Friday, November 11th, 2011

In The Beginning…

In every phenomenon the beginning remains always the most notable moment.Thomas Carlyle•

One thing I’ve learned, through both painful and positive experience, is that the successful flourishing of any project, product, event… or person, is seeded right at the beginning. Imagine setting off in a boat with the intention of sailing to a distant island, but having miscalculated your route by even just a tiny degree: everything will seem fine and dandy for awhile, maybe even for days. But as those tiny degrees of misdirection exponentially add up over many miles, you will at some point realize you are ending up far from where you wanted to be.

A mantra from chaos theory goes, “Sensitive dependence on initial conditions.”

This applies whenever something new is brought into being: cookies, crops, houses, stories, songs, sweaters, people. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday, February 27th, 2015

“Educational” Toys…May NOT Be!

MotheringFeaturedBlocksCall me an old fart, but I’m not a fan of new-fangled, ring-ding-dang educational toys. My recommendation to parents always is, don’t easily trust the (sometimes wacko) things that our culture takes for granted are great for kids. Err on the side of “First, do no harm.” Trust your inner knowing and common sense, not the zeitgeist.

Children need “real time” experiences, which can be best happen with simple objects that most people wouldn’t call toys, let alone educational toys! {Read the rest… including 3 fail-safe guidelines for choosing brain-building toys… at mothering.com}

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The Promise Within Your Child

(Last in a 5-part series at DrGreene.com) Your child is not a blank slate or empty vessel who needs to be filled up with copious amounts of excellent information. Your child comes to you with an intact intellect that is gathering energy and waiting to unfold in good time, like a flower in the bud. You would never pry open a rosebud to somehow maximize it or improve upon it! Instead, you would make sure it has the best soil, and nourishing fertilizer to support its optimal unfolding. {How?? Read on…}

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Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Sheltering Childhood Nurtures Your Child

(Part 4 in my 5-part series at DrGreene.com) I truly don’t mean to complicate your life in this already-over-complicated era by introducing a new condition, “TMTS.” And I feel VERY deeply for parents who are raising young ones today, when all of this is SO much more challenging!

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

How Boredom Builds Brains… and Screens Can Drain Brains!

(Part 3 of my 5-part series at DrGreene.com) I’m not talking about the deep, serious kind of boredom associated with neglect, poverty and anguish. I’m talking about that “I’m not being distracted / entertained / stimulated at this very instant and I don’t know what to do with myself” kind that I fear is becoming more and more common.

I’ll let you in on a little behind-the-scenes shock I had while searching for a photo to illustrate this article. I searched the term “child relaxing” and I kept finding these gorgeous pastoral scenes of a child in the middle of a lovely meadow… using a laptop!! Or a child kicking back in a hammock… using an iPad! 

And why would that distress me? Read on…

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Brain-Wise Parenting: The Importance of Relationship & Rhythm

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(Part 2 of my 5-part series at DrGreene.com) Yesterday I invited parents to relax about pushing academics for their wee ones, because their best preparation for true intelligence is play. But there is a very important area of your young child’s brain that does need active parental participation for optimally healthy development. It’s called the orbito-frontal cortex, or OFC for short.

The OFC is the seat of common sense thinking… the ability to read other people’s “signals” and recognize their intentions… to sense their emotions, and have empathy… to imbue intellectual thought with feeling, and vice versa — to moderate emotion with rational thought. In short, the OFC is the seat of social intelligence. It manages the skills of being truly human! {Read more at DrGreene.com}

 

 

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The Importance of Play, Puttering & Pretending

I’m pleased to have been invited for a 5-day guest blog spot at DrGreene.com, which begins today and runs all this week. Dr. Greene is a pediatrician whose focus is children’s health in a progressive way. So I’m chiming in with 5 new articles all centered around ways to foster children’s optimal lifelong wellbeing.

And it’s all NEW material that I haven’t previously blogged about!

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

3 Guidelines for Bedtime Reading

I’m here for you, Nicolle Wallace of The View, who says there aren’t any guidelines out there for choosing what to read to your baby!

The gals were discussing the “hot topic” of this newly-published fun fact: Chelsea Clinton reads the news to her infant daughter every morning. There seemed to be a consensus among them that it’s appropriate to shelter the wee ones from the harsh realities of RulesReadingour world — and I completely agree. Whether it’s an intentional choice or not — young children’s exposure to adult news and conversation is typically inadvertent and “accidental” — the young brain & psyche simply aren’t equipped to process foreign affairs, environmental brinksmanship and other front-page fare.

With an avalanche of so-called children’s books to choose from, three simple guidelines can help parents decide which bedtime reading fare will best serve their child. {Read about them at mothering.com}

 

 

Monday, January 12th, 2015

And the Golden Globe Goes to… YOU, Evolving Parent!

I realize the Golden Globe telecast isn’t super-high on the priority list for some parents, so I wanted to loop you in on this, in case you missed it: in accepting the award for Best Direction of his extraordinary film Boyhood, Richard Linklater dedicated it to “parents that are evolving everywhere.”

Or as I like to call us, “parents in progress.” We are all ages, and our children range from pre-birth to adult. We are the curious ones, the researchers. We are the parents who have our ears tuned for new information that will enrich our family’s life. We are the status-quo buckers. We are the ones who rarely (if ever) say things like, “Well, my parents spanked me and I turned out okay.” {Continue this post at mothering.com}

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Improve Your Parenting & Enrich Your Life With This Simple New Year’s Resolution

I noticed something distressing as my plane took off from JFK last week. It was the first gorgeously sunny day in over a week, there was an amazing view of Manhattan / Brooklyn / New Jersey as we climbed skyward, and everybody had their window shades closed!!

Have we become so blasé that soaring over one of the most astonishing cities in the world doesn’t even warrant a glance?! Are the games we play on our smartphones (in airplane mode, for heaven’s sake) that important or captivating that we can’t spare some attention for a breathtaking aerial view? Can’t 22 Jump Street on your personal entertainment screen wait till we’ve reached altitude? {Read more at mothering.com}

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Pausing to Give Thanks

This year I’m blessed with TWO Thanksgivings! My son Ian flew out from NYC to spend his first California Thanksgiving since (as far as he and I could figure out) his freshman year in college — that is, nine years ago!

I’ve been “off-duty” from blogging, posting, tweeting and the like, since Friday. I treated myself to really savoring the grocery shopping, home care and general preparation for Ian’s arrival to my mountain cottage. I’m wishing the same for you — moments, even fleeting ones, that are set apart from the normal routine. Moments in which to pause and feel that enlivening wave of gratitude.

I cooked a full-on Thanksgiving feast for the evening Ian arrived, on Sunday. The next day we went on a forest outing to take in the fresh air, gorgeous sun… and forage for great fire kindling! We did some cool local brew IPA tasting, watched select TV highlights and a couple movies, and shared lots of wonderful conversation. We caught up in that deep heart-way that really only happens in person, and when there are many hours here and there over a few days.

Can you pick out the New Yorker, lol? Ian (center) with my friend Sarah-Jane and my love Larry.

Can you pick out the New Yorker, lol? Ian (center) with my friend Sarah-Jane and my love Larry.

Ian just now hit the road back to L.A. to spend actual Thanksgiving with his dad and grandmother. I sent him forth equipped with multiple containers packed with leftover food. (It’s official: I have become my mother-in-law, the aforementioned grandmother. At least in that regard.)

Ian’s younger sister Eve is three weeks into a 2-month artist’s residency in upstate New York. She could spend the holiday with a college friend whose family invited her,  but that would mean missing five days at her studio. So she’s chosen instead to stay at the residency grounds with a handful of other artists.

Not long before Ian left, I got a text from Eve: “Can I have your stuffing and cranberry sauce recipes?”

Mmmm, wave of gratitude.

I plan to spend time on the (good ol’-fashioned) phone over the next few days connecting with friends & family without the usual “tick-tock” time pressure that busy-life-as-usual tends to exert. Thursday I’ll go with Larry to spend turkey day with some of his family, and meet lots of new people.

My wish for you is the opportunity to be present to YOUR blessings, with the gift of a lightened agenda. A pause in the typically daily To-Do roster.

So… (for those of you in the U.S., that is) what might you drop off your To-Do list these coming few days to help mark Thanksgiving in a more joyful, thankful way??

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Catch you on the flip side of thanks!

Blessings,

Marcy