Category Archives: weekly

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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.

Weekly review: Week ending February 10, 2017

A- now has a pair of upper teeth to match her bottom teeth. Whee! She’s been chomping her way through cucumbers and clementines, and has even threatened their use in the defence of chicken drumsticks.

A-‘s sleep has been a bit irregular, with more fussiness and late nights. Probably related to the emergence of her upper teeth, or possibly a reaction to the chocolate cake we’ve been having as W- prepares for A-‘s first birthday party. Ah well! That’s all part of life. We’re adapting quite nicely to life with interruptions.

This week’s home visit focused on cruising, which A- picked up readily. She can now edge her way along the sofa in order to reach something she wants.

Also, all of a sudden, A- can stack rings on a pole. Not in order, but still! Neat. She hadn’t gotten much practice with it because we were focusing on stacking blocks. Every so often, I took it out and let her help me push the rings down the pole. This week, she started doing it all by herself, using a finger to help her centre the ring on the pole. By golly. Maybe she’ll be all right even without stereopsis for depth perception.

An impromptu experiment by W- also confirmed that A- can predict that stuff dropped into a tube should come out the other end. Neat!

W- took care of A- long enough for me to cook quinoa-stuffed peppers one night, shake and bake chicken, curry and roast veg another night, and biscotti on the weekend. I enjoyed making lots of food. It was a rare opportunity to cook for two hours in a row.

Also for party prep and general spring cleaning: W- managed to sell the large glass coffee table I’d bought almost ten years ago for my apartment. One more thing out the door, hooray!

My parents got the go-ahead to send their passports for Canadian visas, yay! The online application process was pretty convenient, actually. Anyway, W- tested a possible sleeping arrangement by bunking in with A- and me in A-‘s room. Not particularly comfortable, though, so we might need to switch things up a bit more. It will be nice to have them over. A- will probably be 18 months old when they visit, which is a great time for vocabulary acquisition and other good things.

In the meantime, life continues as normal. I managed to do a little consulting, updating some code and unearthing some other code I’d forgotten about. Someday I’ll be able to take on bigger projects, but at the moment, it’s good to do whatever I can.

Next week: taking A- to the cardiologist, looking into the Let’s Get Started program, and letting her explore all sorts of messy things during sensory play day. Whee!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.3h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.3h – 99% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.4h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.8h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.8h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (14.7h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (76.8h – 45%)
    • Childcare (65.9h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (65.4h – 38% – average of 9.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 3, 2017

Another week of big leaps. A- can crawl up the stairs, so we should probably look into getting baby gates soon. About half the time, she’ll indicate when she wants to nurse by squeezing her fist or curling her fingers. (The rest of the time, she just goes and helps herself.) The horse and the harness are definitely her favourite Duplo pieces. She picks them up whenever she plays in the living room. If they’re apart, she’ll look for both pieces and hand them to me so I can reassemble them.

The biggest thing I’m happy about, though, is that A- will let me reinsert her ocular prosthesis by myself, without any fussing or crying. This had previously been a two-person operation – I’d restrain her while W- put the conformer in, usually over her tears. Sometimes it took us several tries, since she’d turn her head, wriggle, and buck. W- started rewarding her with upside-down swinging, which is something she enjoys a lot. She eventually let us pop it back in quickly (promptly followed by a swing, of course). This week, he tried putting the conformer in by himself. He managed it, so I tried it as well, and I managed it too! That means that even when W- goes back to work, if A-‘s conformer pops out, we won’t have to wait for him to get back home. I can just clean it and put it back in by myself. Level up!

The nurse from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children came for another play evaluation. A- wasn’t interested in stacking blocks, though. Ah well! We’ll try evaluating feeding next. We also talked about developmental screening. I read some research on microphthalmia that said one in five people with it have learning difficulties, and that even if there don’t appear to be related symptoms in the first year, additional things often come up when the child is three or four years old. It turns out many children don’t get routinely seen by medical professionals outside the usual vaccination schedule, so a lot of developmental delays are caught only when school starts. Since I have limited experience with children, I’ll need to keep on top of what’s considered normal and what might be a cause for concern. The Nipissing developmental screens go up to 6 years old, so that helps. We’ll stick with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program as long as they’ll have us. It’s so nice having that regular check-in with a nurse who can monitor A-‘s development, and the family home visitor suggests lots of great activities too. The Junction Family Resource Centre and the Ontario Early Years Centre also have people I can ask, and the parent advocacy workshop I just registered for will probably be quite helpful.

We took A- to the JFRC this week. She mostly stayed close to me, although she was a little interested in the bin of musical instruments. She’s a bit keen to snatch things out of younger babies’ hands, so I redirect her with other fun things to explore instead.

We’ve been making an effort to incorporate more vegetables into our meals, and that’s starting to feel more natural now. Vegetable-heavy pizza, roasted vegetables, yum yum. A-‘s been eating pretty lightly, but that’s okay. As long as we keep modeling good eating and putting healthy choices in front of her, she’ll be fine. She likes feeding us whatever’s left on her saucer, and we don’t mind eating the extra veg and meat. We tried the pouch food we bought for emergencies, and we’re definitely not keen on it. Home-made food as much as possible – just have to keep exploring new recipes!

A-‘s bottom teeth are definitely out now, and her top incisors are beginning to emerge. Her sleep has been more messed up than usual – evening naps, late-night bedtimes – but we can adapt to that. I might try waking up with an alarm as a way of nudging her to keep a consistent bedtime instead of letting it get later and later, though. Anyway, this is temporary. I’ll get more time for thinking and writing later.

I still managed to do a bit of consulting – a small NodeJS server that parsed and displayed some content from a different system. I should probably follow up on that this week.

W- has been working on a jig for making mortises and tenons. He’s planning to replace the coffee table in the living room with one that’s a bit wider and with rounded edges. It’s more work baby-proofing than the usual “stick corners on the thing and call it a day”, but it builds skills, so I’m all for it. He’s getting a lot of good use out of the basement workshop he put together during parental leave, yay! Only a few weeks left before he goes back to work. It’s good to do what he can now so that woodworking can be an enjoyable hobby even in small chunks during regular weeks.

My discretionary time is all about the small chunks, too. Someday I’ll have bigger chunks to play with again, but in the meantime, this is cool.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.7h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.4h – 90% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 9% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Check out SimpleTax
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
    • ☑ Check RESP ledger
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.8h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.9h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.1h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (11.7h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (80.9h – 48%)
    • Childcare (73.2h – 43% of total)
  • Sleep (67.7h – 40% – average of 9.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 27, 2017

I took A- to the ocularist to check the fit of her conformer, since she’s been rubbing it out pretty much every day (sometimes even twice). The ocularist thinks it fits fine and wanted to start working towards a painted shell. We’re more comfortable with conformers, though, because of the risk of losing her prosthesis and because it sometimes prompts useful conversations. We’ll revisit painted shells when she’s ready for school, or if the white conformer bothers her.

I flipped through the book “A Singular View” while at the ocularist’s office. There’s a useful chapter on practical adaptations for pouring and other tasks that are a little harder with monocular vision. The book’s pretty short, though, so it might be something I’ll review there whenever we go for a checkup instead of buying a copy myself.

A- is getting better at communicating. She lets us know when she doesn’t want any more food by closing her eyes and shaking her head (a little randomly, but we get her message). She often insists on feeding us any food left on her plate. She gestures at pictures in books. One time, she even handed W- a paper diaper and flopped onto the bed – probably telling us to get on with the bedtime routine.

She was freaked out by the blood pressure cuff that J- was measuring me with as practice for J-‘s nursing exam. W- and I reassured her that everything was okay, although she still shouted at it when J- removed it from my arm. So much courage.

W- kept A- occupied while I went for my own eye exam. I hadn’t had my eyes checked in years, so I figured it would be good to update my prescription before ordering a bunch of glasses online. A- had broken one pair of glasses and scratched a lens in another pair, so I’m wearing my backup backup pair. Gotta be firmer about keeping A- away from my glasses!

Managed to squeeze in a little computer work. I dusted off and improved the first part of an A/B testing prototype for my consulting client. I also did some more work on using Ledger for my business books so that I can get a tax-line summary. I even set up a Ledger file for the investments in A-‘s college fund. Whee!

The world’s getting a bit crazy, but I remain optimistic.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.2h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.7h – 51% of Business)
      • ☐ [#A] Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.5h – 46% of Business)
      • ☑ Get bank balance to agree
      • ☑ Do GIFI mapping
    • Connect (0.1h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.5h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.4h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
      • ☑ sleep/wake toggle
  • Discretionary – Play (3.5h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (16.7h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (76.9h – 45%)
    • Childcare (70.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (61.8h – 36% – average of 8.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 20, 2017

The ocularist is trying a different style of conformer. It has a ridge and a curve to catch her lower eyelid. The new conformer has been coming out a little less frequently, but it’s still every day or so. I try to keep A-‘s hands away from her face, although sometimes she really insists on rubbing and scratching when she’s sleepy or just waking up. I also took A- to the eyeglasses store to try on pairs. She’s in between sizes in the Miraflex line, so we’ll try again in a few months.

I took A- to the JFRC and the OEYC for socialization. She’s back to being comfortable in those spaces, I think. I also took her to the breastfeeding clinic to check her weight. 7.84kg puts her comfortably over the 15th percentile curve, yay her!

Since A- has been so interested in our forks and spoons, we got her a fork, which she enthusiastically mashes into her saucer and manoeuvres into her mouth. Sometimes she even manages to pick up food with it. We also got her a toothbrush and a hairbrush. She seems to enjoy using the toothbrush after meals. We haven’t added any baby toothpaste yet – it’s more for getting her used to stuff in her mouth. I brush her hair after brushing mine. Sometimes she tries to imitate me, and sometimes she just plays with the brush when it’s her turn. She’ll get the hang of it eventually.

We’ve been encouraging more physical activity as a way of helping her build up her appetite and take in more nutrients. This usually takes the form of hide-and-seek, which gets her crawling after us at a decent clip. She’s also been working on fine motor control: stuffing Duplo into various containers (including sleepers and pant cuffs), emptying and filling the toy egg carton, and playing with books. She was a little interested in the crayons brought by the family home visitor, although she doesn’t seem to deliberately make marks yet. Anyway, since we want to model what to do with them, I’ve been able to sketch a little – mostly the back of her head while she plays with W-.

I’ve been drawing more on my tablet PC, too. This little experiment of drawing a memory in more detail and colour is helping me observe more carefully, and it’s fun. We’ll see if it’s worth the additional 10-15 minutes or so.

I did a little bit of consulting – a couple of SQL queries and a little Node script to analyze a thread. Thought about a bigger project, too, but I’m not sure I have the brainspace to build something custom for them.

I’ve been working on moving more things off Windows so that I can stay in Linux more often. After looking into alternatives to TurboTax for my corporate income tax returns, I decided to convert my QuickBooks records to Ledger. I’ve been using Ledger for my personal finances for more than a decade, and I like how manageable plain text is, especially with report command lines and commentary in Org Mode. I found a Perl script to convert QuickBooks data to Ledger format. After modifying it to deal with Canadian spelling, I converted my data and started reviewing it. So far, so good. My bank balances match up, at least. There are a bunch of other things I want to pay close attention to (year-end entries and so on), but overall, it looks promising.

I also cleared out the tablet I was using as a baby monitor, replacing it with W-‘s old phone. That works just as fine as a baby monitor, and it works out better than the tablet did as a backup device for when my phone’s battery runs out. The phone is easier to hold and type on, and it’s less glaring. More writing, yay!

While I’ve been taking care of A- and writing while nursing, W- has totally taken over cooking for dinner, which is awesome. Pad thai, pasta, shepherd’s pie (with ground lamb, even) – yum yum yum. Life is good.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.9h – 2%)
    • Earn (1.9h – 48% of Business)
      • ☑ Thread analysis
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.2h – 30% of Business)
    • Connect (0.8h – 21% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
    • ☑ Print prescription for A-
    • ☑ Try another conformer
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.3h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Writing (0.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.6h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (73.2h – 43%)
    • Childcare (63.6h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (63.1h – 37% – average of 9.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 13, 2017

I took A- to be fitted for another conformer, since we lost the previous one after two weeks of it popping out almost every day. Her current one appeared to fit fine while we were at the ocularist, but it’s been popping out a lot too. We have another appointment next week. Maybe we can get a better fit, or maybe we’ll have to consider the trade-offs of putting her under sedation so that a new impression can be taken.

A-‘s two bottom central incisors are both emerging, whee! She’s been having fun gnawing on chicken drumsticks and biscotti. Her sleep has been a little disrupted, but that’s fairly common when teething.

W- bought two lots of Duplo off Kijiji, and now A- has a pretty good Duplo collection. We all have lots of fun playing with the bricks.

We’ve resumed home visits from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program. We’ve been working on stacking blocks, and A- finally got the hang of it! We also went to the JFRC and the OEYC for some socialization, since it’s good for A- to get used to seeing and interacting with other kids. She’s a little reserved, but that’s okay.

This week and last week had quite the spike in childcare hours, although part of that is probably sloppy tracking. I’ve been focusing on playing more with A- during daytime hours, sometimes away from my phone. Might try tracking other activities like meals and tidying up a bit better this week to get a clearer picture of my time. Also, A-‘s been waking up after an evening nap instead of staying in bed, so that’s been changing up our routine a little.

Lots of good stuff on my end. So much writing! My Google Tasks + org2blog workflow is working really well. I can write while nursing, which is much better than spending all that time going down into the rabbit holes of the Internet. I went from a somewhat monotonous rhythm of Emacs News and journal reviews to a full week of scheduled posts. Unexpected benefit: more blog comment conversations, too!

I’ve been working on my yearly review. I’ve looked at all the sketches, summarized my monthly reviews, and analyzed my expenses. I also want to look at time and write my overall reflections. It’s been a good year.

Going through all those sketches from 2016 reminded me that a little effort can make drawings more expressive and fun, so I’ve been playing with drawing again. I figure that picking one moment and drawing it in more detail in my daily index cards will let me exercise that skill, and it’ll also motivate me to pay attention to or cultivate at least one vivid moment a day.

I did a little bit of consulting, too – tweaked some code and answered a few questions. Also, I filed my corporation’s T4 and T5 tax slips, yay! Keener. Our personal tax returns are probably going to be a little more complicated this year because of W-‘s parental leave and my child benefit, but I’ll figure it out.

I signed up for the PC Plus program and associated it with my old PCFinancial points. We’ll see if it’s worth it, considering we shop at No Frills all the time.

Next week: another trip to the ocularist, more socialization, and maybe some writing and digital decluttering.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.8h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.2h – 69% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.5h – 25% of Business)
      • ☑ Issue T5
      • ☑ Issue T4
    • Connect (0.1h – 5% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
    • ☑ Try another conformer
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
    • Emacs (0.9h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
    • Writing (1.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.2h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (15.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (83.0h – 49%)
    • Childcare (75.1h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (59.1h – 35% – average of 8.4 per day)