fake elsa I have ideas.  Ideas about promoting what has been proven to work in our lives -like healthy relationships, a practice of gratitude, joyfully moving our wonderful bodies.  These things make us happier.

What doesn’t make us happier is buying stuff, succumbing to small-thinking, and accumulating more plastic.

And the Disney channel are having their way with my daughters, again and again.  I have tried dumb strategies to try and disentangle my kids from Elsa’s icy webs.  It may (not) surprise you it makes no difference to grizzle about how tired I am of all things Frozen, or lecture my daughters about feminist worldviews and conspiratorial marketing departments (in black masks and satin capes) .

Instead of watering the weeds and focusing on the things that aren’t wholesome in the scheme of raising my children, I know I gotta try to pull the weeds and water the flowers – to actively emphasise what I value instead of grousing about the stuff that violates my values.  Much nicer to be around.

And what do I value?  Relationships.

So I let my (just) three year old express her connection to the wider world and her love for the intimate world of her home by indulging her love of Elsa. Just a bit.  And Let it Go.  Not really the film – stuff you Hans – and not even really the whole soundtrack.  Just Elsa.  Just that song.  In the sparkly dress, tumbling plait persona.

I ponder lovingly “I wonder who made the decision to put Anna on a nightie?”.  Instead of my current technique of grousing about Frozen I can use the magic of “I wonder” to introduce an awareness of the deliberate scheming of marketers while I introduce a relationship-focused thread to the whole shebang.

Relationships: like using “Oh, do you remember who was with you when you bought the Elsa and Anna lunchbox?”  highlighting the family relationships that are real and concrete and supersede the Disney craziness.

And we discuss the finer details of Elsa’s relationship history, thus highlighting the value of relationship even within the crazy: “Oh, Elsa seems so much happier at the end when she’s ice skating with her sister!  They really seem to love each other a lot!”.  Familial love – I can handle that.

If all that fails and I’m succumbing to my grumpy self around all this, I take solace in the glorious ridiculousness of the dubious toys my husband just purchased on his recent trip to China.  That’s where today’s comical picture comes from.  Take that, Disney.


some goodies here

Good morning friends & geeks,

First link to share this morning is a pro-breastfeeding piece, with a science writer from UK’s Telegraph suggesting our offspring will all be RICH if only we whip our boobies out. It’s gotta be worth a go!

Next: here is a link to an abstract from the Annals of Family Medicine.  Is exposing children to second hand smoke child abuse?  Have a wee click on the aforeposted link and see!  And this is another abstract … about disorganized attachment.  Such fun.

Now … this is a link that will whisk you to the Child and Family Blog and an article about how post-smacking-your-child-affection is utterly ineffective.  We’ve gotta resist the smacking at all, brothers and sisters.

Whaddya reckon about this … it’s suggesting that occasional video gaming is actually beneficial to children and their school success.  Surely, like everything, there is a whole lot of “it depends” at play here.

Finally, even though I do get mildly concerned when folks advocate a return to 1970’s parenting, there is definitely some good to be gleaned from this blog post shared with me by the Goddess of the North.  Just yesterday I was on the phone with a school mama longing for the days when kids just optimistically turned up for playtime without the crazy logistics involved in organising play dates, these days.

Kia Ora.



some good, some not

Life is full of goodness and not-so-goodness, eh.

Like … a beautiful stack of firewood is most definitely good.  The fact that smacking one’s kids continues to be a default setting for many parents (including the allegedly progessive millennials!) is NOT good.

This amazing website from the UK is a dreamy resource for parents of new babies (and those who work with them) and this newsletter from the World Association for Infant Mental Health is another example of goodness.

Finally, self knowledge has gotta be good.  And warm drinks on cold days.  And friendship.  Relationships.  Even hugging strangers.  All good.

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!