Category Archives: weekly

Weekly review: Week ending August 12, 2016

Somehow the following week ended up being too busy for writing, which is why I’m writing this entry almost a week late. Anyway, the week ending August 12 was one of checking things off and getting things done.

We bought a second-hand Tripp Trapp high chair in the hope that the flexibility will make it good long-term value. A- has been getting lots of practice in self-feeding. It’s still a super-messy process, but she seems to be getting better at manoeuvring the business end of the spoon into her mouth. We have a wipe-down ritual now, involving a small mixing bowl with warm water and a washcloth: wipe her face, let her wash her hands (and maybe do a little scrubbing for her), wipe down the chair, wipe the table, wipe whatever the cats haven’t eaten off the floor…

The twinginess in my wrist turns out to be de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, a condition so common among new mothers that it’s also known as mother’s wrist. I wasn’t too keen on the physiotherapist I saw, as he seemed more interested in selling me thrice-weekly ultrasound treatments and a custom brace than in discussing behavioural changes and self-care techniques, even though I mentioned that the pain was only mild and occasional and that I was more interested in making sure this didn’t get to be a problem in the future. Can’t blame him for trying to rustle up business, though. Anyway, I bought an over-the-counter brace from the drugstore, I’m using the non-prescription cream that my doctor recommended, and I’m being careful about the way I lift A- or use my thumb. So far, so good.

W- walked around with A- while I had that 45-minute assessment with the physiotherapist. I think she got a little anxious and overtired, as she cried all throughout the (thankfully short) walk home. Good thing I didn’t go for a massage.

Oh, and I turned 33! We’ve settled into a comfortable routine of not making a big fuss of our birthdays, although I took some time to reflect on the past year and draw a summary. I haven’t gotten around to writing it up yet. Coincidentally, the Ontario Early Years Centre that A- and I have been going to had organized a free field trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario, so we took advantage of the opportunity to wander around there.

We set up A-‘s college/university savings, booked flights to the Philippines, and applied for A-‘s Canadian passport. I decided to pay extra and take the time to apply in person so that we can pick up the passport in person, too, since personal experience has taught me that it’s a big hassle if Canada Post loses a passport. Anyway, I can always think of it as a small donation to the Canadian government. Slowly getting our act together!

2016-08-17a Week ending 2016-08-12 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.3h – 72% of Business)
    • Build (0.5h – 26% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (11.1h – 6%)
    • ☑ Set up RESP
    • ☑ Book flight by calling the call center
    • ☑ Look for high chair
    • ☑ Apply for passport at the Victoria office
    • ☑ Call cardiology to check follow up date, appointment info
    • ☑ Contact Dr. Selvi’s office and see if we need to schedule a follow-up with her
    • ☑ Call in 72 hours to see whether bassinet has been approved
    • ☑ Ask about Living and Learning with Baby
    • ☑ Simulate A-‘s RESP choices
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.5h – 6%)
    • Drawing (8.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (1.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.9h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (17.3h – 10%)
    • ☑ Book doctor’s appointment
  • Unpaid work (68.5h – 40%)
    • Childcare (57.9h – 34% of total)
  • Sleep (56.8h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 5, 2016

Last week was all about talking to dietitians and improving A-‘s feeding. After the previous week’s stern lecture from the pediatrician about A-‘s slow weight gain, I got a referral to a public health dietitian associated with the Peer Nutrition workshop I attend, and booked an appointment with the private dietitian my pediatrician had been recommending for a while. The public dietitian reviewed the specifics of A-‘s situation and suggested that we try adding a couple of snacks to A-‘s feeding schedule, perhaps incorporating calorie-dense foods like cream cheese. The private dietitian measured her length and weight, noting her as 61cm (3cm shorter than last week’s measurement at the pediatrician, but measured in a different way) and 5.79kg (a gain of 220g in 7 days, wow!). Both dietitians reassured us that A- looks pretty good, and is maybe just a small baby. That’s a relief! That means that instead of focusing on just trying to get calories into her, we can focus on helping her build self-feeding and self-regulation skills, and we can expose her to a variety of tastes and textures.

The follow-up with the ocularist went well, too. He took out the scleral shell, examined it, cleaned it, and popped it back in. No fussing, whew!

I took A- for passport pictures. I forgot to put her in non-white clothes (she’s almost always in a white onesie), so we borrowed a red T-shirt from the photo studio. The picture was a little awkward since we didn’t get her arms through the sleeves, but oh well. The important thing is that it’s done, and the photo studio said the passport office will take it.

I messed up by not checking my e-mail for the schedule for the appointment with the dietitian. It got classified as Updates instead of Important in Gmail, so I didn’t get a specific notification for it, and I went a day without checking those folders. I should remember to star similar conversations, or maybe even whitelist/filter. Anyway, no biggie. The slot we had was just 1.5 hours after I thought the schedule was, so we went to the library and the drug store.

We passed on some baby clothes to Mrs. Wong for the granddaughter they’re expecting soon. Here’s hoping we’ll have a neighbourhood playmate! Mrs. Wong gave us lots of chives and a few plants from her garden (akajiso, and a plant we can’t identify). W- turned the chives into yummy pork-and-chives dumplings. Jen and E- came over for a visit, too, and I met up with Rachael and G- at a park to say goodbye before their move to Missouri.

J- had friends over, too. W- supervised them as they helped with her closet renovation, and I got them started with making pesto from the basil in our planter box. W- and I were pleasantly surprised that stuff actually got done. =)

A- observations: She likes playing with water, whether they’re jets from the hose as we tend the garden or streams from the holes in her stacking-cup toys. She’s better at manipulating things to get them into her mouth: fancy teething rings W- bought her, spoons of baby food, rice rusks with cream cheese… She’s also pretty comfortable rolling onto her tummy, and often likes to spend time that way. We’re slowly developing a feeding routine of 2-3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks. She’s an avid eater, and this is a great time to sample all sorts of fruits and vegetables in season.

My left wrist started feeling a little weird, so I’m paying more attention to that. I’m not sure about booking a massage (hard to relax if A- is fussy) but maybe stretching and resting will help with that. I’ll book a doctor’s appointment or a massage if it gets worse or if it doesn’t go away in a few days. In the meantime, it would be good for me to slowly explore what’s going on there so that I can describe it to people. Hmm…

Anyway, life is starting to get simpler, at least in terms of A-‘s health. Hooray!

2016-08-08a Week ending 2016-08-05 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.7h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.6h – 91% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.1h – 8% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.3h – 1%)
    • ☑ Take A- for passport pictures
    • ☐ Call cardiology to check follow up date, appointment info
    • ☐ Apply for passport
    • ☐ Call to see whether bassinet has been approved
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.7h – 4%)
    • Drawing (3.6h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (1.1h)
      • ☑ Make special feeding chart
      • ☑ Improve feeding display for days
    • Sewing (0.2h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.0h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (23.1h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (80.8h – 48%)
    • Childcare (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (51.4h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 29, 2016

Good news from A-‘s liver MRI: the weirdness was just capillaries, not liver cancer, whew. Her echocardiogram resulted in the same diagnosis the cardiologist gave us before, with no clear indications for or against surgery, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Still, it’s a relief to start closing some of those loops, downgrading things from ongoing concerns to less-frequent checks.

There’s still the matter of A-‘s slow weight gain, which has been upgraded to something the pediatrician is Very Concerned About. She’s catching up well in terms of length, but not in terms of weight. She seems fine – active, happy, adorably jowled and jelly-rolled – but it’s probably a good idea to err on the side of supplying her growing brain with extra nutrients. We’re seeing a dietitian next week in order to work out a feeding plan. It’s not covered by either the public health care system or W-‘s insurance, but that’s okay; it’s a good investment. It’s time to get that going, instead of waiting for publicly-funded resources which are probably focused on people who need it more. In the meantime, our pediatrician has recommended daily servings of meat and rice cereal, so we introduced those to A- this week.

I’ve started tracking feeding in more detail, too, because data and visualizations help me with those questions I never quite know how to answer concisely. “How’s her nursing?” “As often as she wants, which is maybe… every two to three hours. Sometimes for five minutes, but often for thirty or forty minutes, or even longer.” Might be better to show how our days are consistent in their inconsistency, bar-code-like graphs on a timeline. Also, since Sick Kids’ wifi firewalls nonstandard ports, I finally got around to set up a reverse proxy for my tracker.

I didn’t make it to the Peer Nutrition program on Monday because of A-‘s cardiology appointment, but I was able to catch the same class in a different location on Wednesday. It was interesting to taste the difference between commercial baby food and homemade baby food, and it solidified our decision to cook A-‘s meals whenever we could. Also, there were extra vegetables from the follow-up program, so I went home with the unexpected bounty of kale, lettuce, a zucchini, and a cucumber. Yum yum!

I reacquired Philippine citizenship and included A-, so now we’re both dual citizens. We’ll most likely stay in Canada, especially with A-‘s health issues, but it might make some paperwork easier. Also, we visited W-‘s mom for dinner. A- was fussy because she was tired, so I snuggled up with her while they chatted.

My second set of peas is starting to grow, and the basil in the planters seems to have sprung back even though we harvested large chunks of it for pesto. It’s awesome.

2016-08-01a Week ending 2016-07-29 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.9h – 100% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (10.9h – 6%)
    • ☑ Add medical summary for A-
    • ☑ Fill in paperwork for reclaiming Philippine citizenship
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.5h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.1h)
      • ☑ Make reverse proxy for tracker
      • ☑ Make special feeding chart
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (14.0h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (69.1h – 41%)
    • Childcare (58.9h – 35% of total)
  • Sleep (64.9h – 38% – average of 9.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 22, 2016

This was a big week. A- got her first ocular prosthesis, a scleral shell that fits in front of her small eye and supports the growth of her skull. She hardly even fussed, and has been very much her usual happy self. Her left eye is still smaller than the right one, which is normal. It’s a gradual process. I’m sure there’ll be bumps along the road. People in the Facebook support group have shared a few stories about dealing with infection or lost prostheses. But that’s just part of life, so – onward!

We took A- for an MRI in order to follow up on the results from her abdominal ultrasound and blood tests. The waiting room had a toy scanner, which was probably really useful for helping older kids become less afraid of the procedure. It turned out that it’s a small version of a CAT scanner, and it’s made by Philips. They call it a kitten scanner. It even comes with RFID toys that bring up relevant animations. Neat. =)

Tita Gay and Tita Myra drove up from the US to meet A-. We had fun chatting over lumpia and Vietnamese bun. It was so nice to hear about how Tita Gay had been helping my parents through some difficult times, and how Tita Myra was coping with her own health challenges. We ended up with too many desserts, but that’s okay. It just meant that we got to enjoy custard pastry (galaktoboureko, I think), egg tarts, strawberry shortcake, and banana fritters throughout the rest of the week.

I didn’t do any consulting, but that’s okay. It’s a little mindboggling to think that this was my first week without a couple of hours of consulting since April, when A- was just two months old. Next week promises to be a little lighter medical-wise (aside from the echocardiogram under sedation on Monday), so I might be able to check back in. I’ve got a couple of add-ons on the go, and I’m halfway through prototyping another.

I’ve been spending most of my time focused on A-. Aside from the big health-related milestones this week, it feels like I’m spending a fair bit of time nursing her or helping her sleep. It’s all good, though; past Sacha decided this was the best use of my time, and the reasons still stand. When I don’t want to distract her by talking to her, I read on my phone. I’ve gotten through a few ebooks on the Montessori method, looking for ideas for early childhood education. I like the idea of helping her develop her senses and observation skills, and the practical life skills will be good too. The usual Montessori exercises are for kids who are a little older (maybe 2.5 years?), but there are opportunities to apply the principles even earlier. My brain still feels a little fuzzy from time to time, but I’m looking forward to getting better at helping her learn – and learning tons in the process, too.

I’ll eventually want to have more structured notes for observations and plans related to A-‘s learning. I think Teach Your Baby had some suggestions for keeping a notebook, although it might be interesting to see what I can sort out with computers, tagging, my digital index cards, Emacs, and whatever scripts I write. I’ll probably start with adding more detail to my index cards, and making some kind of table to remind us to cover a variety of activities. I’ll figure out how to cross-reference stuff later.

Observations from this week: In the backyard, she’s been able to pick up small pine cones in either hand, when we bring them close to her in our hands. She can pass a teething ring from one hand to the other. She can easily grasp and mouth cucumber sticks and carrot sticks, and she seems to prefer using fewer fingers instead of using a full-finger grasp. Lots of vocalization, especially in the evening. It’s not crying – it sounds more chatty, although if it changes in tone a little, that seems to be a reliable indicator that she’s getting a bit tired.

In other news, W- has been really hitting it out of the park in terms of cooking: pesto using the basil from our planter boxes (gotta keep trimming them!), tarragon chicken, pad thai, bun… He’s been posting videos of A- in our Facebook group for baby updates, too. So awesome.

Next week: cardio, then reacquiring Philippine citizenship, then taking A- for more vaccines and following up with the pediatrician regarding results. I’m not sure I can go to the Peer Nutrition workshop on Monday, but maybe I can make it up some other time.

2016-07-23b Week ending 2016-07-22 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.1h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.8h – 5%)
    • Drawing (5.0h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.3h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.9h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (23.6h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (69.7h – 41%)
    • Childcare (59.3h – 35% of total)
  • Sleep (57.3h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 15, 2016

This was a good week for walks. Most days we made it out for two, even three walks, and we’ve started going to High Park too. It’s a multipurpose activity. Either A- gets exposed to sunlight to help her eyes develop or she ends up taking a nap, and we get exercise (and sometimes groceries or books).

We listed the walk and a few dozen other activity ideas on a sheet of paper that we’ve stuck to the fridge door. This should help us cycle through different ways to engage A- instead of spacing out or settling into a rut. It’s important for us to learn how to support A-‘s learning and provide a stimulating environment. We got the sedation instructions for A-‘s upcoming cardiology exam. In preparation for informed consent for that and the MRI that the pediatrician has also requested, I looked up the research on the risks of multiple exposure to anaesthesia for young children. There are mixed findings, but the statistics tend to be on the grimmer side when it comes to potential learning disabilities and developmental delays. Ah well. Top priority is health, so let’s get that sorted out first. We’ll deal.

I’ve been thinking about tech areas to explore now that I’m getting more used to the little projects I do for my consulting clients. On the data side, I’m curious about data analysis and visualization. I’m also interested in natural language processing, both in terms of conversational user interfaces as well as text analysis. It’s a little harder to learn things in fits and starts. Even with W- focusing on A-, I did only three hours of work last Thursday. Still, that was enough time to get a couple more add-ons on the go, so that’s something.

Anyway, back to tech learning. I spent a little time defining a few intents and entities with http://api.ai, and I tested it with text and with WAVs. Speech recognition is likely to be the weak link in the chain for me, but maybe I can start playing around with a more individually-tailored agent. It would be handy to have more customized cognitive support systems for reminders, routine checklists, scaffolding, and mental stack management… The hybrid button-/text-based trackers I’ve been building for my mobile device have been quite useful. I tweaked them to save more data to my database so that I don’t have to pull in as much from the external site that I’m wrapping this custom interface around, although I ended up introducing a few regressions in the process because my unit tests didn’t cover the functions that actually update the third-party site. Hmm, maybe I should just mock those out and test. Also, at some point, it might be nice to make the trackers better at handling fuzzier input, which is where those conversational user interfaces might come in.

So yeah, a little bit of coding. Drawing is higher on my discretionary time priority list, actually. I’ve been staying up late to draw more detailed diary entries. I did my monthly review, too. It’s fascinating how dense the weeks and months are when I look back.

Next week is packed with health and medical stuff. The peer nutrition workshop on Monday might be a good way to meet other Filipinos and pick up some dietitian-recommended tips for helping A- gain weight. Starting Tuesday, A- will be fitted for her first ocular prosthesis, a scleral shell that will go over her small left eye in order to help her skull grow symmetrically. Thanks to a last-minute cancellation, we’ve managed to snag an MRI slot on Thursday. Taking it easy otherwise. So glad W- is here!

2016-07-19a Week ending 2016-07-15 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (3.0h – 97% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 1% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
    • ☑ Make a list of baby activities
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.8h – 4%)
    • Drawing (3.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
      • ☑ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (1.7h)
      • ☑ Log unknown commands for later processing
      • ☑ Fix sleep tracking for baby
      • ☑ Fix sketches link
      • ☑ Fix save and load
      • ☑ Try api.ai
      • ☑ Try submitting WAV to api.ai
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
    • ☑ Renew library card
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (31.5h – 18%)
  • Unpaid work (60.2h – 35%)
    • Childcare (52.6h – 31% of total)
  • Sleep (60.7h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 8, 2016

A quiet week compared to the previous one. A-‘s alpha fetoprotein test came back normal, although the pediatrician would like an MRI just in case.

A- seems to be shifting her sleeping patterns a little. She’s a bit more awake during the day, with 2-3 naps – mostly 30 minutes, but occasionally longer. She’s been having fun blowing lip raspberries, and has also tried rapidly squeezing with her hands a few times.

It wasn’t all fun and games, though. She had her first struggle with constipation, the poor dear. All we could do was hold her (and take bananas off the menu). It was a good opportunity to reflect on pain and comfort and what to do when you can’t do much. I can’t solve all her problems. That’s outside my control. I can, however, choose my response to what life brings, and I can help regulate her state as well. I’m sure there will be many situations like that in the future, so it’ll be useful for me to think about things when we’re not in the thick of it.

Lots of paperwork this week. I renewed my health card, and I filed the paperwork for reacquiring Philippine citizenship, including A- in my application. In retrospect, I could probably have asked for additional copies of A-‘s adorably serious-looking ID pictures, but ah well. =) The important thing is that it’s done. I could probably have postponed it until I needed it, I guess, but it’s better to have it sorted out ahead of time. Ditto for passport renewals. My mom thinks that may come in handy for identification in the Philippines, so I’ll keep that current. No big deal, just two afternoons and some money every five years or so.

Speaking of the Philippines – I helped W- move the BBQ back after he sanded and stained the deck, and we had fun trying out the recipe from the Reddit post on Filipino BBQ-sytle chicken. Vietnamese bun is becoming more familiar, too. Yum!

I’ve also signed up for the peer nutrition program in Tagalog. That promises to be interesting. Take advantage of all the city services! It is totally awesome that the City of Toronto has services for different cultures. I hope it’s a way for me to pick up more everyday vocabulary. We’re trying to expose A- to Cantonese and Tagalog, and there are big gaping holes in my vocabulary that I don’t want to plug with English words unless I have to.

I’m starting to get the hang of building add-ons for my consulting client. It would be great to get a good pipeline of those going: lots of little projects that will eventually make it into production. Then I can add more complex projects on top of that, once we’ve got a good foundation of value.

Top priority is A-, though. Next week is pretty open, and then she’s getting her first prosthesis the week after that. W- started his parental leave at the perfect time. I’m so glad we can work on figuring out all this stuff together.

2016-07-10a Week ending 2016-07-08 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (7.5h – 4%)
    • Earn (5.8h – 77% of Business)
    • Build (1.7h – 22% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.3h – 0%)
    • ☑ Call Healthiest Babies Possible
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.9h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.4h)
    • Emacs (0.0h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.8h)
    • ☑ Cancel Evernote, move off it
    • ☑ Check MBNA credit card
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (66.9h – 39%)
    • Childcare (54.5h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (68.5h – 40% – average of 9.8 per day)