Visual Book Notes: Between Parent and Child (2003)

2018-08-08a Between Parent and Child

Between Parent and Child (2003) by Dr. Haim G. Ginott, Dr. Alice Ginott, and Dr. H. Wallace Goddard is an update of the 1965 parenting classic. The book covers situations starting from toddler tantrums to talking to teens about the facts of life, and it manages to do so without seeming scattered or too sparse.

A few quick reflections on life with our three-year-old:

A- definitely can’t hear me when she’s in the grip of strong feelings, so it makes sense to me to focus on reassurance. Sometimes when she’s really upset, she shows me that she wants some space by running away and crying, “Not Mama!” That’s cool. I say, “Okay, I’ll be right over there. Let me know if you want a hug.” Sometimes she wants to be close (“Up! I want to be in the carrier!”) and that’s cool too, although it’s a bit harder when I don’t have the carrier handy.

I like the point that the book made about helping kids learn how to appreciate music and use music as an outlet for feelings, since I tend to think of it in terms of cognitive benefits instead of appreciating it as a human art. A- and I have been going to music class since she was a year old, although I think that’s been mostly because I like singing nursery songs and enjoy learning more of them. As she grows, I want to model enjoying music around her, and maybe help her find something she likes to do too. We’ve got a piano, a toy glockenspiel, and a couple of ukuleles and recorders, so there’s plenty to explore. Also, A- loves dancing, so I should remember to put music on more often.

It might be interesting to experiment with the “Show me how angry you are” approach the next time A- gets angry. I wonder if she’ll take me up on drawing or dancing it out.

The parent-as-consultant approach for homework help and everyday living sounds really nice–almost too idealistic, but who knows? Anyway, it might be worth trying as A- gets older.

Overall, Between Parent and Child is probably the book I’d recommend as a practical overview of this parenting approach, using other books such as How to Talk so Little Kids Listen and No-Drama Discipline for deeper dives.

If you like this sketchnote, feel free to print, reuse, or share it under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Enjoy!

Tech note: I drew this sketchnote on my phone (Medibang Paint on a Samsung Note 8), so the handwriting’s a little shakier. It was great being able to read and sketch in little snippets of time.

2019-03-18 Emacs news

Links from, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, /r/planetemacs, Hacker News,, YouTube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Visual Book Notes: No-Drama Discipline (2014)

Updated 2019-03-18: Linked image.

No-Drama Discipline (2014) was written by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. The book takes a connection- and skill-building approach to parenting kids, especially during difficult moments like tantrums and misbehaviour. I like how it encourages me to take a step back and think about the long-term skills I’d like to help A- develop, and it has lots of examples of redirection and teaching.

I’m still firm when it comes to safety or other people, and sometimes I’m not in the right space to be patient. I’ve been focusing on accepting, validating, and describing A-‘s emotions whenever I can. It’s getting easier to say, “I see you’re upset. I’m here if you want a hug.” It’s hard to see what kind of progress A- might be making on her side, and I still worry from time to time that I might end up being too permissive, or that she might depend on me too much for emotional regulation. But kids have turned out just fine with a wide variety of parenting approaches, so things will probably work out too. I wonder if A- will grow into the sort of kid who resonates with the kinds of conversations described in the book. If she isn’t, that’s cool, we’ll adapt. In the meantime, this approach resonates with me, and I like what it’s helping me learn.

Although the book felt repetitive at times, I found it helpful to see the principles applied in lots of different scenarios. I also liked reading a few stories about when it just didn’t work out, which made the approach feel more human and relatable. It might be useful to read this book backwards, actually: start with the refrigerator-sheet summary near the end of the book, and then fit the other chapters into that framework.

How does the book fit in with the other books I’ve been reading along these lines? No-Drama Discipline focuses on connecting and calming down kids (and quieting our internal anxieties, or “shark music”), while How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen goes into more detail on collaborative problem-solving. I think No-Drama Discipline gives more concrete advice than Unconditional Parenting does, but covers a narrower range of topics than Between Parent and Child. Positive Parenting by Rebecca Eanes is a bit more of an overview, while No-Drama Discipline is more of an in-depth look at one topic.

If you like this sketchnote, feel free to print, reuse, or share it under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Enjoy!

Weekly review: Week ending March 15, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I tweaked the Emacs Lisp functions that I use for categorizing Emacs News so that it’s easier to cancel.
  • Us
    • W- and I watched Crazy Rich Asians.
    • I finally updated Chrome on my laptop.
    • My brain was buzzing from code, so it was a little hard to sleep.
    • I realized that I’m okay with not signing up for lots of classes and camps. I’d still like A- to find things she enjoys doing and spend time getting better at them, but I’m less worried about making sure the days are structured and filled.
    • W- and I watched the latest Johnny English movie. It was funny.
  • Field trip
    • We went to Riverdale Farm, and A- liked looking at the sheep. We met up with Rebecca and AW-. from music class and hung out at the playground. Afterwards, A- and I went to the Children’s Book Bank. We went home during rush hour, which was a bit of a challenge with a stroller.
  • Gross motor
    • We practised walking to the drop-in centre and the supermarket.
  • Self-care and independence
    • After A- chewed through two gum massagers, W- went on a quest to find a gum massager that could stand up to a teething toddler. The Zoli Chubby Gummy seems to be holding up nicely.
    • A- said her eye still hurts. She rubbed her head a few times.
    • I took A- to our family doctor, who couldn’t figure out what was going on with A-‘s eye. She set up a referral to Sick Kids in case we needed it. It’s hard to tell if A- is serious or pretending, but it doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of her playing, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
  • Eating
    • We celebrated Pi Day by making chicken pot pie and buying apple pie. A- only wanted crust.
  • Emotion
    • A- had a tantrum over not being allowed under the mat.
    • A- had tantrums because she was hungry and tired.
  • Social
    • We bumped into Alexandra and E- on the sidewalk and again at the library. While E- and A- played, Alexandra told me how she’s been having a hard time figuring out the deadlock between getting after-school care and finding work.
    • A- and I had a bit of a conflict over touching. She’s still getting used to the idea of respecting other people’s space.
    • We went on a train adventure with Jen and E- to Oshawa and right back again. A- had fun chasing Jen up and down ramps. The kids enjoyed sharing snacks and learning about the topics in the little encyclopedia that Jen brought. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing at Jen’s house.
  • Other
    • We happened to catch a play at the library–one of the events they organized for March Break. It was a bit heavy on propaganda for healthy living and emotional regulation, but the kids were amused by the improv games after the play. A- watched the whole thing patiently.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Family 0.3 5.0 4.7 9.6 7.9
Personal 5.4 8.5 3.1 16.2 5.1
Business 0.6 1.5 0.9 2.9 1.5
Sleep 34.5 34.9 0.3 66.6 0.5
Discretionary – Social 0.9 1.2 0.3 2.2 0.4
Unpaid work 5.3 4.5 -0.8 8.7 -1.4
Discretionary – Play 4.9 3.2 -1.7 6.1 -2.8
Discretionary – Productive 2.7 0.5 -2.2 0.9 -3.7
A- 45.3 40.8 -4.6 77.9 -7.7

Weekly review: Week ending March 8, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I explored the Facebook Graph API so that I could collect all the posts in my sister’s group.
    • I updated my Emacs News code to include a footer with unsubscription information.
  • Us
    • W- worked on two washer/dryers, but unfortunately, there were no quick fixes.
    • While A- napped on me, I read a couple of books and updated my journal.
    • We tossed out some ramen broth that had gone a little off. Good call. The batch from the freezer was much nicer.
    • I learned how to play the music for the song we made up to spell A-‘s name.
    • I cooked salmon, new potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. Yummy!
    • I was a little stressed about possibly burning buns, which was hard for A- because she was hungry, tired, and needing to be close.
    • I made a kanban board for my sister to help her sort things out.
  • Fine motor
    • A- practised hanging doll clothes on a clothesline.
  • Sensory
    • We did a little sledding after school. A- got too cold, so she wanted to go home. Next time, I’ll be sure to pack her waterproof mittens.
  • Language
    • “Turns out the baby likes salsa,” A- said of herself.
    • “The other day, Luke climbed into my tower.” A- can talk about recent events.
    • “I’m the sun. I’m kind of a big deal.”
  • Music
    • A- liked dancing to samba in music class, so I played some at home too. We had fun dancing together.
  • Art
    • A- wanted to paint with watercolours a couple of times one day.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- said her eye hurts.
  • Sleep
    • A- had another rough night, frequently waking up and thrashing around. I eventually convinced her to take some ibuprofen, and she settled down after that.
    • Even though it was quite late, A- waited for me before she went to sleep.
  • Emotion
    • A- was a little grumpy because I didn’t let her help carry the garbage bag.
    • A- was having a hard time. After she had one red bean bun, she promptly fell asleep. It turned out that she was just hungry and tired.
  • Household
    • After merienda, A- and I made tonkatsu together.
    • A- helped me pack lunch. She put the fruits and vegetables into little containers.
  • Social
    • A- was really keen on wearing matching pajamas.
    • We went to Tania’s party. A- played with the car I brought and the pencil crayons from Anya’s stash. A- had fun showing them yoga poses and singing them her own songs.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 33.5 36.8 3.3 61.9 5.5
Discretionary – Family 0.0 2.3 2.3 3.8 3.8
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.9 0.9 1.5 1.5
Business 0.0 0.6 0.6 1.0 1.0
Discretionary – Productive 2.7 2.7 0.0 4.5 0.0
Unpaid work 6.5 6.1 -0.3 10.3 -0.6
Discretionary – Play 4.6 3.1 -1.5 5.2 -2.5
A- 45.2 42.9 -2.3 72.1 -3.8
Personal 7.6 4.6 -3.0 7.7 -5.0

2019-03-11 Emacs news

Links from, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, /r/planetemacs, Hacker News,, YouTube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.