Monthly review: April 2016

Last month, I wrote that I was looking forward to:

  • working more closely with the healthcare system and learning more about what to do
  • improving our routines and tools
  • gradually building a habit of going out (parent/baby groups, exercise, etc.)

A- is gradually moving past the slug stage of infancy. We’ve reached the awesome milestone of social smiles and cooing, hooray! That’s been helpful in getting us through those early morning wake-ups and occasional fussiness. W- has been super wonderful. I’m starting to feel like I might actually be getting the hang of this, too!

Warmer weather and A-‘s increasing wakefulness encouraged me to take her out for social activities. I checked out lots of free baby- and parent-oriented activities in the neighbourhood. They provide good excuses to go for a walk, A- gets to hear lots of words, and I’m learning from being around other parents and kids.

It’s great that there are so many resources available in the city. After a close call with a plugged duct, I started going to the breastfeeding clinic nearby. The weight history they’ve been keeping has shown that A- is gaining weight more slowly than normal. Based on my research and my conversations with the nurse at the cardiologist’s office, this is probably due to her heart defect. Having graduated from midwife care, we’re now seeing a pediatrician. I hope she can help keep an eye on the big picture, what with all the medical professionals we need to talk to.

The benefits of continuous improvement are starting to build up. Here are some of the little changes we’ve been trying:

  • Pizza is a handy way to use up leftovers.
  • The ring sling is a handy way to keep A- close, especially when she’s fussy and wants to be held. I can put it on even if I’m holding her.
  • Salads are fresh, convenient, and easy to eat. If I cut up ingredients and put them in containers, that makes mixing a salad pretty straightforward. I want to get us used to eating more vegetables, so I’ve been exploring salads. I think I’m getting the hang of having salad ingredients on hand, and I’ve been having fun exploring classic combinations too.
  • If I do laundry every other day instead of everyday, that saves time and energy.
  • If I brush my teeth and shower after dinner instead of timing it for before bed, then I feel better during A-‘s bedtime routine.
  • If I forget to do my pre-bed routine before A-‘s bath, I can brush my teeth while W- washes her.
  • If A- is cooing and not quite ready for bedtime, it can be a good opportunity to call my parents over Facebook Messenger so that they can interact with her.
  • If I draw my journal in the morning instead of at night, I don’t have to try to squeeze it into our bedtime routine.
  • If I keep lots of small towels handy, nursing becomes a more civilized affair.
  • If she’s crying, I can give her a short period of time to try settling down before I pick her up and more actively try to calm her.
  • If I loosen the bottom rail of the ring sling a little bit more compared to how I was doing it before, A- can sit more securely.
  • If I start Emacs as a daemon, I don’t have to worry about it crashing when I restart X.
  • If I use Tasker to set up call forwarding to either my home phone or a free voicemail service depending on location, I can worry less about missing calls or messages.

As our household routines improve and A- grows, W- and I have been gradually getting back more time for discretionary activities, too. W-‘s been getting back into woodworking, and he has also been able to go to the gym a couple of times a week. He’s great at coming up with songs and rhymes for A-, too, and she has come to enjoy bathtime.

I’m less worried about squeezing in naps while A- naps. I know that I can sleep in or start the bedtime routine a little earlier if I’m feeling tired, and I can call in W- for reinforcements if A- is fussier than usual. This has freed up time for me to learn more things. I’ve been sewing clothes, accessories, and stuffed toys. In terms of coding, visualizing baby data has helped me feel more comfortable with the d3 library (including animations, yay!). I applied that experience on my consulting gig, creating a couple of visualizations of their data. My drawing and writing still tends to be pretty journal-focused, but I can now take the time to explore other thoughts or go into more detail.

Most of the next big steps in terms of A-‘s medical stuff will be in June (cardiology update, eye clinic impression-taking). May will probably be more about improving our routines and skills. More social stuff, too. W-‘s parents are hosting a 100-day celebration for A-, and my eldest sister Ching is flying in for that. I’m looking forward to bringing A- to more get-togethers for exercise and stimulation. It would be nice to get back into the swing of drawing and blogging non-journal-type stuff – perhaps more kaizen posts. More salads and gardening, too! =)

2016-05-04b April 2016 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.5 0.4 -1.1 0.7 -1.8
Unpaid work 41.6 42.2 0.6 68.7 1.0
Unpaid work – Childcare 35.6 36.8 1.2 59.9 2.0
Discretionary – Social 0.7 1.7 1.0 2.8 1.7
Discretionary – Family 0.7 0.3 -0.4 0.5 -0.7
Sleep 36.9 33.5 -3.4 54.6 -5.6
Business – Connect 0.5 1.2 0.7 1.9 1.3
Business – Earn 0.3 1.2 0.9 2.0 1.5
Discretionary – Productive 6.5 6.5 -0.0 10.6 -0.0
Personal 11.1 12.7 1.5 20.6 2.6

Childcare’s a bit up and sleep is a bit down, but that’s probably influenced by the fact that I’ve improved my tracking system to allow me to capture more details for late-night feeds. I thought about breaking childcare down into subcategories (maybe stimulation, routine care, medical stuff, nursing, and other?), but I can handle that with notes instead of separate categories for now.

  • Aviv

    Hi there Sacha, I know it’s off topic but I have to ask – do you still have that Vaio U1 around?

    • Yup! Why?

      • Aviv

        A few years back you said you might recycle it. Just wanted to make sure you didn’t, as it still holds value in the eyes of some people :)

        • It’s in a drawer, and I think it still boots Linux. =) I’ve been keeping it partly for sentimental reasons, and partly because I have no idea how I managed to use something that small as my primary computer for a while.