Category Archives: weekly

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)

Weekly review: Week ending July 21, 2017

A-‘s first two upper molars have partially emerged. Our sleep’s disrupted by middle-of-the-night wakings and she’s a bit more irritable (and drooly) than normal, but that’s okay, it’s all part of life. I’ve been prioritizing sleep, but I still feel a little fuzzy. 

At Jen and Ewan’s party, A- was pretty relaxed. She played with her backpack, and she shared some cereal with E-. At home, we had a fun video chat with my parents. A- showed them that she could point to her nose, ears, mouth, and so on. She also did the gestures for a number of songs. My mom started teaching her how to blow a kiss. As it turns out, A- can imitate even things she’s seen in video chat, which is neat.

Lots of other imitations: turning keys in a lock, washing bottles with a brush, wiping her nose with tissue or a hanky, washing her face, brushing her hair. More egg-cracking practice, too. When she cracked two eggs for banana bread, she left the yolks whole and there was only a tiny bit of egg shell in it.

Nilda suggested an activity involving gluing foam shapes to paper, which gives plenty of opportunities to name the shapes and colours. A- was more interested in rolling up the paper, though. I wonder if A- wants sushi…

I cut two scarves out of some translucent fabric from my stash and quickly serged the edges, so now we have scarves for doing circle-time songs here. A-‘s been pretty keen on scarves during circle time, and she often asks me to do “Popcorn” when we’re at home.

We’ve been going to the playground more often, since the drop-in centres can be a bit overwhelming with the bigger kids. A- enjoyed playing in the sandbox. She also liked splashing through puddles in the rain. A- picked up the “Soft kitty, warm kitty” rhyme from music class, and I’ve been practising “Alouette” too.

Consulting: after a couple of false starts, I made some progress on data extraction and updating the admin report. The first time I tried working on those tasks, I couldn’t remember where some of the data I needed was, which was frustrating. It’s also a bit challenging to work at night if A-‘s waking up frequently, since I need to keep the state in my head throughout quick interruptions. Still, A- is higher priority. While it’s nice to feel like I’m getting stuff done, I won’t always be able to get quick wins or feel brilliant, so I shouldn’t get attached to that. It’ll be all right as long as I manage expectations properly.

Other:

  • I lost my Presto card in the dryer, but W- retrieved it for me.
  • I bought several bunches of chives, chopped them up, and froze them, so gyoza should be a little more doable.
  • I watched a few movies at home: Fate of the Furious, Moana, and Beauty and the Beast.

We’ll probably keep taking it easy, at least until teething subsides.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.8h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.8h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.9h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.8h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.3h)
    • Emacs (1.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (15.7h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (11.1h – 6%)
  • A- (Childcare) (70.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.0h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending July 7, 2017

What a week! All of a sudden, we have a toddler: one who walks a little unsteadily, but with great enthusiasm. W- discovered that you can nudge A- to walk on her own if you give her something to carry and ask her to take it to someone. After a few trips back and forth, A- got the hang of it. She still cruises from time to time, and she prefers to walk holding our hands, but she’ll also toddle towards the sprinkler or across the deck. Whee! She also managed to put her shoes on by herself, and practised putting on her glasses in front of a mirror. (Which she can recognize herself in, yay!)

We got a second-hand Learning Tower, and A- has been making great use of it in the kitchen. She imitates the way we wash dishes, scramble eggs, and cut (she has playdough and her knife). New words: Gyo(za), ham, noo(dles). Also exciting: A- has been working on rinsing and spitting, which is an important precursor to being able to use fluoride toothpaste!

Nilda brought glue, pompoms, and glitter. A- particularly enjoyed shaking glitter all over the glue-covered piece of paper. I followed up on Nilda’s suggestion of plaster of Paris, and we’ve been making casts of A-‘s hand print. A- got to the point of waiting for me to press her hand into the playdough to make the hand mold. Our field trip to AGO was practically a footnote to such an eventful week.

We’ve been working on helping her practise waiting, too. Sometimes it’s easy to keep her occupied with songs and sometimes she’s harder to settle, but that’s normal.

On my side: analytics SQL, some time visualization, nd lots of revving up of my early childhood education research. A-‘s learning tons, and I remember there were quite a few resources I came across early on that looked like they would be more useful around this age. So much to learn for all of us! =)

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (8.6h – 5%)
    • Earn (3.8h – 43% of Business)
      • ☑ Update data extract
    • Build (4.9h – 56% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Batch edit for categories
      • ☑ Check infinite loops for get_color
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.5h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.1h – 4%)
    • Drawing (3.8h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
      • ☑ Set up Cron
      • ☑ Try out planetplanet
      • ☑ Figure out how to blacklist
      • ☑ Fix unicode
    • Coding (0.5h)
    • Writing (1.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.9h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.9h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (10.8h – 6%)
  • A- (Childcare) (72.1h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (52.9h – 31% – average of 7.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 30, 2017

A’s bottom left lateral incisor emerged, so that makes tooth #7. She’s been understandably out of sorts this week. One day, she was on edge and easy to startle and upset (but fortunately, also easy to soothe). She was also not keen on being at the doctor’s office to discuss the results from her blood test, but ah well, these things are important.

She was pretty relaxed for the Healthy Babies Healthy Children visit, though, which probably helped the nurse and the home visitor think we might be ready for discharge sometime soon. For our next activity, Nilda suggested making hand-print casts out of plaster of Paris by using playdough molds, so we might try that next week.

Our music classes wrapped up for June. I wrote a reflection on how that was different from drop-in circle times. I liked it enough to sign up for July sessions as well as the fall term starting in September. We enjoyed the open house at the Royal Conservatory of Music, too. A- attended her first concert, and we also attended a brief presentation on the neuroscience behind the music classes she’s taking. We made it to baby time at the library, too, and I got a ukulele songbook from the librarian. Looking forward to learning more nursery songs, especially since A- enjoys things like Ring Around the Rosies.

A- was interested in washing dishes this week. She often dragged the chair over to the sink so that she could stand on it and “wash” the dishes. It took me much longer to wash dishes with her help, but it was fun to get her involved.

I invited Alexandra and E- to the ROM. As usual, A- and I spent most of our time in the discovery wing, and a little time in the biodiversity area. A- was fascinated by chairs, benches, the bird exhibits, and the tiger.

Other stuff:

  • We decided on our footwear policy for A-: barefoot as much as possible, socks if they seem like a good idea, shoes if necessary.
  • I used some of my discretionary time to code an RSS link lister for making Emacs News.
  • I also filed a few health spending account claims – good to do a bit of paperwork here and there.
  • I picked up chives from PAT Central, and we went on a gyoza-making kick. Yummy!
  • Consulting: documented a few reports
  • I chatted with Kathy and with my dad about feeding kids, passing on some of the tips I picked up from research.
  • Lots of writing and drawing this week! I like organizing my thoughts. It helps to take an afternoon nap along with A- so that my mind can be somewhat fresh after she goes to bed for the night.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.6h – 2%)
    • Earn (0.6h – 12% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
      • ☐ Prepare invoice
      • ☐ Update data extract
    • Build (4.1h – 87% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.5h – 2%)
    • ☑ Healthy Babies Healthy Children
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.3h – 5%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (1.0h)
    • Coding (1.3h)
      • ☑ RSS link script
    • Writing (1.8h)
      • ☑ Notes on the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program
      • ☑ Notes on music classes
    • ☑ Figure out Freedom Mobile preauthorized payment
    • ☑ Follow up on HSA claim form
  • Discretionary – Play (3.3h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (15.9h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (17.4h – 10%)
  • A- (Childcare) (66.3h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (47.7h – 28% – average of 6.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 23, 2017

It was a good week for arts and crafts. One afternoon, I set up painting stations for both me and A- outside. She decided that she wanted to paint with my small paintbrush instead of her large one, painted her piece of paper, and then added finishing touches to mine. I also turned her loose with crayons and a pad of paper, and I made playdough for her to cut and roll.

In music class, A- imitated how we used rhythm sticks and jingle bells. She walked around with me during the parts that involved walking, and stood up and sat down during the appropriate parts in Ring Around the Rosies. I picked up the textbook that the teacher recommended as an intro to early music education (Move, Sing, Listen, Play). It has lots of activities for preschoolers, but there are also a number of activities I can do with a toddler. I learned more about speech games, chants, improvisation, and rhythm. I asked the teacher a few follow-up questions at the session on Thursday. Answers so far: background music is not recommended because kids can’t focus on it and it teaches kids to shut off their ears; even if A- is mostly just exposed to my singing voice, that’s fine; concerts require a longer attention span, but the ROM open house might be a good opportunity to share more performances with her.

We checked out the Creating Together drop-in centre in Parkdale. The circle time there is high-energy and fast-paced, so it’ll probably be nice for A- when she’s a bit older. I prefer our neighbourhood centres for now.

To follow up on Nilda’s suggestions from last week, I borrowed a shape puzzle from the JFRC. The one with basic shapes is a good starting point because A- can fit the shapes in a variety of ways, instead of having to rotate each shape to just the right orientation. A- can complete that puzzle with a little help, so maybe I’ll let her practise with that a little more and get the next step up.

Nilda and I did a parent-focused activity about emotional refueling. Sleep, eat, take care of my personal routines, spend time with W-, journal, put together Emacs News, code, play, go for a walk… Life is pretty good, actually. I only feel really stretched when I stay up too late and A- wakes up unexpectedly early. Since I stay up in order to enjoy a bit of personal time for journaling, writing, and coding, it’s probably an acceptable trade-off.

A- has been working on sleeping more independently, anyway. There were a couple of times that she stayed sleeping when I took her out of the carrier, and she sometimes tosses and turns a bit by herself before going to bed instead of just falling asleep while nursing.

We had a video chat with Lolo and one with Lola. Lots of pointing to body parts, singing songs and using gestures, and pointing to the person on the phone. Yay! It felt like proper interaction. Looking forward to more long-distance grandparent-grandchild bonding.

W- entertained A- while I was at the dentist. My experiment of going more often for shorter periods of time seems to be working out well, although I might want to switch back to using the electric toothbrush so that I can clean my teeth more thoroughly.

After the dentist appointment, W- decided to take the rest of the day off and join us for a field trip to the Royal Ontario Museum. A- was a little sleepy, but she still enjoyed climbing up stairs, sitting on benches, and pointing at various animal specimens. (Some of which I labeled incorrectly, whoops! gotta pay more attention and not mix things up.)

I managed to dust off my development setup for Quantified Awesome, and I’m slowly getting back into the groove of coding for myself (and occasionally helping out other people). Thanks to Will Monroe for the nudge! It will probably take me a few weeks or more to wrap my mind around the multiple timelines feature I want to build, but it’s nice to have a development environment again where I can try things out without worrying about breaking my main install badly. I’m so glad that past Sacha wrote all these tests. As for consulting – I ran the revised script to extract data, and that worked out fine.

A- and I harvested some of the radishes from the garden. There were only a few round radish roots, but that’s okay. We cooked the radish greens and had them along with the white cut chicken. It was fun watching A- pull up radishes and be curious about the roots and leaves. Low actual yield, but the garden’s already worth it.

W-‘s been finalizing the plans for the porch. I read up on various approaches so that I could help think through stuff. He extended the concrete pad for the stairs, which took a bit more work but which was the Right Thing to Do. He also swapped out our kitchen sink drain for one that was easier to empty. Kaizen!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (10.0h – 5%)
    • Earn (0.5h – 4% of Business)
    • Build (9.5h – 95% of Business)
      • ☑ Set up dev environment on my laptop
      • ☑ Define menu as JSON and have it fleshed out
      • ☑ Status
      • ☑ Record – get last activity
      • ☑ Adjust – start X minutes from start of last activity
      • ☑ Help Will with Quantified Awesome
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.2h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.6h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.1h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (15.1h – 8%)
  • A- (Childcare) (70.4h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (46.5h – 27% – average of 6.6 per day)