Category Archives: weekly

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)

Weekly review: Week ending August 4, 2017

Big week for medical things. A- needed to be sedated for a heart exam, which meant no solids past midnight and no nursing four hours before the exam. We had a relaxed evening of eating her favourite foods, and she ate almost until the cut-off time (last cracker at 11:57 PM). She woke up as soon as she wasn’t allowed to nurse, and cried for a while until W- and I managed to distract her with songs and attention. It was still tough going at the sedation clinic, but she settled down twenty minutes after the chloral hydrate was given (and, possibly coincidentally, once I started on “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight”). The cardiologist said she looks okay so far, so we might be able to stay with A-‘s regular cardiologist for routine monitoring instead of coming to Sick Kids.

A-‘s eye exam on Friday involved pupil dilation. She was too upset for the pediatric ophthalmologist-in-training to do the exam, but the main ophthalmologist suggested waiting until A- was asleep, so that’s when he had a look. So far, so good. Yay!

Creating positive associations has helped a lot. We’ve taken to decompressing at the family centre in Sick Kids, playing one of their ukuleles and reading books. I brought her stuffed toy sheep, which has become her favourite comfort object. Liberal use of upside-down time has also gotten her to let me clean her teeth, which is a relief.

It’s fun watching A- become more independent. A- started doing the actions for “Slice, Slice” and “Sleeping Bunnies”. She insisted that we mime the slicing and spreading on our own bodies, which is cool. “Sleeping Bunnies” now often elicits a “No” at just the right spot. She’s carried that over to saying “No” in various situations, including refusing my help and asking for W-‘s. Whee! Our kiddo’s becoming more opinionated, and she’s developing the tools to express what she wants. That should help minimize her frustration. She won’t be able to get everything she wants, of course, but at least she can differentiate between things she’ll get after waiting and things to which I have to say no. (Especially since she managed to disable the microwave child lock before…) She has free rein of the notebooks and pens I keep stashed around the house, which she has started fishing out of drawers and doodling in. Maybe we’ll get her sketchnoting someday!

It was great catching up with a friend and her kiddo at the ROM. I also spent some time reflecting on impact, following up on a conversation with a few other friends last week. A- had fun during a video chat with Lolo. She pointed at body parts when prompted, and walked around a bit too.

The VPN token I use to access my consulting clients’ network expired, so I’ve been focusing on personal projects while waiting for a replacement. I added category and tag exclusion to my WordPress theme. That lets me make a bulk view of my non-Emacs-News posts so that I can reread them during my annual review. I started working on multiple timeline support for Quantified Awesome so that I can move baby data tracking there, but progress is slow. I finally downscaled my Linode plan, too, accepting that I probably won’t have the mental bandwidth to make the most of its capacity until A- is in school or something like that.

We’ve been shifting towards more vegetable-based proteins because of the draft recommendations for Canada’s food guide and for other health reasons. I stocked up on dried spices and herbs for Mason jar soups, since they’re easy to prepare even when hanging out with A-. The Moroccan lentil soup was a good first try; next time, I’ll grind the spices. A- liked the lentils but not the wild rice in this curried lentil wild rice soup, but we’ll give that a few more tries. too. I feel pretty good about the change in our eating habits. I’ll need to read up more on nutrition to make sure we’ve got all the important nutrients. We still eat meat, just less than before. I might be developing mild lactose intolerance, too, so that’s something else to consider.

W- spent the weekend pouring concrete piers for the porch with the help of a couple of neighbours. It was a lot of work even with the electric mixer. Recovering from that and a sore throat took a while, but fortunately, we can take things pretty easy.

Next week: one more Sick Kids appointment, and then catching up!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (0.3h – 16% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.6h – 83% of Business)
      • ☑ Consider fiddling with Linode payment
      • ☑ Transfer credit from Paypal to Linode
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.5h – 3%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.7h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.1h)
    • Emacs (0.9h)
    • Coding (1.4h)
      • ☑ Tweak my WordPress theme to allow category exclusion
    • Writing (0.4h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.5h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (9.9h – 5%)
  • A- (Childcare) (72.2h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (55.5h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 28, 2017

I took A- for a blood test. As soon as we walked into Sick Kids Hospital, she started crying. We’ll be there a few times in August, so I asked a child life specialist for a few tips. She can’t avoid the pain and anxiety, but I can still help by bringing comfort items and adding a few positive associations. We spent some time at the family centre at the hospital playing with books, toys, and ukuleles, and I think that helped a little.

A- likes saying “da!” for “down” and “up!” (for “up”, of course) when she’s on the stairs, and she sometimes says “baba” for “bye-bye”. A- has been practising getting down from the bed, and can usually do it with a few reminders. She’s been getting more involved in household routines. For example, she wanted laundry tucked under her chin because she sees us fold laundry that way. She likes washing her face and reminding us to wash ours, and she mimicks how we moisturize our feet. She washed berries with surprising carefulness. She occasionally lies down to have her diaper changed. In terms of fine motor control, she seems to occasionally use a pencil grip when working with a paintbrush or pencil. Not actually a tripod grip as I wrote down here; more like a 5-point pencil grasp? It’s still early for that in terms of development, but it’s great that she’s practising different grips. She likes scribbling in notebooks, which she sees me do occasionally. Time to let her see more of that!

We had our last music class for July. A- seems to be smiling at tickling songs and rhymes now, and she also waves a scarf around to music. It’s so much fun watching her grow. I read the Music in Preschool textbook that the teacher recommended and asked some questions about the Kodaly method’s concern about didactic songs. The teacher said it’s okay to have practical songs in combination with music education that focuses more on the aesthetic sense.

We hung out with Jen and Eric at the park for a great discussion about impact. We had Jen and E- over for dinner on Tuesday. I also took A- to Tim’s retirement party, where she managed to nap for thirty minutes amidst the hubbub. We checked out the trains and playset at Roundhouse Park while we were down there.

The building permit inspection went well. W-‘s research and hard work paid off, yay! Next step: concrete and framing. As for me, I lost my library card somewhere. (I wonder if it’s in the dryer…) Fortunately, it’s easy enough to replace.

A- has a bit of a runny nose, so we’ll see if that clears up by next week or if we need to move her Sick Kids appointments. Ah well!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.6h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 99% of Business)
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☑ Consider fiddling with Linode
      • ☑ Transfer credit from Paypal to Linode
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.2h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.6h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Writing (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (19.0h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (9.8h – 5%)
  • A- (Childcare) (65.8h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (54.3h – 32% – average of 7.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 14, 2017

A- and I went to the Maker Festival at the Toronto Reference Library. It was great to see so many people enthusiastic about all sorts of things. We had a 3D portrait taken by Alan Majer, which was pretty cool (even though A- was crying). I’ve backed up the object model along with the rest of A-‘s pictures. Might be fun to review in the future. I took A- to the ROM twice this week, too: once with some people from music class, and once with a mom and a kid from the JFRC.

The Learning Tower turned out to be a good platform for gross motor development. A- has been very interested in climbing into and out of it with the help of a step stool. She’s also been walking a fair bit, especially when she has her backpack on. I got her soft Tickle Toes leather shoes in size 6, and she prefers them over her other shoes. She went down the big-kid slide with W- quite a few times, which involved climbing up ramps and short walls with a little help.

Lots of egg-cracking practice. Only little bits of shell! I also got A- involved in making shake-and-bake chicken, gyoza, and banana bread. She practised transferring yogurt from one bowl to another using a spoon, and she’s also been working on spreading peanut butter on crackers.

A- was not particularly interested in the craft activity involving feathers – not anxious, but not keen on touching the feathers unless it was to put them away. She was scared of a hand puppet at the ROM and a stegosaurus figurine at the JFRC. Ah well.

It’s amazing how much she observes and imitates. She put playdough into small containers, smoothed pieces of tape onto the lids, and carried the containers to the freezer, like the way we put away food that we’ve prepared in bulk. She tried tying her hair with a rubber band. Hard with such short arms! I looped a ponytail band around some of her hair so that she could try that out, but her hair’s fine enough that it was easy for A- to pull the band off. I think she wanted to do it herself, though. Someday!

Misc:

  • W- spent 2.5 hours turning $18 of basil, three packages of pine nuts, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, and some olive oil into lots and lots of yummy pesto.
  • A- and I were late to music class because I forgot to set an alarm, so I’ve set a recurring alarm now.
  • I helped J- file her taxes for 2015.
  • We had W-‘s mom and one of his nieces over for dinner. Gyoza, yum yum!
  • I cut my hair back to shoulder-length. Nice and light for summer!
  • Consulting: I worked on exporting data.
  • I’ve been experimenting with an outline in my journal. Promising, although a little more work.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.0h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.0h – 98% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.6h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.3h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.4h)
    • Emacs (1.9h)
    • Coding (0.6h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.4h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (21.8h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (9.1h – 5%)
  • A- (Childcare) (64.0h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (51.8h – 30% – average of 7.4 per day)