Category Archives: weekly

Weekly review: Week ending March 31, 2017

A- got a new conformer (the ocular prosthesis that supports the bones around her eye socket so that her skull can grow more symmetrically). This one is taller, although it doesn’t keep her eyelids as open as the previous one did. We’re still going with a plain conformer instead of a painted shell, even if it draws more questions from strangers. (“What’s wrong with her eye?”) The conformers are much cheaper to replace than a painted shell, so we don’t feel like we need to hover over A- or turn places upside down in case of loss. Our ocularist shaped the conformer with a ridge to help it stay in the eye, since the regular shell shape kept slipping out. And hey, if someone recognizes it as a conformer for microphthalmia and strikes up a conversation with us, that’s awesome. Microphthalmia affects about 1 in 10,000, and I’ve already met a few people with this condition or who have a family member with this condition. Yay connecting!

I’m curious about the science and technology behind this whole process, so I ordered the Clinical Ocular Prosthetics textbook when it was 50% off last Monday. Springer was having technical issues with their shopping cart, so I had to contact customer service to get two failed Paypal transactions sorted out. Anyway, the textbook should be here in one or two weeks. I look forward to working through it and sharing my notes.

I decided to get a membership to the Royal Ontario Museum, and we went three times last week. We also went to the High Park zoo. The capybaras were not in their paddock due to weather conditions, so we didn’t get to see the new pups. There was a lamb, though!

Spending time with A- has been surprisingly enjoyable. We’re both learning so much, and we haven’t even reached the walking or talking stages. I expect her learning to really take off once she gets the hang of those things. Sure, she’ll become more of a handful as she grows more independent and tests her boundaries, but that might be a good opportunity to test all the things I’ve been learning from books about parenting, communication, philosophy, and hostage negotiations. ;)

I’m curious about what the possibilities might be if we’re still in a position to have a stay-at-home parent when she’s old enough for school. I have a generally positive feeling about public school here. J- did fine with a bit of help with homework and study groups. Still, I wonder what education could be like with individualized attention and things that don’t scale. I have a few years to explore our options before junior and senior kindergarten, which are optional in Toronto anyway. The things I’ve researched make me fairly optimistic about the possibilities in general, so it’s really a matter of the specifics. We’ll see.

Part of that preparation is learning how to work with existing systems, so that’s where the parent advocacy workshop comes in. We discussed I statements this week, and we’ll be talking about the school system next week. The social worker conducting the program has a lot of experience with families who homeschool their kids, so I’ve asked for more information on that too.

A- did all right on the 12-month checklists assessed by Lisa, our Healthy Children Healthy Babies nurse. Lisa also complimented us on our feeding relationship when she did the NCAST feeding scale.

Another milestone: A- can connect 2×2 Duplo pieces together much of the time! She sometimes needs a little help orienting the pieces, but still… Way cool! A- also assembles, pushes down on, and takes apart the salad spinner, especially if there are pieces of nori in it. She loves sprinkling herbs and salt. She sways from side to side when I sing certain songs, babbles with “da” and “ga” sounds, and strums her lips all on her own. So many fun things.

W- made sure we had plenty of yummy food in the fridge. This week worked out really well: shepherd’s pie, cabbage rolls, buckwheat noodles with banchan, pizza, congee, and instant noodles. The blondies were not as awesome as last week’s blondies, so I could use more practice.

We had time to go on a long walk with W-, and I even had a little time to catch up on movies. Over the course of several late nights, I watched Star Trek Beyond, Ghostbusters, and X-Men: Apocalypse. Yay!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.8h – 87% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.3h – 12% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.0h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.0h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.3h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • ☑ Follow up on Paypal and Springer
  • Discretionary – Play (4.5h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (18.4h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (80.4h – 47%)
    • Childcare (64.2h – 38% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 24, 2017

The last session of the Let’s Get Started series focused on sensory processing disorders. Since no one was particularly concerned about that yet, we took the opportunity to ask questions about early detection and intervention, school accommodations, and parent advocacy. I feel reasonably good about the systems for education and public health here, but it’s always good to know what we can do to make things better and what options we can explore. I’d like us to be able to make good decisions about A-‘s growth, so in addition to learning how to work with the public school system, I’m also looking into homeschooling. Looking forward to helping A- get whatever she needs!

The parent advocacy workshop session focused on assertive communication. It got me thinking about what I want to learn from the workshop and how I want to approach the upcoming challenges and opportunities.

I took A- to the sensory play day at the Junction Family Resource Centre. She spent most of the time close to me, occasionally venturing forth to play with water, jelly, and cereal. She seems to be more reserved than the other babies, preferring to observe and to be a little apart from the crowd. I understand what that’s like, and I’m totally okay with it. At home, she babbles happily while hammering pegs, stacking cans, and crawling around. Maybe it’s familiarity, maybe it’s the quiet… We’ll figure out how to play to her strengths while mixing in exposure to new things. She’s growing to be nicely resilient, too, recovering quickly from upsets or surprises.

I’ve been thinking about taking her on little field trips so that she can see things and learn words. She’s been picking up new vocabulary pretty quickly, responding to words like “head”, “knees”, and “brush” with the appropriate gestures. I think it would be good to get into a weekly habit of going to places like the Riverdale Farm and the Royal Ontario Museum so that we can point to things and learn even more words. She’s a bit young, but it’s as good a time as any to start that routine. If I spring for the ROM membership that includes the ability to invite guests, it might even be an impetus to be more social.

Speaking of being social, we went to the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre. A- was a little sleepy and mostly clung to me. I chatted with some of the other folks there about gardening, food, and other shared interests.

Nilda visited us again this week, and she gave us tips for language development: labeling things in books and seeing if A- will point to them, repeating nursery songs and rhymes, and making animal sounds while showing the animal.

My de Quervain’s was bad this week, so it was hard to type or draw. I used my discretionary time to bake muffins and blondies instead. I also managed to sew a quick wet bag, woohoo!

One of our weekday evenings was more frazzled than usual. I didn’t even realize how tired and hungry I was until I flubbed the recipe I was trying to help with. Fortunately, W- rescued the cabbage rolls and it all worked out. I’m much more comfortable when the fridge is well stocked, so I’ll spend the time on weekends to do so.

I still managed to do some consulting, though. I deployed some code for categories and prioritization, and people are already happily using it. Yay!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.9h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 90% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.1h – 9% of Business)
      • ☑ Follow up on amended corporate tax return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.4h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.4h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.7h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (16.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (85.6h – 50%)
    • Childcare (74.8h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (61.0h – 36% – average of 8.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 17, 2017

The ocularist let us postpone our appointment due to scary weather forecasts. It’s a good thing A- stayed home, actually, as she ended up dealing with a stomach bug all week. We stayed home from everything – workshop, play date, early years centres. She stayed pretty energetic and hydrated, so we weren’t particularly worried, but it’s good to keep other people from getting sick. Anyway, she’s all better now!

She’s doing surprisingly well at drinking water out of a two-handled open cup. We didn’t even have to buy anything new, since the snack cup works perfectly fine for this purpose. We pour just a little water for her each time, since she still likes pouring everything out after each sip. She likes crackers and will also give bagels and pizza crusts a try. She likes noodles, and is interested in chopsticks and forks. W- regularly takes her on tours of the spice cabinet and the pantry.

She’s been practising her “ha” and “pa” sounds. She also seems to recognize the words “head”, “knees”, “toes”, and “all done”, and responds with the appropriate gestures. She knows socks are associated with feet (although sometimes she wants to try them as mittens).

She often wants me to help her put on or take off jackets, mittens, or socks, and she also asks me to put on or take off socks. She started pushing toys along while crawling, too.

Lindsay from Surrey Place came and answered some questions I had about monocular vision and any available resources. She has worked with a number of people with microphthalmia, but the people who have good vision in their other eye typically adapt well and don’t need their services. I guess I’ll just have to connect with people through conferences and Facebook groups.

We were on a baking sprint: roasting up a series of practically perfect russet potatoes, trying a different pizza stretching technique, and making blondies and baby biscotti for the first time. We had fun watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, too.

After lots of trip planning, we decided to postpone going to the Philippines until W- can also go, unless there’s an emergency. I’ve been trying to make up for it with lots more video chats, although of course it’s not the same. It’ll probably be easier to travel when A- is more independent. In the meantime, life is full of tough choices.

The week was mostly focused on A- and my family, but I had a little time to help with the code I turned over to my consulting client. Still prioritizing our tasks over increasing my consulting, but it’s nice to be able to provide value even with a little time here and there.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.7h – 89% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.2h – 10% of Business)
      • ☑ Follow up on amended corporate tax return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.9h – 1%)
    • ☑ Update A-‘s ledger
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.9h – 3%)
    • Drawing (1.6h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (1.3h)
    • Writing (1.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (13.9h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (97.7h – 58%)
    • Childcare (92.5h – 55% of total)
  • Sleep (67.5h – 40% – average of 9.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 10, 2017

Following up on last week’s recommendation to go see a dentist for A-, I took A- to her first dentist appointment. It turns out that she has enamel hypoplasia, a developmental defect that results in incomplete enamel. It’s associated with a higher risk of cavities, so we’ll be extra careful about brushing her teeth and minimizing sweets. It may or may not affect her permanent teeth. We’ll see. Anyway, it’s just something to deal with.

The first session of the parent advocacy workshop was an overview of the 6-week series, definitions of advocacy, and group sharing. It got me thinking about what A- could learn from how I advocate for her. I don’t know what kinds of accommodations we might need, but I hope to be able to take a collaborative approach to continuous improvement. I’d love it if A- absorbed the message “We’re all different, and it’s good to adapt our environment to reduce barriers and help us” rather than “I have to be treated specially because of my limits”. I’m still going to tap all the resources I can, but that’s because I like learning. :)

The Let’s Get Started session focused on visual routines, and I posted a few notes on that and previous sessions. I’ve been making an effort to use more visual props when talking to A- or transitioning between activities: a diaper, the potty, her high chair, the sleep sack…

We’ve been working on pointing, too, as I realized we hadn’t emphasized that and it’s usually a 12-month milestone. She’s starting to get the hang of it, gesturing towards things she’s interested in and sometimes even sort of pointing with a finger.

A- practised crawling up and down the carpeted stairs to the second floor. She sometimes needs a reminder at the top of the staircase to go down legs-first, but is otherwise surprisingly capable. We decided to skip installing baby gates for now since I’m with her, and she seems to like having stair practice time. She works so hard!

We went to the Junction Family Resource Centre and the Parenting and Family Literacy Centre. A- is getting better at playing independently. I had a bit of time to chat with the facilitators and the other parents, and even to flip through the red flags guide by the City of Toronto.

A- figured out a new sound (“Nai”) and seemed to recognize the words “crumple” and “cat”.

I did a little consulting, too. I added a categorization feature, wrote a tutorial, and helped transfer some more of my code.

I replaced my credit card and reactivated my library card, so that’s all sorted out now. I also updated my Ledger to correctly tally up my investments, explored tools for converting bank data, and created a net worth summary report. I needed the investment records in order to double-check the book value for my taxes, which I started preparing in a VM. I also set up incremental backups with borgbackup and a VM for testing my blog backups, yay!

It’s great to have focused time for process improvement. Looking forward to more tweaking!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.0h – 0%)
    • Earn (0.9h – 93% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 6% of Business)
  • Relationships (1.5h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.4h – 6%)
    • Drawing (1.5h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
      • ☑ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ [#A] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (3.2h)
      • ☑ Set up WordPress inside a VM
    • Tracking
      • ☑ Add prices
      • ☑ Report in nwi-style
      • ☑ Fix locked in RRSP
      • ☑ Try out Studiotax in a VM
      • ☑ Pivot my accounts for easier balance checking
      • ☑ Update TFSA
      • ☑ Fix GIC balance
      • ☑ Set up combined ledger
      • ☑ Update A-‘s ledger
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.1h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (12.9h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (87.4h – 52%)
    • Childcare (76.2h – 45% of total)
  • Sleep (53.7h – 31% – average of 7.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending March 3, 2017

A- has mostly gotten over her cold from last week, although we’re all dealing with a bit of a dry cough. Her appetite and energy level are back to normal, yay! I took her to Sick Kids for the usual 12-month blood tests. She had to put up with a lot, as the nurse couldn’t find anything in her elbow despite some digging.

It’s a good thing we went to the peer nutrition workshop despite the weather. The talk was on dental hygiene, and the speaker quickly checked all the kids’ teeth. There’s something weird going on with A-‘s teeth. There seem to be small half-circles near the tips where the enamel didn’t fully form. I’m taking her to the dentist on Monday. It’s just another thing that we’re going to deal with.

I made sure to fill her week with enjoyable things, too. She played with a few toys while I talked to an occupational therapist at the Let’s Get Started program, and we borrowed a few magnetic pieces from the Junction Family Resource Centre. We spent a little time at the More Than Child’s Play centre after Peer Nutrition, too. We checked out the TDSB Family Literacy Centre at Indian Road Crescent, and I picked up a few more songs. There are so many activity options, yay!

We’ve been kitting out home, too. exchanged a number of gifts for a shape sorter, a couple of Duplo sets, and a 7-pack of onesies. The shape sorter makes sense to get because the ones at JFRC tend to be missing pieces. The larger A-‘s Duplo collection is, the more combinations we can make. Standard onesies make dressing a lot easier, so that’s worth paying a little extra for compared to getting a variety second-hand. A- occasionally pushes simple shapes through the slots in the sorter, but she’s more likely to take the lid off and put the shape in directly. She also likes pretending to drink from the shapes, and enjoys it when you pretend to do so too.

More family conversations. I’ve been considering flying to the Philippines to help my parents while they deal with health issues, but the logistics of doing that with A- are a bit daunting. I’ve been slowly working through the different risks. My plans are on hold until I sort out this new uncertainty around A-‘s teeth, though, as she comes first. I hope we can make it over!

I thought I lost my library card and credit card outside the house, so I cancelled them, but it turns out they were just in a pocket that I failed to check until everything went through the dryer. Ah well! I’ve reactivated my library card, but I’ll have to wait for the replacement credit card.

I had a bit more energy this week, so I did some consulting and implemented a category feature people had requested. I also worked on our taxes and updated my ledger, which incidentally turned up an invoice that had fallen through the cracks. Yay ledger and tracking accounts!

Next week: dentist, parent advocacy workshop, Let’s Get Started workshop. There’s food in the fridge and stuff on the calendar. Let’s go!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 77% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.5h – 22% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.5h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
      • ☑ Find and start posting experiment summaries
    • ☑ Get dividend information
    • ☑ Parents’ Canada visa application
    • ☑ Reactivate US account
    • ☑ Try out Studiotax in a VM
  • Discretionary – Play (0.2h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (14.4h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (83.6h – 49%)
    • Childcare (72.0h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.4h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 24, 2017

It was A-‘s birthday last week. W- made so much food for the party with his family, including a devil’s food cake with coconut-pecan icing (recipes from the Joy of Cooking) and two rotisserie chickens. Yum yum yum! Everyone cooed over A-, especially when she gave our cat Luke a big hug. She was totally uninterested in the cake, but she loved having yogurt.

The timing worked out pretty well. The weather was nice and sunny. A- got sick with her first serious cold the day after the party: sniffles, sneezes, fever, diarrhea, even a bit of throwing up and spitting up. She eventually got over it, although we did end up calling Telehealth to ask what we should do. W- also bought two thermometers: a forehead thermometer for easier measurement, and a large-display thermometer for general use.

W- went back to work this week, so we’re getting the hang of new routines. Between that and us being under the weather, I was mostly focused on childcare and sleep. We’ll see what normal life will be like when we recover.

I took A- to the pediatrician for her 12- month vaccines. At 8.015 kg, she’s above the 15th percentile curve for weight, and generally doing fine aside from that cold. I got a prescription for her next conformer, a form for blood tests, and a note about scheduling A-‘s next ultrasound (keeping an eye on her liver hemangioma).

The EnzoDate glasses I ordered for A- arrived, and we’ve been practising wearing them for a second or two at a time. One of the demo lenses has some print on it, but it’s still fine for the purpose of getting A- used to glasses. Eventually I’ll get her proper glasses with polycarbonate lenses. I checked local stores for prices for fitting the glasses we just got her with proper lenses, and things seem to be set up so that it’s cheaper for me to buy the frame with included lenses than to get lenses fit into this frame. We’ll check the numbers again when she can keep these on.

Language: A- seems to be working on “ha” and “ta” sounds, and she’s also babbling a lot more now compared to last week.

I had a morning appointment for dental cleaning. A- was still asleep by the time I needed to head out, so she stayed at home with W-. They were both perfectly fine. They had breakfast and everything. It was my first time going outside the neighbourhood without A-. I felt so unusually light that I couldn’t help but jog part of the way home.

I’d been trying to find a place that would let me do two units of dental scaling so that I could come three times a year while still having things mostly covered by W-‘s insurance. Fortunately, they agreed to my request. Whee! Let’s see if this works out.

My dad was in the hospital for an operation, and is now recovering. Yay medicine!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
  • Relationships (4.6h – 2%)
    • ☑ Get glasses for A-
    • ☑ Get added as a tax representative for W-
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.1h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.2h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • ☑ Get dividend information from Adphoto
    • ☑ Help with Parents’ Canada visa application
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.5h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.0h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (83.9h – 49%)
    • Childcare (71.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.0h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)