   They need adults to pay attention to what they actually need!  And they need schools that do more than just market to them.

Meanwhile, we need to spend time offline (quiet time alone, every day!  SWOON!) we need to resist the pace of the on-demand lifestyle, we need a bloody good night’s sleep, and we need community.

An article here from Mothering with a new take on the ACE study, and this is a link to an article I wrote aaaaages ago, for our pals at OHbaby! mag.

a wildly satisfying life!

What’s up party people?  Kia Ora te whānau!

I have just committed an act which could be described as mildly rebellious OR exceptionally sensible, depending upon yer point of view.  When I could have (should have?) been hitting the books I was, instead, undulating my spine with the exceptional Kelle Rae Oien, who has been in NZ teaching.  How lucky am I!?!  Such joy.  So sweaty!

I adore her language when she expresses her desire for her students to live lives that are wildly satisfying.  Wildly satisfying!  I dig that contrast.  It’s like … passionately content.  Enthusiastically calm.  Playfully satiated.  Wildly satisfying.  Yeah, imma keep that one!

What else?  Just had mother’s day … probably a good time to share this excellent article from Harper’s Bazaar about emotional labour (aka invisible labour, aka mental load, aka kin keeping).  Oh, young women, study before you procreate!  The mental and practical energy that it takes to keep the home fires burning while you’re committing the audacious act of betterment is something that you cannot possibly know, yet.

Casserole, school trip, reference list.  Dishes, flu shots, literature review.  Wha …?

Now, some links.  Let’s clear a few tabs before I do battle with the referencing software.  I know, I know, that is NOT the attitude.  Not doing battle with, playing with!  I’ll play with it…

First … here is an article that freaked me right out.  It’s about the ways that millennial parents are raising their children.  I could weep.  The needs of human infants have not changed, just cos our technology has.  Interesting that the writer acknowledges the longing that “parennials” (millennial parents, apparently) have for simpler times.

Meanwhile, from the Atlantic, another look at the tech habits of parents.  This deserves multiple and repeated reads, cos I tell you what, it’ll take you to some terrifying places.  Like this and this.

And you know the bit that kills me, crazy baby lady that I am?  There is this cyclic thing going on, where new motherhood seems “boring”, and sure enough the literature points to women going online (eg during the intimate act of breastfeeding) because they are bored and seeking distraction.  But by succumbing to the distraction, mothers aren’t practicing SEEING their babies.  Really seeing them.  And we know that with older kids, the distraction leads to child misbehaviour, which leads to parental dissatisfaction, which makes a big’ol’ downward spiral of technoference.

Boredom? What would happen if we could sit quietly with that, and even lean into it.  Incredible things happen when we let ourselves just go with the tricky things that motherhood offers us – even exhaustion!  (My struggles with describing invisible labour – what do those struggles offer me?  I’ll report back!)

I remember when my girls were babies, (1 pre-, 1 post- smartphone) people would confess to being bored/lonely at home with their infants, and I would think that if they could only see their babies as the exceptional scientists, sociologists and artists that they are, and if we honoured the power of home visiting as transformative in the lives of families, then mamas would be neither bored nor lonely.  There is something afoot with our culture that we deny so many people the chance to KNOW babies before they become parents themselves, then we physically isolate new mothers (now with a damaging tool for adult communication/distraction at their fingertips) and all the while we radically undervalue infants (and therefore parents).

Anyway, I gotta get dinner sorted before school pick up.  We do a Meat Free Monday, and I try and make it extra delicious, so my omnivorous family won’t grouse.  Also, it’s swimming lesson day for little girl, so time’s a-wasting.

Quick round up of the tabs I need to clear … an article from NZ’s Stuff website about the Modern Learning Experiment.  I’m far from convinced, especially about the “screens for all!” attitude of it all.  A couple more things about schools: this from Sir Ken Robinson (oh, hell yes!  Dance is as important as mathematics!) and I would also like to share a quote that has been rocking my world:

“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”


― Chris HedgesEmpire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

LOVE THAT.

For no good reason, read about an inspiring, alternative method of farming, here.  Here is a gorgeous blog post about childrens’ spontaneous singing , and finally, an article from Mothering magazine, about missing your mother.  I posted a comment at the end of the piece which I’m kinda disappointed the author hasn’t acknowledged.  Maybe she doesn’t know how to.  I will keep a compassionate heart.  But only just.

 

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.