Category Archives: weekly

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


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


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


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)

Weekly review: Week ending May 27, 2016

This week was a busy one. We celebrated A-‘s 100-day party at a Chinese restaurant with W-‘s family and with Ching, who flew in from California to come and hang out with us.

I sewed a party dress for A- . It was my first time working with silk brocade, which kept unravelling at the edges but managed to stay together long enough for me to sew the elastic casings and the hems. Level up!

My family gave us a GoPro, and I’ve been using that to record short videos that I post to the closed group on Facebook for baby-related updates. I’ve got a backlog of videos because I haven’t had the time to review anything beyond a minute or so, which is why short videos work out better for us. Better to keep capturing, though. Storage is cheap, and there’ll be opportunities to review things later.

Speaking of time – I continue to be preoccupied with childcare, but that’s okay. I took A- to a lactation consultant who suggested some ways we could try to improve her latch, and recommended supplementing as many feeds as we can. She also diagnosed a case of thrush in A-‘s mouth, so we’ve been treating that too. I haven’t felt any pain yet, but the Internet has quite a lot of horror stories that I’d like to avoid contributing to, so we’ve been focusing on dealing with that and the supplementation. The lactation aid continues to be a bit too fussy for me to regularly use, although affixing it to a fridge magnet helps a little bit by giving me a way to adjust the level.

Since I keep bringing A-‘s weight history to different places, I spent a little time tweaking the display and the calculations to take into account only the weights at the same location. I’m getting more and more comfortable with d3 visualizations. My rate of improvement is still pretty slow, though. All these interruptions – but that’s a good problem to have. =) Here’s the latest section of the chart. She’s still gaining slower than the average weight gain for breastfed babies, but she seems to be skating along above the 3rd percentile line, so there’s that.

weight (8)

Slow coding progress on my consulting project. I need to think of a good way to deal with the limitations of the iframe around the add-on I’m building. I have a few ideas that I might get to test this week. It’s a bit difficult with the stop-and-go nature of being the primary caregiver for an infant, but fortunately my tracking system makes it easy for me to clock out when I need to change a diaper or when I notice my concentration flagging. I’ll just have to set proper expectations with my consulting client. I’ve checked in my code so they can take it forward if they want, and I can keep building on it here and there. Actually, it might be better to trim the functionality and do a smaller release – I’ll check prioritization and timing at the next team meeting.

I also want to make sure that A- gets plenty of stimulation. She’s becoming more and more interactive, yay! Lots of cooing and putting things in her mouth.

Next week: catching up on drawing and thinking, more gardening, and a follow-up with the pediatrician. Let’s see if I can make it out to the Quantified Self meetup, too.

2016-05-31b Week ending 2016-05-27 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.4h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.0h – 86% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.3h – 13% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.7h – 2%)
    • ☑ Take A- for more tests
    • ☑ Notes for Dr. Roth
    • ☑ Complete and fax pre-op questionnaire
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.1h – 4%)
    • Emacs (0.4h – 0% of all)
    • Coding (2.6h – 1% of all)
      • ☑ Improve weight display
    • Sewing (0.0h)
      • ☑ Party dress
    • Writing (0.8h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.2h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (23.1h – 13%)
  • Unpaid work (67.7h – 40%)
    • Childcare (57.5h – 34% of total)
  • Sleep (62.7h – 37% – average of 9.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 20, 2016

A- is still not gaining weight or length well. The pediatrician thinks that she might either naturally be small (like my sister Kathy’s kids) or that there might be an underlying cause we may be able to address. I experimented briefly with fenugreek and blessed thistle to boost my supply, and have decided to skip them unless the lactation consultant tells me to go back on them. We’ll do a bunch more tests to see what we can find out. I’ll take her to Sick Kids Hospital next week, since the lab there has a lot of experience working with babies.

On the plus side, A- started waking up for long periods of time in the middle of the night. Could this be the 4-month sleep regression (that sometimes shows up earlier)? Neat! That means her brain is growing by leaps and bounds. We’re working on settling her to sleep earlier, so that she still gets all the sleep she needs.

A nurse from the Healthy Babies and Healthy Children program visited us at home. She’ll help me keep track of A-‘s developmental milestones so that we can catch things early, and she’ll also suggest activities to help A- grow. She might be able to pair us up with another neighbourhood family who can visit and share tips, too.

In terms of coding, I got my jive-angular workflow sorted out and have been using it to build a tool for my client. The npm install ran into problems on Windows, so I set it up manually by reading the source. I’ve been working on my personal tracker, too. I added more detailed logging for diapers and nursing, and I used the day view to print out one-page slices of data for the pediatrician, who seemed impressed.

I wanted to make a red jacket for A-‘s 100-day party, but the test pattern I sewed up wasn’t a good fit. I made a peasant-style dress instead. I’ve got plenty of practice sewing those! First time working with silk brocade. Pretty fancy. =)

My sister Ching is coming from California for the small party. How exciting! Next week: 100-day party with family – nothing too fancy, just a restaurant thing. More tests for A-, and a meeting with a lactation consultant. Onward!

2016-05-23a Week ending 2016-05-20 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.7h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.7h – 100% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.3h – 3%)
    • ☑ Research scholarships
    • ☐ Complete and fax pre-op questionnaire
  • Discretionary – Productive (13.1h – 7%)
    • Emacs (0.8h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ [#B] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (3.0h – 1% of all)
      • ☑ Add diapers to detailed timeline
      • ☑ Add supplementation and sleep toggles to nursing screen
      • ☑ Add diaper leak, open air accident options
      • ☑ Add small/medium/large option
      • ☑ Add start and end date
      • ☑ Update database for diapers and nursing
    • Sewing (4.3h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
      • ☑ Party dress
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (21.0h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (59.4h – 35%)
    • Childcare (50.9h – 30% of total)
  • Sleep (64.5h – 38% – average of 9.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending May 13, 2016

This week was mostly focused on figuring out some way to supplement A- in preparation for any fortification the dietitian might prescribe. She still doesn’t take the bottle and the lactation aid was a bit more trouble than I could manage, but we’ve had a little success with feeding her with an eyedropper while she’s breastfeeding. Her weight’s still up and down, but I hope the overall trend gets better. I added the weight standards from the WHO growth charts to my baby data visualizations. We can see her dropping through the percentiles (from 85% to 5%), but maybe she’s really just a small baby.

Lots of medical follow-ups, too. We saw the cardiologist on Wednesday. A-‘s ventricular septal defect is even smaller now (2.7mm), so the cardiologist doesn’t think it’s the reason for her slow weight gain. A- feeds a bit longer when we supplement her at the breast, so maybe it’s a matter of latch or flow. We’ll find out more once we sort out the referrals to a dietitian and a lactation consultant. We’re also going to be seeing a nurse from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program. (Talk to all the medical professionals!)

I’ve been a little preoccupied with A-, but I managed to squeeze in a little time to do some sewing on Tuesday and some consulting on Thursday. I’m looking forward to getting even more done as we clear these challenges and I get into the rhythm of these weeks.

W- continues to be totally awesome. We were initially a bit tense about A-‘s poor weight gain, but his support has been helping me relax a little (or at least worry a bit less). Learning more about this parenting thing. =)

2016-05-14a Week ending 2016-05-13 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.9h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.7h – 96% of Business)
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
      • Drawing (0.0h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.2h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.2h – 1%)
    • ☑ Call pediatrician’s office regarding lactation consultant referral
    • ☑ Ask breastfeeding clinic about SNS, check weight
    • ☑ Call Eye Clinic and ask about anaesthesia scheduling
    • ☑ Follow up with cardiologist regarding A-‘s slow weight gain
  • Discretionary – Productive (12.5h – 7%)
    • Emacs (1.0h – 0% of all)
      • ☑ [#B] Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ [#B] Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (5.6h – 3% of all)
      • ☑ Add supplementation tracking
      • ☑ Add time span
      • ☑ Add weight standards
      • ☑ Clean up and print weight history
      • ☑ Allow nursing tracking without side specification
    • ☑ Update and namecheap information
    • ☑ Set up Tangerine
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (21.5h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (75.0h – 44%)
    • Childcare (68.8h – 40% of total)
  • Sleep (50.1h – 29% – average of 7.2 per day)