two more sleeps

Christmas.  2 more sleeps (*naps not included).

Despite the vicarious excitement felt by anyone within 100 metres of my offspring, I am feeling the tension of an impending mountain of wrapping paper, not all of which can be reused or recycled.  Theoretically, I want a Christmas of peace, togetherness and a spot of caroling.  I want life to slow down so I can eke out every second of this time!

In practice, it feels super rushy…  a bit like exhaustion, obligation, and more STUFF that we (arguably!) don’t really need.  Sorry.  A bit bah humbug tonight … none of it helped by a raging head cold that Baby Girl and I are sharing. I hope all is better where you are!

Before I head back to bed, I have a coupla quick links to share from Mothering magazine, which I adore.  (and if you’ve never visited their forum, the Mothering dot Community, it’s fab).  ANYhoo, here we go: a great bit of booby advocacy from a supermodel momma, and I just love love LOVE this photo series about ages of breastfeeding.  Thanks!

good things to read

it is HOT at my place today.  The sun’s rays bounce from the tinsel in my office window like a groovy disco light show.  Lord, but I LOVE tinsel.   There is no such thing as too much.

I am supposed to be working.  I have five articles due in the first half of next year and I thought I would offer my future self an early Christmas gift by making notes and creating drafts on at least the first couple.  Instead, I find myself reading up on the concept of Productive Procrastination.  Irony, eh?

And scooting around online has led me some fabulous places this morning.  Here is a delicious piece from the fabulous Brain:Child magazine (of which I am a subscriber!).  They are running a blog series about “What is Family?” and I reckon it’ll be worth checking back.  Not in a procrastinate-y way, in an inspire-y way.

And this is a joy: super smart writing about Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.  You gotta behold this.

A couple of fantastic mama blogs for you all, too: LOVE this … Outlaw Mama … and yummy yum-o: enjoy the Variegated Life.  Imagine you live in Brooklyn.  Just for a bit.

You’re welcome!

top five housework head games

alright, I’ll admit it.  I am a fairly lousy housekeeper.  Daily, I struggle with the notion that being the full-time parent inevitably leads to shouldering the lion’s share of the cleaning and stuff.

And this makes it very, very easy for me to slide into self pity.  All too often, houswork = surly girlie.

Because let’s face it; I’d rather be reading, gardening, exercising, napping, chatting, writing …

So here are my strategies for attempting to keep the house hygienic whilst staying upbeat:

  1. Distract.  Have an appropriate soundtrack
    I am a big fan of podcasts.  This American Life, RadioLab, The Moth, and Ideas are just some of my faves.  I also reckon groovy dance music (and at this time of the year, Christmas songs) make it all much more palatable.
  2. Do not distract.  Be present.  Take an extra-sensory approach
    I once read the most glorious love-letter about the act of washing the dishes, written by a Buddhist teacher.  The feel of the bubbles, the warm water … by slowing it down and embracing the textures, this guy LOVED to wash the dishes.  Then I heard someone talk about how she loves to vaccuum the floor – because of the sound of all that crud whizzing up the hose.  And I’ll admit that I adore the smell of a particular brand of polishing oil and the way I imagine my wood furniture would feel after being doused in it.  If tables were capable of emotion, that is.  Now I’m experimenting with this: I look for the sensory gifts in the act of house-cleaning.  Paradoxically, this was all the better for this stunning episode of aforementioned podcast, Ideas… enjoy “the Seduction of Scent”.
  3. Reframing: make it a gift for Future You
    I passionately love having clean sheets on my bed, equal only to how much I dislike  changing them.  This is one activity where I try to reframe the act that I don’t enjoy and instead focus on the delectable outcome.  (“I’m going to LOVE hopping into bed tonight!”)
  4. Find play where you can
    Can you clean your kitchen floor whilst balancing on one foot?  Is it possible to pick up all the superfluous paraphernalia that’s lying around the living room whilst crawling?  How many pirouettes can you perform before the spin cycle finishes?
  5. Can’t someone else do it?Like Homer Simpson says …
    Seriously, though.  I want my kids to know how to look after themselves, how to be good flatmates.  Little Girl is 22 months old and can put away her own laundry, Big Girl (freshly ten) is the Queen of Recycling.  There isn’t much hubby cannot do.  When I was a kid my jobs were: dusting the shelves in the kitchen, polishing the brass taps and maintaining a steady supply of fresh ice.  Odd, but effective!

How do you cope with the housework thang when you’d rather be geekin’?

new article from this geek

Hello friends,

An article I wrote was just published in Tots to Teens.  You can read it here.

And now for a smattering of the groovy stuff I’ve been reading and learning and thinking about … I have found a fab website by a smart gal named Rebecca Haines.  Here blog is fantastic – here is just one example … tools for teaching media literacy to preschoolers.

She also has me coveting this range of dolls …  bodies that are to scale with actual children instead of all the big boob, permanent high-heel feet we all know so well.

In this season of covetousness, I am grateful for this post from the folks at Hand in Hand Parenting.  It is all about the gift inherent in a loving parental “No”.   This is a free online psychology textbook called “the Noba Project”, here is a link to a write up about new research into a likely cause of SIDS, and this link is a description of research into the differences between the male and female brains.

Here is an excellent website sponsored by the government of South Australia – it’s called Great Start and it is overbrimming with lovely play-based learning ideas to explore with children.

One last thing: this project was launched in opposition to the post-Thanksgiving “Black Friday” shopping frenzy.  I am completely in love with the idea of mending stuff we have instead of buying more stuff!  At this point, gentle geeks, the leggings that my Big Girl wears to school are more darn than fabric.  When to give it up?

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.