Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-15

We managed to make it out to the playground this week. I bundled her into a snowsuit and she enjoyed the swing, slide, and seesaw. Back at home, she was interested in standing astride the balance bike a few times. She also enjoyed lifting heavy things over her head and tossing them down. I encouraged her to throw bags of lentils from her tower down to her rocking chair, which helped absorb the impact.

A- can open doorknobs now! She also figured out how to repeatedly squeeze and open scissors, and can cut all the way through an index card if I hold the card for her. She’s interested in picking things up with her toes like I do.

A- sorted cans of cat food by colour into five groups. It was fun seeing her look around and light up when she saw a matching can. She also put one of her toys onto a Duplo car, said “Ride!”, and rolled the car down a slope, so she’s getting the hang of wheels too. She likes rolling things down a slope to hit a target, and calling out what she hit if she missed her called shot.

Now that pottying is well-established, we decided to stop offering videos as an option for potty time. It wasn’t worth the momentary upset whenever she wanted to watch more videos of herself and we wanted her to move on to another activity. She still asks for them from time to time, but she also accepts being told stories or being read to. She seems to pick up words and ideas when we review her videos together, so maybe I’ll find another place in her routines for video review. I can select videos and put them in an album for her, and that might guide her activities for the afternoon too.

A- occasionally requests Cattus Petasatus while she’s on the potty, which amuses us greatly. The Cozy Classics version of Pride and Prejudice is a regular at bedtime, too.

A- strung quite a few words together in these groups of frequently associated thoughts. For example, she liked the picture I took of her when she was upset and she didn’t want to wake up. She often said, “Upset picture, cat pajamas, no wake up, ni (nurse) bed,” practically all in one breath. When I was pretending to sleep in the hopes of getting her to sleep before 5 AM, she repeated sentences like “Mama, read you. Lights on.”

She showed some interest in music this week. She sang parts of Baa Baa Black Sheep and the little ditty we made up about Put Away. She asked me to bring down the ukulele, and she played with the strings while we sang. It made up for not having been able to go to music classes these past few weeks.

A- liked carrying her stuffed sheep around in a sling, carefully tucking a small blanket around it just like I tuck a blanket around her when she’s in the carrier. She’s also gotten better at both imitating us when we brush our teeth and letting me brush her teeth. She’s been working on coordinating the use of a fork and a spoon. She took her T-shirt and her pajamas off all by herself. She sometimes insisted on my waiting for her as she climbs up and down the stairs by herself. She liked doing things at the same time we did, whether it was taking pictures with the camera or cleaning the kitchen.

We got our flu shots, bought more gifts, and packed for the trip. I donated A-‘s outgrown clothes and walker to the JFRC. I found the Reddit JSON for upvoted posts and incorporated that into my Emacs News workflow. I started looking into photobooks, and I’m leaning towards figuring out ImageMagick incantations so that I have more control.

The major system update at work seems to be going well. I fixed a couple of small bugs related to tagged documents and header internationalization. No emergencies, yay! I’ll probably still bring the work laptop just in case.

Next week: travel and family time…

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-08

Cognition: This week was a good one for sorting. A- grasped the concept of “same” when I demonstrated it with the cans in the pantry. She was able to put cans of red kidney beans together and cans of soup together, and she could even distinguish between chicken soup and mushroom soup.

Emotion: A- showed a little anxiety whenever we peeled oranges, burying her face in me until we gave her the all clear. It’s a good way to avoid getting squirted in the eye, that’s for sure.

Field trips: We discovered that a nearby community centre has a warm toddler pool and long weekend hours. It might become our new favourite.

Motor: A-‘s been getting the hang of the tongs that I placed under the sink for her. She can pick up plastic bags and ping pong balls now. She also spent some time having fun with stickers, and can usually peel them off the sticker sheets herself.

Lots of climbing up and sliding down the slide that we improvised from pillows and the other mattress in her room. She used to climb up the incline, but now she mostly takes the long way around. She also wears pants more often now, instead of going around bare. That makes sliding more comfortable. Besides, no clothes = no pictures or videos, and she likes being on camera and reviewing the videos.

Also, A- rather amusingly flaps her arms and calls that jumping jacks.

Household: A-‘s good at putting away dishes now. I take them out of the dishwasher and hand them to her, and she puts them on the shelves as she stands on the counter. I hover behind her for safety. We probably can’t rejig our kitchen layout to put the dishes lower, but this seems like a reasonable risk for more sorting and counting practice. Maybe when she’s bigger, she can use the tower as an in-between step for boosting herself up and lowering herself.

She’s gotten the hang of the microwave routine, too. We open the door together, put in food, cover it, close the door, press buttons (hooray for child lock), make a whirring sound, open the door, remove the cover, use a towel to carefully remove the pretend-hot food, and let it cool down. She had lots of fun labeling each step.

Sensory: lots of stepping on bubble wrap, and a bit of using her hands too. She likes the crinkly sound the plastic bags make, and trying to catch them when I toss them up in the air. Some water play in the sink, too.

Us: I made it out to the Philippine consulate to pick up my passport, and I bought a few gifts for our upcoming trip. W-‘s been working late, but we stocked the fridge with plenty of food, so we were fine. He completed the stairs and the temporary porch, so we can use the front door again. The camera W- gave me is working out really nicely even with our indoor light, so we’ve been building a habit of sharing photos and videos with him after dinner. Yay!

W- hung out with A- for a couple of hours on Sunday so that I could investigate an upgrade-related issue and do a braindump to help one of my team mates understand our data extract script better. It was nice to have that focused time.

Next week: more trip preparations!

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-01

More toilet training progress. I feel a little more confident about heading out, although we still try to get a diaper on just in case. A- occasionally asks for privacy when pottying at home, and strongly prefers having the potty in the kitchen instead of the living room. She can interrupt her bath to use the toilet. No accidents or used diapers all week. Wow.

We met up with Jen and E-, and we made it all the way to the Ontario Science Centre. I liked checking out the pick-your-own area in KidSpark, and A- enjoyed playing with the water table and the ball maze. A- took Jen’s hand and led her over to the ball ramps, so I hung out with E- while they played. Growing independence!

The weather was pretty nice on Friday too, so we met up with Eric and hung out at a playground for a bit. It was good to catch up, especially since A- decided Saturday was a stay-home day.

In addition to being able to go on longer outings, A- has also been able to play more independently at home. She mostly likes rummaging through bags and pantry goods in the kitchen. I got her a small pair of tongs, which she occasionally uses to move bags around. Yay fine motor control! I moved the cleaning chemicals from the cabinet under the sink to a cabinet out of her reach, and I’ll stock the under-sink cabinet with more manipulatives such as pipe cleaners and sponges.

We’re figuring out our new balance between autonomy and attention. I’ve been decluttering and cleaning to fight a flea breakout, but A- likes staying close and playing with me, so vacuuming usually has to wait until W- gets home. That’s okay, A- is higher priority.

The attention seems to be paying off in terms of language and cognition, too. W- pointed to the pot in the kitchen and asked A- what was in it. “Oatmeal,” she answered correctly, even though it had been a while since A- and I left it to cook. Another time, the only way to tempt her out of the bath was to wave a bunch of books at her and tell her I was heading off to read in bed.

With all that, I haven’t had as much time for my own things, but I did manage to squueze in some consulting late at night and during one afternoon. I exported some data for a team, and it was nice to be able to coordinate during the daytime while A- played independently. It looks like we might be able to get away without a babysitter for short, time-sensitive requests. Oh, and my Org agenda reminded me to renew my business name. Hooray for a system that can handle to-dos that repeat every five years.

We’re getting the hang of this!

Monthly review: November 2017

The biggest thing this month was potty training. We decided to postpone the pantsless approach recommended by the Oh Crap Potty Training book until life had settled down after our September trip, and that time had come. To my surprise, A- took to it readily. There were a few accidents at home, but nothing that couldn’t be mopped up with the towels and cloth diapers we kept handy. She’s now pretty good at going to the potty, especially if I trust her to know her own cues instead of prompting her too much. She refuses to wear diapers for naps or bedtime, and she often refuses clothes, too. We spent most of November at home, and we’re slowly gaining the confidence to go further afield.

Another big thing this month was reading Dr. Seuss. She loves The Cat In the Hat, The Thinks You Can Think, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, and One Fish Two Fish, and will say bits of the books as we read to her. She also likes prompting us to recite snippets throughout the day, so I’ve memorized large chunks of the books too. The Cozy Classics versions of Emma and Pride & Prejudice occasionally get requested at bedtime, and several rounds of Goodnight Moon too. All that reading means bedtime is an extended affair, but that’s all good.

Lots of new words from books, and plenty from everyday life too. A- often asks me to wear my gloves or oven mitts and “catch” whatever she names. She uses three-word sentences such as “all full bubbles” or “E- poo diaper.”

She’s interested in number words and in counting with her fingers. She seems to also matches up sets. When I doled out one scoop of cat food each for the two cats that were there, she named the cat who wasn’t and she asked me for another scoop of cat food. She thinks about the sizes of bags when nesting them, too.

There were a few days when “streetcar” was her favourite word, so we rode streetcars up and down all afternoon. I still didn’t break even on the transit pass I bought for the month. Between that and the classes we haven’t been able to make it out to, I’m getting better at ignoring sunk costs and focusing on what’s better for us in the moment.

She’s learning to play more independently. By far, her favourite activity is “shopping” for groceries with the bags in the kitchen and putting everything away afterwards. Our pantry gets randomized, but it’s worth it. Sometimes she wants me to help her, and sometimes she enjoys doing things by herself. I usually tidy up nearby while she plays, although one time I even managed to do a bit of consulting.

To balance that, A- occasionally enjoys being “baby A-,” asking us to feed her, flopping down for ” tummy time,” and recreating scenes from baby pictures. It’s fun (and good) to follow her lead as she negotiates this transition, so we do.

We’ve been stepping up housecleaning and decluttering, which is good. We spend most of our time in the kitchen or in A-‘s room, so I’ve been focusing on those areas. I wonder how I can make the living room more inviting. I prefer the kitchen myself, but it’s good to have more space for play.

Lots of consulting this month, since there’s a major upgrade in the works. I’m pleasantly surprised by my ability to do useful things in small, interruptible chunks of time. The rhythm I set up for my late-night discretionary activities seems to be mostly paying off, although of course sometimes A- has other plans.

I filed my corporate taxes, yay! This year, I decided to move my accounting from QuickBooks + Turbotax to Ledger + MyTaxExpress (under Wine), giving me another reason to stay in Linux. It took me a while to figure out what to do about foreign currency transactions and to get all the numbers on the tax form to add up properly, but now my books make sense. I can use version control on my ledger, too.

December will be mostly about consulting, paperwork, and the upcoming trip. For A-, maybe we’ll focus on self-dressing, and on setting up her environment for more autonomy and learning. Hmm….

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-11-24

Pottying: A-‘s pretty good at initiating for both pee and poo, and can take off her pants or be helped out of pajamas in time to use the potty. She has even dragged the potty around to have a change of scene. We timed a few outings for after she used the potty. She stayed dry for the 1-2 hours that we were out, and she used the potty when we returned. I need to think of a place she’ll enjoy going to that would be a good place to practice using in a public toilet (and where accidents won’t be too bad). She hasn’t been keen on wearing clothes lately, but maybe the next time she is, we’ll go to the science centre after she uses the potty.

Dressing: She occasionally wants to practise putting on clothes, and will wear many layers for fun (one time she wore four pairs of panties at the same time). She can pull on pants and panties, although sometimes she puts both legs through one hole. She’s curious about buttonholes and labels them on my pajamas. I’ll continue offering clothes, and I’ll set out some 3T t-shirts for her to try pulling on by herself.

Gross motor: A- was interested in twisting, jumping, running, and sliding, and has been inventing her own exercises at home. She likes scooting down an inclined mattress, jumping down from pillows, and jumping on a bag of lentils.

She likes taking out the plastic bags under the sink and putting them back in. She also likes putting things into bags (“shopping”) and nesting bags. I wonder if she likes the crinkling sound or the act of stuffing things into the plastic bag holder. Maybe I’ll give her some aluminum. I’ll clear out the wipes box and let her stuff things into it too. I wonder if we have a medium-sized cardboard box I can use for stuffing practice. She loves watching a video of her playing with and putting away the plastic bags. Maybe I can extend this by involving her in putting away other things, like her toys and books.

Identity: She’s been very much into being a baby. She sometimes asks us to feed her, often handing us morsels so that we can put them in her mouth. I’ve been offering her a choice between brushing her own teeth like a toddler and letting me brush her teeth like a baby – yay, she’s been letting me brush her teeth! She likes looking at pictures and video of herself as a baby, and will often recreate scenes with the chair, baby gym, or tummy time.

I’ve been experimenting with bedtime. i snooze in low-power mode while letting her play independently. It leads to pretty amusing pillow talk. A- likes trying out animal noises, asking for help with clothes, reading to herself, and asking for her favourite sections from books. (“No no fish” means the fish’s first speech from “The Cat in the Hat.”) Keeping a potty in her room is working out, too.

Language: So much. “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” has joined her list of favourites, and she can say the whole title and quite a few words. She wanted a comb because of that book and because of “Goodnight Moon”, so we dug up the one that W- fixed. She chimes in if I read slowly, so I don’t need to pause for testing, just emphasis. She seems to be extending the concepts, too. As I was buckling her into her chair, I said, “One buckle. Two buckles.” She said “Red buckle.” It was actually white, but hey, patterns! I’ll request a few more Dr. Seuss Beginner Books from the library, and W- can pick them up for me if we don’t make it out. She picked up some words from “This Little Piggy Went to Market” and sometimes requests it at bedtime.

Playdough: She labeled the pizza she made and put it in a pretend oven. She also squished and pinched playdough.

Other:

  • She’s a little interested in tying. Maybe I’ll get a shoelace and teach her how to work with the lacing boards, and that can give her tying practice too.
  • She showed some interest in dropping coins through a slot and dropping beanbags into a container. Maybe I should set up the activities in the living room so that she can freely choose them when she wants, and she can combine them with other things.
  • She pretended to cook with the clay pot set, and handled the pieces relatively gently.
  • A- was surprisingly fond of pickled gherkins, possibly because I Can Read With My Eyes Shut mentions pickles on page 1.
  • She used the brush and the comb as rhythm sticks while walking around, imitating the music teacher.

Us: I filed my corporate taxes, issued more dividends to myself, bought travel insurance, and did some more consulting (checking the database, extending the quick jump script). W- handled practically all the cooking this week – yum, yum!

Next week: starting to get ready for the trip; thinking about how A- learns through play; checking on Neko’s health