Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending 2018-01-19

It was a lot of fun watching A- experiment with new concepts this week. She tried saying, “No play Ate A*, this mine!” This is great! She’s learning about owning things. I did point out that the toy she was clutching was actually her cousin’s, and we sorted it all out with a minimum of fuss. I look forward to helping her navigate this interesting time.

She also tried arranging her legs to sit like she saw Tita Ching and Tita Kathy do, and she promptly fell backward onto the bed. I successfully avoided laughing out loud. She figured out shrugging, though, and that got a few chuckles.

One time, she was looking for Tita Ching. She ran to the living room, but it was empty. She said, “Nobody!” and then looked for Tita Ching in another room. I wonder if that means I can introduce the concept of zero when counting, too…

We’ve been focusing on family time: lots of time with her cousins, aunts, and grandmother. Reading works out pretty well as a bonding activity, especially for those of us who aren’t up to jumping up and down on the bed.

Also, she seems to be okay with dolls now, hooray! She used to get quite anxious at the sight of dolls. She still doesn’t seek them out, but she doesn’t seem to be as bothered by them as she used to be. It’s probably due to seeing her cousins have lots of fun playing. Next on my desensitization list: dentists!

I managed to get the first set of paperwork out the door, hooray! We’re also working on sorting out bank accounts. Slow and steady…

Wekly review: Week ending 2018-01-12

My dad died on Saturday, Jan 6. He lived an awesome life. Many, many people shared their stories and pictures of adventures with him, and there was lots of laughter as we celebrated his life. It was about as good a life and death as one could have, I think, and that’s a wonderful gift. He was inurned in the pavilion at Heritage Park, so there are plenty of planes to watch, there’s plenty of light, and there’s plenty of space for the grandkids to run around.

It was good to catch up with a few friends who visited, and Diane did us a huge favour by staying overnight with my mom.

A- had a great time running around and bouncing on the sofa. She figured out how to jump using two feet. We went to Active Fun with her cousins, and she had fun climbing and sliding.

We saw W- off at the airport. He headed back following our original schedule. A- and I will stay until the 25th. A- misses him a little bit (“A- want go too!”), but she also enjoys spending time with her cousins, so it all works out. I’ve had to carry her out of their bedroom a couple of times now, since she’d happily play with them long past bedtime if she could. She also loves spending time with Tita Ching, who has read many, many books with her.

I like how A- is getting more involved in our daily routines. She likes squeezing the bottles of shampoo and body wash. One time, while I was rinsing off some shampoo with my eyes closed, she squeezed even more shampoo on my head, then said, “Mama feel better.” I guess it’s because I often tell her that I feel better once I’ve washed away the sticky feeling of perspiration.

Speaking of sweat – A- often insisted on going shirtless or pantless even in air-conditioned rooms. I managed to insist on diapers, at least. She had lots of bug bites. I’ve made my peace with using diaper creme instead of taking a risk with methyl salicylate.

One day, she insisted on wearing her winter jacket out of the blue. How odd!

I’m handling the insurance and estate tax paperwork, so I’m slowly putting those things together. The implementing rules for the tax reform haven’t come down yet, but I can organize the papers took make them easier to file. We’ve been preparing for this for months, and now that preparation can pay off. It’s nice to not be under time pressure.

We’re giving ourselves plenty of space to adjust to this new normal. I even had time to do a little consulting: checked on data extract, fixed blog comment export, and thought about templating.

Onward: more paperwork, more memories, more living!

Weekly review: Week ending 2018-01-05

It took two weeks of warming up, but A- now seems pretty comfortable with people at home. She loves toddling after Ate Jeana and asking if she can wash dishes at the same time, and she loves asking Tita Ching to read an endless series of books. She even insisted on going downstairs and out of sight with Tita Ching. She enjoyed playing with her two cousins, too. Yay independence and social interaction!

A- still spends lots of time attached to me, though. At one point, I said, “You love nursing!” She replied, “I love you.” Might be her just digging up the closest phrase she knows, but yeah, I’m totally fine with snuggling her more.

I like being able to offer her choices and hear what she wants. She’s figuring out how to think about the near future, saying things like “wait potty Tita Kathy finish bathroom.” She asks for what she wants (“More soup!”)

I went to the Bureau of Internal Revenue to replace my taxpayer ID. I started decluttering and organizing my mom’s papers. We met with a tax lawyer, too.

We had to reshoot the family picture because my dad insisted that we should all wear Columbia. Brand loyalty!

On the flipside, my dad slipped into delirium and the nurses advised us to take him to the hospital. We’ve already had all the big conversations, so at least we’re sort of prepared for whatever can happen.

December 2017

The big thing this month was flying to the Philippines to spend time with family. A- has mostly settled in. She gets quite anxious around my dad, who’s a lot sicker than he was when we visited in September.

This month, A- figured out how to sort cans into five groups by colour, label how she was drawing, cut with a serrated knife perpendicular to the chopping board, roll and slice play dough, drop coins into a slot, and turn doorknobs (!). She was interested in stringing beads with help, picking up plastic eggshells with her toes, cutting index cards all the way through with scissors, standing astride her balance bike, and lifting bags of lentils overhead so that she could throw them down. She loved getting shopping bags from under the sink, putting cans in them, dragging them around, and putting everything away. She also loved sliding down an inclined mattress and rolling things down to hit various targets.

We discovered a nice toddler pool in a nearby community centre back in Toronto. Despite the cold, we managed to make it to an outdoor playground too.

A- regularly uses four- to seven-word sentences. She seems to have a few favorite sentence groups – snippets from books, or connected thoughts such as: upset picture; cat pajamas; no wake up all; ni bed. She can name everyone she regularly sees, and she likes labelling their actions. When I offer her choices, she uses more words to describe what she wants.

She wants to be more independent, and sometimes even asks me to wait in one place while she goes and does something. She sometimes gets upset when I eat something she’s got her eye on or if I do something for her when she wants to do it by herself, so I’m happy to let her take the lead. She imitates what we do: washing dishes, carrying a stuffed toy in her sling, putting things away, strumming the ukulele strings. She’s doing all right.

I’m learning to make the most of the tablet and phone that my dad insisted on giving me. I’m a little intimidated by the thought of dealing with Customs on the way back to Canada, but it’s the right thing to do, so I’ll just keep a spreadsheet with the gift totals.

My dad might have surgery shortly before our scheduled return, so I’m thinking of extending my stay a few weeks while W- sticks with the original itinerary. We’ve had a lot of serious conversations just in case this is the end, and we’ve also had lots of storytelling and family time.

I learned more about estate tax law in the Philippines. I’m reasonably confident that we’ll be able to sort this out, especially with the recent tax changes.

We were in the middle of dealing with a flea problem in Toronto, so it’s been nice dealing only with the occasional mosquito bite here. We’ll just have to get back to vacuuming regularly once we’re in Toronto again.

The major upgrade at work went well. I helped with a few bugfixes and problem investigations. I’m glad I brought the work laptop, although it will be an interesting challenge bringing everything back if I’m traveling by myself.

Weekly review: week ending 2017-12-29

A-‘s now pretty comfortable with my family. On various occasions, she sat on Lola’s lap, gave people fist bumps, rubbed noses, and laughed when people made funny faces. She’s still nervous about my dad, though. Maybe it’s the coughing, maybe it’s the TPN, maybe it’s something else. Anyway, that’s just something we need to deal with.

We’ve figured out lots of things she can do to keep learning. She was interested in cutting toy fruits and vegetables, and she liked playing with the cooking set that Tita Kathy gave her. She wanted us to read the books she got for Christmas (lots of Tagalog books, also from Tita Kathy) and a few other books around the house (Little Red Riding Hood, Have You Seen My Cat?).

My dad insisted on giving us new phones and clothes. I’ve been making good use of the iPad and Pencil, too – at least, whenever A- will let me use them! She liked drawing on the tablet, which made my dad happy. I also bought a new backpack since my old one was starting to fall apart. Lots of upgrades. We’re also looking forward to playing the music that Tita Ching gave A- and hanging up the solar system mobile that Lolo and Lola gave her.

Lots of estate planning this week, too. I learned more about trusts and tax laws in the Philippines and Canada, updated our spreadsheets, and went to a couple of meetings. I feel reasonably prepared.

I might extend my trip. It’s good to spend time with my family, especially if my dad goes through surgery the day before my current departure date. A- is still top priority, though, so I need to think about what we can do if W- isn’t with us and A- is anxious around my dad. We’ll figure this out.

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-22

We flew on Sunday, arriving in Manila on Tuesday night after an overnight stopover in Korea. The flights were uneventful, and jet lag wasn’t too bad.

The descriptive language I read about in books on early art education seems to have clicked. A- said “Circle!” when she drew roughly circular things, “Dot!” when she dotted the page, and “Line!” when she slowed down to draw vertical or diagonal lines. She was interested in breaking crayons, so we broke a few. I wonder if I should redirect her to something with similar feel so that we can keep crayons whole.

She also started holding the knife perpendicular to the chopping board and cutting straight down instead of at an angle. Cucumbers and strawberries were just right for her to practice cutting on her own, and she was able to cut them into tiny tidbits. Working with playdough, she rolled clumps flat with a rolling pin and sliced the pretend-pizza with a spreader.

She opened a Vector bar wrapper all by herself. W- told me that she ripped the wrapper by accident and she put the bar down. Then she realized what she could do, picked up the bar again, opened it, and started eating the bar. Clever girl!

She often says five-word sentences now, like “no mama eat fried rice.” We packed three books for the trip, and she spent five minutes asking for the board book version of Pride and Prejudice before we fetched it from the overhead bin. She’s still scared of dolls and doesn’t like them even talked about.

She’s slowly getting reacquainted with my family, although stranger anxiety still sometimes gets in the way. She warmed up enough to take one of her cousins by the hand, play with her giraffe toy, and ask for that cousin by name. She also offered her sheep toy to Lola, and she accepted blueberries from Lola too. Lolo’s still waiting for his moment, though.

My sisters and I met with our dad’s doctor, and that conversation was very helpful.

One potty accident this week, although it was probably because she was hungry and distracted due to cooking. No worries!