October 2, 2020
“I’m scared. I can’t see the bottom of this.”
— my four year old today, regarding why he didn’t want to eat some fruit cobbler
--Wendy Molyneux, @WendyMolyneux
We all know now that families come in all shapes and sizes. We teach our children this same lesson, too. Usually, however, we talk about one- or two-parent families. But three-parent families? Sure, through divorce, blended families, and more, this isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. But three-parent families with legal recognition of the parenting rights for all three adults is a relatively new concept, albeit one that may be gaining traction. This piece from The Atlantic delves into the story of David Jay who lives with a married couple (but is not part of their marriage) and is a legal parent to their biological daughter. It’s a fascinating look at cultural norms shifting and how the concept of family continues to evolve.
And here, some wisdom, music and a moment of calm from none other than the Dalai Lama. Not sure about you, but we find his advice – “If no way to overcome the problem, there’s no use too much worry” – pretty cathartic right now. We hope you will, too.
Birdsong is one of those so-familiar sounds, sometimes we don’t even hear it. But with the advent of the pandemic, and the quieting of once very busy and very noisy streets, those dulcet chirps got a little easier to hear for us and, crucially, for the birds themselves. According to researchers who study white-crowned sparrows in and around San Francisco, increasing noise pollution has forced the birds to sing louder, less effective songs, hampering their communications with rivals and mates. This can lead to more stress, speed aging, disrupt metabolisms and get in the way of birds hearing their young chicks or warnings from other birds. It may even decrease bird diversity in cities. But once the scientists began studying the impacts of the covid-induced quiet, they found that it allowed the sparrows to recover “the acoustic quality of songs sung decades ago.” This suggests that the more flexible a species can be, the better able they are to adjust to changing environments. And it reinforces the importance of the quiet. A covid silver lining we’d be happy to see continue.
In other news, if you were looking for a little motivation on the environmental activism front, check out this Q&A with Erin Brockovich – the real one, not the Julia Roberts version. Her latest book, “Superman's Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It,” was published in August. Here she talks about the problems of poor water quality in this country and how essential it is for all of us to get involved locally to enact real solutions. We can no longer wait for the federal government, she says, it’s up to us. And it’s not a lot harder than making a phone call, really. We can all do that, right?
We’re back in that time of year when the weather gets interesting…downright nippy in the mornings and nearly balmy by the afternoon. That can make dressing your little ones tricky. But the key is layers. And then more layers. Add them on for the bite that comes early. Peel them off when the sun gets higher in the sky. Besides heading over to iksplor to check out the layering options we have for you, this guide from a teacher at a Waldorf school in Minneapolis provides helpful suggestions, too.