Category Archives: review

Week ending 2018-05-11

  • Field trip
    • We fed the llamas and then went to the Jamie Bell adventure playground. A- experimented with going up the stairs and wandering around a little out of reach, although she wasn’t too keen on going down the slides.
    • We went to Riverdale Farm. A- spent a long time looking at and talking about the horses. They have a new pig and a new goat, too.
    • A- wanted to go to the Children’s Book Bank. We picked up several books and a set of jigsaw puzzles.
    • For fun, we met up with Jen and very E- and took the train out to Aldershot, then the bus to Hamilton. We walked around a bit while Jen told me about Hamilton’s recent history, then snacked at a cafe, then headed home via a bus to Pearson airport and the UP Express.
  • Fine motor
    • We made sandcastles in the backyard. Actually, we made sandcakes, complete with a pretend-candle that A- pretended to light and blow out.
  • Language
    • A- is learning how to ask questions instead of just declaring that she wants something. “Can I have this?”
  • Music
    • A- started singing the “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe” song.
    • I caught a large spider in the basement. A- sang The Great Canadian Spider while we ceremoniously carried it out to the backyard and released it.
  • Social
    • W-, A-, and I checked out the cherry blossoms with Jen, Ewan, and E-. We also spent a lot of time at the playground and at the pond. We saw the cherry blossoms with Popo too.
    • A- had lots of fun dancing with J-.
    • The babysitting experiment was a success! A- had a grand time with F- M-, digging for worms in the backyard, playing in her play area, and dancing in the kitchen.
    • A- remembered the names of the facilitators at the JFRC, and wanted to draw them.
    • K- taught A- how to make onigiri.
  • Kaizen
    • I learned how to use Autoshare to simplify exporting drawings from my phone.
    • We went to the OEYC and I asked lots of questions about screening babysitters.
  • Us
    • J- and her friend P- made salmon bulgogi and couscous salad. Yum!
    • I started consulting again. We talked about the requirements for this app they’re planning, and I investigated a few ideas.

Week ending 2018-05-04

  • Field trip
    • We went to High Park to feed llamas. A- liked it and asked to do it twice.
    • We checked out Grange Park. A- liked the rock-climbing section.
    • We had fun at Baird Park despite the drizzle.
  • Gross motor
    • She walked all the way to Lithuania Playground.
  • Fine motor
    • A- was interested in using scissors to cut along lines.
    • A- peeled mandarin oranges and put the peels in the lunchbox. She removed seeds from her mouth. She also shared some with other kids.
  • Language
    • She still mostly demands things (“I want a orange!”), but one time, she requested it: “Can I have an orange, Mommy?”
    • A- asked for and made up stories about everyday objects.
    • “Daddy, help find my glasses.”
    • “What else does Daddy have?”
  • Self-care
    • A- is starting to be able to stand and let a doctor measure her height and weight, and even listen to her heart. Progress!
    • Night weaning progress: A- can wait to nurse at night. As soon as she notices it’s getting lighter outside, though, she says, “I want to nurse. Sun is up.” Then she sleep-nurses for another hour or two.
    • We went to the pediatrician. No worries about her cough or growth at the moment. The substitute doctor asked if the resident could listen to A-‘s heart, since her murmur is easy to hear.
  • Emotion
    • She had a tantrum about wanting me to keep playing with her in the bathtub. I switched to setting a timer for myself, and she seems to tolerate that.
  • Social
    • She was worried about a crying kid in the waiting room. While the kid wailed, she furrowed her eyebrows and twisted the playdough in her hands. When the kid calmed down, she smiled and relaxed.
    • W- pointed to a bit of food on A-‘s plate and said, “I found that on your chin.” A- promptly took it and stuck it back on.
    • W- offered to trade a fork for the butter knife A- was playing with. A- said yes. The moment she held the fork, she said “No,” and refused to give up the knife.
  • Pretend
    • We had fun building sandcastles at Lawrence Park. I stuck a twig in the tower and pretended it was a flag, and then A- repurposed it to be a candle on a birthday sandcake.
    • I bought a bunch of farm animals.
  • Kaizen
    • I’m dipping a toe into babysitting waters and have booked a babysitter from an agency for an afternoon next week.
    • I worked on automatically filtering, categorizing, and formatting my journal entries.
  • Cognition
    • We stayed at the JFRC all afternoon. She played with cars and paint, a matching puzzle with three sets of 18 photos, and a playdough press. She even played with a facilitator while I interviewed a babysitter.

Monthly review: April 2018

Experimenting with more structure to help with tracking progress over time.

  • Gross motor
    • A- learned how to ride a scooter.
    • She had fun running around and around.
    • She walked most of the way to the library.
    • She walked all the way to the playground.
  • Fine motor
    • We got a lot of entertainment value from a sheet of embossed number stickers and a few sheets of colored paper.
    • She was interested in 12-piece jigsaw puzzles and helped me fit the pieces together.
    • She can peel diecut foam stickers.
    • A- completed the shape sorter easily, naming shapes as she pushed them in.
    • A- was interested in using scissors to cut along lines.
  • Sensory
    • I made some bath paint. A- likes using it to paint the bathtub wall and her body.
  • Language
    • Asking herself questions: “How can I figure this out?”
    • Identity: She referred to herself by a nickname while drawing.
    • Anticipation: I asked, “Do you want to go to Mind Museum or somewhere different?” She said: “I want to go to Mind Museum. See big dinosaur. I need a wrist band. Mama need wrist band too.”
    • Asking questions: “Why Mama say excuse me?” “What’s Mama doing?”
    • Asking for attention: “I want Nanay to focus on me. Put down phone.” (Or pen, if I’m writing.) “Look, Lola, I made it.” She also started learning how to gently touch someone’s arm to get their attention.
    • Describing: She said “A-‘s home has Daddy in it.”
    • Talking about missing things: She asked for a marker by saying “Where’s the red one goes in here?” and pointing.
    • Coining phrases: She wanted to specifically ask for a baguette, but didn’t know the word for it, so she called it finger bread.
    • Rephrasing: When I was trying to get her to change “I want Nanay to carry you” to “I want Nanay to carry me,” she rephrased it as “I want to be carried by Nanay.”
    • We’ve been talking about babies, kids, big kids, and grown-ups. She said, “Mama is a grown up.” Then she said, “I am a growing up.”
    • She said, “I am two years old.” She repeated it a few times. She doesn’t answer the question “How old are you?”, though.
    • She still mostly demands things (“I want a orange!”), but one time, she requested it: “Can I have an orange, Mommy?”
  • Music
    • A- can fill in the name of an animal when singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
    • W- came up with a new song: “Vegetables make the poo go down.”
    • So much singing! A- sings spontaneously and when prompted. She sings many nursery rhymes, and she also makes up her own.
  • Art
    • A- drew lines up and down while naming them. She also drew wavy lines while saying “W.”
  • Self-care
    • We got a helmet and pads for when A- rides her balance bike, and I got a new hat for myself.
    • We went to the ocularist to adjust A-‘s conformer. She liked the ball that she got from the treasure box.
    • A- has a dry cough.
  • Household
    • She wanted to trim Leia’s nails together, and insisted on holding the clipper with me.
    • She spread the bath mat out carefully while narrating what she was doing.
  • Social
    • Photos: She crept under her high chair, smiled up, and repeated the process in order to get a good shot.
    • Cousins: She sat on G*’s lap and asked her to read Go Dog Go.
    • Playing games: She explicitly plays, invents, and modifies games. “I push mama. It’s a game.” “I like to play balloon game with Lola.”
    • Modulation: I told A-, “Daddy’s room is only for quiet people.” She calmed down and used her quiet voice.
    • Empathy: She gave me a hug and said sorry after I spilled my drink because of Luke.
    • She wanted to sit close to Lola, and she enjoyed reading and playing with Lola.
  • Pretend
    • A- mimed releasing the coin lock for a pretend shopping cart.
    • A- had an extended pretend telephone conversation with her tower. Not just hello and goodbye, but quite a few other turns in between.
  • Kaizen
    • We took some Duplo to the playground and had lots of fun.
    • I learned that I like honey water much more than an endless stream of cough lozenges.
  • Us
    • We sorted out my dad’s niche at Heritage Park.
    • We went to Mind Museum several times, usually with Diane’s family.
    • I enjoyed getting together with my barkada. We ordered pizza. A- alternated between hanging out and going upstairs for quiet time, so I was in and out of conversations too.
    • We had a nice stay at Hotel Queen. We ate bibimbap at a nearby restaurant, and they gave us plenty of rice cakes.
    • We went to the EarlyON centre. A- had fun playing with stickers, puzzles, and the tunnel. I picked the facilitator’s brain about ECE and childcare.
    • W- laid patio stones next to the raised bed.

Week ending 2018-04-27

We’ve been slowly recovering from jet lag and some post-trip under-the-weatherness. A- and I both threw up, but that was pretty manageable. I’ve been dealing with a dry cough. I found that I like honeyed water more than having an endless stream of lozenges, although the lozenges are handy when I’m not in the kitchen.

I realized that one of the things I was missing from the day was a sense of personal experimentation and growth. I’ve been making an effort to try little ideas every day, and I’ve been spending more time, attention, and money on new experiences. So, even though I packed snacks for A- and I could have waited to have lunch at home, we had huevos rancheros at The Beet. While waiting for our food, I helped A- peek into the kitchen and I narrated what was going on. I liked the results of preparing for playground trips. I’m looking forward to tinkering with more ideas.

We made it out to both the Annette family centre and the one at Dundas West. A- seems more comfortable with drop-in centres now, hooray! She used to cry a lot, but this time she got interested in the sandbox, the tunnel, the stickers, and the puzzles on the table. I borrowed a wooden mix-and-match animal puzzle to see if she can decide based on pictures when the shapes are identical, since she can do shape puzzles pretty well now. It seems to be at just the right level for her. She names the animals as she completes them, and

As for me, I picked people’s brains about child care, toddler activities, free play, and dealing with sick days as a stay-at-home parent. Whee!

Other moments:

  • A- can now peel die-cut foam stickers.
  • She walked most of the way to the library.
  • She wanted to help me trim Leia’s nails.
  • She liked the Winnie the Pooh book collection.
  • I was trying to get her to change “I want Nanay to carry you” to “I want Nanay to carry me.” (She confuses “me” and “you,” which makes sense.) After two attempts, she said, “I want to be carried by Nanay.”
  • She makes up her own phrases now. “Finger bread” – baguette.
  • She can talk about things that are missing. “Where’s the red one goes in here?”
  • She likes singing nursery rhymes as well as made-up tunes.
  • She had a long pretend telephone conversation with her tower.
  • We checked out the pop-up adventure playground and A- had fun digging in the dirt.

I started looking more seriously into having a mother’s helper or babysitter in case that capability is a useful addition to our toolkit. It’s hard to imagine occasional childcare since A- is hilarious and we all benefit from the time I spend with her, but it’s great for her to interact more with people who are not me (especially if I get to eavesdrop and pick up more play ideas), so we’ll see. J- is with us this week, so maybe they’ll play a little too.

Also, we’ve all filed taxes, hooray!

Week ending 2018-04-20

It was great to spend time with family and friends. We ordered pizza, caught up, and took turns watching the kids. A- alternated between having lots of fun with Diane’s kids and heading upstairs for some quiet play time, occasionally joining the main party to snack on chips. I guess group parties are doable with the right mix of people!
We stayed in Hotel Queen during our overnight layover. We were pleasantly surprised to get upgraded to a suite. For dinner, we had bibimbap at a restaurant around the corner, and the kind waitstaff gave us extra rice cakes to take home.
A- was assigned a window seat on the long flight between Incheon and Toronto, which made for a lot of awkward trips over the other passenger who really wanted to sleep. Oh well. On the plus side, A- actually voluntarily spent a little time in the car seat, which was great at snack time.
A- has really taken to the book that I drew about the Ifugao dollhouse that Kathy bought for G* and A*. She even describes her drawings using the phrases from the book.
I got lots of value out of a sheet of embossed number stickers and a pack of coloured paper. That kept A- occupied for a couple of meals.
Lots of time with Lola. A- really enjoyed their one-on-one interactions: not just ube ice cream, but also books and made-up games. Success!
Other moments:

  • A- was interested in 12-piece puzzles, even though she needed lots of help to complete them.
  • A- tried French onion soup and crepe, and liked both.
  • A- can say pretty complex sentences like “A- home has Daddy in it.” She also started asking questions like “Why Mama say excuse me?”
  • A- can say a few sentences about prospective events. “I want to go to Mind Museum. See big dinosaur. I need a wrist band. Mama need wrist band too.”
  • A- can fill in animal names during the song “Old MacDonald.”
  • A- can explicitly play games and change them. She liked playing a balloon game with Lola.
  • A- started learning how to gently touch someone’s arm to get their attention. She really liked Nana Shirl and wanted to keep talking to her during dinner.
  • A- independently climbed the stairs and slid down the slide at the playground.
  • A- liked scooting closer to Lola on the big cushions at Sofitel.

All in all, an excellent trip.

March 2018

We managed to get a referral to Sick Kids, so A-‘s dental surgery under anesthesia is scheduled for the end of May. I squeezed in a three-week trip to the Philippines before the next set of medical appointments, overlapping with Kathy’s move to the Netherlands. Now that we’re back, I can resume working on the night weaning that the dentists strongly recommended. She also got a new conformer, but she isn’t too keen on wearing it.

We made it to the farmer Q&A session at Riverdale Farm, had lots of fun with the sandboxes and slides at various playgrounds, and checked out High Park Zoo. A- ran/walked all the way to the subway once – I didn’t have to pick her up at all. She also wanted to ride her balance bike outside. She often goose-stepped around the house, too. We went to Ward’s Island with Jen and E-, and she had lots of fun at the playground there.

We practiced blowing feathers, and I stocked up on crafting supplies. A- liked the shapes that I cut out of felt.

A- ate some of W-‘s pasta and found it too spicy, so she frequently asks if food is plain or spicy before eating it. She prefers plain food, although she tries spicy food from time to time. She liked the spinach pancakes and breadsticks we made together. I’m looking forward to exploring more recipes with her.

Lots of fun language moments:

  • “Nurse more, nurse more, no more monkeys:” after W- saved her from falling off the bed head-first
  • “Phone said it’s okay to nurse beep beep”
  • “I want to nurse in carrier because I tired”
  • “Airport sleep in bassinet a long time, because is tired”
  • “Flight attendant!”
  • a nicely interactive video chat with Lola

My big thing this month was figuring out how to make small books for A-. I traced photos on my phone, laid them out with Org Mode and LaTeX, printed them on a duplex colour printer, and taped the pages together. A- picked up the phrases and ideas so quickly. I made three books last month, and I want to make more!

Lots of other little kaizen projects, too. We kitted out the play room with more storage, and I printed labels for the bins. We got network-attached storage and have been organizing our photos. I set up lots of voice shortcuts on my phone. Lots of tidying up in the basement, too. I gave the iPad Pro and Pencil to Kathy, since she can make better use of it then I can at this time. I prepared our personal taxes and helped J- sign up for NETFILE.

We’ve been working on being more playful and silly, and that seems to be paying off. A- usually lets us brush her teeth and put her conformer back in if we play pretend or sing silly songs. Looking forward to learning even more.

April is nearly done. The trip, taxes, catching up, and preparing for all those medical things in May… Much to do!