Category Archives: weekly

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Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-08

Cognition: This week was a good one for sorting. A- grasped the concept of “same” when I demonstrated it with the cans in the pantry. She was able to put cans of red kidney beans together and cans of soup together, and she could even distinguish between chicken soup and mushroom soup.

Emotion: A- showed a little anxiety whenever we peeled oranges, burying her face in me until we gave her the all clear. It’s a good way to avoid getting squirted in the eye, that’s for sure.

Field trips: We discovered that a nearby community centre has a warm toddler pool and long weekend hours. It might become our new favourite.

Motor: A-‘s been getting the hang of the tongs that I placed under the sink for her. She can pick up plastic bags and ping pong balls now. She also spent some time having fun with stickers, and can usually peel them off the sticker sheets herself.

Lots of climbing up and sliding down the slide that we improvised from pillows and the other mattress in her room. She used to climb up the incline, but now she mostly takes the long way around. She also wears pants more often now, instead of going around bare. That makes sliding more comfortable. Besides, no clothes = no pictures or videos, and she likes being on camera and reviewing the videos.

Also, A- rather amusingly flaps her arms and calls that jumping jacks.

Household: A-‘s good at putting away dishes now. I take them out of the dishwasher and hand them to her, and she puts them on the shelves as she stands on the counter. I hover behind her for safety. We probably can’t rejig our kitchen layout to put the dishes lower, but this seems like a reasonable risk for more sorting and counting practice. Maybe when she’s bigger, she can use the tower as an in-between step for boosting herself up and lowering herself.

She’s gotten the hang of the microwave routine, too. We open the door together, put in food, cover it, close the door, press buttons (hooray for child lock), make a whirring sound, open the door, remove the cover, use a towel to carefully remove the pretend-hot food, and let it cool down. She had lots of fun labeling each step.

Sensory: lots of stepping on bubble wrap, and a bit of using her hands too. She likes the crinkly sound the plastic bags make, and trying to catch them when I toss them up in the air. Some water play in the sink, too.

Us: I made it out to the Philippine consulate to pick up my passport, and I bought a few gifts for our upcoming trip. W-‘s been working late, but we stocked the fridge with plenty of food, so we were fine. He completed the stairs and the temporary porch, so we can use the front door again. The camera W- gave me is working out really nicely even with our indoor light, so we’ve been building a habit of sharing photos and videos with him after dinner. Yay!

W- hung out with A- for a couple of hours on Sunday so that I could investigate an upgrade-related issue and do a braindump to help one of my team mates understand our data extract script better. It was nice to have that focused time.

Next week: more trip preparations!

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-12-01

More toilet training progress. I feel a little more confident about heading out, although we still try to get a diaper on just in case. A- occasionally asks for privacy when pottying at home, and strongly prefers having the potty in the kitchen instead of the living room. She can interrupt her bath to use the toilet. No accidents or used diapers all week. Wow.

We met up with Jen and E-, and we made it all the way to the Ontario Science Centre. I liked checking out the pick-your-own area in KidSpark, and A- enjoyed playing with the water table and the ball maze. A- took Jen’s hand and led her over to the ball ramps, so I hung out with E- while they played. Growing independence!

The weather was pretty nice on Friday too, so we met up with Eric and hung out at a playground for a bit. It was good to catch up, especially since A- decided Saturday was a stay-home day.

In addition to being able to go on longer outings, A- has also been able to play more independently at home. She mostly likes rummaging through bags and pantry goods in the kitchen. I got her a small pair of tongs, which she occasionally uses to move bags around. Yay fine motor control! I moved the cleaning chemicals from the cabinet under the sink to a cabinet out of her reach, and I’ll stock the under-sink cabinet with more manipulatives such as pipe cleaners and sponges.

We’re figuring out our new balance between autonomy and attention. I’ve been decluttering and cleaning to fight a flea breakout, but A- likes staying close and playing with me, so vacuuming usually has to wait until W- gets home. That’s okay, A- is higher priority.

The attention seems to be paying off in terms of language and cognition, too. W- pointed to the pot in the kitchen and asked A- what was in it. “Oatmeal,” she answered correctly, even though it had been a while since A- and I left it to cook. Another time, the only way to tempt her out of the bath was to wave a bunch of books at her and tell her I was heading off to read in bed.

With all that, I haven’t had as much time for my own things, but I did manage to squueze in some consulting late at night and during one afternoon. I exported some data for a team, and it was nice to be able to coordinate during the daytime while A- played independently. It looks like we might be able to get away without a babysitter for short, time-sensitive requests. Oh, and my Org agenda reminded me to renew my business name. Hooray for a system that can handle to-dos that repeat every five years.

We’re getting the hang of this!

Weekly review: Week ending 2017-11-24

Pottying: A-‘s pretty good at initiating for both pee and poo, and can take off her pants or be helped out of pajamas in time to use the potty. She has even dragged the potty around to have a change of scene. We timed a few outings for after she used the potty. She stayed dry for the 1-2 hours that we were out, and she used the potty when we returned. I need to think of a place she’ll enjoy going to that would be a good place to practice using in a public toilet (and where accidents won’t be too bad). She hasn’t been keen on wearing clothes lately, but maybe the next time she is, we’ll go to the science centre after she uses the potty.

Dressing: She occasionally wants to practise putting on clothes, and will wear many layers for fun (one time she wore four pairs of panties at the same time). She can pull on pants and panties, although sometimes she puts both legs through one hole. She’s curious about buttonholes and labels them on my pajamas. I’ll continue offering clothes, and I’ll set out some 3T t-shirts for her to try pulling on by herself.

Gross motor: A- was interested in twisting, jumping, running, and sliding, and has been inventing her own exercises at home. She likes scooting down an inclined mattress, jumping down from pillows, and jumping on a bag of lentils.

She likes taking out the plastic bags under the sink and putting them back in. She also likes putting things into bags (“shopping”) and nesting bags. I wonder if she likes the crinkling sound or the act of stuffing things into the plastic bag holder. Maybe I’ll give her some aluminum. I’ll clear out the wipes box and let her stuff things into it too. I wonder if we have a medium-sized cardboard box I can use for stuffing practice. She loves watching a video of her playing with and putting away the plastic bags. Maybe I can extend this by involving her in putting away other things, like her toys and books.

Identity: She’s been very much into being a baby. She sometimes asks us to feed her, often handing us morsels so that we can put them in her mouth. I’ve been offering her a choice between brushing her own teeth like a toddler and letting me brush her teeth like a baby – yay, she’s been letting me brush her teeth! She likes looking at pictures and video of herself as a baby, and will often recreate scenes with the chair, baby gym, or tummy time.

I’ve been experimenting with bedtime. i snooze in low-power mode while letting her play independently. It leads to pretty amusing pillow talk. A- likes trying out animal noises, asking for help with clothes, reading to herself, and asking for her favourite sections from books. (“No no fish” means the fish’s first speech from “The Cat in the Hat.”) Keeping a potty in her room is working out, too.

Language: So much. “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” has joined her list of favourites, and she can say the whole title and quite a few words. She wanted a comb because of that book and because of “Goodnight Moon”, so we dug up the one that W- fixed. She chimes in if I read slowly, so I don’t need to pause for testing, just emphasis. She seems to be extending the concepts, too. As I was buckling her into her chair, I said, “One buckle. Two buckles.” She said “Red buckle.” It was actually white, but hey, patterns! I’ll request a few more Dr. Seuss Beginner Books from the library, and W- can pick them up for me if we don’t make it out. She picked up some words from “This Little Piggy Went to Market” and sometimes requests it at bedtime.

Playdough: She labeled the pizza she made and put it in a pretend oven. She also squished and pinched playdough.

Other:

  • She’s a little interested in tying. Maybe I’ll get a shoelace and teach her how to work with the lacing boards, and that can give her tying practice too.
  • She showed some interest in dropping coins through a slot and dropping beanbags into a container. Maybe I should set up the activities in the living room so that she can freely choose them when she wants, and she can combine them with other things.
  • She pretended to cook with the clay pot set, and handled the pieces relatively gently.
  • A- was surprisingly fond of pickled gherkins, possibly because I Can Read With My Eyes Shut mentions pickles on page 1.
  • She used the brush and the comb as rhythm sticks while walking around, imitating the music teacher.

Us: I filed my corporate taxes, issued more dividends to myself, bought travel insurance, and did some more consulting (checking the database, extending the quick jump script). W- handled practically all the cooking this week – yum, yum!

Next week: starting to get ready for the trip; thinking about how A- learns through play; checking on Neko’s health

Weekly review: Week ending November 10, 2017

The last workshop session of Make the Connection focused on being a play partner and scaffold for your toddler. Labeling things in a running commentary now feels pretty normal for me, and I’ve been working on organizing the environment and letting her take the lead. I rotated more of the toys and cleared some more space at her level.

I like the way our play has felt this week. I followed her interest in streetcars, bubbles, books, and mittens, and she’s been learning tons. “Streetcar” was one of her favourite words this week, so we made a few special trips to ride on streetcars until she was satisfied. The dish detergent I got on sale seems a bit harsh for extended hands-deep bubble time. We’ve been using Dr. Bronner’s baby-mild castile soap for washing her and that seems to bubble up fine, so I might switch to that for bubble sessions. There are a handful of books she asks me to read: “Cat in the Hat,” “Goodnight Moon,” “At the Supermarket,” “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” I mix in other books from the library or the Children’s Book Bank, too – things I might not mind reading and re-reading if they catch her interest. I like looking at the illustrations and the words, thinking about how they work, which means I don’t mind if A- asks me to read Cat in the Hat five times in a row.

We went to the playground, too. I guess the wool pants I made her kept her warm enough that she was fine playing, although she frequently asked for the mittens I’d forgotten to bring. I showed her how to stick your hands in your jacket’s pockets to keep them warm. The playground got a lot busier once school ended, so she shifted to sitting on the bench with some food. She didn’t want to go home, but I was cold, so we had to head home. She asked for the wool pants again on a different day. Looks like she likes them. I should make more from the wool sweaters I’ve been buying from the thrift store.

At home, she amused herself for a good number of minutes by filling a bag with cans from the pantry and dragging the bag around. She even put the bag away afterwards. More cutting practice, too: she pulled out the chopping board and wanted to cut the cucumber with a butter knife, so I helped her. She’s getting pretty good at keeping her fingers away from the knife, although she still needs guidance of course. Peeled cucumber seems to be easy enough for her to cut, and she likes eating it. Also, she was interested in buttons and buttonholes, so I might start the “push small things through a slot”-type of activities.

She has enough language to say things that are unexpectedly poetic. One morning, she spotted W-‘s face soap on the bathroom counter. She asked if she could wash her face, so I let her have a little dab of soap and some warm water. While washing, she said:

Wash face.
Happy me.
Happy me.
Daddy soap.

Three-word sentences are starting to emerge, too: “All full bubbles;” “A- poo toilet.”

A- has some cat pajamas that she really likes, and seems to be taking some care to keep them clean enough for reuse. One time, she wanted to wash her hands, so she pushed her sleeves up to her elbows. When it was time to wash those cat pajamas, she brought them all the way down to the washer in the basement and asked me to pour detergent into the washer’s drawer.

A- spotted the last pull-up diaper in my stash, and she insisted on switching to it from the diaper she had been wearing. She’s also gotten a lot better at pulling down and pulling up her pants (even the back side), and can be prompted to sit on the potty from time to time. She can tell us, “Wet pants.” Couple of signs of readiness, so we started the next phase of toilet training. Might get a bit messy, but it’ll be worth it.

As for us:

  • W- replaced the backflow valve in the bottom drawer of the dishwasher. The actuator is still broken, so we’re using just the top drawer. At least this way, the bottom drawer won’t accumulate dirty water.
  • I remembered enough of my old code to help my client with some troubleshooting. I should check in again this week to help them prepare for a major change.

Next week: adapting to cooler weather…

Blog posts

Focus areas and time review

  • A- (Childcare) (70.2h – 41% of total)
  • Business (6.5h – 3%)
    • Earn (3.5h – 53% of Business)
    • Build (3.0h – 46% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.8h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.4h – 0%)
    • Drawing (0.0h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Sewing (0.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.1h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (11.6h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (17.1h – 10%)
  • Sleep (59.4h – 35% – average of 8.5 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending November 3, 2017

For Halloween, we dressed up in construction-related costumes. A- wore flannels, overalls, and the high-vis vest I made her, and she even wore her toy hard hat for a while. I wore the bulldozer hat that I made out of cardboard, and W- wore his university hard hat suitably gore-ified with red tempera. We handed out chocolate, crayons, or stickers to hundreds of kids over about an hour and a half, with special loot bags (including full-size chocolate) for people we knew and kids with particularly nice costumes.

A- showed renewed interest in nesting cups and popping bubbles. She also showed a new interest in going in and out of a play tent, and she seems to have gotten over her fear of mittens – she even pretended to use one. Still doesn’t like dolls, though, as I saw when we went to the JFRC for the Halloween potluck and to the OEYC to ask for tips.

It’s amazing how much A- has absorbed from the books we’ve read again and again. I can ask her to turn to a page with a specified object. If I pause while reading, she often fills in significant words.

A- is picking up a sense of what belongs where. When we came inside after Halloween, she took off her shoes and carried them down to the workshop in the basement, since they’re the shoes she wears when she goes in there. She also moves things if they’re piled in the wrong place, and she likes pointing to drawers to refer to what’s in them. I’d like to be more thoughtful about what we have in our house and how it’s organized, because this is what she’ll get used to. She’s used to processes, too: she got my library card and wanted to check out a book by herself.

We checked out the pool at the Annette Community Recreation Centre. No toddler pool and no steps, but the water was warm and there were lots of water toys.

It’s getting pretty cool, so I splurged on wool fabric to turn into a blanket for A-, and a couple of merino wool sweaters to turn into pants for her. I’ll try to set aside one day a week for crafting. It’s an investment of time and money into potentially interesting skills.

The Make the Connection parenting workshop session this week was a combination of two topics: conversations and sharing. At this stage, it’s okay for me to focus more on comments than questions, and to help resolve conflicts with distraction, intervention, and modeling. When we went to the science centre with Jen and E-, it was great to see A- and E- take turns with the wheel.

Other quick updates:

  • I had lunch with Aaron and Bernie. Among other things, we chatted about art education, math, reading, and school. A- sampled my salad and kept herself generally occupied.
  • I did some consulting this week, too: backing up the schema and running our update script.
  • I’ve been reading more about estate planning on both the Canadian and Philippine sides. It’s complex, but we’ll figure this out.
  • W- finished cutting stringers for the porch stairs. Awesome!

Next week: winding up the Make the Connection workshop, more consulting, and maybe some work on business taxes.

Focus areas and time review

  • A- (Childcare) (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Business (3.4h – 2%)
    • Earn (2.7h – 78% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.7h – 21% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Write shareholder’s resolutions
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.5h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (1.3h – 0%)
    • Drawing (0.0h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.6h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (16.1h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (16.9h – 10%)
  • Sleep (55.0h – 32% – average of 7.9 per day)