Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending June 30, 2017

A’s bottom left lateral incisor emerged, so that makes tooth #7. She’s been understandably out of sorts this week. One day, she was on edge and easy to startle and upset (but fortunately, also easy to soothe). She was also not keen on being at the doctor’s office to discuss the results from her blood test, but ah well, these things are important.

She was pretty relaxed for the Healthy Babies Healthy Children visit, though, which probably helped the nurse and the home visitor think we might be ready for discharge sometime soon. For our next activity, Nilda suggested making hand-print casts out of plaster of Paris by using playdough molds, so we might try that next week.

Our music classes wrapped up for June. I wrote a reflection on how that was different from drop-in circle times. I liked it enough to sign up for July sessions as well as the fall term starting in September. We enjoyed the open house at the Royal Conservatory of Music, too. A- attended her first concert, and we also attended a brief presentation on the neuroscience behind the music classes she’s taking. We made it to baby time at the library, too, and I got a ukulele songbook from the librarian. Looking forward to learning more nursery songs, especially since A- enjoys things like Ring Around the Rosies.

A- was interested in washing dishes this week. She often dragged the chair over to the sink so that she could stand on it and “wash” the dishes. It took me much longer to wash dishes with her help, but it was fun to get her involved.

I invited Alexandra and E- to the ROM. As usual, A- and I spent most of our time in the discovery wing, and a little time in the biodiversity area. A- was fascinated by chairs, benches, the bird exhibits, and the tiger.

Other stuff:

  • We decided on our footwear policy for A-: barefoot as much as possible, socks if they seem like a good idea, shoes if necessary.
  • I used some of my discretionary time to code an RSS link lister for making Emacs News.
  • I also filed a few health spending account claims – good to do a bit of paperwork here and there.
  • I picked up chives from PAT Central, and we went on a gyoza-making kick. Yummy!
  • Consulting: documented a few reports
  • I chatted with Kathy and with my dad about feeding kids, passing on some of the tips I picked up from research.
  • Lots of writing and drawing this week! I like organizing my thoughts. It helps to take an afternoon nap along with A- so that my mind can be somewhat fresh after she goes to bed for the night.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.6h – 2%)
    • Earn (0.6h – 12% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Update data extract
    • Build (4.1h – 87% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.5h – 2%)
    • ☑ Healthy Babies Healthy Children
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.3h – 5%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (1.0h)
    • Coding (1.3h)
      • ☑ RSS link script
    • Writing (1.8h)
      • ☑ Notes on the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program
      • ☑ Notes on music classes
    • ☑ Figure out Freedom Mobile preauthorized payment
    • ☑ Follow up on HSA claim form
  • Discretionary – Play (3.3h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (15.9h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (17.4h – 10%)
  • A- (Childcare) (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (47.7h – 28% – average of 6.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 23, 2017

It was a good week for arts and crafts. One afternoon, I set up painting stations for both me and A- outside. She decided that she wanted to paint with my small paintbrush instead of her large one, painted her piece of paper, and then added finishing touches to mine. I also turned her loose with crayons and a pad of paper, and I made playdough for her to cut and roll.

In music class, A- imitated how we used rhythm sticks and jingle bells. She walked around with me during the parts that involved walking, and stood up and sat down during the appropriate parts in Ring Around the Rosies. I picked up the textbook that the teacher recommended as an intro to early music education (Move, Sing, Listen, Play). It has lots of activities for preschoolers, but there are also a number of activities I can do with a toddler. I learned more about speech games, chants, improvisation, and rhythm. I asked the teacher a few follow-up questions at the session on Thursday. Answers so far: background music is not recommended because kids can’t focus on it and it teaches kids to shut off their ears; even if A- is mostly just exposed to my singing voice, that’s fine; concerts require a longer attention span, but the ROM open house might be a good opportunity to share more performances with her.

We checked out the Creating Together drop-in centre in Parkdale. The circle time there is high-energy and fast-paced, so it’ll probably be nice for A- when she’s a bit older. I prefer our neighbourhood centres for now.

To follow up on Nilda’s suggestions from last week, I borrowed a shape puzzle from the JFRC. The one with basic shapes is a good starting point because A- can fit the shapes in a variety of ways, instead of having to rotate each shape to just the right orientation. A- can complete that puzzle with a little help, so maybe I’ll let her practise with that a little more and get the next step up.

Nilda and I did a parent-focused activity about emotional refueling. Sleep, eat, take care of my personal routines, spend time with W-, journal, put together Emacs News, code, play, go for a walk… Life is pretty good, actually. I only feel really stretched when I stay up too late and A- wakes up unexpectedly early. Since I stay up in order to enjoy a bit of personal time for journaling, writing, and coding, it’s probably an acceptable trade-off.

A- has been working on sleeping more independently, anyway. There were a couple of times that she stayed sleeping when I took her out of the carrier, and she sometimes tosses and turns a bit by herself before going to bed instead of just falling asleep while nursing.

We had a video chat with Lolo and one with Lola. Lots of pointing to body parts, singing songs and using gestures, and pointing to the person on the phone. Yay! It felt like proper interaction. Looking forward to more long-distance grandparent-grandchild bonding.

W- entertained A- while I was at the dentist. My experiment of going more often for shorter periods of time seems to be working out well, although I might want to switch back to using the electric toothbrush so that I can clean my teeth more thoroughly.

After the dentist appointment, W- decided to take the rest of the day off and join us for a field trip to the Royal Ontario Museum. A- was a little sleepy, but she still enjoyed climbing up stairs, sitting on benches, and pointing at various animal specimens. (Some of which I labeled incorrectly, whoops! gotta pay more attention and not mix things up.)

I managed to dust off my development setup for Quantified Awesome, and I’m slowly getting back into the groove of coding for myself (and occasionally helping out other people). Thanks to Will Monroe for the nudge! It will probably take me a few weeks or more to wrap my mind around the multiple timelines feature I want to build, but it’s nice to have a development environment again where I can try things out without worrying about breaking my main install badly. I’m so glad that past Sacha wrote all these tests. As for consulting – I ran the revised script to extract data, and that worked out fine.

A- and I harvested some of the radishes from the garden. There were only a few round radish roots, but that’s okay. We cooked the radish greens and had them along with the white cut chicken. It was fun watching A- pull up radishes and be curious about the roots and leaves. Low actual yield, but the garden’s already worth it.

W-‘s been finalizing the plans for the porch. I read up on various approaches so that I could help think through stuff. He extended the concrete pad for the stairs, which took a bit more work but which was the Right Thing to Do. He also swapped out our kitchen sink drain for one that was easier to empty. Kaizen!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (10.0h – 5%)
    • Earn (0.5h – 4% of Business)
    • Build (9.5h – 95% of Business)
      • ☑ Set up dev environment on my laptop
      • ☑ Define menu as JSON and have it fleshed out
      • ☑ Status
      • ☑ Record – get last activity
      • ☑ Adjust – start X minutes from start of last activity
      • ☑ Help Will with Quantified Awesome
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.2h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.6h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.1h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (15.1h – 8%)
  • A- (Childcare) (70.4h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (46.5h – 27% – average of 6.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 16, 2017

This week’s warm and sunny weather prompted us to play with water outside. W- dangled A- over the sprinkler, and she stretched her legs out towards the spray. She also had fun pouring water from one measuring cup to the other. We went to the sensory play day at the JFRC, where she played with water, pasta, and Cheerios for a bit before wandering off to the main room for some more paper-dot scooping. She played with play dough for the first time, too, squishing it in her fist and even imitating how I cut it with a wooden knife. She played with sand at the OEYC as well, scooping it up and pouring it into the sand wheels.

She crawled through a small tunnel set up at the OEYC. She’s getting more comfortable with exploring, yay! She warmed up enough in music class to shake the bells to various songs, walk around, and stand up or sit down at roughly the right places in “Ring around the roses”. At home, she put the jingly cat toys in the egg carton and shook it, smiling widely, and she took turns giving it to J- and Y-. (But not me – I got “gaaah!” and a smile.)

We followed up on Nilda’s suggestion to let A- try painting with a brush. A- took to that and to the paint dabber right away, dipping the brush in the tempera and swiping it across the paper. I mailed the first batch of her paintings to my parents and sister in the Philippines, so they can get in on the fridge-art action.

She’s definitely keen to imitate us: ripping lettuce for salad, washing and drying spinach for pancakes, trying to wear our shoes, asking for a kiss by making smooching sounds.

I’ve been working on getting more vegetables into our daily routines. The sale on bell peppers got us into the habit of accompanying breakfast with sliced peppers. A- likes feeding us while occasionally snatching the food away, and that’s encouraged her to try peppers from time to time too. I’ve been mixing spinach into scrambled eggs, snacking on silken tofu, and generally expanding our repertoire. Eating better little by little!

I dusted off the source code for Quantified Awesome. I’ve been working on getting a development environment up and running again, since coding can become casual fun if I have a safe place to try things out without worrying about messing up my main system. As for consulting, I’ve been working on improving the organization and maintainability of our data extract script, and that will probably pay off later on.

For next week, Nilda suggested focusing on counting, and letting A- practise fine motor skills with stickers and puzzles. I’ve got a dentist appointment on Friday, so we’ll see how that goes too.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (7.0h – 4%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 12% of Business)
    • Build (6.1h – 87% of Business)
      • ☑ Get tests to run again
      • ☑ Figure out how to run the system
      • ☑ Deal with package changes
      • ☑ Don’t log ActionController::RoutingError
      • ☑ bundle update
  • Relationships (0.4h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.7h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.3h)
    • Emacs (0.9h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.7h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (77.3h – 45%)
    • Childcare (67.8h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (52.1h – 31% – average of 7.4 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 9, 2017

The big thing this week: A- took a few steps on her own! She still holds onto our hands almost all the time, but there have been a few times she wanted to carry the mini-basketball, so she needed to use both of her hands. A few tentative, wobbly steps – but progress!

I took A- for a new conformer. She’s got a good memory. She started crying as soon as we got to the waiting room, and she ended up crying for an hour. As soon as the new conformer was in, she stopped crying. Anticipation is the worst part, I guess. The poor dear! I took her for a blood test on the same day, and she cried as soon as she saw the nurse. Oh well, some things must be endured.

She’s pretty resilient, though. She slid down a bit too fast on the slide in the park and cut her lip a little, but she bounced back after some nursing, and then we went down the slide together a few more times.

We attended the Early Abilities orientation, since our home visitor had been concerned about A-‘s speech and language development. A- was a bit sleepy, so she was fake-snoring throughout the presentation. I got quite a few stares across the room, which turned into smiles when people realized I wasn’t the one snoring, it was A-. I picked up a few tips on modeling play and language for A-, to help her ease into a place when she’s slow to warm up. I tried it out at the JFRC, and she ended up having lots of fun with the play kitchen and the sensory play area. She even crawled a short way into the tunnel.

We started music classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She mostly snuggled with me, but that’s okay. It was still a good opportunity to learn new songs, pay attention to the concepts being used, and get a sense of how that paid program differs from the free circle times we’ve been to.

We made it out to the ROM for our Fieldtrip Friday. A- pointed to lots of specimens. She was fascinated by the benches in the bird gallery, and delighted in being pulled up on them so that she could pull herself forward and down. She tried drinking from the drinking fountain, too.

Nilda came with a brush and a bottle of tempera paint. Just like last week, A- spent pretty much the entire time snuggling with me, so I took the opportunity to ask Nilda about snack ideas instead. I think I’ve been too conservative. A- can probably figure out how to eat all sorts of things, even with only six teeth. Time to try sweet peppers, liver spread, and other yummy things.

I’ll help A- learn how to paint when she’s more relaxed, as it’s good for fine motor skills. I tried to sew her an apron, but she didn’t want to have the loop go over her head. Maybe we’ll paint without that first, and then introduce an apron or a smock when she’s more interested.

A- helped pick up maple seeds, putting them in the medium-sized recycling bin we’ve been using to collect yard waste. She’s taken to trimming the bush on the side of the house by pulling handfuls from it and dumping the leaves in the bin. After a few trips back and forth, she decided that it would be more efficient to lug the bin (with my help) next to the bush, and that worked out very well. The gears are turning!

She also insisted on emptying our small recycling bin into the large recycling bin that we take out to the curb, and she sorted out the minifigs that she had mixed into the shape sorter. Something something sensitive period for order indeed… Good to keep improving our processes and routines, then, so that she picks those up as she learns.

Other notes:

  • W- spent the weekend pouring concrete for the stair footing. Lots of hard work!
  • Discussed trip timing with my family.
  • Consulting: exported follower info, reorganized SQL extract script.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.5h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.4h – 93% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 6% of Business)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.6h – 2%)
    • Drawing (1.8h)
    • Emacs (0.1h)
    • Sewing (1.3h)
    • Writing (1.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.8h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.4h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (82.2h – 48%)
    • Childcare (66.4h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (60.4h – 35% – average of 8.6 per day)

Monthly review: May 2017

There were quite a few sunny days this month, so we spent lots of time outside. At the playground, A- kept signing “more” while riding the swings, so I decided to do a little exercising myself while pushing her. She also figured out how to go down the slide by herself. Wow!

A- worked on carrying things while walking with help. She imitated household routines, helping us wash dishes and load the dryer. She experimented with the arms-first way of putting on her T-shirt, and only needs a little help to get the openings lined up. She went up and down the stairs at the ROM, and we checked out the Family Camera exhibit while we were there. We attended a parenting workshop on resilience, and I’ve been working on being even more specific when I encourage her or acknowledge her hard work.

We focused on language, since we were a little worried about her progress in that area. She picked up the hang of imitating animal sounds, and seems to enjoy looking at picture books and hearing names for things. I’ve been learning more names for things, too: different types of latches, flowers around the neighbourhood, and so on. A- has also gotten the hang of associating songs with gestures, and often does a gesture from a song in order to ask me to sing it. She also spent some time experimenting with the fridge magnets to see what they stuck to and how they behaved on different surfaces.

She passed the developmental screening at her 15-month checkup, and has been growing at a good clip. I took her to the dentist to check her teeth again. They’re okay. It was probably just a little staining.

Other things:

  • I transplanted the tomatoes and a few of the basil seedlings.
  • I read quite a few books while A- was asleep:
    • The Reflective Parent: More of a background on mind-mindedness
    • The Importance of Being Little: play
    • How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: problem-solving
    • Child of Mine: feeding dynamics
    • Week by Week: observing child development
    • Mind in the Making: skills
  • I used ffmpeg to automatically extract short video clips, which made it easier to review my video backlog. I also backed up the photos and videos to more places.
  • W- upgraded to the PS Vita Slim and gave me his old PS Vita. I’ve been playing Trails of Cold Steel on it.
  • I replaced my credit card and library card. Turns out they had fallen between the drum and the case of the dryer.
  • I spotted a coyote and a beaver (separately) in our neighbourhood.
  • For consulting, I created a hierarchical JSON for data analysis, fixed old data, and tweaked some SQL.
  • W- demolished the concrete pad and poured a concrete door sill.

Blog posts

Sketches

So much drawing this month! I got back into the swing of drawing one or two thoughts a day.

Time

Category Previous month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work – Childcare 36.2 42.1 5.9 73.2 9.9
Unpaid work 43.4 47.9 4.5 83.2 7.6
Discretionary – Play 2.3 4.0 1.7 6.9 2.8
Discretionary – Family 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.2
Business – Earn 1.0 1.1 0.1 2.0 0.2
Business – Connect 0.0 0.0 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Business – Build 0.3 0.0 -0.3 0.0 -0.6
Discretionary – Social 0.8 0.1 -0.8 0.1 -1.3
Discretionary – Productive 5.1 3.5 -1.5 6.1 -2.6
Personal 11.9 10.2 -1.7 17.6 -2.9
Sleep 35.1 33.0 -2.1 57.2 -3.5

Weekly review: Week ending June 2, 2017

A- passed the developmental screening at her 15-month checkup. She weighed 9.11 kg (25th percentile, up from 15th) and was measured at 74 cm in length (15th percentile), with a head circumference of 44.5 cm (15th percentile). We hadn’t taken her for a weight check in a while, so it was reassuring to see that her self-feeding was working out the way it should. She also got her MMR and varicella vaccines. The nurse was definitely her least favourite person in the world, although the pediatrician seems to be a close second.

We attended a parenting workshop on building resilience. It was a good reminder about the importance of language in cultivating a growth mindset, and of modeling self-care and asking for help. The workshop was held at the Children’s Book Bank, which is a beautifully-organized place with children’s books where people can take one book home per visit.

A- seems to have focused on gross motor skills this week. She figured out how to pull the laundry basket in addition to pushing it, so now she won’t get stuck when she runs into a wall. She put a lot of effort into walking with help while holding a bag and, later, a heavy water bottle. W- saw her turn around while standing independently. At the playground, she figured out how to go down the slide by herself, too.

It’s been an interesting mix of independence and closeness. I showed her how to spread peanut butter on bread, and she spread quite a few pieces for me even though she preferred to eat other things. She imitated wiping with toilet paper, tossing the pieces into the toilet, and even flushing. One evening, she seemed to want to keep reading – she protested when we turned off the lights. When we turned the lights back on, she spent a few more minutes with her book. (“I was just getting to the good part!”, probably.)

But she was also very snuggly this week, even before the stress of the injections at the doctor’s office. She shifted back to two naps a day, with the second nap in the evening, so her bedtime has been quite erratic. Nilda shared some tips on helping A- through this cycle of dependence and independence.

A- figured out a new sound, the ending “p”, and experimented with babbling “hep” and “pop”. She definitely uses “mah” to approximate “meow” when referring to the cats, and occasionally blows raspberries to imitate their purring.

Other stuff:

  • For consulting, I tweaked a SQL script for slightly better performance. It turns out NOT IN is faster than NOT EXISTS.
  • I updated my ledger file and found an account maintenance fee for TD Waterhouse, which I’ve asked about.
  • I read a few chapters of Week by Week and Mind in the Making.
  • I backed up videos of A- to our home server and photos to Google Photo
  • Lots of cooking: pizza, fried rice, shake and bake, congee
  • I transplanted the tomato seedlings and some of the basil.
  • W- poured the concrete for the door sill.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.4h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.4h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.7h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.9h)
  • Discretionary – Play (4.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (17.1h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (84.4h – 50%)
    • Childcare (74.3h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (53.9h – 32% – average of 7.7 per day)