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

canada

an old friend has just rung to tell us that the magnificent Gord Downie has announced that he has terminal cancer.  This link will take you to an article about that handsome young Prime Minister telling you more.

Justin Trudeau.  His name is Justin Trudeau.

And Gord Downie is the super cool singer (and perhaps songwriter?)  for the Tragically Hip.  I think he’s also the songwriter.   I’ll ask my husband, who is a huge fan of the Hip. Or I’ll ask the internet, which knows all sorts of things.

My husband and i had a Canadian soundtrack running in the background when we met and fell in love.  Blue Rodeo.  Sarah McGlachlan.  And yes, The Tragically Hip.

It all feels a bit poignant and personal, praps a bit cosmic, because this news come as I am packing my bags to go to Banff for the symposium of excitement.

Things to do:

  • load up with excellent music – increase quota of Canadian tunes, check podcasts.
  • Rapidly develop a comprehensive understanding of telecommunications and use this to practical effect (!)
  • Siphon toiletries into tiny plastic bottles.
  • play matching pairs with Little Girl
  • tidy up the raised veggie bed with Big Girl
  • print off paperwork for flights, etc.

ZOINKS x x

ps three links I just gotta share today …

First, an EXCELLENT article from the Atlantic about how kids learn resilience, a piece from the Harvard Business Review about the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership, and THIS is amazing “The Invisible Burden that Leaves Moms Drained” … This really resonated and I’m totally inspired to read more from the researchers cited in here.  You?

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

overthinkers anonymous

Dear www.baby.geek.nz

You are a dear wee website.  You have given me a place to file my thoughts and preserve a gigantic number of links (* or portals to wonderlands of learning and discovery, as I like to think of them).

You’re a bit of a secret, though, which is cool, but there is this thing I love to imagine you doing.  Just quietly.  I love to imagine that you, www.baby.geek.nz, have improbably become a useful launchpad, catapaulting conversations between thinking parents and scattering chat among other assorted family-folk.

In a world gone bonkers, only you manage to somehow bring together a pot pourri of links that is JUST SO MY CUP OF TEA.  Which shouldn’t surprise me, because I posted every darned last one of them.  Beginning with THIS, my very first blog post.  Awww, cute.

I do love you, darling website, and I promise I can change.  Please, baby(geek), just give me a little more time.  I dream of a bright future for us,

love,

Me xx

End scene.

Anyway, I’m obsessing more than usual about these notions of communication and internet and purpose because last week I went to a Social Media 101 training day.   Holla, Enterprise North Canterbury!  Tumeke, Simplify & Amplify!

It’s all very fascinating, and I kinda dig learning about the psychology of marketing, and why people do stuff and how to get them to do the stuff you think they oughta, I am horrified by what my dear late mother would’ve called the Coca-colonisation of the world.  The blatant and aggressive enslavement of populations by corporations too slick and sneaky to be outfoxed.  Really, I think we should all buy less.  Use less.  Do more for ourselves.  

And the whole technology of twitter and facebook and all their chums is flippin amazing.   As a tool, it’s the way to find all the peoples who care about the things.  Nana over here has to do some work … cos I’d love to find some thinking mamas and I think that’s where they are and yet I FEAR the lure of the devices.  Both for myself and for all of us!

Pads and Macs and smart phones and regular (dumb?) phones … OH … behold these amazing ads from China about resisting the phone addiction FOR THE CHILDREN …

… here’s the thing …. I’d love it if we could all get the fact that societies of useful adults – that is, adults who are kind, competent, smart, healthy, capable, or at least not incompetent dicks – those sorts of adults are more likely if they were gifted responsive, warm, calm, loving care while they were babies.  There.  It’s that simple.  I said it.

Not just me.  Heaps of people.  Like Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child.  Heaps.

And you cannot tell me, not even for a second, that the brains of human young will be as effectively nurtured by distracted adults whose faces glow from their device du jour than they will be by an adult available to meet their gaze, respond to their vocalisations, and make up lame songs.

Ladies and gentlegeeks, I think we gotta unplug more.  For ourselves, and sure as the dickens for our babies.

I mean, I’m all for the flow of mindfulness teaching, (at school!  Love it.)  I am generally very Mindful of Mindfulness, but I can’t help but think we wouldn’t need quite so much mindfulness training if we just spent a wee bit less time skittering between devices and leaping between operating systems.

It’s like how we eat tons of fatty food and then obsess about weight loss.  I’m talking about us as a culture, not YOU.  Or ME.  Just all of us, you know?  Truly: if we did like Michael Pollan … “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” and then went for walks and did some yoga then VOILA!  Wellness.

Sorry.  I’m a bit didactic and grouchy tonight.  I’m angsting.

Yeah, I angst about encouraging folks deeper into the digital world and further from the juicy messy deliciousness of real life.  And yet I love the handiness of a magical box that sings the commercials of my youth and finds me amazing recipes and connects me to people I love, all over the world.

What the flip.  Modern life … I need me my online yoga before bed.  Love you, Adriene, my electronic friend!

Irony, she lives.

My kid is 3. Yes, I’m on maternity leave. Still. Any questions?

I have had a baffling few weeks as a baby geek and a toddler person and an educator and a mama and a professional and a slave(!).

Long and short of it: we (people who are kaiako/educators for the Brainwave Trust) had been invited to update our profiles on the website.  I got a snazzy new photo and was keen to rejig the text, which boldly stated that I was on maternity leave, caring for the child born in 2012.

And it’s true.  I am.

And I’m glad to.  Happy to.  Privileged to.  Proud to!

So why was my motivation in updating said profile the removal of those words?  Just what it is it about being a FULL TIME STAY AT HOME MOTHER that made me want to massage that truth and call it something else?

Cos yeah, freelance writer.  And yeah, doing postgrad study.  But oh, HELL yeah – I’m a mother.  I’m the keeper of the castle and I care for my kids.  So why, even amidst the most pro-family and child friendly of colleagues, do I find it necessary to deny that title?

Full time parent.  That’s me.

Yes, three years on.  Yes, at least until she starts school.  So there.

But I chickened out.  Not only rejigged text but made the decision to pull my profile down altogether, cos it’s gonna be years until I can offer to help anyone!  But quick, before it gets removed, check out my fancy new photo!

That’s not all.  I had a gig booked, my first for ages.  I was thoroughly looking forward to it, had learned new tricks in Keynote.  Great client, juicy content.  Lovin’ life.  But then, little girl was sick.  Little girl was sick and husband was not in a position to cancel his life.

So guess what?  I canceled.  Gutting for me, but the right thing to do.  Cos when you’re three years old with a raging temperature and strep throat, what you need is your mum.

Yeah!

Quickly now, cos it’s what we do on this website, I will now throw a variety of links into your lap: THIS is Kids in the House, which is a parenting website like no other!  Enjoy.  I’d love to share this excellent bit o’ writing from Mothering about a new mother’s body belonging to HER.  And it’s been a while since I sent y’all to this glorious collection, but this is a variety of Policy Briefs from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.  It’s fab.

Now here’s an interesting piece about infant temperament and culture, and here is a website from Arizona all about their initiatives to support family.  Next, a gift for new families about settling babies.  Yum.

Compare structured parenting with Free Range parenting here, and here is a very good thang from the Huffington Post about the power of home visiting programmes for changing outcomes for kids in poverty.

Finally, it may or it might not be the best kindergarten you’ve ever seen, but this is an inspiring TED talk all the same.

Big shout out of thanks and support to Jo, who organised the workshop I had to cancel, to brother Nate for always listening, and also to Pennie, who continues to be so flippin supportive of me, at home with my kids.

tell the children the truth

Hey friends and geeks

I came to a life of Baby Geek-ery via the wonderful world of early childhood education.  And I’m pretty sure that I trained as an early childhood teacher during a Golden Age – the early nineties, when funding wasn’t that bad and when Te Whariki -the glorious curriculum of New Zealand ECE – was just being published.

We were taught about cool, mildly radical ideas like the Anti Bias Curriculum, which is a way of thinking, being, and organising life in an early childhood centre with a view to actively promoting social justice.  Instead of ignoring the racist graffiti, teachers with an Anti Bias focus arm their children with paint and brushes and explain the need to obliterate the ugly sentiments.

I’ve been wondering where this gentle activism is, in light of the influx of princess play and the pinkification of girlhood.  (re: pinkification … Enjoy this awesome blog by an at-home dad, Man Vs. Pink, which I learnt of here thanks to a geeky observer).

Meanwhile, I am as ever conscious of the way that children are marketed to and how marketers prey upon our young.  And while the adults who care are signing petitions and lobbying corporates, I wonder who’s in the trenches, actively teaching mellow radicalism to young children.  Children need to be taught the truth about the adults who will try to exploit them for money.  Those selling things to our kids don’t make decisions about what or how to sell based around love and concern for our beautiful children, they make decisions that serve their shareholders.

Just this past fortnight, my very own Little Girl’s third birthday included more Disney product than I am comfortable with.

So I am wondering what has happened to the Anti-Bias idea, whether it stops at issues of race and ability or whether we need to be stirring up a bit of awareness around commercialisation, sexism, and sexualisation of childhood.

Tell the children the truth!

 

Open Letter

This past week a tragedy struck.  A baby died, in the North Island.  And I can’t stop thinking about this loss.  This monumental sadness.

I have written a letter to Mace’s mama, and here it is: loss.  For my own benefit as much as anything.  Because I can’t stop thinking about them.  This mother.  This baby.  Their family.

I can’t help thinking that this poor baby, this poor woman, have worn the burden that we all feel in the most ghastly way.  So many of us are too busy.  Too much going on.  Heads full.  Reliant upon routine and vulnerable in the face of change.

This family are the devastated canaries in our weird modern coal mine.

We need to slow the hell down.