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)

2017-03-20 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacsen.org, Youtube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Past Emacs News round-ups

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)

2017-03-13 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacsen.org, Youtube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Past Emacs News round-ups

Notes from the Let’s Get Started parenting series

On the recommendation of our family home visitor, we signed up for the Let’s Get Started program run by the Macaulay Child Development Institute. It’s a 6-week program for parents with kids who have special needs or are experiencing developmental delays.

A- is okay so far based on the Nipissing developmental screens, but we want to keep on top of things in case she needs early intervention for her monocular vision, the learning difficulties that affect maybe 20% of people with microphthalmia, or anything else that might come up.

At the first session, a speech pathologist gave a short presentation on teaching kids how to speak. Instead of questions (“What’s this? What’s this?”) and prompts (“Say ‘apple.'”), it’s more effective to label (“Apple.”), model (“Apple, please.”, as you hand the child the apple), and expand (“Red apple.”). I found it very useful to hear him model the kind of talking to do around babies (“Open door! Close door!”). It’s been much easier to fill A-‘s world with words, and I’m less worried about being too quiet around her. It was also reassuring to find out that gestures count as words when it comes to the developmental milestones, so A- is meeting those for now. At 12 months, she says “Mama”, and is reasonably consistent about gestures for nursing and no. She often uses the “more” sign to ask for water, but she also uses it for other things, and sometimes we’re not quite sure what she wants. Ah well!

We missed the second session because A- was sick. They discussed the Nipissing developmental milestones, which we’ve already been using because of the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program.

The third session had an occupational therapist from Surrey Place. She focused on one-on-one consultations with the families there. I asked about A-‘s monocular vision, since people in the Facebook support group for microphthalmia sometimes shared stories of how they were automatically qualified for early intervention and how useful the therapy was. From my research, I know I might need to adapt how we teach her to pour water from a pitcher, deal with stairs or curbs, thread things, ride a bicycle, and drive a car. She’ll probably also need a bit of consideration when it comes to where to sit in a classroom, deal with shared textbooks, and get through physical education classes. Then there’s the social aspect too – dealing with limited field of vision and accidentally ignoring people, handling any bullying or isolation caused by being visually different, and so on. It’s been difficult to find information on monocular vision. There are many more resources focused on blindness in both eyes. The occupational therapist didn’t know of anything off the top of her head, so she asked me to follow up with her by email to see if any of her colleagues might be able to help. A- will probably be all right, but it never hurts to learn as much as I can anyway.

In the fourth session, a speaker from Holland-Bloorview talked about visual routines. They’re great for helping kids learn words and concepts, transition between activities, stay on task, choose, express themselves, put things away, and go through multi-step procedures. By showing an object, picture, or illustration, we give children a visual anchor for a concept or task. For example, I could show A- the grocery flyer and tell her that we’re going to the supermarket. The speaker gave each of us a laminated “First… Then” board with everyday activities. We also got laminated guides for handwashing and going to the toilet. I had looked up visual routines when I saw how the centre staff used little laminated cards to help kids move from one activity to another, so it was nice to get a little kit already put together. I also liked how the speaker had a bunch of visual cards hanging from her lanyard (a selection of emotions and actions).

Looking forward to the next sessions! It’s a bit more of a hike than our usual programs – 45 minutes away by subway and bus – but it’s good to be able to talk to specialists and learn more about what to watch out for. I heard that even developmental assessments have waiting lists that take a few months to get through, and it’s even longer for therapy. Whatever I can do to learn and support A- will be good especially if she ends up needing a little help, but not being as high-priority as other cases that agencies need to focus their limited time and budget on. Anyway, it’s all part of what we signed up for!

Monthly review: February 2017

We celebrated A-‘s birthday with W-‘s family. W- made lots of yummy food, and I got a few photos printed. A- keeps growing at an amazing rate. She now lets us put the conformer into her eye socket without any fussing, signs somewhat reliably for “nursing” and “more” (which she also uses to ask for water), says “Mama”, recognizes words like “cat” and “wave”, varies her intonation a lot while babbling, crawls up stairs, lets us put glasses on her for a few seconds at a time, cruises along furniture (including the coffee table W- built), takes turns drinking from a cup or water bottle cap, uses her teeth in the defence of chicken drumsticks, and clings to W- when she doesn’t want me to put her to bed. She was even perfectly fine staying home with W- while I went to the dentist for a cleaning. (2 units, yeah!)

We got through her first bad cold, 12-month vaccines and blood tests, and a bit of a kerfuffle about her teeth. (Spoiler: enamel hypoplasia.) The cardiologists are still monitoring her heart condition – the hole is getting smaller, but there’s a muscle bundle developing, so we’ll have to wait and see. She seems fine at the moment, though, and they’re okay with seeing us in August.

We’ve been establishing new routines now that W- is back at work. I’ve been taking her to lots of programs and centres: Let’s Get Started, Peer Nutrition, the TDSB Family Literacy Centre, and the usual neighbourhood places. There are plenty of toys at home, too, including a couple of additions to our Diplo connection.

My mom and my sister are helping my dad recover from his operation. I’m figuring out the logistics of going over there with A- and seeing if I can help out. Solo long-haul travel with a toddler sounds pretty daunting, but if I work through all the risks, I can probably manage it.

Consulting’s been going fine: a few small features and a prototype client for consuming information. I’ve also been getting a head start on our taxes and improving my ledger. Gradually sorting things out!

Blog posts

Sketches

Category Jan Feb Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.4 0.1 -0.3 0.1 -0.6
Discretionary – Play 1.5 1.0 -0.4 1.6 -0.8
Unpaid work 46.7 48.3 1.5 73.2 2.6
Unpaid work – Childcare 42.4 41.0 -1.4 62.2 -2.4
Discretionary – Social 0.5 0.3 -0.3 0.4 -0.4
Discretionary – Family 0.1 1.5 1.4 2.2 2.3
Sleep 38.2 35.9 -2.3 54.5 -3.8
Business – Connect 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0 -0.2
Business – Earn 0.7 0.9 0.2 1.4 0.3
Discretionary – Productive 2.5 2.2 -0.3 3.3 -0.5
Personal 9.2 9.9 0.7 15.1 1.2