Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending March 10, 2017

Following up on last week’s recommendation to go see a dentist for A-, I took A- to her first dentist appointment. It turns out that she has enamel hypoplasia, a developmental defect that results in incomplete enamel. It’s associated with a higher risk of cavities, so we’ll be extra careful about brushing her teeth and minimizing sweets. It may or may not affect her permanent teeth. We’ll see. Anyway, it’s just something to deal with.

The first session of the parent advocacy workshop was an overview of the 6-week series, definitions of advocacy, and group sharing. It got me thinking about what A- could learn from how I advocate for her. I don’t know what kinds of accommodations we might need, but I hope to be able to take a collaborative approach to continuous improvement. I’d love it if A- absorbed the message “We’re all different, and it’s good to adapt our environment to reduce barriers and help us” rather than “I have to be treated specially because of my limits”. I’m still going to tap all the resources I can, but that’s because I like learning. :)

The Let’s Get Started session focused on visual routines, and I posted a few notes on that and previous sessions. I’ve been making an effort to use more visual props when talking to A- or transitioning between activities: a diaper, the potty, her high chair, the sleep sack…

We’ve been working on pointing, too, as I realized we hadn’t emphasized that and it’s usually a 12-month milestone. She’s starting to get the hang of it, gesturing towards things she’s interested in and sometimes even sort of pointing with a finger.

A- practised crawling up and down the carpeted stairs to the second floor. She sometimes needs a reminder at the top of the staircase to go down legs-first, but is otherwise surprisingly capable. We decided to skip installing baby gates for now since I’m with her, and she seems to like having stair practice time. She works so hard!

We went to the Junction Family Resource Centre and the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre. A- is getting better at playing independently. I had a bit of time to chat with the facilitators and the other parents, and even to flip through the red flags guide by the City of Toronto.

A- figured out a new sound (“Nai”) and seemed to recognize the words “crumple” and “cat”.

I did a little consulting, too. I added a categorization feature, wrote a tutorial, and helped transfer some more of my code.

I replaced my credit card and reactivated my library card, so that’s all sorted out now. I also updated my Ledger to correctly tally up my investments, explored tools for converting bank data, and created a net worth summary report. I needed the investment records in order to double-check the book value for my taxes, which I started preparing in a VM. I also set up incremental backups with borgbackup and a VM for testing my blog backups, yay!

It’s great to have focused time for process improvement. Looking forward to more tweaking!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.0h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 93% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 6% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.5h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.4h – 6%)
    • Drawing (1.5h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
      • ☑ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (3.2h)
      • ☑ Set up WordPress inside a VM
    • Tracking
      • ☑ Add prices
      • ☑ Report in nwi-style
      • ☑ Fix locked in RRSP
      • ☑ Try out Studiotax in a VM
      • ☑ Pivot my accounts for easier balance checking
      • ☑ Update TFSA
      • ☑ Fix GIC balance
      • ☑ Set up combined ledger
      • ☑ Update A-‘s ledger
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.1h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (12.9h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (87.4h – 52%)
    • Childcare (76.2h – 45% of total)
  • Sleep (53.7h – 31% – average of 7.7 per day)

Monthly review: February 2017

We celebrated A-‘s birthday with W-‘s family. W- made lots of yummy food, and I got a few photos printed. A- keeps growing at an amazing rate. She now lets us put the conformer into her eye socket without any fussing, signs somewhat reliably for “nursing” and “more” (which she also uses to ask for water), says “Mama”, recognizes words like “cat” and “wave”, varies her intonation a lot while babbling, crawls up stairs, lets us put glasses on her for a few seconds at a time, cruises along furniture (including the coffee table W- built), takes turns drinking from a cup or water bottle cap, uses her teeth in the defence of chicken drumsticks, and clings to W- when she doesn’t want me to put her to bed. She was even perfectly fine staying home with W- while I went to the dentist for a cleaning. (2 units, yeah!)

We got through her first bad cold, 12-month vaccines and blood tests, and a bit of a kerfuffle about her teeth. (Spoiler: enamel hypoplasia.) The cardiologists are still monitoring her heart condition – the hole is getting smaller, but there’s a muscle bundle developing, so we’ll have to wait and see. She seems fine at the moment, though, and they’re okay with seeing us in August.

We’ve been establishing new routines now that W- is back at work. I’ve been taking her to lots of programs and centres: Let’s Get Started, Peer Nutrition, the TDSB Family Literacy Centre, and the usual neighbourhood places. There are plenty of toys at home, too, including a couple of additions to our Diplo connection.

My mom and my sister are helping my dad recover from his operation. I’m figuring out the logistics of going over there with A- and seeing if I can help out. Solo long-haul travel with a toddler sounds pretty daunting, but if I work through all the risks, I can probably manage it.

Consulting’s been going fine: a few small features and a prototype client for consuming information. I’ve also been getting a head start on our taxes and improving my ledger. Gradually sorting things out!

Blog posts

Sketches

Category Jan Feb Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.4 0.1 -0.3 0.1 -0.6
Discretionary – Play 1.5 1.0 -0.4 1.6 -0.8
Unpaid work 46.7 48.3 1.5 73.2 2.6
Unpaid work – Childcare 42.4 41.0 -1.4 62.2 -2.4
Discretionary – Social 0.5 0.3 -0.3 0.4 -0.4
Discretionary – Family 0.1 1.5 1.4 2.2 2.3
Sleep 38.2 35.9 -2.3 54.5 -3.8
Business – Connect 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0 -0.2
Business – Earn 0.7 0.9 0.2 1.4 0.3
Discretionary – Productive 2.5 2.2 -0.3 3.3 -0.5
Personal 9.2 9.9 0.7 15.1 1.2

Weekly review: Week ending March 3, 2017

A- has mostly gotten over her cold from last week, although we’re all dealing with a bit of a dry cough. Her appetite and energy level are back to normal, yay! I took her to Sick Kids for the usual 12-month blood tests. She had to put up with a lot, as the nurse couldn’t find anything in her elbow despite some digging.

It’s a good thing we went to the peer nutrition workshop despite the weather. The talk was on dental hygiene, and the speaker quickly checked all the kids’ teeth. There’s something weird going on with A-‘s teeth. There seem to be small half-circles near the tips where the enamel didn’t fully form. I’m taking her to the dentist on Monday. It’s just another thing that we’re going to deal with.

I made sure to fill her week with enjoyable things, too. She played with a few toys while I talked to an occupational therapist at the Let’s Get Started program, and we borrowed a few magnetic pieces from the Junction Family Resource Centre. We spent a little time at the More Than Child’s Play centre after Peer Nutrition, too. We checked out the TDSB Family Literacy Centre at Indian Road Crescent, and I picked up a few more songs. There are so many activity options, yay!

We’ve been kitting out home, too. exchanged a number of gifts for a shape sorter, a couple of Duplo sets, and a 7-pack of onesies. The shape sorter makes sense to get because the ones at JFRC tend to be missing pieces. The larger A-‘s Duplo collection is, the more combinations we can make. Standard onesies make dressing a lot easier, so that’s worth paying a little extra for compared to getting a variety second-hand. A- occasionally pushes simple shapes through the slots in the sorter, but she’s more likely to take the lid off and put the shape in directly. She also likes pretending to drink from the shapes, and enjoys it when you pretend to do so too.

More family conversations. I’ve been considering flying to the Philippines to help my parents while they deal with health issues, but the logistics of doing that with A- are a bit daunting. I’ve been slowly working through the different risks. My plans are on hold until I sort out this new uncertainty around A-‘s teeth, though, as she comes first. I hope we can make it over!

I thought I lost my library card and credit card outside the house, so I cancelled them, but it turns out they were just in a pocket that I failed to check until everything went through the dryer. Ah well! I’ve reactivated my library card, but I’ll have to wait for the replacement credit card.

I had a bit more energy this week, so I did some consulting and implemented a category feature people had requested. I also worked on our taxes and updated my ledger, which incidentally turned up an invoice that had fallen through the cracks. Yay ledger and tracking accounts!

Next week: dentist, parent advocacy workshop, Let’s Get Started workshop. There’s food in the fridge and stuff on the calendar. Let’s go!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 77% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.5h – 22% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.5h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
      • ☑ Find and start posting experiment summaries
    • ☑ Get dividend information
    • ☑ Parents’ Canada visa application
    • ☑ Reactivate US account
    • ☑ Try out Studiotax in a VM
  • Discretionary – Play (0.2h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (14.4h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (83.6h – 49%)
    • Childcare (72.0h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.4h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 24, 2017

It was A-‘s birthday last week. W- made so much food for the party with his family, including a devil’s food cake with coconut-pecan icing (recipes from the Joy of Cooking) and two rotisserie chickens. Yum yum yum! Everyone cooed over A-, especially when she gave our cat Luke a big hug. She was totally uninterested in the cake, but she loved having yogurt.

The timing worked out pretty well. The weather was nice and sunny. A- got sick with her first serious cold the day after the party: sniffles, sneezes, fever, diarrhea, even a bit of throwing up and spitting up. She eventually got over it, although we did end up calling Telehealth to ask what we should do. W- also bought two thermometers: a forehead thermometer for easier measurement, and a large-display thermometer for general use.

W- went back to work this week, so we’re getting the hang of new routines. Between that and us being under the weather, I was mostly focused on childcare and sleep. We’ll see what normal life will be like when we recover.

I took A- to the pediatrician for her 12- month vaccines. At 8.015 kg, she’s above the 15th percentile curve for weight, and generally doing fine aside from that cold. I got a prescription for her next conformer, a form for blood tests, and a note about scheduling A-‘s next ultrasound (keeping an eye on her liver hemangioma).

The EnzoDate glasses I ordered for A- arrived, and we’ve been practising wearing them for a second or two at a time. One of the demo lenses has some print on it, but it’s still fine for the purpose of getting A- used to glasses. Eventually I’ll get her proper glasses with polycarbonate lenses. I checked local stores for prices for fitting the glasses we just got her with proper lenses, and things seem to be set up so that it’s cheaper for me to buy the frame with included lenses than to get lenses fit into this frame. We’ll check the numbers again when she can keep these on.

Language: A- seems to be working on “ha” and “ta” sounds, and she’s also babbling a lot more now compared to last week.

I had a morning appointment for dental cleaning. A- was still asleep by the time I needed to head out, so she stayed at home with W-. They were both perfectly fine. They had breakfast and everything. It was my first time going outside the neighbourhood without A-. I felt so unusually light that I couldn’t help but jog part of the way home.

I’d been trying to find a place that would let me do two units of dental scaling so that I could come three times a year while still having things mostly covered by W-‘s insurance. Fortunately, they agreed to my request. Whee! Let’s see if this works out.

My dad was in the hospital for an operation, and is now recovering. Yay medicine!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
  • Relationships (4.6h – 2%)
    • ☑ Get glasses for A-
    • ☑ Get added as a tax representative for W-
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.1h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.2h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • ☑ Get dividend information from Adphoto
    • ☑ Help with Parents’ Canada visa application
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.5h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.0h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (83.9h – 49%)
    • Childcare (71.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.0h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 17, 2017

A- was not at all happy during the exam at the cardiologist, so they couldn’t get a clear reading. Still, it seems that both her ventricular septal defect and muscle bundle are relatively stable, so the cardiologist there and the one at Sick Kids are okay with doing the next follow-up in August. We’ve borrowed a toy stethoscope from the Junction Family Resource Centre so that we can help A- become more familiar with it. Maybe that will make next week’s 12-month pediatrician visit a bit better, too.

I took A- to the sensory play day at the Junction Family Resource Centre. The facilitators had prepared bins of water, cooked pasta, jelly, applesauce, and dough. A- liked splashing in the water the most, although she also checked out the pasta and the dough. She wasn’t too keen on the jelly and the applesauce, and even made a face when I smeared some applesauce on her lips. Not a fan of very sweet things, maybe.

We attended the first session of Macaulay Centre’s Let’s Get Started program, which focuses on helping kids with special needs. The program normally covers kids 2 to 6 years old, but I called ahead and asked if it’s okay to go even if A- is only a year old. I’m glad they let us in. The first talk was by a speech pathologist, and I picked up lots of great tips for language teaching through labeling and modeling. It was also reassuring to learn that gestures count as words when it comes to developmental milestones. A- doesn’t say much, but she’s definitely picked up the signs for nursing and more. She passed the newborn hearing screening and responds to sounds, so we’re not too worried, but it’s always good to try to apply best practices. Besides, even though it’s true that most people learn how to speak sooner or later, there’s quite a range of expressiveness, and we’d love to help her enjoy language as much as possible.

A- seems to understand more words now, and she connects more concepts too. She seems to smack her lips after mentions of yogurt or breakfast. If I hold a sock, she sticks out her foot, and if I give her one of my socks, she puts it on top of my foot. She’s quite good at cruising left and right along the sofa, taking a toy along with her instead of needing the toy to be an incentive. She’s also definitely partial to W-, which is cool.

Speaking of communication, I’ve been experimenting with letting A- signal when she wants to sleep, and just enjoying some quiet time until she settles down. A couple of times, she took the hint and rolled into bed, snuggling under the blanket. Other times, she had a hard time settling until I put her in the sleep sack.

Lots of preparation for A-‘s birthday party so that the actual day could be smooth instead of harried. W- made more chocolate cake, bringing our total up to three frozen layers ready to be used for A-‘s birthday. He also made lamb korma and beef stew, since both are yummy entrees that can be made far in advance. He’s so awesome. I tried a white cake recipe, but it turned out a bit denser than I expected. Lemon pound cake was a good way to use up the extra egg yolks, so it all balanced out.

W- found the old audio recordings we’d made of things like A- snoring. (Such tiny snores!) He converted the WMA files to Ogg, and now they’re part of our long-term backups. I selected and printed out an album of A-‘s pictures, and I experimented with some ways to print out my index card sketches of yearly, monthly, and weekly reviews. It’s been quite a year!

Jen and Ewan needed some emergency babysitting help, so I headed over there on Friday to spend a few hours with E-. It was surprisingly manageable, although there were a couple of moments when both E- and A- were upset and needed soothing. Most of the time, they were perfectly fine playing with books, balls, blocks, and ramps. After their afternoon snack, I took them for a walk around the neighbourhood, and they quickly fell asleep. Yay!

I spent a little time making a web interface for something that I used to run on the command line for my client. Nice to finally get that done.

Since it’s the completion date of my 5-year experiment with semi-retirement, I started reviewing all of my experiment-related blog posts. I’m looking forward to writing about it in more detail, but since time is probably going to be a little scarce as we get used to new routines, I should post whatever I have now and then just add to it later.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 87% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 12% of Business)
      • ☑ Amend T5
      • ☑ File federal annual return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.6h – 2%)
    • ☑ Return clothes, help with E-
    • ☑ Call Sick Kids re schedule
    • ☐ Get glasses for A-
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.4h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.9h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.9h)
    • Writing (1.0h)
    • ☑ Learn more about Ledger
    • ☑ Figure out printing sketches
    • ☑ Try out Simpletax
    • ☑ Buy flannels
  • Discretionary – Play (2.5h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (19.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (80.7h – 48%)
    • Childcare (63.7h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (53.1h – 31% – average of 7.6 per day)

Huh. Less sleep. Oh, right, I stayed up late learning more about Ledger, catching up on my journal, and doing consulting.

Monthly review: January 2017

We took A- for her eye checkup at Sick Kids Hospital. She has 20/80 vision in her right eye, which is within normal range, and they prescribed safety glasses to protect her right eye as she becomes more mobile. We also took A- to the ocularist, who’s trying a new conformer shape in the hope that it will stay in. After a few weeks of A-‘s conformer getting rubbed out daily, things seem to have settled down a bit. We’ve also figured out how to put the conformer in solo, instead of it being a two-person operation – hooray! All the care and attention that W- had put into trying to make it a pleasant experience for A- paid off. He noticed she liked it when he swung her upside down, so we started swinging her after putting in the conformer, and now she sits still for the placement and doesn’t cry at all. Whee!

A- has figured out a few gestures to let us know what she wants. She squeezes her fist or curls her fingers if she wants to nurse, nods and bounces up and down to say yes, and closes her eyes and shakes her head to say no. She’s pretty comfy with the toothbrush we got her, although the fork and the hairbrush are still mysteries.

W- bought lots of used Duplo off Kijiji, filling in the gaps with a few pieces from Bricklink. We’ve all been having fun with the blocks. A- has also gotten pretty good at stacking wooden blocks. Our family home visitor introduced her to crayons, and she occasionally manages to touch the crayons to paper. The rest of the time, she’d rather crumple up the paper – our little agent of chaos!

She’s quite a good crawler now, and can even make her way up the stairs with supervision.

Jen and E- visited, and we visited them too. The weather has been a little more cooperative lately, so we’ve been going to the Junction Family Resource Centre and the Ontario Early Years Centre.

Other little things: W- spent some time making a coffee table for the living room, including a jig for floating mortises and tenons. Also, Neko got stuck in a shallow bath, so W- rescued her. We’ve been doing a great job at eating more vegetables – roasting turned out to be pretty easy.

I reviewed all my sketches and blog posts and I sketched a few yearly summaries, but I haven’t gotten around to writing it up yet. I wrote lots of other stuff, though! Hmm, I wonder what the difference was… I started using Google Tasks to capture ideas and drafts. That helped a lot. Lately I’ve been more distracted by social media, but that’s okay too.

I managed to do a bit of consulting: extracting comments, building a little prototype for displaying data on another server, supporting simple A/B switching, and tweaking the Iframe snippet. On the personal side, I updated my evil plans code to work with the latest version of Org, issued a T4 and a T5 slip from my business, converted my QuickBooks file to Ledger, and helped my parents with their visa paperwork. I also went for my first eye exam in years – my prescription is actually a little less than it was before. I should probably order new glasses to replace the ones that A- accidentally messed up.

Getting ready for W-‘s return to work next month!

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Dec Jan Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work – Childcare 36.3 42.4 6.1 71.3 10.3
Unpaid work 43.7 46.7 3.1 78.5 5.1
Sleep 35.3 38.2 2.9 64.1 4.8
Personal 8.1 9.2 1.2 15.5 1.9
Discretionary – Social 0.2 0.5 0.3 0.9 0.6
Business – Earn 0.3 0.7 0.4 1.2 0.6
Business – Connect 0.2 0.1 -0.0 0.2 -0.0
Business – Build 0.7 0.4 -0.2 0.7 -0.4
Discretionary – Productive 3.1 2.5 -0.6 4.1 -1.0
Discretionary – Play 2.6 1.5 -1.1 2.5 -1.8
Discretionary – Family 2.1 0.1 -2.0 0.2 -3.4

More childcare now that we’re back in our usual routines. Haven’t been particularly good at tracking the switch between childcare and other activities, so 71h/wk overstates it a little bit, but it’s okay. I still get a little time for other things, and I managed to do a fair bit of writing done anyway.