Category Archives: review

Week ending October 15, 2017

​There was a bit of sleep disruption last week, but overall, A- was back to a normal schedule. She seems to naturally be a night owl, so we’ll just adapt by taking it easy and avoiding early morning commitments.

We’ve definitely built a smoothie habit. She asks for them every day, and has invented her own sign for them. Not a bad way to get more spinach into her. She liked the applesauce that she had as a snack at the JFRC, eating it instead of spitting it out like she did when she was much younger. She was curious about watercress and seaweed. She liked  shrimp a lot.

The big thing last week was about playing more independently. At the playground, she climbed the stairs, stepped down to the platform, slid down the slide, and got off all by herself. She did five circuits without holding my hand! Wow. Having mastered the shallowest slide, she then went on to independently slide down two other slides on the same playground. She figured out how to rock back and forth on the spring toys there, too.

Lots of language, too. When I tried babbling back what I thought she said, she emphatically corrected me with “No, A- Baa” – she wasn’t just babbling, she was specifically asking for her sheep. She asked for her smock with “Smo” and for paint with “Pai.” She asked me to read several books, some again and again, and she pointed to various body parts as we read “I Love You Through and Through.” She tried asking the cats to do things (Up! Play ball!), which was about as successful as you expect it would be. (Not at all.) More successful was W-‘s attempt to teach her to say “Anothe(r)!” after she polished off her smoothie.

A- saw pictures of W- feeding her yogurt in her recliner, and insisted on recreating the scene. She really likes looking at pictures, whether they’re printed or on our phones. 

All sorts of details from our household routines surfaced during pretend play, especially with dough. She asked for a pan, oil, egg, fork, and plate as she mimed cooking eggs. She asked for a blender, blueberries, banana, yogurt, and a glass as she pretended to make a smoothie. She asked for an oven to toast her pretend-seaweed in, then filled it and rolled it up. She moved a little A- figure down a slide.

We bought her a table and two chairs from IKEA, and W- installed a potty seat in the upstairs bathroom. I bought flannel shirts for her from Value Village, since she doesn’t like clothes that need to be pulled over her head. Little investments in independence and comfort!

As for me, I tried structuring my daily journal as a spreadsheet that I can update on my phone. Seems to be working so far, since computer time has been harder to find than phone time. I looked into some database upgrade questions for my consulting client. 

I even managed to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 one evening. Slowly getting back to normal…

September 2017

A- and I spent most of September in the Philippines visiting family. It was our first time to be away from W- for so long. Stretching the flights out with an overnight layover in Seoul was much more manageable than trying to do it with a short layover, even though that resulted in 33 hours of travel time. It was good to spend time with my parents, my sisters, and A-‘s two cousins.

We spent most of the trip at home. Kathy also took us to Museo Pambata, where A- liked playing in the pretend marketplace. She also planted and harvested rice in their pretend field. We went to the Mind Museum and A- was fascinated by the cut-away toilet and the kinetic sand. She liked the ball pit, ramps, and the slide at Active Fun. We visited my dad in the hospital and ended up staying in the hotel at Manila Ocean Park after a kalesa ride through the flood. A- was fascinated by the fish swimming in the aquarium lining the wall. A- slept through the celebration at the church, and had fun at the party afterwards. She slept on the van trip to Tagaytay, enjoyed staying at Taal Vista, and rode her first Ferris wheel, carousel, and horse at Sky Ranch. (She was so relaxed, she fell asleep about ten minutes into the horse ride.) Lots of fun outside, and lots of fun at home too.

A- loved hanging out with her cousins and imitating what they did. She wanted to imitate how G* balanced on one foot, and she bounced up and down on the bed when G* and A* were jumping on it. She pretended to fry an egg using the pan in their kitchen playset, and she liked carrying a basket of plastic food.

We called W- over video chat as often as we could. A- liked saying hi to him and interacting with him even over the phone. She also asked for the cats so that she could say hi to them. She missed W- a lot, sometimes asking me through sign language how much she needed to wait in order to see Dada. When we got back, she showed a strong preference for his company whenever he was around, and separation anxiety when he wasn’t. We had been way for almost four weeks, and that might have been a bit too much. Still, it was what we needed to do. It was good that we were there. We spent time with Kathy’s kids while she accompanied my dad to the hospital and to Singapore for lots of consultation.

A- picked up lots of words and enjoyed lots of social interaction while she was there, too. She invented her own sign for “grape” using the starting gestures for “The Great Big Spider,” and my dad enjoyed offering her grapes. She learned “Uh oh” and started using it after spilling something… and before intentionally spilling things, too. She liked picking up phones and saying “Hello, bye bye,” so I got into the habit of disconnecting hotel phones. She liked the bidet, and asked for it. She picked up “Oh no” from John V. after one saying. She learned the gesture of mano po from my mom after a day or two, and various fistbumps and high-fives from everyone. My parents got their own share of unprompted kisses, and they even came up with new games with her like nose-twiddling. When we got back, she learned the other two cats’ names and lots of words for everyday life (including, quite charmingly, “Yes please,” “Up please,” “More please,” and the like).

My dad gave A- her first camera and her first Swiss knife. She’s shown plenty of interest in both, and I frequently use them in front of her so that she can become more familiar with them. The camera is shock-resistant, which is great because that means she can handle it freely. She’s even pressed the shutter button a few times. The camera has built-in WiFi, so I’ve been uploading more pictures to my phone and then to Facebook. The Swiss knife, well, there’s a short list of tools that she can use under close supervision, and maybe she’ll grow into the rest.

A- wants to grow into so many things. She wanted to wear my carrier, my clothes, and W-‘s suspenders. She not only pretended to put her old conformer into Baa’s eye, but also wanted to wash it after dropping it on the floor. She wanted to unlock the filing cabinet with the keys that she insisted on holding for me. She learned how to get water for herself from the water dispenser.

We had the occasional tantrum: sometimes when she was overtired, which couldn’t be much helped; sometimes refusing clothes, which was totally understandable given the weather, so she spent quite a few days in just a diaper; sometimes refusing diapers, which was less negotiable. Overall, A- rose admirably to the challenges of a long trip and a different environment, which made it easier for me to adapt.

Speaking of adapting, A- turned out to be fine with spicy things, enjoying a few spoons of a laksa that I had for dinner one time. She’s fine with vegetables, too. When we got back, we discovered that she also really likes the green monster smoothies that W- makes (kale, blueberry, banana, yogurt, hemp seeds).

We’ve booked our flights for the next trip, this time with W-. I might actually be able to do more paperwork this time around. In the meantime, we’re settling back into life at home. October will probably be mostly about making the most of Toronto with music classes, parenting workshops, physical activity, parks, playgrounds, and trips to the science centre and to the museum, and catching up on stuff I postponed while we were away.

A-‘s learning so much. It’s all we can do to keep up! =)

Weekly review: Week ending September 1, 2017

My dad’s in poor health, so A- and I flew to the Philippines on short notice in order to spend time with the family. I don’t expect to be much help as I’m still mostly focused on childcare, but I figure they might enjoy a glimpse of everyday life with A-, and it’s generally a good idea to be together during tough times.

W- is still at home, so we make sure to collect stories and photos to share with him. This is the longest we’ll be away from him in all of A-‘s life. Come to think of it, it might be the longest I’ve been away from him since we got together.

The last time we flew from Toronto to Manila by way of Seoul, we liked Korean Air but were still almost asleep on our feet because of the sheer length of the flights. A- got way overtired, which made all of us pretty miserable. Since I was flying by myself this time around, I experimented with a flight itinerary that included a 16-hour layover in Incheon, choosing the airport transit hotel for extra risk mitigation. My eldest sister arranged her flight from California so that she could join me in Incheon and on the flight to Manila. The overnight stay and the extra pair of hands were really helpful, and we managed to make it to Manila without too much stress despite the occasional tantrum.

A- took a while to settle in. For the first few days, she often wanted to stay in the carrier. I was beginning to worry about making sure she still got gross motor development time. She made tons of progress in terms of fine motor skills, language, and social interaction, though: fist-bumps, high-fives, kisses, mano, and new words like “bump!” and “uwa” (for underwear). Lots of pretend play, too. She wanted to use the baby carrier to carry her stuffed sheep, so I’ll see if I can make her a carrier when we get home.

A- readily tried all sorts of new tastes, and we figured out our snacking options over here: cheese, grapes (for which she invented her own sign, since she liked them so much), sandwiches, and energy bars when we’re out and about. She learned how to work the water dispenser, too.

My family wanted to go on a long road trip, but I was really uncomfortable with the idea, so I put my foot down even if they got upset with me. Things settled down after a day or two, though. Whew!

A-‘s more comfortable in the house now. She likes playing with her cousins, aunt, and grandparents, and they’re fascinated with her too. I’ve been able to help a little with the paperwork and get more information about my dad’s health and priorities. Over the next few weeks, I’d like to keep these priorities in mind: A- and me, Kathy and the kids, and my parents, with paperwork being a much lower priority. Still, if I can help organize information while A- learns more about hanging out, that works too.

Blog posts

I’ve been caught up in family matters and haven’t been able to write, but I look forward to reestablishing routines at least for my journal and for Emacs News.

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.6h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.6h – 100% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
  • Relationships (0.6h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.7h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.5h)
    • Coding (0.2h)
  • Personal routines (7.0h – 4%)
  • Unpaid work (14.5h – 8%)
  • A- (Childcare) (67.7h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (30.1h – 17% – average of 4.3 per day) – this week’s numbers are messed up because of travel, since I couldn’t log well on the flight

Weekly review: Week ending August 25, 2017

My dad’s health took a turn for the worse, so we decided that it was a good idea to visit earlier rather than later. I scrambled to book a flight – just me and A-, so we could stay longer than W- could get off from work. The ocularist and the pediatrician both let me move our medical appointments earlier. I ended up rebooking A-‘s ticket because it turned out that she still fits into Korean Air’s bassinet, which saved me some money even after the change fee. I also took A- to the dentist for a quick check on her enamel hypoplasia (now pre-cavity, but oh well) because we wanted to make sure her recent fussiness was just regular toddlerhood and not a sign that she was in pain. I notified Toronto Public Health that I’d be missing the first two weeks of the parenting workshop I’d registered for, and I moved our meeting with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children nurse. I bought some clothes at Value Village, and I got a pillowcase that I turned into a dress for A-. W- prepared a travel consent form and got it notarized, just in case. I also dealt with some bad timing, but that’s just life. With all that out of the way, we were ready to go.

A- has been exercising her independence. She had a tantrum at Shoppers Drug Mart because she wanted to keep filling our shopping basket and I needed to get going. She started resisting baths, too. W- suggested showers, and that worked brilliantly. Maybe she decided showers were the way to go after having had a few showers at the pool.

She’s been picking up lots of new words and actions, too. She said “Hamma” (hammer) while listening to W- work on the porch. She can refer to one of our cats by name, and she refers to herself using the first two syllables of her name. W- noticed A- pushing a luggage lock around on the floor, so he brought over the big box of Duplo cars and we all had a blast vroom-vrooming cars around. Sheep and Giraffe now regularly sport diapers and sometimes even underwear. A- figured out how to close screwtop containers, too.

Other things:

  • W- made rice and peas from scratch instead of using the mix from a jar, and it was a revelation: subtly creamy and oh so yummy.
  • We got to watch Ghost in the Shell, too, which was surprisingly okay at 1.5x speed.
  • I turned over my consulting work in preparation for being away for almost a month. Let’s see if this works out!

A busy week of preparation!

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (3.1h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.5h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.3h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.0h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.8h)
    • Sewing (1.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (20.7h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (16.7h – 9%)
  • A- (Childcare) (73.6h – 43% of total)
  • Sleep (46.1h – 27% – average of 6.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 11, 2017

A-‘s liver ultrasound on Wednesday was the last of four hospital visits in three weeks. Hooray! We got through them without traumatizing A- (or me). I couldn’t restrain her well enough for the exam, but she calmed down enough while nursing, so that worked. We decompressed to the family centre afterwards, and she was in good spirits by the time we headed home. Her sleep was a bit disrupted the following two nights, though, and she had a stronger preference for W- (even pushing me away sometimes).

Another big milestone: we went swimming for the first time! The Regent Park Aquatic Centre was remarkably pleasant, and it was great going with Jen and E-. We checked out nearby playgrounds, too. A- and I caught up with Ian Garmaise over a muffin and a stroll through the ROM, and Ewan and E- visited us at home. I brought A- with me to the client’s office so that I could pick up a VPN token, and she did fine there as well.

“Sleeping Bunnies” was the song of the week. A- got the hang of lying down and getting up. Then she started saying “No” at the right point, and then she figured out she could say “No” in other contexts. (She usually says it so calmly, too!) She lets us know via gestures that we should get our own books instead of reading hers during family reading time on the couch. She doesn’t need me to go down slides with her now; she can go down slides if I hold her hand. Yay!

A- started using the word “Baa” to refer to her stuffed sheep. She likes buckling it into the high chair and giving it food and water. As her comfort object, it’s now subject to the “Stay home except for important trips” policy. Good to see the development of more pretend play.

Since I couldn’t connect to my client’s VPN, I used some of my discretionary time to work on timeline support for Quantified Awesome. I’m not sure I can flesh it out well enough in time for Will to use it for baby-tracking, though, so I recommended baby-connect.com instead.

We made pesto from the basil in our garden box, and we gave a few jars to the neighbours who helped us pour the concrete piers for the porch. I also made a batch of zucchini muffins and banana bread. Following up on a few conversations with W- about household assistance and time, I looked into various options such as housekeeping, meal prep, and childcare. We decided to keep things simple and do things ourselves, though.

We have a few weeks until the next medical things (pediatrician, Healthy Babies Healthy Children). Time to check out the Ontario Science Centre and other resources around the city!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.9h – 2%)
    • Earn (2.6h – 65% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.4h – 34% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.6h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.1h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.0h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (1.1h)
    • Writing (0.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.3h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (11.5h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (20.1h – 11%)
  • A- (Childcare) (66.0h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (51.4h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Monthly review: July 2017

Suddenly a toddler! A- got the hang of walking independently. She still holds our hands sometimes, but she’s also just as likely to want to walk on her own. In the kitchen, she’s been climbing in and out of her Learning Tower to wash dishes, sort utensils, and crack eggs.

August has a number of medical appointments that involve fasting, so we’ve been working on helping A- learn how to wait. We got the blood test out of the way, and we picked up a few tips from the child life specialist on making the hospital experience a bit more positive for A-. Getting ready for all those follow-ups!

She’s been working on lots of self-care skills: rinse and spit practice for brushing teeth, brushing hair, wiping her nose, washing her face, and wearing glasses. (She wanted to wear a ponytail, too.) She gradually got the hang of playing with feathers and gluing things onto paper, and she seems to be developing a pencil grip. Lots of new words: gyo(za), ham, noo(dles), da (down), up, baba (bye-bye). Because we’re not going to music classes in August, I bought bells and made scarves so that we could do some of the activities at home. She seems to like them, and sometimes asks me to strap the bells around her leg so that she can stomp or walk with them.

I managed to go to a couple of grown-up hangouts, not just baby-related things. I spent some time in a park with Jen and Eric, and I attended Tim’s retirement party. A- came along (of course) and stayed close. For A-‘s part, we checked out the Art Gallery of Ontario, the trains at Roundhouse Park, and Maker Festival (where we got a 3d portrait thanks to Alan Majer). Video chats with her Lolo and Lola are more interactive now, too: songs, rhymes, pointing, walking… I made handprint casts using plaster of Paris and a playdough mold. They turned out well. I just need to figure out how to mount and keep them so that we can get all misty-eyed when A- goes off to university.

We’re getting ready to transition out of the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program. I feel more confident about doing early childhood education now. I still want to set up something like the suggestions I get from Nilda, as I’m often pleasantly surprised by A-‘s capabilities when we present her with the opportunity to explore.

Other things:

  • The 18-month sleep disruption plus teething (upper molars) meant I got

little focus time this month, but that’s okay. I’m looking forward to finishing the data exports and SQL improvements next month.

  • W- passed the building inspection for the porch rebuild, yay!
  • I helped W- and J- with their taxes. All sorted out.
  • I found a decent source of basil, so we’ve been making pesto. Yum yum yum.

My birthday is next month, so it’s time for another annual review and planning session. It’s been a terrific year. I’m learning a lot, and I’m looking forward to learning even more!

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Previous month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 30.8 32.6 1.8 56.5 3.0
Business – Earn 0.7 1.9 1.2 3.3 2.1
Discretionary – Social 0.4 1.4 1.0 2.5 1.7
Discretionary – Family 0.2 1.0 0.9 1.8 1.5
Discretionary – Productive 4.0 4.5 0.5 7.9 0.9
A- 40.6 40.8 0.2 70.8 0.4
Business – Connect 0.0 0.0 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.1 0.8 -0.3 1.4 -0.5
Personal 11.3 10.4 -0.9 18.1 -1.4
Business – Build 2.7 0.7 -2.1 1.2 -3.5
Unpaid work 8.3 5.8 -2.5 10.1 -4.1