Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Permanent Pigs and "Good" Parenting

We are making new plans for a more permanent pig place.  It will help to keep them from damaging the pastures and woodlands, and it will be easier to manage their eating and breeding.  We have not had any new piglets, although I think Star might be pregnant again.  Bee is just fat.  She's massive, and I think running the boar with them was a bad idea.  She hogs all the food, but we have to give them a certain amount so the other ones get enough!

So this will solve the problems (we hope).  This doesn't mean they won't be pastured still.  We will have them out on the grazing lines and eating acorns under the oak trees whenever possible.  But in the middle of winter there's not much for them to eat but grass roots, and they were doing a lot of damage that way.  This will make it easier to manage their impact on the land.

On a completely different subject - there was an interesting article I saw in National Geographic about a child's brain development in the first year.  It was about how low-income children have significantly lower IQ and brain activity.  They had pictures - a "good" mom was getting spices out to teach her child the names for all of them.  The "bad" mom was snuggling her baby lovingly, but the caption pointed out that she would spend all day on the computer taking online classes to get a degree, and her baby would be propped up watching videos.  "Bad mom."

(My thoughts were - hey, her kitchen looked nice and clean, she obviously loved her little guy, and she had fed him a decently healthy breakfast.  Sometimes you just don't get to be the "good mom" you want to be.  Damn you, modern life and our heartless corporate society!)

There were suggestions for being a "good" parent.  You had to have at least 10 children's books.  You had to have blocks with colors and numbers so you can begin to teach your pre-verbal child these facts of life.  They quoted a poor, single mother who didn't want her children to be low-income retarded, saying she really wanted to raise her children right, so she was trying to afford all that educational stuff for them.

It featured a child-development expert with her child, running a constant dialogue of observations and drawing the child's attention constantly to different stimula in a desperate attempt to develop his brain. That's the New Wave Parenting - this constant dialogue with children, like TV Mom or something.

Always entertaining, checking in, pointing out, educating, passing on dry facts with no room for the physical and emotional experience of language or LIFE....it would make me want to SCREAM!  (Seriously, how tiresome would that be?)

But what really annoyed me about the article (apart from not even mentioning the importance of nutrition and brain development) was the suggestion that you had to buy a lot of STUFF to be a "good parent" and not have sub-average children.

But a lot of stuff and constant educational dialogue dulls us as human beings - both mother and child.  We NEED quiet, contemplation, boredom, silence.

And what better brain stimulation than spending time outside?  Even in the city there are green spaces, and clouds racing by.  What about telling stories from your heart?  Singing to your children?  Setting baby down in the grass to wiggle her toes, find leaves to play with, sticks, moss, sand.  What child needs blocks with colors and numbers on them, when infinite colors and numbers exist in the world all around us?

I'm afraid our culture is enamoured with our own arbitrary symbols, names, head-work, afraid of nitty gritty, afraid of real things, dirt, mud, life, death.  Afraid of feelings and experiences, germs, bugs, nature.  Afraid of all the wrong things.

Besides that, this is an interesting article about TV and children.

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