Weaning

A- hates weaning. She’s desperate to reconnect. I wish I had more patience or cleverness for a gentler approach, but I’m all done with nursing, so we’ve gone cold-turkey.

All I can do is to accept her rages and pleas, snuggle her close when she wants (“Tighter!” she says), give her space when she wants (“That’s my body!”), offer milk and food and hugs, and not take her rejection personally. (“I like Daddy more than Mama!” “That’s okay with me.”)

I am okay with her being upset. I’m okay with giving her an outlet for her feelings, and being there for her until anger melts into sadness, or through the cycles of falling asleep crying and waking up screaming.

I’m also okay with taking care of myself (bathroom breaks, cat-naps) so that I can take care of her. W- is awesome.

Thank goodness for the mercurial moods of toddlers. It’s hard to go from calm to angry tantrum in the space of a few minutes, but fortunately she also sometimes switches out of a tantrum, so I know she’s okay.

It’s also mind-boggling to know that as much as she resists, she says she’d still rather spend time with me than with a babysitter, even when I’m low-energy. Even in the middle of a tantrum, she gestures for me to lie down too and snuggle her closer. Even though she says she doesn’t want me to say no or to set limits, she also says she wants me.

Of course, once W- is home, she’s all about him. (“Private time, Mama! Please go somewhere else.”) That’s cool too.

While we’re working on this, everything else is on hold. I need as much sleep and space as I can that I can give her as much patience and support as she needs. I misjudged it one night, staying up for an hour of consulting and an hour of planning. Four hours later, she woke up and refused to settle. The next night, I was so exhausted that I cried, and she was even more distressed by my tears. W- woke up again, calmed her down simply by taking her out of the room, and let me have a much-appreciated start on sleep.

She’s slowly coming around. She still asks, but she doesn’t rage as much now. I can acknowledge that she wants to nurse, comfort her, and offer something else. Helping her sleep is still a challenge, but at least she settles back down when she wakes up in the middle of the night. She wakes up grumpy and wanting to nurse, but the mood passes by breakfast.

It’s a lot to get through, but we’ll get through this together.

Weekly review: Week ending August 31, 2018

  • Fine motor
    • A- wanted to type on the Bluetooth keyboard. She did a good job of finding various letters. I wonder if it’s time to write her a little Emacs Lisp thing that will give her visual and auditory feedback when she types a letter…
  • Language
    • I received the cookie cutters for numbers and lowercase letters that I ordered from Amazon. A- had fun identifying a few letters and numbers, cutting them out of playdough, and playing with them.
    • At the cardiologist’s office, we were making small talk, asking A- if she thought the cardiologist was short or tall. I said that relative to A-, everyone is tall. A- said, “Except for Mama.”
    • A- can tell me why she likes books. She said, “I like this book because it has chicks in it.”
    • We were at A&W, and A- was happily using a straw to bubble water in a huge mug. I reminded A- that dinosaurs don’t bubble their milk. She interrupted her bubbling to say, “Water!” and kept bubbling away.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- was crawling around when she stumbled and cut her lip. She didn’t ask to nurse, although she was happy to do so when I offered.
    • A- mostly sat still for the ultrasound exam. The cardiologist said that the VSD is pretty insignificant now, although there’s a slight leak in her aortic valve and the muscle bundle continues to grow slowly. We’ll follow up next year.
    • I decided to relax my weaning restrictions because I needed more sleep, so I offered to let A- nurse in bed instead of going to the nursing chair (really a large pillow set against the wall). She refused a few times, insisting on going to the nursing chair.
  • Sleep
    • A- resisted bedtime. She ended up falling asleep on my pillow with the light still on.
    • W- took over childcare in the evening, making it possible for me to have a much-appreciated nap.
  • Emotion
    • A- stomped down the hallway, hangry tantrum in full swing. She stopped at the end of the tape on the floor and did a few squats just like the ladder exercise that W- taught her, and then resumed her tantrum.
    • A- was overtired since she resisted going in the stroller for a nap. I put A- in her room while I put away the groceries and the stroller. She had a major tantrum because of overtiredness and separation anxiety. She gradually shifted from yelling about wanting to turn off the fan herself, to wanting to go downstairs with me, to patting the pillow beside her and yelling at me to lie down with her too and snuggle her tight. I was amused. Once she was okay with being tightly snuggled, she fell asleep.
  • Household
    • I was feeding Neko some wet cat food. I noticed I had reached the end of the can, so I said to myself, “I’m going to need another one of these.” As I scraped the last of the cat food into a bowl, A- fetched another can of cat food and gave it to me, all without being asked.
  • Social
    • A- was greatly amused by the cat-trap that W- made. He dangled his arms down, and then swung Luke up when Luke wandered within reach.
    • I was exhausted. I had stayed up late doing some consulting and planning, and A- had gotten up early and had a long tantrum about weaning. Even our emergency morning nap didn’t let me catch up enough. By mid-afternoon, I was sneezing practically every other minute. It was time for a cat-nap. I let A- play in the living room while I dozed on the couch. She puttered around, read me a book (Piglet and Mama), and then discovered the laundry basket next to the couch. “I’m folding laundry,” she said. She found a washcloth, then asked, “Where’s the water bottle? I want to wet this.” Imagining the possible spills, I suggested that she use the sink instead. I heard her run off to the kitchen, climb into her tower, turn the faucet on and off, and come back. She wiped my face with the damp washcloth. “Wake up, it’s spring!” she said. “You slept all winter.” She had reenacted the scene from Little Brown Bear Won’t Take a Nap, complete with props.
    • A- had fun playing a shushing game. She asked me to make a loud noise, and then put a finger to her lips and hushed me.
  • Pretend
    • We’re slowly moving away from plastic toys, so we made a cardboard kitchen for A-. She had fun cooking an egg on the stovetop and baking a pizza in the oven.
    • A- asked for a pretend microwave. I glued white paper on a cereal box, drew the microwave interface, and cut the door open.
    • I made a cardboard point-of-sale terminal with a coin drawer, a scale, and a slot for pulling out a receipt. A- liked it very much.
    • A- played pretend ultrasound quite a few times, raiding the sticker bin after each exam. She also kept revisiting dental surgery in our drawings and stories.
    • A- liked pushing books through a slot in the coffee table legs, pretending to return them to the library. She also pretended to request one of her favourite books from a librarian.
    • A- was interested in using real cash in the cardboard point-of-sale terminal I made her. W- pretended to buy something with a $20 bill, and she gave back $5 and $10. W- jokingly asked her how much she made, and she said $5. Lucky guess! Anyway, W- made her a bunch of bills out of coloured paper.
  • Kaizen
    • Lots of cooking. I tried out a dinner roll recipe, and it turned out okay.
    • I updated my ledger to reflect my conversion of many of my TD e-series fund units to ETFs.
  • Us
    • David Ing dropped by since he was biking through our neighbourhood. We chatted about retirement, financial planning, kids, and returning to the workforce.
    • Spurred by the prospect of collecting another stamp in my library passport, we visited the Malvern library. I liked the way I could watch the automated book return conveyor belt do its thing, and A- liked the play area.
    • Our medium-haired cat Leia has been having tummy problems, so she’s confined to downstairs until it all gets sorted out.
    • Given my low energy and lack of discretionary time in the middle of weaning, I started thinking about whether this was enough and what I might want to prepare for the next five or so years. I think I’m mostly okay with this being a possible new normal, although I still have much to learn about being in the moment and accepting things.
    • I tossed some salt on a chicken and popped it into the oven to roast. It turned out to be a really easy weekday dinner.
    • After W- rescued us from a mini-breakdown because I was super-tired and I didn’t like the way A- kept pulling up my shirt to try to nurse, I realized I was all done with nursing.
    • W- told me how the mostly-deflated balloon kept following them around unnervingly, perhaps drawn by the convection of air heated by their bodies.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week Last week Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 41.9 43.2 1.3 77.5 2.2
Sleep 36.7 34.3 -2.4 61.5 -4.0
Personal 12.4 9.4 -3.0 16.9 -5.1
Unpaid work 9.3 6.3 -3.0 11.2 -5.1
Discretionary – Family 0.8 3.0 2.2 5.3 3.7
Discretionary – Productive 5.0 1.9 -3.1 3.4 -5.2
Business 0.7 1.0 0.3 1.7 0.5
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.6 0.6 1.2 1.1
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.5

Weaning is still disrupting our routines. I think we’re slowly making progress, though.

Weekly review: Week ending August 24, 2018

  • Gross motor
    • W- taught A- how to do the wheelbarrow exercise.
    • A- practised riding her balance bike down the slope. She can’t coast yet, but she’s starting to be able to manage a little more speed.
  • Fine motor
    • A- was interested in making paper chains. W- showed her how to do it because she asked to make daisy chains after reading Piglet and Mama.
    • A- had fun closing one eye.
  • Language
    • A- could name the opposite of something even without the matching card from the Opposites game.
  • Art
    • A- sometimes tries to draw letters, and she actually does a pretty good job at some of them: M, L, J… One time I couldn’t figure out what she was doing. She scribbled circles and said something that I couldn’t quite figure out: F? S? After several repetitions, rephrasings, and lots of “Mama no understand!”s, I connected the dots with her previously pretending being Ramon from the “Ish” book. She was telling me she drew “ish.” When I finally understood, she lit up and started drawing more “-ish”es.
  • Self-care and independence
    • We were able to skip the long nursing session in the morning.
    • A- let me snuggle her to bed. She insisted on being in my arms and being sung to. She was overtired and didn’t brush after bedtime milk, so I’m going to switch to offering water instead.
  • Sleep
    • A- didn’t want to nap in bed, but I was super-sleepy. W- took her for a walk in the stroller while I napped. He said that she quickly went to sleep once in the stroller. I don’t mind using the stroller as a nap crutch for the next little while, at least until we get weaning sorted out.
    • Day 3 of taking A- out for a stroller nap in the middle of the afternoon. She consistently falls asleep quickly and stays asleep for a few hours. It’s a lot more pleasant than trying to keep her from pulling at my clothes when she’s in the carrier, and I don’t mind walking to the grocery store for one or two things. I still don’t feel comfortable getting a nap while she’s out in the backyard. I’ve been able to wash dishes and catch up on my journal, though, so that’s a start. I’m just going to have to figure out how to continue this as the weather cools down, and how to adjust when she stops napping. In the meantime, this is good.
    • A- was very upset. Weaning was tough, she wasn’t keen on bedtime, and she definitely didn’t want to be left alone for a few minutes while I got something from downstairs. I couldn’t nurse her into calmness because I was trying not to stay dependent on weaning, so I just stayed close, listened, and offered to rock her or hug her. She eventually fell asleep amidst bursts of crying.
  • Household
    • W- got home late. A- insisted on spending all evening with him. W- handled the whole bedtime routine while I did some paperwork for my mom and tidied up. A- and I have also been experimenting with delaying nursing, so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Social
    • A- wanted to go out for a walk, so we visited Joy and J- at their place. We read lots of books. They also liked playing with blocks, riding toys, and balloons.
    • On the way home from the playground, we ran into Joy and J-, so we invited them over. J- and A- snacked on grapes, proved with watercolours, and played music. A- let J- turn the moon light on and off, but she got possessive when J- tried turning on the cloud light or touching her pet sheep, so we wrapped up and shared some buns and muffins with them. Good socialization practice!
    • A- was very amused by the “Disappearing A-” magic trick. She and W- stood together, then W- held a big towel in front of both of them. I wondered out loud where A- was. W- counted down while shepherding her behind him, then dropped the towel. I marvelled loudly at A-‘s disappearance, ignoring the loud giggling behind W-‘s legs.
    • A- wanted to stay up. I was really tired, so I lay down and closed my eyes on our floor bed while she played. She was doing all right, and then wham! She accidentally rolled into me and hit my lip pretty hard. I teared up because it hurt a lot, and I put pressure on it to stop the bleeding. A- was pretty concerned. “What are Mama’s tires (tears) doing?” I explained that I had an owie and that the tears meant that it hurt, but that I would feel better soon and that I still loved her. She took my phone and pretended to show me videos, since she likes watching videos of herself and she thought I might like to see videos too. My lip hurt too much for me to read her a book, so she read Little Excavator out loud all by herself. I closed my eyes again, this time shielding my face with my hands. I heard her playing some more, and then she exclaimed, “Yay!” She had successfully diapered her stuffed sheep. “Would Mama like Sheep?” she asked. So I snuggled with Sheep for a bit while she played. She also tried nursing for reassurance, but I had to say no to that and to gently prevent her from pulling my clothes. I offered to cuddle her instead, but she was still too active and I was worried about getting hit again. Eventually she settled in, saying in a small voice, “I want Mama, Mama, Mama, I want Mama,” and we both drifted off.
  • Pretend
    • A- did the motions and sounds that she remembered from watching the video of her sticking her tongue out when she was an infant. It’s fun watching her reenact things with surprising attention to detail.
    • A- pretended that we were related to the pediatrician.
  • Kaizen
    • We were able to go on a family bike trip, yay! W- and I biked up to Walmart, and I brought A- in the trailer.
    • A-‘s been fascinated with letters and numbers recently, so I asked her if she wanted me to look into replacing the elephant decals on her walls with letters and numbers. She immediately jumped on the idea. I explained that I still needed to look for something we liked, order it, wait for it to be delivered… She would not be dissuaded. “Replace elephants! Replace elephants!” W- moved the elephants up, wrote a few large letters and numbers on pieces of paper, and taped them up on the walls. We’ll see how this goes.
    • W- took care of A- while I rebalanced my portfolio in my registered accounts, converting a large portion of my TD e-series into ETFs. It was a little nerve-wracking to make sure I got all the numbers right, but I think it’s okay now. I’ll probably keep the nonregistered account as e-series for now so that I don’t have to worry about paperwork or capital gains tradeoffs.
    • W- got our land line converted to a dry loop for DSL. I should probably memorize my other number for messages.
  • Us
    • I submitted a special power of attorney to the Philippine Consulate General for notarization and authentication. It turned out that the fee was CAD 33.75 per copy, so I submitted one set instead of the four or seven I’d originally planned. I’ll wait for the lawyers to tell me if we need more before I put the package together for mailing. If they can get by with one original, that’s great. If not, it’s just another field trip with A-. There’s a community centre next to the consulate and a library close by, so maybe we’ll just go there directly instead of going to the Ontario Science Centre first.
  • Oops
    • I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t freeze and thaw an unopened bottle of olive oil, even if you had somehow survived freezing and thawing partially full bottles of olive oil before. Actually, we go through a bottle of olive oil quickly enough that I should probably leave it in the pantry instead of worrying about whether it will go rancid.

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 43.6 39.3 -4.3 66.0 -7.2
Sleep 30.9 34.4 3.4 57.7 5.8
Personal 7.1 11.7 4.5 19.6 7.6
Unpaid work 6.0 8.7 2.7 14.6 4.5
Discretionary – Productive 2.6 4.6 2.1 7.8 3.5
Discretionary – Family 2.3 0.7 -1.6 1.2 -2.7
Business 0.3 0.6 0.4 1.1 0.7
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Social 7.2 0.0 -7.2 0.0 -12.1

We continue to work on weaning, so even though my time records say I spent more hours in bed, it took more effort to help A- settle down throughout the night since I couldn’t just nurse her back to sleep. She also strongly preferred spending time with W- whenever he was available, so W- took over the bedtime routine while I did more chores and cooking. I did some more writing during A-‘s stroller naps, but I haven’t figured out how to fit consulting and other discretionary activities back in my life. Maybe after we figure out weaning and our sleep settles down again…

2018-08-27 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacsen.org, YouTube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Adjusting to weaning

I’m gradually weaning A-. She hates it when I limit her nursing time by counting out loud, singing a song, or setting a timer. She responds well if we make a game out of how quickly she can nurse. That’s been helping us move away from long nurses, although she still asks to nurse throughout the day. She can fall asleep without nursing if I read to her, rock her, or snuggle her. It’s currently a bit more conflict-ridden than simply nursing her to sleep, but it’s necessary, and I’m sure things will get better as she gets used to the new routine.

Between weaning and setting firmer boundaries around my bedtime, I’m definitely not A-‘s favourite person at the moment. Whenever W- is around, she switches over to him, often saying, “Private Daddy time! Mama, please go somewhere else.” This is wonderful. She’s practising independence and individuation by rejecting me, and she gets to build memories with W- too.

It has also been a good opportunity to test my equanimity in the face of toddler disapproval. In the chapter on discipline in Between Parent and Child, (Ginott, Ginott, and Goddard; 2nd ed. 2003) there’s a note: “Most parents love their children, but it is important that they not have an urgent need to be loved by then every minute of the day.” I am okay with A- being upset with the limits I set, and I am okay with being with A- throughout those strong feelings. I trust that we’ll come out the other end with less adoration and more security.

When W- is away, A- is fine with hanging out with me. A- still likes me enough to insist, “No babysitter. Only Mama. Mama, play with me.” I’m focusing on playing with her more and letting her have more control over the day to balance the things I need to insist on at night.

Since our routines are shifting, it’s a good time to think about how we want to adjust. If A- wants to spend most of the weekends and weekday evenings with W-, I can do more housework and cooking. It’s harder for me to get her to playfully join in brushing teeth or doing other bedtime routine things, so W- will need to take care of those things too.

The important thing for me is to not turn it into a battle of wills. Even if she’s upset with me, I’m on her side. I set limits, but I’m also here to help her adapt, and I’m learning things too. I want to get better at telling the difference between the times she’ll settle down after a little boundary -testing and the times she needs more kindness and flexibility.

The tough times are usually when we’re both sleepy. She wants to nurse to sleep, and she gets upset if I limit her or reject her a lot. If I’m too sleepy, I can’t read or rock her to sleep. For naps, she can fall asleep easily if she’s in a carrier or stroller, although that runs the risk of my not being able to nap too. For night-time sleep, I may just have to read sitting up, or I can have a quick nap after taking care of household chores. In any case, I probably need to prioritize sleep over discretionary time things until this settles down.

A- and W- continue to be awesome. We’ll figure this out together!

Questions I often ask myself

Chenny asked me what kinds of things I’m concerned about, so I started reflecting on the kinds of questions I usually ask myself. Here’s a rough list with some examples:

  • What could make things a little bit better? How can I compound those improvements? A few notes on kaizen
  • Which trade-offs might be worth it? Which ones do I decide against? How can I experiment?
  • What do I want from this stage? What has changed? How can I make the most of that? What’s coming up next? Examples: 2018-07-29b, 2017-05-07a
  • What could awesome look like? How can I tell if I’m on the right track? How far do I want to go? Example, other posts
  • What might failure look like? What are the warning signs? Example: Experiment pre-mortem, Update
  • What are the risks and downsides? How can I mitigate them?
  • How can I make things easier for future me?
  • How can I test and work around my current limits? Ex: squirrel brain
  • What do I want to remember, reflect on, and share?
  • What do my decisions tell me about my values? Do I agree? Do I want to change things?
  • What are the results of past decisions and experiments? What can I learn from those? A few notes on decisions
  • How do I want to grow?
  • What do I want to learn? How can I learn it? What do I know now?
  • How can I get better at seeing, noticing, asking, reflecting, organizing, sharing, improving?
  • Where can I take advantage of leverage or comparative advantage? Where is it good to not optimize along obvious dimensions?
  • What would I do if I were starting from scratch? Which sunk costs should I ignore?
  • What can I break down, connect, or transform?
  • How am I different from alternate universe mes? How can I make the most of that? Example
  • What happens if I look closely at my discomfort or fear? Where am I shying away from something, and why? Example: uncertainty, working on my own things, the experiment
  • Where does it make sense to take on more difficulty or do things worse so that I can do things even better later on?
  • What have I forgotten or neglected? What do I want to reclaim, and what do I want to let go? Some thoughts
  • What do I not know to look for? How can I bump into stuff like that?

At the moment, I’m focused on time and attention. I think about what’s worth giving up sleep for, and how sleeping more might help with some things like thinking. I think about time with W- and A-. I think about week-to-week changes and how I can adapt. I think about how we can use little bits of time to improve things in order to more effectively use time. There’s definitely a lot to figure out!