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.

Babysitting update: pretend play

Yesterday’s babysitting experiment was another success, making three for three. A- was looking forward to the babysitter’s visit and even postponed some of her morning play ideas. As soon as the babysitter walked in, A- switched to wanting to play with her instead of me. They built with Duplo, painted on paper, cut with scissors, and played with tape. Then they headed to the backyard to make sandcastles. They came back in for snacks, then played pretend. The babysitter guided A- through role-playing restaurant interactions, which she took to with much enthusiasm. Then A- wanted to go to the playground with both of us, so I wrapped up my consulting (2.2 hours, yay!) and headed out with them. While the babysitter pushed A- on the swing and helped her navigate the other parts of the playground, I worked on improving my phone workflows for tracking and drawing.

Having an agency babysitter come over one afternoon a week seems to be working out very well for both of us. A- likes the change in company and the one-on-one attention. I like overhearing how they’re playing so that I can pick up ideas. For example, it was great to see how quickly A- picked up a new scenario when the babysitter guided her, and how the babysitter nudged her to exchange roles in their pretend play.

I wonder what I can do to level up. I could send them my weekly review when I book so that the sitter can easily see what A- is interested in. I can make grab-and-go bags for going to the playground or other places. I can add a few dress-up items and props to enhance pretend play, and I can add paper and pens to support pre-literacy. I can line up questions to ask during downtime. Hmmm…

2018-05-21 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 2018-05-18

  • 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