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)

2017-07-03 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.

Past Emacs News round-ups

Monthly review: June 2017

First steps! A- needed both hands in order to carry a small basketball, so she picked it up and tentatively walked a few steps independently. She has tried it out a few more times since then, although she mostly prefers to hold our hands while walking.

A- got a larger conformer. She cried for an hour while we waited for the ocularist to do his thing. I took her for a blood test on the same day, too, so it was a hard day for her. We managed, though. A- also got tooth #7 (bottom left lateral incisor), so she’s been a little out of sorts.

Lots of enrichment this month. We completed eight sessions of toddler music classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music. I picked up lots of new songs and rhymes. A- got better at tapping rhythmically, and she also got the hang of sitting down and standing up at the right spots in Ring Around the Rosies. She even warmed up enough to walk around along with me, picking up the pace when the music was faster. Nilda also suggested painting and playdough, both of which A- enjoyed. I sent A-‘s first batch of paintings to my parents in the Philippines so that they can enjoy a fridge art exhibition too. We’ve been going to the ROM

A- has been showing a keen interest in things around the house. She likes pulling a chair up to the sink to help us with the dishes. She collected weeds and maple seeds from the garden and put them into the bin we use for compost. She likes imitating us, and is quick to pick up new gestures.

It’s easier to feed A- a variety of food now. This month, we found out that she likes gyoza, watercress, ham, pepperoni, cherries, bell peppers, and blueberries. She’s not too keen on mangoes yet, but that’s okay. We’ve been enjoying more fruits and vegetables, too. Yay, summer!

A- got a little more comfortable with independence this month. She’s getting better at sleeping without being latched on, and staying asleep even after I take her out of the carrier. The tips I picked up at the Early Abilities orientation seem to have helped in terms of modeling play. She crawled through a very short tunnel at the OEYC. She liked standing on a stool and playing with the paper dots at the JFRC. She played with J- and Y-, which freed me up to do a few quick things around the kitchen.

Nudged by one of my readers who’s also interested in tracking time, I dusted off my development environment for Quantified Awesome and got things working again. It’s nice to code. If I nap along with A- in the afternoon, my brain’s sometimes fresh enough to think after A- goes to bed late at night. I have a long task list that I make slow progress on, but hey, at least that’s something. On the consulting side, I reorganized our data extract script and added more notes to document things.

W- worked on the concrete pad for the stair footing and numerous projects around the house. We harvested a few radishes from the garden and transplanted the tomato and basil seedlings I’d grown indoors. There’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of gardening, though. Ah well! A- likes digging in the dirt and pulling stuff up, so it’s already worth it even if our yield is very low.

July: more music classes, more outside time, and getting ready for all the long medical appointments in August.

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Previous month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.0 2.7 2.7 4.4 4.6
Unpaid work 5.8 8.3 2.5 13.4 4.1
Personal 10.2 11.3 1.1 18.3 1.9
Discretionary – Productive 3.5 4.0 0.5 6.5 0.8
Discretionary – Social 0.1 0.4 0.3 0.7 0.6
Discretionary – Family 0.2 0.2 -0.1 0.3 -0.1
Business – Earn 1.1 0.7 -0.5 1.1 -0.8
A- – Childcare 42.1 40.6 -1.6 66.0 -2.6
Sleep 33.0 30.8 -2.2 50.0 -3.7
Discretionary – Play 4.0 1.1 -2.8 1.8 -4.8

Hmm, an average of 7.1 hours of sleep a day… I feel too fuzzy if I miss the afternoon nap, so I might play around with this a little. It’s good getting Business – Build (mostly coding Quantified Awesome) up again, though – a pretty straightforward time shift from playing Trails of Cold Steel. I split childcare off into its own top-level category (A-) so that it’s easier to see that versus unpaid work time.

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)

A-‘s moods

I’ve been thinking about A-‘s moods: what they’re like, what influences them, and what she likes doing when. If I can match my invitations and activities to her emotional state, then I can help her regulate her emotions and make the most of learning opportunities. Here are a few moods we’ve observed.

Reserved: When we’re outside, A- usually prefers to start by watching. If the place is busy, loud, or unfamiliar, it can take her some time to warm up. I don’t push her to interact. Instead, I might model playing with things myself, or simply sit with her and soothe her until she’s ready.

Quietly interested: Once A- has warmed up, or when we’re by ourselves at home, she’s usually calmer than many of the other babies I’ve seen. Most of the time, she’s quietly interested in whatever we’re doing. She has a neutral expression, and her eyes are bright and alert.

Playful: At home, A- often initiates play by doing something (throwing a ball, etc.) and looking at us with a smile or a laugh. She likes interaction, and will happily take turns or repeat actions to keep the game going. Sometimes she’ll be playful outside too, especially if we’re in a familiar place.

Laughing: I often hear A- giggling while W- plays with her, which is wonderful. I love the way he plays with her. He’s creative and energetic, and he usually gets her laughing and learning at the same time. He’s great at trying out new things with A-. When the chores are all sorted out, I like joining them for play – partly because it’s fun, and partly because W- is an awesome parent and I want to learn more. Sometimes, if I’m extra playful and silly, I can get lots of giggles from her too.

Afraid/upset: She’s got a good memory for places and people now, which is great when we go to the early years centres and a bit more challenging when we go to the doctor, the hospital, or the ocularist. When she’s afraid or upset, she cries and clings to me, and I try my best to soothe her. I remember having a hard time focusing when we were trying to soothe her after she woke up from anaesthesia. She was four months old and crying and crying, and my brain was fuzzing out. I’ve gotten much better at staying calm and holding her while she cries, trying to soothe her by rocking, singing, nursing, and talking.

Tired/hungry: When she’s tired or hungry, she’s usually pretty good at signaling what she needs. She’ll start with eye-rubbing, yawns, fake-snores, and babbles, and then cry if I miss those signs. For hunger, she’ll sign, and then push or cry if I miss those signs.

Resistant: When she doesn’t want something to happen, she’ll frown, wave our hands away, and protest vocally. This often happens when we try to brush her teeth or put her in her high chair, and it sometimes happens when we want to change her diaper or her clothes. Sometimes waiting is enough. Sometimes it helps to offer choices. Sometimes we just need to move on.

Pleased: She smiles and seems very pleased with herself when she figures something out or does something well. She often repeats the action many times, too. For example, when she got the hang of sitting down at the right time during Ring Around the Rosies, she asked us to sing it again and again, and she sat down smiling each time.

Snuggly: At bedtime or sometimes when she nurses, she likes snuggling up close. She also likes snuggling some of her stuffed toys. She used to hug one of our cats, too, but she hasn’t done that lately.

Hmm. Maybe I don’t have to be concerned that I’m not helping A- have as much fun as she does with W-, or that I’m not playful or creative enough. =) When she’s with me, she’s usually quietly interested in stuff, punctuated by plenty of snuggles and the occasional game. She seems to be developing well thanks to the different play styles she gets exposed to (yay, W-, J-, and Y-!), so that’s cool. Onward!

Notes on the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program

Back in May 2016, we were accepted into the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program because A- had a number of risk factors: A- was gaining weight very slowly, she had multiple congenital abnormalities, we were dealing with lots of uncertainty and medical appointments, and I was a first-time parent with no experience with little kids. We definitely needed all the help we could get.

The Healthy Babies Healthy Children program involved visits by a nurse and a home visitor. The nurse visited us every one to two months. The nurse helped us keep a close eye on A-‘s development using the Nipissing District Developmental Screens and the communication checklist. She also shared tips for interacting with A-, modelling the behaviours and explaining the ideas behind them. She used the NCAST Parent-Child Interacion Scale to closely observe how I interacted with A-. (The teaching scale involved a 73-item checklist!) With her guidance, I worked on giving A- specific positive feedback (“You shook the rattle!” instead of “Good job!”) and responding to signs of disengagement. It was also great to be able to ask her questions about the medical issues that came up.

The family home visitor came every one to two weeks. We often referred to the Nipissing checklist to plan what to do. She shared lots of activities that I could do with A-, and she even brought the materials. Thanks to her, A- got to try out things that it might not have occurred to me to start her on early: cruising along the sofa, scribbling with crayons on paper, painting with tempera paint, and so on. It was great to be able to ask her questions about parenting and community resources, especially since she saw A- regularly. It was also interesting to see A- gradually warm up to the family home visitor, despite the occasional reversion to staying close to me after a particularly stressful time.

Things have gotten much better over the past thirteen months that we’ve been helped by the Healthy Babies Healthy Children. On the medical side, we’ve learned more about A-‘s conditions, and they don’t seem to get in the way of her growth. Based on the checklists, A- has been developing normally so far. I’ve internalized many of the tips the nurse and home visitor have shared with me. Since there are higher-risk families they can help, it’s probably time to move on, although maybe we’ll wait until after the 18-month well-baby visit and the spate of medical follow-ups we have in August.

Even after we wrap up with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, I’d still like to keep a close eye on A-‘s development so that I can ask for help early if needed. Because we live in Ontario, I can get the PDFs for free from ndds.ca. I can talk to people about activity ideas and timing. The drop-in centre staff can suggest developmentally-appropriate activities. I can ask A-‘s pediatrician and Toronto Public Health questions, and the centres occasionally organize sessions with public health nurses too.

I’m glad we got to go through a program like this. I wish it were universally available. I learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to continuing to apply what I learned.