parenting … it’s not all beer and skittles

Kia Ora y’all

Biiiiiiig week for this geek, had three days of lectures @ university, lucky to have a willing and able parent to step into grandparenting.  My dad.  My kids.  My heart is full.

In all honesty, all that was helped along by my having packed nutritious lunchboxes the night before, and by loading the crock pot with healthy goodness the morning of.  It’s that invisible stuff that goes unnoticed all too often, and this is why I am giving my trumpet a minor toot.

The invisible stuff of parenting is what I yearn to make visible – this is a big reason for my public adoration of Naomi Stadlen and her ‘mothers talking’ work.  If you’ve never read What Mothers Do or How Mothers Love I just reckon you oughta.

But then there is an aspect of parenting made visible that clearly rankles … the insistence from mothers of grown children that any acknowledgement of the struggles of daily life with young children is something resembling failure.  Last year I linked y’all to this great blog post on Momastery,  and just this past week my pal shared this similar sentiment from the Boganette blog.

For onlookers to rush to the “your babies are blessings now just be grateful” angle is MOST unhelpful.  It denies the validity of mama’s emotions in the here and now.  It denies the reality of life in the here and now (parenting can be bloody hard!  AND it flies in the face of what we understand from the worlds of neurobiology, psychotherapy and decent humanity … accept what someone is feeling.  Just let them have that feeling.  Toddler, friend, adolescent, man, woman, whoever.  Feeling something.  So there.  OH!  How timely …  This is one of the gifts from my university experience last week – brief Youtube clip about empathy that I reckon you’ll love.

Quick link dump then I gotta go cos offspring are plotting rebellion (in party hats).  This is from the Washington Post about the culture of caesarian in the USA, here is a paper about infant circumcision and human rights (which I’m not sure I agree with), and I wrote this a while back but had cause to find it again last week and I reckon it’s still relevant.

If the weather cooperates, we’ll be off to see Te Matatini kapa haka festival tomorrow. See you there. Smooch!

play. work. play. sleep. play. practice. play.

Photo on 2014-12-09 at 06.07Right ho.  So my newest thang is in this magazine with yet another astronomically lovely bub on the front.  I hope that if you read it you will like it.

Here is another link to an article about play – this is written with someone with WAY more gravitas than I.  This is fantastic.

With December slip-slidin’ away you might enjoy this list of non-toy gift ideas for children … and if you move fast you can still vote for worst toy of the year at CCFC’s annual TOADY awards.

Thursday I will teach a workshop for the first time since I was preggers with Little Girl.  At the Toddlerific conference near Christchurch.  Have planned a preso, but have not even thought through all the logistics inherent in driving vast distances, filling travel forms, sorting real life toddler’s needs ETC because today is my Big Girl’s birthday!  Eleven years I’ve been a mama.

One thing at a time for this geek.

small insight, many links

It’s winter time in the South Pacific.  A time for toddlers to kick off all their bedclothes and then awaken their mothers with cold cries.  As I tiptoed toward Baby Girl last night I felt for her blindly, unsure what part of her I’d touch.  She swivels and wriggles and changes direction.

As I gently patted the air and eventually her, it occurred to me how the darkness of nighttime parenting is a bit like the blessed mystery of pregnancy – the ultrasound technician who proposes “yes, I think that’s an arm.  Oh, and there’s the baby’s spine”.  Last night this seemed just like the necessary assessment that precedes rearranging the blankies.  ”Yes, here’s her wee head.  There’s her feet …”  And I snuggle her back up and shuffle back to bed, willing us both to stay asleep.

Anyway, before I return to that lovely slumber, here are some LINKS.

This is from UNICEF, it’d seem they are getting into the neurodevelopment swing o’ things .   Welcome.

A couple of parenting resources: Radical Parenting, providing tips for parents of adolescents and teens from a kid’s perspective, and I love this from Hand in Hand parenting, about the value of a Good Cry.  I’m sold: boo hoo!

Here is a cool cardboard play space from Australia, an urging to introduce babies to veggies early and often, and a write up of some health research examining gender differences in placenta.

And I just don’t even know what to say about the notion that we are all more stressed at home than at work.   A convo for another time.  Bed beckons (as she always does mmmmm)

amazing! and awful.

I just heard from one of my bestest buddies: successful healthy birthing this very morning.  Baby Girl, brand new, hours old.  Welcome!  I long to rush to her side but the thick green nose of my toddler (SORRY…) will keep me away.  For today, at least.

All this on a day where the morning radio news was full of grim news about life for kiwi children.  One in five in poverty … UNICEF is unimpressedOur school results indicate that not enough kids are getting the education to score the jobs to lift them out of poverty.

I will return to my serious and relevant advocacy when I do not have a toddler on my hip, clawing for the computer.  Naughty mama am I (“bubby’s turn ‘puter!).  Meantime, enjoy the coolest Christmas music EVER right here.