Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending November 15, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I read Deep Work and started thinking about what parenting could look like if I treated it as seriously as the academic and business examples from the book. What could deep work, deliberate practice, and rapt attention look like in terms of caregiving?
    • W- thought about all the snow that’s forecast for tomorrow. He brought the shovels to the house and made sure the sled was easy to access.
    • I learned more about how to make REST API and COM requests in Python. Very promising!
    • Following a pointer from The Knowledge Gap, I checked out Core Knowledge Language Arts’ resources for preschool. I liked the detailed list of skills and the recommended books, music, and art. I want to incorporate some of those into A-‘s learning.
  • Us
    • I finished reading “Happier” (2007) by Tal Ben-Shahar. It got me thinking about meaning, purpose, and strengths; how to nourish the feeling of time affluence; how to sprinkle happiness boosters throughout my week; and how to apply appreciative inquiry to parenting as well as teach A- to do so too.
    • We knew A- wouldn’t sleep for a while, so we bought groceries and cooked curry.
    • One of the other parents gave me a LEGO kit for A-. She had gotten a good deal on the LEGO and wanted to thank me. We should think of something to give back. I know, she likes coffee.
    • I read a little more of Overwhelmed. I feel really grateful that W- is so awesome. For my part, I’d like to develop more life skills so that I can share the load better, and get more used to giving myself permission for leisure and exploration.
  • Gross motor
    • A- tried throwing the beach ball with one hand. She could throw it pretty far.
    • A- had so much energy before bed. She did lots of forward rolls, even kicking off the wall.
  • Fine motor
    • A- worked on building the LEGO Easter Egg Hunt set. She helped find pieces and put them together. She described the process that was illustrated at the beginning of the instructions.
  • Language
    • “I got lots of nibbles. Can you write that down?”
  • Art
    • A- was curious about erasers, so we used pencils to shade paper and then we erased shapes and lines.
    • A- spent some time playing with the piano. I guided her to imagine that her hands were friends running towards each other, jumping around, and so on.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- wanted me to read a few more books and was a bit discouraged because she couldn’t read them by herself. I want to reflect on bedtime a bit more to see if there’s a better way for us to do this. Maybe I can move independent play practice time to the afternoon and do more snuggly reading after bedtime.
    • A- really wanted to eat her yogurt with a baby spoon instead of the metal teaspoon I offered her, so she got into her tower and I helped her wash it.
    • The drop-in centre near school closes from 1pm to 2:30pm, so I offered A- the choice of signing up for flexible child care so that she could keep playing during that break, or going with me to the library or a different drop-in centre. She wanted to keep playing there. I completed the intake form and left her playing with her teacher from class and two of her classmates. When I picked her up at 2:30, the childcare workers said that she had behaved well. She wanted to join the other kids for snack time, so we stayed around for that and some more playtime. She fell asleep on the way home.
    • The doctor suggested removing the carpet to help with allergies, and using hydrocortisone to help with A-‘s rash.
    • A- and I were snuggling. A- leaned forward and bonked my glasses. That hurt, so I said oww. She immediately backed off, stopped playing, said she was so tired, and tucked herself into bed.
  • Emotion
    • A- got a little hangry in the afternoon. She had started out upset because her regular pants got wet when she shoveled snow without snow pants on, and that evolved into a full-blown tantrum when we found out that the ham I had been thinking of giving her had already gotten finished by someone else. She eventually calmed down with lots of potatoes and yogurt, and we talked a little about what it’s like to be hungry and angry.
  • Household
    • In her kindergarten readiness class, we helped the kids roll out and cut shortbread cookies.
    • “I’m not so happy with store-bought bread. … We should make it more often.”
  • Social
    • W- looked at Popo’s tenant’s washing machine while A- and I hung out with Popo and Gung-gung. A- is more comfortable with Popo than with Gung-gung, but I’m sure they’ll eventually get the hang of each other.
    • A- told us about her complicated feelings about one of her friends.
    • When I picked A- up from class, she was excited to tell me about her friend, R-. She wanted to play with R- after school, but R- was still in the classroom because of the parent-teacher interview. R- and her mom headed home after school, so we didn’t get to play with them. Still, it was great to see A- so happy about one of her classmates. She told me how they played with cars.
    • I drew our plan for the day and decided that a stroller would be the best way to cover the distance. A- said, “I scribble out the stroller.” She wanted to ride in the sled instead, but there wasn’t enough snow. I’m glad she wanted to propose changes, though!
    • “The babysitter is too boring.” I wonder what I can do to help A- learn how to ask babysitters for what she wants.
  • Pretend
    • A- pretended that a cardboard box was a car. She said, “I’m driving to the Great City. I will need to stop for gas.”
  • Cognition
    • W- used finger-counting to guide A- in exploring questions such as “How many threes are in six?”
    • A- wanted to play with tangrams. She completed some shapes with a lot of help.
    • A- was interested in a large 30-piece floor puzzle with irregularly-shaped pieces. I helped her put together the edges, and then she placed the inner pieces by referring to the picture on the box.
  • World
    • A- liked leaving footprints in the light snow.
  • Other
    • We attended the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Royal Conservatory of Music before class.
    • It was interesting observing A-‘s kindergarten readiness class. During free play time, she focused on feeling the magnetic letters repel each other and checking which surfaces worked with the magnetic letters, even when her classmates ran all around her. During carpet time, she stayed in the corner and didn’t do many of the hand motions, preferring to cover her ears when she anticipated particularly loud parts. She scrambled to the front when the teacher started reading a book, though, and often spoke up when she couldn’t see the book.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work 2.1 6.0 3.9 10.0 6.5
Sleep 31.0 34.7 3.8 58.0 6.3
Personal 3.8 5.6 1.7 9.3 2.9
Business 1.9 2.7 0.8 4.5 1.3
Discretionary – Family 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2
Discretionary – Play 2.3 1.7 -0.6 2.9 -1.0
Discretionary – Social 0.6 0.0 -0.6 0.0 -1.0
A- 43.4 41.8 -1.6 69.8 -2.7
Discretionary – Productive 14.8 7.4 -7.4 12.3 -12.4

Weekly review: Week ending November 22, 2019

  • Us
    • W- broke the pop-up stopper in the process of replacing the aerator, so he ended up replacing it too. I need to learn all these things!
    • We made applesauce from scratch. It was a good opportunity to compare different types of apples.
  • Language
    • I wanted to help A- learn how to write “a” and “b”. She likes saying “Boo!” and she enjoys it even more if I say “Aah!”, so I came up with a game where she had to write “boo” and “a” on paper to make tickets. When she handed me the appropriate tickets, I hammed it up and pretended to be terrified of her. It worked pretty well! We went through a lot of paper because she wanted to write so much.
    • We checked out 22 books from the library. I requested quite a few books from the library’s new Vox collection, which are books with attached readers. The speaker is small, so audio quality is a bit meh. I wonder what it would be like with a bigger speaker plugged in.
    • We played the ticket game again. A- wrote “boo” and “aaa” tickets, which we acted out. She also wrote a couple of “go” tickets, so I ran quick loops.
  • Art
    • “We are building a robot.” – A- and JW- playing with blocks.
  • Self-care and independence
    • We put faces on A-‘s shoes to help her make sure they were on the right feet.
    • A- asked me to walk on her right side so that she can see me. She’s blind on her left side, so she prefers to have the wall or the houses there.
    • I took A- to the dentist because she reported that her teeth were itchy. The dentist said that her teeth are still okay, and the tooth decay we’ve been monitoring is also stable. Might be due to mouth breathing because of congestion, or maybe allergies.
  • Eating
    • We had finished all of our snacks and A- was still hungry, so she chose to try a taco. (“Yummy!”) She was still hungry after that, so we had a muffin. In the evening, she happily talked about going out for lunch.
  • Sleep
    • A- stayed up so late. She wanted to sleep in a pretend bassinet, and then she wanted to snuggle, and then she wanted to talk, and then she wanted to sleep on the crib mattress… She just needed a limit. When I was firm, she cried for a little while and then fell asleep.
    • A- had a rough day. She pushed another kid at school because she wanted to sit on the letter A and the other kid didn’t want to move, so she had to spend some time on the cool down couch. She’s been staying up late these past few nights, so I think that’s part of it. She wanted to spend the afternoon with me instead of being dropped off at the flexible childcare program. At home, she had a few meltdowns about not wanting to go to school because she was tired. She still resisted going to bed, wanting me to read lots of books and talking about how she missed W-. She fell asleep at 6:40pm. I think it might be worth nudging her more firmly to bed in the evening. We had experimented with doing productive things like getting groceries or cooking in the time between dinner and sleep because she had kept resisting bedtime, but the old approach seemed to have worked better.
    • A- only went to sleep when I got mildly grumpy with her.
  • Emotion
    • I was going to read Where the Wild Things Are to A-, but she was terrified of the monster on the cover and wanted me to return the book to the library. As we were talking about her feelings, she took the opportunity to tell me that she was also scared by Little Robot and by Journey. Little Robot had a scary robot chase as well as a locked-up situation. I asked her what she found scary in Journey, and she said it was the cage. She fell asleep in my arms after lots of reassurance from me. Being scared is tiring! I’m putting those books away for now, and we might ease into them again when she’s older. I’m glad we can talk about these things!
  • Household
    • A- still wasn’t sleepy, so we made a batch of macaroons while W- prepared a few meals for the week.
    • A- helped me make duck pot pie.
  • Social
    • A- said, “I want to have a long talk.” She shared her discomfort with one of the kids who often wanted to play with her when she wanted to play by herself, and we talked about some things she could try. I want to work on helping her come up with ideas for solving problems.
  • Cognition
    • I was surprised by how well A- did at the subtraction, reading, and general question flashcards JW- had. The two of them patiently went through one side of a Brain Quest deck with me, answering practically all the questions. A- recognized a number of words by looking at the letters or listening to me sound them out, and she solved problems like “If you have 8 keys and lose 2, how many do you have left?” She might have been silently using the visual cues on the flashcard (counting the number of un-crossed-out objects), but even if she was, that’s still cool.
  • World
    • A-‘s kindergarten readiness program had a workshop at the library. The librarian did some songs and rhymes, read a few books, and gave us a tour of the library’s section for children’s books. One of the books that the librarian read was one we had also borrowed, so A- perked up and said, “We have that one at home!”
    • “I only have six dollars. Can I please order [a LEGO set] online?”
  • Other
    • A- walked back home from the organic food store without gloves or a jacket. I had them. She just didn’t want to wear them.
    • We tried looking for extra-small gloves at MEC, but they didn’t have any.
  • Oops
    • I almost lost A-‘s shoes because they fell off her feet while she was asleep. Fortunately, I found them when we doubled back: one on the sidewalk, and one at the bus stop!

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Business 2.7 6.3 3.6 10.6 6.1
Discretionary – Play 1.7 3.8 2.0 6.3 3.4
Discretionary – Family 0.1 1.1 1.0 1.8 1.7
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.6 0.6 1.0 1.0
Sleep 34.7 35.2 0.5 59.2 0.8
A- 41.8 41.5 -0.4 69.7 -0.6
Personal 5.6 4.1 -1.5 6.8 -2.6
Unpaid work 6.0 4.4 -1.6 7.3 -2.7
Discretionary – Productive 7.4 3.1 -4.2 5.3 -7.1

Weekly review: Week ending November 8, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I finished reading the play therapy textbook. I’d like to get the hang of child-centered play and helping A- work through stuff, hypothesizing about what she might be thinking, and inviting her to explore alternatives.
    • I experimented with using the Canva app to document our day. I like the way that I can set up picture slots with different categories.
    • I added an image field to my journal database. It seems to do a good job of capturing the file name from a selected image.
    • Hmm, selecting images in Memento Cloud won’t work because the app tries to back up the images to the cloud, so it runs out of space. I might need to think a bit more about the workflow I want.
  • Us
    • I refactored my Python code for estate planning so that it could process different scenarios based on a table.
    • I tried out Jupyter notebooks and graphed my journal categories by date.
    • I read about text classification methods.
    • I finished reading 12 Best Practices for Early Childhood Education. It was a good reminder to believe in the competence of children and to value focus over schedules. I also want to work on conversations, projects, and documentation, maybe taking more of an intentional research stance. Much to learn…
  • Gross motor
    • A- made real snowballs and had fun throwing them at me after checking that I was ready for them.
  • Fine motor
    • We tried out the 5-star mode in Cursive Writing Wizard, which makes things progressively harder. A- can complete straight lines when only the starting points are shown, but she can’t do curves with the accuracy needed by the program.
  • Sensory
    • I found the container of glass pebbles that I had bought before. A- really liked pouring the glass pebbles from one container to the other, feeling them rub against her fingers, and pretending they were pocket change.
    • We blew giant bubbles on the porch. The bubble solution was old, so we had a harder time making bubbles, but we still got a few medium-sized ones. A- figured out how to work with it before I did, and delighted in teaching me. She also had fun kicking the bubbles.
  • Language
    • After kindergarten readiness, we stayed at the library and read lots of books. We also spent some time playing at the drop-in centre.
    • A- sounded out the reversed letters she saw on the library window. “L-I-B-R-A…” (and here she walked to see the rest of the letters) “…R-Y. Library!” That’s probably part reading, part memory, and part guessing from context. Pretty cool!
    • We practised spelling three-letter words using magnetic letters on the freezer.
    • A- wanted to practice signing in by tracing the letters of her name.
    • “I have an awesomeness dial and a funny dial. I have dials all over me.”
    • W- helped A- pair up jigsaw pieces with words and pictures.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- likes making her bed so that the quilt is flat and covers her pillow a little bit. She also likes to make sure there’s space between her mattress and my mattress, both of which are on the floor.
    • At bedtime, A- and I watch a couple of short videos, talk a lot, and read many books. When I approach my limit and want to nudge her along to bed, I tell A- that she’s in charge of entertaining herself and I’m in charge of myself. Then I switch to reading a grown-up book so that she can get used to independent activity and that she’ll also see me reading. She’s taken to switching off the lights and tucking herself into bed in order to get me to stop reading, which is fine by me.
    • Music class became a drop-off class. I offered A- a hug before she went in, and she declined. So far, the kids seem to be doing fine. I used the time to do Emacs News and catch up on my journal.
    • The music class changed to a drop-off class. I put together Emacs News and chatted with another parent while waiting outside. A- handled it just fine on her own. After the class, A-‘s music teacher complimented her on her listening skills.
    • A- is slowly growing more independent. She likes making her bed, and she insists on having some space between her mattress and mine. She fell asleep in her own bed two days in a row, although she still wanted to hold my hand as she fell asleep.
    • A- used a kitchen towel to try to wipe up the mess she made while experimenting with blueberries, yogurt, and seaweed. She also frequently wiped her hands while eating. I think she might be getting the hang of this.
    • A-‘s ocularist showed us Elli the Elephant, a special stuffed toy that also has an ocular prosthesis. A- was so happy to see a toy like her. We’ve written to ask for one too. He also adjusted A-‘s scleral shell so that it’s a little smaller.
    • A- got the CD from the library book and asked me to put it in the CD player. She followed along with the page turn signal and a bit of prompting.
  • Eating
    • A- experimented with putting yogurt on seaweed and wrapping it up into a small packet. She liked slurping the yogurt and then eating the seaweed afterwards. She handed each of us seaweed and said, “Everybody science!”
    • A- ate lots of lentil soup, salmon, and watermelon. She liked thinking of the lentil soup as baby food, since we had pureed it.
  • Sleep
    • A- slept a couple of hours later than normal. W- came home late because of traffic, and A-‘s schedule was also shifted because of her tantrum and nap.
  • Emotion
    • A- was having fun playing peekaboo with a scarf, sometimes draping it over my head. When it got a little too stuffy because she was holding it down, I said, “No, thank you,” and stopped playing the game. She had a long tantrum (probably overtired) and eventually fell asleep.
    • A- threw the kitchen towel on the floor and asked me to pick it up. I told her that I didn’t want to play that game. She fell asleep on the floor midway through a tantrum, and continued the tantrum after waking up. The tantrum shifted to being about not wanting to be on her feet. As usual, I offered to snuggle her sitting down, but I didn’t want to carry her for long. She really wanted to be carried. When I needed to go to the bathroom, she crawled upstairs with me, still having a tantrum. She eventually calmed down after I set out dinner and started eating. She wanted me to feed her. I fed her a bit to take the edge off, and then she fed herself.

      I’m still a little divided about not carrying her. On one hand, she finds it hard to calm down on her own, and co-regulating is probably good. On the other hand, she’s having the tantrum because I gently set boundaries when she doesn’t want to walk around and do things for herself, so I don’t want to reinforce that, especially as a result of a tantrum. Besides, she’s getting a bit heavy and hard to carry. That’s why I offer to snuggle her sitting down, but she really wants to be carried. It must be hard being a three-year-old. She sometimes talks about wanting to be a baby. When we’re both in a good mood, I sometimes play along and snuggle her extra. Things to think about more… Maybe I can get better at offering a snuggle when I detect she’s starting to lose her emotional balance.

  • Household
    • We tidied up the garden and got it ready for winter. A- liked bringing the cuttings to the bin, and she also helped bring the tomato cages to the shed. I didn’t put much time into the garden this year, and we didn’t learn from it as much as we could have. Still, it was good to have tomatoes and chives from the garden.
    • A- helped us tidy up the garden. She liked taking the trimmings to the bin, and she even helped me carry tomato cages to the shed.
  • Social
    • We’ve been experimenting with using the same sharing/turn-taking rules at home as the drop-in centres. Instead of invoking ownership (“It’s A-‘s playdough, so she gets to choose.”), we’re trying out waiting for turns and looking for other things to offer or to do.
    • A-‘s regular babysitter does an interesting job of leading A- in play by telling stories while she demonstrates how to build with Duplo. I wonder if I can try a similar technique to occasionally raise A-‘s level of play.
  • Pretend
    • A- pretended to be her music teacher, consulting her notes (really, a grown-up book) to see what songs to sing next.
    • A- pretended to measure different ingredients during water play. She mentioned flour, salt, olive oil, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.
    • A- pretended to deliver packages just like in the Digby Dog book.
    • A- wanted to watch the Lego pizza video again, but I wasn’t keen on it because it was just entertainment. W- diverted her by pretending she was pizza, smoothening her out and sprinkling toppings. She had lots of fun with that. W- played with her for around half an hour. When he excused himself to do other things, she quieted down. I misread her mood and headed in for more horseplay, so she tossed a few puzzle pieces at me probably out of reflex. We got in sync, watched one more video, and then settled into bed.
  • Cognition
    • A- and I checked out the activities in gcompris. We weren’t too keen on them, so I’ll probably want to look around for other Android or web-based apps, or maybe even learn how to make my own.
    • A- breezed through all eight stages of the RelationShapes game on the tablet.
    • “I have some yogurt and then I have a blueberry. I’m making a pattern.”
  • World
    • I was a little frustrated because A- wanted to put all the eggs into water and also pour water on bread. Fortunately, W- helped me calm down by reminding me that it was just stuff. He noticed what A- was doing and chatted with her about what she was thinking about. It turned out that she was recreating a video about checking if eggs were still fresh, and another video about resuscitating bread by wetting it and then baking it.
    • A- wanted me to make boy and girl playdough figures. Then she asked me how bladders work, so we put tiny playdough urinary systems on top.
    • We visited A-‘s Popo. A- had lots of fun eating snacks and playing with stuff while I showed Popo pictures and helped her with her phone. I told Popo about A-‘s interest in how the body works. A- pointed out that she was chewing her food with her teeth. I asked her where the food would go next, and she said, “The esophagus!”
    • Anticipating snow: “I want to see what’s outside today!”
  • Other
    • I started thinking about what a good first computing experience might be for A-. I figured that it might be interesting to look for positive ways to use technology, especially since we can modify it to fit what we want. I checked out gcompris, but I wasn’t too keen on it. It might be interesting to play with simple word processing, reviewing videos and pictures, maybe learning spelling, working with math manipulatives, and maybe some programming together later on… A- wants to learn so much. If I make her some tools for exploring, I wonder what she’ll do with them. We’ll still do lots of real-life stuff, but it might be interesting to add digital tools.
    • I made a collage of captioned snow-related pictures for A-. She noticed it when she came down in the morning and immediately asked W- to read it to her. She also read it to herself.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Productive 7.3 14.8 7.5 25.0 12.6
A- 42.7 43.4 0.7 73.4 1.2
Discretionary – Family 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Play 2.4 2.3 -0.1 3.9 -0.2
Discretionary – Social 0.9 0.6 -0.3 1.0 -0.5
Unpaid work 2.5 2.1 -0.4 3.6 -0.6
Business 4.3 1.9 -2.4 3.2 -4.0
Personal 6.4 3.8 -2.5 6.5 -4.2
Sleep 33.5 31.0 -2.6 52.3 -4.3

Weekly review: Week ending November 1, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • At the end of the family math program we went to, the teacher pulled me aside to give me some tips. She said that A- reminded her of her son because A- is pretty quick and knows what she wants to do. She shared how her son had gotten bored in school, so she asked the teacher to engage him by asking him to help some of his classmates learn. She also asked the teacher to borrow interesting books from other classrooms, since he had read all the ones in their classroom already. She said that teachers sometimes have their hands full with the other students, so it may help to have specific ideas to try.
  • Us
    • I did some more Python modeling and explored a few different scenarios.
    • I managed to work one and a half hours while A- was at her kindergarten readiness program. It’s not quite enough time to get deeply into a program, but because it’s during the business day, I can coordinate with people and do some troubleshooting.
    • I gave away 700+ temporary tattoos for Halloween, 2-4 at a time. I hope they survived the rain! We also gave away some sweet treats.
    • It’s getting quite chilly. Definitely time for thermals!
    • We had the Emacs Conf 2019 conference, hooray! We survived the inevitable tech hiccups thanks to our preparations and a wonderful community of patient attendees and volunteers. Lots of good stuff to learn from, talk about, and build on. I’m looking forward to actually being able to watch the talks instead of running around like a headless chicken. =) Doing it as a virtual conference worked out really, really well, and I look forward to doing that again next year!
  • Fine motor
    • I was sick, so I catnapped on the couch. When I checked on A-, I found that she had scribbled fairly recognizable letters on pieces of paper: B, D, C, R.
  • Language
    • On eating salmon: “I officially like skin.” I wasn’t sure if A- intended the pun or not (o-FISH-ally?), but it made me smile.
    • The Esso family math program reminded me to help A- practise using comparison words like big, bigger, and biggest. So when A- wanted to pretend to throw snowballs at each other, I told her I was throwing a heavy snowball at her. She echoed it back, saying she threw a heavy snowball at me. I said I threw a heavier snowball at her, and she said she threw the heaviest snowball at me. I then pretended to fall down and get trapped under the snowball, which amused her greatly.
    • A- negotiated for one more video by saying, “One more. it was a very smooth bedtime routine.”
    • A- spelled her name out with stickers.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- and I were handing out candy for Halloween. We included some that A- had sorted out of her trick-or-treating harvest. W- brought out a container of Rockets that A- had collected. A- said, “Let’s not give those away.”
    • A- was interested in taking a Thermos food container to school. She asked if J- had grown out of them, and if she was growing into them.
    • A- and I got our flu shots. She was definitely not keen on it going in, but I insisted. She was still upset afterwards, although she calmed down after getting a couple of stickers. I wonder if I can try other ways to help her cope.
    • W- reinstalled the lights in A-‘s room. They’re placed low enough for her to turn on and off by herself. A- had asked for them back a week or two ago, saying, “Now that I’m good at listening, can we reinstall my lights?” We had experimented with them when she was much younger, but we took them away because she kept flicking them on and off when it was bedtime. Now it seems to be okay.
  • Eating
    • A- ate a lot of salmon. I found that eating pomegranate together with pomelo was a nice combination.
  • Emotion
    • A- was a little stubborn after her kindergarten readiness program’s Halloween party. She insisted on going all the way up the stairs, and wouldn’t come back down so that I could get our things. I didn’t feel comfortable letting her wait there, since she might wander off or make people concerned that she’s unattended. Eventually she got tempted back down by circle time, and that gave me a opportunity to collect our stuff. I wonder if the party had been a little overstimulating, as the music was a bit loud.
  • Social
    • A- was not getting along with the babysitter. She had felt self-conscious earlier because the babysitter had asked if her eye was okay when A- was rubbing it. A- had tried to change the subject with, “Let’s go play,” but the babysitter had persisted. The babysitter also kept calling her by a nickname even when she asked to be called by her full name. As a result, A- kept wanting to go play with W- or me instead, and that wasn’t working out. I also didn’t like how the babysitter preferred to sit by herself and be on her phone whenever A- wandered downstairs to look for us, instead of accompanying A-, narrating what was going on, helping A- stay safe and out of the way, and looking for something to draw A- back. So I dismissed the babysitter a few hours early and spent the rest of the time playing with A-. I also talked to A- about more explicit requests like saying, “I don’t want to talk about it,” and I started thinking about what tips to give babysitters to help the two of them get along. I know it’s pretty challenging because we’re all home. She likes her favourite babysitters so much that she asks me why I’ve come upstairs, but new babysitters are hit-or-miss. We’ll try a few more, and if that doesn’t work, then I’ll probably shift to only having weekend sitters when A-‘s favourite ones are available, and having weekday sitters otherwise.
    • I was sick and sleepy, so W- played with A- a bit at bedtime. He was trying to get her to stay in the room so that he could go downstairs and bring up some Duplo, but she wanted to stay with him. He told her that he could go faster if he went by himself. She said, “Together we have four hands.”
    • We were on the subway train home. I told A-, “I love you.” A- loudly proclaimed, laughing, “I love ketchup more than I love Mama.” I laughed too. She followed up with, “I love fries more than I love Mama.” Someone in the seat across from us was laughing and laughing at the conversation.
    • The kindergarten readiness teacher said that the kids had a hard time listening that day. I asked A- about it later. She said, “I listened to the teacher. She gave me a thumbs up.” When I saw the teacher, she confirmed that A- did okay.
    • A- was eating dinner while on W-‘s lap, and her hands were messy. “These were clean pants, honey,” he remonstrated. She picked up a kitchen towel and proceeded to dab at his shirt.
    • A- played I Spy with her grandmother over video chat. That worked out pretty well.
  • Pretend
    • A- wanted to be a kitty firefighter for Halloween, so I opened the face paint kit and painted her face.
  • Cognition
    • A- helped me make Halloween loot bags for a few kids we know personally. She distributed one of each kind of candy into the bags.
  • World
    • W- took A- for her first hair cut at a salon. We decided to go with a grown-up salon instead of having to fight with all the toy purchase temptations at the kids’ salon near us. The hair stylist probably got the better end of the deal, since she just did maybe 10 minutes of trimming and still got her full fee. Still, it’s a good way to slowly get used to things like that!

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Business 0.9 4.3 3.4 7.2 5.7
Personal 4.8 6.4 1.6 10.7 2.7
Discretionary – Play 1.5 2.4 0.9 4.1 1.5
Discretionary – Social 0.4 0.9 0.5 1.5 0.8
Sleep 33.2 33.5 0.3 56.3 0.5
Discretionary – Family 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Unpaid work 3.0 2.5 -0.6 4.2 -0.9
A- 43.8 42.7 -1.1 71.8 -1.8
Discretionary – Productive 12.3 7.3 -5.1 12.2 -8.5

Weekly review: Week ending October 25, 2019

  • Us
    • It was really easy to use pandas in Python to pivot a table. I’m glad I’m doing this in code instead of in spreadsheets!
    • I drafted thank you cards on my phone at night and then wrote them while A- was at kindergarten readiness class. It was nice to put some thought into it.
    • While A- played with H-, I helped Melissa set up email and think about business.
    • We tested the streaming setup for Emacs Conf.
  • Fine motor
    • A- scribbled loops.
  • Language
    • “What do you want to bring for show and tell today? Sheep or water bottle?” “Both. Sheep is for show and tell, and water bottle is for snack time. That’s pretty reasonable.”
    • A- made up a rhyming song.
    • A- delighted in pointing out rhyming words.
    • A- looked at the sign on the streetcar. “Why does the streetcar have ‘POP’?” I explained that POP stands for proof of payment. She’s reading signs!
  • Self-care and independence
    • W- observed that A- gets a little more talkative when she’s sick. When the babysitter arrived, A- announced, “I’m more chatty than normal.”
  • Emotion
    • A- had a tantrum about not wanting to walk and not wanting to feed herself. She said, “I don’t like walking. it wastes my energy.” I held firm, and she eventually calmed down.
  • Social
    • We established firmer boundaries about picking A- up to calm her down when she’s upset. She’s getting heavier, so it’s not working so well for me, and I also want to help her get better at calming down on her own. I said I can snuggle her while sitting down if she needs a hug, but carrying her is for when we feel good about each other and I have lots of energy.
    • H- was having a hard time on the playdate. I asked A- if she wanted to wrap up. She said, “I want to wait for H- to calm down and then play after.”
    • A- often talks about bucket filling and bucket dipping. I’m glad we followed Kathy’s recommendation to check out “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”, since it seems to give her useful words for describing social behaviour.
    • We made thank you cards and gifts for A-‘s teachers. A- insisted on giving them the gift cards herself, and she also dictated her own cards to give in addition to the ones I wrote.
    • “I want my fingernails to be pretty for people. I should paint my fingernails at home soon.”
    • We had a group video chat with A-‘s Lola and Tita Kathy. A- was mostly watching them catch up. Lola asked Tita Kathy, “Do you want me to send dried mangoes over for Christmas?” A- said, “Hmm. Of course.”
    • A- was really set on going on a car trip with W- and the babysitter, so they came along as W- took care of a few errands.
    • “Now that I’ve tried it, it’s my favourite.”
  • Cognition
    • The family math program session focused on comparison words (small, smaller, smallest; big, bigger, biggest; …). It was a good reminder to work those words into playdough time. There was a shape-sorting activity and a colour-sorting activity where kids picked one type of thing to collect and then they scrambled to get those things from a pile on the floor. The kids also glued paper-and-pompom fruit trees with sequences of numbers.
    • I asked the teacher about structured learning time. Seems like a good idea to start with something small (maybe 5-10 minutes), fun, and interesting, and then make that kind of planned activity part of the routine. I can also do a lot by infusing more learning into A-‘s free play time at drop-in centres. I wonder if I should have a little structured tracing time every day so that I can help A- learn how to write her name…
    • I thought the RelationShapes app was just a little too advanced for A- because resizing and rotating the shapes is a little hard for her, and she tends to move things around randomly or rely on the magic wand to give her clues. She revisited some earlier levels, though, and she was able to do them with just a bit of verbal prompting. She’s curious about the game, so it might be something handy to keep around. I wonder if there’s a dice-based board game I can have on my phone that requires us to move tokens, or if it makes sense to just have a random number generator and draw the board on my sketchpad.
  • World
    • H- and A- played with the screen door, pouring and spraying water on it. They tried many interesting things.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 35.6 43.8 8.2 73.6 13.8
Discretionary – Productive 9.6 12.3 2.8 20.7 4.6
Business 0.0 0.9 0.9 1.5 1.5
Personal 4.1 4.8 0.7 8.0 1.1
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.4 0.4 0.7 0.7
Discretionary – Family 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.7 1.5 -0.2 2.5 -0.3
Sleep 36.1 33.2 -2.8 55.8 -4.7
Unpaid work 13.0 3.0 -9.9 5.1 -16.7

Weekly review: Week ending October 18, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • We passed down the potties and A-‘s old clothes to some neighbours. Yay clearing up space!
    • I made a ham and asparagus pizza to use up leftovers. The pizza crust I made was still a bit denser than pizzas made with supermarket dough. Ham and asparagus turned out to be a great combination.
    • I learned how to use the pandas library in Python to model our finances. I really like how literate programming with Emacs and Org Mode makes it easier for me to write notes or change assumptions along the way, and how working with pandas dataframes lets me slice the data more easily than with spreadsheets.
  • Us
    • I made red bean buns to take to Thanksgiving dinner.
    • I backed up my phone using Samsung SmartSwitch and adb backup.
    • I drafted a wiki page for the Emacs conference schedule.
    • I spent the whole day tweaking and recording my presentation for EmacsConf 2019 so that Amin can play it just in case A- needs me during that time on Nov 2. I also sent Amin some money for possibly upgrading a VPS so that we can self-host the livestream with free software.
  • Gross motor
    • W- made a simple hopscotch board on the kitchen floor with tape, and A- had fun jumping around on two feet.
  • Self-care and independence
    • Getting A-‘s clarithromycin compounded with bubblegum flavour worked really well. She even said, “I love my medicine.”
  • Sleep
    • A- wanted to stay up and play. I said snuggling was a limited time offer and that I could sleep on my own. She immediately said she was tired. She still took a while to settle down, but definitely got back on track to sleep.
  • Emotion
    • A- was upset because she accidentally popped her balloon by sticking tape to it and then trying to peel the tape off.
  • Social
    • We celebrated Thanksgiving with W-‘s family. A- ate a whole popsicle all by herself.
    • At the drop-in centre, A- played a lot with H-. I ended up just chatting with the other grown-ups. I wonder what an even better way to use this time could be… I like to check on her every so often, so reading is a little challenging. Maybe drawing, because I can switch between thoughts and drawing her? Crochet – maybe amigurumi?
    • A- had lots of fun with the babysitter. Maybe there’s something to that book I read that mentioned how 3.5-year-olds can do better with other people… A- still prefers me over school (probably because of the structure), but she definitely has lots of fun with babysitters.
  • Cognition
    • I checked out the Agam method mentioned in the early math textbook I’ve been reading. I downloaded RelationShapes on my phone, and A- tried it out. It seems to be an interesting challenge for her.
    • We talked to the kindergarten readiness program teacher about A-‘s progress as part of evaluations. She said that A- is a good listener who quickly figures out the new activities and games that the teachers explain. A- is highly verbal and is happy to contribute to the conversation. They’re working with her on getting better at tracing worksheets.
    • I finished reading “Learning and Teaching Early Math,” making a few pages of notes along the way. I’m looking forward to sneaking more math into our play. Yay!
  • World
    • A- asked W-, “Why are you XY?” It took W- a few seconds to realize that she was asking about chromosomes.
  • Other
    • A- really liked the sport water bottle that her cousin passed down to her. It was a freebie from an escape room and a little bit big for her, but she liked the spout.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Productive 0.0 9.6 9.6 16.1 16.1
Unpaid work 3.8 13.0 9.2 21.8 15.4
Sleep 35.5 36.1 0.5 60.6 0.9
Discretionary – Family 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.9 1.7 -0.2 2.8 -0.4
Personal 5.3 4.1 -1.2 6.9 -2.1
Discretionary – Social 2.4 0.0 -2.4 0.0 -4.0
Business 2.8 0.0 -2.8 0.0 -4.7
A- 48.2 35.6 -12.6 59.8 -21.2