New Review Finds No Benefits, Possible Harm from Baby Videos

A new review of research by Dmitri Christakis, MD, provides still more support for the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of no screen time for children under two. In the January issue of Acta Pediatrica, Dr. Christakis concludes that, "No studies to date have demonstrated benefits associated with early infant TV viewing" and the "preponderance of existing evidence suggests the potential for harm."

Click here for more information about The Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood's work against commercializing babyhood.

caught in the middle

Quote of the day: "Mom, I'm going into hyperspeed!"

And the other one is slowing waaaaay down, as she curls up in one of the many slings I've been gifted this time around and just makes those fabulous baby oohs, while her mama is caught in the middle - between sleepy breathy oohs and hyperspeed, trying to keep up with the piles around me. Piles of laundry, piles of email, piles of diapers, piles of books he wants read, piles of baby smells to breathe in. And then there's those taxes and writing assignments to do. Oh and the floors need sweeping. And of course, the beautiful baby to snuggle up to.

Such is life. Our creative journey has always been this way. We're all working on our various projects at our various speeds.

So here's a few rules to keep us even as we are all caught in the middle of something:

1. Say yes to hyperspeed. It's often hard to stop midstream of any project, and say yes to "look at this" or "can you help me". Do it anyway. In the long run, you will all feel fulfilled.

2. Work side by side. It's easiest to look up from your own project, when you are in close proximity. Find a big table that fits everyone's needs. Or spread out on the floor together. Or take it outside to the porch, if weather allows. Our "work" is more alike than it is different and we succeed because of each other's collective energy towards our unique goals.

3. Get caught up in all the speeds. Love and appreciate all the speeds. Get involved in his fast-paced, always on-the-go, taking-life-by-the-horns world. Breathe in her slowing down. And know that they will likely change roles soon and being caught in the middle will mean something else entirely.

goal setting for the new year

Here's a little piece about goal setting and daring to dream featured on The Savvy Source this weekend. Enjoy!

Just as we may set goals for ourselves, guiding our children in goal setting is valuable to their own creative development. Studies show that children (and adults) who define their own goals and reflect on their struggles and accomplishments are more likely to have success with what they are trying to achieve.

Goal setting is an important link in the family chain that binds us all together. Through mindful self-reflection and daring to dream together, creativity and the family partnership towards it will grow in its own unique and creative way.

Click here to read more.

soaking in baby

Thank you to everyone who have sent their well-wishes and love to us. We have been overwhelmed by the love and emails and all sorts of other birth welcomings we have received since the joyful birth of our daughter Anjali. Here she is on day 13, aware and already so full of wonder:

Things around here have been teetering between blissful and quiet and then somewhat chaotic since her birth three weeks ago. We've had a very steady stream of relatives, friends, and playmates for Zeal for who we are all very grateful. Here was our home the night before Anjali so quickly slipped into our arms (back when it was peaceful AND clean):

And here is one scene since, where Zeal runs through the living room, dodging a lego-ridden floor "blindfolded" - such talent!

I do intend to regularly visit this space, post creativity thoughts, and other fun stuff, although I would imagine it won't be as regularly. I love to read your comments and get your emails, so please keep sending them.

And for now, we are all just getting to know our little gift, and soaking it all in.

Creating Rituals that Nurture Family Connections in the New Year

Aah, the holiday season! It brings out a spirit that for many people means a deep connection with friends and family. It provides us an opportunity to nurture family love in a way that perhaps no other time of year does. It gives us a time and space for being reminded of the many rituals we might hold dear. But often, we can let those special times be clouded by the hurried feel and increasing hustle and bustle of the season. As we enter the New Year, we can find it the very best time to begin anew with a few new rituals to continue to nurture the connections of family, home, the love we feel for each other, and the creative spirit.
What we know is that ritual has been an integral part of human life. It is present in every culture, every civilization, and every historical era. By definition, ritual is a set of actions thought to have had some symbolic value: decorating a tree, lighting candles, saying special words, ringing a bell, or any other action performed at regular intervals or on special occasions.

Here’s what else we know about rituals: they provide a backbone for learning and showing respect for other human beings, and perhaps most importantly, serve to strengthen bonds with others.

Here are a few tips to get your new rituals off to a running start:

Evaluate What You Already Do
Sometimes it is very easy to beat ourselves up for all that we are NOT doing rather than focusing on the many things we ARE doing already. Take some time to look at the already significant (or perhaps little) rituals you already have in place in your home. Do you have rituals surrounding your wake up time? Dinner rituals? Food preparation rituals? Take a look at when are already giving your kids opportunities to take quiet time, when they can create WITH you, and other ways you are already ritualizing your daily routines and the love you feel for each other, and rejoice in those special moments.

Removing Media
In a society where we are often connected more to our laptops and media programming than we are each other, creating a ritual in the home where we consciously remove media in effort to connect with each other can be important. In our house, we have a ritualized Cabin Night, an evening once a month when we read, make music, play, sing, and create together by candlelight. While we also love a good family movie night, these Cabin Nights serve to connect us in a way that is unique beyond compare. This is just an example of ways to create more and connect with each other while removing media.

Celebrate Each Other
One of the most special ways we can create ritual in our lives is to celebrate the specialness of each other. Try having one night a week (or month) that is your child’s turn to decide on the dinner menu. Leave notes around the house in a special way. Create a space in the home that allows for family connection so that when your family is in that space together it evokes the feeling of connection and brings forth such activities that nurture it.

Everyday Rituals
The most special of rituals don’t just happen at times of year that are considered “holidays” but the everyday rituals we create at all the other times of the year. Everyday rituals can mean how you eat dinner (do you have a special book you read from, or a game time before everyone leaves the table? Even setting the table in a ritualized way or lighting a candle before the meal begins) or getting ready for bed (such as, story telling by candlelight, saying a rhyme or prayer together, kissing toes, knees, and elbows goodnight) or perhaps you ritualize mornings together (a story before getting out of bed, opening the shutters together to greet the day, or snuggling on the couch before getting going for the day).

Finding Connections
Do a little research and find out what rituals you do are like what others do around the planet. Look at birthday celebrations, the change of seasons, how you mark the loss of a tooth or other growth milestones.

Creating and honoring the rituals in our lives, the special actions we take that symbolically and actually connect us to one another, is an integral part of family and nurturing our creative selves as human beings. As you look to the New Year and all it brings, may you discover the ritual of love together.