All that said, I wanted to stop and ( celebrate some of my achievements so far and open the space for some dreams. )
Life begins at 40, right?
We're hosting a pumpkin carving at Doug's sister's place in Cupertino on Saturday from around 2pm till around 7pm (may go later, depends on toddler). We are hoping to have at least three toddlers (Harper, Annika and Laurel) but more children would be welcome and of course, adults are most welcome too.
Then we're trick or treating with Annika, Lars and Natasha...
I'd rather not post the address here, so please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to join us on Saturday and I'll send it to you.
Love to see you!
It's been a while since I've posted and I wasn't in a terrific headspace when I did...
Some of you know about my tradition of choosing a word for the year...
Last year, I wrote:
My word for this year is "open": opening physically to give birth, opening emotionally to love this new addition to our family, being open to change, being open to challenge.
I think I've done pretty well with that, although I didn't open physically to give birth very well (in the end, there was a scalpel involved) but I think I succeeded on all the others. Certainly it's been a tumultuous year of change and challenge, and of love and laughter as well. Harper has turned out to be an absolute delight. Doug, I think, would also say she's a handful and he could probably do with a year of better health and more energy to devote to himself as well as to the family.
Last night at the Prodigal Sons and Daughters' picnic, I was chatting with Julian, who I used to live with and with whom I had a fairly fraught relationship. We discussed meds and moods and how we've grown. He observed that I seem to have everything going for me right now and to a great extent that's true: I have a wonderful partner in Doug, and Harper is absolutely the child I dreamed of. I have friends and work and food on the table. I live in a terrific city that I adore. I have my challenges still: I put my foot in it often enough, sometimes badly, and the most recent person I've upset is one of my sisters (I've apologised profusely; now I wait). But my complaints are mostly minor niggles: that we're not at Woodford for New Year this year; that the work I'm doing is not yet the Dream Job.
I think this year my word is "empathy". I think that the issues that I have had towards the end of this year have mostly been a failure of empathy. I like that it's about feeling, and not a conscious thing. I can get the words right as much as I like, but like smiling on the phone, unless the expression is coming from a place of genuine care and understanding, the tone will still be wrong and maybe the words, no matter how innocent, will still be the wrong ones for the situation or will come out tinged with some negative air that I didn't consciously intend.
What's your word?
...scientists dressed newborns in gender-neutral clothes and misled adults about their sex. The adults described the "boys" (actually girls) as angry or distressed more often than did adults who thought they were observing girls, and described the "girls" (actually boys) as happy and socially engaged more than adults who knew the babies were boys. Dozens of such disguised-gender experiments have shown that adults perceive baby boys and girls differently, seeing identical behavior through a gender-tinted lens.
In another study, mothers estimated how steep a slope their 11-month-olds could crawl down. Moms of boys got it right to within one degree; moms of girls underestimated what their daughters could do by nine degrees, even though there are no differences in the motor skills of infant boys and girls. But that prejudice may cause parents to unconsciously limit their daughter's physical activity.
How we perceive children—sociable or remote, physically bold or reticent—shapes how we treat them and therefore what experiences we give them. Since life leaves footprints on the very structure and function of the brain, these various experiences produce sex differences in adult behavior and brains—the result not of innate and inborn nature but of nurture...
...For her new book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps—And What We Can Do About It, [Lise] Eliot immersed herself in hundreds of scientific papers (her bibliography runs 46 pages). Marching through the claims like Sherman through Georgia, she explains that assertions of innate sex differences in the brain are either "blatantly false," "cherry-picked from single studies," or "extrapolated from rodent research" without being confirmed in people.
For instance, the idea that the band of fibers connecting the right and left brain is larger in women, supposedly supporting their more "holistic" thinking, is based on a single 1982 study of only 14 brains. Fifty other studies, taken together, found no such sex difference—not in adults, not in newborns. Other baseless claims: that women are hard-wired to read faces and tone of voice, to defuse conflict, and to form deep friendships; and that "girls' brains are wired for communication and boys' for aggression." Eliot's inescapable conclusion: there is "little solid evidence of sex differences in children's brains."