Category Archives: weekly

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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)

Weekly review: Week ending October 20, 2017

A- loves scribbling on paper, and she also likes asking me to draw things for her. I usually draw our faces, taking advantage of our brain’s inclination to see faces even in simple shapes. I label as I draw: “A- has two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and hair.” It looks like all that modeling is paying off. This week, she drew a rough circle, said “Eyes,” and added lots of dots. Neat!

She asks to see pictures every day, sometimes several times a day. She likes labeling herself, Daddy, the cats, her hat, Lolo and Lola, and washing hands. We printed out a few more pictures so that she has more to flip through. She got interested in removing pictures from and inserting them into the photo album. We also show her pictures on our phones and on the tablet. I’m gradually collecting pictures of everyday words so that I can help her expand her vocabulary.

She’s getting better at entertaining herself independently for a few minutes at a time. She mimed making noodles with a pot and imitated Neko cleaning her paws. She likes flipping through albums and through my box of sketched index cards. One time, she even told W- that she’ll wait by playing in her room until he could finish vacuuming.

Since it was pretty warm this week, A- often didn’t want to put on clothes. Fortunately, no one at the science centre batted an eye. Even on a cooler day, she resisted pants, but she eventually asked to wear a jacket. I’m learning to trust that she’ll ask for clothes when she feels cold, and she’s fine otherwise.

Another little moment that might be a milestone: A- handed a teaspoon to W- and said “One.” She gave him another, and said “Two.” She gave him another, and said “Three.” We’re not sure if she’s counting or just remembering the sequence, but since she’s interested in numbers, we’ll make sure to count lots of things.

So much reading, too! :) We found a nice place for storytime in our bedtime routine, snuggling in bed with a handful of books. She likes having us read “I Love You Through and Through” repeatedly, and she points to various body parts at the appropriate points. She likes the new books we borrowed from the library, too.

We finally made it to the city-run Recreation Discovery program. It’s like a compressed JFRC or OEYC: free play, circle time, crafts, and a story. A- was reserved, but she liked the books and the magnetic drawing board. She’s still pretty reserved in music class, but she’s starting to try to sing along when I sing outside it. At the Make the Connection parenting workshop, we learned more about temperaments and goodness of fit. A- and I are pretty similar, so it’s been easy to adapt to what she needs.

The balance bike I ordered for her is taking a mysteriously long time to turn up at the neighbourhood post office. I might need to follow up on Monday.

We had our final meeting with Healthy Babies Healthy Children. Nilda gave us our completion certificate and answered my remaining questions. It was super helpful to have their support as we were figuring out what we were dealing with, and the activities they suggested helped me learn how to help A- develop her skills.

I reflashed my phone to LineageOS with W-‘s help. That should make my phone a little more up to date. I also updated my ledger. I stayed up late one night to do some consulting, fixing the auto-follow tool in time for my client’s demo.

Next week: catching up and getting a little ahead…

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.6h – 3%)
    • Earn (5.0h – 74% of Business)
    • Build (1.7h – 25% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.1h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.1h – 1%)
    • Coding (1.0h)
  • Personal routines (21.5h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (20.3h – 12%)
  • A- (Childcare) (63.2h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (51.2h – 30% – average of 7.3 per day)

Week ending October 15, 2017

​There was a bit of sleep disruption last week, but overall, A- was back to a normal schedule. She seems to naturally be a night owl, so we’ll just adapt by taking it easy and avoiding early morning commitments.

We’ve definitely built a smoothie habit. She asks for them every day, and has invented her own sign for them. Not a bad way to get more spinach into her. She liked the applesauce that she had as a snack at the JFRC, eating it instead of spitting it out like she did when she was much younger. She was curious about watercress and seaweed. She liked  shrimp a lot.

The big thing last week was about playing more independently. At the playground, she climbed the stairs, stepped down to the platform, slid down the slide, and got off all by herself. She did five circuits without holding my hand! Wow. Having mastered the shallowest slide, she then went on to independently slide down two other slides on the same playground. She figured out how to rock back and forth on the spring toys there, too.

Lots of language, too. When I tried babbling back what I thought she said, she emphatically corrected me with “No, A- Baa” – she wasn’t just babbling, she was specifically asking for her sheep. She asked for her smock with “Smo” and for paint with “Pai.” She asked me to read several books, some again and again, and she pointed to various body parts as we read “I Love You Through and Through.” She tried asking the cats to do things (Up! Play ball!), which was about as successful as you expect it would be. (Not at all.) More successful was W-‘s attempt to teach her to say “Anothe(r)!” after she polished off her smoothie.

A- saw pictures of W- feeding her yogurt in her recliner, and insisted on recreating the scene. She really likes looking at pictures, whether they’re printed or on our phones. 

All sorts of details from our household routines surfaced during pretend play, especially with dough. She asked for a pan, oil, egg, fork, and plate as she mimed cooking eggs. She asked for a blender, blueberries, banana, yogurt, and a glass as she pretended to make a smoothie. She asked for an oven to toast her pretend-seaweed in, then filled it and rolled it up. She moved a little A- figure down a slide.

We bought her a table and two chairs from IKEA, and W- installed a potty seat in the upstairs bathroom. I bought flannel shirts for her from Value Village, since she doesn’t like clothes that need to be pulled over her head. Little investments in independence and comfort!

As for me, I tried structuring my daily journal as a spreadsheet that I can update on my phone. Seems to be working so far, since computer time has been harder to find than phone time. I looked into some database upgrade questions for my consulting client. 

I even managed to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 one evening. Slowly getting back to normal…

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