Category Archives: weekly

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On this page:

Weekly review: Week ending February 26, 2016

My time records this week are all out of whack. I was away from phone, computer, and paper for a few days. For an awesome reason, though! =) The next few weeks will probably be a crash course on the practical aspects of keeping a human being alive and thriving. There’s only so much you can learn from books, websites, and videos, after all.

I’m going to try to keep that daily journal habit going, as well as the occasional braindump. I don’t want to post too many details (the eternal memory of search engines!), but I’m looking forward to finding a good balance so that I can continue to think and learn out loud as we start on this new adventure. Here we go!

2016-02-29b Week ending 2016-02-26 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (7.3h – 4%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (7.2h – 99% of Business)
      • Drawing (3.9h)
      • Paperwork (1.2h)
        • ☑ Plan payroll for 2016
    • Connect (0.1h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.0h – 2%)
    • ☑ Update family
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.3h – 1%)
    • Emacs (0.2h – 0% of all)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (2.1h)
      • ☑ Braindump and process things that have happened
    • ☑ Make a mini-app for NPM today view
    • ☑ Plan a simple tracking interface
    • ☑ Build data analysis tool for baby data
    • ☑ Easily dump CSV for baby data
    • ☑ Consider dentist change
  • Discretionary – Play (4.4h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (48.3h – 28%)
  • Unpaid work (57.8h – 34%)
  • Sleep (43.0h – 25% – average of 6.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 4, 2016

Second week of life with a baby. We did a field test of baby wearing and the camera backpack we’d converted into a diaper bag. We made it out to Dufferin Mall, changed the baby’s diaper, nursed in the nursing station, and even picked up a few supplies. Slowly gaining confidence and competence, hooray!

We started cloth diapering this week, too. So far, so good! We’ll still probably use disposable diapers at night and when we’re out, but it’s good to get the rhythm of laundry and diapering going.

I’ve been getting lots of practice in holding the fort. Actually, things are pretty manageable. I still haven’t made it out to the supermarket or the library on my own. With the way things are, though, it’s better to take it easy and minimize risks.

Starting to learn more about the landscape ahead of us: met with the doctors at the Sick Kids Eye Clinic to learn more about microphthalmia, and met with the pediatric cardiologist to follow up on the murmur.

We picked a name for her, yay! She’ll hereafter be known on this blog as A-. Hello world!

2016-03-06a Week ending 2016-03-04 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.7h – 4%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Build (6.4h – 94% of Business)
      • Drawing (3.6h)
      • Paperwork (1.9h)
    • Connect (0.4h – 5% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.7h – 3%)
    • ☑ Update family
    • ☑ Build data analysis tool for baby connect data
    • ☑ Easily dump CSV for baby connect data
    • ☑ Draft name announcement
    • ☑ Write about micropthalmia
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.4h – 3%)
    • Emacs (0.0h – 0% of all)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (5.8h)
    • ☑ Consider dentist change
    • ☑ Switch phone to personal credit card
    • ☑ Check out Telegram bot API
  • Discretionary – Play (1.7h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (16.6h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (78.5h – 46%)
  • Sleep (51.4h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 11, 2016

This week actually felt pretty normal. Just the two-week appointment with the midwife, and plenty of time to settle back into household routines. I cooked a little (shake-and-bake chicken), went out for errands, and even got around to vacuuming part of the house. I still have to learn W-‘s tricks for calming A- in the middle of the night, but I’m sure we’ll sort something out by the time he goes back to work. A- still has her days and nights mixed up, so afternoon naps and low-power evenings will have to tide us over.

A- has started reaching out for the white/black/red-patterned quilt blocks I made. I’d like to do some sewing this week – maybe some soft cubes of red and black gingham so that she can look at and play with them, and maybe a few pairs of pants. Might even include a trip to the fabric store…

2016-03-14a Week ending 2016-03-11 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.1h – 3%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (6.0h – 99% of Business)
      • Drawing (6.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.2h – 0%)
    • ☑ Register newborn
    • ☑ Check with OHIP re name change
    • ☐ Buy rocker
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.4h – 2%)
    • Emacs (0.0h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Check expiry and create tasks
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (3.4h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (26.9h – 16%)
  • Unpaid work (53.6h – 31%)
    • Childcare (45.5h – 27% of total)
  • Sleep (75.7h – 45% – average of 10.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 18, 2016

I found time for a little bit of coding, sewing, and cooking this week. Awesome! I set up a backup of my sketches on my server, learned more about d3 visualizations by plotting nursing sessions on a timeline, sewed a soft cube with a rattle inside, and got around to cooking the sweet potato I asked W- to pick up. =) I also did some paperwork, posted Emacs News (yay!), and followed up on some things. We went for lots of good walks around the neighbourhood, including an extended walk to Home Depot in the Moby wrap. I’ve been practising with the ring sling and with a different hold for the Moby, too. Progress!

2016-03-19a Week ending 2016-03-18 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (9.2h – 5%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (9.1h – 98% of Business)
      • Drawing (4.0h)
      • Paperwork (1.0h)
    • Connect (0.2h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.2h – 2%)
    • ☑ Buy rocker
    • ☑ Check re hearing screening
    • ☑ Call SickKids about doctor notes
    • ☑ Child benefits application extra info
    • ☑ Book tentative vaccination appointment in case pediatrician referral falls through
    • ☐ Trim Neko’s claws
    • ☐ 4-week appointment with midwife
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.0h – 1%)
    • Emacs (0.3h – 0% of all)
    • ☑ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Baby viz
      • ☑ Click on a dot to go to the record
      • ☑ Add timeline view
      • ☑ Cache data in a local SQLite
    • ☑ Check expiry and create tasks
    • ☑ Set up sketches directory on my web server
    • Sewing (0.4h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (5.6h – 3%)
  • Personal routines (20.3h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (77.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (59.4h – 35% of total)
  • Sleep (71.4h – 42% – average of 10.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 25, 2016

A- was more awake this week, which was great. A lot of that wake time was during the graveyard shift, though, and some cluster feeding meant that my sleep’s been a bit more broken-up than last week. Still, I’m more comfortable with the idea of on-demand feeding than the idea of making her get on some kind of schedule, so it’s a trade-off I’m willing to accept.

Singing is turning out to be good mental exercise for my fuzzy brain: it’s stimulating for A-, I train my memory by learning lyrics, and it’s fun challenging my brain to think of the next line as I’m singing the current one so that everything flows smoothly. Both the hearing test and the 4-week checkup went fine.

I sewed another soft cube for the newborn of some friends, and I’m looking forward to dropping that off. I picked up some fabric, too, and I’m looking forward to turning that into clothes when things settle down.

On the non-baby front, I learned more about d3 visualizations and drawing graphs with a shared axis. I also checked in with my consulting client. We’ve got some ideas for visualizations I can noodle around here and there, so that should be fun. Managed to fit in some cooking, too – hooray!

This week’s achievements:

  • Sic Transit: A- and I took public transit to the 4 week checkup with the midwives, yay!
  • 9 Pounds of Awesome: What it says on the tin. And the scale.
  • Just Don’t Let Me Near Production Servers: A little bit of consulting. Seemed fine, but there might be a catch 22 there – am I too sleep-addled to tell if I’m sleep-addled? Playing it safe.
  • Cluster F: Frequent feeding. Early in the morning, too!
  • Open Air Poosplosion: Possibly related to the previous achievement.
  • Break Out the Carpet Vacuum: Definitely related to the previous achievement.

2016-03-28a Week ending 2016-03-25 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (5.3h – 3%)
    • Earn (2.4h – 44% of Business)
    • Build (0.3h – 5% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
      • ☑ Check images for Quantified Awesome
    • Connect (2.6h – 49% of Business)
      • ☑ Help OAFB
  • Relationships (2.0h – 1%)
    • ☑ Trim Neko’s claws
    • ☑ Call Eye Clinic and ask about referral to CNIB
    • ☑ 4-week appointment with midwife
    • ☑ Take picture with Tracy
    • ☑ Check re genetic testing referral
    • ☑ Thank you notes
    • ☑ Take A- to hearing test
    • ☐ Check with OHIP re name change
  • Discretionary – Productive (12.3h – 7%)
    • Emacs (1.0h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding
      • ☑ Dump SQLite as CSV
      • ☑ Add button for refreshing data
      • ☑ Add wrapper functions for website
      • ☑ Display latest status
      • ☑ Add relative times to visualization
      • ☑ Add relative time to API
      • ☑ Add a note input to my-track.html
      • ☑ Add visual feedback on successful track
      • ☑ Get childcare to open babyconnect
      • ☑ Fix X server
    • Sewing (0.8h)
      • ☑ Make cube for Jen and Ewan
    • Writing (1.5h)
    • ☑ Research bike trailer strollers
  • Discretionary – Play (0.9h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (15.7h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (66.6h – 39%)
    • Childcare (58.4h – 34% of total)
  • Sleep (65.2h – 38% – average of 9.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 1, 2016

Achievements unlocked:

  • You Mean There’s Another Stanza?: Learned a variation on Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • That’s the Painkiller Talking: Prematurely declared myself back to normal before the ibuprofen wore off and I realized I needed more rest

This week was a little rough in terms of sleep. A- seems to be getting better at telling the difference between night and day, at least in terms of not cooing adorably for playtime at 3 AM. She’s still feeding every hour or so, but we’re getting better at side-lying. I’ve gotten better at burping her while half-conscious.

Tracking has been a little fuzzy. Now that I have a library of functions that wrap the web-based system we’ve been using to collect data, I can start building a friendlier interface for tracking those middle-of-the-night feeds. I’ve added a few more visualizations and moved it to my private server so that I can use my tools from my phone instead of just my laptop. I’m still puzzling over what kind of visualization would help me answer my questions, though. Also, I’ve started taking notes on how long it takes to calm her down when she’s crying (it seems like eternity, but usually she settles down within ten minutes) and what seems to work (feeding, burping, diaper-changing, etc.). It might be interesting to make another mini-tool that reminds me what to try.

I started looking into various activities for parents and babies. I’d like to eventually build a habit of going to those “baby and me”-type exercise classes so I can improve my health and make more parent friends. I’ve got a few possibilities to check out in my neighbourhood. There are also quite a few free social things, like the Baby Time session I went to at the public library.

Also, we made stuff! W- and I made a simple baby gym for A-. He did the woodworking and I did the sewing. Hours of fun and enjoyment – and eventually A- will figure out what it’s for and have fun with it too. =) I’ll write a blog post about it eventually, so I can link to the tutorials we used and add our observations.

W- took J- along to the gym twice this week, so I was responsible for getting dinner sorted out. Which I did! By myself! Yay!

It was a good week, although I felt a bit run-down at the end of it. Could be accumulated sleep disruption plus a plugged duct. I got plenty of rest this weekend, and that helped a lot. I think we’re mostly back to normal now. W- made roast beef and roast turkey this weekend, so we have plenty of leftovers to help us get through next week.

This week we have three medical appointments. Looking forward to learning more!

2016-04-03a Week ending 2016-04-01 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.5h – 0%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.5h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.6h – 0%)
    • ☑ Add relative times to visualization
    • ☑ Wrap website with library functions
    • ☑ Research bike trailer strollers
    • ☑ Visualize sleep on timeline
    • ☑ Decide what package of diapers to buy
    • ☑ Create calendar of baby activities
    • ☑ Research night-time cloth diapering options
  • Discretionary – Productive (12.8h – 7%)
    • Emacs (1.5h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Sewing (3.7h)
      • ☑ Stuffed tetrahedron with taggies
      • ☑ Stuffed sphere
    • Writing (0.0h)
    • ☑ Fix rotation
  • Discretionary – Play (3.1h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (24.1h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (79.3h – 47%)
    • Childcare (71.0h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (46.6h – 27% – average of 6.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 8, 2016

This week was a busy one in terms of talking to medical professionals. Met with genetics to kick off the process of testing, met with cardiology for an update, and went to a Toronto Public Health breastfeeding clinic to pick up some tips. It’s so nice to have all these resources.

I’m getting better at getting out of the house for discretionary stuff, too. I made it out to the La Leche League meeting and another session of Baby Time at the library. I even went for a long walk all the way to Dufferin, yay! The ring sling came in handy for that one, since it meant I could keep A- tucked in her snowsuit.

Back to basics this week, I think. I’m going to focus on feeding A-. It looks like A- can take in a little more milk than she gets from nursing, so we’re going to try supplementing (eyedropper, cup, and/or bottle), and increasing skin to skin contact. Her weight gain hasn’t been flagged as an issue yet, but I want to keep on top of that. Once we’ve gotten that sorted out, I can go back to working on improving other parts of our routines. =) Kaizen all the everything!

2016-04-10a Week ending 2016-04-08 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.8h – 4%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (6.8h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.2h – 1%)
    • ☑ Return carrier
    • ☑ Call genetics and note clinodactyly
    • ☑ Follow up with aboutface for connecting with other anophthalmia/microphthalmia families
    • ☑ Ask about lactation consultant referral
    • ☑ Follow up with cardiologist
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.0h – 4%)
    • Emacs (1.3h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☑ Set up Emacs as a daemon
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Sewing (1.3h)
      • ☑ Prototype arm warmers
      • ☑ Mend pants
    • Writing (1.5h)
    • ☑ Set up phone as remote keyboard
  • Discretionary – Play (0.4h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (16.0h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (76.5h – 45%)
    • Childcare (64.5h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (57.2h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 15, 2016

Graduated from midwife care this week. A-‘s slow weight gain is something to keep an eye on, but we’re not going to worry until the pediatrician tells us to worry. Might be related to her ventricular septal defect, since that’s a common symptom. She’s alert and looks happy, though, so that’s good.

I made it out to Hacklab for Eric’s practice talk on his Epic Quest of Awesome. It was great to hear the update to his talk, and I picked up a couple of new tips (including an impressive chart from the Actionable Gamification website). We gave him some feedback on his talk, too.

It finally feels like spring, so I’m working on making salads part of our household routine. Lots of walking, too: 37k steps over 5.5 hours total over the whole week, including a nice walk to the midwives.

Filed our personal taxes, yay! I did most of the data entry last month, and I doublechecked everything this week. I compared it to 2014 for extra safety, too. Nice to still be able to crunch the numbers!

Kaizen tweaks this week:

  • Adding buttons to my tracker makes updating baby-related data much easier (nursing, mood, sleep).
  • If I brush my teeth and shower after dinner instead of before bed, then that gives us more flexibility for A-‘s bedtime routine.
  • Wearing cargo pants or scrubs means that I can keep a notepad and a pen handy, which lets me jot down ideas while nursing or settling A-.
  • Using peep-dired and writing an Emacs Lisp function to rename files makes organizing photos easier.
  • Red peppers do okay in the freezer, so I put together a bunch of fajita starters to make future dinners smoother.
  • Grapes and celery can be pre-sliced for Waldorf salad.

2016-04-17a Week ending 2016-04-15 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.1h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (0.5h – 50% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.5h)
    • Connect (0.5h – 49% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.9h – 2%)
    • ☑ Add more functions to baby tracker
    • ☑ Hang out with Jen
    • ☑ Check out Eric Boyd’s talk at Hacklab
    • ☑ Midwife final checkup
    • ☑ Maybe check out babywearing social
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.5h – 5%)
    • Emacs (1.1h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Fix evil plan SVGs
      • ☑ Write some Emacs Lisp to help with organizing photos
      • ☑ Keep Emacs alive through X crashes by running it in the background with –daemon
    • ☑ Update credit card for Paypal
    • ☑ Clean up yard
    • ☑ Plant peas
    • Sewing (0.0h)
      • ☑ Look for a baby sun hat pattern
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.7h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.1h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (76.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (66.8h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (53.6h – 31% – average of 7.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 22, 2016

Lots of medical-related conversations this week. I called the eye clinic to follow up on A-‘s timeline. She’s scheduled for an impression under general anesthesia in June. I also called the cardiologist’s office to ask about her slow wealthweight gain, and they recommended seeing the pediatrician earlier than our scheduled appointment. We saw the pediatrician, and she isn’t worried about A- yet (she’s in the 25th percentile for length and weight). A- was definitely not happy about the physical exam, though, and the vaccine injections didn’t help. She was a bit fussier for two days, and now she seems back to normal. We’ll see the pediatrician again in two weeks for another vaccine and another weighing. Sometimes I wonder if I should also be building up a record for A- at home, but since it doesn’t seem easy to get a copy of medical notes, I guess I’ll have to leave that up to her primary care provider.

The downside of all this phoning around was that I’ve been stuck playing an embarrassing game of phone tag. I’m currently looking around for more options in terms of pediatricians or family doctors in case I can find someone with excellent rapport. I forgot that I had meeting assist turned on and plenty of optional activities on my calendar, so I missed a few calls. I’ve set up call forwarding and I’m experimenting with a free service that provides voicemail (fongo.com), so we’ll see if that helps.

It was a good week for cooking variety. I prepared lots of ingredients last weekend for Cobb salad and an assortment of burger toppings, and we turned leftovers into pizza. I like this new habit we’re building. Cutting up ingredients in advance makes complex meals easier to throw together.

We took advantage of the warm and sunny spring weather to rake the yard and start the garden. The strawberries and sorrel have already started coming back. I planted some peas, bitter melon, and coriander. Maybe in a week or two, when frost becomes much less likely, I’ll buy a few cherry tomato starters. I wonder if I can get lettuce and spinach growing this year, or if there are other things I can grow for salads and herbs.

I joined the babywearing walk in High Park, but bailed halfway through because A- was getting a bit fussy. Good timing, actually, as she had one of those big poops when I got home. It’s starting to become hat weather, too. I tried making her a hat, but the dome was too shallow and the brim wasn’t stiff enough. Fortunately, I have lots of spare fabric, so I can just try again. I’ll probably start by trying a stiffer brim.

Quite a few other social things, too. W-‘s mom brought some soup over, and I visited Jen, Ewan, and E-. Lola and Lolo also virtually dropped in via Facebook video calling, and A- cooed at them for a while. =)

I took some time to systematically think about kaizen: continuous, small improvements. One of the little improvements I’ve been planning was making Emacs survive X freezes a little more gracefully. I got emacs --daemon working on my system and I managed to write a blog post about it. Hooray for being able to tinker! I also tweaked my tracker a little bit more. Now that I save the state on the server, I can use other apps without worrying about losing the start of my nursing timer, which means I can read stuff in Google Play Books or Overdrive while nursing. Yay!

Also, while updating some paperwork, I noticed that I’d used a 25% gross up rate instead of 18% for the past two years. It turns out that there’s a straightforward web interface for updating both T5s and personal tax returns. Yay Canada Revenue Agency!

I’ll probably pull back a little on social things next week as I sort out communications and return various calls, although I’d like to make it out to the Hacklab members’ meeting on Wednesday.

Slowly making things better!

2016-04-24a Week ending 2016-04-22 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.3h – 0%)
    • ☐ Pay myself a dividend
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (0.6h – 43% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.5h)
    • Connect (0.7h – 56% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.0h – 1%)
    • ☑ Take pictures of baby clothes from Jen
    • ☑ Have W-‘s mom over
    • ☑ Maybe check out babywearing social
    • A-
      • ☑ Ask breastfeeding clinic for other places that take patients
      • ☑ Call cardio nurse and ask about slow weight gain and possibly fortifying
      • ☑ Follow up with Eye Clinic
      • ☑ 2-month appointment with pediatrician
      • ☑ Call Four Villages
      • ☑ Call midwives and ask for other referrals
      • ☐ Call TD and ask about RESP
  • Discretionary – Productive (15.3h – 9%)
    • Coding
      • ☑ Plot baby weight
      • ☑ Add bath note
      • ☑ Add duration column
      • ☑ Label axis nicely
      • ☑ Set up search engine
      • ☑ Add ending now / after start buttons
      • ☑ Move nursing timer to database
    • Emacs (0.6h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
      • ☑ Keep Emacs alive through X crashes by running it in the background with –daemon
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Gardening
      • ☑ Clean up yard
      • ☑ Plant peas
    • Kaizen
      • ☑ Set up home screen shortcuts to things I’m reading, or organize them in apps
      • ☑ Line up better reading on my phone
      • ☑ Normalize recorded audio
      • ☑ Think about phone
      • ☑ Disable touchpad in init script
    • Sewing (2.3h)
      • ☑ Look for a baby sun hat pattern
      • ☑ Go to Fabricland
    • Writing (2.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.8h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (31.1h – 18%)
  • Unpaid work (58.5h – 34%)
    • Childcare (50.7h – 30% of total)
  • Sleep (59.7h – 35% – average of 8.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 29, 2016

This week felt like a good one for making progress in a variety of areas. =)

We’ve been learning a little more about A- and sleep. I don’t mind letting her sleep whenever she wants, even if it means she might be up at an awkward time. It’s easier to deal with a well-rested and curious A- than a cranky and overtired A-, anyway! I can manage the occasional middle-of-the-night fussing. When I’m too tired or if W-‘s going to be up anyway, A- spends time with W-.

I’ve been researching flight options and tips for super-long-haul travel. It looks like getting a separate seat for A- could be worth the cost. I’m not sure about taking care of her on my own for the ~22+ hours it takes to go from Toronto to Manila, so any trips may have to wait until either W- files for parental leave or gets more vacation days next year. Anyway, we need more information about her medical needs first before I’d feel comfortable planning any travel. Hard to plan with all these uncertainties!

Speaking of medical stuff – after lots of research and calling, I’ve learned that our current situation (having a pediatrician) is actually pretty awesome and that it can be difficult to “shop around,” so we’ll probably stick with what we have. I got on the waitlist to switch my family doctor relationship to someone closer, though, in case I can find a good fit. We’ll find out more about A-‘s heart and eye in June. In the meantime, May will be busy enough with breastfeeding clinic follow-ups, routine vaccinations, and a visit from a nurse in the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program. (Talk to all the support organizations!)

I spent some time consulting, too. I finally figured out how to animate data in d3 by working on my personal visualization of baby data, so I felt ready to transfer that knowledge to visualizations of client data. Building up the skills on my own time meant I didn’t feel guilty about charging my client for fuzzy-brain-learning-time. =) I’m looking forward to tweaking the visualizations based on their feedback, and building some more.

Since I’m doing all this stuff at home and outside, I decided to leave Hacklab. I really like the community, but I didn’t think I’d make it out there often enough to justify the membership. I wasn’t quite sure I could make the most of the space while also taking care of a baby. It’s easier to code or sew at home, where I’ve got everything I need for A- and where W- can take care of her if I need to focus on something. I’d been mentally treating my Hacklab membership as more like a donation to support something I like. Now that Hacklab’s finances are more solid, I can turn that money to other uses. I might consider rejoining it if I figure out how to make it work, as volunteering to help make Tuesday open house dinners was lots of fun.

Slowly sorting out new routines. Yay! =)

2016-05-02a Week ending 2016-04-29 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (9.5h – 5%)
    • Earn (8.9h – 92% of Business)
      • ☑ [#A] Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.4h – 4% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.4h)
        • ☑ Check if I need to amend T5
        • ☑ Transfer from savings
        • ☑ Issue and print resolution
        • ☑ Write and deposit cheque
        • ☑ File dividend in Quickbooks
    • Connect (0.3h – 2% of Business)
      • ☑ Retrieve my things
  • Relationships (4.1h – 2%)
    • ☐ Take A- for vaccinations
    • ☐ Call TD and ask about RESP
    • ☑ Check with OHIP re name change
    • ☑ Braindump notes for flight
  • Discretionary – Productive (10.2h – 6%)
    • Emacs (0.6h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding
      • ☑ Apply d3 update to histogram
      • ☑ Save last activity when we start nursing
      • ☑ Go to W-‘s extended family thing
      • ☑ Disable touchpad in init script
      • ☑ Fiddle with image composition
      • ☑ Figure out why ssh was asking for passphrase
      • ☑ Radial tree for status
      • ☑ Figure out what’s going on with BEGIN_HTML
      • ☑ Set up Tasker to forward to home phone when I’m on home wifi
    • Sewing (1.4h)
      • ☑ Peasant top
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (15.4h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (69.8h – 41%)
    • Childcare (62.4h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (59.0h – 35% – average of 8.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 6, 2016

The week started with the 80th birthday party of one of our in-laws. It got me thinking about what I might like my life to be like when I’m eighty. I hope to still have the habit of reviewing my life and learning more. It would be nice to participate in a few offline and online communities (ooh, can you imagine how cool it would be to have a vibrant Emacs scene in the 2060s?). It would be great to keep helping people and accumulating good karma, and to see the effects of that help down the road – I’m sure I’d have learned a lot from those people, too. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

A-‘s 100-day party is coming up. I don’t know if I’ll have the time to sew her an outfit, so I bought a red blouse for her just in case. Could be a good excuse to learn how to make a teeny tiny cheongsam or jacket, though. Anyway, my eldest sister Ching is flying in for the party, yay!

I took A- for a follow-up appointment with the pediatrician, who confirmed her slow weight gain and started the referral process to a dietitian who can help us make a plan to fortify A-‘s milk with extra calories. Feeding A- will probably be my primary focus for the next little while. Gotta get her growing.

A little bit of coding here and there. I did a quick report for my consulting client, and I started thinking about the add-on they’d like me to develop. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to redesign the interface and port my code, but it’ll be something to think about here and there.

We reorganized our basement cabinets, and the new system feels better. Yay! I need to sort through my sewing stash and reduce the clutter there. Looking forward to more projects, especially once we sort out feeding. I sewed a baby sunbonnet following a free pattern from Purl Soho, and that’s come in handy for a few walks already.

Lots of drawing and thinking time this week, spurred by questions and planning. Good to be able to sort through my thoughts!

2016-05-08a Week ending 2016-05-06 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.1h – 2%)
    • Earn (2.8h – 69% of Business)
      • ☑ [#A] Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (1.0h – 24% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (1.0h)
    • Connect (0.2h – 5% of Business)
  • Relationships (9.1h – 5%)
    • ☑ Go to W-‘s extended family thing
    • ☑ Take A- for vaccinations
    • ☑ Do midwife evaluation form
    • ☑ Inquire with Kindercare
    • ☐ Ask breastfeeding clinic about SNS
    • ☐ Call Lisa on May 10 to see if we can reschedule
  • Discretionary – Productive (15.7h – 9%)
    • Emacs (1.3h – 0% of all)
    • Coding (2.3h – 1% of all)
      • ☑ Main screen wet to cloth option
      • ☑ Add supplementation tracking
    • Sewing (2.9h)
      • ☑ Try the hat sewing pattern Kristina mentioned
    • Writing (2.3h)
    • ☑ Complete census
  • Discretionary – Play (1.3h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (66.5h – 39%)
    • Childcare (55.2h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (52.5h – 31% – average of 7.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 13, 2016

This week was mostly focused on figuring out some way to supplement A- in preparation for any fortification the dietitian might prescribe. She still doesn’t take the bottle and the lactation aid was a bit more trouble than I could manage, but we’ve had a little success with feeding her with an eyedropper while she’s breastfeeding. Her weight’s still up and down, but I hope the overall trend gets better. I added the weight standards from the WHO growth charts to my baby data visualizations. We can see her dropping through the percentiles (from 85% to 5%), but maybe she’s really just a small baby.

Lots of medical follow-ups, too. We saw the cardiologist on Wednesday. A-‘s ventricular septal defect is even smaller now (2.7mm), so the cardiologist doesn’t think it’s the reason for her slow weight gain. A- feeds a bit longer when we supplement her at the breast, so maybe it’s a matter of latch or flow. We’ll find out more once we sort out the referrals to a dietitian and a lactation consultant. We’re also going to be seeing a nurse from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program. (Talk to all the medical professionals!)

I’ve been a little preoccupied with A-, but I managed to squeeze in a little time to do some sewing on Tuesday and some consulting on Thursday. I’m looking forward to getting even more done as we clear these challenges and I get into the rhythm of these weeks.

W- continues to be totally awesome. We were initially a bit tense about A-‘s poor weight gain, but his support has been helping me relax a little (or at least worry a bit less). Learning more about this parenting thing. =)

2016-05-14a Week ending 2016-05-13 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.9h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.7h – 96% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.2h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.2h – 1%)
    • ☑ Call pediatrician’s office regarding lactation consultant referral
    • ☑ Ask breastfeeding clinic about SNS, check weight
    • ☑ Call Eye Clinic and ask about anaesthesia scheduling
    • ☑ Follow up with cardiologist regarding A-‘s slow weight gain
  • Discretionary – Productive (12.5h – 7%)
    • Emacs (1.0h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ [#B] Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ [#B] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (5.6h – 3% of all)
      • ☑ Add supplementation tracking
      • ☑ Add time span
      • ☑ Add weight standards
      • ☑ Clean up and print weight history
      • ☑ Allow nursing tracking without side specification
    • ☑ Update sach.ac and namecheap information
    • ☑ Set up Tangerine
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (21.5h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (75.0h – 44%)
    • Childcare (68.8h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (50.1h – 29% – average of 7.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 20, 2016

A- is still not gaining weight or length well. The pediatrician thinks that she might either naturally be small (like my sister Kathy’s kids) or that there might be an underlying cause we may be able to address. I experimented briefly with fenugreek and blessed thistle to boost my supply, and have decided to skip them unless the lactation consultant tells me to go back on them. We’ll do a bunch more tests to see what we can find out. I’ll take her to Sick Kids Hospital next week, since the lab there has a lot of experience working with babies.

On the plus side, A- started waking up for long periods of time in the middle of the night. Could this be the 4-month sleep regression (that sometimes shows up earlier)? Neat! That means her brain is growing by leaps and bounds. We’re working on settling her to sleep earlier, so that she still gets all the sleep she needs.

A nurse from the Healthy Babies and Healthy Children program visited us at home. She’ll help me keep track of A-‘s developmental milestones so that we can catch things early, and she’ll also suggest activities to help A- grow. She might be able to pair us up with another neighbourhood family who can visit and share tips, too.

In terms of coding, I got my jive-angular workflow sorted out and have been using it to build a tool for my client. The npm install ran into problems on Windows, so I set it up manually by reading the source. I’ve been working on my personal tracker, too. I added more detailed logging for diapers and nursing, and I used the day view to print out one-page slices of data for the pediatrician, who seemed impressed.

I wanted to make a red jacket for A-‘s 100-day party, but the test pattern I sewed up wasn’t a good fit. I made a peasant-style dress instead. I’ve got plenty of practice sewing those! First time working with silk brocade. Pretty fancy. =)

My sister Ching is coming from California for the small party. How exciting! Next week: 100-day party with family – nothing too fancy, just a restaurant thing. More tests for A-, and a meeting with a lactation consultant. Onward!

2016-05-23a Week ending 2016-05-20 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.7h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.7h – 100% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.3h – 3%)
    • ☑ Research scholarships
    • ☐ Complete and fax pre-op questionnaire
  • Discretionary – Productive (13.1h – 7%)
    • Emacs (0.8h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ [#B] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (3.0h – 1% of all)
      • ☑ Add diapers to detailed timeline
      • ☑ Add supplementation and sleep toggles to nursing screen
      • ☑ Add diaper leak, open air accident options
      • ☑ Add small/medium/large option
      • ☑ Add start and end date
      • ☑ Update database for diapers and nursing
    • Sewing (4.3h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
      • ☑ Party dress
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (21.0h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (59.4h – 35%)
    • Childcare (50.9h – 30% of total)
  • Sleep (64.5h – 38% – average of 9.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 27, 2016

This week was a busy one. We celebrated A-‘s 100-day party at a Chinese restaurant with W-‘s family and with Ching, who flew in from California to come and hang out with us.

I sewed a party dress for A- . It was my first time working with silk brocade, which kept unravelling at the edges but managed to stay together long enough for me to sew the elastic casings and the hems. Level up!

My family gave us a GoPro, and I’ve been using that to record short videos that I post to the closed group on Facebook for baby-related updates. I’ve got a backlog of videos because I haven’t had the time to review anything beyond a minute or so, which is why short videos work out better for us. Better to keep capturing, though. Storage is cheap, and there’ll be opportunities to review things later.

Speaking of time – I continue to be preoccupied with childcare, but that’s okay. I took A- to a lactation consultant who suggested some ways we could try to improve her latch, and recommended supplementing as many feeds as we can. She also diagnosed a case of thrush in A-‘s mouth, so we’ve been treating that too. I haven’t felt any pain yet, but the Internet has quite a lot of horror stories that I’d like to avoid contributing to, so we’ve been focusing on dealing with that and the supplementation. The lactation aid continues to be a bit too fussy for me to regularly use, although affixing it to a fridge magnet helps a little bit by giving me a way to adjust the level.

Since I keep bringing A-‘s weight history to different places, I spent a little time tweaking the display and the calculations to take into account only the weights at the same location. I’m getting more and more comfortable with d3 visualizations. My rate of improvement is still pretty slow, though. All these interruptions – but that’s a good problem to have. =) Here’s the latest section of the chart. She’s still gaining slower than the average weight gain for breastfed babies, but she seems to be skating along above the 3rd percentile line, so there’s that.

weight (8)

Slow coding progress on my consulting project. I need to think of a good way to deal with the limitations of the iframe around the add-on I’m building. I have a few ideas that I might get to test this week. It’s a bit difficult with the stop-and-go nature of being the primary caregiver for an infant, but fortunately my tracking system makes it easy for me to clock out when I need to change a diaper or when I notice my concentration flagging. I’ll just have to set proper expectations with my consulting client. I’ve checked in my code so they can take it forward if they want, and I can keep building on it here and there. Actually, it might be better to trim the functionality and do a smaller release – I’ll check prioritization and timing at the next team meeting.

I also want to make sure that A- gets plenty of stimulation. She’s becoming more and more interactive, yay! Lots of cooing and putting things in her mouth.

Next week: catching up on drawing and thinking, more gardening, and a follow-up with the pediatrician. Let’s see if I can make it out to the Quantified Self meetup, too.

2016-05-31b Week ending 2016-05-27 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.4h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.0h – 86% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.3h – 13% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.7h – 2%)
    • ☑ Take A- for more tests
    • ☑ Notes for Dr. Roth
    • ☑ Complete and fax pre-op questionnaire
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.1h – 4%)
    • Emacs (0.4h – 0% of all)
    • Coding (2.6h – 1% of all)
      • ☑ Improve weight display
    • Sewing (0.0h)
      • ☑ Party dress
    • Writing (0.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.2h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (23.1h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (67.7h – 40%)
    • Childcare (57.5h – 34% of total)
  • Sleep (62.7h – 37% – average of 9.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 3, 2016

A-‘s weight gain improved this week, hooray! 24g/day based on her measurements at the pediatrician (within the expected 20-30g/day range) and a slightly more sedate 16g/day based on the breastfeeding clinic’s measurements. It’s probably still too early to relax, but this is promising. Pretty normal results from genetics and hematology, too. Thrush seemed to be clear on Friday, but I saw two new white spots today, so we might see the pediatrician again for another look. Skating along between the 5th and 3rd percentile curves…

I managed to put together a short presentation on tracking baby-data for the Quantified Self Toronto meetup on June 1. I shared my experience wrapping a custom interface around the Baby Connect website so that I could track nursing and diaper changes despite being sleepy and easily distracted.

It’s been a good week for gardening. W- picked up three bags of composted sheep manure and two bags of black mulch. I planted the bitter melon seedlings that his mother gave us, and some Thai basil I bought on the way back from the breastfeeding clinic.

Barbecue season, too. I made chicken souvlaki to use some of the oregano that’s totally taking over one of the garden boxes, and there’s still more oregano for the picking. Continuing with the theme, I made Greek salad too. Mmm.

A- is getting better at grasping soft objects and manipulating things so that she can get them into her mouth. The crinkly book that Morgan and Cathy gave us is her new favourite. I should make more crinkly things, too! A- has also been blowing spitbubbles and flapping her lips at us. More interactivity, yay. She’s a little bit fussier than she was last week, but that’s normal.

I’ve been drawing late at night, after A- is in bed. This lets me keep my daily journal in greater detail, while the thoughts are fresh, and gives me more opportunities to learn and follow up. I’m going through lots of board books to get a sense of what I like, and I’m getting additional observation+drawing practice by copying drawings from the books. Multi-purpose!

I’ve been up a little earlier, too, since I can squeeze in a little coding or reading while waiting for A- to wake up. Starting to get the hang of what I can save for when she’s calm or playing with her book. Laundry and tidying up work well – easy to interrupt, and I can talk while doing things.

This week: See if I need to take A- to the pediatrician again, continue tracking weight and focusing on feeding, help Jen, and have pre-op anaesthesia nursing call.

2016-06-05b Week ending 2016-06-03 -- index card #journal #weekly output weight (9)

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.7h – 2%)
    • Earn (3.6h – 76% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 3% of Business)
    • Connect (0.9h – 19% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.5h – 2%)
    • ☑ Make quick presentation for Quantified Self
    • ☑ Go to Quantified Self meetup for June 2016
  • Discretionary – Productive (12.0h – 7%)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.1h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (23.0h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (66.3h – 39%)
    • Childcare (51.2h – 30% of total)
  • Sleep (56.3h – 33% – average of 8.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 10, 2016

It’s interesting how the time averages out, even though the days are so fluid. I used my ~2h/day of discretionary time for reconnecting with former work colleagues, helping friends by watching their newborn, adding a new category to my tracker and visualizer, sewing a backup changing pad, and drawing in my journal.

Thrush reappeared a few days after the pediatrician gave us the all-clear, so we’re doing another round of Nystatin. If that doesn’t work, it’s back to the doctor.

W- was curious about early potty introduction, so we’re giving that a part-time try by offering the potty after A- wakes up from naps, if she’s calm. Sometimes it works well. Neat!

A little shorter on sleep this week, but still okay. W-‘s been working hard so that he can deliver a good chunk of work before going on parental leave. Looking forward to investing time into improving the house and streamlining our routines to make the coming years easier.

2016-06-13a Week ending 2016-06-10 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.0h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.0h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.5h – 2%)
    • ☑ Update Dr. Roth
    • ☑ Call cardiologist to reschedule
    • ☑ Take A- for follow-up blood test
    • ☑ Buy Nystatin and shampoo for cradle cap
  • Discretionary – Productive (13.5h – 8%)
    • Emacs (0.4h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (2.1h – 1% of all)
      • ☑ Add month weight for age
      • ☑ Add potty to tracker and visualization
    • Sewing (0.9h)
      • ☑ Consider buying PUL and Zorb
    • Writing (1.9h)
    • ☑ Line up some reading on the tablet for when A- is waking up
    • ☑ Look for more books about parenting
    • ☑ Reconsider TFSA investments – move to bonds
    • ☑ Sketch thoughts re watching E
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.4h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (71.8h – 42%)
    • Childcare (55.0h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (55.8h – 33% – average of 8.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 17, 2016

W- started his parental leave, hooray! He’ll be with us for the next eight months or so, making the most of the parental benefits offered by the government. We’re looking forward to spending lots of time with A-, improving our household routines, working on various projects around the house, and taking a long-haul trip to visit family in the Philippines.

A-‘s been developing by leaps and bounds. This week, we introduced her to solids. W- let her taste some of the strawberries from the garden, I cooked up a batch of sweet potato puree, and we’ve been yum-yum-yum-ing our way through teaspoons of yogurt (complete with maternal emotional signaling, of course). It was amusing watching how her eyebrows wrinkled as she tasted the yogurt, and how she soldiered on anyway. =) We’ve mostly been feeding her in her rocker. One time she was frogged up on my chest while W- fed her sweet potato. Some of it got on my shirt, and she started to eat that while waiting for the next spoonful. I guess she likes sweet potato!

She’s getting better at coordinating her movements, too. She’s been able to hold and manipulate the small sphere that we suspended from the play gym W- built for her. This requires fine coordination of both hands, as using one hand by itself would just send the sphere spinning or swinging around. She’s been taking longer but fewer nasWhee!

I decided to pick up the ukulele, and have slowly started learning how to play nursery songs. There’s some research on the beneficial effects of music (like this), and the ukulele is handier than the piano. Besides, picking up music is an excellent way for me to take advantage of babies’ love of repetition. I’ll get plenty of practice time. I downloaded a general-purpose tuner app on my phone, so I can use that to practise singing on-key too.

I enjoyed reading Baby Meets World, which is an amusing and informative historical overview of research into infancy. Looking forward to going through the sources it cited, including Darwin’s observations on his children. I’ve also been going through resources on elimination communication, thanks to the library. Nice to live in the age of easy access to information.

We had friends over for a party. It turns out that it takes only a little more effort to make five quiches compared to the effort of making one quiche, and the five quiches (plus tarts using the excess filling and crusts) efficiently use all our oven capacity. =) The chorizo and cheese that Quinn brought were delicious in the quiches. This was our first non-relatives party since A- was born. Nice to see people! =)

J- had a piece in the art show at her school. It was entitled “Nostalgia”, a painting of a red balloon floating up between grayish-white clouds, accompanied by a sculpture of a person’s head looking at a clump of balloons. Nicely made.

Also, there’s at least one skunk in our backyard. Might even be a skunk family under the shed. No big deal. We’ll leave them alone until September or so, when the kits are a little older. Then we might look into ways of gently encouraging them to move along. Seems like the prudent sort of thing to do – respect the stripes! We’ve spotted rats, too. Those we want to hurry along a bit more. The cats (being indoor cats) are mostly useless in this regard, although Neko (as our most cat-ish cat) might have vague memories of playing with and eating parts of a few mice I’d seen her with before. Ah well, nature! Speaking of nature, the city is planting a few new trees on our street: gingko, oak, and a weeping tree, I think. Should be quite lovely in a few decades.

Excellent progress on my consulting gig. A coworker helped me figure out something that had been stumping me, so it’s all systems go for the thing I was building. I’m now waiting for the French translations so that I can add them to the app, and then I can take it through the usual testing/deployment stages.

Next week is a big one for medical things: a follow-up with the cardiologist, and general anaesthesia so that the ocularist can take an impression of A-‘s eye socket and fit a prosthesis. A- can’t take any breastmilk for four hours before the procedure, so she might get pretty fussy. Still, it’s for her benefit and it’s temporary, so we’re just going to have to get through it. One step at a time!

2016-06-19a Week ending 2016-06-17 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (5.4h – 3%)
    • ☐ Doublecheck business preauthorized debit
    • Earn (3.4h – 62% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (1.4h – 25% of Business)
    • Connect (0.7h – 12% of Business)
  • Relationships (12.6h – 7%)
    • ☑ Add solids
    • ☑ Set up preauthorized debit for hydro
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.0h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
      • ☑ Sketch thoughts re watching E
    • Emacs (0.4h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.8h)
      • ☑ Add potty and pee score to visualization
    • Sewing (0.1h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (16.1h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (70.4h – 41%)
    • Childcare (55.9h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (57.5h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 24, 2016

When I look back, I can see how this week turned out to be a pretty big week. I knew it had a couple of big medical things going in, but I was pleasantly surprised at how the week also managed to accommodate lots of socializing, lots of learning, and good progress at work.

We joined W-‘s family for a Father’s Day celebration at his brother’s place, bringing the two chickens that W- cooked over the rotisserie. I called my parents to wish them a happy Father’s Day too, and A- obliged with plenty of smiles for her grandparents and a family friend. After we were settled back in at home, W- decided to rotisserie another two chickens, which served us well through the rest of the week.

Having that food in the fridge turned out to be super handy, since it freed us up to focus on other things. Jen and E- visited us for dinner, a super casual affair involving sitting on the floor, spooning the babies solids, and grabbing whatever bites we could in between. Jen brought salad greens and mint from her garden, yum! Reading the Facebook-based parental support group for people with A-‘s condition paid off in an amazingly coincidental connection: another Jen’s daughter A* has left-eye microphthalmia and is only a few days older than A-. We’ve been exchanging notes, since we’re basically seeing the same specialists. It’s so nice to know someone who’s going on a similar adventure. I’m looking forward to meeting them in person. I met up with a friend and his son from my grad school days, too. It was fun chatting with him about parenting and life.

A- had a very big day on Friday. We took her to Sick Kids for general anaesthesia so that the ocularist could take an impression of her eye. Sjhe was okay with the 4-hour pre-operative fast, only getting a little fussy near the end. It was much harder to console her in the post-operation recovery room, though. She was too upset to nurse. Skin-to-skin contact didn’t help, and there wasn’t much room to rock or walk since she had to be tethered to the monitors. Tylenol was taking a while to kick in. Man oh man, the time dilation effect of a crying baby is definitely something. W- swaddled her, and that calmed her enough to nap a little. When she woke up, she still wasn’t keen on nursing, but she was open to being fed some breastmilk via eyedropper. (Good thing I packed that!) Then she napped some more, and then we were given the all-clear to go.

It’s a good thing W- was there. It was great to be able to swap off: one person in the thick of things, another person thinking of the next trick to try. Having backup also made things a lot more comfortable, as the pre-op and post-op rooms were both no-food-no-drink areas. One of us could step outside for a drink or a snack or a bathroom break without worrying about missing anything.

Anyway, now that the ocularist has that impression, he can make a custom-fit ocular prosthesis for her. We also got an update from the cardiologist: A-‘s ventricular septal defect is a little smaller (2.5mm, compared to 2.7mm on May 11), but there’s a muscle bundle forming in her right ventricle, so Sick Kids cardiology may have to keep an eye on that for possible surgery. Ah well, that’s life.

We’ve been feeding A- more solids, focusing on calorie-dense food such as sweet potato and avocado. She’s still gaining weight slowly, so the next step is probably to cook her food in butter or olive oil in order to add more calories. I’ve been sewing lots of bandana bibs, and they’ve definitely been put to good use.

As for ourselves, W- and I have been exploring the world of bun, a savory way to remix sausages and lumpia into a fresh and yummy Vietnamese salad that takes advantage of the basil that’s thriving in the planter boxes we have on the deck. We liked this nuoc cham recipe more than the first one we tried. Looking forward to doing this again soon. It would be nice to make it part of our regular rotation.

More ukulele practice playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which I can mostly play now. (With chords, even!) Time to learn another nursery song. Might be fun to practise every day. Babies love repetition, and so do learners.

Consulting: Figured out i18n, so it’s all systems go for the add-on I’m making for my client. I also did a little web scraping. Hooray for automation skills! =)

Next week: more medical stuff (pediatrician, abdominal ultrasound, Healthy Babies Healthy Children). Onward!

2016-06-26b Week ending 2016-06-24 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.1h – 2%)
    • Earn (3.7h – 90% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.3h – 7% of Business)
      • ☑ Doublecheck business preauthorized debit
    • Connect (0.1h – 2% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.7h – 4%)
    • ☑ Research RV muscle bundles
    • ☑ Buy tripod mount for GoPro
    • ☑ General anaesthesia
    • ☑ Research high chairs
    • ☐ Book appointments with ocularist
    • ☐ Book 6-month follow-up with eye clinic
  • Discretionary – Productive (10.8h – 6%)
    • Drawing (3.5h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (2.5h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (17.3h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (67.3h – 40%)
    • Childcare (61.0h – 36% of total)
  • Sleep (57.2h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 1, 2016

More medical things on the go. A quick phone consultation with the ocularist helped us get a better sense of what to expect in terms of process and budgeting. If all goes well, A- will get her first painted shell in a couple of weeks, and we’ll learn how to maintain it. Also, A- got her 4-month vaccines. She came down with a fever and was a bit grumbly the following day, but recovered by evening or so.

We took A- for an abdominal ultrasound. It turns out that her liver has something with a blood supply, so now we’re waiting for the results of follow-up tests, and we may have to take her for more diagnostic exams next week. Fortunately, W-‘s on parental leave, and Canada has a public health care system. Whew whew whew. Anyway, just plugging along.

While waiting for results from a few of the blood tests, we amused ourselves by examining the privacy curtains in our area. They turned out to be brilliantly designed: a matrix of alliteratively-employed animals, like the waiter walrus and the engineer elephant. Our favourite was the ventriloquist viper, whom we had initially misidentified as a storytelling snake before catching on to the coverage of the entire alphabet. Much fun.

In terms of cooking, necessity was the mother of yummy dishes. I grilled pizza when it was too hot to bake it, and W- made shortbread when we found ourselves all out of eggs.

Lots of reading, mostly on my phone. Hooray for e-books! I enjoyed reading the summaries of parenting-related research in Zero to Five, Science of Mom, and Thirty Million Words, and I’m looking forward to trying out those tips.

W-‘s been working on the garden, and copycat that I am, I’ve been spending more time out there with him weeding and planning. It’s a good excuse to bring A- outdoors, too: research supports sunlight exposure as a way of avoiding or slowing down the development of myopia.

Speaking of development, the Healthy Babies Healthy Children visit this month was fascinating. The nurse conducted the NCAST teaching scale assessment, filling in a 73-item checklist as she observed me helping A- explore a rattle. The nurse recommended periodically focusing on teaching specific skills through play – a little like the Teach Your Baby book by Genevieve Painter that I bought based on my mom’s exporience. The nurse also recommended more frequently giving specific praise by naming what A- was doing well. It was pretty cool to have that kind of checklist-based observation, and I’m looking forward to playing and teaching even better. =)

Also, W- has gotten curious about Org Mode. Whee!

2016-07-03a Week ending 2016-07-01 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.4h – 77% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.7h – 22% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
    • ☑ Book appointments with ocularist
    • ☑ Book 6-month follow-up
    • ☑ Research high chairs
  • Discretionary – Productive (10.0h – 5%)
    • Drawing (3.4h)
    • Emacs (1.4h)
    • Coding (0.5h)
      • ☑ Fix flickr-upload.js
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.6h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (25.1h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (70.5h – 41%)
    • Childcare (59.2h – 35% of total)
  • Sleep (56.6h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 8, 2016

A quiet week compared to the previous one. A-‘s alpha fetoprotein test came back normal, although the pediatrician would like an MRI just in case.

A- seems to be shifting her sleeping patterns a little. She’s a bit more awake during the day, with 2-3 naps – mostly 30 minutes, but occasionally longer. She’s been having fun blowing lip raspberries, and has also tried rapidly squeezing with her hands a few times.

It wasn’t all fun and games, though. She had her first struggle with constipation, the poor dear. All we could do was hold her (and take bananas off the menu). It was a good opportunity to reflect on pain and comfort and what to do when you can’t do much. I can’t solve all her problems. That’s outside my control. I can, however, choose my response to what life brings, and I can help regulate her state as well. I’m sure there will be many situations like that in the future, so it’ll be useful for me to think about things when we’re not in the thick of it.

Lots of paperwork this week. I renewed my health card, and I filed the paperwork for reacquiring Philippine citizenship, including A- in my application. In retrospect, I could probably have asked for additional copies of A-‘s adorably serious-looking ID pictures, but ah well. =) The important thing is that it’s done. I could probably have postponed it until I needed it, I guess, but it’s better to have it sorted out ahead of time. Ditto for passport renewals. My mom thinks that may come in handy for identification in the Philippines, so I’ll keep that current. No big deal, just two afternoons and some money every five years or so.

Speaking of the Philippines – I helped W- move the BBQ back after he sanded and stained the deck, and we had fun trying out the recipe from the Reddit post on Filipino BBQ-sytle chicken. Vietnamese bun is becoming more familiar, too. Yum!

I’ve also signed up for the peer nutrition program in Tagalog. That promises to be interesting. Take advantage of all the city services! It is totally awesome that the City of Toronto has services for different cultures. I hope it’s a way for me to pick up more everyday vocabulary. We’re trying to expose A- to Cantonese and Tagalog, and there are big gaping holes in my vocabulary that I don’t want to plug with English words unless I have to.

I’m starting to get the hang of building add-ons for my consulting client. It would be great to get a good pipeline of those going: lots of little projects that will eventually make it into production. Then I can add more complex projects on top of that, once we’ve got a good foundation of value.

Top priority is A-, though. Next week is pretty open, and then she’s getting her first prosthesis the week after that. W- started his parental leave at the perfect time. I’m so glad we can work on figuring out all this stuff together.

2016-07-10a Week ending 2016-07-08 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (7.5h – 4%)
    • Earn (5.8h – 77% of Business)
    • Build (1.7h – 22% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.3h – 0%)
    • ☑ Call Healthiest Babies Possible
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.9h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.4h)
    • Emacs (0.0h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.8h)
    • ☑ Cancel Evernote, move off it
    • ☑ Check MBNA credit card
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (66.9h – 39%)
    • Childcare (54.5h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (68.5h – 40% – average of 9.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 15, 2016

This was a good week for walks. Most days we made it out for two, even three walks, and we’ve started going to High Park too. It’s a multipurpose activity. Either A- gets exposed to sunlight to help her eyes develop or she ends up taking a nap, and we get exercise (and sometimes groceries or books).

We listed the walk and a few dozen other activity ideas on a sheet of paper that we’ve stuck to the fridge door. This should help us cycle through different ways to engage A- instead of spacing out or settling into a rut. It’s important for us to learn how to support A-‘s learning and provide a stimulating environment. We got the sedation instructions for A-‘s upcoming cardiology exam. In preparation for informed consent for that and the MRI that the pediatrician has also requested, I looked up the research on the risks of multiple exposure to anaesthesia for young children. There are mixed findings, but the statistics tend to be on the grimmer side when it comes to potential learning disabilities and developmental delays. Ah well. Top priority is health, so let’s get that sorted out first. We’ll deal.

I’ve been thinking about tech areas to explore now that I’m getting more used to the little projects I do for my consulting clients. On the data side, I’m curious about data analysis and visualization. I’m also interested in natural language processing, both in terms of conversational user interfaces as well as text analysis. It’s a little harder to learn things in fits and starts. Even with W- focusing on A-, I did only three hours of work last Thursday. Still, that was enough time to get a couple more add-ons on the go, so that’s something.

Anyway, back to tech learning. I spent a little time defining a few intents and entities with http://api.ai, and I tested it with text and with WAVs. Speech recognition is likely to be the weak link in the chain for me, but maybe I can start playing around with a more individually-tailored agent. It would be handy to have more customized cognitive support systems for reminders, routine checklists, scaffolding, and mental stack management… The hybrid button-/text-based trackers I’ve been building for my mobile device have been quite useful. I tweaked them to save more data to my database so that I don’t have to pull in as much from the external site that I’m wrapping this custom interface around, although I ended up introducing a few regressions in the process because my unit tests didn’t cover the functions that actually update the third-party site. Hmm, maybe I should just mock those out and test. Also, at some point, it might be nice to make the trackers better at handling fuzzier input, which is where those conversational user interfaces might come in.

So yeah, a little bit of coding. Drawing is higher on my discretionary time priority list, actually. I’ve been staying up late to draw more detailed diary entries. I did my monthly review, too. It’s fascinating how dense the weeks and months are when I look back.

Next week is packed with health and medical stuff. The peer nutrition workshop on Monday might be a good way to meet other Filipinos and pick up some dietitian-recommended tips for helping A- gain weight. Starting Tuesday, A- will be fitted for her first ocular prosthesis, a scleral shell that will go over her small left eye in order to help her skull grow symmetrically. Thanks to a last-minute cancellation, we’ve managed to snag an MRI slot on Thursday. Taking it easy otherwise. So glad W- is here!

2016-07-19a Week ending 2016-07-15 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (3.0h – 97% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 1% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
    • ☑ Make a list of baby activities
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.8h – 4%)
    • Drawing (3.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
      • ☑ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (1.7h)
      • ☑ Log unknown commands for later processing
      • ☑ Fix sleep tracking for baby
      • ☑ Fix sketches link
      • ☑ Fix save and load
      • ☑ Try api.ai
      • ☑ Try submitting WAV to api.ai
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
    • ☑ Renew library card
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (31.5h – 18%)
  • Unpaid work (60.2h – 35%)
    • Childcare (52.6h – 31% of total)
  • Sleep (60.7h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 22, 2016

This was a big week. A- got her first ocular prosthesis, a scleral shell that fits in front of her small eye and supports the growth of her skull. She hardly even fussed, and has been very much her usual happy self. Her left eye is still smaller than the right one, which is normal. It’s a gradual process. I’m sure there’ll be bumps along the road. People in the Facebook support group have shared a few stories about dealing with infection or lost prostheses. But that’s just part of life, so – onward!

We took A- for an MRI in order to follow up on the results from her abdominal ultrasound and blood tests. The waiting room had a toy scanner, which was probably really useful for helping older kids become less afraid of the procedure. It turned out that it’s a small version of a CAT scanner, and it’s made by Philips. They call it a kitten scanner. It even comes with RFID toys that bring up relevant animations. Neat. =)

Tita Gay and Tita Myra drove up from the US to meet A-. We had fun chatting over lumpia and Vietnamese bun. It was so nice to hear about how Tita Gay had been helping my parents through some difficult times, and how Tita Myra was coping with her own health challenges. We ended up with too many desserts, but that’s okay. It just meant that we got to enjoy custard pastry (galaktoboureko, I think), egg tarts, strawberry shortcake, and banana fritters throughout the rest of the week.

I didn’t do any consulting, but that’s okay. It’s a little mindboggling to think that this was my first week without a couple of hours of consulting since April, when A- was just two months old. Next week promises to be a little lighter medical-wise (aside from the echocardiogram under sedation on Monday), so I might be able to check back in. I’ve got a couple of add-ons on the go, and I’m halfway through prototyping another.

I’ve been spending most of my time focused on A-. Aside from the big health-related milestones this week, it feels like I’m spending a fair bit of time nursing her or helping her sleep. It’s all good, though; past Sacha decided this was the best use of my time, and the reasons still stand. When I don’t want to distract her by talking to her, I read on my phone. I’ve gotten through a few ebooks on the Montessori method, looking for ideas for early childhood education. I like the idea of helping her develop her senses and observation skills, and the practical life skills will be good too. The usual Montessori exercises are for kids who are a little older (maybe 2.5 years?), but there are opportunities to apply the principles even earlier. My brain still feels a little fuzzy from time to time, but I’m looking forward to getting better at helping her learn – and learning tons in the process, too.

I’ll eventually want to have more structured notes for observations and plans related to A-‘s learning. I think Teach Your Baby had some suggestions for keeping a notebook, although it might be interesting to see what I can sort out with computers, tagging, my digital index cards, Emacs, and whatever scripts I write. I’ll probably start with adding more detail to my index cards, and making some kind of table to remind us to cover a variety of activities. I’ll figure out how to cross-reference stuff later.

Observations from this week: In the backyard, she’s been able to pick up small pine cones in either hand, when we bring them close to her in our hands. She can pass a teething ring from one hand to the other. She can easily grasp and mouth cucumber sticks and carrot sticks, and she seems to prefer using fewer fingers instead of using a full-finger grasp. Lots of vocalization, especially in the evening. It’s not crying – it sounds more chatty, although if it changes in tone a little, that seems to be a reliable indicator that she’s getting a bit tired.

In other news, W- has been really hitting it out of the park in terms of cooking: pesto using the basil from our planter boxes (gotta keep trimming them!), tarragon chicken, pad thai, bun… He’s been posting videos of A- in our Facebook group for baby updates, too. So awesome.

Next week: cardio, then reacquiring Philippine citizenship, then taking A- for more vaccines and following up with the pediatrician regarding results. I’m not sure I can go to the Peer Nutrition workshop on Monday, but maybe I can make it up some other time.

2016-07-23b Week ending 2016-07-22 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.1h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.8h – 5%)
    • Drawing (5.0h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.3h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.9h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (23.6h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (69.7h – 41%)
    • Childcare (59.3h – 35% of total)
  • Sleep (57.3h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 29, 2016

Good news from A-‘s liver MRI: the weirdness was just capillaries, not liver cancer, whew. Her echocardiogram resulted in the same diagnosis the cardiologist gave us before, with no clear indications for or against surgery, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Still, it’s a relief to start closing some of those loops, downgrading things from ongoing concerns to less-frequent checks.

There’s still the matter of A-‘s slow weight gain, which has been upgraded to something the pediatrician is Very Concerned About. She’s catching up well in terms of length, but not in terms of weight. She seems fine – active, happy, adorably jowled and jelly-rolled – but it’s probably a good idea to err on the side of supplying her growing brain with extra nutrients. We’re seeing a dietitian next week in order to work out a feeding plan. It’s not covered by either the public health care system or W-‘s insurance, but that’s okay; it’s a good investment. It’s time to get that going, instead of waiting for publicly-funded resources which are probably focused on people who need it more. In the meantime, our pediatrician has recommended daily servings of meat and rice cereal, so we introduced those to A- this week.

I’ve started tracking feeding in more detail, too, because data and visualizations help me with those questions I never quite know how to answer concisely. “How’s her nursing?” “As often as she wants, which is maybe… every two to three hours. Sometimes for five minutes, but often for thirty or forty minutes, or even longer.” Might be better to show how our days are consistent in their inconsistency, bar-code-like graphs on a timeline. Also, since Sick Kids’ wifi firewalls nonstandard ports, I finally got around to set up a reverse proxy for my tracker.

I didn’t make it to the Peer Nutrition program on Monday because of A-‘s cardiology appointment, but I was able to catch the same class in a different location on Wednesday. It was interesting to taste the difference between commercial baby food and homemade baby food, and it solidified our decision to cook A-‘s meals whenever we could. Also, there were extra vegetables from the follow-up program, so I went home with the unexpected bounty of kale, lettuce, a zucchini, and a cucumber. Yum yum!

I reacquired Philippine citizenship and included A-, so now we’re both dual citizens. We’ll most likely stay in Canada, especially with A-‘s health issues, but it might make some paperwork easier. Also, we visited W-‘s mom for dinner. A- was fussy because she was tired, so I snuggled up with her while they chatted.

My second set of peas is starting to grow, and the basil in the planters seems to have sprung back even though we harvested large chunks of it for pesto. It’s awesome.

2016-08-01a Week ending 2016-07-29 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.9h – 100% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (10.9h – 6%)
    • ☑ Add medical summary for A-
    • ☑ Fill in paperwork for reclaiming Philippine citizenship
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.5h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.1h)
      • ☑ Make reverse proxy for tracker
      • ☑ Make special feeding chart
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (14.0h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (69.1h – 41%)
    • Childcare (58.9h – 35% of total)
  • Sleep (64.9h – 38% – average of 9.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 5, 2016

Last week was all about talking to dietitians and improving A-‘s feeding. After the previous week’s stern lecture from the pediatrician about A-‘s slow weight gain, I got a referral to a public health dietitian associated with the Peer Nutrition workshop I attend, and booked an appointment with the private dietitian my pediatrician had been recommending for a while. The public dietitian reviewed the specifics of A-‘s situation and suggested that we try adding a couple of snacks to A-‘s feeding schedule, perhaps incorporating calorie-dense foods like cream cheese. The private dietitian measured her length and weight, noting her as 61cm (3cm shorter than last week’s measurement at the pediatrician, but measured in a different way) and 5.79kg (a gain of 220g in 7 days, wow!). Both dietitians reassured us that A- looks pretty good, and is maybe just a small baby. That’s a relief! That means that instead of focusing on just trying to get calories into her, we can focus on helping her build self-feeding and self-regulation skills, and we can expose her to a variety of tastes and textures.

The follow-up with the ocularist went well, too. He took out the scleral shell, examined it, cleaned it, and popped it back in. No fussing, whew!

I took A- for passport pictures. I forgot to put her in non-white clothes (she’s almost always in a white onesie), so we borrowed a red T-shirt from the photo studio. The picture was a little awkward since we didn’t get her arms through the sleeves, but oh well. The important thing is that it’s done, and the photo studio said the passport office will take it.

I messed up by not checking my e-mail for the schedule for the appointment with the dietitian. It got classified as Updates instead of Important in Gmail, so I didn’t get a specific notification for it, and I went a day without checking those folders. I should remember to star similar conversations, or maybe even whitelist/filter. Anyway, no biggie. The slot we had was just 1.5 hours after I thought the schedule was, so we went to the library and the drug store.

We passed on some baby clothes to Mrs. Wong for the granddaughter they’re expecting soon. Here’s hoping we’ll have a neighbourhood playmate! Mrs. Wong gave us lots of chives and a few plants from her garden (akajiso, and a plant we can’t identify). W- turned the chives into yummy pork-and-chives dumplings. Jen and E- came over for a visit, too, and I met up with Rachael and G- at a park to say goodbye before their move to Missouri.

J- had friends over, too. W- supervised them as they helped with her closet renovation, and I got them started with making pesto from the basil in our planter box. W- and I were pleasantly surprised that stuff actually got done. =)

A- observations: She likes playing with water, whether they’re jets from the hose as we tend the garden or streams from the holes in her stacking-cup toys. She’s better at manipulating things to get them into her mouth: fancy teething rings W- bought her, spoons of baby food, rice rusks with cream cheese… She’s also pretty comfortable rolling onto her tummy, and often likes to spend time that way. We’re slowly developing a feeding routine of 2-3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks. She’s an avid eater, and this is a great time to sample all sorts of fruits and vegetables in season.

My left wrist started feeling a little weird, so I’m paying more attention to that. I’m not sure about booking a massage (hard to relax if A- is fussy) but maybe stretching and resting will help with that. I’ll book a doctor’s appointment or a massage if it gets worse or if it doesn’t go away in a few days. In the meantime, it would be good for me to slowly explore what’s going on there so that I can describe it to people. Hmm…

Anyway, life is starting to get simpler, at least in terms of A-‘s health. Hooray!

2016-08-08a Week ending 2016-08-05 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.7h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.6h – 91% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.1h – 8% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.3h – 1%)
    • ☑ Take A- for passport pictures
    • ☐ Call cardiology to check follow up date, appointment info
    • ☐ Apply for passport
    • ☐ Call to see whether bassinet has been approved
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.7h – 4%)
    • Drawing (3.6h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (1.1h)
      • ☑ Make special feeding chart
      • ☑ Improve feeding display for days
    • Sewing (0.2h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (23.1h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (80.8h – 48%)
    • Childcare (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (51.4h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 12, 2016

Somehow the following week ended up being too busy for writing, which is why I’m writing this entry almost a week late. Anyway, the week ending August 12 was one of checking things off and getting things done.

We bought a second-hand Tripp Trapp high chair in the hope that the flexibility will make it good long-term value. A- has been getting lots of practice in self-feeding. It’s still a super-messy process, but she seems to be getting better at manoeuvring the business end of the spoon into her mouth. We have a wipe-down ritual now, involving a small mixing bowl with warm water and a washcloth: wipe her face, let her wash her hands (and maybe do a little scrubbing for her), wipe down the chair, wipe the table, wipe whatever the cats haven’t eaten off the floor…

The twinginess in my wrist turns out to be de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, a condition so common among new mothers that it’s also known as mother’s wrist. I wasn’t too keen on the physiotherapist I saw, as he seemed more interested in selling me thrice-weekly ultrasound treatments and a custom brace than in discussing behavioural changes and self-care techniques, even though I mentioned that the pain was only mild and occasional and that I was more interested in making sure this didn’t get to be a problem in the future. Can’t blame him for trying to rustle up business, though. Anyway, I bought an over-the-counter brace from the drugstore, I’m using the non-prescription cream that my doctor recommended, and I’m being careful about the way I lift A- or use my thumb. So far, so good.

W- walked around with A- while I had that 45-minute assessment with the physiotherapist. I think she got a little anxious and overtired, as she cried all throughout the (thankfully short) walk home. Good thing I didn’t go for a massage.

Oh, and I turned 33! We’ve settled into a comfortable routine of not making a big fuss of our birthdays, although I took some time to reflect on the past year and draw a summary. I haven’t gotten around to writing it up yet. Coincidentally, the Ontario Early Years Centre that A- and I have been going to had organized a free field trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario, so we took advantage of the opportunity to wander around there.

We set up A-‘s college/university savings, booked flights to the Philippines, and applied for A-‘s Canadian passport. I decided to pay extra and take the time to apply in person so that we can pick up the passport in person, too, since personal experience has taught me that it’s a big hassle if Canada Post loses a passport. Anyway, I can always think of it as a small donation to the Canadian government. Slowly getting our act together!

2016-08-17a Week ending 2016-08-12 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.3h – 72% of Business)
    • Build (0.5h – 26% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (11.1h – 6%)
    • ☑ Set up RESP
    • ☑ Book flight by calling the call center
    • ☑ Look for high chair
    • ☑ Apply for passport at the Victoria office
    • ☑ Call cardiology to check follow up date, appointment info
    • ☑ Contact Dr. Selvi’s office and see if we need to schedule a follow-up with her
    • ☑ Call in 72 hours to see whether bassinet has been approved
    • ☑ Ask about Living and Learning with Baby
    • ☑ Simulate A-‘s RESP choices
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.5h – 6%)
    • Drawing (8.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (1.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.9h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (17.3h – 10%)
    • ☑ Book doctor’s appointment
  • Unpaid work (68.5h – 40%)
    • Childcare (57.9h – 34% of total)
  • Sleep (56.8h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 19, 2016

I bought a second-hand Manduca carrier. It’s been a comfortable and secure way to carry A- on our many walks this week. I don’t worry about A- slipping out of it, as I sometimes did with the ring sling. I’m back to holding hands with W- on walks, whee! (It’s all about the little things in life…) The carrier came in handy when Jen and Ewan pinged me for a walk in the park, and when I visited them to help out with E-.

We’ve settled into routines for enjoyable mealtimes with A-. She sits in her high chair and eats at the table, and I can usually wrangle all the things needed so that she and I eat at roughly the same time. The self-feeder that W- got for her has been great for avocado, peaches, and plums, and we’ve been loading purees and mashes onto spoons for her too.

I’ve been staying up to 2 AM or 3 AM, since that usually gives me a few decent chunks of focused discretionary time. I used a few of those chunks to code an add-on for my consulting client, and now I’m waiting for feedback from them. That worked out well, although the downside of coding late at night is that my brain gets a little squirrelly and takes some time to settle for sleep. Drawing and writing work out a bit better, and stretching would probably work out well too.

There’s been a hiccup with the Assistive Devices Program funding for A-‘s ocular prosthesis. The program will cover 75% of the expense, but they require the signature of a family doctor or opthalmologist to certify that the prosthesis is medically necessary. I asked A-‘s primary care provider to sign the form, but it turns out pediatricians are no-go. Weird! Anyway, I’ll work on getting this straightened out next week. We’ve got home visits from CNIB and the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, too.

I was getting a bit stressed over travel insurance and pre-existing conditions, but I was probably just being too anxious and things will work out just fine. Ah well, them’s the breaks.

2016-08-21c Week ending 2016-08-19 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.7h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.5h – 96% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 2% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (12.2h – 7%)
    • ☑ Set up RESP
    • ☑ Simulate A-‘s RESP choices
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Figure out ADP form signing
    • ☐ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.9h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.7h)
      • ☑ Check free space on server, consider backup solution to there
      • ☑ Set up lastpass authenticator
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (25.4h – 15%)
  • Unpaid work (61.1h – 36%)
    • Childcare (53.4h – 31% of total)
  • Sleep (58.5h – 34% – average of 8.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 26, 2016

A- turned six months old, hooray! She weighed in at 6.026 kg, so she’s slowly catching up although she’s still quite small for her age. Maybe she’s just naturally small. =) We’ve been applying Ellyn Satter’s approach to feeding dynamics and a little of baby-led weaning. A- has been self-feeding with gusto. She loves raspberries, grapes, and Greek yogurt, and gets along well with rice, fish, chicken, pasta, and other things we eat.

We went on a couple of good walk this week: to the High Park zoo to see the llamas up close, to Best Buy to check out the Jot stylus (no palm rejection means I’m not yet comfy drawing on the Android tablet, so maybe I’ll use paper instead), and the usual trips to the supermarket and library.

The Healthy Babies Healthy Children nurse introduced us to the family home visitor who’ll be seeing us weekly. She’ll bring different activities for A- to explore, which is a great way for me to pick up ideas for the rest of the week. =)

We also had a home visit from a case worker at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She took our details and told us about a few things we can check out. There’ll be an assessment at some point, and maybe a family support worker can help us navigate other resources too. A- is probably pretty low priority for them because she appears to have good vision in her right eye. Still, I hope they can help us learn more about ways we can support her. I found some tips on helping children with monocular vision, and it’s been good to read about other experiences. Anyway, the CNIB person said that when A- becomes more mobile, we should watch out for veering, cutting corners, bumping into things, and so on.

It would be great to be able to ask questions about things I need to coordinate. I got slightly stressed sorting out the proper signatures for the assistive device program funding (needed Dr. Mireskandari, not our pediatrician), and also searching for a travel insurance provider that’s okay with A-‘s congenital conditions.

I’ve been falling behind in terms of journaling. Some nights I work on my consulting project, and some nights I catch up on sleep. I catch up with my daily journal every few days or so, although this weekly review is a week late. I wonder how I can tweak this…

My consulting clients are happy with the add-ons I made for them, and there are enough add-ons in the pipeline to keep them busy for a little while. Not bad for roughly two hours a week.

Also, I cut my hair to slightly below shoulder-length. Turns out to be a non-scary process. One less service I need to pay for!

W- and I have been discussing the possibility of travelling without our laptops. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from my laptop for that long. It’s an interesting challenge. I might be able to do most text-based things by typing up notes or SSHing to my server. I’ll need to fiddle with my journal workflow, and maybe catch up on scanned stuff when I get back. Emacs News will probably be on hiatus for a couple of weeks, or I might set up the code I need on my server. Hmm…

2016-08-27a Week ending 2016-08-26 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.9h – 99% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.1h – 1%)
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Decide on travel insurance
    • ☐ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
    • ☐ Get eye report from eye doctor
    • ☐ Check if hydro debit went through
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (23.9h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (71.7h – 42%)
    • Childcare (65.8h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (60.2h – 35% – average of 8.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 2, 2016

It’s been a week of seeing people. A- was somewhat fussy during dinner with W-‘s family. She might have been tired, overstimulated by the noisy Chinese restaurant, and a little intimidated by relatives wanting to pick her up. She preferred to stay with W- or me. Totally normal. Anyway, since this might be the usual stranger anxiety starting to develop (yay! W- is not a stranger!), I’ve been making an effort to take her to more activities at the Ontario Early Years Centre and the neighbourhood family resource centre. We finished the Peer Nutrition program, and we’ll check out the drop-ins that follow up on that program.

A- has been working on expanding her vocabulary. Recent addition: “Ba”. She’s also getting pretty good at sitting on her own, although I still stay close enough to catch her during those random topples.

The pediatrician is no longer that concerned about A-‘s weight gain, since she’s been growing faster. Enough to inch back over the 5th percentile curve, yay! In addition to nursing, she also self-feeds a wide variety of solids. She’s particularly fond of egg (breakfast), yogurt (evening snack), and raspberries (any time, especially with yogurt).

I finally got around to printing a photo of A- so that the family home visitor can include it in the laminated foot print memento.

A- has a passport now, whee! Got travel insurance that will probably cover things related to her heart, too. Next trip-related steps: sort out pet vaccines and boarding.

In preparation for possibly leaving my laptop behind on our trip, I’ve been experimenting with drawing my daily journal and thoughts on index cards instead of on my laptop. Drawing is relatively unfussy except for dealing with wet spots, and I feel more comfortable drawing on paper around A- than having my laptop out. Deskewing and tweaking the image is a bit fussy, although I can do some of that on my phone. I might need to use different-coloured pens instead of adding colour in post-processing. Still need to tweak my workflow. It would be neat to figure out something that I can pull off with mobile devices and SSH, but it’s also okay if I decide to stick with my digital index card workflow instead. Good to experiment, though.

Also moved my library video tracking script online, so I can check the availability of new releases from my phone while we’re out on a walk.

I’d like to see if I can help my consulting client with something new. Might need to shuffle around my discretionary time activities in order to make space for it, or adjust expectations if this is what we have to work with.

A- has been settling into a pretty regular routine. She wakes up around 9ish. Aside from nursing, we usually have breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, and an evening snack. We go out for a walk almost every day, and there’s usually some kind of activity too. She settles in bed at around 10pm, although she tends to nurse on and off until about 4 AM before settling into a longer sleep. She usually has 2-3 naps during the day, although sometimes it’s just low-power nursing mode.

I’ve been prioritizing daytime activities that are stimulating for A-, so we’ve been going to neighbourhood resource centres. I feel less comfortable working on my laptop while she’s awake, since it’s important to interact with her and help her learn. I’m somewhat more okay with setting her down on the floor while I tidy or do other chores, since I can narrate those without verbal interference and it contributes to the household. If W-‘s around, I’d rather spend time with both of them than go off to do my own thing. Drawing on paper might let me move daily journals to our after-dinner or before-bed play/reading session, because I can review the day out loud with A-. So my main computer time for writing, coding, or consulting tends to be between 1 AM to 3 AM. If I nap when she nurses/nap, that helps a little with energy and focus. I’ve been averaging 2 hours a week of consulting, which was enough to fill up the pipeline of stuff they wanted from me. The new thing I want to help with might be a bigger chunk of focus and energy, though, since it’s something I’m less familiar with. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.

Next week: cardiology, carpet-stretching, and lots of Toronto Public Health stuff: Make the Connection, the family home visitor, and a follow-up with the dietitian.

2016-09-07a Week ending 2016-09-02 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.3h – 0%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.2h – 94% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 5% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.3h – 3%)
    • ☑ Decide on travel insurance
    • ☑ Get eye report from eye doctor
    • ☑ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
    • ☑ Check if hydro debit went through
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Print family photos
    • ☐ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.7h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Coding (0.4h)
      • ☑ Add movie script to web
      • ☑ Fix website
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.5h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (17.5h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (75.5h – 44%)
    • Childcare (69.1h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 9, 2016

A-‘s steadily catching up in terms of weight, hooray! We aren’t doing anything special, just letting her feed herself. We’ve added kamut puffs and Toodle-Os to her snacking options, and we’ve been introducing her to more of our regular meals. She’s catching up with the 10th percentile curve, yay. We took her for another checkup at the cardiologist, who says she should be okay for travel. Yay!

We started with the Make the Connection program offered by Toronto Public Health. It looks promising: TTC tokens, a little bit of a program like the Ontario Early Years Centre drop-ins, and some discussion on parenting and building secure attachments. I really appreciate how Canada has programs like these.

A- is getting much better at sitting independently, inching her way forward when crawling, and exploring toys. I even managed to squeeze in some time to help W- make lots of pork and chive dumplings.

We moved all the upstairs furniture around so that someone could come in and stretch the carpet. That took care of the ripples and of the edge leading up to J-‘s new closet. One of the seams has opened up, though, so the person who did the carpet may have to come in and do that bit again.

It took a bit of bleary-eyed typing and clicking, but I got my business books reconciled up to the current month. That should make it easier to file corporate taxes. Whee!

I finally got around to taking advantage of the free Linode memory upgrade. Still have to think of better ways to use my server, though. It might be better to downgrade plans, considering I haven’t implemented that many additional uses since the last time I thought about this question (2014, I think, when Linode went SSD and double RAM?). On the other hand, it would be interesting to expand my capabilities, and maybe also get a proper Emacs setup on it and other useful things. Hmm, let’s start with owncloud, maybe…

2016-09-13c-week-ending-2016-09-09-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.0h – 1%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.0h – 33% of Business)
    • Build (1.9h – 63% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.4h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.9h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.7h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (1.2h)
      • ☑ Fix website
      • ☑ Fix weight display labels
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.4h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.1h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (75.9h – 45%)
    • Childcare (70.3h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (52.4h – 31% – average of 7.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 16, 2016

Our family home visitor has been helping us with activities leading towards A-‘s 9-month developmental milestones. This week, we focused on looking for hidden objects. We showed A- a toy, then covered it with a piece of cloth. After a few tries of showing and hiding the cloth, she got the hang of pulling the cloth off to reveal the object. I think she’s even starting to pull covers towards objects so that we can play this game of hiding and showing. :) We also watched a video on infant massage – plenty of things for us to try. Next: imitating facial expressions.

I’m learning that a great way to make the most of my time is to stay with A- when she naps, since that helps her sleep longer. Depending on whether she’s nursing or not, I might nap as well, do things on my phone, draw index cards, or work on my computer. I’ve blitzed through quite a few e-books on my phone, and I’ve figured out passable ways to review my sketches, capture quick thoughts, and even do a little system administration. I still haven’t sorted out my writing or video editing workflows, but that will come in time.

Slowly getting back to normal life. A- patiently entertained herself as I helped W- make a ton of dumplings. By golly! An actual, sit-down, get-your-fingers-dirty, triple batch of pork and chives dumpling making session. On Friday, W- splurged on a nice 2″ New York strip to celebrate progress on J-‘s closet renovation. A- enjoyed some of it too, using the beginnings of a pincer grasp to take the pieces I dangled in front of her.

Social stuff: I made it to the potluck picnic hosted by our midwives, yay! It was fun catching up with a couple of other folks from the prenatal classes we attended. The lemon curd squares I brought were a little overcooked (life with a baby), but still okay – W- helped me fix it. More practice needed. I also made it to the follow-ups for the peer nutrition workshop. Due to the unexpected closure of the venue, I hung out in the park with a couple of other new moms. On the way home, I discovered that chugging almost a litre of milk (didn’t want to waste it and no one else seemed to have any cups for sharing) was not a good idea. W- to the rescue again!

Slowly improving my process for drawing index cards. A head lamp helps me avoid eye fatigue when I’m drawing in the dark next to a sleeping A-. Taking the pictures on my phone before passing them through ClearScanner seems to reduce the number of crashes. Still not as pretty as the index cards I draw on my computer, but the important thing is they get drawn. It’s a good thing I’m sorting out this workflow now, actually. A-‘s becoming more mobile, so it’s time to start babyproofing her room. Can’t leave the power adapter and the laptop by the bed any more. =)

Also, I checked out the Toronto Public Library’s book sale for child development books for me and board books for A-. No such luck, but oh well. Now going through the early childhood education books available at the library. Whee!

Blog posts

Sketches

2016-09-17g-week-ending-2016-09-16-weekly-journal output

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.5h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.5h)
  • Relationships (4.1h – 2%)
    • ☑ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.5h – 6%)
    • Drawing (8.9h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (0.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.9h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (72.6h – 43%)
    • Childcare (57.1h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (55.6h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 23, 2016

We started the weekend with lots of cooking. A- played by herself while W- and I prepped, cooked, and washed up. It was almost like having both of us at normal productivity, wow! I’d like to get back into the swing of cooking for the week ahead. It makes weekdays a lot easier, and I feel good about getting all of that prep work done.

The CNIB caseworker conducted a detailed assessment of A-‘s vision, using blinking toys and other tools to check her field of vision and her ability to notice, track, and reach for things. The vision in A-‘s right eye appears to be perfectly fine, and she’s learned to compensate for her limited field of vision by turning her head. The case worker will send us her discharge notes since she probably doesn’t need CNIB’s help at the moment. We can ask for her to be reassessed if it looks like she needs help with things like crawling, walking, or navigating. The school board will conduct its own assessment when she’s ready for school. In the meantime, the case worker suggested keeping an eye out for signs like A- cutting corners or bumping into things. If we need to help A- tell the difference between door frames, floors, and walls, we can use reflective tape to highlight the edges and increase contrast.

One of the things the CNIB caseworker checked was if A- could roll over both ways. A- hadn’t quite gotten the hang of rolling to her left before, but the glowing toy was irresistible, so she figured it out and looked very pleased with herself. Now she rolls and rolls on the bed, which is on the floor and against the wall for precisely this situation. Roll, roll, roll. She spent some time figuring out why the wall stopped her from rolling further, and testing if it would keep doing that even if she rolled away. I think she’s starting to make her peace with it.

This week’s Make the Connection program session focused on how to help babies feel safe and loved, even when they’re fussy or afraid. Mirroring and validating their emotions, soothing or distracting them, and taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of them… So far, so good.

I traded the glass bottles that A- hardly used for two bags of baby clothes. We’ll see if those work out! This bartering thing looks promising, especially for things that people value differently.

After crunching the numbers, I submitted this year’s health expenses to my private health spending plan provider. They’ve added an online submission process. Yay not having to print and mail receipts! This year has been pretty good, although I’d still like to make it out to the dentist if I get a chance. It would be really neat if I can squeeze in a massage or two as well. A- might be okay with it, if W- is around. I should just go and book things. Maybe after J-‘s closet is finished…

Lots of consulting as I pick up the ball I dropped. Squeezing it into the early morning hours, and sometimes during the day with W-‘s help.

W- has made great progress on assembling J-‘s new wardrobe from Ikea. He’s also been working on custom shelves to fill in the rest of that wall. Everything looks neat. Whee!

2016-09-23b-week-ending-2016-09-23-weekly-journal output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.5h – 3%)
    • Earn (4.7h – 73% of Business)
    • Build (0.7h – 11% of Business)
      • ☑ Round up the receipts for PHSP
    • Connect (1.0h – 15% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.7h – 3%)
    • ☑ Check out follow-up session
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.1h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.9h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Fix my config
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.3h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (66.6h – 39%)
    • Childcare (56.8h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (63.9h – 38% – average of 9.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 30, 2016

The week was off to a rough start. A- was hard to settle to sleep on Saturday. W- spent some time bouncing her up and down in case she was antsy from being confined in the carrier most of the day, and that entertained her for a bit before she went to bed. But A- kept waking up crying throughout the night, which made her congested. I snuggled her and rocked her each time, sometimes sleeping on an incline to help with her breathing. We both got very little sleep. I tried looking up tips on the Internet, but I was too sleepy to read the information or feel confident about giving her painkillers. Once W- woke up, he gave her some infant Motrin. Then she finally settled down for a 3-hour nap, which meant I could sleep too. Sunday was mostly a low-power day. Fortunately, there was plenty of food in the fridge and freezer. Our sleep/eat routines were all thrown off, though. Oh well!

I picked up a cold somewhere along the way too. That combined with the chilly rain meant this was a mostly indoors low-energy sort of week. Such is life. Fortunately, there are lots of easy-to-make comfort-food meals involving chicken, which happened to be on sale this week. I managed to make quite a few fresh dinners: chicken noodle soup, arroz caldo, and so on.

I hit a roadblock on my consulting project, but I think I can figure out a way around it. Might be something about the way the server is set up… It’s hard to debug or explore when there’s not a lot of documentation, but I can think of a few things to try.

A- shared a bagel with W- by putting it in his mouth – yay, sharing! Lots of peekaboo on my end – she’s getting quite good at tugging the cloth away. And I think she’s started giving slobbery open-mouthed baby kisses, or at least that’s what I’m going to call this “grab your face and mash it into my tongue” thing.

I’ve been thinking about the kinds of toys I’d like to expose A- that I can’t find in the neighborhood resource centres or that I’d like to have at home so that she can develop long-term familiarity. I checked out the Children’s Pillage in the Village sale for musical instruments (especially non-electronic ones), a few simple wooden toys, and a couple of cloth books that she can flip through or mouth as much as she’d like. I also bought a laundry basket of crafting supplies and a bin of wooden puzzles from someone who was closing her home daycare.

The carpet in A-‘s room has been fixed. W- is almost done with J-‘s closet reno, which means we’ll be able to move some of J-‘s stuff out of A-‘s room soon. I organized A-‘s cold-weather clothes, and she’s got plenty of things to wear. Everything’s shaping up nicely.

2016-09-30b-week-ending-2016-09-30-weekly-review-journal

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.3h – 1%)
    • Earn (3.2h – 98% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☐ [#A] Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.0h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.4h – 2%)
    • ☑ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.4h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (15.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (77.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (71.0h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (62.4h – 37% – average of 8.9 per day)

Oookay, 71 hours of childcare, although that’s probably overstating it a little. Hmm. Actually, the numbers say it’s a little less of almost everything else (except for family time, which actually increased), and a lot more childcare. Comparison:

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.4 0.0 -0.4 0.0 -0.7
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Unpaid work 39.6 46.0 6.3 77.2 10.6
Unpaid work – Childcare 33.8 42.3 8.5 71.0 14.3
Discretionary – Social 3.4 1.8 -1.6 3.0 -2.7
Discretionary – Family 0.6 0.8 0.2 1.4 0.4
Sleep 38.0 37.2 -0.8 62.4 -1.4
Business – Connect 0.6 0.0 -0.6 0.0 -1.0
Business – Earn 2.8 1.9 -0.9 3.2 -1.5
Discretionary – Productive 3.6 3.2 -0.4 5.4 -0.7
Personal 10.9 9.1 -1.8 15.3 -3.0
  • We had colds, so we stayed home instead of going to OEYC or other activities. Less walking time and social time. Lots of nursing and night-time soothing, too.
  • W-‘s been focusing on the wardrobe and bookshelves, so his A- time is mostly when he takes breaks or wraps up for the night. Not as much consulting time as last week.
  • Hmm, might be personal routines/childcare blending. I’ve been tracking many of our meals as childcare (since I’m feeding her too) instead of personal care. Might start tracking some of that personal care time again, since I can usually focus on my meal (and even catch up with W-) for a good fifteen minutes or so.

I still feel okay about my time for drawing and consulting, even if I end up pushing them into the wee hours of the morning. I’ve gotten better at writing on my phone, although I still need computer time for reviews. I managed to squeeze in some reading this week, too. So it doesn’t feel particularly crunch-time-ish, but I should keep an eye on that balance to make sure things stay okay. It’s all good.

Weekly review: Week ending October 7, 2016

It was a good week for getting things organized. I bought an organizer from IKEA, and I picked up lots of baby clothes hangers set out on the curb. Now A-‘s clothes are laid out KonMari-ishly in various compartments: whites, short sleeves, long sleeves, pants (divided into solids and prints), sweaters, dresses, and sleepers. The frequent-access stuff is in the organizer, and the less-frequent stuff is on hangers. The arrangement has survived a few days so far, which is a good sign. Might move the sweaters to drawers, though.

A- has a lot of hand-me-down clothes. I might not get through all of them before they’re outgrown. No worries! That just means I’ll be able to pass them along. We have neighbours down the street with a baby girl half a year younger than A-, and we gave them a large batch of clothes when we visited them this week.

I also sorted the craft materials and puzzles that I bought from the woman who closed her home daycare. I donated paint, markers, sand, ribbons, and felt Christmas trees to the family resource centre. I now have lots of stickers (both flat and foam), colored paper, ribbon pieces, foam beads, glass pebbles, paper bags, felt, and other handy materials for future rainy day fun and room decor. (Choking hazards will stay in the closet for a few years.) I may have to buy my own pipe cleaners and googly eyes, though. :)

W- finished J-‘s closet. Hooray! We moved her bed and desk back into her room, which means lots of floor space in A-‘s room. Time to start thinking of and setting up activity centres…

We remembered to spend some time outside while there’s still grass to be felt and herbs to be tasted. Despite a lack of planning and maintenance, we have a decent garden for exploration. A- nibbled on basil, tomatoes, strawberries, chives, sorrel, perilla, bok choy, peas, oregano, and mint. Next year, we’d like to reorganize the garden so that there’s open space in the middle, and maybe 2’ wide raised beds with toddler-friendly plants. In addition to the current assortment, maybe we can try radishes again – quick to grow and harvest.

A-‘s scleral shell popped out again. She fussed a lot when W- was trying to put it back in. It was hard to restrain her. Eventually W- got it in, and we soothed her. I reflected a bit on the differences between our parenting styles, and I think I’m getting better at appreciating the differences instead of worrying about being on the same page. I’m certainly glad W- is there to help with the tough parts.

I tried setting up a video chat with my mom so that she can play peek-a-boo with A- or explore other forms of interaction, but it didn’t work out. A- was boggled by the screen, and my mom’s Parkinson’s disease meant the image of her was shaking too much to focus on. I had to hold the tablet and fuss around with framing on my end, so I couldn’t do anything else. I’m not sure if we can work out something much better, considering the timezone differences and our schedules/preferences/values, so maybe we’ll just have to adapt to the way things are. Something to tinker with.

I attended the nutrition workshop’s first proper follow-up session. The talk was about organic versus conventional, and Toronto Public Health’s stance is that it’s really a personal choice – no strong health reasons for one or the other in Canada. We did a blind taste test between organic and conventional apples, grape tomatoes, and milk. I couldn’t identify any differences worth paying for, taste-wise. We may still get things like raspberries and brakes from the specialty food store despite the premium, because we like the quality and taste. (We’ve done those comparisons quite a few times!)

Much progress on my consulting project. I got the go-ahead to develop in the external sandbox, since I’d been running into technical issues internally. Once I set things up on my laptop with a forwarded port through my server, I was able to develop things quickly. Still having problems internally, but that’s probably a different kettle of fish.

Finally got to watch Captain America: Civil War, courtesy of the library and my script for checking our favourite branches to see if they have certain videos available. Yay!

2016-10-09a-week-ending-2016-10-08-weekly-journal-review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (5.9h – 3%)
    • Earn (5.7h – 95% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.1h – 1% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.2h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (10.2h – 6%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.2h – 3%)
    • Drawing (4.5h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
      • ☑ Investigate Org Mode + Google Tasks
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.7h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (74.3h – 44%)
    • Childcare (55.2h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (51.6h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending October 14, 2016

While playing with the stack of flannel wipes, A- accidentally discovered how to play peek-a-boo by holding up a piece of cloth. It turns out that baby arms are adorably stubby and just right for holding up cloth to baby faces. Huh. How about that? Naturally, we encouraged this cuteness with lots of enthusiasm. A- has also taken to offering us some of her food by holding it up in the general direction of our mouths, and looking at us. At least I think that’s what she’s doing, since she seems to wait for us to mouth whatever it is she’s holding. Sometimes she does the same gesture without any food in her hand. I’m not quite sure what to make of that, but I smile at her anyway. She was very amused by gravity demonstrations. Dropping objects in front of her often elicited laughs, and she looked at both the starting positions and ending positions.

I’ve been doing pretty well with the reintegration of the ukulele into our daily routines. I had put it aside for a while because I was concerned about aggravating de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, but the movements for chords and finger-picking don’t seem to mess with that part of my wrist. Ukulele time is turning out to be quite multipurpose. It exposes her to music, motivates gross motor control as she crawls toward me, lets her experiment with fine motor control as she tries to strum the strings, and familiarizes her with nursery rhymes. For my part, it’s a good exercise for concentration, memory, and dexterity. I’ve made a list of songs to study, which should help structure the time a bit better.

Her weight gain has slowed down a lot, although it’s still within the normal range. 6.844 kg at 7 months (almost 8), so she’s still under the 15th percentile curve. We haven’t really changed anything about our feeding (aside from possibly having more social occasions away from our own kitchen table) and she’s active and looks well-nourished, so this might just be her catch-up weight gain tapering off. I’ll let the pediatrician know, and I’ll take her for another weight check in two weeks.

Lots of social things this week. We checked out the High Park Nature Centre, which might be an interesting resource for nature education and group activities. I’m not sure A- will get much out of the programs at this stage, but maybe when she’s toddling about curiously. We celebrated Thanksgiving and M-‘s birthday with W-‘s family. A- actually let a few people hold her, although she was still intimidated by W-‘s parents. W- packed a pretty bento of tamagoyaki, broccoli, carrots, raspberries, and yogurt, which A- enjoyed in addition to whatever she could steal off my plate. Morgan and Cathy gave us books and tips. Yay! A couple of my friends were dealing with a family emergency, so I spent some time with them to help with their baby and sort out food. We got them pizza, and then we made chicken noodle soup. Home-cooked food is my sanity-restoring go-to.

A few of the parents at Friday’s baby time session at the library told me about a Junction parents’ meetup at a nearby bar, so I joined them for lunch. I also checked out the Toronto Association of Parent Educators’ get-together on Tuesday at Wallace Emerson. It got me thinking about what I’m looking for in terms of socialization, and how I can go about cultivating those friendships. I like being able to see familiar faces at these parent-and-baby events. It makes conversations easier, and I pick up ideas and tips I might not have thought of looking for. I also like how Jen and Ewan and I can share resources and experiences. The landscape will probably change once we get to A-‘s second year, since most parents will be back at work and A- will be ready for more activities. We’ll see how things work out.

I made good progress on my consulting project, but I’m now stymied by something I can’t fiddle with myself. I’ve asked the other technical folks for help, since I don’t have the access or experience to do that part efficiently. In the meantime, I can work on front-end error handling, and then I can look around for other interesting things to work on.

Cold nights mean wrapping up our garden for the year, and baking season has definitely started. We’ve been trying out different socks and jackets for A-, and I plan to make her leg warmers too. We’ve been making steady progress through the box of vegetables I received as part of the nutrition workshop follow-up program. I made a plum tart and brought it to Thanksgiving dinner, baked one of the squashes, peeled and cut all the potatoes, boiled half of the beets, and munched my way through most of the apples. W- turned all the kale into a warm salad. There’s still a little lettuce left, half of the beets, two tomatoes, and two cucumbers. We’re doing much better at this random-box-of-vegetables thing than I did when I was in grad school or when we signed up for a community-supported agriculture program a few years ago. Yay experience!

2016-10-15a-week-ending-2016-10-14-weekly-journal output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.6h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 99% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (17.6h – 10%)
    • ☑ Set up savings account for A-
    • ☑ Message Jen and Chris about blocks
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.6h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.2h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.2h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.3h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.1h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (65.2h – 38%)
    • Childcare (55.2h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (55.6h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending October 21, 2016

We took advantage of an unexpectedly warm, sunny day this week and had some outside time in the backyard, nibbling on the last of the strawberries in the garden. We also went on a few walks to neighbourhood parks. Each park has its own character and mix of resources. I wonder where I can find notes on all the parks in the city. May be time to make our own little travel journal.

Anyway, with the weather getting cooler, I’ve been thinking about how to keep A- warm and comfy so that we can continue having lots of outside time. The crew socks are too short to cover the exposed part of her legs when she’s in the carrier. I’m trying out these leg warmers that I made from sweater sleeves, but they won’t stay on. Maybe I’ll sew a tighter band? I’m leaning towards making an elasticized carrier cozy out of fleece or flannel, and another one with PUL if the pattern works out. I made a felt pirate hat for her Halloween costume, too. Let’s see what the weather is like.

A- has been working very hard on getting her knees under her hips in preparation for creeping. Occasionally she tries straightening her legs, too. We’ll see if she takes on creeping or bear-walking first. Anyway, she’s been so focused on mobility that nursing and sleeping have been disrupted, but I’m sure things will settle down eventually.

A- has also been developing more expressive sounds. She figured out how to click her tongue this week. She’s been experimenting with her range, too. We’re getting pretty good at ignoring the screeching. She also makes this adorable slow “haaa?” sound with an upturn at the end, which tends to presage some grabbing and pinching.

We’ve been playing the ukulele every day. She often plucks or strums the strings instead of grabbing them like she used to. Getting there! For my part, I’m slowly getting the hang of finger-picking Paruparong Bukid. Gotta build that muscle memory.

Lots of social things this week. I dropped by La Leche League to ask about night nursing tips, picked up vegetables at the peer nutrition follow-up, made it to Make the Connection despite sleeping in, and picked Jen and Chris’ brains regarding alternative ways of raising kids. It’s nice to have mentors who have explored interesting paths.

I finally made it out to the dentist, woohoo! W- entertained A- in the waiting room so that he could take her to me if she started to melt down, but we didn’t need to hit the emergency button. My teeth are in decent shape despite the two-year gap in dental attention, although I’ll need two fillings done soon. It’s nice to be able to book personal care appointments again.

We donated a whole bunch of things, and now the living room feels more spacious. I’m glad we can let go of things knowing that it’s usually easy to replace stuff by buying second-hand or online.

W- inspired me to look into resurrecting gadgets, though. There’s that TF700T I didn’t get to use as much as I’d hoped, since the tablet was underpowered for its resolution. I wonder if I can turn it into a video chat station and information console.

Less sleep this week, including an afternoon of zombie-ing around because I stayed up late helping my clients with their reporting needs. W- took care of A- while I slept. Yay!

This week: the last session for Make the Connection (so I should finish that photo book!), a home visit, and maybe some more work on my consulting project. Depending on how sleep goes, we might try to make it out to other drop-ins to see what might be worth taking transit to once winter sets in.

2016-10-23a-week-ending-2016-10-21-weekly-journal-review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.2h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.2h – 99% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.4h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.7h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.4h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Coding (0.9h)
      • ☑ Disable anonymous feedback for QA
    • Sewing (0.8h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.7h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (22.8h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (74.6h – 44%)
    • Childcare (56.6h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (51.6h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending October 28, 2016

More sleep disruptions for A-, but W- helped make the time more manageable. I’ve been working on getting her used to being set down to sleep, but I don’t think we’ll get the hang of it before the trip. Ah well! We can deal with fussiness and tough times as long as we keep things safe.

It’s amusing presenting A- with a variety of finger food and noting her preferences. At one meal, she ate all the cucumber sticks before moving on to beets and then cheese, even though the cucumber sticks required her to reach past the other items.

So far so good with the weight gain. Her most recent weight was 7.002 kg, gaining roughly +81g/week. That’s within the normal range, and she continues to be just under the 15th percentile curve. She’s been crawling around a lot, so there’s definitely been an increase in calorie expenditure. I guess she’s been keeping up with intake too. Sometimes I get into a rut in terms of her meals, defaulting to cereal and mushrooms or cheese or whatever’s available. It would probably be good to sit down and plan more baby-friendly meals this week, since she can’t have the curry I just made. (The boxed Japanese curry we like has honey in it.)

Went on plenty of walks despite the cool weather. To help keep A- cozy, I sewed a pair of baby leg warmers and a hat from a sweater. We’ve already lost one of the leg warmers, but that’s okay, I can make more. :) They work pretty well, when they can stay on. I also embroidered skull and crossbones on the felt pirate hat I made for A-‘s Halloween costume. I’m glad I did. The white thread was much more visible than the chalk outline I started with.

We finished the Make the Connection course delivered by Toronto Public Health. I didn’t get any photos sorted out for the album. Hard to get interaction shots. Might make more of an effort to get decent lighting and framing so that GoPro videos are useful. If not, no worries.

I’ve been practising Brahms’ Lullaby and I’m a Little Teapot on the ukulele, and I can mostly finger-pick them at a decent tempo. I can only get so far before A- wants a turn at plucking the strings, which is totally cool because it’s for her anyway. :)

Figured out database persistence for my consulting project, and did a quick analysis of top searches as well. Got my business taxes ready, too. Just have to review and submit the numbers. I might do that during our trip.

Need to figure out a sustainable rhythm for discretionary time…

2016-10-31a-week-ending-2016-10-28-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (10.2h – 6%)
    • Earn (9.3h – 90% of Business)
      • ☑ Analyze phrases
      • ☑ Add error handling
      • ☑ Sort out persistence
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.8h – 8% of Business)
      • ☐ Write shareholder’s resolutions
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.1h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.1h – 1%)
    • ☑ Review insurance information
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.2h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.1h)
    • Emacs (0.2h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
      • ☑ Check out Samba share
    • Sewing (0.8h)
      • ☑ Make pirate hat
    • Writing (0.0h)
    • ☑ Sketch garden
    • ☑ Update Kiva
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (26.1h – 15%)
  • Unpaid work (72.5h – 43%)
    • Childcare (68.5h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (51.8h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 4, 2016

It was A-‘s first Halloween. I made her a pirate hat with embroidered skull and crossbones, and a vest too. I cobbled together my own quick pirate costume from stuff in my closet, and I made a quick eye patch. Yay! We handed out candy and then took a quick walk around the neighbourhood.

I took A- to the More than Child’s Play centre that’s in the same community centre as the Peer Nutrition support site. It’s a large, clean, well-lit space. She had fun playing with the xylophone. She’s also been somewhat interested in bead mazes, although she hasn’t quite gotten the hang of them yet.

A- has been working on her motor control. She’s managed to gently pet the cat a few times, and has gotten quite adept at dropping and tossing small objects. She can climb up from the carpet to the crib mattress, and from there, to the twin mattress. She’s making good progress toward the 9-month milestones, yay!

de Quervain’s tenosynovitis now affects both of my hands enough for me to have to be careful during everyday activities. I might need to come up with a different plan for drawing and writing, focusing more on gross motor movements.

Other small updates: It was great going for a walk through High Park with Quinn and Richard. Baking season definitely in full swing. Potato rosemary bread, etc. Pediatrician thinks A- is doing okay, whew. Ready for travel.

Consulting project: figured out how to build that add-on they were asking for, hooray! Also, scraped data from another site for a friend.

Taking it easy.

2016-11-09a-week-ending-2016-11-04-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.3h – 3%)
    • Earn (3.7h – 58% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (1.1h – 16% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Write shareholder’s resolutions
    • Connect (1.6h – 25% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.6h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.0h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (0.0h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.6h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (20.5h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (76.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (64.4h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (56.3h – 33% – average of 8.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 11, 2016

The switch back to Standard Time has so far been okay. It mostly means that we try to get our walks in earlier, and we have a bit more time in the late afternoon for night-type activities.

It’s been a tough week with lots of upset moments for A-. The chloral hydrate used for her ECG/EKG sedation took a while to kick in and she was already unhappy because of the pre-op exam, so that was about 45 minutes or so of full-scale crying. She bounced back all right, though.

It got unexpectedly brisk on our walk with Joy and J- through High Park, and A- probably got a bit too cold. She was very upset on the way home. Still, we’ve managed to make it out to the Junction Family Resource Centre and other neighbourhood stops a few times. We went further afield to buy gifts for the trip, and we also took her to Sick Kids for her cardio exam. But we’ve also cut short a few walks and errands due to fussing.

The week had its share of good moments, though. A- sequestered one of the gifts we were going to give her cousins, and is now the happy owner of her first Duplo set. She’s also played around with wiping her place at the table with a washcloth, which we enthusiastically encourage – and then she promptly stuffs the cloth in her mouth, because we’ve been getting her used to the routine of using a clean washcloth to wipe her gums after meals. Ah, well. Oh, and there was an hour or so of the most adorable little snores one night.

I tried sewing while A- was with me. A- was not particularly keen on the noise from the sewing machine, so all I could do was a quick little crinkle sheet from some scrap cloth and a potato chip bag. I have better luck cooking and baking in the morning, though, and have managed to try different recipes for pancakes and muffins over the past few days. Verdict: chocolate pancakes are too sweet, and banana walnut muffins are just right.

The cardiologist said A-‘s VSD is becoming increasingly restrictive, so less blood is flowing through the hole in her heart. Yay! They’re going to keep an eye on the muscle bundles in her right ventricle, following up in three months or so. Not out of the woods yet, but it’s good to have this kind of care.

de Quervain’s continues to be a bother, but A-‘s worth it. So far, I’ve been able to modify what I do in order to avoid pain, so it’s really more about paying extra attention. That’s not a bad thing, anyway.

Next week is going to be quite an adventure. Here goes!

2016-11-13a-week-ending-2016-11-11-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.8h – 1%)
    • Earn (0.8h – 44% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (1.0h – 55% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.9h – 2%)
    • ☑ Fix up RESP
    • ☑ Update passport info
    • ☑ Start packing
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.8h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.8h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • ☑ Confirm weight, height, meals
    • ☐ Check in
    • Sewing (0.0h)
      • ☑ Make crinkly sheet
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (7.8h – 4%)
  • Personal routines (18.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (76.2h – 45%)
    • Childcare (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (53.7h – 31% – average of 7.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 18, 2016

The big thing this week was our flight to Manila. I had been worried about colds and pressure changes, but A- slept through her first take-off like a seasoned traveler. Baby food was a no go. Instead, she enjoyed tidbits from our bibimbap. Not much sleep in her bassinet either, except for maybe ten minutes after the bassinet was set up and before turbulence required us to take her out. Oh well. It was a good place for her to sit and play with cups, though.

A- spent most of the flight with me, sometimes hanging out with W- while I napped. We figured out how to change diapers in the tiny airplane bathroom. The stopover in Seoul was a good opportunity to have more bibimbap and check out their breastfeeding facilities. A- wasn’t able to sleep as well as she normally does, though. She was so tired that she was inconsolable during the second flight’s take-off, only calming down once we could walk around.

My parents picked us up from the airport and took us to Kathy’s house, where we’ve been staying. G* and A* have been very excited to see A- and play with her. Since they’re just 3 and 2 years old, they need a little supervision and guidance.

You can practically see the activity in A-‘s brain. There’s plenty of floor space and interesting things to play with. She’s a confident creeper now, quickly covering short distances on her hands and knees. She’s even getting better at taking small toys along with her. She freely goes from lying down to sitting up, which makes diaper changes more of a challenge. She’s starting to pull herself up to kneeling or standing with the help of furniture or nearby people’s legs. She’s been experimenting with different hand motions, too: patting Luke with the wooden turtle, waving at people, examining various things. I think she intentionally says “Baba” for W- now. She gradually adjusted her wake-up times to be more reasonable – no more 3:30 AM breakfasts. She has let Lolo and Lola hold her, and she has smiled and blown raspberries all around.

It’s so nice to spend time with family. All of us are here!

2016-11-20a-week-ending-2016-11-18-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h)
    • Build (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h)
  • Relationships (12.8h – 7%)
    • ☑ Confirm weight, height, meals
    • ☑ Check in
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.4h – 1%)
    • Drawing (0.8h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.5h)
    • Writing (0.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (12.8h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (96.6h – 57%)
    • Childcare (45.2h – 26% of total)
  • Sleep (38.7h – 23% – average of 5.5 per day) – thrown off by flight, no tracking

Weekly review: Week ending November 25, 2016

We had our family portrait in the same place we had a family portrait in 2013. This time, John V. was able to join us, so everyone was here. We also took advantage of everyone’s presence to have a family meeting, since there are quite a few decisions to make and things to do. I’ve volunteered to take on some of the paperwork and maintenance, since it’ll be easier for me than for my sisters. Time to learn about Philippine taxes!

The UP Singing Ambassadors graced us with Christmas carols, love songs, and a few songs for the kids at the party in Adphoto. Some of my godparents and my barkada made it to the party, too, so I caught up with them there. A- slept through most of the party, and W- took care of her.

Lots of cooking! My mom set me up with access to a local account, so we’ve been picking up groceries and making dinners. Best way to spend a vacation, I think. We’ve been doing a combination of our favourite meals and new recipes we want to explore. W- made couscous chicken and stuffed pork tenderloin, while I made a lasagna with bechamel sauce. Kathy normally cooks, so we’re glad to let her and the family have a bit more breathing room. Home-cooked meals are the best for times like these.

W- and I swapped our demonetized Philippine pesos for new currency, so that’s sorted out. My mom’s been helping me with the paperwork for getting government-issued IDs, too. Started working on Canada visa paperwork for my parents. There’s an online process now, so that’s more convenient than sending all the documents by mail. Yay!

A- has gotten quite comfortable with my family. When she’s in a good mood, she lets her Lolo or Tito John G. carry her, and she’s waved and smiled at my mom too. She often pulls herself up to standing, although she’s still quite wobbly, so we make sure to stay near. She also likes wiping the counter with a washcloth, which we enthusiastically encourage. She was a little jetlagged. In the beginning, she woke up at 4 AM or so. She seems to have adapted now, getting up at around 7:30 or 8. This is earlier than she used to wake up in Toronto, but she goes to bed earlier too, so it all works out.

Life is good.

2016-12-01a-week-ending-2016-11-25-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
  • Relationships (12.4h – 7%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (0.7h – 0%)
    • Drawing (0.0h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
      • ☑ Renew domains
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
    • ☑ Exchange demonetized cash
    • ☑ Sort through clothes
    • ☑ Sort out bank accounts
  • Discretionary – Play (0.5h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.9h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (81.9h – 48%)
    • Childcare (78.5h – 46% of total)
  • Sleep (58.6h – 34% – average of 8.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending December 2, 2016

The pool party with the Valdezcos was a busy one despite a morning that started out gray and drizzly. The kids were in the pool as soon as the sun came out. W- and I were in the kitchen making Momofuku-style pork buns, which turned out to be so yummy. He also made Vietnamese bun with calamansi at some point during the week, and that was delicious too.

A- spent a lot of time with us in the kitchen. She also got comfortable with being held by Papa and John G., both of whom quickly figured out how to bounce her for her maximum amusement. Yay! Mission accomplished: A- comfy with people who are not us. We also discovered that A- likes green mango. Whee! She’s also been learning how to put things back into containers, which is a totally awesome development.

I enjoyed playing with G* and A*. They were fascinated by A- and graciously shared their toys with her, needing just the occasional prompt to be gentle with A- or to keep small things away from her. They’re both quite verbal, and I was relieved to find out that I could keep up a running commentary with on-demand word definitions and explanations. I had been worried that our generally quiet nature might affect A-‘s exposure to words, but we’ll probably be okay.

The kids opened their gifts early so that Ching and John V. could be part of it before they flew back to California. It was nice being all together for a week, and we hope to coordinate vacations with them in the future.

We had lunch with a few of my godparents: a beautiful spread of cold cuts, cheese, bread, and a few nicely cooked steaks. They cooed over the kids, commiserated over various health issues, and discussed politics at length. W- and I swapped off every so often, since A- was sleepy. Then we headed back home with the kids while everyone else took care of other errands.

I started working on lots of paperwork: helping my parents with their Canadian visa applications, accessing my Philippine bank accounts, learning more about estate planning… There was a surprising amount of paper involved in updating our local bank accounts, but that’s just life.

I wrapped up the week by freezing lots of lumpia for Saturday’s party with the barkada. So much cooking, yay! Best vacation ever.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.1h – 0%)
    • Build (0.1h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (17.9h – 10%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (14.0h – 8%)
    • Drawing (2.4h)
    • Emacs (1.8h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
      • ☑ Renew domains
      • ☑ Fix Mysql issue
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (8.1h – 4%)
  • Unpaid work (66.5h – 39%)
    • Childcare (54.4h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (59.4h – 35% – average of 8.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending December 9, 2016

We hosted a get-together at Kathy’s house for my friends. W- and I made a double batch of pork buns, Papa brought bibingka and other desserts, and we had green mangoes and bagoong too. It was nice chatting with everyone and seeing how they are now. It feels just as easy to chat with them as it did when back then, and it’s great to see people figuring out ways of life that fit them better.

We also went to Tim Ho Wan for more of G* and A*’s favourite shrimp dumplings. There was nearly too much food, but W- and I managed to finish all those scrumptiously soft pork buns ordered. In the name of research, of course. So much yum. I wonder how they make that dough…

It was a bit of a mad scramble to pack all our luggage. We ended up taking a balikbayan box because of all the gifts and hand-me-downs. W- was amazing at wrangling everything while I took care of A-.

The flights back went pretty smoothly. We managed to get lounge access in NAIA, so that covered snacks and a place to stretch out a bit. Switching to the child meal instead of the baby meal worked out okay. I gave A- the bits she wanted, such as rice and eggs, and I polished off the leftovers. This also meant that I could eat a little something while W- held A-, then we could swap while he ate, and then we swapped again so that I could eat my main meal.

We had a six-hour layover in Incheon airport. A- enjoyed crawling around the play area on the fourth floor. There were recliners in the rest area, and we all got some sleep – even A-! It was pretty good. That made the 13-hour flight back to Toronto a lot more manageable. We took a cab home because of the luggage and the cold weather. It turns out car seats aren’t required in public utility vehicles, including taxis, so I just held A- on the way home.

We spent the next few days restocking the fridge and settling back into our household routines. Our trip reminded us how nice it is to keep congee and banchan on hand, so we’ve been cooking that. Yum yum!

A- was almost completely flipped in terms of day and night, and with the short sunlight hours, I hardly got to see any sun for the first little while. I managed to get us to the appointment with the pediatrician for the second half of the flu vaccine, though. Kathy’s hand-me-down snowsuit certainly came in handy – it was -5C and A- had outgrown everything else!

I submitted my business taxes. Nice to get that out of the way. I noticed I made a mistake in the quick tax calculation for HST last year, so I amended both my HST return and my T2. I also managed to squeeze in a little consulting (one report and a small tweak to my code).

I’ve been prioritizing sleep and important tasks over writing or drawing in my journal, at least while jet lag makes our schedule awkward and unpredictable. We have a few daytime appointments next week, and then things should probably settle down a bit.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (5.0h – 2%)
    • Earn (0.8h – 16% of Business)
    • Build (4.2h – 83% of Business)
      • ☑ Filed taxes and amended previous tax returns
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (8.1h – 4%)
    • ☑ Do second part of flu vaccine
    • ☑ Made biscotti
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.8h – 1%)
    • Drawing (0.8h)
    • Emacs (1.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (11.9h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (60.7h – 36%)
    • Childcare (49.8h – 29% of total)
  • Sleep (49.0h – 29% – average of 7.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending December 16, 2016

The forecast called for a lot of snowfall, so we suited up and got groceries before that happened. We made a respectable array of Korean side-dishes (banchan), and we had bibimbap all week. It was awesome. There were so many options, we had to practically empty the fridge every time we assembled a meal. I started setting up two portions of sides at dinner – one in a bowl, one in a food container – and that made breakfast bibimbap so much easier, since I could just empty the container into a bowl, top it with rice, and reheat the whole thing. Yep, that’s going to go into our regular rotation of recipes.

I took A- to the ocularist for a clear conformer. It’s less expensive than a painted scleral shell, so we don’t have to worry as much about her losing it. Her skull has grown a fair bit in the last few months, so the new conformer does a better job of supporting the growth of her eye socket and filling it in. She seems to be okay with it, although she’s been popping it out every other day or so. I’ll ask them if we need another fitting.

W- has been working on setting up a play area in the front part of the living room. That way, A- can hang out on the main floor. Little by little, we’re reshaping the house to fit our changing life. I’ve been decluttering her room, too, putting aside the clothes she has outgrown. I thought about scavenging sewing materials from the pile, but I don’t think I’ll have time to sew soon, and I still have a backlog anyway. So the clothes can go to other places: friends, Facebook groups, or Value Village if no one needs them.

I’m not too keen on Value Village as a donation destination, but since I’m rather less keen on Salvation Army and the other options are a bit out of our usual errand routes, Value Village will do. I suppose that even if clothes end up as recycled fabric, that’s still better than them ending up in landfill. I’d like to eventually clear my time and pipeline so that I can upcycle some of the outgrown things into small and useful things around the house, but I’m not going to hold on to things just in case.

Speaking of errands, A- and I made it downtown together with W-. He had something to return to MEC, and he wanted to check out some of the shops in the Eaton Centre. I didn’t get anything, but it was a pleasant enough outgoing just as it was. We visited W-‘s mom while we were downtown, and she got to see A- practise standing and walking with help.

I’ve been slowly working through my backlog. I posted a bunch of journal entries I’d written on my phone, and I did some consulting before the contractor shutdown over the holidays. We’ve mostly settled down into a routine of two naps and a decently long sleep, so I feel more confident about using the naps and a little of her long sleep to take care of stuff.

Since we were slightly jet lagged and kept waking up early in the morning, I decided to do more household chores with A- around. That way, we could take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity rates. It’s not the same as focusing on her and playing with her most of the day, but then again, it’s probably good for her to see us doing chores and even to get involved here and there. It’s easy to keep her interested and engaged while we’re doing laundry or peeling potatoes. Some recipes give me plenty of time and flexibility to play with A-, while others can be safely interrupted when A- needs attention. I want to figure out a good set of things that work well, and then we can add to that as she becomes more independent or even more able to help.

Small, continuous improvements…

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.7h – 82% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 11% of Business)
      • ☑ Amend last year’s tax return
    • Connect (0.1h – 6% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.3h – 3%)
    • ☑ Take A for second part of flu vaccine
    • ☑ File insurance claim for clear conformer
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.1h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.9h)
    • Emacs (0.1h)
    • Coding (0.3h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.1h)
    • ☑ Make ACB spreadsheet for Canadian index
  • Discretionary – Play (0.2h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (11.8h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (69.0h – 41%)
    • Childcare (60.8h – 36% of total)
  • Sleep (76.4h – 45% – average of 10.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending December 23, 2016

A- has been hard at work devising little games for herself – amusement and exercise all together. She spent an afternoon clapping and blowing happy raspberries, and then graduated to moving my hands to clap instead. She practised putting things on top of other things: blocks on a book, orange segments on W-‘s hand, bubble wrap on top of a very patient cat. She took stuff out of and put stuff into laundry baskets.

She’s gotten more comfortable with wandering a little away from me. Sometimes, when I’m in the kitchen, she creeps over to the living room and plays with a small collection of toys that we keep on a low shelf.

Her growing independence and ability to entertain herself meant that we were able to do a lot of cooking: another hunk of roast beef, an array of banchan, two pizzas, congee, and even a side-by–by- side comparison of Glico Premium and Vermont curry. (Glico was spicier and Vermont was sweeter; both had nice depth.)

We’ve also been figuring out our sleep and home routines. During her first awake period, we have breakfast and play a little. Depending on how much sleep I got, I might share her first nap with her. Then we have lunch, do chores (usually folding laundry), and go for a walk. After a snack, she has another nap while I write or play on my phone. More play time, then dinner, which is easy with a well-stocked fridge. Then we hang out with W-. She might get an evening snack depending on how things go. Then bath time and bedtime for her – maybe 8 or 9 in the evening, and sometimes earlier. After I settle her into bed, I can usually get 2-3 hours of discretionary time in the evening. I’ve even been able to catch up with my ledger, write posts, and make an adjusted cost base spreadsheet. (Although it turned out I’d wasted some effort – I’d forgotten that I had already made a spreadsheet like that a couple of years ago, which I found only when I started an index of important files. That’s why I need an index!)

W-‘s been busy, too. He spent some time painting, finishing, and lighting the front part of the living room in order to turn it into a new play area for her. It took a while to find a shade of paint that he liked. So many different kinds of neutrals out there! The results look great, though, and with the new flood lights he bought from Home Depot, the space feels much more usable. I snagged a set of elephant decals that were marked down to $2, and they make A-‘s room look a lot more fun and nursery-ish.

Little improvements!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.9h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (0.4h – 47% of Business)
    • Connect (0.5h – 52% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.7h – 0%)
    • ☑ Download low-res pictures from FB
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.4h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.1h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
      • ☑ Investigate effort filtering in Org Mode
    • Coding (0.5h)
      • ☑ Fix quantifiedawesome account deletion
      • ☑ Fix Yahoo account
      • ☑ Tweak tracking interface
    • ☑ Make ACB spreadsheet for US
    • ☑ Set up individually encrypted files
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.3h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (13.9h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (89.0h – 52%)
    • Childcare (73.4h – 43% of total)
  • Sleep (53.8h – 32% – average of 7.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending December 30, 2016

We lost A-‘s ocular prosthesis again, this time somewhere at home. It had been slipping out once or twice a day, sometimes even when she wasn’t touching it. People in the online support group said that’s often a sign that it’s too small. We’re going to see if the ocularist can step up his game and make one that’s a better fit, or if it’s time to shop around. 75% government funding and additional help from W-‘s health benefits soften the blow a little, but if a replacement isn’t eligible for coverage, it’s a lot to pay for something that might not fit well. We’ll just have to see. I don’t think it would be practical to patch her eye 24/7 to help keep it in, so we’ll just have to work on finding it whenever it comes out – at least until she becomes responsible enough to keep track of it herself, which could take several years. Anyway, that’s life.

On the plus side, we’ve been enjoying the Junior Engineer set that my sister and her husband gave us. It’s a collection of beams, plates, axles, pins, nuts, bolts, cubes, triangles, and wheels – a bit like LEGO Technic, but for the younger crowd. A- likes pulling things out of the basket and offering them to W-, who then figures out how to incorporate those things into whatever he’s building. I’m methodically working my way through the models in the instruction manual. 3 down, 85 to go.

A-‘s play area in the living room is shaping up nicely. The Junior Engineer set is there, as well as the toys W-‘s family gave her at the Christmas get-together. W- installed a ledge for displaying a few books. We have a bin for rotating toys so that we don’t have too many out at once. This also makes clean-up easier. It’s become a nice place to hang out with A-, and we’re developing a good rhythm of playing, doing chores, and going for walks.

We were out for a walk almost every day, except for that time there was a lot of freezing rain. We’ve been skipping the snow suit for walks in the neighbourhood – the blankets and scarves I wrap around us seem to be enough to keep her warm in 0-degree-ish weather. This means it’s easier to get out of the house, and to come back in after. Yay walking!

The Junction Family Resource Centre turned out to be open, so we dropped by for snack time and circle time. A- was a little quiet – once again getting used to the stimulation of having all those kids around, I guess – but she seemed to have fun taking all the rattles out of one of the bins, and putting them back in again. She ate two apple slices and three slices of cheddar all by herself. Such progress since the last time I had taken her to the JFRC!

We chatted with my mom on Christmas and she gave us a few updates on the health issues that she and my dad are dealing with. Ah, life.

Lots of cooking. We made a number of banchan to accompany roast beef in bibimbap bowls: spinach, mushrooms, carrots… Congee made with mushroom soaking water picked up a deliciously earthy flavour. The roast vegetable techniques from the science of cooking book – cutting the vegetables into batons, steaming them in the roasting pan under a tight cover of foil before uncovering and browning them – resulted in tender, sweet roasted veg. The meat-stuffed vegetable recipe from the visual cookbook J- gave me didn’t turn out as appetizing, but maybe I just need to double the filling and add more salt. Hmm… I want to get better at capturing and building on our cooking notes, too, so I might write more about cooking here.

Capturing ideas and fleshing them out on my phone is working well. I’ve been using Tasks Free to jot down ideas for sketches, and that makes my limited computer time more efficient. I like its drag and drop capabilities and synchronization more than I like Orgzly. There’s a script to synchronize Google Tasks with Org Mode, anyway. As a result, I drew quite a few non-journal sketches this week.

I also managed to do a little coding. I finally got around to adding a date filter to my theme. While testing it, I realized that my blog had been quietly dropping paragraph breaks – how embarrassing! I discovered that just as A- woke up crying from a nap, so I was rather frazzled, but W- stepped in and took care of her. Fortunately, I managed to quickly narrow down the problem and fix it by upgrading a plugin. Got two blog posts out of that, too.

And I even got to play video games with W-! A- had been going to sleep at 9 or so, which gave me some time to join W- on a new playthrough of Borderlands 2. Whenever A- woke up, I put down the controller and dashed upstairs to spend time with her. It usually took a short time to settle her back down. Sometimes W- dropped my character out so that he could keep playing, and sometimes he filled in the time with other activities. He’s a couple of levels ahead of me, but it all balances out with the way Borderlands 2 handles experience. Anyway, spending time with him is on my priority list too – video gaming time is cheaper than therapy. :) It’s fun to be able to team up again.

Next week: more writing and playing, perhaps!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.5h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.5h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.1h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.4h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.8h)
      • ☑ Braindump a bunch of sketches
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (1.3h)
      • ☑ Investigate WordPress date filter, add to theme
      • ☑ Fixed paragraph breaks in WordPress, no more wall of text
      • ☑ Set up inbox
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (10.7h – 6%)
    • ☑ Play Borderlands
  • Personal routines (15.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (74.3h – 44%)
    • Childcare (61.9h – 36% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 6, 2017

It got a lot colder this week, so A- and I mostly stayed indoors. Not a bad time to stay close to home, anyway. W-‘s knee flared up again, so he spent a few days resting and icing it.

We did make a few trips out. We took A- for a routine checkup at the eye clinic in Sick Kids Hospital. Her right eye seems to be developing normally – 20/80 vision based on 7.1 on the Teller acuity test. It turns out that both W- and I have large optic nerves, so that might explain hers too. They gave us a prescription for safety glasses for A- to protect her vision as she becomes more mobile. I’ll probably get her a pair of Miraflex frames once the weather warms up.

A- got a little overtired while waiting at the hospital, but she recovered after a good nap in the afternoon. Between that and the gradual emergence of her first tooth, sleep has been a little irregular, with occasional late-night wakings and lots of nursing in bed. That’s okay, it’s just part of life. I’ve been able to write a lot on my phone, thanks to my new workflow with Google Tasks and Org Mode, so it’s easy enough to make use of all that time in bed.

When she’s not asleep or nursing, A- is curious and active. She clearly enjoys the somersaults that W- guides her through, and often tips her head back to signal that she wants another turn. She’s also getting better at signaling when she doesn’t want any more food. She’s probably trying to figure out how to shake her head for “no”, but at the moment, scrunching her eyes and nodding sharply will do.

I tried following up on some paperwork (T4 and T5 slips, my parents’ visa applications), but the government systems were down for scheduled maintenance. Next week, then. Paid myself dividends and reimbursed my company for my part of split expenses. I also filled my TFSA for the year, hooray!

I also fixed my evil plans Org Mode file so that it worked with the lexical scoping in Org 9. I changed the code that produced my graph to explicitly invoke Org Babel with parameters instead of trying to piggyback on the parameters passed in the original block. I also updated a few of the goals. I broke a few links in the process, but fortunately org-lint helped me quickly identify them.

A- and I video-chatted with my mom and with Kathy, with brief appearances by G* and A*. Also, It was J-‘s birthday, so we celebrated with some tarts that Y- bought.

Odd moment: Neko fell into the shallow bath I’d washed A- in, and had to be rescued by W-. The poor dear.

We reviewed our emergency preparations, moving food past their best-before dates to the pantry and restocking the bags with new snacks. We added diapers, wipes, and baby clothes, too. Good to prepare for winter storms or neighbourhood gas-leak evacuations.

Jen and E- dropped by with more clothes for A-. It was awesome to see E- toddling around. So independent! A- will get there some day.

I made shepherd’s pie for our lunch, and that worked out surprisingly well. W- spent an afternoon making lamb korma – so nice! – and some banchan too. The roast veg recipe from the science of cooking book was yummy, although I’m not sure about the value of using aluminum to steam the veg in the pan instead of washing another pot. Washing is easy enough, anyway.

What a full week! Next week: another conformer for A-, slightly warmer weather, more paperwork, and a return to consulting.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.1h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 100% of Business)
      • ☑ See if I can downscale my Linode
      • ☑ Write the business a personal cheque and deposit it
      • ☑ Pay myself dividends
      • ☐ Issue T4
      • ☐ Issue T5
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.1h – 1%)
    • ☑ File photos of borrowed clothes
    • ☑ Follow-up at eye clinic
    • ☑ Follow up on visa
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.7h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.0h)
      • ☑ Review month
    • Emacs (1.2h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
      • ☑ Org effort filtering
      • ☑ Fix evil plans
      • ☑ Help with table issue
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.1h)
    • ☐ Rebalance CAD to US
    • ☑ Move money to TFSA
  • Discretionary – Play (1.3h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (10.9h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (80.0h – 47%)
    • Childcare (76.1h – 45% of total)
  • Sleep (69.9h – 41% – average of 10.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 13, 2017

I took A- to be fitted for another conformer, since we lost the previous one after two weeks of it popping out almost every day. Her current one appeared to fit fine while we were at the ocularist, but it’s been popping out a lot too. We have another appointment next week. Maybe we can get a better fit, or maybe we’ll have to consider the trade-offs of putting her under sedation so that a new impression can be taken.

A-‘s two bottom central incisors are both emerging, whee! She’s been having fun gnawing on chicken drumsticks and biscotti. Her sleep has been a little disrupted, but that’s fairly common when teething.

W- bought two lots of Duplo off Kijiji, and now A- has a pretty good Duplo collection. We all have lots of fun playing with the bricks.

We’ve resumed home visits from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program. We’ve been working on stacking blocks, and A- finally got the hang of it! We also went to the JFRC and the OEYC for some socialization, since it’s good for A- to get used to seeing and interacting with other kids. She’s a little reserved, but that’s okay.

This week and last week had quite the spike in childcare hours, although part of that is probably sloppy tracking. I’ve been focusing on playing more with A- during daytime hours, sometimes away from my phone. Might try tracking other activities like meals and tidying up a bit better this week to get a clearer picture of my time. Also, A-‘s been waking up after an evening nap instead of staying in bed, so that’s been changing up our routine a little.

Lots of good stuff on my end. So much writing! My Google Tasks + org2blog workflow is working really well. I can write while nursing, which is much better than spending all that time going down into the rabbit holes of the Internet. I went from a somewhat monotonous rhythm of Emacs News and journal reviews to a full week of scheduled posts. Unexpected benefit: more blog comment conversations, too!

I’ve been working on my yearly review. I’ve looked at all the sketches, summarized my monthly reviews, and analyzed my expenses. I also want to look at time and write my overall reflections. It’s been a good year.

Going through all those sketches from 2016 reminded me that a little effort can make drawings more expressive and fun, so I’ve been playing with drawing again. I figure that picking one moment and drawing it in more detail in my daily index cards will let me exercise that skill, and it’ll also motivate me to pay attention to or cultivate at least one vivid moment a day.

I did a little bit of consulting, too – tweaked some code and answered a few questions. Also, I filed my corporation’s T4 and T5 tax slips, yay! Keener. Our personal tax returns are probably going to be a little more complicated this year because of W-‘s parental leave and my child benefit, but I’ll figure it out.

I signed up for the PC Plus program and associated it with my old PCFinancial points. We’ll see if it’s worth it, considering we shop at No Frills all the time.

Next week: another trip to the ocularist, more socialization, and maybe some writing and digital decluttering.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.8h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.2h – 69% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.5h – 25% of Business)
      • ☑ Issue T5
      • ☑ Issue T4
    • Connect (0.1h – 5% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
    • ☑ Try another conformer
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
    • Emacs (0.9h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
    • Writing (1.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.2h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (15.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (83.0h – 49%)
    • Childcare (75.1h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (59.1h – 35% – average of 8.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 20, 2017

The ocularist is trying a different style of conformer. It has a ridge and a curve to catch her lower eyelid. The new conformer has been coming out a little less frequently, but it’s still every day or so. I try to keep A-‘s hands away from her face, although sometimes she really insists on rubbing and scratching when she’s sleepy or just waking up. I also took A- to the eyeglasses store to try on pairs. She’s in between sizes in the Miraflex line, so we’ll try again in a few months.

I took A- to the JFRC and the OEYC for socialization. She’s back to being comfortable in those spaces, I think. I also took her to the breastfeeding clinic to check her weight. 7.84kg puts her comfortably over the 15th percentile curve, yay her!

Since A- has been so interested in our forks and spoons, we got her a fork, which she enthusiastically mashes into her saucer and manoeuvres into her mouth. Sometimes she even manages to pick up food with it. We also got her a toothbrush and a hairbrush. She seems to enjoy using the toothbrush after meals. We haven’t added any baby toothpaste yet – it’s more for getting her used to stuff in her mouth. I brush her hair after brushing mine. Sometimes she tries to imitate me, and sometimes she just plays with the brush when it’s her turn. She’ll get the hang of it eventually.

We’ve been encouraging more physical activity as a way of helping her build up her appetite and take in more nutrients. This usually takes the form of hide-and-seek, which gets her crawling after us at a decent clip. She’s also been working on fine motor control: stuffing Duplo into various containers (including sleepers and pant cuffs), emptying and filling the toy egg carton, and playing with books. She was a little interested in the crayons brought by the family home visitor, although she doesn’t seem to deliberately make marks yet. Anyway, since we want to model what to do with them, I’ve been able to sketch a little – mostly the back of her head while she plays with W-.

I’ve been drawing more on my tablet PC, too. This little experiment of drawing a memory in more detail and colour is helping me observe more carefully, and it’s fun. We’ll see if it’s worth the additional 10-15 minutes or so.

I did a little bit of consulting – a couple of SQL queries and a little Node script to analyze a thread. Thought about a bigger project, too, but I’m not sure I have the brainspace to build something custom for them.

I’ve been working on moving more things off Windows so that I can stay in Linux more often. After looking into alternatives to TurboTax for my corporate income tax returns, I decided to convert my QuickBooks records to Ledger. I’ve been using Ledger for my personal finances for more than a decade, and I like how manageable plain text is, especially with report command lines and commentary in Org Mode. I found a Perl script to convert QuickBooks data to Ledger format. After modifying it to deal with Canadian spelling, I converted my data and started reviewing it. So far, so good. My bank balances match up, at least. There are a bunch of other things I want to pay close attention to (year-end entries and so on), but overall, it looks promising.

I also cleared out the tablet I was using as a baby monitor, replacing it with W-‘s old phone. That works just as fine as a baby monitor, and it works out better than the tablet did as a backup device for when my phone’s battery runs out. The phone is easier to hold and type on, and it’s less glaring. More writing, yay!

While I’ve been taking care of A- and writing while nursing, W- has totally taken over cooking for dinner, which is awesome. Pad thai, pasta, shepherd’s pie (with ground lamb, even) – yum yum yum. Life is good.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.9h – 2%)
    • Earn (1.9h – 48% of Business)
      • ☑ Thread analysis
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.2h – 30% of Business)
    • Connect (0.8h – 21% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
    • ☑ Print prescription for A-
    • ☑ Try another conformer
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.3h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Writing (0.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.6h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (73.2h – 43%)
    • Childcare (63.6h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (63.1h – 37% – average of 9.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 27, 2017

I took A- to the ocularist to check the fit of her conformer, since she’s been rubbing it out pretty much every day (sometimes even twice). The ocularist thinks it fits fine and wanted to start working towards a painted shell. We’re more comfortable with conformers, though, because of the risk of losing her prosthesis and because it sometimes prompts useful conversations. We’ll revisit painted shells when she’s ready for school, or if the white conformer bothers her.

I flipped through the book “A Singular View” while at the ocularist’s office. There’s a useful chapter on practical adaptations for pouring and other tasks that are a little harder with monocular vision. The book’s pretty short, though, so it might be something I’ll review there whenever we go for a checkup instead of buying a copy myself.

A- is getting better at communicating. She lets us know when she doesn’t want any more food by closing her eyes and shaking her head (a little randomly, but we get her message). She often insists on feeding us any food left on her plate. She gestures at pictures in books. One time, she even handed W- a paper diaper and flopped onto the bed – probably telling us to get on with the bedtime routine.

She was freaked out by the blood pressure cuff that J- was measuring me with as practice for J-‘s nursing exam. W- and I reassured her that everything was okay, although she still shouted at it when J- removed it from my arm. So much courage.

W- kept A- occupied while I went for my own eye exam. I hadn’t had my eyes checked in years, so I figured it would be good to update my prescription before ordering a bunch of glasses online. A- had broken one pair of glasses and scratched a lens in another pair, so I’m wearing my backup backup pair. Gotta be firmer about keeping A- away from my glasses!

Managed to squeeze in a little computer work. I dusted off and improved the first part of an A/B testing prototype for my consulting client. I also did some more work on using Ledger for my business books so that I can get a tax-line summary. I even set up a Ledger file for the investments in A-‘s college fund. Whee!

The world’s getting a bit crazy, but I remain optimistic.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.2h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.7h – 51% of Business)
      • ☐ [#A] Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.5h – 46% of Business)
      • ☑ Get bank balance to agree
      • ☑ Do GIFI mapping
    • Connect (0.1h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.5h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.4h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
      • ☑ sleep/wake toggle
  • Discretionary – Play (3.5h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (16.7h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (76.9h – 45%)
    • Childcare (70.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (61.8h – 36% – average of 8.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 3, 2017

Another week of big leaps. A- can crawl up the stairs, so we should probably look into getting baby gates soon. About half the time, she’ll indicate when she wants to nurse by squeezing her fist or curling her fingers. (The rest of the time, she just goes and helps herself.) The horse and the harness are definitely her favourite Duplo pieces. She picks them up whenever she plays in the living room. If they’re apart, she’ll look for both pieces and hand them to me so I can reassemble them.

The biggest thing I’m happy about, though, is that A- will let me reinsert her ocular prosthesis by myself, without any fussing or crying. This had previously been a two-person operation – I’d restrain her while W- put the conformer in, usually over her tears. Sometimes it took us several tries, since she’d turn her head, wriggle, and buck. W- started rewarding her with upside-down swinging, which is something she enjoys a lot. She eventually let us pop it back in quickly (promptly followed by a swing, of course). This week, he tried putting the conformer in by himself. He managed it, so I tried it as well, and I managed it too! That means that even when W- goes back to work, if A-‘s conformer pops out, we won’t have to wait for him to get back home. I can just clean it and put it back in by myself. Level up!

The nurse from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children came for another play evaluation. A- wasn’t interested in stacking blocks, though. Ah well! We’ll try evaluating feeding next. We also talked about developmental screening. I read some research on microphthalmia that said one in five people with it have learning difficulties, and that even if there don’t appear to be related symptoms in the first year, additional things often come up when the child is three or four years old. It turns out many children don’t get routinely seen by medical professionals outside the usual vaccination schedule, so a lot of developmental delays are caught only when school starts. Since I have limited experience with children, I’ll need to keep on top of what’s considered normal and what might be a cause for concern. The Nipissing developmental screens go up to 6 years old, so that helps. We’ll stick with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program as long as they’ll have us. It’s so nice having that regular check-in with a nurse who can monitor A-‘s development, and the family home visitor suggests lots of great activities too. The Junction Family Resource Centre and the Ontario Early Years Centre also have people I can ask, and the parent advocacy workshop I just registered for will probably be quite helpful.

We took A- to the JFRC this week. She mostly stayed close to me, although she was a little interested in the bin of musical instruments. She’s a bit keen to snatch things out of younger babies’ hands, so I redirect her with other fun things to explore instead.

We’ve been making an effort to incorporate more vegetables into our meals, and that’s starting to feel more natural now. Vegetable-heavy pizza, roasted vegetables, yum yum. A-‘s been eating pretty lightly, but that’s okay. As long as we keep modeling good eating and putting healthy choices in front of her, she’ll be fine. She likes feeding us whatever’s left on her saucer, and we don’t mind eating the extra veg and meat. We tried the pouch food we bought for emergencies, and we’re definitely not keen on it. Home-made food as much as possible – just have to keep exploring new recipes!

A-‘s bottom teeth are definitely out now, and her top incisors are beginning to emerge. Her sleep has been more messed up than usual – evening naps, late-night bedtimes – but we can adapt to that. I might try waking up with an alarm as a way of nudging her to keep a consistent bedtime instead of letting it get later and later, though. Anyway, this is temporary. I’ll get more time for thinking and writing later.

I still managed to do a bit of consulting – a small NodeJS server that parsed and displayed some content from a different system. I should probably follow up on that this week.

W- has been working on a jig for making mortises and tenons. He’s planning to replace the coffee table in the living room with one that’s a bit wider and with rounded edges. It’s more work baby-proofing than the usual “stick corners on the thing and call it a day”, but it builds skills, so I’m all for it. He’s getting a lot of good use out of the basement workshop he put together during parental leave, yay! Only a few weeks left before he goes back to work. It’s good to do what he can now so that woodworking can be an enjoyable hobby even in small chunks during regular weeks.

My discretionary time is all about the small chunks, too. Someday I’ll have bigger chunks to play with again, but in the meantime, this is cool.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.7h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.4h – 90% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 9% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Check out SimpleTax
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
    • ☑ Check RESP ledger
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.8h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.9h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.1h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (11.7h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (80.9h – 48%)
    • Childcare (73.2h – 43% of total)
  • Sleep (67.7h – 40% – average of 9.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 10, 2017

A- now has a pair of upper teeth to match her bottom teeth. Whee! She’s been chomping her way through cucumbers and clementines, and has even threatened their use in the defence of chicken drumsticks.

A-‘s sleep has been a bit irregular, with more fussiness and late nights. Probably related to the emergence of her upper teeth, or possibly a reaction to the chocolate cake we’ve been having as W- prepares for A-‘s first birthday party. Ah well! That’s all part of life. We’re adapting quite nicely to life with interruptions.

This week’s home visit focused on cruising, which A- picked up readily. She can now edge her way along the sofa in order to reach something she wants.

Also, all of a sudden, A- can stack rings on a pole. Not in order, but still! Neat. She hadn’t gotten much practice with it because we were focusing on stacking blocks. Every so often, I took it out and let her help me push the rings down the pole. This week, she started doing it all by herself, using a finger to help her centre the ring on the pole. By golly. Maybe she’ll be all right even without stereopsis for depth perception.

An impromptu experiment by W- also confirmed that A- can predict that stuff dropped into a tube should come out the other end. Neat!

W- took care of A- long enough for me to cook quinoa-stuffed peppers one night, shake and bake chicken, curry and roast veg another night, and biscotti on the weekend. I enjoyed making lots of food. It was a rare opportunity to cook for two hours in a row.

Also for party prep and general spring cleaning: W- managed to sell the large glass coffee table I’d bought almost ten years ago for my apartment. One more thing out the door, hooray!

My parents got the go-ahead to send their passports for Canadian visas, yay! The online application process was pretty convenient, actually. Anyway, W- tested a possible sleeping arrangement by bunking in with A- and me in A-‘s room. Not particularly comfortable, though, so we might need to switch things up a bit more. It will be nice to have them over. A- will probably be 18 months old when they visit, which is a great time for vocabulary acquisition and other good things.

In the meantime, life continues as normal. I managed to do a little consulting, updating some code and unearthing some other code I’d forgotten about. Someday I’ll be able to take on bigger projects, but at the moment, it’s good to do whatever I can.

Next week: taking A- to the cardiologist, looking into the Let’s Get Started program, and letting her explore all sorts of messy things during sensory play day. Whee!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.3h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.3h – 99% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.4h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.8h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.8h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (14.7h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (76.8h – 45%)
    • Childcare (65.9h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (65.4h – 38% – average of 9.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 17, 2017

A- was not at all happy during the exam at the cardiologist, so they couldn’t get a clear reading. Still, it seems that both her ventricular septal defect and muscle bundle are relatively stable, so the cardiologist there and the one at Sick Kids are okay with doing the next follow-up in August. We’ve borrowed a toy stethoscope from the Junction Family Resource Centre so that we can help A- become more familiar with it. Maybe that will make next week’s 12-month pediatrician visit a bit better, too.

I took A- to the sensory play day at the Junction Family Resource Centre. The facilitators had prepared bins of water, cooked pasta, jelly, applesauce, and dough. A- liked splashing in the water the most, although she also checked out the pasta and the dough. She wasn’t too keen on the jelly and the applesauce, and even made a face when I smeared some applesauce on her lips. Not a fan of very sweet things, maybe.

We attended the first session of Macaulay Centre’s Let’s Get Started program, which focuses on helping kids with special needs. The program normally covers kids 2 to 6 years old, but I called ahead and asked if it’s okay to go even if A- is only a year old. I’m glad they let us in. The first talk was by a speech pathologist, and I picked up lots of great tips for language teaching through labeling and modeling. It was also reassuring to learn that gestures count as words when it comes to developmental milestones. A- doesn’t say much, but she’s definitely picked up the signs for nursing and more. She passed the newborn hearing screening and responds to sounds, so we’re not too worried, but it’s always good to try to apply best practices. Besides, even though it’s true that most people learn how to speak sooner or later, there’s quite a range of expressiveness, and we’d love to help her enjoy language as much as possible.

A- seems to understand more words now, and she connects more concepts too. She seems to smack her lips after mentions of yogurt or breakfast. If I hold a sock, she sticks out her foot, and if I give her one of my socks, she puts it on top of my foot. She’s quite good at cruising left and right along the sofa, taking a toy along with her instead of needing the toy to be an incentive. She’s also definitely partial to W-, which is cool.

Speaking of communication, I’ve been experimenting with letting A- signal when she wants to sleep, and just enjoying some quiet time until she settles down. A couple of times, she took the hint and rolled into bed, snuggling under the blanket. Other times, she had a hard time settling until I put her in the sleep sack.

Lots of preparation for A-‘s birthday party so that the actual day could be smooth instead of harried. W- made more chocolate cake, bringing our total up to three frozen layers ready to be used for A-‘s birthday. He also made lamb korma and beef stew, since both are yummy entrees that can be made far in advance. He’s so awesome. I tried a white cake recipe, but it turned out a bit denser than I expected. Lemon pound cake was a good way to use up the extra egg yolks, so it all balanced out.

W- found the old audio recordings we’d made of things like A- snoring. (Such tiny snores!) He converted the WMA files to Ogg, and now they’re part of our long-term backups. I selected and printed out an album of A-‘s pictures, and I experimented with some ways to print out my index card sketches of yearly, monthly, and weekly reviews. It’s been quite a year!

Jen and Ewan needed some emergency babysitting help, so I headed over there on Friday to spend a few hours with E-. It was surprisingly manageable, although there were a couple of moments when both E- and A- were upset and needed soothing. Most of the time, they were perfectly fine playing with books, balls, blocks, and ramps. After their afternoon snack, I took them for a walk around the neighbourhood, and they quickly fell asleep. Yay!

I spent a little time making a web interface for something that I used to run on the command line for my client. Nice to finally get that done.

Since it’s the completion date of my 5-year experiment with semi-retirement, I started reviewing all of my experiment-related blog posts. I’m looking forward to writing about it in more detail, but since time is probably going to be a little scarce as we get used to new routines, I should post whatever I have now and then just add to it later.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 87% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 12% of Business)
      • ☑ Amend T5
      • ☑ File federal annual return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.6h – 2%)
    • ☑ Return clothes, help with E-
    • ☑ Call Sick Kids re schedule
    • ☐ Get glasses for A-
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.4h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.9h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.9h)
    • Writing (1.0h)
    • ☑ Learn more about Ledger
    • ☑ Figure out printing sketches
    • ☑ Try out Simpletax
    • ☑ Buy flannels
  • Discretionary – Play (2.5h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (19.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (80.7h – 48%)
    • Childcare (63.7h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (53.1h – 31% – average of 7.6 per day)

Huh. Less sleep. Oh, right, I stayed up late learning more about Ledger, catching up on my journal, and doing consulting.

Weekly review: Week ending February 24, 2017

It was A-‘s birthday last week. W- made so much food for the party with his family, including a devil’s food cake with coconut-pecan icing (recipes from the Joy of Cooking) and two rotisserie chickens. Yum yum yum! Everyone cooed over A-, especially when she gave our cat Luke a big hug. She was totally uninterested in the cake, but she loved having yogurt.

The timing worked out pretty well. The weather was nice and sunny. A- got sick with her first serious cold the day after the party: sniffles, sneezes, fever, diarrhea, even a bit of throwing up and spitting up. She eventually got over it, although we did end up calling Telehealth to ask what we should do. W- also bought two thermometers: a forehead thermometer for easier measurement, and a large-display thermometer for general use.

W- went back to work this week, so we’re getting the hang of new routines. Between that and us being under the weather, I was mostly focused on childcare and sleep. We’ll see what normal life will be like when we recover.

I took A- to the pediatrician for her 12- month vaccines. At 8.015 kg, she’s above the 15th percentile curve for weight, and generally doing fine aside from that cold. I got a prescription for her next conformer, a form for blood tests, and a note about scheduling A-‘s next ultrasound (keeping an eye on her liver hemangioma).

The EnzoDate glasses I ordered for A- arrived, and we’ve been practising wearing them for a second or two at a time. One of the demo lenses has some print on it, but it’s still fine for the purpose of getting A- used to glasses. Eventually I’ll get her proper glasses with polycarbonate lenses. I checked local stores for prices for fitting the glasses we just got her with proper lenses, and things seem to be set up so that it’s cheaper for me to buy the frame with included lenses than to get lenses fit into this frame. We’ll check the numbers again when she can keep these on.

Language: A- seems to be working on “ha” and “ta” sounds, and she’s also babbling a lot more now compared to last week.

I had a morning appointment for dental cleaning. A- was still asleep by the time I needed to head out, so she stayed at home with W-. They were both perfectly fine. They had breakfast and everything. It was my first time going outside the neighbourhood without A-. I felt so unusually light that I couldn’t help but jog part of the way home.

I’d been trying to find a place that would let me do two units of dental scaling so that I could come three times a year while still having things mostly covered by W-‘s insurance. Fortunately, they agreed to my request. Whee! Let’s see if this works out.

My dad was in the hospital for an operation, and is now recovering. Yay medicine!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
  • Relationships (4.6h – 2%)
    • ☑ Get glasses for A-
    • ☑ Get added as a tax representative for W-
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.1h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.2h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • ☑ Get dividend information from Adphoto
    • ☑ Help with Parents’ Canada visa application
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.5h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.0h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (83.9h – 49%)
    • Childcare (71.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.0h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 3, 2017

A- has mostly gotten over her cold from last week, although we’re all dealing with a bit of a dry cough. Her appetite and energy level are back to normal, yay! I took her to Sick Kids for the usual 12-month blood tests. She had to put up with a lot, as the nurse couldn’t find anything in her elbow despite some digging.

It’s a good thing we went to the peer nutrition workshop despite the weather. The talk was on dental hygiene, and the speaker quickly checked all the kids’ teeth. There’s something weird going on with A-‘s teeth. There seem to be small half-circles near the tips where the enamel didn’t fully form. I’m taking her to the dentist on Monday. It’s just another thing that we’re going to deal with.

I made sure to fill her week with enjoyable things, too. She played with a few toys while I talked to an occupational therapist at the Let’s Get Started program, and we borrowed a few magnetic pieces from the Junction Family Resource Centre. We spent a little time at the More Than Child’s Play centre after Peer Nutrition, too. We checked out the TDSB Family Literacy Centre at Indian Road Crescent, and I picked up a few more songs. There are so many activity options, yay!

We’ve been kitting out home, too. exchanged a number of gifts for a shape sorter, a couple of Duplo sets, and a 7-pack of onesies. The shape sorter makes sense to get because the ones at JFRC tend to be missing pieces. The larger A-‘s Duplo collection is, the more combinations we can make. Standard onesies make dressing a lot easier, so that’s worth paying a little extra for compared to getting a variety second-hand. A- occasionally pushes simple shapes through the slots in the sorter, but she’s more likely to take the lid off and put the shape in directly. She also likes pretending to drink from the shapes, and enjoys it when you pretend to do so too.

More family conversations. I’ve been considering flying to the Philippines to help my parents while they deal with health issues, but the logistics of doing that with A- are a bit daunting. I’ve been slowly working through the different risks. My plans are on hold until I sort out this new uncertainty around A-‘s teeth, though, as she comes first. I hope we can make it over!

I thought I lost my library card and credit card outside the house, so I cancelled them, but it turns out they were just in a pocket that I failed to check until everything went through the dryer. Ah well! I’ve reactivated my library card, but I’ll have to wait for the replacement credit card.

I had a bit more energy this week, so I did some consulting and implemented a category feature people had requested. I also worked on our taxes and updated my ledger, which incidentally turned up an invoice that had fallen through the cracks. Yay ledger and tracking accounts!

Next week: dentist, parent advocacy workshop, Let’s Get Started workshop. There’s food in the fridge and stuff on the calendar. Let’s go!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 77% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.5h – 22% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.5h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
      • ☑ Find and start posting experiment summaries
    • ☑ Get dividend information
    • ☑ Parents’ Canada visa application
    • ☑ Reactivate US account
    • ☑ Try out Studiotax in a VM
  • Discretionary – Play (0.2h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (14.4h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (83.6h – 49%)
    • Childcare (72.0h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.4h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 10, 2017

Following up on last week’s recommendation to go see a dentist for A-, I took A- to her first dentist appointment. It turns out that she has enamel hypoplasia, a developmental defect that results in incomplete enamel. It’s associated with a higher risk of cavities, so we’ll be extra careful about brushing her teeth and minimizing sweets. It may or may not affect her permanent teeth. We’ll see. Anyway, it’s just something to deal with.

The first session of the parent advocacy workshop was an overview of the 6-week series, definitions of advocacy, and group sharing. It got me thinking about what A- could learn from how I advocate for her. I don’t know what kinds of accommodations we might need, but I hope to be able to take a collaborative approach to continuous improvement. I’d love it if A- absorbed the message “We’re all different, and it’s good to adapt our environment to reduce barriers and help us” rather than “I have to be treated specially because of my limits”. I’m still going to tap all the resources I can, but that’s because I like learning. :)

The Let’s Get Started session focused on visual routines, and I posted a few notes on that and previous sessions. I’ve been making an effort to use more visual props when talking to A- or transitioning between activities: a diaper, the potty, her high chair, the sleep sack…

We’ve been working on pointing, too, as I realized we hadn’t emphasized that and it’s usually a 12-month milestone. She’s starting to get the hang of it, gesturing towards things she’s interested in and sometimes even sort of pointing with a finger.

A- practised crawling up and down the carpeted stairs to the second floor. She sometimes needs a reminder at the top of the staircase to go down legs-first, but is otherwise surprisingly capable. We decided to skip installing baby gates for now since I’m with her, and she seems to like having stair practice time. She works so hard!

We went to the Junction Family Resource Centre and the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre. A- is getting better at playing independently. I had a bit of time to chat with the facilitators and the other parents, and even to flip through the red flags guide by the City of Toronto.

A- figured out a new sound (“Nai”) and seemed to recognize the words “crumple” and “cat”.

I did a little consulting, too. I added a categorization feature, wrote a tutorial, and helped transfer some more of my code.

I replaced my credit card and reactivated my library card, so that’s all sorted out now. I also updated my Ledger to correctly tally up my investments, explored tools for converting bank data, and created a net worth summary report. I needed the investment records in order to double-check the book value for my taxes, which I started preparing in a VM. I also set up incremental backups with borgbackup and a VM for testing my blog backups, yay!

It’s great to have focused time for process improvement. Looking forward to more tweaking!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.0h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 93% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 6% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.5h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.4h – 6%)
    • Drawing (1.5h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
      • ☑ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (3.2h)
      • ☑ Set up WordPress inside a VM
    • Tracking
      • ☑ Add prices
      • ☑ Report in nwi-style
      • ☑ Fix locked in RRSP
      • ☑ Try out Studiotax in a VM
      • ☑ Pivot my accounts for easier balance checking
      • ☑ Update TFSA
      • ☑ Fix GIC balance
      • ☑ Set up combined ledger
      • ☑ Update A-‘s ledger
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.1h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (12.9h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (87.4h – 52%)
    • Childcare (76.2h – 45% of total)
  • Sleep (53.7h – 31% – average of 7.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 17, 2017

The ocularist let us postpone our appointment due to scary weather forecasts. It’s a good thing A- stayed home, actually, as she ended up dealing with a stomach bug all week. We stayed home from everything – workshop, play date, early years centres. She stayed pretty energetic and hydrated, so we weren’t particularly worried, but it’s good to keep other people from getting sick. Anyway, she’s all better now!

She’s doing surprisingly well at drinking water out of a two-handled open cup. We didn’t even have to buy anything new, since the snack cup works perfectly fine for this purpose. We pour just a little water for her each time, since she still likes pouring everything out after each sip. She likes crackers and will also give bagels and pizza crusts a try. She likes noodles, and is interested in chopsticks and forks. W- regularly takes her on tours of the spice cabinet and the pantry.

She’s been practising her “ha” and “pa” sounds. She also seems to recognize the words “head”, “knees”, “toes”, and “all done”, and responds with the appropriate gestures. She knows socks are associated with feet (although sometimes she wants to try them as mittens).

She often wants me to help her put on or take off jackets, mittens, or socks, and she also asks me to put on or take off socks. She started pushing toys along while crawling, too.

Lindsay from Surrey Place came and answered some questions I had about monocular vision and any available resources. She has worked with a number of people with microphthalmia, but the people who have good vision in their other eye typically adapt well and don’t need their services. I guess I’ll just have to connect with people through conferences and Facebook groups.

We were on a baking sprint: roasting up a series of practically perfect russet potatoes, trying a different pizza stretching technique, and making blondies and baby biscotti for the first time. We had fun watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, too.

After lots of trip planning, we decided to postpone going to the Philippines until W- can also go, unless there’s an emergency. I’ve been trying to make up for it with lots more video chats, although of course it’s not the same. It’ll probably be easier to travel when A- is more independent. In the meantime, life is full of tough choices.

The week was mostly focused on A- and my family, but I had a little time to help with the code I turned over to my consulting client. Still prioritizing our tasks over increasing my consulting, but it’s nice to be able to provide value even with a little time here and there.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.7h – 89% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.2h – 10% of Business)
      • ☑ Follow up on amended corporate tax return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.9h – 1%)
    • ☑ Update A-‘s ledger
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.9h – 3%)
    • Drawing (1.6h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (1.3h)
    • Writing (1.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.9h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (97.7h – 58%)
    • Childcare (92.5h – 55% of total)
  • Sleep (67.5h – 40% – average of 9.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 24, 2017

The last session of the Let’s Get Started series focused on sensory processing disorders. Since no one was particularly concerned about that yet, we took the opportunity to ask questions about early detection and intervention, school accommodations, and parent advocacy. I feel reasonably good about the systems for education and public health here, but it’s always good to know what we can do to make things better and what options we can explore. I’d like us to be able to make good decisions about A-‘s growth, so in addition to learning how to work with the public school system, I’m also looking into homeschooling. Looking forward to helping A- get whatever she needs!

The parent advocacy workshop session focused on assertive communication. It got me thinking about what I want to learn from the workshop and how I want to approach the upcoming challenges and opportunities.

I took A- to the sensory play day at the Junction Family Resource Centre. She spent most of the time close to me, occasionally venturing forth to play with water, jelly, and cereal. She seems to be more reserved than the other babies, preferring to observe and to be a little apart from the crowd. I understand what that’s like, and I’m totally okay with it. At home, she babbles happily while hammering pegs, stacking cans, and crawling around. Maybe it’s familiarity, maybe it’s the quiet… We’ll figure out how to play to her strengths while mixing in exposure to new things. She’s growing to be nicely resilient, too, recovering quickly from upsets or surprises.

I’ve been thinking about taking her on little field trips so that she can see things and learn words. She’s been picking up new vocabulary pretty quickly, responding to words like “head”, “knees”, and “brush” with the appropriate gestures. I think it would be good to get into a weekly habit of going to places like the Riverdale Farm and the Royal Ontario Museum so that we can point to things and learn even more words. She’s a bit young, but it’s as good a time as any to start that routine. If I spring for the ROM membership that includes the ability to invite guests, it might even be an impetus to be more social.

Speaking of being social, we went to the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre. A- was a little sleepy and mostly clung to me. I chatted with some of the other folks there about gardening, food, and other shared interests.

Nilda visited us again this week, and she gave us tips for language development: labeling things in books and seeing if A- will point to them, repeating nursery songs and rhymes, and making animal sounds while showing the animal.

My de Quervain’s was bad this week, so it was hard to type or draw. I used my discretionary time to bake muffins and blondies instead. I also managed to sew a quick wet bag, woohoo!

One of our weekday evenings was more frazzled than usual. I didn’t even realize how tired and hungry I was until I flubbed the recipe I was trying to help with. Fortunately, W- rescued the cabbage rolls and it all worked out. I’m much more comfortable when the fridge is well stocked, so I’ll spend the time on weekends to do so.

I still managed to do some consulting, though. I deployed some code for categories and prioritization, and people are already happily using it. Yay!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.9h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 90% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.1h – 9% of Business)
      • ☑ Follow up on amended corporate tax return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.4h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.4h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.7h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (16.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (85.6h – 50%)
    • Childcare (74.8h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (61.0h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 31, 2017

A- got a new conformer (the ocular prosthesis that supports the bones around her eye socket so that her skull can grow more symmetrically). This one is taller, although it doesn’t keep her eyelids as open as the previous one did. We’re still going with a plain conformer instead of a painted shell, even if it draws more questions from strangers. (“What’s wrong with her eye?”) The conformers are much cheaper to replace than a painted shell, so we don’t feel like we need to hover over A- or turn places upside down in case of loss. Our ocularist shaped the conformer with a ridge to help it stay in the eye, since the regular shell shape kept slipping out. And hey, if someone recognizes it as a conformer for microphthalmia and strikes up a conversation with us, that’s awesome. Microphthalmia affects about 1 in 10,000, and I’ve already met a few people with this condition or who have a family member with this condition. Yay connecting!

I’m curious about the science and technology behind this whole process, so I ordered the Clinical Ocular Prosthetics textbook when it was 50% off last Monday. Springer was having technical issues with their shopping cart, so I had to contact customer service to get two failed Paypal transactions sorted out. Anyway, the textbook should be here in one or two weeks. I look forward to working through it and sharing my notes.

I decided to get a membership to the Royal Ontario Museum, and we went three times last week. We also went to the High Park zoo. The capybaras were not in their paddock due to weather conditions, so we didn’t get to see the new pups. There was a lamb, though!

Spending time with A- has been surprisingly enjoyable. We’re both learning so much, and we haven’t even reached the walking or talking stages. I expect her learning to really take off once she gets the hang of those things. Sure, she’ll become more of a handful as she grows more independent and tests her boundaries, but that might be a good opportunity to test all the things I’ve been learning from books about parenting, communication, philosophy, and hostage negotiations. ;)

I’m curious about what the possibilities might be if we’re still in a position to have a stay-at-home parent when she’s old enough for school. I have a generally positive feeling about public school here. J- did fine with a bit of help with homework and study groups. Still, I wonder what education could be like with individualized attention and things that don’t scale. I have a few years to explore our options before junior and senior kindergarten, which are optional in Toronto anyway. The things I’ve researched make me fairly optimistic about the possibilities in general, so it’s really a matter of the specifics. We’ll see.

Part of that preparation is learning how to work with existing systems, so that’s where the parent advocacy workshop comes in. We discussed I statements this week, and we’ll be talking about the school system next week. The social worker conducting the program has a lot of experience with families who homeschool their kids, so I’ve asked for more information on that too.

A- did all right on the 12-month checklists assessed by Lisa, our Healthy Children Healthy Babies nurse. Lisa also complimented us on our feeding relationship when she did the NCAST feeding scale.

Another milestone: A- can connect 2×2 Duplo pieces together much of the time! She sometimes needs a little help orienting the pieces, but still… Way cool! A- also assembles, pushes down on, and takes apart the salad spinner, especially if there are pieces of nori in it. She loves sprinkling herbs and salt. She sways from side to side when I sing certain songs, babbles with “da” and “ga” sounds, and strums her lips all on her own. So many fun things.

W- made sure we had plenty of yummy food in the fridge. This week worked out really well: shepherd’s pie, cabbage rolls, buckwheat noodles with banchan, pizza, congee, and instant noodles. The blondies were not as awesome as last week’s blondies, so I could use more practice.

We had time to go on a long walk with W-, and I even had a little time to catch up on movies. Over the course of several late nights, I watched Star Trek Beyond, Ghostbusters, and X-Men: Apocalypse. Yay!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.8h – 87% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.3h – 12% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.0h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.0h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.3h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • ☑ Follow up on Paypal and Springer
  • Discretionary – Play (4.5h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (18.4h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (80.4h – 47%)
    • Childcare (64.2h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 7, 2017

My copy of Clinical Ocular Prosthetics arrived. I made an index card of the chapter on practical living tips. It covers mostly the same ground as A Singular View, with the addition of some tips on cleaning the prosthesis and selecting glasses. The illustrations aren’t as nice as the other book, though. I also read the chapter on psychosocial effects and checked out the pictures and profiles included in the book. Looks like it’s a bit of a toss-up: some people can pass off as normal or embrace their situation with a sense of humour, and other people were badly affected by bullying and low self-esteem. I look forward to digging into the more technical chapters.

After some discussion with W-, I’ve signed up for the toddler music classes offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music. I hadn’t been too keen on the other music classes advertised on posters around our neighbourhood, since I wasn’t sure how much value they added beyond the circle times we often go to, playing with music at home, and singing. The RCM classes are part of ongoing research into the neuroscience of early childhood music education, though, so I’m more interested in that than in, say, a franchised program that might be mostly run out of a manual. Rhythm, enjoyment, and ear training seem to be among the things that benefit from early attention, so we’ll give the classes a try.

A- woke up early on Wednesday, so we made it out to the PFLC in the morning. It was so busy, though, and she didn’t relax enough to venture forth. I guess we’re both a little slow to warm up. She felt more comfortable at the JFRC. We went to an early literacy workshop conducted by Dave Page. It was a small group – four babies – and she was the oldest baby there. She was totally fine crawling around, playing with toys, flipping through books, asking for more bubbles, and so on. We chatted about child development and I picked up a few new songs.

Neat language development of the week: A- fake-snores to signal that she’s tired or when she’s prompted by us talking about sleep or bedtime.

Lots of gross motor development, too. She’s been working on standing independently, and can do so for a few seconds if you set her on her feet. She had lots of fun walking on grass, and she even climbed up an inclined mattress. She walked up the stairs with us holding her hands for support.

She likes splashing her feet in the sink and pouring water from one container to another. She leans in to hug her stuffed lamb or our cat. She likes sprinkling herbs and salt when we cook, but don’t ask her to sprinkle cheese on pizza, because she’ll eat it instead.

We went to the ROM and caught the Gems and Gold tour. We also checked out the gallery of Canadian history, which had a section on the Franklin expedition. Their collection of early Canadian furniture was interesting, too. There were a few people walking around while singing – members of a choir on a school field trip, maybe – so it was an unexpectedly wonderful experience.

W- started cleaning up the garden. He disassembled the cage we used to protect the tomatoes and strawberries from squirrels. First step towards making the garden more toddler-friendly!

Lots of posts on my blog, since I took the time to publish a few drafts I had on my phone. A bit of ledger updating too, and time for a few movies.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.2h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.5h – 79% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.6h – 20% of Business)
      • ☑ [#A] Prepare invoice – State “DONE” from “TODO” [2017-03-01 Wed 02:16]
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.1h – 4%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Writing (1.4h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.8h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (16.0h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (78.9h – 46%)
    • Childcare (70.1h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (62.0h – 36% – average of 8.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 14, 2017

We focused on the garden this week, taking advantage of warm weather and a long weekend. We disassembled the old raised bed in the middle of the garden and sifted the soil to remove all those roots. Then we moved the soil to the new 3’x12′ raised bed that W- built out of cedar, mixing in plenty of compost and peat moss. A- loved digging in and crawling over the soil, helping us screen the soil and pick out roots, walking down the backyard while holding on to our hands, and splashing water around when cleaning up. I think it will definitely be worth spending extra time, energy, and money on the garden this year. So many opportunities for sensory play. The size 5 shoes I got her fit pretty well. She spends most of the time barefoot or in socks, though, and the backyard is perfect for that.

I took A- to the ROM when it was rainy. We wandered around the biodiversity gallery. A- was okay with petting the mount of the beaver, but not the beaver pelt that was on the table, and she wasn’t keen on the mount of the raccoon or the snakeskin on the table. She was okay with touching walrus skin, though. It’s neat to have all these textures available. I also caught the museum highlights tour, and I wandered through the Asian ceramics gallery while A- was sleeping.

(A- got her own tour of ceramics and glassware at home thanks to W-, who patiently let her drink out of practically every type of mug or glass we had.)

It’s amazing to see A- learn and connect concepts. This week, she saw W- dip his potato wedges in ketchup before eating them. She promptly insisted on dipping more potato wedges in ketchup and feeding them to us – a two-step process! Dipping also encouraged her to taste a bit of the ketchup, and she dipped some cucumber into my curry too. She recognizes the clothes in the small cloth book, and she uses the book to ask for practice wearing the clothes. She continues to enjoy sprinkling things when we’re cooking. On the flip side, she sometimes resists brushing her teeth, sitting on the potty, or going to sleep. She wants more independence and control, I guess!

She recognizes more vocabulary words, too. “Sleep” often gets a fake snore of acknowledgment from her, even if she’s wide awake and we just mentioned it as part of regular conversation. She knows “lamb” and “giraffe” refer to her stuffed toys. Time to add more word/gesture pairs to our routines.

The parent advocacy workshop session this week focused on special education and working with the school system’s identification, placement, and review committee (IPRC) to create an individual education plan (IEP). My main take-away was that it can be a difficult and intimidating process, so it’s a good idea to bring a support person to the meetings. I found a detailed handout with ideas for accommodations and notes on teachers’ perspectives, too, and I’ll probably reach out to the author to see if I can track down some of the sources.

The early literacy workshop on Thursday was sparsely attended. A- was a little hesitant in the beginning, but she warmed up eventually. She enjoyed taking the books out of the box and putting them back in. Since there weren’t a lot of people around, we took advantage of the opportunity for mutual brain-picking. It was interesting hearing about the facilitator’s experiences raising his kids, especially in terms of helping them learn social skills.

We were slightly under the weather due to sniffles, but we still managed to do things around the house. W- rotisseried two chickens, and I made carrot muffins as a way of getting more vegetables into our lives.

I also did a lot of consulting: analyzing searches, fixing table CSS, copying over old data, and dusting off and completing a half-done change to an organizational visualization.

Next: more gardening!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.6h – 2%)
    • Earn (3.6h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.6h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (10.8h – 6%)
    • Drawing (1.4h)
    • Emacs (0.2h)
    • Coding (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.6h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.2h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (77.0h – 45%)
    • Childcare (63.9h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (56.2h – 33% – average of 8.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 21, 2017

We finished emptying the old raised beds and filling the new one. I planted lettuce, beets, peas, radishes, and chives, using popsicle sticks as markers. W- did all the heavy lifting, including moving the patio stones out to make way for sod. A- was as happy as we’d ever seen her: arms deep in the dirt, crawling around, making friends with earthworms. It was awesome.

A- is becoming more independent, and more insistent on doing things her way. She wasn’t too keen on me brushing her teeth last week. I was concerned about her enamel hypoplasia, so I did some more research. After coming across the risk assessment guidelines by the AAPD, I e-mailed our dentist a few questions so that I could properly calibrate my level of concern. To wit: Should W- and I firmly restrain her in order to brush her teeth thoroughly? What about the fluoride varnishes or toothpaste? Should I use xylitol wipes for her teeth, and should I find xylitol mints or chew xylitol gum myself? (Apparently xylitol is good for controlling caries and reducing maternal transmission of mutans streptococci.) The dentist quickly sent me a reassuring reply. We backed off a little, wiping her teeth and gums with a washcloth whenever she didn’t tolerate brushing. Eventually she let me brush her teeth again. It took about five days to get her used to the addition of xylitol wipes to her bedtime routine. I used them myself, and then eventually she let me use them on her teeth.

We went on a few outdoor excursions. I took her to Riverdale Farm to see chickens, ducks, turkeys, horses, cows, pigs, goats, and sheep. It was a bit chilly and she was sleepy, so she stayed in the carrier. I’ll take her there again when the weather warms up.

She was more active at Oaks ‘n Acorns. We checked out their Baby Explorers demo class. The room had a variety of ramps, shakers, scarves, beanbags, and tambourines, and a tunnel for the babies to crawl through. A- was one of the older babies there. She warmed up quickly and crawled around, although she didn’t give the tunnel a try.

We also went with Jen and E- to the park. E- got lots of walking practice, and he had fun in the playground. A- enjoyed swinging, too! She was so happy. Jen shared her orange with us, and A- liked the taste. Then we went back to Jen and Ewan’s place, where we had some yummy sandwiches before heading to PAT Mart for some bitter melon.

Since we’ll be spending more time in the sun this year, I bought two hats and some sunblock. I bought some glycerin in preparation for making home-made bubble solution, too, and I’ve been learning about the science behind bubbles.

There was no parent advocacy workshop because of the Easter break. The early literacy workshop was sparsely attended again this week, so I got to ask the facilitator about all sorts of professional development and emerging research.

Big leaps for A-. She points with an extended finger now, instead of with all her fingers. She recognizes words and remembers locations, even for toys that have been rotated out to the top of a bookshelf. W- has been reading her a small cloth book about clothes (“coat”, “socks”, etc.), and she’s taken to pointing at the book, pointing at the item, and asking us to help her put her coat on. W- also helped A- kick a stray ball around the backyard (well, kinda kick) before returning the ball to the neighbours. She seems to be doing the hand motions for the “Turn around, clap clap” part of one of the nursery songs from the baby time at the library. And A- is working on whistling! Wow! I’ve been inspired to work on whistling, too.

We nearly lost her conformer on the way back from the supermarket. The risks of taking a sleepy baby out for a walk! I checked the carrier, and then I retraced our steps through the store. I couldn’t find it! I started going over my backup plan, and then I thought to pat myself and A- down again. Then I heard the clatter of the conformer hitting the sidewalk… A- must have been holding the conformer in her hand all that time. Neat!

Turkey was on sale at the supermarket, so W- roasted one and we’re slowly going through it.

I filed my taxes and prepared W-‘s, although we’re still waiting for J-‘s paperwork before finalizing his return.

Playing Borderlands 2 with W- got a lot more fun when we switched to both playing sirens, especially once we got ourselves Legendary Binder class mods. We’re more aware of where the other person is on the map and how they’re doing, and it’s fun coordinating phaselocks so that tough enemies don’t even hit the ground. Even with our limited discretionary time, it’s still nice to play video games together.

Next week: winding up workshops, the JFRC potluck, and meeting up with the family home visitor.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.6h – 0%)
    • Build (0.5h – 88% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 11% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.9h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.1h – 5%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.8h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (20.7h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (68.8h – 40%)
    • Childcare (55.3h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (61.1h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending April 28, 2017

So far, only the radishes have germinated. That’s okay, we’re keeping our expectations low. A- and I have fun in the garden whether or not things are growing. There’s always dirt to trowel and water to pour.

We finished the parent advocacy workshop and the early literacy workshop this week. The last session of the parent advocacy workshop was a scenario-based review of community resources, assertive communication, relationship building, and flexible thinking. A- and I were the only ones who attended the early literacy workshop, so we got to pick the specialist’s brains for two hours. This time, I asked about how he has changed over the 25 years he’s been working in the field, his experiences with the school system, and emerging research.

I got a few tips on encouraging A- to walk, talk, and make animal sounds from our family home visitor. She also recommended reaching out to Early Abilities for a possible speech concern, since they have a long waitlist. I’m not too worried yet. A- is great at letting us know what she wants through gestures, and she seems to be focusing on fine and gross motor skills at the moment. Still, early intervention is more effective than catching things late, so we’ll look into it. She tends to be cautious, so that might play into it too.

A- does, however, warm up with repeated exposure. After a few days of me wiping my teeth with the xylitol wipes, she’s now okay with having her teeth wiped by them too. I also experimented with a recipe for xylitol mints for me. They’re a bit sweet, but they’re not bad for a first try.

Also, speaking of letting me know what she wants, A- occasionally rolls me off the floor bed. She also sometimes signs for water and then takes advantage of the opportunity to dive for my pillow as soon as I turn to get her the water she asked for. Hilarious. We’re having more fun with social games now: peek-a-boo, tickling, etc. When we went to High Park to see the cherry blossoms, we bumped into another family from the JFRC. A- enjoyed sharing snacks with them and imitating the 3-year-old as she tossed pinecones down the hill.

I made carrot muffins for the JFRC potluck, yay! I left midway to go to the ROM, where I pointed at various animals and named them. I checked out their Philippine collection, too, and the statues from Greece and Rome. We also went to Chinatown to stock up on salted black beans for W-‘s favourite bitter melon dish.

Other things: I ordered a textbook on observation in early childhood education. Might be interesting. I prepared W- and J-‘s taxes, and I hung out in #emacs helping people while putting together Emacs News. W- took apart the porch – construction season begins!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.2h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.0h – 44% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.2h – 55% of Business)
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.1h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (2.2h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (6.9h – 4%)
  • Personal routines (23.3h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (67.6h – 40%)
    • Childcare (54.8h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (56.7h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 5, 2017

A- has been working on standing independently. When we’re hanging out on her floor bed in preparation for bedtime, she often stands for a few seconds, grinning widely to much clapping and verbal reinforcement, then sits down. She does the “more” sign to ask me if I want more, to which I sign and say back: “More!” If I don’t display her desired level of enthusiasm, she’ll actually move my hands to do the “more” sign, just like I did when I was teaching her how to make the sign when she was around 6 months old. The things babies remember! (Another fruit from a long-ago seed: she joins me in hiding under a scarf.)

She’s been really keen on walking around with help, even up and down stairs. We checked out the Toronto Association of Parent Educators’ meetup in the Wallace Emerson Community Centre’s gym, and A- liked just walking around and around in that big open space. She also wanted to play with a soccer ball and a tennis ball, since she’d been doing that at home. I took her to the ROM, too. The rotunda staircase has a shallow rise and a longer than normal run, so it was very nice to climb. She made it from the ground floor to the third level, then back down, then all the way back up again. She likes sliding down a slide with my assistance. As for fine motor control, she has mostly gotten the hang of unscrewing bottle caps, and she’s interested in screwing them closed too.

We continue to work on animal sounds and other language abilities. No moos or meows yet, but she says “ba” to ask for bubbles, so that’s a start.

So much progress in terms of cognition. She points at lots of things, including the flowers she noticed during one of our afternoon walks. She peeled a mandarin orange, biting the skin to create the first break and then peeling the rest off with her fingers. She put her dishes away in the dishwasher to signal that she was all done with the meal. She wanted to carry my backpack, put the electric toothbrush together, and chase and be chased (while being carried). She’s learning how to respect mealtimes, or at least let us finish even if she’s not hungry. She peeks under scarves when we’re playing peekaboo, and she’ll join us in hiding.

I’ve been learning a lot, too. We went to the ROM to check out the Family Camera exhibit, and I got to chat with one of the curators (turns out she’s married to one of the OEYC facilitators). A- and I wandered around the dinosaur gallery, too, as I’ve been learning more about dinosaurs so that I can name the different models included in the toy collection. Likewise, I learned about latches because of the latch board we borrowed for A-. I had some time to stir-fry vegetables, bake coconut macaroons, and keep our carrot muffin pipeline flowing.

I read a few books about early childhood education, too. Quick notes:

  • Theories of Childhood: follow up on Erikson and Vygotsky
  • The Importance of Being Little: weaknesses of our current school systems
  • The Reflective Parent: mind-mindedness, reflective practice
  • Montessori Today: interesting details on the Great Stories, elementary education

I’ve been doing most of my reading on a phone, and I take screenshots of things I’d like to think about further. I’d like to improve my process for following up on those, though. I’ll start by sketching quick index cards to summarize the key points before moving on to new books, so at least the notes are part of my Zettelkasten.

W- continues to work on the porch. Much to do and much to learn!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.5h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.3h – 91% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Connect (0.2h – 8% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.8h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.0h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.2h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (18.5h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (76.7h – 45%)
    • Childcare (66.2h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (60.2h – 35% – average of 8.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 12, 2017

We saw a coyote loping down the middle of our street in broad daylight! Wow. It was surprisingly big in real life. I’ve seen signs in High Park warning people about coyotes, but I’d never seen a coyote until now. (Aside from the one in the ROM, of course.)

Speaking of the ROM, A- got a lot of exercise going up and down the stairs with my help – from the ground floor to the third floor and then all the way back down again. She’s also figured out that going up the steps at the playground will lead to a slide ride down, again with my help. Whee! She’s also been having fun standing up and balancing on the mattress before bedtime, and often pushing off the wall so that she can fall. This seems to delight her, and she does it again and again.

Nilda came again. We flipped through the farm animal books I borrowed from the library, and A- obligingly imitated animal sounds: a quick “babababa” like a chicken and something very close to a “woof” like a dog. She matched up the 3D objects with the illustrations, too. She also did the gestures for “Good Morning Train” and a few stanzas of “Roly Poly” – so much progress!

When we video-chatted with Lolo and Lola, A- showed them what she learned about body parts. On cue, she pointed to her nose, ears, and so on. Lots of pointing at the phone, too, where Lolo pointed to his own nose.

A- has gotten quite interested in smelling things. She discovered that furikake smells interesting, and often asks for it at breakfast.

I bought some more Duplo and a couple of books from the second-hand sale in Bloor West, and Michael McGuffin sent us the beginnings of A-‘s robot army. Whee!

I took A- to my doctor’s appointment. Putting her in a back-carry worked out all right. We got there early, so we had a picnic lunch in the park. She was fascinated by the pigeons.

I forgot my library card and credit card in my pants, and ended up fishing them out of the dryer vent several days later. Fortunately, I already made a checklist of things to do whenever I lose those cards (second time in a few months), so it was easy to update my accounts.

Lots of reading this week, including a print book. I finished reading “How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen” (borrowed as an e-book from the library), and I skimmed the relevant chapters in “Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense” (only available as a print book). I finally got to watch Doctor Strange, and I rewatched Deathly Hallows Part 2.

W- discovered that my seed-starting tray leaked water – fortunately before it messed up the carpet. We swapped it out for one of the roasting pans. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderfully patient and supportive husband who takes a problem-solving approach to things!

I put in a few hours of consulting to fix old data and get a few reports working properly again. I should’ve checked it two weeks ago. I’m still not happy with the manual way I have to hack around an encoding issue, but it will just have to do for now.

W- has been working on demolishing the concrete pad and planning the stairs. It was fun walking around the neighbourhood and looking at people’s stairs and bases. I’ve also been learning a lot about latches, thanks to the latch board that we borrowed from the JFRC. It’s fascinating to see what’s in plain sight!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (3.1h – 100% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
  • Relationships (0.4h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.7h – 2%)
    • Drawing (4.0h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Writing (0.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (6.2h – 3%)
  • Personal routines (23.0h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (75.7h – 45%)
    • Childcare (69.5h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (54.9h – 32% – average of 7.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 19, 2017

A- had a fever, so we took it easy for a couple of days. It was great to have a digital forehead thermometer that we could use to check her temperature. W- bought it during her last fever. She’s gotten pretty used to it, and will lean in and position her forehead as we bring the thermometer close to her. We checked each other’s temperature so many times that I think we may need to replace the batteries.

As A- cooled down from her fever, the weather warmed up, so we went to the playground for plenty of outside time. I pushed her in the swing for as long as she wanted, and we went up the stairs and down the slides a few times. We also went to the JFRC for their sensory play day. She splashed the water around for a bit and sampled the cereal that was in another bowl, but was far more interested in emptying and refilling my bag.

I took A- to the dentist for a quick examination. The dark spot that I had noticed on her right central incisor had lightened up, but it was a good idea to check anyway. The dentist confirmed that everything was still okay, and that we’re doing pretty much all the right things as well as we can. I asked the dentist about fluoride varnishes and other recommendations from AAPD, and she explained her reasons for minimizing additional fluoride exposure considering the fluoride that A- probably gets in her diet. Makes sense to me. Home care is the main thing. A- is definitely keen on imitating us (brushing teeth, flossing, etc.) and not too keen on us doing things for her, but she’ll let us wipe her teeth and gums with washcloths a few times a day. I hope it’s enough.

A- is quickly picking up other household routines, too. If we pull the dining chair up to the sink, she can stand on it and imitate how we wash dishes. She seems to enjoy the water play. Laundry is fair game, too. Most of our clothes are too unwieldy for her, but the small flannel wipes are just the right size to unfold and shake out, and then I smooth and re-stack them after her interest wanes and she moves on. She has also gotten pretty good at looping a long towel behind her neck and snuggling into it, almost like a boa.

A- continues to practise standing in short bursts on the mattress. Once she stood for a count of 60, which was the longest I’ve seen from her so far. Lots of snuggles and shared time with W- and A- this week, too, including some adorable turn-taking around hugging A-‘s sheep.

I asked Nilda about feeding dynamics. It turns out to be good to wait for A- to agree to sit in her high chair instead of occasionally giving in and letting her snack while sitting on the floor. I’m also feeling more confident about resisting what seems to be A-‘s requests for a snack a short time after a light meal, although I’ll let A- have another bedtime snack if our evening routine stretches out a couple of hours longer than I expected. Nilda also shared some sun safety tips: light long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help keep A- safe from both sun and bugs this summer.

We were planning to host W-‘s family for Mother’s Day. Since we were in a tidying-up mood, I simplified A-‘s play area and the diaper setup in her room, rotating out many of the toys and putting other things closer within reach. The party got cancelled, so W- wrapped most of the steaks and put them in the freezer. More for us, then! I’ve also been able to squeeze in some cooking, including a graveyard shift banchan-making spree.

W- bought a PS Vita Slim and passed his old Vita down to me, so I started playing Trails of Cold Steel. I enjoyed Trails in the Sky, and I’m looking forward to exploring this one’s world. I’ve also made sure to mix in some productive graveyard shift time, including a few chapters of the Week by Week textbook and a bit of reporting for my consulting client. W-‘s been busy, too. He broke up the concrete pad and buried the rubble. Level up!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.0h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.0h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.9h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.9h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Writing (0.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (8.4h – 5%)
  • Personal routines (18.1h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (83.7h – 49%)
    • Childcare (73.9h – 43% of total)
  • Sleep (51.0h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 26, 2017

This week, A- picked up lots of gestures for the songs we’d been singing at circle time. She not only gestures while I sing, she also gestures to ask me to sing. “Rain is Falling Down” and “The More We Get Together” seem to be her favourites at the moment. She sometimes asks for those three or more times in a row.

She seems to take a lot of pleasure in imitating us, and has been paying attention to our household routines. She joined me in washing the spinach for banchan, loading the dryer with laundry, and putting away the stack of freshly-laundered wipes. It’s fun looking for ways to involve her in more of our chores.

The Duralex Picardie tumblers I ordered for A- arrived. She now uses proper glassware (shatter-resistant, yay), so her snack cup can be restored to its original purpose. She’s been having fun offering us food and snatching it away at the last minute, complete with a delighted “Gyah!” She spent quite a few minutes experimenting with the fridge magnets. They stick to the fridge, but not to the wall, and they stay on the window sill if she lets go of them. Wow! She also practised pouring with the small pitchers I borrowed from the JFRC. She still spills a bit, but that’s to be expected.

For our field trip this week, we checked out the Gooch family drop-in. It was a quiet afternoon and A- was the only kid in the main area, but she still mostly stayed close to me. The Gooch drop-in is in a building’s rec room. It’s a larger, more brightly-lit space than JFRC, with quite a few scheduled programs. The parent relief service might come in handy when A- is older. In the meantime, we might check out the main site at Shaw to see if that’s worth taking the TTC to every so often.

I need to be more careful when it comes to A- and the cats. She had a couple of run-ins with them this week. Fortunately, it was a light scratch, but still.

W- did lots of work around the house. He tuckpointed the bricks, filled in a large gap with expanding foam, built a step for the shed, and showed me how to use a hammer drill to help cut a brick to the right size. Neat!

More updates from family, and a video chat as well. Speaking of video, I figured out a way to deal with the video backlog that we’ve been accumulating. I used ffmpeg to grab the middle 3 seconds of each clip and stitch them together into a quick movie. This lets me appreciate A-‘s growth without doing a lot of editing. I got my Bluetooth headset working with my laptop, too, so I can listen to things late at night.

Other tidbits:

  • If I crack two eggs for my breakfast into a bowl after I pour out the scrambled egg for A-‘s breakfast, it’s easier for me to deal with any shell fragments and to cook the eggs evenly
  • If I do jumping jacks while pushing A- on the swing, she finds it amusing and I get more exercise
  • Now that the weather has warmed up, I’ve been setting the seedlings out. Might plant them next week.
  • Watched a bit of Orphan Black with W-. Played Trails of Cold Steel and a bit of Borderlands 2 as well.
  • Consulting: put together a hierarchical JSON file for someone doing data analysis.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.0h – 93% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 6% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.0h – 0%)
    • ☑ Order glasses
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.3h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.0h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (0.8h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (10.3h – 6%)
  • Personal routines (11.2h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (79.5h – 47%)
    • Childcare (67.9h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (56.5h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 2, 2017

A- passed the developmental screening at her 15-month checkup. She weighed 9.11 kg (25th percentile, up from 15th) and was measured at 74 cm in length (15th percentile), with a head circumference of 44.5 cm (15th percentile). We hadn’t taken her for a weight check in a while, so it was reassuring to see that her self-feeding was working out the way it should. She also got her MMR and varicella vaccines. The nurse was definitely her least favourite person in the world, although the pediatrician seems to be a close second.

We attended a parenting workshop on building resilience. It was a good reminder about the importance of language in cultivating a growth mindset, and of modeling self-care and asking for help. The workshop was held at the Children’s Book Bank, which is a beautifully-organized place with children’s books where people can take one book home per visit.

A- seems to have focused on gross motor skills this week. She figured out how to pull the laundry basket in addition to pushing it, so now she won’t get stuck when she runs into a wall. She put a lot of effort into walking with help while holding a bag and, later, a heavy water bottle. W- saw her turn around while standing independently. At the playground, she figured out how to go down the slide by herself, too.

It’s been an interesting mix of independence and closeness. I showed her how to spread peanut butter on bread, and she spread quite a few pieces for me even though she preferred to eat other things. She imitated wiping with toilet paper, tossing the pieces into the toilet, and even flushing. One evening, she seemed to want to keep reading – she protested when we turned off the lights. When we turned the lights back on, she spent a few more minutes with her book. (“I was just getting to the good part!”, probably.)

But she was also very snuggly this week, even before the stress of the injections at the doctor’s office. She shifted back to two naps a day, with the second nap in the evening, so her bedtime has been quite erratic. Nilda shared some tips on helping A- through this cycle of dependence and independence.

A- figured out a new sound, the ending “p”, and experimented with babbling “hep” and “pop”. She definitely uses “mah” to approximate “meow” when referring to the cats, and occasionally blows raspberries to imitate their purring.

Other stuff:

  • For consulting, I tweaked a SQL script for slightly better performance. It turns out NOT IN is faster than NOT EXISTS.
  • I updated my ledger file and found an account maintenance fee for TD Waterhouse, which I’ve asked about.
  • I read a few chapters of Week by Week and Mind in the Making.
  • I backed up videos of A- to our home server and photos to Google Photo
  • Lots of cooking: pizza, fried rice, shake and bake, congee
  • I transplanted the tomato seedlings and some of the basil.
  • W- poured the concrete for the door sill.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.4h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.4h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.7h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.9h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (17.1h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (84.4h – 50%)
    • Childcare (74.3h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (53.9h – 32% – average of 7.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 9, 2017

The big thing this week: A- took a few steps on her own! She still holds onto our hands almost all the time, but there have been a few times she wanted to carry the mini-basketball, so she needed to use both of her hands. A few tentative, wobbly steps – but progress!

I took A- for a new conformer. She’s got a good memory. She started crying as soon as we got to the waiting room, and she ended up crying for an hour. As soon as the new conformer was in, she stopped crying. Anticipation is the worst part, I guess. The poor dear! I took her for a blood test on the same day, and she cried as soon as she saw the nurse. Oh well, some things must be endured.

She’s pretty resilient, though. She slid down a bit too fast on the slide in the park and cut her lip a little, but she bounced back after some nursing, and then we went down the slide together a few more times.

We attended the Early Abilities orientation, since our home visitor had been concerned about A-‘s speech and language development. A- was a bit sleepy, so she was fake-snoring throughout the presentation. I got quite a few stares across the room, which turned into smiles when people realized I wasn’t the one snoring, it was A-. I picked up a few tips on modeling play and language for A-, to help her ease into a place when she’s slow to warm up. I tried it out at the JFRC, and she ended up having lots of fun with the play kitchen and the sensory play area. She even crawled a short way into the tunnel.

We started music classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She mostly snuggled with me, but that’s okay. It was still a good opportunity to learn new songs, pay attention to the concepts being used, and get a sense of how that paid program differs from the free circle times we’ve been to.

We made it out to the ROM for our Fieldtrip Friday. A- pointed to lots of specimens. She was fascinated by the benches in the bird gallery, and delighted in being pulled up on them so that she could pull herself forward and down. She tried drinking from the drinking fountain, too.

Nilda came with a brush and a bottle of tempera paint. Just like last week, A- spent pretty much the entire time snuggling with me, so I took the opportunity to ask Nilda about snack ideas instead. I think I’ve been too conservative. A- can probably figure out how to eat all sorts of things, even with only six teeth. Time to try sweet peppers, liver spread, and other yummy things.

I’ll help A- learn how to paint when she’s more relaxed, as it’s good for fine motor skills. I tried to sew her an apron, but she didn’t want to have the loop go over her head. Maybe we’ll paint without that first, and then introduce an apron or a smock when she’s more interested.

A- helped pick up maple seeds, putting them in the medium-sized recycling bin we’ve been using to collect yard waste. She’s taken to trimming the bush on the side of the house by pulling handfuls from it and dumping the leaves in the bin. After a few trips back and forth, she decided that it would be more efficient to lug the bin (with my help) next to the bush, and that worked out very well. The gears are turning!

She also insisted on emptying our small recycling bin into the large recycling bin that we take out to the curb, and she sorted out the minifigs that she had mixed into the shape sorter. Something something sensitive period for order indeed… Good to keep improving our processes and routines, then, so that she picks those up as she learns.

Other notes:

  • W- spent the weekend pouring concrete for the stair footing. Lots of hard work!
  • Discussed trip timing with my family.
  • Consulting: exported follower info, reorganized SQL extract script.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.5h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.4h – 93% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 6% of Business)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.6h – 2%)
    • Drawing (1.8h)
    • Emacs (0.1h)
    • Sewing (1.3h)
    • Writing (1.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.8h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.4h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (82.2h – 48%)
    • Childcare (66.4h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (60.4h – 35% – average of 8.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 16, 2017

This week’s warm and sunny weather prompted us to play with water outside. W- dangled A- over the sprinkler, and she stretched her legs out towards the spray. She also had fun pouring water from one measuring cup to the other. We went to the sensory play day at the JFRC, where she played with water, pasta, and Cheerios for a bit before wandering off to the main room for some more paper-dot scooping. She played with play dough for the first time, too, squishing it in her fist and even imitating how I cut it with a wooden knife. She played with sand at the OEYC as well, scooping it up and pouring it into the sand wheels.

She crawled through a small tunnel set up at the OEYC. She’s getting more comfortable with exploring, yay! She warmed up enough in music class to shake the bells to various songs, walk around, and stand up or sit down at roughly the right places in “Ring around the roses”. At home, she put the jingly cat toys in the egg carton and shook it, smiling widely, and she took turns giving it to J- and Y-. (But not me – I got “gaaah!” and a smile.)

We followed up on Nilda’s suggestion to let A- try painting with a brush. A- took to that and to the paint dabber right away, dipping the brush in the tempera and swiping it across the paper. I mailed the first batch of her paintings to my parents and sister in the Philippines, so they can get in on the fridge-art action.

She’s definitely keen to imitate us: ripping lettuce for salad, washing and drying spinach for pancakes, trying to wear our shoes, asking for a kiss by making smooching sounds.

I’ve been working on getting more vegetables into our daily routines. The sale on bell peppers got us into the habit of accompanying breakfast with sliced peppers. A- likes feeding us while occasionally snatching the food away, and that’s encouraged her to try peppers from time to time too. I’ve been mixing spinach into scrambled eggs, snacking on silken tofu, and generally expanding our repertoire. Eating better little by little!

I dusted off the source code for Quantified Awesome. I’ve been working on getting a development environment up and running again, since coding can become casual fun if I have a safe place to try things out without worrying about messing up my main system. As for consulting, I’ve been working on improving the organization and maintainability of our data extract script, and that will probably pay off later on.

For next week, Nilda suggested focusing on counting, and letting A- practise fine motor skills with stickers and puzzles. I’ve got a dentist appointment on Friday, so we’ll see how that goes too.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (7.0h – 4%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 12% of Business)
    • Build (6.1h – 87% of Business)
      • ☑ Get tests to run again
      • ☑ Figure out how to run the system
      • ☑ Deal with package changes
      • ☑ Don’t log ActionController::RoutingError
      • ☑ bundle update
  • Relationships (0.4h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.7h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.3h)
    • Emacs (0.9h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.7h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (77.3h – 45%)
    • Childcare (67.8h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (52.1h – 31% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 23, 2017

It was a good week for arts and crafts. One afternoon, I set up painting stations for both me and A- outside. She decided that she wanted to paint with my small paintbrush instead of her large one, painted her piece of paper, and then added finishing touches to mine. I also turned her loose with crayons and a pad of paper, and I made playdough for her to cut and roll.

In music class, A- imitated how we used rhythm sticks and jingle bells. She walked around with me during the parts that involved walking, and stood up and sat down during the appropriate parts in Ring Around the Rosies. I picked up the textbook that the teacher recommended as an intro to early music education (Move, Sing, Listen, Play). It has lots of activities for preschoolers, but there are also a number of activities I can do with a toddler. I learned more about speech games, chants, improvisation, and rhythm. I asked the teacher a few follow-up questions at the session on Thursday. Answers so far: background music is not recommended because kids can’t focus on it and it teaches kids to shut off their ears; even if A- is mostly just exposed to my singing voice, that’s fine; concerts require a longer attention span, but the ROM open house might be a good opportunity to share more performances with her.

We checked out the Creating Together drop-in centre in Parkdale. The circle time there is high-energy and fast-paced, so it’ll probably be nice for A- when she’s a bit older. I prefer our neighbourhood centres for now.

To follow up on Nilda’s suggestions from last week, I borrowed a shape puzzle from the JFRC. The one with basic shapes is a good starting point because A- can fit the shapes in a variety of ways, instead of having to rotate each shape to just the right orientation. A- can complete that puzzle with a little help, so maybe I’ll let her practise with that a little more and get the next step up.

Nilda and I did a parent-focused activity about emotional refueling. Sleep, eat, take care of my personal routines, spend time with W-, journal, put together Emacs News, code, play, go for a walk… Life is pretty good, actually. I only feel really stretched when I stay up too late and A- wakes up unexpectedly early. Since I stay up in order to enjoy a bit of personal time for journaling, writing, and coding, it’s probably an acceptable trade-off.

A- has been working on sleeping more independently, anyway. There were a couple of times that she stayed sleeping when I took her out of the carrier, and she sometimes tosses and turns a bit by herself before going to bed instead of just falling asleep while nursing.

We had a video chat with Lolo and one with Lola. Lots of pointing to body parts, singing songs and using gestures, and pointing to the person on the phone. Yay! It felt like proper interaction. Looking forward to more long-distance grandparent-grandchild bonding.

W- entertained A- while I was at the dentist. My experiment of going more often for shorter periods of time seems to be working out well, although I might want to switch back to using the electric toothbrush so that I can clean my teeth more thoroughly.

After the dentist appointment, W- decided to take the rest of the day off and join us for a field trip to the Royal Ontario Museum. A- was a little sleepy, but she still enjoyed climbing up stairs, sitting on benches, and pointing at various animal specimens. (Some of which I labeled incorrectly, whoops! gotta pay more attention and not mix things up.)

I managed to dust off my development setup for Quantified Awesome, and I’m slowly getting back into the groove of coding for myself (and occasionally helping out other people). Thanks to Will Monroe for the nudge! It will probably take me a few weeks or more to wrap my mind around the multiple timelines feature I want to build, but it’s nice to have a development environment again where I can try things out without worrying about breaking my main install badly. I’m so glad that past Sacha wrote all these tests. As for consulting – I ran the revised script to extract data, and that worked out fine.

A- and I harvested some of the radishes from the garden. There were only a few round radish roots, but that’s okay. We cooked the radish greens and had them along with the white cut chicken. It was fun watching A- pull up radishes and be curious about the roots and leaves. Low actual yield, but the garden’s already worth it.

W-‘s been finalizing the plans for the porch. I read up on various approaches so that I could help think through stuff. He extended the concrete pad for the stairs, which took a bit more work but which was the Right Thing to Do. He also swapped out our kitchen sink drain for one that was easier to empty. Kaizen!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (10.0h – 5%)
    • Earn (0.5h – 4% of Business)
    • Build (9.5h – 95% of Business)
      • ☑ Set up dev environment on my laptop
      • ☑ Define menu as JSON and have it fleshed out
      • ☑ Status
      • ☑ Record – get last activity
      • ☑ Adjust – start X minutes from start of last activity
      • ☑ Help Will with Quantified Awesome
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.2h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.6h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.1h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (15.1h – 8%)
  • A- (Childcare) (70.4h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (46.5h – 27% – average of 6.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 30, 2017

A’s bottom left lateral incisor emerged, so that makes tooth #7. She’s been understandably out of sorts this week. One day, she was on edge and easy to startle and upset (but fortunately, also easy to soothe). She was also not keen on being at the doctor’s office to discuss the results from her blood test, but ah well, these things are important.

She was pretty relaxed for the Healthy Babies Healthy Children visit, though, which probably helped the nurse and the home visitor think we might be ready for discharge sometime soon. For our next activity, Nilda suggested making hand-print casts out of plaster of Paris by using playdough molds, so we might try that next week.

Our music classes wrapped up for June. I wrote a reflection on how that was different from drop-in circle times. I liked it enough to sign up for July sessions as well as the fall term starting in September. We enjoyed the open house at the Royal Conservatory of Music, too. A- attended her first concert, and we also attended a brief presentation on the neuroscience behind the music classes she’s taking. We made it to baby time at the library, too, and I got a ukulele songbook from the librarian. Looking forward to learning more nursery songs, especially since A- enjoys things like Ring Around the Rosies.

A- was interested in washing dishes this week. She often dragged the chair over to the sink so that she could stand on it and “wash” the dishes. It took me much longer to wash dishes with her help, but it was fun to get her involved.

I invited Alexandra and E- to the ROM. As usual, A- and I spent most of our time in the discovery wing, and a little time in the biodiversity area. A- was fascinated by chairs, benches, the bird exhibits, and the tiger.

Other stuff:

  • We decided on our footwear policy for A-: barefoot as much as possible, socks if they seem like a good idea, shoes if necessary.
  • I used some of my discretionary time to code an RSS link lister for making Emacs News.
  • I also filed a few health spending account claims – good to do a bit of paperwork here and there.
  • I picked up chives from PAT Central, and we went on a gyoza-making kick. Yummy!
  • Consulting: documented a few reports
  • I chatted with Kathy and with my dad about feeding kids, passing on some of the tips I picked up from research.
  • Lots of writing and drawing this week! I like organizing my thoughts. It helps to take an afternoon nap along with A- so that my mind can be somewhat fresh after she goes to bed for the night.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.6h – 2%)
    • Earn (0.6h – 12% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Update data extract
    • Build (4.1h – 87% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.5h – 2%)
    • ☑ Healthy Babies Healthy Children
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.3h – 5%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (1.0h)
    • Coding (1.3h)
      • ☑ RSS link script
    • Writing (1.8h)
      • ☑ Notes on the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program
      • ☑ Notes on music classes
    • ☑ Figure out Freedom Mobile preauthorized payment
    • ☑ Follow up on HSA claim form
  • Discretionary – Play (3.3h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (15.9h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (17.4h – 10%)
  • A- (Childcare) (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (47.7h – 28% – average of 6.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 7, 2017

What a week! All of a sudden, we have a toddler: one who walks a little unsteadily, but with great enthusiasm. W- discovered that you can nudge A- to walk on her own if you give her something to carry and ask her to take it to someone. After a few trips back and forth, A- got the hang of it. She still cruises from time to time, and she prefers to walk holding our hands, but she’ll also toddle towards the sprinkler or across the deck. Whee! She also managed to put her shoes on by herself, and practised putting on her glasses in front of a mirror. (Which she can recognize herself in, yay!)

We got a second-hand Learning Tower, and A- has been making great use of it in the kitchen. She imitates the way we wash dishes, scramble eggs, and cut (she has playdough and her knife). New words: Gyo(za), ham, noo(dles). Also exciting: A- has been working on rinsing and spitting, which is an important precursor to being able to use fluoride toothpaste!

Nilda brought glue, pompoms, and glitter. A- particularly enjoyed shaking glitter all over the glue-covered piece of paper. I followed up on Nilda’s suggestion of plaster of Paris, and we’ve been making casts of A-‘s hand print. A- got to the point of waiting for me to press her hand into the playdough to make the hand mold. Our field trip to AGO was practically a footnote to such an eventful week.

We’ve been working on helping her practise waiting, too. Sometimes it’s easy to keep her occupied with songs and sometimes she’s harder to settle, but that’s normal.

On my side: analytics SQL, some time visualization, nd lots of revving up of my early childhood education research. A-‘s learning tons, and I remember there were quite a few resources I came across early on that looked like they would be more useful around this age. So much to learn for all of us! =)

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (8.6h – 5%)
    • Earn (3.8h – 43% of Business)
      • ☑ Update data extract
    • Build (4.9h – 56% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Batch edit for categories
      • ☑ Check infinite loops for get_color
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.5h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.1h – 4%)
    • Drawing (3.8h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
      • ☑ Set up Cron
      • ☑ Try out planetplanet
      • ☑ Figure out how to blacklist
      • ☑ Fix unicode
    • Coding (0.5h)
    • Writing (1.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.9h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.9h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (10.8h – 6%)
  • A- (Childcare) (72.1h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (52.9h – 31% – average of 7.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 21, 2017

A-‘s first two upper molars have partially emerged. Our sleep’s disrupted by middle-of-the-night wakings and she’s a bit more irritable (and drooly) than normal, but that’s okay, it’s all part of life. I’ve been prioritizing sleep, but I still feel a little fuzzy. 

At Jen and Ewan’s party, A- was pretty relaxed. She played with her backpack, and she shared some cereal with E-. At home, we had a fun video chat with my parents. A- showed them that she could point to her nose, ears, mouth, and so on. She also did the gestures for a number of songs. My mom started teaching her how to blow a kiss. As it turns out, A- can imitate even things she’s seen in video chat, which is neat.

Lots of other imitations: turning keys in a lock, washing bottles with a brush, wiping her nose with tissue or a hanky, washing her face, brushing her hair. More egg-cracking practice, too. When she cracked two eggs for banana bread, she left the yolks whole and there was only a tiny bit of egg shell in it.

Nilda suggested an activity involving gluing foam shapes to paper, which gives plenty of opportunities to name the shapes and colours. A- was more interested in rolling up the paper, though. I wonder if A- wants sushi…

I cut two scarves out of some translucent fabric from my stash and quickly serged the edges, so now we have scarves for doing circle-time songs here. A-‘s been pretty keen on scarves during circle time, and she often asks me to do “Popcorn” when we’re at home.

We’ve been going to the playground more often, since the drop-in centres can be a bit overwhelming with the bigger kids. A- enjoyed playing in the sandbox. She also liked splashing through puddles in the rain. A- picked up the “Soft kitty, warm kitty” rhyme from music class, and I’ve been practising “Alouette” too.

Consulting: after a couple of false starts, I made some progress on data extraction and updating the admin report. The first time I tried working on those tasks, I couldn’t remember where some of the data I needed was, which was frustrating. It’s also a bit challenging to work at night if A-‘s waking up frequently, since I need to keep the state in my head throughout quick interruptions. Still, A- is higher priority. While it’s nice to feel like I’m getting stuff done, I won’t always be able to get quick wins or feel brilliant, so I shouldn’t get attached to that. It’ll be all right as long as I manage expectations properly.

Other:

  • I lost my Presto card in the dryer, but W- retrieved it for me.
  • I bought several bunches of chives, chopped them up, and froze them, so gyoza should be a little more doable.
  • I watched a few movies at home: Fate of the Furious, Moana, and Beauty and the Beast.

We’ll probably keep taking it easy, at least until teething subsides.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.8h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.8h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.9h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.8h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.3h)
    • Emacs (1.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (15.7h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (11.1h – 6%)
  • A- (Childcare) (70.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.0h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 14, 2017

A- and I went to the Maker Festival at the Toronto Reference Library. It was great to see so many people enthusiastic about all sorts of things. We had a 3D portrait taken by Alan Majer, which was pretty cool (even though A- was crying). I’ve backed up the object model along with the rest of A-‘s pictures. Might be fun to review in the future. I took A- to the ROM twice this week, too: once with some people from music class, and once with a mom and a kid from the JFRC.

The Learning Tower turned out to be a good platform for gross motor development. A- has been very interested in climbing into and out of it with the help of a step stool. She’s also been walking a fair bit, especially when she has her backpack on. I got her soft Tickle Toes leather shoes in size 6, and she prefers them over her other shoes. She went down the big-kid slide with W- quite a few times, which involved climbing up ramps and short walls with a little help.

Lots of egg-cracking practice. Only little bits of shell! I also got A- involved in making shake-and-bake chicken, gyoza, and banana bread. She practised transferring yogurt from one bowl to another using a spoon, and she’s also been working on spreading peanut butter on crackers.

A- was not particularly interested in the craft activity involving feathers – not anxious, but not keen on touching the feathers unless it was to put them away. She was scared of a hand puppet at the ROM and a stegosaurus figurine at the JFRC. Ah well.

It’s amazing how much she observes and imitates. She put playdough into small containers, smoothed pieces of tape onto the lids, and carried the containers to the freezer, like the way we put away food that we’ve prepared in bulk. She tried tying her hair with a rubber band. Hard with such short arms! I looped a ponytail band around some of her hair so that she could try that out, but her hair’s fine enough that it was easy for A- to pull the band off. I think she wanted to do it herself, though. Someday!

Misc:

  • W- spent 2.5 hours turning $18 of basil, three packages of pine nuts, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, and some olive oil into lots and lots of yummy pesto.
  • A- and I were late to music class because I forgot to set an alarm, so I’ve set a recurring alarm now.
  • I helped J- file her taxes for 2015.
  • We had W-‘s mom and one of his nieces over for dinner. Gyoza, yum yum!
  • I cut my hair back to shoulder-length. Nice and light for summer!
  • Consulting: I worked on exporting data.
  • I’ve been experimenting with an outline in my journal. Promising, although a little more work.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.0h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.0h – 98% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.6h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.3h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.4h)
    • Emacs (1.9h)
    • Coding (0.6h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.4h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (21.8h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (9.1h – 5%)
  • A- (Childcare) (64.0h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (51.8h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 28, 2017

I took A- for a blood test. As soon as we walked into Sick Kids Hospital, she started crying. We’ll be there a few times in August, so I asked a child life specialist for a few tips. She can’t avoid the pain and anxiety, but I can still help by bringing comfort items and adding a few positive associations. We spent some time at the family centre at the hospital playing with books, toys, and ukuleles, and I think that helped a little.

A- likes saying “da!” for “down” and “up!” (for “up”, of course) when she’s on the stairs, and she sometimes says “baba” for “bye-bye”. A- has been practising getting down from the bed, and can usually do it with a few reminders. She’s been getting more involved in household routines. For example, she wanted laundry tucked under her chin because she sees us fold laundry that way. She likes washing her face and reminding us to wash ours, and she mimicks how we moisturize our feet. She washed berries with surprising carefulness. She occasionally lies down to have her diaper changed. In terms of fine motor control, she seems to occasionally use a pencil grip when working with a paintbrush or pencil. Not actually a tripod grip as I wrote down here; more like a 5-point pencil grasp? It’s still early for that in terms of development, but it’s great that she’s practising different grips. She likes scribbling in notebooks, which she sees me do occasionally. Time to let her see more of that!

We had our last music class for July. A- seems to be smiling at tickling songs and rhymes now, and she also waves a scarf around to music. It’s so much fun watching her grow. I read the Music in Preschool textbook that the teacher recommended and asked some questions about the Kodaly method’s concern about didactic songs. The teacher said it’s okay to have practical songs in combination with music education that focuses more on the aesthetic sense.

We hung out with Jen and Eric at the park for a great discussion about impact. We had Jen and E- over for dinner on Tuesday. I also took A- to Tim’s retirement party, where she managed to nap for thirty minutes amidst the hubbub. We checked out the trains and playset at Roundhouse Park while we were down there.

The building permit inspection went well. W-‘s research and hard work paid off, yay! Next step: concrete and framing. As for me, I lost my library card somewhere. (I wonder if it’s in the dryer…) Fortunately, it’s easy enough to replace.

A- has a bit of a runny nose, so we’ll see if that clears up by next week or if we need to move her Sick Kids appointments. Ah well!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.6h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 99% of Business)
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☑ Consider fiddling with Linode
      • ☑ Transfer credit from Paypal to Linode
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.2h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.6h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Writing (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (19.0h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (9.8h – 5%)
  • A- (Childcare) (65.8h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (54.3h – 32% – average of 7.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 4, 2017

Big week for medical things. A- needed to be sedated for a heart exam, which meant no solids past midnight and no nursing four hours before the exam. We had a relaxed evening of eating her favourite foods, and she ate almost until the cut-off time (last cracker at 11:57 PM). She woke up as soon as she wasn’t allowed to nurse, and cried for a while until W- and I managed to distract her with songs and attention. It was still tough going at the sedation clinic, but she settled down twenty minutes after the chloral hydrate was given (and, possibly coincidentally, once I started on “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight”). The cardiologist said she looks okay so far, so we might be able to stay with A-‘s regular cardiologist for routine monitoring instead of coming to Sick Kids.

A-‘s eye exam on Friday involved pupil dilation. She was too upset for the pediatric ophthalmologist-in-training to do the exam, but the main ophthalmologist suggested waiting until A- was asleep, so that’s when he had a look. So far, so good. Yay!

Creating positive associations has helped a lot. We’ve taken to decompressing at the family centre in Sick Kids, playing one of their ukuleles and reading books. I brought her stuffed toy sheep, which has become her favourite comfort object. Liberal use of upside-down time has also gotten her to let me clean her teeth, which is a relief.

It’s fun watching A- become more independent. A- started doing the actions for “Slice, Slice” and “Sleeping Bunnies”. She insisted that we mime the slicing and spreading on our own bodies, which is cool. “Sleeping Bunnies” now often elicits a “No” at just the right spot. She’s carried that over to saying “No” in various situations, including refusing my help and asking for W-‘s. Whee! Our kiddo’s becoming more opinionated, and she’s developing the tools to express what she wants. That should help minimize her frustration. She won’t be able to get everything she wants, of course, but at least she can differentiate between things she’ll get after waiting and things to which I have to say no. (Especially since she managed to disable the microwave child lock before…) She has free rein of the notebooks and pens I keep stashed around the house, which she has started fishing out of drawers and doodling in. Maybe we’ll get her sketchnoting someday!

It was great catching up with a friend and her kiddo at the ROM. I also spent some time reflecting on impact, following up on a conversation with a few other friends last week. A- had fun during a video chat with Lolo. She pointed at body parts when prompted, and walked around a bit too.

The VPN token I use to access my consulting clients’ network expired, so I’ve been focusing on personal projects while waiting for a replacement. I added category and tag exclusion to my WordPress theme. That lets me make a bulk view of my non-Emacs-News posts so that I can reread them during my annual review. I started working on multiple timeline support for Quantified Awesome so that I can move baby data tracking there, but progress is slow. I finally downscaled my Linode plan, too, accepting that I probably won’t have the mental bandwidth to make the most of its capacity until A- is in school or something like that.

We’ve been shifting towards more vegetable-based proteins because of the draft recommendations for Canada’s food guide and for other health reasons. I stocked up on dried spices and herbs for Mason jar soups, since they’re easy to prepare even when hanging out with A-. The Moroccan lentil soup was a good first try; next time, I’ll grind the spices. A- liked the lentils but not the wild rice in this curried lentil wild rice soup, but we’ll give that a few more tries. too. I feel pretty good about the change in our eating habits. I’ll need to read up more on nutrition to make sure we’ve got all the important nutrients. We still eat meat, just less than before. I might be developing mild lactose intolerance, too, so that’s something else to consider.

W- spent the weekend pouring concrete piers for the porch with the help of a couple of neighbours. It was a lot of work even with the electric mixer. Recovering from that and a sore throat took a while, but fortunately, we can take things pretty easy.

Next week: one more Sick Kids appointment, and then catching up!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (0.3h – 16% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.6h – 83% of Business)
      • ☑ Consider fiddling with Linode payment
      • ☑ Transfer credit from Paypal to Linode
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.5h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.7h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.1h)
    • Emacs (0.9h)
    • Coding (1.4h)
      • ☑ Tweak my WordPress theme to allow category exclusion
    • Writing (0.4h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.5h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (9.9h – 5%)
  • A- (Childcare) (72.2h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (55.5h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 11, 2017

A-‘s liver ultrasound on Wednesday was the last of four hospital visits in three weeks. Hooray! We got through them without traumatizing A- (or me). I couldn’t restrain her well enough for the exam, but she calmed down enough while nursing, so that worked. We decompressed to the family centre afterwards, and she was in good spirits by the time we headed home. Her sleep was a bit disrupted the following two nights, though, and she had a stronger preference for W- (even pushing me away sometimes).

Another big milestone: we went swimming for the first time! The Regent Park Aquatic Centre was remarkably pleasant, and it was great going with Jen and E-. We checked out nearby playgrounds, too. A- and I caught up with Ian Garmaise over a muffin and a stroll through the ROM, and Ewan and E- visited us at home. I brought A- with me to the client’s office so that I could pick up a VPN token, and she did fine there as well.

“Sleeping Bunnies” was the song of the week. A- got the hang of lying down and getting up. Then she started saying “No” at the right point, and then she figured out she could say “No” in other contexts. (She usually says it so calmly, too!) She lets us know via gestures that we should get our own books instead of reading hers during family reading time on the couch. She doesn’t need me to go down slides with her now; she can go down slides if I hold her hand. Yay!

A- started using the word “Baa” to refer to her stuffed sheep. She likes buckling it into the high chair and giving it food and water. As her comfort object, it’s now subject to the “Stay home except for important trips” policy. Good to see the development of more pretend play.

Since I couldn’t connect to my client’s VPN, I used some of my discretionary time to work on timeline support for Quantified Awesome. I’m not sure I can flesh it out well enough in time for Will to use it for baby-tracking, though, so I recommended baby-connect.com instead.

We made pesto from the basil in our garden box, and we gave a few jars to the neighbours who helped us pour the concrete piers for the porch. I also made a batch of zucchini muffins and banana bread. Following up on a few conversations with W- about household assistance and time, I looked into various options such as housekeeping, meal prep, and childcare. We decided to keep things simple and do things ourselves, though.

We have a few weeks until the next medical things (pediatrician, Healthy Babies Healthy Children). Time to check out the Ontario Science Centre and other resources around the city!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.9h – 2%)
    • Earn (2.6h – 65% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.4h – 34% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.6h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.1h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.0h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (1.1h)
    • Writing (0.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.3h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (11.5h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (20.1h – 11%)
  • A- (Childcare) (66.0h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (51.4h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 25, 2017

My dad’s health took a turn for the worse, so we decided that it was a good idea to visit earlier rather than later. I scrambled to book a flight – just me and A-, so we could stay longer than W- could get off from work. The ocularist and the pediatrician both let me move our medical appointments earlier. I ended up rebooking A-‘s ticket because it turned out that she still fits into Korean Air’s bassinet, which saved me some money even after the change fee. I also took A- to the dentist for a quick check on her enamel hypoplasia (now pre-cavity, but oh well) because we wanted to make sure her recent fussiness was just regular toddlerhood and not a sign that she was in pain. I notified Toronto Public Health that I’d be missing the first two weeks of the parenting workshop I’d registered for, and I moved our meeting with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children nurse. I bought some clothes at Value Village, and I got a pillowcase that I turned into a dress for A-. W- prepared a travel consent form and got it notarized, just in case. I also dealt with some bad timing, but that’s just life. With all that out of the way, we were ready to go.

A- has been exercising her independence. She had a tantrum at Shoppers Drug Mart because she wanted to keep filling our shopping basket and I needed to get going. She started resisting baths, too. W- suggested showers, and that worked brilliantly. Maybe she decided showers were the way to go after having had a few showers at the pool.

She’s been picking up lots of new words and actions, too. She said “Hamma” (hammer) while listening to W- work on the porch. She can refer to one of our cats by name, and she refers to herself using the first two syllables of her name. W- noticed A- pushing a luggage lock around on the floor, so he brought over the big box of Duplo cars and we all had a blast vroom-vrooming cars around. Sheep and Giraffe now regularly sport diapers and sometimes even underwear. A- figured out how to close screwtop containers, too.

Other things:

  • W- made rice and peas from scratch instead of using the mix from a jar, and it was a revelation: subtly creamy and oh so yummy.
  • We got to watch Ghost in the Shell, too, which was surprisingly okay at 1.5x speed.
  • I turned over my consulting work in preparation for being away for almost a month. Let’s see if this works out!

A busy week of preparation!

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (3.1h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.5h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.3h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.0h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.8h)
    • Sewing (1.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (20.7h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (16.7h – 9%)
  • A- (Childcare) (73.6h – 43% of total)
  • Sleep (46.1h – 27% – average of 6.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 1, 2017

My dad’s in poor health, so A- and I flew to the Philippines on short notice in order to spend time with the family. I don’t expect to be much help as I’m still mostly focused on childcare, but I figure they might enjoy a glimpse of everyday life with A-, and it’s generally a good idea to be together during tough times.

W- is still at home, so we make sure to collect stories and photos to share with him. This is the longest we’ll be away from him in all of A-‘s life. Come to think of it, it might be the longest I’ve been away from him since we got together.

The last time we flew from Toronto to Manila by way of Seoul, we liked Korean Air but were still almost asleep on our feet because of the sheer length of the flights. A- got way overtired, which made all of us pretty miserable. Since I was flying by myself this time around, I experimented with a flight itinerary that included a 16-hour layover in Incheon, choosing the airport transit hotel for extra risk mitigation. My eldest sister arranged her flight from California so that she could join me in Incheon and on the flight to Manila. The overnight stay and the extra pair of hands were really helpful, and we managed to make it to Manila without too much stress despite the occasional tantrum.

A- took a while to settle in. For the first few days, she often wanted to stay in the carrier. I was beginning to worry about making sure she still got gross motor development time. She made tons of progress in terms of fine motor skills, language, and social interaction, though: fist-bumps, high-fives, kisses, mano, and new words like “bump!” and “uwa” (for underwear). Lots of pretend play, too. She wanted to use the baby carrier to carry her stuffed sheep, so I’ll see if I can make her a carrier when we get home.

A- readily tried all sorts of new tastes, and we figured out our snacking options over here: cheese, grapes (for which she invented her own sign, since she liked them so much), sandwiches, and energy bars when we’re out and about. She learned how to work the water dispenser, too.

My family wanted to go on a long road trip, but I was really uncomfortable with the idea, so I put my foot down even if they got upset with me. Things settled down after a day or two, though. Whew!

A-‘s more comfortable in the house now. She likes playing with her cousins, aunt, and grandparents, and they’re fascinated with her too. I’ve been able to help a little with the paperwork and get more information about my dad’s health and priorities. Over the next few weeks, I’d like to keep these priorities in mind: A- and me, Kathy and the kids, and my parents, with paperwork being a much lower priority. Still, if I can help organize information while A- learns more about hanging out, that works too.

Blog posts

I’ve been caught up in family matters and haven’t been able to write, but I look forward to reestablishing routines at least for my journal and for Emacs News.

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.6h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.6h – 100% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
  • Relationships (0.6h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.7h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.5h)
    • Coding (0.2h)
  • Personal routines (7.0h – 4%)
  • Unpaid work (14.5h – 8%)
  • A- (Childcare) (67.7h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (30.1h – 17% – average of 4.3 per day) – this week’s numbers are messed up because of travel, since I couldn’t log well on the flight

Week ending October 15, 2017

​There was a bit of sleep disruption last week, but overall, A- was back to a normal schedule. She seems to naturally be a night owl, so we’ll just adapt by taking it easy and avoiding early morning commitments.

We’ve definitely built a smoothie habit. She asks for them every day, and has invented her own sign for them. Not a bad way to get more spinach into her. She liked the applesauce that she had as a snack at the JFRC, eating it instead of spitting it out like she did when she was much younger. She was curious about watercress and seaweed. She liked  shrimp a lot.

The big thing last week was about playing more independently. At the playground, she climbed the stairs, stepped down to the platform, slid down the slide, and got off all by herself. She did five circuits without holding my hand! Wow. Having mastered the shallowest slide, she then went on to independently slide down two other slides on the same playground. She figured out how to rock back and forth on the spring toys there, too.

Lots of language, too. When I tried babbling back what I thought she said, she emphatically corrected me with “No, A- Baa” – she wasn’t just babbling, she was specifically asking for her sheep. She asked for her smock with “Smo” and for paint with “Pai.” She asked me to read several books, some again and again, and she pointed to various body parts as we read “I Love You Through and Through.” She tried asking the cats to do things (Up! Play ball!), which was about as successful as you expect it would be. (Not at all.) More successful was W-‘s attempt to teach her to say “Anothe(r)!” after she polished off her smoothie.

A- saw pictures of W- feeding her yogurt in her recliner, and insisted on recreating the scene. She really likes looking at pictures, whether they’re printed or on our phones. 

All sorts of details from our household routines surfaced during pretend play, especially with dough. She asked for a pan, oil, egg, fork, and plate as she mimed cooking eggs. She asked for a blender, blueberries, banana, yogurt, and a glass as she pretended to make a smoothie. She asked for an oven to toast her pretend-seaweed in, then filled it and rolled it up. She moved a little A- figure down a slide.

We bought her a table and two chairs from IKEA, and W- installed a potty seat in the upstairs bathroom. I bought flannel shirts for her from Value Village, since she doesn’t like clothes that need to be pulled over her head. Little investments in independence and comfort!

As for me, I tried structuring my daily journal as a spreadsheet that I can update on my phone. Seems to be working so far, since computer time has been harder to find than phone time. I looked into some database upgrade questions for my consulting client. 

I even managed to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 one evening. Slowly getting back to normal…

Weekly review: Week ending October 20, 2017

A- loves scribbling on paper, and she also likes asking me to draw things for her. I usually draw our faces, taking advantage of our brain’s inclination to see faces even in simple shapes. I label as I draw: “A- has two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and hair.” It looks like all that modeling is paying off. This week, she drew a rough circle, said “Eyes,” and added lots of dots. Neat!

She asks to see pictures every day, sometimes several times a day. She likes labeling herself, Daddy, the cats, her hat, Lolo and Lola, and washing hands. We printed out a few more pictures so that she has more to flip through. She got interested in removing pictures from and inserting them into the photo album. We also show her pictures on our phones and on the tablet. I’m gradually collecting pictures of everyday words so that I can help her expand her vocabulary.

She’s getting better at entertaining herself independently for a few minutes at a time. She mimed making noodles with a pot and imitated Neko cleaning her paws. She likes flipping through albums and through my box of sketched index cards. One time, she even told W- that she’ll wait by playing in her room until he could finish vacuuming.

Since it was pretty warm this week, A- often didn’t want to put on clothes. Fortunately, no one at the science centre batted an eye. Even on a cooler day, she resisted pants, but she eventually asked to wear a jacket. I’m learning to trust that she’ll ask for clothes when she feels cold, and she’s fine otherwise.

Another little moment that might be a milestone: A- handed a teaspoon to W- and said “One.” She gave him another, and said “Two.” She gave him another, and said “Three.” We’re not sure if she’s counting or just remembering the sequence, but since she’s interested in numbers, we’ll make sure to count lots of things.

So much reading, too! :) We found a nice place for storytime in our bedtime routine, snuggling in bed with a handful of books. She likes having us read “I Love You Through and Through” repeatedly, and she points to various body parts at the appropriate points. She likes the new books we borrowed from the library, too.

We finally made it to the city-run Recreation Discovery program. It’s like a compressed JFRC or OEYC: free play, circle time, crafts, and a story. A- was reserved, but she liked the books and the magnetic drawing board. She’s still pretty reserved in music class, but she’s starting to try to sing along when I sing outside it. At the Make the Connection parenting workshop, we learned more about temperaments and goodness of fit. A- and I are pretty similar, so it’s been easy to adapt to what she needs.

The balance bike I ordered for her is taking a mysteriously long time to turn up at the neighbourhood post office. I might need to follow up on Monday.

We had our final meeting with Healthy Babies Healthy Children. Nilda gave us our completion certificate and answered my remaining questions. It was super helpful to have their support as we were figuring out what we were dealing with, and the activities they suggested helped me learn how to help A- develop her skills.

I reflashed my phone to LineageOS with W-‘s help. That should make my phone a little more up to date. I also updated my ledger. I stayed up late one night to do some consulting, fixing the auto-follow tool in time for my client’s demo.

Next week: catching up and getting a little ahead…

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.6h – 3%)
    • Earn (5.0h – 74% of Business)
    • Build (1.7h – 25% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.1h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.1h – 1%)
    • Coding (1.0h)
  • Personal routines (21.5h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (20.3h – 12%)
  • A- (Childcare) (63.2h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (51.2h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 3, 2017

For Halloween, we dressed up in construction-related costumes. A- wore flannels, overalls, and the high-vis vest I made her, and she even wore her toy hard hat for a while. I wore the bulldozer hat that I made out of cardboard, and W- wore his university hard hat suitably gore-ified with red tempera. We handed out chocolate, crayons, or stickers to hundreds of kids over about an hour and a half, with special loot bags (including full-size chocolate) for people we knew and kids with particularly nice costumes.

A- showed renewed interest in nesting cups and popping bubbles. She also showed a new interest in going in and out of a play tent, and she seems to have gotten over her fear of mittens – she even pretended to use one. Still doesn’t like dolls, though, as I saw when we went to the JFRC for the Halloween potluck and to the OEYC to ask for tips.

It’s amazing how much A- has absorbed from the books we’ve read again and again. I can ask her to turn to a page with a specified object. If I pause while reading, she often fills in significant words.

A- is picking up a sense of what belongs where. When we came inside after Halloween, she took off her shoes and carried them down to the workshop in the basement, since they’re the shoes she wears when she goes in there. She also moves things if they’re piled in the wrong place, and she likes pointing to drawers to refer to what’s in them. I’d like to be more thoughtful about what we have in our house and how it’s organized, because this is what she’ll get used to. She’s used to processes, too: she got my library card and wanted to check out a book by herself.

We checked out the pool at the Annette Community Recreation Centre. No toddler pool and no steps, but the water was warm and there were lots of water toys.

It’s getting pretty cool, so I splurged on wool fabric to turn into a blanket for A-, and a couple of merino wool sweaters to turn into pants for her. I’ll try to set aside one day a week for crafting. It’s an investment of time and money into potentially interesting skills.

The Make the Connection parenting workshop session this week was a combination of two topics: conversations and sharing. At this stage, it’s okay for me to focus more on comments than questions, and to help resolve conflicts with distraction, intervention, and modeling. When we went to the science centre with Jen and E-, it was great to see A- and E- take turns with the wheel.

Other quick updates:

  • I had lunch with Aaron and Bernie. Among other things, we chatted about art education, math, reading, and school. A- sampled my salad and kept herself generally occupied.
  • I did some consulting this week, too: backing up the schema and running our update script.
  • I’ve been reading more about estate planning on both the Canadian and Philippine sides. It’s complex, but we’ll figure this out.
  • W- finished cutting stringers for the porch stairs. Awesome!

Next week: winding up the Make the Connection workshop, more consulting, and maybe some work on business taxes.

Focus areas and time review

  • A- (Childcare) (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Business (3.4h – 2%)
    • Earn (2.7h – 78% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.7h – 21% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Write shareholder’s resolutions
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.5h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.3h – 0%)
    • Drawing (0.0h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.6h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (16.1h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (16.9h – 10%)
  • Sleep (55.0h – 32% – average of 7.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 10, 2017

The last workshop session of Make the Connection focused on being a play partner and scaffold for your toddler. Labeling things in a running commentary now feels pretty normal for me, and I’ve been working on organizing the environment and letting her take the lead. I rotated more of the toys and cleared some more space at her level.

I like the way our play has felt this week. I followed her interest in streetcars, bubbles, books, and mittens, and she’s been learning tons. “Streetcar” was one of her favourite words this week, so we made a few special trips to ride on streetcars until she was satisfied. The dish detergent I got on sale seems a bit harsh for extended hands-deep bubble time. We’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s baby-mild castile soap for washing her and that seems to bubble up fine, so I might switch to that for bubble sessions. There are a handful of books she asks me to read: “Cat in the Hat,” “Goodnight Moon,” “At the Supermarket,” “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” I mix in other books from the library or the Children’s Book Bank, too – things I might not mind reading and re-reading if they catch her interest. I like looking at the illustrations and the words, thinking about how they work, which means I don’t mind if A- asks me to read Cat in the Hat five times in a row.

We went to the playground, too. I guess the wool pants I made her kept her warm enough that she was fine playing, although she frequently asked for the mittens I’d forgotten to bring. I showed her how to stick your hands in your jacket’s pockets to keep them warm. The playground got a lot busier once school ended, so she shifted to sitting on the bench with some food. She didn’t want to go home, but I was cold, so we had to head home. She asked for the wool pants again on a different day. Looks like she likes them. I should make more from the wool sweaters I’ve been buying from the thrift store.

At home, she amused herself for a good number of minutes by filling a bag with cans from the pantry and dragging the bag around. She even put the bag away afterwards. More cutting practice, too: she pulled out the chopping board and wanted to cut the cucumber with a butter knife, so I helped her. She’s getting pretty good at keeping her fingers away from the knife, although she still needs guidance of course. Peeled cucumber seems to be easy enough for her to cut, and she likes eating it. Also, she was interested in buttons and buttonholes, so I might start the “push small things through a slot”-type of activities.

She has enough language to say things that are unexpectedly poetic. One morning, she spotted W-‘s face soap on the bathroom counter. She asked if she could wash her face, so I let her have a little dab of soap and some warm water. While washing, she said:

Wash face.
Happy me.
Happy me.
Daddy soap.

Three-word sentences are starting to emerge, too: “All full bubbles;” “A- poo toilet.”

A- has some cat pajamas that she really likes, and seems to be taking some care to keep them clean enough for reuse. One time, she wanted to wash her hands, so she pushed her sleeves up to her elbows. When it was time to wash those cat pajamas, she brought them all the way down to the washer in the basement and asked me to pour detergent into the washer’s drawer.

A- spotted the last pull-up diaper in my stash, and she insisted on switching to it from the diaper she had been wearing. She’s also gotten a lot better at pulling down and pulling up her pants (even the back side), and can be prompted to sit on the potty from time to time. She can tell us, “Wet pants.” Couple of signs of readiness, so we started the next phase of toilet training. Might get a bit messy, but it’ll be worth it.

As for us:

  • W- replaced the backflow valve in the bottom drawer of the dishwasher. The actuator is still broken, so we’re using just the top drawer. At least this way, the bottom drawer won’t accumulate dirty water.
  • I remembered enough of my old code to help my client with some troubleshooting. I should check in again this week to help them prepare for a major change.

Next week: adapting to cooler weather…

Blog posts

Focus areas and time review

  • A- (Childcare) (70.2h – 41% of total)
  • Business (6.5h – 3%)
    • Earn (3.5h – 53% of Business)
    • Build (3.0h – 46% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.8h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.4h – 0%)
    • Drawing (0.0h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Sewing (0.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.1h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (11.6h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (17.1h – 10%)
  • Sleep (59.4h – 35% – average of 8.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-11-24

Pottying: A-‘s pretty good at initiating for both pee and poo, and can take off her pants or be helped out of pajamas in time to use the potty. She has even dragged the potty around to have a change of scene. We timed a few outings for after she used the potty. She stayed dry for the 1-2 hours that we were out, and she used the potty when we returned. I need to think of a place she’ll enjoy going to that would be a good place to practice using in a public toilet (and where accidents won’t be too bad). She hasn’t been keen on wearing clothes lately, but maybe the next time she is, we’ll go to the science centre after she uses the potty.

Dressing: She occasionally wants to practise putting on clothes, and will wear many layers for fun (one time she wore four pairs of panties at the same time). She can pull on pants and panties, although sometimes she puts both legs through one hole. She’s curious about buttonholes and labels them on my pajamas. I’ll continue offering clothes, and I’ll set out some 3T t-shirts for her to try pulling on by herself.

Gross motor: A- was interested in twisting, jumping, running, and sliding, and has been inventing her own exercises at home. She likes scooting down an inclined mattress, jumping down from pillows, and jumping on a bag of lentils.

She likes taking out the plastic bags under the sink and putting them back in. She also likes putting things into bags (“shopping”) and nesting bags. I wonder if she likes the crinkling sound or the act of stuffing things into the plastic bag holder. Maybe I’ll give her some aluminum. I’ll clear out the wipes box and let her stuff things into it too. I wonder if we have a medium-sized cardboard box I can use for stuffing practice. She loves watching a video of her playing with and putting away the plastic bags. Maybe I can extend this by involving her in putting away other things, like her toys and books.

Identity: She’s been very much into being a baby. She sometimes asks us to feed her, often handing us morsels so that we can put them in her mouth. I’ve been offering her a choice between brushing her own teeth like a toddler and letting me brush her teeth like a baby – yay, she’s been letting me brush her teeth! She likes looking at pictures and video of herself as a baby, and will often recreate scenes with the chair, baby gym, or tummy time.

I’ve been experimenting with bedtime. i snooze in low-power mode while letting her play independently. It leads to pretty amusing pillow talk. A- likes trying out animal noises, asking for help with clothes, reading to herself, and asking for her favourite sections from books. (“No no fish” means the fish’s first speech from “The Cat in the Hat.”) Keeping a potty in her room is working out, too.

Language: So much. “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” has joined her list of favourites, and she can say the whole title and quite a few words. She wanted a comb because of that book and because of “Goodnight Moon”, so we dug up the one that W- fixed. She chimes in if I read slowly, so I don’t need to pause for testing, just emphasis. She seems to be extending the concepts, too. As I was buckling her into her chair, I said, “One buckle. Two buckles.” She said “Red buckle.” It was actually white, but hey, patterns! I’ll request a few more Dr. Seuss Beginner Books from the library, and W- can pick them up for me if we don’t make it out. She picked up some words from “This Little Piggy Went to Market” and sometimes requests it at bedtime.

Playdough: She labeled the pizza she made and put it in a pretend oven. She also squished and pinched playdough.

Other:

  • She’s a little interested in tying. Maybe I’ll get a shoelace and teach her how to work with the lacing boards, and that can give her tying practice too.
  • She showed some interest in dropping coins through a slot and dropping beanbags into a container. Maybe I should set up the activities in the living room so that she can freely choose them when she wants, and she can combine them with other things.
  • She pretended to cook with the clay pot set, and handled the pieces relatively gently.
  • A- was surprisingly fond of pickled gherkins, possibly because I Can Read With My Eyes Shut mentions pickles on page 1.
  • She used the brush and the comb as rhythm sticks while walking around, imitating the music teacher.

Us: I filed my corporate taxes, issued more dividends to myself, bought travel insurance, and did some more consulting (checking the database, extending the quick jump script). W- handled practically all the cooking this week – yum, yum!

Next week: starting to get ready for the trip; thinking about how A- learns through play; checking on Neko’s health

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-01

More toilet training progress. I feel a little more confident about heading out, although we still try to get a diaper on just in case. A- occasionally asks for privacy when pottying at home, and strongly prefers having the potty in the kitchen instead of the living room. She can interrupt her bath to use the toilet. No accidents or used diapers all week. Wow.

We met up with Jen and E-, and we made it all the way to the Ontario Science Centre. I liked checking out the pick-your-own area in KidSpark, and A- enjoyed playing with the water table and the ball maze. A- took Jen’s hand and led her over to the ball ramps, so I hung out with E- while they played. Growing independence!

The weather was pretty nice on Friday too, so we met up with Eric and hung out at a playground for a bit. It was good to catch up, especially since A- decided Saturday was a stay-home day.

In addition to being able to go on longer outings, A- has also been able to play more independently at home. She mostly likes rummaging through bags and pantry goods in the kitchen. I got her a small pair of tongs, which she occasionally uses to move bags around. Yay fine motor control! I moved the cleaning chemicals from the cabinet under the sink to a cabinet out of her reach, and I’ll stock the under-sink cabinet with more manipulatives such as pipe cleaners and sponges.

We’re figuring out our new balance between autonomy and attention. I’ve been decluttering and cleaning to fight a flea breakout, but A- likes staying close and playing with me, so vacuuming usually has to wait until W- gets home. That’s okay, A- is higher priority.

The attention seems to be paying off in terms of language and cognition, too. W- pointed to the pot in the kitchen and asked A- what was in it. “Oatmeal,” she answered correctly, even though it had been a while since A- and I left it to cook. Another time, the only way to tempt her out of the bath was to wave a bunch of books at her and tell her I was heading off to read in bed.

With all that, I haven’t had as much time for my own things, but I did manage to squueze in some consulting late at night and during one afternoon. I exported some data for a team, and it was nice to be able to coordinate during the daytime while A- played independently. It looks like we might be able to get away without a babysitter for short, time-sensitive requests. Oh, and my Org agenda reminded me to renew my business name. Hooray for a system that can handle to-dos that repeat every five years.

We’re getting the hang of this!

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-08

Cognition: This week was a good one for sorting. A- grasped the concept of “same” when I demonstrated it with the cans in the pantry. She was able to put cans of red kidney beans together and cans of soup together, and she could even distinguish between chicken soup and mushroom soup.

Emotion: A- showed a little anxiety whenever we peeled oranges, burying her face in me until we gave her the all clear. It’s a good way to avoid getting squirted in the eye, that’s for sure.

Field trips: We discovered that a nearby community centre has a warm toddler pool and long weekend hours. It might become our new favourite.

Motor: A-‘s been getting the hang of the tongs that I placed under the sink for her. She can pick up plastic bags and ping pong balls now. She also spent some time having fun with stickers, and can usually peel them off the sticker sheets herself.

Lots of climbing up and sliding down the slide that we improvised from pillows and the other mattress in her room. She used to climb up the incline, but now she mostly takes the long way around. She also wears pants more often now, instead of going around bare. That makes sliding more comfortable. Besides, no clothes = no pictures or videos, and she likes being on camera and reviewing the videos.

Also, A- rather amusingly flaps her arms and calls that jumping jacks.

Household: A-‘s good at putting away dishes now. I take them out of the dishwasher and hand them to her, and she puts them on the shelves as she stands on the counter. I hover behind her for safety. We probably can’t rejig our kitchen layout to put the dishes lower, but this seems like a reasonable risk for more sorting and counting practice. Maybe when she’s bigger, she can use the tower as an in-between step for boosting herself up and lowering herself.

She’s gotten the hang of the microwave routine, too. We open the door together, put in food, cover it, close the door, press buttons (hooray for child lock), make a whirring sound, open the door, remove the cover, use a towel to carefully remove the pretend-hot food, and let it cool down. She had lots of fun labeling each step.

Sensory: lots of stepping on bubble wrap, and a bit of using her hands too. She likes the crinkly sound the plastic bags make, and trying to catch them when I toss them up in the air. Some water play in the sink, too.

Us: I made it out to the Philippine consulate to pick up my passport, and I bought a few gifts for our upcoming trip. W-‘s been working late, but we stocked the fridge with plenty of food, so we were fine. He completed the stairs and the temporary porch, so we can use the front door again. The camera W- gave me is working out really nicely even with our indoor light, so we’ve been building a habit of sharing photos and videos with him after dinner. Yay!

W- hung out with A- for a couple of hours on Sunday so that I could investigate an upgrade-related issue and do a braindump to help one of my team mates understand our data extract script better. It was nice to have that focused time.

Next week: more trip preparations!

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-15

We managed to make it out to the playground this week. I bundled her into a snowsuit and she enjoyed the swing, slide, and seesaw. Back at home, she was interested in standing astride the balance bike a few times. She also enjoyed lifting heavy things over her head and tossing them down. I encouraged her to throw bags of lentils from her tower down to her rocking chair, which helped absorb the impact.

A- can open doorknobs now! She also figured out how to repeatedly squeeze and open scissors, and can cut all the way through an index card if I hold the card for her. She’s interested in picking things up with her toes like I do.

A- sorted cans of cat food by colour into five groups. It was fun seeing her look around and light up when she saw a matching can. She also put one of her toys onto a Duplo car, said “Ride!”, and rolled the car down a slope, so she’s getting the hang of wheels too. She likes rolling things down a slope to hit a target, and calling out what she hit if she missed her called shot.

Now that pottying is well-established, we decided to stop offering videos as an option for potty time. It wasn’t worth the momentary upset whenever she wanted to watch more videos of herself and we wanted her to move on to another activity. She still asks for them from time to time, but she also accepts being told stories or being read to. She seems to pick up words and ideas when we review her videos together, so maybe I’ll find another place in her routines for video review. I can select videos and put them in an album for her, and that might guide her activities for the afternoon too.

A- occasionally requests Cattus Petasatus while she’s on the potty, which amuses us greatly. The Cozy Classics version of Pride and Prejudice is a regular at bedtime, too.

A- strung quite a few words together in these groups of frequently associated thoughts. For example, she liked the picture I took of her when she was upset and she didn’t want to wake up. She often said, “Upset picture, cat pajamas, no wake up, ni (nurse) bed,” practically all in one breath. When I was pretending to sleep in the hopes of getting her to sleep before 5 AM, she repeated sentences like “Mama, read you. Lights on.”

She showed some interest in music this week. She sang parts of Baa Baa Black Sheep and the little ditty we made up about Put Away. She asked me to bring down the ukulele, and she played with the strings while we sang. It made up for not having been able to go to music classes these past few weeks.

A- liked carrying her stuffed sheep around in a sling, carefully tucking a small blanket around it just like I tuck a blanket around her when she’s in the carrier. She’s also gotten better at both imitating us when we brush our teeth and letting me brush her teeth. She’s been working on coordinating the use of a fork and a spoon. She took her T-shirt and her pajamas off all by herself. She sometimes insisted on my waiting for her as she climbs up and down the stairs by herself. She liked doing things at the same time we did, whether it was taking pictures with the camera or cleaning the kitchen.

We got our flu shots, bought more gifts, and packed for the trip. I donated A-‘s outgrown clothes and walker to the JFRC. I found the Reddit JSON for upvoted posts and incorporated that into my Emacs News workflow. I started looking into photobooks, and I’m leaning towards figuring out ImageMagick incantations so that I have more control.

The major system update at work seems to be going well. I fixed a couple of small bugs related to tagged documents and header internationalization. No emergencies, yay! I’ll probably still bring the work laptop just in case.

Next week: travel and family time…

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-22

We flew on Sunday, arriving in Manila on Tuesday night after an overnight stopover in Korea. The flights were uneventful, and jet lag wasn’t too bad.

The descriptive language I read about in books on early art education seems to have clicked. A- said “Circle!” when she drew roughly circular things, “Dot!” when she dotted the page, and “Line!” when she slowed down to draw vertical or diagonal lines. She was interested in breaking crayons, so we broke a few. I wonder if I should redirect her to something with similar feel so that we can keep crayons whole.

She also started holding the knife perpendicular to the chopping board and cutting straight down instead of at an angle. Cucumbers and strawberries were just right for her to practice cutting on her own, and she was able to cut them into tiny tidbits. Working with playdough, she rolled clumps flat with a rolling pin and sliced the pretend-pizza with a spreader.

She opened a Vector bar wrapper all by herself. W- told me that she ripped the wrapper by accident and she put the bar down. Then she realized what she could do, picked up the bar again, opened it, and started eating the bar. Clever girl!

She often says five-word sentences now, like “no mama eat fried rice.” We packed three books for the trip, and she spent five minutes asking for the board book version of Pride and Prejudice before we fetched it from the overhead bin. She’s still scared of dolls and doesn’t like them even talked about.

She’s slowly getting reacquainted with my family, although stranger anxiety still sometimes gets in the way. She warmed up enough to take one of her cousins by the hand, play with her giraffe toy, and ask for that cousin by name. She also offered her sheep toy to Lola, and she accepted blueberries from Lola too. Lolo’s still waiting for his moment, though.

My sisters and I met with our dad’s doctor, and that conversation was very helpful.

One potty accident this week, although it was probably because she was hungry and distracted due to cooking. No worries!

Weekly review: week ending 2017-12-29

A-‘s now pretty comfortable with my family. On various occasions, she sat on Lola’s lap, gave people fist bumps, rubbed noses, and laughed when people made funny faces. She’s still nervous about my dad, though. Maybe it’s the coughing, maybe it’s the TPN, maybe it’s something else. Anyway, that’s just something we need to deal with.

We’ve figured out lots of things she can do to keep learning. She was interested in cutting toy fruits and vegetables, and she liked playing with the cooking set that Tita Kathy gave her. She wanted us to read the books she got for Christmas (lots of Tagalog books, also from Tita Kathy) and a few other books around the house (Little Red Riding Hood, Have You Seen My Cat?).

My dad insisted on giving us new phones and clothes. I’ve been making good use of the iPad and Pencil, too – at least, whenever A- will let me use them! She liked drawing on the tablet, which made my dad happy. I also bought a new backpack since my old one was starting to fall apart. Lots of upgrades. We’re also looking forward to playing the music that Tita Ching gave A- and hanging up the solar system mobile that Lolo and Lola gave her.

Lots of estate planning this week, too. I learned more about trusts and tax laws in the Philippines and Canada, updated our spreadsheets, and went to a couple of meetings. I feel reasonably prepared.

I might extend my trip. It’s good to spend time with my family, especially if my dad goes through surgery the day before my current departure date. A- is still top priority, though, so I need to think about what we can do if W- isn’t with us and A- is anxious around my dad. We’ll figure this out.

Weekly review: Week ending 2018-01-05

It took two weeks of warming up, but A- now seems pretty comfortable with people at home. She loves toddling after Ate Jeana and asking if she can wash dishes at the same time, and she loves asking Tita Ching to read an endless series of books. She even insisted on going downstairs and out of sight with Tita Ching. She enjoyed playing with her two cousins, too. Yay independence and social interaction!

A- still spends lots of time attached to me, though. At one point, I said, “You love nursing!” She replied, “I love you.” Might be her just digging up the closest phrase she knows, but yeah, I’m totally fine with snuggling her more.

I like being able to offer her choices and hear what she wants. She’s figuring out how to think about the near future, saying things like “wait potty Tita Kathy finish bathroom.” She asks for what she wants (“More soup!”)

I went to the Bureau of Internal Revenue to replace my taxpayer ID. I started decluttering and organizing my mom’s papers. We met with a tax lawyer, too.

We had to reshoot the family picture because my dad insisted that we should all wear Columbia. Brand loyalty!

On the flipside, my dad slipped into delirium and the nurses advised us to take him to the hospital. We’ve already had all the big conversations, so at least we’re sort of prepared for whatever can happen.

Weekly review: Week ending 2018-01-12

My dad died on Saturday, Jan 6. He lived an awesome life. Many, many people shared their stories and pictures of adventures with him, and there was lots of laughter as we celebrated his life. It was about as good a life and death as one could have, I think, and that’s a wonderful gift. He was inurned in the pavilion at Heritage Park, so there are plenty of planes to watch, there’s plenty of light, and there’s plenty of space for the grandkids to run around.

It was good to catch up with a few friends who visited, and Diane did us a huge favour by staying overnight with my mom.

A- had a great time running around and bouncing on the sofa. She figured out how to jump using two feet. We went to Active Fun with her cousins, and she had fun climbing and sliding.

We saw W- off at the airport. He headed back following our original schedule. A- and I will stay until the 25th. A- misses him a little bit (“A- want go too!”), but she also enjoys spending time with her cousins, so it all works out. I’ve had to carry her out of their bedroom a couple of times now, since she’d happily play with them long past bedtime if she could. She also loves spending time with Tita Ching, who has read many, many books with her.

I like how A- is getting more involved in our daily routines. She likes squeezing the bottles of shampoo and body wash. One time, while I was rinsing off some shampoo with my eyes closed, she squeezed even more shampoo on my head, then said, “Mama feel better.” I guess it’s because I often tell her that I feel better once I’ve washed away the sticky feeling of perspiration.

Speaking of sweat – A- often insisted on going shirtless or pantless even in air-conditioned rooms. I managed to insist on diapers, at least. She had lots of bug bites. I’ve made my peace with using diaper creme instead of taking a risk with methyl salicylate.

One day, she insisted on wearing her winter jacket out of the blue. How odd!

I’m handling the insurance and estate tax paperwork, so I’m slowly putting those things together. The implementing rules for the tax reform haven’t come down yet, but I can organize the papers took make them easier to file. We’ve been preparing for this for months, and now that preparation can pay off. It’s nice to not be under time pressure.

We’re giving ourselves plenty of space to adjust to this new normal. I even had time to do a little consulting: checked on data extract, fixed blog comment export, and thought about templating.

Onward: more paperwork, more memories, more living!

Weekly review: Week ending 2018-01-19

It was a lot of fun watching A- experiment with new concepts this week. She tried saying, “No play Ate A*, this mine!” This is great! She’s learning about owning things. I did point out that the toy she was clutching was actually her cousin’s, and we sorted it all out with a minimum of fuss. I look forward to helping her navigate this interesting time.

She also tried arranging her legs to sit like she saw Tita Ching and Tita Kathy do, and she promptly fell backward onto the bed. I successfully avoided laughing out loud. She figured out shrugging, though, and that got a few chuckles.

One time, she was looking for Tita Ching. She ran to the living room, but it was empty. She said, “Nobody!” and then looked for Tita Ching in another room. I wonder if that means I can introduce the concept of zero when counting, too…

We’ve been focusing on family time: lots of time with her cousins, aunts, and grandmother. Reading works out pretty well as a bonding activity, especially for those of us who aren’t up to jumping up and down on the bed.

Also, she seems to be okay with dolls now, hooray! She used to get quite anxious at the sight of dolls. She still doesn’t seek them out, but she doesn’t seem to be as bothered by them as she used to be. It’s probably due to seeing her cousins have lots of fun playing. Next on my desensitization list: dentists!

I managed to get the first set of paperwork out the door, hooray! We’re also working on sorting out bank accounts. Slow and steady…

Weekly review: Week ending 2018-01-26

We started the week with some grandparent time, going out for lunch at Tim Ho Wan and spending time at Museo Pambata. A- also got into the habit of asking Lola to read to her and wanting to sleep in Lola’s room, so we did even though A- was a little bit hard to settle at night.

On Sunday, there was a big party to celebrate the completion of the novena for my dad and what would have been my dad’s 70th birthday. A- found it a little overwhelming, so we went up and down as needed.

We had a chickenpox scare that sent me Googling for information on breakthrough varicella and off to a pediatrician for an in-person consultation. Turned out to be just bug bites on A-, so we flew home on our scheduled flight.

During the layover in Incheon, A- munched lots of prawn and discovered the joys of swimming in the bathtub. The new Terminal 2 was large, airy, and well-equipped, although the amenities for kids were more geared towards screens than climbing or bouncing around.

The seats beside us on the 14h flight from Incheon to Toronto were empty, so we managed to stretch out and nap a few times in between the tours that A- wanted of the airplane bathrooms and galleys (“Not this one toilet! That one!”)

A- was firmly attached to W- as soon as she saw him, which was super helpful because I desperately needed to catch up on sleep. I’m just regularly sleep-deprived now instead of being exhausted, although I’m still dealing with sniffles and a cough, and we’re both jetlagged by quite a bit. Fortunately, we’d already sorted out enrichment at home and we don’t have any appointments next week, so I’m not worried about being out of sync with Toronto time.

It’s been amusing seeing A- apply what she learned on the trip. She insisted that W- sing part of Mamma Mia, and she figured out how to cross her legs when sitting on the floor. I hope that she’ll be on a padded surface when she decides to revisit pratfalls.

A- did a quick runthrough of her favourite activities as soon as she got to the house: putting away plastic bags, eating in her chair, reading books, standing in her tower, saying hello to the cats, playing with dough, painting… It’s almost as if she had a checklist and she wanted to verify everything still worked the way she remembered.

W- put in a smart thermostat which can control the fan and the furnace separately, and it had a surprising large effect on how the house feels. I wonder what other little upgrades are that useful.

I’m continuing to braindump lessons learned and things to take care of. Once I get things out of my head, they’re easier to prioritize and follow up on.

Next week is mostly about acclimating, and about learning to take advantage of our tech upgrades. We’re both checking out GoodNotes for sketchnoting. It’s fun to learn stuff together!

Week ending 2018-02-02

(I hope this image gets properly sized – still working out my mobile workflow…)

We were mostly at home this week while A- gradually adjusted to Toronto time. We made it out to visit Jen and E- on Friday morning. A- also enjoyed going outside to play in the snow.

It was delightful to hear all the phrases bubbling up from A-. “Thank you” was her favourite phrase this week. She also got the hang of sequential requests with “And then…” and tried her hand at persuasion with “That’s okay.” She congratulated herself with “Good job!” “You did it!” and dealt with the occasional oopses with “Try again.”

She didn’t want to wear her conformer for a few days. I didn’t force the issue. No point, anyway, since she could just take it out again right after. I made my peace with possible long-term refusal, but kept trying with liberal use of “Please” and some discussion of why it might be worth the short-term discomfort. She eventually let me put it in, hooray! She removed it again a couple of days after, though, so it might be getting a bit uncomfortable.

We’re back to being able to do neighbourhood errands. A- often wants to go to the supermarket, where she insists on carrying her own basket or riding in the shopping cart.

A- was interested in stacking cans, so I suggested that she stack wooden blocks too. She built a tower out of eight blocks, and then delighted in knocking them down with various body parts.

As for us: I’ve been following up on my resolution to be more organized. I ordered a bunch of pouches from MEC. I sorted A-‘s clothes and donated another bunch of 18mo clothes to the EarlyON child centre. Continuous improvement!

Week ending 2018-02-09

Gross motor: A- practised walking forward on her balance bike. It was just a few steps, but hey, progress! She also enjoyed swimming. We had the toddler pool all to ourselves for a while, and she enjoyed walking in the shallow water and even kneeling just enough to dip her ears into the water. At the Science Centre, she had lots of fun following E-‘s example and running up and down corridors, climbing stairs, and so on.

Fine motor: She can screw together the oversized nuts and bolts in her toolkit. She was interested in the Duplo blocks. She liked adding a paper butterfly to the ROM exhibit.

Language: She used the word “need” to ask for something. Her first request? “I need a hug.” She thanked me afterwards, too. She’s getting pretty good at talking about recent events, like pointing to the fridge and saying, “Daddy bought new eggs.” Ithink she can talk about how she felt, too. For example, a kid accidentally knocked her down at the Science Centre. When we were chatting about the day during her bath, we got to that part and she said “A- sad.”

Household: She insisted that we make muffins, and she even brought out the muffin tin.

Social: She had such a great day on Friday hanging out with Jen and E-, and she was so excited to see W- that she was squeaking as she ran to the door. Joy gave us a kitchen playset, which A- liked. A- also put up with me having coffee with Eric and chatting about leadership. We made it out to music class, but she was pretty reserved. At home, she loved playing games with me (peekaboo, moving tunnels, fall down, toss hair/pompom).

Independence: She insisted on privacy while using the potty. She wanted to do most things by herself. She put on her own coat a few times.

Other: She passed her eye exam – perfect vision and healthy pressure in her right eye so far. Amusingly, she was indifferent to the first sheet of stickers offered by the doctor, but she quickly snatched the second sheet. She enjoyed hanging out at the family centre afterwards.

Us: I donated more clothes through the EarlyON family and child centre. We got a couple of IKEA Trofast units to organize A-‘s clothes and toys. Gradual decluttering!

Week ending 2018-02-16

The dentist recommended taking A- to an anesthesia dentist because she’s concerned that A-‘s teeth are worn down to the pulp and that there might be a hole that affects a nerve. The dentist she referred me to has an 8-hour no food or liquid fasting requirement for treatment instead of allowing breastmilk up to 4 hours before and clear liquids up to 2 hours before. A- still nurses through the night, so I may have to find another dentist, night wean her, or put all of us through a very miserable day. We’re hoping to get a referral to Sick Kids, since with all the other things going on with her, we want the anesthesiologist to have lots of experience with toddlers with other conditions.

The ocularist appointment was more straightforward. A- will get a new conformer in two weeks. We’re going to continue with the conformer approach instead of getting a painted shell because A- still takes her conformer out every so often. We nearly lost her current one. Conformers are cheaper and easier to replace. We’ll just put up with the occasional question from curious strangers (who can sometimes be a bit awkward or even rude, but I’ll just chalk that up to them being off-balance).

We visited her Po Po and Gung Gung for a Chinese New Year party. She had lots of fun hanging out with her Uncle Morgan, Auntie Cathy, and M-. We bought a Japanese cheesecake to serve for her birthday, and she actually blew the candle all by herself. She was very chatty and interactive, hiding jigsaw puzzle pieces in her sleeves and distributing or collecting them as directed, giving people high fives, playing with trucks, and scarfing down a decent amount of food.

We also visited Joy and J-. We all read books together and played with the toy kitchen. A- shared her cereal with J- and sampled her quesadilla, although she wasn’t particularly curious about the pinakbet.

A- easily named and inserted shapes into the sorter. It’s been quite a while since she last played with it and she used to need regular hints, but I guess something just clicked. Duplo clicked for her, too. She got interested in building tall towers (even standing on a chair to do so) and in simulating playgrounds.

Language highlights this week: “Wow” (in reaction to the printer and other awesome things), and “Give it a try” (which she said to me when I told her the bananas were still green). She’s been singing a lot, too. Muvili Zuma Zuma, Humpty Dumpty, Happy Birthday to You, even the song I made up for the swing… We made it to music class and picked up a variant of “Love My Baby,” and we went to the ROM afterwards because she wanted to see the animals.

At the playground, she wanted to be bounced up and down very quickly on the spring toys. She’s getting pretty good at asking for what she wants!

Week ending 2018-02-23

What a week!

A- was so active. She liked dancing by herself or with us, sometimes inviting us by singing part of “Shall We Dance.” When we went swimming for her birthday, she picked up rings with her arms and feet, happily wore a flotation device, and kicked in a reasonable approximation of swimming. She walked astride her balance bike out of arms reach and all the way from the living room to the kitchen. She was interested in rockclimbing, especially after we strapped on the smallest pair of shoes at the climbing gym. (Still a bit big, but manageable.) She liked the new lights from IKEA, and got the hang of turning them on and off by herself.

A- regularly used prepositional phrases, saying things like “A- put fish cracker in mouth.” She went through a phase of saying “I don’t like it,” but is back to asking specifically for what she wants. I can say “Show me sleepy” and other adjectives from her favourite books, and she’ll do it. She picked up more social graces, too – she said “Excuse me” after passing gas. She talked about things that happened and how she felt, like when she accidentally dropped her potty and she was upset. We went to the Children’s Book Bank and picked up a nursery rhyme book and a book about Chinese ceramics by the artist who drew McDull.

It’s been a musical week as well. She was looping over “Happy birthday to you” and “Muvili zuma zuma.” She arranged chairs like in music class, had us sit in them, and did a few of the songs and rhymes. She was interested in banging on the piano, tapping the rhythm sticks, playing percussion on the table, and blowing on the recorder. “Just like music class,” she said.

A- enjoyed the Chinese New Year party at Uncle Morgan and Auntie Cathy’s. She loved going up and down the stairs with Uncle Morgan. She even have everyone goodbye hugs. During the week, we visited Popo for a relaxed afternoon. A- ate lots of grapes and learned a few Cantonese words. We went swimming with Jen and E-, and we had a late lunch with Eric afterwards. A- ate lots of fries. We also went to the Science Centre with Joy and J-.

The pediatrician is going to see about referrals to Sick Kids dentistry and endocrinology. More tests ahead, but that’s okay, we can handle this.

Week ending 2018-03-02

We went to Riverdale Farm this week. A- was a little wary of the sheep, but she eventually got more used to the noise. We visited her grandmother. A- ate lots of strawberries and practised fetching things.

A- had lots of fun spinning around and around, whether it was on the platform at the Ontario Science Centre or in the kitchen at home. With a tray, too, for extra challenge points! She enjoyed rock-climbing, and so did I. She walked most of the way to the subway, too, and she walked astride her balance bike from the living room all the way to the kitchen.

She sang all of Humpty Dumpty and Hey Diddle Diddle, and has been dancing and playing instruments “just like music class.”
We played with catching and blowing feathers, too.

A- had a tantrum because she didn’t want me to go to sleep. I think adjusting her sleep schedule will have to be more about waking her up rather than trying to nudge her to sleep earlier. On the plus side, she echoed some of the sentences from the books we’ve been reading: “One step, another, fall down, and then pick myself up and try it again.” “I know it’s hard.”

I figured out how to make books! I drew a 12-page book about night weaning and an 8-page book about A-‘s conformer. I’m looking forward to making more, especially as I collect ideas and fine-tune my workflow. I managed to do Emacs News entirely on my phone, too, which bodes well for traveling without my laptop. I also worked on documenting files to back up.

Next week: new conformer, more books, and setting up some storage!

Week ending 2018-03-10

A- got a new conformer last week. Progress: she didn’t cry in the waiting room, although she still burst into tears as soon as she saw the ocularist. We’re continuing with the conformer approach instead of switching to a painted shell because A- still rubs the conformer out of her eye from time to time, and it’s easier to replace a conformer. Maybe we’ll switch when she’s closer to school age.

I asked her where she wanted to go for Field Trip Friday. She said, “Riverdale Farm. I miss that. I have fun. Big sheep make big noises.” So we went, and we enjoyed looking at the baby goats. We passed by the Children’s Book Bank, and I was delighted to find that you can take double the number of books on Fridays. I picked up a few more Seuss books.

We’ve been making more of an effort to explore and catalogue places so that we can make the most of Toronto’s resources. We checked out Baird Park, which has a playset with a short tunnel that A- actually worked up the courage to go through. She liked going down the twisty slide on my lap, and then graduated to going down the twisty slide at Lithuania Park with a little push. I posted a few park reviews in Google just in case other people find those notes handy, and I should find some way of organizing my own copy of the notes too.

A- has been having fun with both fine and gross motor skills. She practised using a ladle to pour and a butter knife to spread. She goose-stepped and danced.

A- can talk about more abstract things. She scribbled and said she was drawing “nervous.” One time, W- was carrying her up the stairs to change her diaper, and she was getting a little wriggly and distracted. He said, “Focus.” She said with enthusiasm, “Diaper!”

She likes being involved. When she was at the sink, she said with delight: “Yes! I’m busy!”

One time, she insisted that I carry her up bridal-style in my arms (which she accomplished by flopping in a certain way and protesting if I tried changing things). I was mystified, but it all became clearer once we got upstairs and she wanted me to read Emma to her. The Cozy Classics version has just twelve words, and “carry” is one of them. “Frank Churchill carry. Emma,” she said. Aha!

She often sings nursery rhymes and other songs. She sang part of “Mamma Mia” while dancing, and then obligingly repeated while I suppressed my laughter long enough to record her on video.

Little improvements:

  • W- set up a Synology DS718 network-attached storage server. Wheee! I feel more grown-up with proper backups. I set up borg backups for my server and my laptop. Next: Docker containers for testing the backups…
  • I set up lots of voice shortcuts to help me with groceries and with tracking. For example, I can say, “Okay Google, baby awake” and it will log that in my system. I explored Tasker’s Memento support, too.
  • I figured out how to use Org Mode and LaTeX to typeset drawing templates for children’s books, and I used that to make a book about smoothies. Next: photos, more layouts
  • Lots of tidying up in the basement, too. Whee!
  • I switched to writing in Markor on Android. I briefly enabled Markdown support in WordPress, but it was messing up some of my other posts, so I turned it off again.
  • I set up god-mode in Emacs, which does make phone use a bit easier.

Week ending 2018-03-16

It was March Break, so we wanted to avoid indoor crowds. Instead, we went to playgrounds, checked out High Park Zoo, and joined Jen and E- on a visit to the piglets at Riverdale Farm.

The 2-year-old sleep regression seems to have hit us hard. A- and I have been up in the wee hours of the morning. We did manage to have a video chat with Lola one time. A- had a lot of fun singing, dancing, and pretend-cooking for Lola.

We visited W-‘s parents during the weekend, too. While A- played, I filled them in on upcoming medical things and A-‘s development.

A- liked the ducks at High Park, too, so that’s what our songs and crafts have focused on as well. I stocked up on construction paper, felt, pompoms, googly eyes, mini popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners.

Lots of spinning around with a tray and jumping up and down on the bed. She asked for “bubbles through the air,” and enjoyed catching and stomping them. She laced a belt through my belt loops and helped me buckle it.

A- has started saying things like “Oh my goodness” and “Good idea!” which amuses me. She picked up my She also started explaining herself, as in “I want to nurse in carrier because I tired,” and “I’m nervous about Luke.” We had fun singing her ever-growing repertoire of nursery rhymes.

Her pretend play has been split between reenacting the fun she had at the playground (sandboxes and twisty slides) and reenacting the long flights she took to visit Lolo and Lola. Aside from the occasional “I sit in bassinet a long time,” (which I wish she did – she spent most of the flight in my arms) she seems cheerful enough about the experience, particularly the bits about bringing luggage and asking flight attendants to bring food. She’ll need to travel in her own seat now, so we’ll see how she adjusts to that.

She played hide and seek in the bedroom. Mostly this consists of us hiding together, although sometimes she gets excited about finding me. Slowly practising separation!

Kaizen:

  • I figured out how to make a small, captioned photobook using 4-up imposition.
  • I backed up photo highlights to the NAS and started tagging them with metadata.
  • W- kitted out the playroom with more Trofast drawers. It looks neat.
  • I tried out a paper lesson planner. The month view is good for remembering.
  • I set up scripts for backing up my server to the NAS.
  • We cleared another bookshelf for A-‘s use.

Week ending 2018-03-23

The big thing this week was the initial consultation with the dentistry department of Sick Kids. They plan to put A- under general anesthesia and fix her top four incisors. They said it looks like totally normal early childhood caries now, so no worries about enamel hypoplasia, and they strongly recommended night weaning as a way of reducing the risk of repeat dental surgery. Since we haven’t been able to be 100% solid on cleaning her teeth before bedtime, night weaning probably makes lots of sense.

Now that we’ve got A-‘s medical things scheduled for May, I decided we could squeeze in a quick trip to the Philippines so that she could spend time with Lola and see her cousins and Tita Kathy before they move to the Netherlands. If A-‘s teeth turn into an emergency situation, I hope travel insurance will help us sort everything out.

We took the ferry to Ward’s Island with Jen and E-. It was lots of fun even though everything was closed. The kids played with the pirate ship playground and had fun tossing leaves. A- favored Aunt Jen quite heavily, even telling me to stop. She also practised climbing up the ladder because she saw E- do it. It was great to see her becoming more independent.

A- was up early one day, so we made it out to Riverdale Farm in time for a farmer Q&A session. I learned a little bit about the sheep and the other animals at the farm. We got to touch the sheep’s nose and wool, which A- liked a lot. We combined that with a trip to Children’s Book Bank and the Regent Park playground, where A- had fun climbing up, sliding down, and digging in the sandbox.

A- was very interested in squeezing glue onto paper and sticking on pompoms, googly eyes, and ripped pieces of paper. She also liked playing with dough while I made breadsticks. Those and spinach pancakes were big hits. For gross motor development, she walked her balance bike up and down the sidewalk.

Lots of fun with language this week. She can use the word “sapatos” to mean shoes, and she can say the first two lines of Cattus Petasatus.

W- told me how she was jumping on the bed and he saved her from falling off head-first. He said she looked a little shocked, and then she said, “Nurse more, nurse more, no more monkeys.”

For my part, I’ve been trying to wean her with the help of timers on my phone. That prompted this hilarious attempt at social engineering: “Phone said it’s okay to nurse, beep beep.”

She really liked the Five Little Ducks song. I changed the lyrics to refer to Papa Duck instead of Mama Duck, and she insisted on changing the song so one little duck always comes back. She was interested in playing the recorder, and she actually listened when I asked her to play it quietly because people were sleeping.

Lots of pretending to be a cat qnd pretending I was Mama cat. She also enjoyed pretending to be Ate G* and pretending I was Tita Kathy.

On our side, W- fixed a leak in the dishwasher drain pipe, and I generated and printed labels for many of the toy bins.

Next up: travel!

Week ending 2018-03-30

This weekly review is delayed because travel threw our rhythm off a bit, but my journaling system is holding up nicely.

A- ran/walked all the way to the subway station. I didn’t even have to pick her up once, although I did carry her bag after a short distance. She also had fun pretending to slide down a twisty slide at home, which consists of corkscrewing down a large pillow.

Lots of pretending to be a cat or pretending to be one of her cousins, with me also getting assigned an appropriate role. (“Pretend Tita Kathy feed pretend Ate G*.”) She also imitated the Mojo Jojo voice W- used for the fish in the Cat in the Hat, which totally cracked us up. She found a fancy dress in her closet and enjoyed dressing up in it too.

After tasting a little of W-‘s spicy pasta and spitting it out, A- has taken to asking me if things are spicy or plain before eating them. She usually believes me, but sometimes she’s still cautious despite reassurances.

Not much progress on gentle weaning, although one time she asked me to pat her back instead of asking me to nurse her to sleep.

The packing cubes were definitely a good idea. I felt way more organized.

The flights to Korea and the Philippines were okay. The car seat didn’t get used much after the first two minutes of novelty. The rest of the time, her stuffed sheep sat in it, strapped in and very safe. Sometimes A- wanted to kick me out of my seat and sit in the big seat all by herself. Mostly she sat on my lap.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Incheon for our overnight layover. The East Tower was not as well-appointed as the West Tower, but it was adequate. We woke up in the middle of the night and ordered room service. The omelette was generously-sized, and I ordered rice on the side in case A- wanted it. Room service actually works pretty well considering A- sometimes takes a while to feel hungry, and she likes eating every two hours or so.

Anyway, now we’re in Manila! We’ll be here until the 20th.

Week ending 2018-04-06

A- settled back into Manila life quite readily. She warmed up to her cousins in a hours instead of a few days. She was initially scared of Lolo Frank, but now she knows him by name. She knows more people by name in the office, too. She’s still a little reserved, but that’s normal. It doesn’t help that people here tend to touch kiddos without asking. I’m getting better at heading people off.

She’s gotten better at exploring her environment and even indicating that she wants pictures or videos of a certain thing. At a restaurant, she crawled under a high chair, grinned, crawled out, and then repeated the process until I could take a proper picture of it.

She had lumpiang shanghai and said, “I like this so much.” She also liked mangoes, bananas, and chicharon. She liked ramen at Santouka and teriyaki at Pepper Lunch. It’s easy to tell when she’s had a good meal, because she gets so active afterwards.

She’s been learning how to ride a scooter around. There’s plenty of smooth floor space here, so that might be something to do during trips. A balance bike might be good for her too. I wonder if I should buy one locally or just ship ours back and forth.

A- really enjoyed playing with her cousins. They adapted to the gradual simplification of the living room as toys got packed for shipping. A- even asked G* to let her sit on her lap and read to her. We’ve been using the Little Engineer set to build shopping carts, flower gardens, chairs, and slides. She had fun giving the big teddy bear hugs, although I remain firm in my resolution to minimize the number of stuffed animals we have in the house.

I’m covered in bug bites, and so is A-. Mostly mosquitos, I think, although Kathy suspects additional bugs came in via the Ifugao doll house. Oh well! I’m doing a very bad job of resisting the urge to scratch, even though I know scratching just makes it worse. I brought hydrocortisone ointment this time.

John G. arrived. Home stretch for their family!

Week ending 2018-04-13

Kathy and her family left for the Netherlands on Thursday. It was great to spend time with them while they were here, and we look forward to syncing up with them when they can take a vacation. A- enjoyed playing with her cousins, and she even played peekaboo with Tito John while they were packing.

A- has gotten more interested in drawing and writing. She drew lines up and down while naming them. Then she progressed to saying “W” while drawing a wavy line. She’s also had lots of scissors practice, and she can now easily cut across a sheet of paper. She often likes cutting narrow strips.

She still prefers to be carried when we’re outside, but happily runs around and around at home.

This week, she started spontaneously saying “Sorry.” Spilled something? Sorry. Dropped something? Sorry. She even said sorry when I accidentally bumped her with a broom. She also talked to herself a lot more while playing: naming tile colours while walking on them, referring to herself by a nickname while drawing, musing “How can I figure this out?” while building, singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in full.

I dealt with a plugged duct in addition to the maddeningly itchy flea bites. Cleared up the duct, waging war against the fleas. We’ll get the hang of this.

Week ending 2018-04-20

It was great to spend time with family and friends. We ordered pizza, caught up, and took turns watching the kids. A- alternated between having lots of fun with Diane’s kids and heading upstairs for some quiet play time, occasionally joining the main party to snack on chips. I guess group parties are doable with the right mix of people!
We stayed in Hotel Queen during our overnight layover. We were pleasantly surprised to get upgraded to a suite. For dinner, we had bibimbap at a restaurant around the corner, and the kind waitstaff gave us extra rice cakes to take home.
A- was assigned a window seat on the long flight between Incheon and Toronto, which made for a lot of awkward trips over the other passenger who really wanted to sleep. Oh well. On the plus side, A- actually voluntarily spent a little time in the car seat, which was great at snack time.
A- has really taken to the book that I drew about the Ifugao dollhouse that Kathy bought for G* and A*. She even describes her drawings using the phrases from the book.
I got lots of value out of a sheet of embossed number stickers and a pack of coloured paper. That kept A- occupied for a couple of meals.
Lots of time with Lola. A- really enjoyed their one-on-one interactions: not just ube ice cream, but also books and made-up games. Success!
Other moments:

  • A- was interested in 12-piece puzzles, even though she needed lots of help to complete them.
  • A- tried French onion soup and crepe, and liked both.
  • A- can say pretty complex sentences like “A- home has Daddy in it.” She also started asking questions like “Why Mama say excuse me?”
  • A- can say a few sentences about prospective events. “I want to go to Mind Museum. See big dinosaur. I need a wrist band. Mama need wrist band too.”
  • A- can fill in animal names during the song “Old MacDonald.”
  • A- can explicitly play games and change them. She liked playing a balloon game with Lola.
  • A- started learning how to gently touch someone’s arm to get their attention. She really liked Nana Shirl and wanted to keep talking to her during dinner.
  • A- independently climbed the stairs and slid down the slide at the playground.
  • A- liked scooting closer to Lola on the big cushions at Sofitel.

All in all, an excellent trip.

Week ending 2018-04-27

We’ve been slowly recovering from jet lag and some post-trip under-the-weatherness. A- and I both threw up, but that was pretty manageable. I’ve been dealing with a dry cough. I found that I like honeyed water more than having an endless stream of lozenges, although the lozenges are handy when I’m not in the kitchen.

I realized that one of the things I was missing from the day was a sense of personal experimentation and growth. I’ve been making an effort to try little ideas every day, and I’ve been spending more time, attention, and money on new experiences. So, even though I packed snacks for A- and I could have waited to have lunch at home, we had huevos rancheros at The Beet. While waiting for our food, I helped A- peek into the kitchen and I narrated what was going on. I liked the results of preparing for playground trips. I’m looking forward to tinkering with more ideas.

We made it out to both the Annette family centre and the one at Dundas West. A- seems more comfortable with drop-in centres now, hooray! She used to cry a lot, but this time she got interested in the sandbox, the tunnel, the stickers, and the puzzles on the table. I borrowed a wooden mix-and-match animal puzzle to see if she can decide based on pictures when the shapes are identical, since she can do shape puzzles pretty well now. It seems to be at just the right level for her. She names the animals as she completes them, and

As for me, I picked people’s brains about child care, toddler activities, free play, and dealing with sick days as a stay-at-home parent. Whee!

Other moments:

  • A- can now peel die-cut foam stickers.
  • She walked most of the way to the library.
  • She wanted to help me trim Leia’s nails.
  • She liked the Winnie the Pooh book collection.
  • I was trying to get her to change “I want Nanay to carry you” to “I want Nanay to carry me.” (She confuses “me” and “you,” which makes sense.) After two attempts, she said, “I want to be carried by Nanay.”
  • She makes up her own phrases now. “Finger bread” – baguette.
  • She can talk about things that are missing. “Where’s the red one goes in here?”
  • She likes singing nursery rhymes as well as made-up tunes.
  • She had a long pretend telephone conversation with her tower.
  • We checked out the pop-up adventure playground and A- had fun digging in the dirt.

I started looking more seriously into having a mother’s helper or babysitter in case that capability is a useful addition to our toolkit. It’s hard to imagine occasional childcare since A- is hilarious and we all benefit from the time I spend with her, but it’s great for her to interact more with people who are not me (especially if I get to eavesdrop and pick up more play ideas), so we’ll see. J- is with us this week, so maybe they’ll play a little too.

Also, we’ve all filed taxes, hooray!

Week ending 2018-05-04

  • Field trip
    • We went to High Park to feed llamas. A- liked it and asked to do it twice.
    • We checked out Grange Park. A- liked the rock-climbing section.
    • We had fun at Baird Park despite the drizzle.
  • Gross motor
    • She walked all the way to Lithuania Playground.
  • Fine motor
    • A- was interested in using scissors to cut along lines.
    • A- peeled mandarin oranges and put the peels in the lunchbox. She removed seeds from her mouth. She also shared some with other kids.
  • Language
    • She still mostly demands things (“I want a orange!”), but one time, she requested it: “Can I have an orange, Mommy?”
    • A- asked for and made up stories about everyday objects.
    • “Daddy, help find my glasses.”
    • “What else does Daddy have?”
  • Self-care
    • A- is starting to be able to stand and let a doctor measure her height and weight, and even listen to her heart. Progress!
    • Night weaning progress: A- can wait to nurse at night. As soon as she notices it’s getting lighter outside, though, she says, “I want to nurse. Sun is up.” Then she sleep-nurses for another hour or two.
    • We went to the pediatrician. No worries about her cough or growth at the moment. The substitute doctor asked if the resident could listen to A-‘s heart, since her murmur is easy to hear.
  • Emotion
    • She had a tantrum about wanting me to keep playing with her in the bathtub. I switched to setting a timer for myself, and she seems to tolerate that.
  • Social
    • She was worried about a crying kid in the waiting room. While the kid wailed, she furrowed her eyebrows and twisted the playdough in her hands. When the kid calmed down, she smiled and relaxed.
    • W- pointed to a bit of food on A-‘s plate and said, “I found that on your chin.” A- promptly took it and stuck it back on.
    • W- offered to trade a fork for the butter knife A- was playing with. A- said yes. The moment she held the fork, she said “No,” and refused to give up the knife.
  • Pretend
    • We had fun building sandcastles at Lawrence Park. I stuck a twig in the tower and pretended it was a flag, and then A- repurposed it to be a candle on a birthday sandcake.
    • I bought a bunch of farm animals.
  • Kaizen
    • I’m dipping a toe into babysitting waters and have booked a babysitter from an agency for an afternoon next week.
    • I worked on automatically filtering, categorizing, and formatting my journal entries.
  • Cognition
    • We stayed at the JFRC all afternoon. She played with cars and paint, a matching puzzle with three sets of 18 photos, and a playdough press. She even played with a facilitator while I interviewed a babysitter.

Week ending 2018-05-11

  • Field trip
    • We fed the llamas and then went to the Jamie Bell adventure playground. A- experimented with going up the stairs and wandering around a little out of reach, although she wasn’t too keen on going down the slides.
    • We went to Riverdale Farm. A- spent a long time looking at and talking about the horses. They have a new pig and a new goat, too.
    • A- wanted to go to the Children’s Book Bank. We picked up several books and a set of jigsaw puzzles.
    • For fun, we met up with Jen and very E- and took the train out to Aldershot, then the bus to Hamilton. We walked around a bit while Jen told me about Hamilton’s recent history, then snacked at a cafe, then headed home via a bus to Pearson airport and the UP Express.
  • Fine motor
    • We made sandcastles in the backyard. Actually, we made sandcakes, complete with a pretend-candle that A- pretended to light and blow out.
  • Language
    • A- is learning how to ask questions instead of just declaring that she wants something. “Can I have this?”
  • Music
    • A- started singing the “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe” song.
    • I caught a large spider in the basement. A- sang The Great Canadian Spider while we ceremoniously carried it out to the backyard and released it.
  • Social
    • W-, A-, and I checked out the cherry blossoms with Jen, Ewan, and E-. We also spent a lot of time at the playground and at the pond. We saw the cherry blossoms with Popo too.
    • A- had lots of fun dancing with J-.
    • The babysitting experiment was a success! A- had a grand time with F- M-, digging for worms in the backyard, playing in her play area, and dancing in the kitchen.
    • A- remembered the names of the facilitators at the JFRC, and wanted to draw them.
    • K- taught A- how to make onigiri.
  • Kaizen
    • I learned how to use Autoshare to simplify exporting drawings from my phone.
    • We went to the OEYC and I asked lots of questions about screening babysitters.
  • Us
    • J- and her friend P- made salmon bulgogi and couscous salad. Yum!
    • I started consulting again. We talked about the requirements for this app they’re planning, and I investigated a few ideas.

Week ending 2018-05-18

  • Gross motor
    • A- walked all the way to the JFRC.
    • We’ve been practising going for walks in the neighbourhood. A- wasn’t too keen on walking back from the supermarket, but when she focused on picking dandelion flowers instead, it was easier to nudge her along.
  • Fine motor
    • A- was interested in pushing and stacking large pegs at the OEYC.
  • Language
    • A- had so much fun in the Baird Park sandbox, she said “I don’t want to leave.”
    • A- was doing a pretty good job at imitating whatever we said. W- remarked, “Someone is parroting everything Daddy says.” A- said, “What a surprise.”
  • Emotion
    • A- got a little anxious about Mr. Potato Head and a monkey puppet. Later that week, A- wanted to play with dolls, and she wanted me to put on a hand puppet.
  • Household
    • A- dropped a lot of breadcrumbs on the kitchen floor. Unprompted, she got her broom and tried to sweep it up.
    • A- dragged the shopping trolley short distances.
    • A- and I made banana muffins. She liked pouring and mixing the dry ingredients. After we baked the muffins, we gave some to the neighbours.
  • Social
    • Babysitting experiment #2: success! A- made carrot muffins with Stephanie, then played in the play area before heading out to the backyard. It was nice of her to offer Stephanie snacks.
    • We brought the carrot muffins that A- helped make to the JFRC. They were well-received.
    • It’s interesting how powerful the desire to imitate is. A- usually doesn’t like the peel on fruits, so I was peeling pear slices for her and eating the peels as we went. She eventually got curious enough to eat one, then another, and then a pear slice with the peel on.
    • A- wanted to sit in the front yard and watch people.
    • A- liked watching the neighbours draw with chalk, so we played with chalk on the sidewalk too.
  • Pretend
    • A- liked helping her toy dinosaur have a bath, brush teeth, wear its conformer, and read a book. She happily took her turn, too.
  • Other
    • A- paid lots of attention to stop signs and stop lights, and even insisted on following them while on the sidewalk.
  • Kaizen
    • We got a shopping trolley from Ikea so that we can easily carry more supplies.
    • I stayed up late to compare the numbers for hiring an experienced babysitter directly or through an agency. Along the way, I developed an appreciation for using Calc’s fsolve with org-babel. Nice way to quickly solve an equation.
    • I set up Google Pay and tried it out at the supermarket. If this works out, it might mean one less card to carry or potentially lose.
  • Us
    • We lost one of A-‘s shoes. It fell off while she was sleeping in the carrier.
    • W- built and filled a garden box, and I planted cilantro and dill in it. We bought basil seedlings and planted those too. I gave up on the compost heap.
    • I actually gave myself permission to start playing a video game: Persona 5.

Week ending 2018-05-25

  • Gross motor
    • A- wanted to swing across the monkey bars with help.
    • A- enjoyed building sandcastles in the sandbox and rolling a truck down the slide.
  • Fine motor
    • A- was interested in scribbling in the doodle book.
    • A- had fun wrapping tape all around a column of Duplo blocks. She passed the tape from hand to hand and around all by herself.
  • Language
    • A- talked about something she wished we bought a few months ago: “I have no stars. I have a star at IKEA.”
    • A- lined up random magnetic letters along their baseline.
  • Self-care
    • A- got her own tissue, and then she blew her nose when prompted.
    • We got A- to brush by improvising silly songs.
    • We were able to convince A- to let Dinosaur brush her teeth.
    • A-‘s pediatrician said she had a mild cold and a low-grade fever. We’ll see if her dental surgery needs to be postponed.
  • Emotion
    • A- didn’t want to go to sleep. After trying to insist for ten minutes, I decided to give her suggestions a shot. We went downstairs, played a bit, and even practised a lot with scissors. Surprisingly focused time.
  • Social
    • A- has started getting curious about other kids’ toys in the sandbox and wanting to borrow stuff. She often asks me to ask, and I also nudge her to try asking.
    • J- stepped in for emergency child care when the independent babysitter cancelled.
    • A- had a lot of fun with Crystal the babysitter. They took turns role-playing restaurant scenarios. They practised with scissors and played with paint while I did some consulting. Then A- wanted to go to the playground with both of us, so I explored stuff on my phone while they played. Level up!
    • We visited Popo and enjoyed a nice walk down to Union Station.
  • Pretend
    • W- guided A- through pretending to eat at a cafeteria: getting a tray, loading up a plate, paying, eating, and putting away. More egalitarian than restaurants. :)
    • A- wanted to keep playing the order game. She liked ordering chocolate, cheese, and hot water.
    • A- bought pretend groceries and put them in a pretend fridge. (Duplo blocks, caves)
  • Cognition
    • A- had fun spotting the cat in the Plume book. I think she’s starting to appreciate incomplete images.
  • Kaizen
    • I wrote a bash+sed script to get mutual fund prices.
    • I looked into drawing on my phone, and prepared a few template files. The full version of Autodesk Sketchbook for Mobile is now free, but Medibang has a slightly customizable interface.
  • Us
    • J- made chickpea masala. It was yummy!
    • I went for dental cleaning and fluoride varnish while A- hung out with J-.
    • I chatted with Jessica Lee (@jessicaology) about portfolio careers, tracking, and experiments.

Week ending 2018-06-01

  • Fine motor
    • A- carefully cut freeform spirals out of paper, turning the paper with one hand while cutting with the other. She also occasionally did a good job of following curves drawn on the paper, or cutting around drawings. She learned this from W-.
  • Language
    • “I did not caught the ball.”
    • “Oh no, hair. That is from you.”
    • I made a quick book about going to the hospital.
    • “I don’t know what that is.”
  • Self-care
    • Playing pretend dentist let me brush A-‘s teeth frequently.
    • A- didn’t want me to change her diaper, so I cheerfully changed Giraffe’s diaper. Then she decided it was her turn.
    • We went to Sick Kids for A-‘s dental surgery. Afterwards, we hung out with Popo and R-.
    • A- was okay with drinking 1.5ml infant Tylenol diluted in two small glasses of smoothie.
  • Household
    • A- wanted to water the lawn with the hose.
    • A- gently watered the seedlings.
  • Social
    • A- experimented with her excited voice and her normal voice.
    • A- was okay with this week’s babysitter, but she wasn’t as engaged as she was with other ones. She was a little more attached to me, and she wanted to end the babysitting session half an hour early. She kept saying, “Bye bye Priscila. Priscila go home.”
  • Pretend
    • A- liked pretending that she was stuck under the laundry basket.
  • Us
    • W- built more planter boxes. He planted thyme and tarragon.
    • I edited some text for my mom.
    • J- made creamy pesto pasta bake and a warm shrimp salad.
    • I realized that it’s okay to enjoy this moment as it is, instead of thinking of it as preparation for something else.

Week ending 2018-06-08

  • Field trip
    • A- woke up early in the morning and insisted on going to sleep in the stroller. I managed to convince her to let me snooze, but she repeated her request after a short while. So I bundled her into the stroller and we went to Riverdale Farm, where she had lots of fun watching the baby goat.
    • Jen and E- took us to the Lynde conservation area, where we saw deer, geese, ducks, red winged blackbirds, grackles, wild turkeys, and lots of curious chipmunks.
  • Gross motor
    • A- wanted to practice with her balance bike, and to ride her tricycle with her backpack on.
    • A- practised going up the twisty slide with my help.
  • Language
    • A- postponed bedtime by cheerily insisting, “I want to talk.” She rehashed her hospital visit and other things that were on her mind.
  • Music
    • We attended the first music class for the summer. She clung to me throughout class, but was positive about it before and after.
  • Self-care
    • We’ve been practising new bedtime routines, and they seem to be helping a bit. No food after evening snack. Bedtime activities: read books, nurse in the dark, or brush her teeth. Tapping into her desire to postpone bedtime seems to usually be a good way to get her to brush her teeth at least once a day.
    • She really took to the stroller. She likes singing to herself without us peeking in.
    • A- didn’t want me to brush her teeth, but she let me squirt water into her mouth.
  • Household
    • A- wanted to make the bed. She spread the blanket over the crib mattress on the floor. She also fluffed and stacked pillows.
  • Social
    • A- was a bit irritable in the morning, but she switched to being happy when the babysitter showed up. She wanted to show the babysitter the cool stuff she had. We experimented with having the babysitter over for 5 hours instead of just 4. A- was a bit attached to me, but once they were playing in the garden, I explained to A- that I would work downstairs and that I had full confidence in them. A- and the babysitter were able to play all afternoon. There was a brief moment when she was upset, but the babysitter was able to comfort her, so I didn’t need to peek out. Level up!
  • Kaizen
    • I took the bike and trailer on a test ride around the block. After I built up confidence, I took A- around too. We survived!
  • Us
    • I walked to the Stockyards with A- in the stroller. We made good time, but I didn’t find the other groceries I wanted, so I probably won’t go there much.

Week ending 2018-06-15

  • Field trip
    • I went for a bike ride with A- in the trailer. Good thing I picked a nearby destination, though, since she insisted on walking on the way back. Even when she got tired, she still didn’t want to get in the trailer, so I put her in the carrier and walked the bike and trailer back.
  • Fine motor
    • A- was interested in making valentines, so we folded paper, cut out shapes, and glued them.
    • A- wanted to build a Duplo city. We pretended the blocks were houses. First we started with one line, then another, and then a few towers. Then A- focused on filling the space with blocks, butting them right up against each other. She was momentarily stymied by a small gap that she couldn’t fit a block into, but figured out after I asked a few guide questions.
  • Sensory
    • A-, the babysitter, and I got drenched in a sudden downpour. A- was upset when she was in the rain, but we were able to reframe it as an adventure. Since the power was out in our neighbourhood, I took A- to a restaurant a little further away for dinner.
    • A- liked being swung up in the air, like in the book Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too.
  • Language
    • We read lots and lots and lots of books.
    • Talking about incipient actions: “I’m about to go down the slide.”
    • W- was counting out loud. A- smiled approvingly and said, “Daddy knows the words.”
    • A- talked about the letters on the babysitter’s shirt. I gave her a few magnetic letters, and she matched them up. I gave her a cookie tray so that she could play with the letters closer to the babysitter’s shirt instead of turning around to the fridge.
  • Music
    • A- participated in music class today. She started off a little sleepy and reserved, but she helped clean up, and she let me put her on the floor. She liked hiding under the scarf and shaking the jingle bell sticks.
    • At circle time at the JFRC, A- brought over a stool and sat on it. She imitated the family support worker’s gestures and softly sang words too. She waved the scarf around, and she flapped the parachute up and down. Best circle time engagement so far!
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- didn’t want to brush her teeth, but she changed her mind when she saw the “Shiny smile time” page in a book.
    • A- and E- played in the sandbox while Jen and I chatted on a bench a short distance away. It felt like a big milestone. We eventually moved closer to help them with social interaction, but still, this is a start.
  • Social
    • We talked to our neighbour about her experience with a Montessori private school. She gave a glowing review. I might be willing to give up having an extra year with A- if preschool is a good fit for her. I’m not worried about helping A- learn her letters, but I think preschool might do a better job than I might at arranging regular social interaction. I think Montessori is interesting. I like Reggio Emilia a lot too, and I want to explore options for that as well. We’ll see!
    • Together with a couple of other kids, A- scooped sand into the tube of this activity centre. They all took turns, and they managed to fill the tube all the way up by using wet sand.
    • A- asked me to transfer her to a swing closer to another kid.
    • A- almost wore just a diaper to music class. She relented and let me put pants on her. I brought a bubble wand, which helped keep kids engaged while waiting for class to start. Also, playing the excavator game got A- a little involved in cleanup, although she still mostly clung to me in class.
    • I was looking for my keys, and A- helpfully piped up that they were on the floor. Yay! Later, I was looking for my headlamp, and A- got them for me. It was tucked into a corner, which was a little odd. Hmm…
    • Because the power was out, I brought down my headlamp. The babysitter remarked that she had a similar one. A- blew the whistle cleverly integrated into the headlamp’s strap. The babysitter was surprised and thanked A- for teaching her something new.
    • We ate at a restaurant because power was out at home. We talked through the process, and A- practised what to say and do. I asked her to say, “Excuse me, check please,” and she tried that at our table a few times before we talked to the easier.
    • I feel pretty good about how I’m playing with A- and helping her learn, and I look forward to getting even better at it. The babysitter experiment is also working out well. Even when we’re both there with her instead of my going off to do consulting or kaizen stuff, it’s a good opportunity for her to see social interaction and for me to pick people’s brains.
    • At the JFRC, I shared a large bunch of grapes at snack-time, and they were well-received.
    • A- imitated what I look like when I’m fighting the urge to sneeze.
  • Pretend
    • A- was interested in playing with the pretend kitchen at the JFRC and putting on the scrubs in the doctor kit.
    • A- liked pretending to be an excavator or a Bobcat. She also asked me to pretend to be an excavator.
  • Cognition
    • We built two towers of Duplo, and then A- wanted to put a block across the top. We built a couple of other tower pairs. I started counting the blocks I added: sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes three. When we got near the top of the second tower, I asked A- how many more blocks we needed to add. She said a number that happened to be the right answer. She was probably just lucky, but hey, why not incorporate more math into our activities..
  • Kaizen
    • I moved more winter things into storage.
    • I made Tasker scripts for adding descriptions to my pictures, logging them in my journal, and linking from my journal to the pictures. I learned how to call Java functions from Tasker and how to work with images in scenes. I want to use this to create more pedagogical documentation.
    • I wrote some code to watch a directory and add Org links to new files, managing them with Org attachments. I also experimented with org-download and dragging and dropping images into Emacs, and I wrote a command to read the caption from an image’s metadata and insert it into the buffer.
    • I installed Resilio and used it to synchronize my pictures with the NAS.
    • I added pictures and printed out last week’s review. I also replaced # with Unicode stars and labels in the image filenames.
    • I wrote a shell script to add photo captions for printing.
    • I migrated my blog database to utf8mb4.
  • Us
    • A city tree inspector came by. We had a pleasant chat about the permit process and assured him we would file all the proper paperwork if we decide to go ahead with changing the backyard.