Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending September 16, 2016

Our family home visitor has been helping us with activities leading towards A-‘s 9-month developmental milestones. This week, we focused on looking for hidden objects. We showed A- a toy, then covered it with a piece of cloth. After a few tries of showing and hiding the cloth, she got the hang of pulling the cloth off to reveal the object. I think she’s even starting to pull covers towards objects so that we can play this game of hiding and showing. :) We also watched a video on infant massage – plenty of things for us to try. Next: imitating facial expressions.

I’m learning that a great way to make the most of my time is to stay with A- when she naps, since that helps her sleep longer. Depending on whether she’s nursing or not, I might nap as well, do things on my phone, draw index cards, or work on my computer. I’ve blitzed through quite a few e-books on my phone, and I’ve figured out passable ways to review my sketches, capture quick thoughts, and even do a little system administration. I still haven’t sorted out my writing or video editing workflows, but that will come in time.

Slowly getting back to normal life. A- patiently entertained herself as I helped W- make a ton of dumplings. By golly! An actual, sit-down, get-your-fingers-dirty, triple batch of pork and chives dumpling making session. On Friday, W- splurged on a nice 2″ New York strip to celebrate progress on J-‘s closet renovation. A- enjoyed some of it too, using the beginnings of a pincer grasp to take the pieces I dangled in front of her.

Social stuff: I made it to the potluck picnic hosted by our midwives, yay! It was fun catching up with a couple of other folks from the prenatal classes we attended. The lemon curd squares I brought were a little overcooked (life with a baby), but still okay – W- helped me fix it. More practice needed. I also made it to the follow-ups for the peer nutrition workshop. Due to the unexpected closure of the venue, I hung out in the park with a couple of other new moms. On the way home, I discovered that chugging almost a litre of milk (didn’t want to waste it and no one else seemed to have any cups for sharing) was not a good idea. W- to the rescue again!

Slowly improving my process for drawing index cards. A head lamp helps me avoid eye fatigue when I’m drawing in the dark next to a sleeping A-. Taking the pictures on my phone before passing them through ClearScanner seems to reduce the number of crashes. Still not as pretty as the index cards I draw on my computer, but the important thing is they get drawn. It’s a good thing I’m sorting out this workflow now, actually. A-‘s becoming more mobile, so it’s time to start babyproofing her room. Can’t leave the power adapter and the laptop by the bed any more. =)

Also, I checked out the Toronto Public Library’s book sale for child development books for me and board books for A-. No such luck, but oh well. Now going through the early childhood education books available at the library. Whee!

Blog posts

Sketches

2016-09-17g-week-ending-2016-09-16-weekly-journal output

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.5h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.5h)
  • Relationships (4.1h – 2%)
    • ☑ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.5h – 6%)
    • Drawing (8.9h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (0.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.9h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (72.6h – 43%)
    • Childcare (57.1h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (55.6h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 9, 2016

A-‘s steadily catching up in terms of weight, hooray! We aren’t doing anything special, just letting her feed herself. We’ve added kamut puffs and Toodle-Os to her snacking options, and we’ve been introducing her to more of our regular meals. She’s catching up with the 10th percentile curve, yay. We took her for another checkup at the cardiologist, who says she should be okay for travel. Yay!

We started with the Make the Connection program offered by Toronto Public Health. It looks promising: TTC tokens, a little bit of a program like the Ontario Early Years Centre drop-ins, and some discussion on parenting and building secure attachments. I really appreciate how Canada has programs like these.

A- is getting much better at sitting independently, inching her way forward when crawling, and exploring toys. I even managed to squeeze in some time to help W- make lots of pork and chive dumplings.

We moved all the upstairs furniture around so that someone could come in and stretch the carpet. That took care of the ripples and of the edge leading up to J-‘s new closet. One of the seams has opened up, though, so the person who did the carpet may have to come in and do that bit again.

It took a bit of bleary-eyed typing and clicking, but I got my business books reconciled up to the current month. That should make it easier to file corporate taxes. Whee!

I finally got around to taking advantage of the free Linode memory upgrade. Still have to think of better ways to use my server, though. It might be better to downgrade plans, considering I haven’t implemented that many additional uses since the last time I thought about this question (2014, I think, when Linode went SSD and double RAM?). On the other hand, it would be interesting to expand my capabilities, and maybe also get a proper Emacs setup on it and other useful things. Hmm, let’s start with owncloud, maybe…

2016-09-13c-week-ending-2016-09-09-journal-weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.0h – 1%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.0h – 33% of Business)
    • Build (1.9h – 63% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.4h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.9h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.7h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (1.2h)
      • ☑ Fix website
      • ☑ Fix weight display labels
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.4h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.1h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (75.9h – 45%)
    • Childcare (70.3h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (52.4h – 31% – average of 7.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 2, 2016

It’s been a week of seeing people. A- was somewhat fussy during dinner with W-‘s family. She might have been tired, overstimulated by the noisy Chinese restaurant, and a little intimidated by relatives wanting to pick her up. She preferred to stay with W- or me. Totally normal. Anyway, since this might be the usual stranger anxiety starting to develop (yay! W- is not a stranger!), I’ve been making an effort to take her to more activities at the Ontario Early Years Centre and the neighbourhood family resource centre. We finished the Peer Nutrition program, and we’ll check out the drop-ins that follow up on that program.

A- has been working on expanding her vocabulary. Recent addition: “Ba”. She’s also getting pretty good at sitting on her own, although I still stay close enough to catch her during those random topples.

The pediatrician is no longer that concerned about A-‘s weight gain, since she’s been growing faster. Enough to inch back over the 5th percentile curve, yay! In addition to nursing, she also self-feeds a wide variety of solids. She’s particularly fond of egg (breakfast), yogurt (evening snack), and raspberries (any time, especially with yogurt).

I finally got around to printing a photo of A- so that the family home visitor can include it in the laminated foot print memento.

A- has a passport now, whee! Got travel insurance that will probably cover things related to her heart, too. Next trip-related steps: sort out pet vaccines and boarding.

In preparation for possibly leaving my laptop behind on our trip, I’ve been experimenting with drawing my daily journal and thoughts on index cards instead of on my laptop. Drawing is relatively unfussy except for dealing with wet spots, and I feel more comfortable drawing on paper around A- than having my laptop out. Deskewing and tweaking the image is a bit fussy, although I can do some of that on my phone. I might need to use different-coloured pens instead of adding colour in post-processing. Still need to tweak my workflow. It would be neat to figure out something that I can pull off with mobile devices and SSH, but it’s also okay if I decide to stick with my digital index card workflow instead. Good to experiment, though.

Also moved my library video tracking script online, so I can check the availability of new releases from my phone while we’re out on a walk.

I’d like to see if I can help my consulting client with something new. Might need to shuffle around my discretionary time activities in order to make space for it, or adjust expectations if this is what we have to work with.

A- has been settling into a pretty regular routine. She wakes up around 9ish. Aside from nursing, we usually have breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, and an evening snack. We go out for a walk almost every day, and there’s usually some kind of activity too. She settles in bed at around 10pm, although she tends to nurse on and off until about 4 AM before settling into a longer sleep. She usually has 2-3 naps during the day, although sometimes it’s just low-power nursing mode.

I’ve been prioritizing daytime activities that are stimulating for A-, so we’ve been going to neighbourhood resource centres. I feel less comfortable working on my laptop while she’s awake, since it’s important to interact with her and help her learn. I’m somewhat more okay with setting her down on the floor while I tidy or do other chores, since I can narrate those without verbal interference and it contributes to the household. If W-‘s around, I’d rather spend time with both of them than go off to do my own thing. Drawing on paper might let me move daily journals to our after-dinner or before-bed play/reading session, because I can review the day out loud with A-. So my main computer time for writing, coding, or consulting tends to be between 1 AM to 3 AM. If I nap when she nurses/nap, that helps a little with energy and focus. I’ve been averaging 2 hours a week of consulting, which was enough to fill up the pipeline of stuff they wanted from me. The new thing I want to help with might be a bigger chunk of focus and energy, though, since it’s something I’m less familiar with. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.

Next week: cardiology, carpet-stretching, and lots of Toronto Public Health stuff: Make the Connection, the family home visitor, and a follow-up with the dietitian.

2016-09-07a Week ending 2016-09-02 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.3h – 0%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.2h – 94% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 5% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.3h – 3%)
    • ☑ Decide on travel insurance
    • ☑ Get eye report from eye doctor
    • ☑ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
    • ☑ Check if hydro debit went through
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Print family photos
    • ☐ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.7h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Coding (0.4h)
      • ☑ Add movie script to web
      • ☑ Fix website
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.5h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (17.5h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (75.5h – 44%)
    • Childcare (69.1h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 26, 2016

A- turned six months old, hooray! She weighed in at 6.026 kg, so she’s slowly catching up although she’s still quite small for her age. Maybe she’s just naturally small. =) We’ve been applying Ellyn Satter’s approach to feeding dynamics and a little of baby-led weaning. A- has been self-feeding with gusto. She loves raspberries, grapes, and Greek yogurt, and gets along well with rice, fish, chicken, pasta, and other things we eat.

We went on a couple of good walk this week: to the High Park zoo to see the llamas up close, to Best Buy to check out the Jot stylus (no palm rejection means I’m not yet comfy drawing on the Android tablet, so maybe I’ll use paper instead), and the usual trips to the supermarket and library.

The Healthy Babies Healthy Children nurse introduced us to the family home visitor who’ll be seeing us weekly. She’ll bring different activities for A- to explore, which is a great way for me to pick up ideas for the rest of the week. =)

We also had a home visit from a case worker at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She took our details and told us about a few things we can check out. There’ll be an assessment at some point, and maybe a family support worker can help us navigate other resources too. A- is probably pretty low priority for them because she appears to have good vision in her right eye. Still, I hope they can help us learn more about ways we can support her. I found some tips on helping children with monocular vision, and it’s been good to read about other experiences. Anyway, the CNIB person said that when A- becomes more mobile, we should watch out for veering, cutting corners, bumping into things, and so on.

It would be great to be able to ask questions about things I need to coordinate. I got slightly stressed sorting out the proper signatures for the assistive device program funding (needed Dr. Mireskandari, not our pediatrician), and also searching for a travel insurance provider that’s okay with A-‘s congenital conditions.

I’ve been falling behind in terms of journaling. Some nights I work on my consulting project, and some nights I catch up on sleep. I catch up with my daily journal every few days or so, although this weekly review is a week late. I wonder how I can tweak this…

My consulting clients are happy with the add-ons I made for them, and there are enough add-ons in the pipeline to keep them busy for a little while. Not bad for roughly two hours a week.

Also, I cut my hair to slightly below shoulder-length. Turns out to be a non-scary process. One less service I need to pay for!

W- and I have been discussing the possibility of travelling without our laptops. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from my laptop for that long. It’s an interesting challenge. I might be able to do most text-based things by typing up notes or SSHing to my server. I’ll need to fiddle with my journal workflow, and maybe catch up on scanned stuff when I get back. Emacs News will probably be on hiatus for a couple of weeks, or I might set up the code I need on my server. Hmm…

2016-08-27a Week ending 2016-08-26 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.9h – 99% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.1h – 1%)
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Decide on travel insurance
    • ☐ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
    • ☐ Get eye report from eye doctor
    • ☐ Check if hydro debit went through
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (23.9h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (71.7h – 42%)
    • Childcare (65.8h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (60.2h – 35% – average of 8.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 19, 2016

I bought a second-hand Manduca carrier. It’s been a comfortable and secure way to carry A- on our many walks this week. I don’t worry about A- slipping out of it, as I sometimes did with the ring sling. I’m back to holding hands with W- on walks, whee! (It’s all about the little things in life…) The carrier came in handy when Jen and Ewan pinged me for a walk in the park, and when I visited them to help out with E-.

We’ve settled into routines for enjoyable mealtimes with A-. She sits in her high chair and eats at the table, and I can usually wrangle all the things needed so that she and I eat at roughly the same time. The self-feeder that W- got for her has been great for avocado, peaches, and plums, and we’ve been loading purees and mashes onto spoons for her too.

I’ve been staying up to 2 AM or 3 AM, since that usually gives me a few decent chunks of focused discretionary time. I used a few of those chunks to code an add-on for my consulting client, and now I’m waiting for feedback from them. That worked out well, although the downside of coding late at night is that my brain gets a little squirrelly and takes some time to settle for sleep. Drawing and writing work out a bit better, and stretching would probably work out well too.

There’s been a hiccup with the Assistive Devices Program funding for A-‘s ocular prosthesis. The program will cover 75% of the expense, but they require the signature of a family doctor or opthalmologist to certify that the prosthesis is medically necessary. I asked A-‘s primary care provider to sign the form, but it turns out pediatricians are no-go. Weird! Anyway, I’ll work on getting this straightened out next week. We’ve got home visits from CNIB and the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, too.

I was getting a bit stressed over travel insurance and pre-existing conditions, but I was probably just being too anxious and things will work out just fine. Ah well, them’s the breaks.

2016-08-21c Week ending 2016-08-19 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.7h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.5h – 96% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 2% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (12.2h – 7%)
    • ☑ Set up RESP
    • ☑ Simulate A-‘s RESP choices
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Figure out ADP form signing
    • ☐ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.9h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.7h)
      • ☑ Check free space on server, consider backup solution to there
      • ☑ Set up lastpass authenticator
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (25.4h – 15%)
  • Unpaid work (61.1h – 36%)
    • Childcare (53.4h – 31% of total)
  • Sleep (58.5h – 34% – average of 8.4 per day)

Monthly review: July 2016

(Finally, a little time to catch up on my writing! =) )

Ah, July. Many of the medical uncertainties we’d been working on over the past few months were wrapped up, at least for now. A- got her first artificial eye – a scleral shell that will gradually be enlarged to help her skull grow symmetrically. The anomalous finding on her abdominal ultrasound turned out to be a benign hemangioma according to the MRI. Cardiology at Sick Kids got a closer look at her ventricular septal defect through an echocardiogram under sedation, and they’ll continue to monitor it along with our first cardiologist. It feels a little strange to have medical appointments scheduled months out instead of practically every week, and to not get a referral to yet another department, yet another section of the Hospital for Sick Children. In the five months that A-‘s been alive, there had been five weeks free of medical appointments, and even those were under the shadow of the next thing to research, plan for, and accept. It’s starting to feel like we have a bit of a handle on things.

We’re so lucky that parental leave was an option for W-. It allowed us to take shifts in consoling A- when the procedures upset her. W- made delicious dinners: pesto and bun from the summery abundance of our planter boxes, juicy rotisserie chicken when it was too hot to cook indoors, and even more yummy things I didn’t have the attention span to do. He even got into the habit of ironing and pre-folding the large flannel squares that we use as A-‘s diapers. That way, she wouldn’t be bothered by any doubled-up hems. Lucky girl, and lucky me.

I reacquired Philippine citizenship and included A-, so she has that option. I hope I don’t end up regretting the paperwork. Sometimes dual citizenship is helpful, and sometimes it makes things trickier. Anyway, might as well.

Lots of social stuff, too. Tita Gay and Tita Myra drove up from the US to meet A-, and it was great to catch up with them. I’ve been going to a peer nutrition program conducted in Tagalog in order to learn more about feeding the baby and also to find out about Filipino community resources. We met another family with a baby who has left-eye microphthalmia, and we swapped notes. Slowly making new parent friends!

A- has gotten much better at rolling, and she likes spending time on her tummy. She can reach her toys from the rocker’s reclined position. She loves playing with water from the hose or streaming down from a cup with holes. We’ve been introducing her to lots of different kinds of food, and she’s gotten quite good at putting things into her mouth. Growing growing growing!

2016-08-06b July 2016 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.3 0.2 -0.0 0.4 -0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.0 0.5 -0.5 0.9 -0.8
Unpaid work 41.6 40.2 -1.3 69.9 -2.3
Unpaid work – Childcare 34.0 34.3 0.4 59.6 0.6
Discretionary – Social 2.3 1.5 -0.7 2.7 -1.2
Discretionary – Family 1.4 1.2 -0.2 2.1 -0.3
Sleep 33.4 36.8 3.4 63.8 5.7
Business – Connect 0.1 0.1 -0.0 0.2 -0.0
Business – Earn 2.4 1.4 -1.0 2.5 -1.6
Discretionary – Productive 5.8 4.8 -1.0 8.3 -1.8
Personal 11.8 13.1 1.3 22.8 2.3