Category Archives: weekly

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)

Weekly review: Week ending July 1, 2016

More medical things on the go. A quick phone consultation with the ocularist helped us get a better sense of what to expect in terms of process and budgeting. If all goes well, A- will get her first painted shell in a couple of weeks, and we’ll learn how to maintain it. Also, A- got her 4-month vaccines. She came down with a fever and was a bit grumbly the following day, but recovered by evening or so.

We took A- for an abdominal ultrasound. It turns out that her liver has something with a blood supply, so now we’re waiting for the results of follow-up tests, and we may have to take her for more diagnostic exams next week. Fortunately, W-‘s on parental leave, and Canada has a public health care system. Whew whew whew. Anyway, just plugging along.

While waiting for results from a few of the blood tests, we amused ourselves by examining the privacy curtains in our area. They turned out to be brilliantly designed: a matrix of alliteratively-employed animals, like the waiter walrus and the engineer elephant. Our favourite was the ventriloquist viper, whom we had initially misidentified as a storytelling snake before catching on to the coverage of the entire alphabet. Much fun.

In terms of cooking, necessity was the mother of yummy dishes. I grilled pizza when it was too hot to bake it, and W- made shortbread when we found ourselves all out of eggs.

Lots of reading, mostly on my phone. Hooray for e-books! I enjoyed reading the summaries of parenting-related research in Zero to Five, Science of Mom, and Thirty Million Words, and I’m looking forward to trying out those tips.

W-‘s been working on the garden, and copycat that I am, I’ve been spending more time out there with him weeding and planning. It’s a good excuse to bring A- outdoors, too: research supports sunlight exposure as a way of avoiding or slowing down the development of myopia.

Speaking of development, the Healthy Babies Healthy Children visit this month was fascinating. The nurse conducted the NCAST teaching scale assessment, filling in a 73-item checklist as she observed me helping A- explore a rattle. The nurse recommended periodically focusing on teaching specific skills through play – a little like the Teach Your Baby book by Genevieve Painter that I bought based on my mom’s exporience. The nurse also recommended more frequently giving specific praise by naming what A- was doing well. It was pretty cool to have that kind of checklist-based observation, and I’m looking forward to playing and teaching even better. =)

Also, W- has gotten curious about Org Mode. Whee!

2016-07-03a Week ending 2016-07-01 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.4h – 77% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.7h – 22% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
    • ☑ Book appointments with ocularist
    • ☑ Book 6-month follow-up
    • ☑ Research high chairs
  • Discretionary – Productive (10.0h – 5%)
    • Drawing (3.4h)
    • Emacs (1.4h)
    • Coding (0.5h)
      • ☑ Fix flickr-upload.js
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.6h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (25.1h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (70.5h – 41%)
    • Childcare (59.2h – 35% of total)
  • Sleep (56.6h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 24, 2016

When I look back, I can see how this week turned out to be a pretty big week. I knew it had a couple of big medical things going in, but I was pleasantly surprised at how the week also managed to accommodate lots of socializing, lots of learning, and good progress at work.

We joined W-‘s family for a Father’s Day celebration at his brother’s place, bringing the two chickens that W- cooked over the rotisserie. I called my parents to wish them a happy Father’s Day too, and A- obliged with plenty of smiles for her grandparents and a family friend. After we were settled back in at home, W- decided to rotisserie another two chickens, which served us well through the rest of the week.

Having that food in the fridge turned out to be super handy, since it freed us up to focus on other things. Jen and E- visited us for dinner, a super casual affair involving sitting on the floor, spooning the babies solids, and grabbing whatever bites we could in between. Jen brought salad greens and mint from her garden, yum! Reading the Facebook-based parental support group for people with A-‘s condition paid off in an amazingly coincidental connection: another Jen’s daughter A* has left-eye microphthalmia and is only a few days older than A-. We’ve been exchanging notes, since we’re basically seeing the same specialists. It’s so nice to know someone who’s going on a similar adventure. I’m looking forward to meeting them in person. I met up with a friend and his son from my grad school days, too. It was fun chatting with him about parenting and life.

A- had a very big day on Friday. We took her to Sick Kids for general anaesthesia so that the ocularist could take an impression of her eye. Sjhe was okay with the 4-hour pre-operative fast, only getting a little fussy near the end. It was much harder to console her in the post-operation recovery room, though. She was too upset to nurse. Skin-to-skin contact didn’t help, and there wasn’t much room to rock or walk since she had to be tethered to the monitors. Tylenol was taking a while to kick in. Man oh man, the time dilation effect of a crying baby is definitely something. W- swaddled her, and that calmed her enough to nap a little. When she woke up, she still wasn’t keen on nursing, but she was open to being fed some breastmilk via eyedropper. (Good thing I packed that!) Then she napped some more, and then we were given the all-clear to go.

It’s a good thing W- was there. It was great to be able to swap off: one person in the thick of things, another person thinking of the next trick to try. Having backup also made things a lot more comfortable, as the pre-op and post-op rooms were both no-food-no-drink areas. One of us could step outside for a drink or a snack or a bathroom break without worrying about missing anything.

Anyway, now that the ocularist has that impression, he can make a custom-fit ocular prosthesis for her. We also got an update from the cardiologist: A-‘s ventricular septal defect is a little smaller (2.5mm, compared to 2.7mm on May 11), but there’s a muscle bundle forming in her right ventricle, so Sick Kids cardiology may have to keep an eye on that for possible surgery. Ah well, that’s life.

We’ve been feeding A- more solids, focusing on calorie-dense food such as sweet potato and avocado. She’s still gaining weight slowly, so the next step is probably to cook her food in butter or olive oil in order to add more calories. I’ve been sewing lots of bandana bibs, and they’ve definitely been put to good use.

As for ourselves, W- and I have been exploring the world of bun, a savory way to remix sausages and lumpia into a fresh and yummy Vietnamese salad that takes advantage of the basil that’s thriving in the planter boxes we have on the deck. We liked this nuoc cham recipe more than the first one we tried. Looking forward to doing this again soon. It would be nice to make it part of our regular rotation.

More ukulele practice playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which I can mostly play now. (With chords, even!) Time to learn another nursery song. Might be fun to practise every day. Babies love repetition, and so do learners.

Consulting: Figured out i18n, so it’s all systems go for the add-on I’m making for my client. I also did a little web scraping. Hooray for automation skills! =)

Next week: more medical stuff (pediatrician, abdominal ultrasound, Healthy Babies Healthy Children). Onward!

2016-06-26b Week ending 2016-06-24 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.1h – 2%)
    • Earn (3.7h – 90% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.3h – 7% of Business)
      • ☑ Doublecheck business preauthorized debit
    • Connect (0.1h – 2% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.7h – 4%)
    • ☑ Research RV muscle bundles
    • ☑ Buy tripod mount for GoPro
    • ☑ General anaesthesia
    • ☑ Research high chairs
    • ☐ Book appointments with ocularist
    • ☐ Book 6-month follow-up with eye clinic
  • Discretionary – Productive (10.8h – 6%)
    • Drawing (3.5h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (2.5h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (17.3h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (67.3h – 40%)
    • Childcare (61.0h – 36% of total)
  • Sleep (57.2h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 17, 2016

W- started his parental leave, hooray! He’ll be with us for the next eight months or so, making the most of the parental benefits offered by the government. We’re looking forward to spending lots of time with A-, improving our household routines, working on various projects around the house, and taking a long-haul trip to visit family in the Philippines.

A-‘s been developing by leaps and bounds. This week, we introduced her to solids. W- let her taste some of the strawberries from the garden, I cooked up a batch of sweet potato puree, and we’ve been yum-yum-yum-ing our way through teaspoons of yogurt (complete with maternal emotional signaling, of course). It was amusing watching how her eyebrows wrinkled as she tasted the yogurt, and how she soldiered on anyway. =) We’ve mostly been feeding her in her rocker. One time she was frogged up on my chest while W- fed her sweet potato. Some of it got on my shirt, and she started to eat that while waiting for the next spoonful. I guess she likes sweet potato!

She’s getting better at coordinating her movements, too. She’s been able to hold and manipulate the small sphere that we suspended from the play gym W- built for her. This requires fine coordination of both hands, as using one hand by itself would just send the sphere spinning or swinging around. She’s been taking longer but fewer nasWhee!

I decided to pick up the ukulele, and have slowly started learning how to play nursery songs. There’s some research on the beneficial effects of music (like this), and the ukulele is handier than the piano. Besides, picking up music is an excellent way for me to take advantage of babies’ love of repetition. I’ll get plenty of practice time. I downloaded a general-purpose tuner app on my phone, so I can use that to practise singing on-key too.

I enjoyed reading Baby Meets World, which is an amusing and informative historical overview of research into infancy. Looking forward to going through the sources it cited, including Darwin’s observations on his children. I’ve also been going through resources on elimination communication, thanks to the library. Nice to live in the age of easy access to information.

We had friends over for a party. It turns out that it takes only a little more effort to make five quiches compared to the effort of making one quiche, and the five quiches (plus tarts using the excess filling and crusts) efficiently use all our oven capacity. =) The chorizo and cheese that Quinn brought were delicious in the quiches. This was our first non-relatives party since A- was born. Nice to see people! =)

J- had a piece in the art show at her school. It was entitled “Nostalgia”, a painting of a red balloon floating up between grayish-white clouds, accompanied by a sculpture of a person’s head looking at a clump of balloons. Nicely made.

Also, there’s at least one skunk in our backyard. Might even be a skunk family under the shed. No big deal. We’ll leave them alone until September or so, when the kits are a little older. Then we might look into ways of gently encouraging them to move along. Seems like the prudent sort of thing to do – respect the stripes! We’ve spotted rats, too. Those we want to hurry along a bit more. The cats (being indoor cats) are mostly useless in this regard, although Neko (as our most cat-ish cat) might have vague memories of playing with and eating parts of a few mice I’d seen her with before. Ah well, nature! Speaking of nature, the city is planting a few new trees on our street: gingko, oak, and a weeping tree, I think. Should be quite lovely in a few decades.

Excellent progress on my consulting gig. A coworker helped me figure out something that had been stumping me, so it’s all systems go for the thing I was building. I’m now waiting for the French translations so that I can add them to the app, and then I can take it through the usual testing/deployment stages.

Next week is a big one for medical things: a follow-up with the cardiologist, and general anaesthesia so that the ocularist can take an impression of A-‘s eye socket and fit a prosthesis. A- can’t take any breastmilk for four hours before the procedure, so she might get pretty fussy. Still, it’s for her benefit and it’s temporary, so we’re just going to have to get through it. One step at a time!

2016-06-19a Week ending 2016-06-17 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (5.4h – 3%)
    • ☐ Doublecheck business preauthorized debit
    • Earn (3.4h – 62% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (1.4h – 25% of Business)
    • Connect (0.7h – 12% of Business)
  • Relationships (12.6h – 7%)
    • ☑ Add solids
    • ☑ Set up preauthorized debit for hydro
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.0h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
      • ☑ Sketch thoughts re watching E
    • Emacs (0.4h)
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.8h)
      • ☑ Add potty and pee score to visualization
    • Sewing (0.1h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (16.1h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (70.4h – 41%)
    • Childcare (55.9h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (57.5h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 10, 2016

It’s interesting how the time averages out, even though the days are so fluid. I used my ~2h/day of discretionary time for reconnecting with former work colleagues, helping friends by watching their newborn, adding a new category to my tracker and visualizer, sewing a backup changing pad, and drawing in my journal.

Thrush reappeared a few days after the pediatrician gave us the all-clear, so we’re doing another round of Nystatin. If that doesn’t work, it’s back to the doctor.

W- was curious about early potty introduction, so we’re giving that a part-time try by offering the potty after A- wakes up from naps, if she’s calm. Sometimes it works well. Neat!

A little shorter on sleep this week, but still okay. W-‘s been working hard so that he can deliver a good chunk of work before going on parental leave. Looking forward to investing time into improving the house and streamlining our routines to make the coming years easier.

2016-06-13a Week ending 2016-06-10 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.0h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.0h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.5h – 2%)
    • ☑ Update Dr. Roth
    • ☑ Call cardiologist to reschedule
    • ☑ Take A- for follow-up blood test
    • ☑ Buy Nystatin and shampoo for cradle cap
  • Discretionary – Productive (13.5h – 8%)
    • Emacs (0.4h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (2.1h – 1% of all)
      • ☑ Add month weight for age
      • ☑ Add potty to tracker and visualization
    • Sewing (0.9h)
      • ☑ Consider buying PUL and Zorb
    • Writing (1.9h)
    • ☑ Line up some reading on the tablet for when A- is waking up
    • ☑ Look for more books about parenting
    • ☑ Reconsider TFSA investments – move to bonds
    • ☑ Sketch thoughts re watching E
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.4h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (71.8h – 42%)
    • Childcare (55.0h – 32% of total)
  • Sleep (55.8h – 33% – average of 8.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending June 3, 2016

A-‘s weight gain improved this week, hooray! 24g/day based on her measurements at the pediatrician (within the expected 20-30g/day range) and a slightly more sedate 16g/day based on the breastfeeding clinic’s measurements. It’s probably still too early to relax, but this is promising. Pretty normal results from genetics and hematology, too. Thrush seemed to be clear on Friday, but I saw two new white spots today, so we might see the pediatrician again for another look. Skating along between the 5th and 3rd percentile curves…

I managed to put together a short presentation on tracking baby-data for the Quantified Self Toronto meetup on June 1. I shared my experience wrapping a custom interface around the Baby Connect website so that I could track nursing and diaper changes despite being sleepy and easily distracted.

It’s been a good week for gardening. W- picked up three bags of composted sheep manure and two bags of black mulch. I planted the bitter melon seedlings that his mother gave us, and some Thai basil I bought on the way back from the breastfeeding clinic.

Barbecue season, too. I made chicken souvlaki to use some of the oregano that’s totally taking over one of the garden boxes, and there’s still more oregano for the picking. Continuing with the theme, I made Greek salad too. Mmm.

A- is getting better at grasping soft objects and manipulating things so that she can get them into her mouth. The crinkly book that Morgan and Cathy gave us is her new favourite. I should make more crinkly things, too! A- has also been blowing spitbubbles and flapping her lips at us. More interactivity, yay. She’s a little bit fussier than she was last week, but that’s normal.

I’ve been drawing late at night, after A- is in bed. This lets me keep my daily journal in greater detail, while the thoughts are fresh, and gives me more opportunities to learn and follow up. I’m going through lots of board books to get a sense of what I like, and I’m getting additional observation+drawing practice by copying drawings from the books. Multi-purpose!

I’ve been up a little earlier, too, since I can squeeze in a little coding or reading while waiting for A- to wake up. Starting to get the hang of what I can save for when she’s calm or playing with her book. Laundry and tidying up work well – easy to interrupt, and I can talk while doing things.

This week: See if I need to take A- to the pediatrician again, continue tracking weight and focusing on feeding, help Jen, and have pre-op anaesthesia nursing call.

2016-06-05b Week ending 2016-06-03 -- index card #journal #weekly output weight (9)

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.7h – 2%)
    • Earn (3.6h – 76% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 3% of Business)
    • Connect (0.9h – 19% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.5h – 2%)
    • ☑ Make quick presentation for Quantified Self
    • ☑ Go to Quantified Self meetup for June 2016
  • Discretionary – Productive (12.0h – 7%)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.1h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (23.0h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (66.3h – 39%)
    • Childcare (51.2h – 30% of total)
  • Sleep (56.3h – 33% – average of 8.0 per day)