Category Archives: weekly

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Weekly review: Week ending December 6, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I reviewed the photos going back to A-‘s birth, culling similar ones. This should make it more fun to review the photos for collections.
    • I started matching up my image backups with my archiving decisions on Google Photos.
    • I used React to display and filter my journal entries, including a calendar view.
    • I looked into ways to give A- more impersonal limits when it comes to using my phone. I wrote a Tasker script that locked the screen after five minutes, and another one that locked the screen if it detected switching apps. Pinning the app would work too, but it’s a bit of a hassle to pin an app (select, swipe, select, select, select) and a pinned app means powering off doesn’t lock the screen.
  • Us
    • I sewed a super simple skirt for A- (100x36cm rectangle, 1″ hem, 1.5″ fold-over casing). I enjoyed putting it together. If she likes it, I’d be happy to make her more.
    • I finished the bicycle print skirt for A-.
  • Gross motor
    • A- ran round and round her kitchen platform. She said, “My feet are singing a song.”
    • A- pretended the crib mattress was an emergency slide and jumped on it. I checked out my cellphone camera’s slow motion mode and shared the results with A-, who then jumped many more times.
  • Fine motor
    • W- bought A- two LEGO sets: a dump truck and a snow plow. We helped her build them, since she still has a hard time positioning and pressing the pieces together. She enjoyed using the snow plow to push around some snow that we brought inside.
    • A- had fun building two Duplo buildings based on the instructions.
    • I was curious about how A- would do with worksheets at home. She traced all the letters on the Aa worksheet when I held her hand lightly, and she cut and pasted too.
    • After dinner, A- asked for a worksheet on the letter B and a worksheet on the number 10. She did all of the first and half of the second, and she also experimented with different ways of holding her pencil.
  • Sensory
    • A- had lots of fun catching bubbles and trying to blow big ones.
    • A- had been looking forward to sledding ever since the first snow of the season. She finally got to go up and down the block, and up and down the backyard too.
    • A- was curious about the translucent blocks on the light table.
  • Language
    • A- was pretending to be AG*. She wrote a passable copy of her name.
    • “I share my resources with kids who are more young than me.” Resources!
    • A- swiped through the modes in the camera app on my phone. She stopped at one and asked, “Is this for extra slow video?” I asked her, “How do you know?” She sounded out each of the letters: “S-l-o-w.” She’s reading and figuring things out!
    • A- pretended to have a Latin songbook. She sang “Here Comes the Magistra” pretty clearly.
    • While carrying A-, W- said, “Wait, how did you get to be so heavy?” A- said, “Weight,” and then proceeded to laugh uproariously.
  • Music
    • A- wanted to play Old Macdonald on the piano today. I labeled the keys and wrote the notes, and she slowly followed them!
    • A- wanted to learn another song on the piano, so I wrote down the notes for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
  • Art
    • A- and I explored the pastels that were in the art drawer. She liked blowing the coloured dust away from her, and I liked smudging colours together.
    • A- wanted to make Tsuki’s Treehouse. We made a very very basic copy with playdough and a yogurt container.
  • Self-care and independence
    • We revisited the public/private/homeschool question based on what we’d learned from kindergarten readiness. A- was fine talking to teachers and following routines. She usually preferred to observe others or play on her own. She found circle time a bit loud with 14 other kids enthusiastically singing, and she didn’t really follow along with singing or actions. She also didn’t like having all those transitions, since the program was a pretty structured 2-hour mix of activities. She wanted more time to do her own things. The progress report said that she could use more practice holding pencils and using scissors, which was a little surprising because she seems to do fine at home. She doesn’t seem keen to follow the instructions on worksheets, though, so that might be a confounding factor. I’m a little tempted to homeschool because A- does cool things with focused time, but I’m okay with trying public school first, especially since junior kindergarten is supposed to be more play-based. She’ll probably grow a lot over the next six months, anyway. We’ll see!
    • A- had a peppermint candy cane. She liked the taste, but felt it got stuck in her teeth. I tried scraping some of it off, and she asked me to brush her teeth a second time in the evening.
    • A- and her classmates graduated from kindergarten readiness! A- worked hard on dealing with separation anxiety and managing her emotions in the classroom. I’m glad she made it to this point. Still more to do, of course, but good work!
  • Eating
    • A- scarfed down lots of kale chips and green beans. I also tried making shake and bake from scratch.
  • Sleep
    • After a conversation about her feelings about playing with friends, A- fell asleep while I snuggled her on my lap and stroked her back. On other nights, the rain-sounds-and-snuggling routine helped her quickly go to bed too.
  • Emotion
    • A- cried about going to school and needed W- to come with us to the bus stop. She kept crying at drop-off, and one of the teachers had to help pry her off me. They said she calmed down for snack time. I think this might be influenced by poor sleep due to our coughs.
    • A- was almost tearful in the morning, telling us, “I don’t want Mama to leave. I feel lonely when I don’t have attention.” She was a little calm when I carried her to the bus stop, and she played happily with me at the drop-in centre before class. She cried at drop-off, though, and had to be peeled off again. She calmed down by snack time.
  • Household
    • A- made up her own recipe: fish, mayo, egg, rice, and omurice filling, all mixed up and fried. Pretty good!
    • We made zucchini muffins. A- said, “Now I want to make my own thing.” She looked in the fridge and chose eggs, oat milk, and a lemon. I suggested making lemon muffins, and we did. I got a little frazzled fixing my omission of vegetable oil while A- played with the batter, but I remembered that we were doing it to have fun cooking together, so we were able to turn it into a sensory activity with yummy muffins as a nice bonus.
    • A- wanted to do another cooking experiment with milk, a banana, and an egg. She mixed those up in a bowl. I helped her mash the banana. It was missing a little something, so she added yogurt and applesauce. I asked her how she wanted to cook it. She wanted me to fry it in a pan, so I suggested adding flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. We made pretty passable banana pancakes with no measurements. Fun!
    • A- helped tidy up at the drop-in centre we go to. She’s becoming quite a good helper.
  • Social
    • “I’m not a big kid. I’m a big girl.” Gender is pretty important to A- at the moment. She wants to wear “girl colours” (pink and purple), takes some offense at other kids’ difficulties with appropriate pronouns, and thinks about whether other people will recognize that she is a girl.
    • My throat was dry after reading lots of books, so I told A- I had to take a break from reading. She got another book and said to the parent worker, “My Mama’s throat is dry. Could you please read this to me?” Yay for problem-solving and resourcefulness!
    • We had Jen and E- over. The maple-crusted porkloin was yummy, and Jen introduced us to chia pudding. A- was so excited to see Jen. A- kept bringing her presents, and she even asked me for worksheets (probably to show off). A- and E- played hide and seek. They tried negotiating other games (E- wanted to play cat and A- wanted to play baby), but they didn’t come to an agreement. They did have a moment of laughing uproariously together, though. With a fair bit of parental involvement, they practised taking turns with a ball.
    • I spent most of the day coding on the couch while A- played nearby with the babysitter. A- periodically checked in with me for snuggles or attention. I was still able to concentrate enough to put together a prototype for my consulting client, so it worked out.
  • Pretend
    • A- liked her red robot skirt a lot, so we made matching skirts for Sheep and Baby.
    • A- used the table as a bunk bed for Doll and Sheep.
    • At A-‘s kindergarten readiness graduation ceremony, the teacher called her by name to get her certificate. A- walked over while saying, “You keep forgetting my name.” A- has been pretending to be AG, but no one has gotten the hang of calling her that, so she’s a little grumpy about it.
    • A- pretended to be a sandwich.
  • Cognition
    • A- used a ruler to make two marks and draw a line between them, just as she saw me do while sewing.
  • World
    • A- was curious about the “Fire away!” scene in the “Eraser” book, so I showed her how you could balance a ruler on top of a toilet paper roll and use it to launch objects.
    • A- remembered that I once melted cheese for her in a skillet, so she asked for it again. Then she experimented with dipping the melted cheese into water. She drank a little and said, “Yuck.” W- suggested experimenting with adding lime juice to water instead, so we helped her try 0-4 drops. It’s great that she likes to play with things in the kitchen!
    • A- scrolled through the modes on the camera app. “What’s this one for?” she asked. I said, “Food.” She turned to the table and took a picture of the food.
  • Other
    • A- was excited about the snow forecast for today. She woke up so quickly.
    • The babysitter finished her large bottle of water, so A- repurposed it. W- drilled a hole in the cap.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 41.2 45.5 4.3 76.4 7.2
Discretionary – Play 0.8 3.3 2.5 5.6 4.3
Discretionary – Social 0.6 1.2 0.6 2.0 1.0
Sleep 31.4 31.5 0.1 53.0 0.2
Business 1.6 1.5 -0.1 2.6 -0.1
Discretionary – Family 0.2 0.2 -0.0 0.3 -0.1
Personal 4.1 3.4 -0.7 5.7 -1.2
Unpaid work 6.3 5.4 -0.9 9.1 -1.5
Discretionary – Productive 13.8 7.9 -5.8 13.3 -9.8

Weekly review: Week ending November 29, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I went through the Google Photos archive, deleting or archiving photos that were similar to other photos. Now the photos after Dec 2017 should be easier to skim. I’m thinking of writing a small tool that will make it easy for me to match up photos with journal entries from a CSV.
    • I used opencv to try to detect spans and reshape my long sketchnotes into other shapes. That would make it easier for me to review notes from Samsung Notes.
    • I dug deeper into Samsung Notes, Autodesk Sketchbook, and Medibang Paint. I think I’ll try making my next few notes in Medibang Paint, since I prefer its smoothing, colour selection, and PNG export.
  • Us
    • I uploaded the Emacs conference videos to Youtube, added links to the description, and replied to the Reddit thread asking about them.
    • While A- and H- played, I helped Melissa with Inkscape and Canva.
    • I made a React and Express thing to display pictures and journal entries.
    • I read “The ‘Me Me Me’ Epidemic” and took notes on my phone. I liked how it had practical tips on establishing boundaries and encouraging self-efficacy.
    • A two-book day! I skimmed “Practical Wisdom for Parents” while A- was in class and “Teach the Whole Preschooler” while A- played with playdough and while settling her into bed.
    • I gave some feedback on an application to an entrepreneurship program.
    • I was a bit inefficient on the bicycle today, going back and forth for things I’d forgotten. Still, it felt great to be out.
    • I sewed some shorts for A-. They’re a little too loose, so I need to adjust the elastic.
  • Gross motor
    • We swam at the community centre near St. Clair and Lawrence. A- wanted me to bike there, so I did.
    • I realized I had a library book that was due that night, so A- and I went for a walk. She made it all the way there and back!
  • Fine motor
    • A- practised snapping her fingers close to our ears so that we could hear her. When she did it, she opened her hand and said, “Magic!”
    • A- wanted to juice some oranges. I said it was okay as long as she squeezed them herself.
  • Language
    • A- was curious about Tsuki’s diary entries and came up with some of her own.
    • A- picked up some words from the Song School Latin book and CD. She said, “Salve! Salve!” to people walking by.
    • A- can use long phrasal adjectives: “That’s a turning-lights-on chair.”
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- started off a bit scared at the playground. “I don’t feel very safe,” she said, and she needed help navigating the playset. She eventually regained her confidence.
    • A- reminded me to bring her indoor shoes, so we went back. Still made it to school on time!
    • A- wanted me to stay close by as she played with the babysitter, and she occasionally needed cuddle breaks. That’s okay, it’s a long-term investment. I worked on my laptop on the sofa, and then I cooked dinner.
    • A- didn’t want to wear any of her other clothes because she wanted something with “girl colours.” She asked me to make a skirt for her, so we went to the fabric store. She ended up picking a red version of some robot flannel we had used for her bibs long ago.
    • A- used some of her allowance to buy Ritz crackers and chicharon. She also insisted on buying two types of pasta herself, even going so far as to take them back out of our basket when we offered to pay for them. I decided to reimburse her when we got home, though, since she’s saving up for a LEGO kit.
  • Sleep
    • A- was bothered by some sounds, so we tried out using my phone to play rain sounds. She eventually fell asleep. Throughout the week, I experimented with sitting up and pattting A- to sleep instead of lying down with her. It seems like a promising way to help her sleep while still having some time for myself in the evening. I explained to her that I tended to start falling asleep if I lay down with her, and since she still falls asleep slowly, that sometimes meant I got cranky, and I didn’t want to get cranky. She seems to accept that reasoning.
    • I experimented with just patting A-‘s back and shushing if she woke up in the middle of the night. She kept waking up, though, and eventually insisted on snuggling with me. Maybe she got cold? She didn’t want a blanket, though.
    • Rough night. A- was too awake after a late afternoon nap, so she kept fidgeting in bed. I was getting crankier and crankier because I was tired and feeling sick. Eventually W- had to step in. He played with A- while I napped in our room, and then he woke me up when A- was more ready for sleep.
  • Emotion
    • A- had a tantrum about wanting to make rice. W- had been a bit frustrated from that morning’s slow start, so he ended up flipping his lid a bit too. Fortunately, I stayed calm, so we were able to deescalate.
    • A- and I talked about school. She said she wanted only mommy all the time.
    • A- had a tantrum about being on her feet. W- picked her up because she was having a hard time.
  • Household
    • A- helped rake the leaves.
    • I was worrying about finding an uncatalogued library book that we needed to return. I read out the numbers I was looking for. A- held up a book and asked if it was it, and it was! It was probably coincidental, but still much appreciated.
    • A- still had plenty of energy after our bedtime routine, so she helped me wash dishes, sort laundry, and tidy up. Then we painted together, and she independently played with playdough for a bit.
  • Social
    • H- painted A-‘s nails.
    • A- asked, “What kind of water are you giving me?” I answered, “Coconut.” A- deliberately turned away from me as I poured it, saying, “I’m making it a surprise.” When I finished pouring, I said, “Surprise!” She asked, “What kind of water is this?” I said, “It’s coconut!”
  • World
    • A- and I talked about Santa and presents.
  • Oops
    • I accidentally knocked my glasses off my face and onto the road, so one of the lenses chipped. Since my emergency pairs are in worse condition, I ordered two more pairs from Zenni.

Blog posts

Time

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Productive 3.1 13.8 10.6 23.1 17.9
Unpaid work 4.4 6.3 1.9 10.6 3.3
Personal 4.1 4.1 0.1 6.9 0.1
Discretionary – Social 0.6 0.6 -0.0 1.0 -0.0
A- 41.5 41.2 -0.3 69.2 -0.5
Discretionary – Family 1.1 0.2 -0.9 0.4 -1.5
Discretionary – Play 3.8 0.8 -3.0 1.4 -5.0
Sleep 35.2 31.4 -3.8 52.7 -6.4
Business 6.3 1.6 -4.7 2.7 -7.9

I stayed up late a few nights to do some coding, I read while A- was at kindergarten readiness, and I prioritized personal projects instead of consulting. That’s why Discretionary – Productive had such a big jump. It felt good to work on my own things, though.

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