Summary of “Towards Chinatown”

Two days after I learn that my mother has cancer, after my sister tearfully tells me over the phone, “This might be mom’s last Christmas,” I go to San Francisco Chinatown.
At home, my mother sings Cantonese songs from her childhood to me.
In Chinatown, my mother got her hair cut by a woman called Pony.
In the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake and fire, Chinatown merchants hired white architects to rebuild their buildings with pagodas, dragon motifs, and eaves curling skyward, a stage-set Chinatown to attract tourists and to protect the neighborhood against city leaders who had planned to seize its land.
I don’t know that in a Chinatown alley stands a modest building with my mother’s family name on it, home to our family association.
Am I imagining the yearning of my mother, left behind by her parents as a child as they headed towards America one by one? She was raised by a grandmother in a one-room apartment shared with an uncle who smoked indoors.
What do you pack when your mother has cancer and you don’t know how long you’ll stay? An acquaintance suggests sweats, but I only pack one pair.
I’m surprised – at how I mourn the loss of my mother tongue, but my mother does not.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Happens to Your Body After Giving Birth?”

Watch: What they won’t tell you about being a new mom.
“You have Instagram, you have Facebook, you have this idealized version” getting publicized and shared on social media, Karp says.
“I bet if you searched a million images of new babies and new mothers, you’d get only one image that focuses on swollen ankles.” Which can lead, he says, to unrealistic expectations and discomfort with sharing the less adorable realities of new parenthood.
Mayer credits social media with having the opposite effect.
As the Millennial generation, known for its propensity to post status updates and frequent broadcasts to social media, has grown up, all facets and stages of people’s lives have become fodder for sharing, including new motherhood.
“They can share anything they want to share, and that’s really powerful.” And perhaps, she adds, the same culture of radical public honesty about the unglamorous, unpleasant aspects of new motherhood has given rise to the graphic, unfiltered mothering humor that Wong, Teigen, and Schumer have helped popularize.
New motherhood and its medical challenges have come into the public spotlight in other ways, too, Mayer notes.
A few notable books aimed at enlightening new mothers on how to care for their own bodies after birth have been released in the past couple of years-such as 2016’s The First Forty Days and 2017’s The Fourth Trimester.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It’s time to get rid of the lottery”

The predation of the lottery on the financially insecure leads to what Blalock calls the desperation hypothesis: those in the direst of financial circumstances turn to the lottery as “a hail-mary strategy.” It is a source of hope for those in despair, for those who dream of escaping their social class.
75 percent of lottery players believe that they will win and 71 percent of players said that if they did win, they would use the money to pay off their debt.
The Cornell study also found that people who made less than $30,000 a year were more likely to play the lottery for money, meaning that poor lottery players play as a legitimate strategy for financial stability.
A 2019 survey conducted by a customer intelligence firm Vision Critical found that 75 percent of lottery players believe that they will win and 71 percent of players said that if they did win, they would use the money to pay off their debt.
Lottery players budget to account for lottery tickets in the hope that this investment will offer a reward in the form of savings or debt relief.
The ability to choose how the game of the lottery is played – manually selected or computer generated – is a way to deceive the player into believing that they have some agency in their success.
Ideally, this legislation would allow for the state’s wealthiest residents and corporations to provide the revenue generated by the state lottery and thus provide the state an opportunity to sever its reliance on the poor to purchase lottery tickets.
The predation of the lottery is not on the mind of most politicians, particularly because the lottery is a game that individuals opt into playing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Redemption of the Secret Love Child”

Many years ago, Laurie’s mom was devastated to learn that her husband and father of her three children had been having an affair with his 22-year old secretary.
Everyone in my family – my older sister, my younger brother, my adopted father, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and even family friends – knew years before I did.
My husband, Craig, offered to be both detective and mediator, shielding me from whatever reaction my father might have.
I’d spent my whole life hidden from my father and his family.
“My father’s relationship with your mother didn’t mean anything to him,” he said, matter-of-factly, when we finally met face-to-face at a family gathering at his house.
What productive purpose could that declaration possibly serve? Was the affair easier for him to stomach if he framed it as meaningless? Was he making sure I knew that my mom was a slut and his dad was just doing what boys do? It sounded to me like he was throwing my mother under the bus so he could maintain a sanitized view of his father.
I’m the embodiment of something my mother and father desperately tried to hide and distance themselves from.
Every close family member associated with my father knows I exist, with the exception of Laurie’s mother, who is 87 and in bad health.

The orginal article.

Summary of “There really is no natural or right way to be a parent”

We should parent like that again, or our children will grow up wrong.
This idyllic picture, some believe, is our heritage, the way we evolved to parent before culture, technology and agriculture changed everything forever.
Is parenting really programmed by nature as a one-size-fits-all process for us humans, just like the apes? Or is it – like families, partnering and love – part of culture, a matter of environment, circumstance, and as variable as society itself?
Blaffer Hrdy claims that, while humans share more than 95 per cent of their genes with chimps, we parent more like other cooperatively breeding monkeys such as baboons, marmosets, tamarinds or bonobos.
We can only know how we parent now – as individuals bound to a certain time, place and culture.
Natural parenting has more to do with how we want to be than with how we actually are.
If there’s no ‘natural’ parenting, if parental love is conditional, and if modern hunter-gatherers aren’t perfect parents after all, don’t we have to question not just the idea of attachment parenting, but attachment theory itself?
By measuring the way that parents raised their children and then comparing this to an ideal, Ainsworth and Bowlby used moralistic terms such as ‘competence’ and ‘responsiveness’, thereby judging parents who diverged from the norm, which – not so coincidentally – aligned with the way that Western parents raised their kids.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Are You an Elk Parent or a Bison Parent?”

A few weeks ago, while visiting Vermejo Park Ranch in northern New Mexico, my family and I were out on a wildlife safari in a remote valley when we spotted a newborn elk calf wobbling across the road, trailed by its mother.
Our guide, Pete, explained, “This is what elk mothers do. When predators approach, they run away, leaving their babies, who aren’t strong enough to walk. Most of the time, the mothers come back for their calves but only after the danger has passed.” After a minute, we drove on, not wanting to scare the mother away for good, while Pete continued, “Bison mothers do the opposite. After their babies are born, they’ll stand their ground, snort, and charge to keep them safe.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about the difference between elk mamas and bison mamas.
Deep down my inner elk grieved the freedom I’d lost when they were born; I needed time to myself to run and think and write.
My own mother, like most moms in the seventies and eighties, specialized in a brand of loving, yet laissez-faire parenting typical of the time.
For a moment I panicked, the bison mama in me imagining a mountain lion stalking our sweet ones from the edge of the forest.
Maybe, like a good bison mother, I shouldn’t have let her go alone in the first place.
Like the day in the caldera, we can be elk, but other circumstances demand that we step up and be bison.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Mothers Should Teach Their Daughters About Beauty”

“The mother who said she liked her hair, the child echoed. The mother who said she didn’t like something, ditto.”
For mothers with their own appearance and body issues, having a daughter can be a difficult reckoning.
So what’s the answer? Perez, a board member of the Academy for Eating Disorders, says she gets less traction with mothers when she talks about making changes for the sake of their own mental health and well-being than when she talks about the need to set a positive example for future generations.
The internet remains fiercely divided on an age-old question: Should you tell your daughter she’s beautiful? Experts say that a constant loop of “You’re beautiful” is counterproductive.
While the goal of wanting to broaden our beauty standards is noble, beauty is defined in part by its rarity, and it’s not everyone’s job to be beautiful, says Renee Engeln, a psychology professor at Northwestern who studies body image and the media.
“If what you really mean when you call your daughter beautiful is that she is strong, smart, resilient, or funny, use those more specific adjectives instead,” she says.
What mothers do in front of their daughters likely matters even more than what they say.
“It was scary for me. I had to learn that it was important for my daughter to see me eat ice cream and not just have a ‘bite’ of someone else’s. I wanted my daughter to be less preoccupied with weight and food, but I needed to transcend some of my own food issues.” In practice, Orenstein says, this has meant not having scales in the house; not describing food in terms of good versus bad or fattening versus not fattening; and talking more about how foods taste and whether they leave you feeling full or not full.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Five Stirring Stanzas That Proved a Poem Can Help End a War”

The woman who wrote the poem was 28-year-old Zseni Várnai, my grandmother’s aunt.
No battle will lead these soldiers to true glory, Várnai’s poem emphasizes.
Várnai’s poem had helped invoke an insurrection.
With her photo on cheerful Pinterest tableaus with captions like, “Zseni Várnai: Mama,” casual readers would hardly associate the poet with topics like war and mutiny.
Still, the changing political climate can’t entirely explain how Várnai’s poetry came to be perceived as more feminine than political, especially because she continued publishing prolifically after the war and stayed involved with progressive political organizations in Budapest.
Várnai seemed cognizant of the limitations imposed on her as a woman when she wrote “To my soldier-son.” The poem itself hinges on inverting gender roles and reclaiming a voice – the mother’s voice – that authorities don’t want to acknowledge.
Sanders tipped his hat to Várnai for her unwavering pacifism during WWI he adds in his 1985 essay “Hungarian Writers and Literature in World War I,” her warmongering peers “Were incomparably greater artists.” Even the scholar Mario D. Fenyo, whose father founded “Nyugat,” admits in “Literature and Political Change: Budapest, 1908-1918” that “Her poetry seldom hit the mark.” The critical opinion seems united: Várnai was second-rate.
Her daughter Mária Peterdi stayed in Europe after World War II and became an Egyptologist; eventually, she helped her mother write “Like a Storm, the Leaf,” one of Várnai’s several autobiographical works.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The secret of being a good father”

Still, it shows just how dramatically the wider view of being a “Good father” has changed over time.
Babies with emotionally engaged dads show better mental development as toddlers and are less likely to have behavioural problems later on, compared to babies whose dads behave in a more detached way.
Those whose fathers, or father figures, are more emotionally supportive, tend to be more satisfied with life and have better relationships with teachers and other children.
Past research has found that mothers and fathers do tend to interact differently with small children: mothers bond more through gentle caretaking, while fathers typically bond through play.
Involving dads more from the start can have many benefits, research has shown.
Babies whose dads were more active and engaged during play had fewer behavioural difficulties at age one compared to those with more distant or detached dads.
In the meantime, dads can take comfort in the fact that there are countless ways of being a good parent.
“One of the points we’ve learned is that there isn’t a model of the ideal father. There isn’t a recipe for what the father needs to do or what sorts of behaviour he needs to emulate,” says Lamb.

The orginal article.

Summary of “His Biggest Hit Sold More Copies Than Any of the Beatles’. So Why Haven’t You Heard of Him?”

On June 24, 1997, Prince Nico Mbarga was pronounced dead. “Sweet Mother,” his 1976 one-hit wonder, had sold at least thirteen million copies across the African continent – more than The Beatles’ bestseller “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” But no global media outlet thought to cover the life and death of the artist behind Africa’s most popular song.
Over the last few months, I have tried to piece together a more textured story: traveling to Mbarga’s hometown to talk to his childhood friend, his wife and his mistress; tracking down his former band members from Cameroon to France to the US; prodding the memory of his octogenarian producer; and reading rare transcripts of his interviews.
Nico Mbarga’s best friend Ojong and Mbarga’s widow, Esame, right.
Odion Iruoje, then a producer at EMI, recalls working with a 23-year-old Mbarga “Who knew what he wanted,” very able at “Directing his boys.” By all accounts the non-smoking, non-drinking Mbarga, who studied law on the side in Onitsha, was a man of real self-possession.
Mbarga sent a tape to Odion Iruoje at EMI, who remembers hearing the song for the first time and knowing that “It was the magic.” On the agreed date for recording Odion had to fly to London to record at Abbey Road, and some other EMI officials told Mbarga that the song was “Too childish” for them to record.
For six months Mbarga – now calling himself Prince Nico Mbarga – Rocafil and Rogers All Stars worked on “Sweet Mother,” rehearsing daily from seven in the morning until one in the afternoon.
It was, says Rocafil rhythm guitarist, Cameroonian Jean Duclair, “Real every day work,” as they made change after change, turning it from a gentle “Cha cha cha” to a more upbeat highlife sound, adding little dance breaks, and crafting a song marked more and more by the drive of Mbarga’s Congolese-style finger-picking lead guitar.
It’s a golden Mbarga in his platform shoes, standing his guitar on a plinth, looking out over the traffic of “Mbarga Junction.” Nearby, shaded by Ikom’s many red-blossomed African tulip trees, is Sweet Mother Road. And if it is sad in a sense – Lucy cried the day the statue was put up, as if it were final confirmation of his death – it does at least constitute a well-earned recognition for Mbarga at last.

The orginal article.