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.

Babysitting experiment #2: the baker

Babysitting experiment #2 was also a success. A- had her heart set on making carrot muffins today. She was peeling carrots when Stephanie (the babysitter) arrived. Stephanie had professionally trained as a baker, so she was a perfect fit for A-‘s interest. As I worked in the other room, I heard them talking about how the oil and the sugar lighten in colour with mixing, and why we grease the muffin tins. A- remembered so many steps in the process, even checking the muffins with a toothpick. Stephanie complimented A- on being a good baker. A- said, “No, I’m a cook,” which amused us.

They enjoyed the freshly baked muffins for snack, and I set out some berries and cheese too. A- asked, “Would Stephanie like so much snacks?” After snack, A- played in the play area with Stephanie. Then they went to the backyard for some digging and ball-throwing.

I managed to do a little over 2.5 hours of consulting. The rest of the time was mostly helping out, cleaning up, and getting a head start on chores. This let me use A-‘s nap time for reading (1 hour), so that probably counts too. Like before, A- fell asleep shortly after the babysitter left.

A- seems to like the novelty, and I think I’ll enjoy the diversity of skills and experiences people bring. I liked being around to translate A-‘s more obscure requests and overhear the things she wanted to know more about. At the same time, I was able to focus much better on code than I used to be able to do late at night. This could work out nicely.

One afternoon a week feels like the right balance for us at the moment. I was able to think a little about consulting in between sessions, but not let it take over my brain. We were able to do a few fun field trips together. I captured lots of little moments in my journal. I should probably think of kaizen projects that would take about one hour to do, and tee those up for next week. Hmm…

How do I want to grow as a parent?

I want to be able to relax and give A- space. I want to quiet my mind and just be, trusting that we’ll both get enough out of being there. I want to let her have small falls and frustrations while boosting her sense of safety and resilience.

I still want to take notes and think about stuff, though, so I’ll figure out that balance. Maybe I can get used to having a pen and paper in my back pocket, and I can figure out a workflow for those notes. Phone notes are easier to build on, though.

I want to get better at enhancing A-‘s delight: playing games with her, surprising her, using playfulness to defuse resistance. A little energy often prompts energy from her in a virtuous cycle.

I’m getting better at having more energy, and we’re slowly collecting ideas that generally work with her. I’m peeling off self-consciousness and dialing down distractions. I think we can get the hang of this.

I want to eventually be more social. We’ll all benefit from that, especially A-.

I can probably trust that A- will turn out all right. What do I want to get out of this?

  • Equanimity practice: knowing that I can deal with the ups, downs, and surprises
  • Secret stores of delight: little memories that I can use to strengthen my empathy and appreciation not only for A-, but also other people
  • Playfulness and flexibility
  • Notes, observational skills, knowledge
  • Processes and workarounds to help me make the most of fragmented thoughts

2018-05-14 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.

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.

Beginning to trust myself as a parent

I remember worrying about not offering the same level of stimulation that a high-quality daycare might be able to do, with their structured schedules, their activity centres, their specialist lessons in French or yoga or music.

I’m beginning to trust ourselves more now. As I observe A-, I realize that she spends most of her time trying new things, not just things that she can comfortably do. I like how following along with her interests still gives me plenty of opportunity to expand on them. I sometimes pique her interest by playing with something new. I like that too.

I may not push as much as someone well-experienced in managing the zone of proximal development might, but she’ll learn all that she needs to learn and more. No rush. I still like reading textbooks and research papers, though. They’re great for picking up ideas.

I’m a little less worried now about missing important things. I can keep an eye on developmental checklists and talk to the facilitators at the EarlyON Child and Family Centres. The pediatrician also reviews the developmental checklist with me. Plenty of safety nets.

I’m quiet by nature, not as vivacious as the best of the caregivers and parents I sometimes overhear at the playground. Still, A- and I are well-suited for each other at the moment. She asks me questions, and I tell her about the world around us. Sometimes we make sandcastles (or sandcakes, her favourite right now). Sometimes we mock-wrestle. Sometimes we fall into a comfortable silence while she enjoys swinging high up to the sky.

I’m learning how to read the same book five times straight. I’m learning how to make up silly games and situations, like the time I pretended to brush almost everything in the bathroom instead of A-‘s teeth. I’m learning how to answer the same question in different ways. I’m learning how to take and organize notes on her progress. I’m learning to step back and marvel at this kid’s awesomeness even in the throes of strong emotions.

The next thing I’m working on learning is how to wait and observe, so that I can let A- take more initiative. I can trust that she knows how to ask for help or for the name of something. I can let her learn how to focus. I’m curious about things like The Adult Role in Child-led Play – How to Become a Learning Ally.

We’ll shift, naturally, as A- becomes more interested in other people and other opportunities to learn. I trust that I’ll shift along with her, doing experiments out of curiosity instead of being constrained by fear.

I can do this. It’s actually pretty fun. I think it’s worth the time and the deltas from Alternate Universe Sachas who took different paths. I wonder how it will play out.