Category Archives: weekly

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Weekly review: Week ending June 26, 2020

On reflection, I’d like to get back to a weekly review. A month is too long. A week is just about the right size for me to think about things. I’ve been able to fit 2-3 hours of discretionary time after A-‘s bedtime, which is great for making progress on all these things I’ve been putting off. For A-‘s part, I’d like to practise pedagogical documentation by picking just a few moments and reflecting more deeply on them.

Journal: I added draft images (automatically copied from my phone camera via Syncthing) so that I can use them to prompt my diary entries without worrying about cluttering up my thumbnail directory with images I haven’t reviewed. I also tweaked the views so that it’s easier to look at images while adding entries or browsing around.

Education: I attended an EarlyON kindergarten Q&A session while W- played with A-. It was reassuring hearing about how to prepare A- for more independence and how schools might adapt. It looks like online learning for kindergarten right now is more of a list of activity ideas, but if I look for parent education or teacher education resources, I think that might be awesome.

I sketched an overview of thirty-one expectations in the Ontario Kindergarten 2016 curriculum (KP). I then traced it in Inkscape based on a brightness cut-off and reorganized it onto a letter-sized page. For fun, I resized it to an index card and retyped the text using my font. After printing with evince instead of Inkscape, I got it to print the index card. Whee!

I tend to keep anecdotal notes in my journal, focusing on what happened. To raise these to the level of pedagogical documentation, I can start reflecting on the thinking behind the actions and what she might want to explore next.

A-: A- is now pretty comfortable on a pedal bike on the sidewalk and in parking lots. Biking is becoming one of her favourite activities. She says “Too much sitting around!” and asks to go biking. (KP: 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3) She can start, stop, pedal, balance, and turn, all without training wheels. She’s good at looking ahead, slowing down, and pulling to the side in order to keep the right distance from other people on the sidewalk. She can even talk while biking figure-eights around us. We still stay close to her to help her bike safely, of course. She wants to know when it will be okay for me to ride my bike while she rides her bike. We won’t get there for a while, but someday! Pretty cool, considering she first got on a pedal bike on June 6. Three weeks!

A- made the connection between my work = earning money = sharing some of that money with her = being able to buy more LEGO sets with her allowance. She asked me to work while she played with LEGO and with the tablet. She spent some time checking out Khan Academy Kids. When I finished the task I wanted to do, I said that I was ready to play with her again. She said it was okay if I worked a little more. I think this might be a good way for her to practise being independent. When she feels ready to play on her own, she can suggest that I do some consulting. There’s always something to do, and she can see me having fun solving problems. Then we can wrap up when she wants to reconnect. (KP 2.1, 2.3, 8.4, 8.5, 20.4)

A- is keenly aware of her progress towards her savings goal, especially with the graph we made. (KP 19.2) She’s been patiently waiting for it for weeks. Sometimes she chooses to spend on other things (Pocky, other LEGO sets), and sometimes she chooses to delay gratification and save for the set.

In Khan Academy Kids, she found it easy to solve the puzzles for 4-year-olds: letters, sounds, colours, shapes, numbers, ordinals, …. Puzzles with moving parts were sometimes a little rattling for her, so that might be good for her to practice. I wonder if it has something to do with the form of the puzzle, too. She liked the bubble-popping one and did well with that, but the balloon-dragging one ended up with her just trying everything. (KP 11.8, 17, 20) I switched my account to a teacher account so that I can see her progress. Khan Academy Kids doesn’t have an API for exporting the data, so I’ll keep track of it in a table.

I’m curious about linking my journal entries to curriculum expectations. Maybe tags can help. I wonder how I can get better at thinking with the different frames described in that kindergarten curriculum document, too. Lots of fun things to learn about!

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work 1.5 4.4 3.0 7.5 5.0
Business 1.1 2.5 1.4 4.2 2.4
Discretionary – Productive 8.4 8.8 0.4 14.8 0.8
Personal 3.8 4.2 0.4 7.0 0.6
Discretionary – Family 0.3 0.6 0.3 1.0 0.5
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Sleep 32.4 30.1 -2.2 50.6 -3.8
A- 52.6 49.4 -3.3 82.9 -5.5

Weekly review: Week ending January 24, 2020

  • Kaizen
    • We picked up lots of groceries before the snow piled up. We’re working on getting better at planning ahead and trying different recipes.
    • W- helped me notice that I was cautioning A- too much. I’d like to be more playful and supportive, and it’s great to have his help.
    • I got 8.5×14 premium paper so that I can see what it’s like to print our little books on that, especially when it comes to illustrations and colour photos. I think I’d rather get better at typesetting and printing little books than be limited to the formats that that print-on-demand publishers support.
    • We got a new sled and replacement gloves from Canadian Tire. A- really wanted a long blue sled, but we were firm about getting one that would be easy for both of us to handle. Anyway, her yellow sled is much easier to pull through the snow.
    • I ordered Wigwam Ultra Cool Lite socks from Mark’s, since my old cotton socks are worn out.
    • I started setting up the tablet for reading PDFs and reviewing photos.
    • I practised making balloon flowers. Also, after looking up tips, I decided to just keep inflating with a pump instead of trying to figure out how to inflate them by mouth. Eye protection might be a good idea for A- too…
  • Us
    • A- and I chatted with my mom, Kathy, A*, and G*. We decided to wait until everything is clear in terms of physical therapy, ashfall, and safety modifications before booking, even if it means paying more for tickets.
    • I used exiftool to fix the dates of the pictures that W- had taken, since A- had changed the date on his phone in order to advance time in a game.
    • I played around with indexing entries in LaTeX, and I added a summary for March.
    • I chatted with another parent about stainless steel lunchboxes after gymnastics class. It looks like we picked a good kind, as they’ve lasted her quite a while.
    • W- worked from home today. He offered me an opportunity to nap while he and A- had lunch. That nap helped a lot!
    • I summarized April.
    • I filed my corporation’s tax slips.
  • Gross motor
    • We played the “Never Let the Balloon Sink” game. It’s easier when there’s a string attached to the balloon.
    • A- balanced a little better on the balance beam, remembering to stretch her arms out. I also saw her push herself into a forward roll using her feet, taking advantage of the bounciness of the ramp.
  • Sensory
    • We had fun sledding before heading on our errands. A- really liked it, and W- and I had a few turns too. It was great to see so many families out enjoying the snow.
    • A- wanted to go sledding again. After we dropped off our purchases, we went to the park and she tried out her new sled.
    • We went sledding after music class. A- got better at climbing up the hill while pulling the sled, although she accidentally let it go a few times. She also figured out how to nudge herself forward, so now she can do it all by herself! She tried sledding on her tummy and she tried sledding backwards. She also had fun sliding down the slides and checking out the snow fort that someone else had hollowed out of a giant snowball.
    • A- wanted to go sledding before gymnastics class, so we did.
    • After the drop-in centre closed for the day, I checked with A- if she was okay with sharing her sled. She agreed, so I invited H- and M- (and parents, of course) to go sledding with us. The kids did a decent job taking turns with the sled, and often agreed to all pile in together. It turned out that we can fit three kids on that sled. The kids also had fun rolling down the hill and sliding down the hill. Winter is pretty great!
  • Language
    • W- and A- were joking about pirate names. A- picked “Baby White Tooth,” while W- was “Puffer.”
    • “Bathurst,” A- said, reading the subway sign. “Did you know I can read?”
    • Over dinner, A- occasionally declaimed random verses from Twas the Night Before Christmas.
  • Art
    • When I woke up from a nap and went downstairs, W- was in the middle of painting A-‘s face to make her look like one of our cats. A- insisted on painting my face with bright colours. I successfully focused on long-term benefits instead of, say, cautioning A- not to smoosh the sponge into the face paint. At the end of the day, this is all about encouraging art!
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- wanted to have a quick breakfast and then brush teeth, since dentist and caregiver time is an important part of her morning routine and W- was getting ready to go to work. I offered her some leftover popcorn. She said, “But that’s just carbohydrates! I need protein too.”
    • We were rushing A- through her morning routine because she wanted W- and me to brush her teeth before W- needed to leave for work. After a quick breakfast, we went upstairs to brush her teeth. When she got to the bathroom, she launched into a leisurely rendition of “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” W- and I looked at each other and agreed that kids are pretty much like tiny drunks.
    • A- was a little clingy today, checking in with me every so often for a hug or a book. The babysitter was able to get her interested in a few books and crafts. After lunch, A- got quite tetchy with the babysitter, so we all went out for a stroller walk to the library. Sure enough, a few minutes in, A- was fast asleep. I brought my work laptop, so I was able to clock in and do some more work at the library while the babysitter read a book. After I finished the tasks I wanted to do, I clocked out and focused on summarizing my journal entries. When A- woke up, the babysitter and I read her a few more books, and then it was time to go home and pay the babysitter.

      Despite the interruptions, I’m glad I had some grown-up thinking time. I was able to keep enough context in my head to keep solving the problem I was working on. It’s okay even if I don’t get a lot of focused time yet. It’s really more of a long-term thing. A- has had two babysitters she really liked, so maybe it’s just about trying out people to see who clicks.

      Another approach might be to do a quick transition, say goodbye, and go to the library myself, leaving the babysitter to deal with A-‘s separation anxiety. It could help A- realize that she’ll be fine and that I’m confident she’ll be fine.

  • Eating
    • Adobo and green beans: Adobo was easy to dump into a pot. Green beans can be prepped ahead. A- liked both.
    • Easy Hummus Recipe (Better Than Store-Bought): I liked it, although A- hesitated. I prepared carrot sticks and broccoli florets.
    • We stopped for a few snacks outside. A- liked the hot chocolate, the fruit salad, the chocolate wafers, and the doughy part of the steamed buns.
    • I tried a frozen Amy’s Bowls Harvest Casserole with quinoa, kale, and sweet potato, heated up in the microwave. I liked it, although it was too salty for A-.
    • We introduced salad as a meal, framing it as something only big kids and grown-ups can eat. She gamely tried lettuce, tomato wedges, and cucumber. She declined raw mushrooms. She liked the sesame dressing more than the raspberry vinaigrette. She mixed a small bowl but didn’t dig into it, so W- offered her a backup peanut butter sandwich. After the bedtime routine, she was hungry again. I was leaning towards being firm, but W- observed that it was only 8:30 and he understood not wanting to go to bed hungry. A- settled for having sausage, egg, and rice, and she let us brush her teeth without a hassle. I apologized for my grumpiness and read her a book to make up for it, and then she fell asleep. I think we’ll still try to nudge her towards eating during eating time, but I’ll work on keeping perspective in terms of time. I can generally trust her to listen to her body and she’s vocal about wanting to try new tastes. It might be okay for me to not worry too much about being strict, as long as I offer good choices for evening snacks and we brush her teeth thoroughly. We’ll see!
    • Jen made vegetable soup. A- mostly had bacon and scones.
    • A- ate two slices of frozen pizza, and lots of carrots and fruits.
  • Sleep
    • I timed snack and nap pretty well. After sledding, we went home for a quick snack at 3pm. We read a couple of books, brushed teeth, and got her into her snow gear just in time for her to fall asleep in her stroller. Now I’m at the grocery store waiting for her to wake up. I don’t think I’ll be able to cook this afternoon, but I can pick up a new meal from the prepared meals section so that we can give it a try.
    • I tried skipping the afternoon nap because of the playdate, but A- fell asleep anyway at 6:14pm in the middle of watching a video about making chocolate mousse. I set a timer to wake her up, since she goes to sleep super-late if I let her wake up on her own after a late nap. Maybe next time, we’ll wrap up at 4:30pm and bundle her up for a walk in the carrier.
    • A- woke up crying in the middle of the night. I was tired and her light bothered me, so after I snuggled her for a bit, I gave her a hug and left her to cry until she fell asleep. I think it took about ten minutes.
  • Emotion
    • A- had originally been upset about leaving her backpack at home. She calmed down when it was time for music class, although she still wanted me to stay in the classroom with her.
    • A- had originally been upset about leaving her backpack at home. She calmed down when it was time for music class, although she still wanted me to stay in the classroom with her.
  • Household
    • I made hummus instead of using the chickpeas for falafel. It was a little stressful because A- wanted to do an experiment with milk at the same time, and I was worried that she would pour milk into the hummus. I’m working on getting better at relaxing, though, since cooking should also be pleasant.
    • A- wanted to scramble the eggs, so she took over that part of the breakfast burrito.
  • Social
    • We visited Jen and Ewan for E-‘s party. I brought balloons and macaroons. The balloons were lots of fun. Kids asked me to make stuff, so I made three flowers, two dogs, and two tigers (which were really dog shapes with long tails and stripes). A- wanted to stay close to me, so I snuggled her and read books. I was amused by how A- closed her eyes whenever she took a bite of the chocolate cake.
    • A- was testing boundaries after dinner. She wiped her mouth on my shirt a few times. At first, I tried calmly setting the boundary and then putting her down when she tested it again. Then I tried playfully wiping my mouth on her dress every time she wiped on mine. She laughed and kept doing it, so that tells me that she was looking for more interaction from me. I wasn’t keen on continuing to play like that, though, so I calmed down by doing the dishes. I should think in advance about how I want to handle boundary-testing like that.
    • We invited Melissa and H- over for a playdate after sledding. I put together a quick spread of pepperoni sticks, eggs, cheese, strawberries, blueberries, pita triangles, crackers, carrots, hummus, and sunflower seed butter. Melissa said A- and H- had an adorable conversation about a wide variety of topics. After we ate, the kids roleplayed sister and baby, played with the cats, played with bubbles, and painted. They both got tired at around 5pm, so we wrapped up.
    • After lots of procrastination on A-‘s part, we went to the drop-in centre, where she proceeded to have lots of fun with M- and H- in the tent.
    • A- invited H- over for a playdate. We had snacks by the fireplace, and then the kids lavished attention on one of our cats. They also had fun running around and around. We wrapped up at around 5. They were still a little tetchy then, but not as short-tempered as before.
    • A- invited other kids to go tobogganing with her, but no one at the drop-in was in the right clothes.
    • A- really wanted to go sledding with E-. It was a great impromptu playdate! I brought over the balloon kit I wanted to give E-‘s family, and we went down the long tobogganing run at the park near them. A- wanted to stay for dinner, so we did. The kids enjoyed jumping on the trampoline and spinning in the chair. Jen gave us a lift back. Turns out the stroller is easy to collapse.
  • Pretend
    • A- has a competitive streak, so we’ve been hamming it up for things like taking medicine or going upstairs for bedtime routine. Today, she was so quick to take her medicine that we were still distracted by other tasks. She said dramatically, “You have to say, ‘Oh no, she won!'”
  • Cognition
    • A- had so much fun sledding, she didn’t want to let me have any turns with the sled. Over dinner, I discussed the possibility that we might need another sled. A- said, “We need three more sleds,” and then proceeded to make up math problems for herself.
    • After dinner, A- wanted to play RelationShapes on the tablet. She breezed through quite a few levels.
  • World
    • W- and A- built a large snowman in the backyard. They added eyes of different sizes, a carrot nose, prunes for the mouth, and blueberry buttons. I lent it my scarf. We had fun pushing large snowballs around, too.
    • A- was curious about the seeds we were growing, so we taped some sprouts to a piece of paper and wrote down the day number. It might be interesting to start a naturalist’s notebook, maybe using plain or 3-hole punch paper and a binder.
    • We checked out the snowman in the day. Looks just as impressive!
  • Other
    • I set up the camera to take time-lapse pictures of us playing in the snow in the backyard. A- headed straight for the camera and proceeded to smoosh snow into it, eventually burying it under lots of snow. Good thing the camera could take that abuse!
    • A- fell asleep in the cart at Home Depot. Her left eye was a little open because of her scleral shell, so it didn’t look like she was completely asleep.
    • A- wanted to take the sled to the subway station in order to go to music class. Most of the sidewalks were still icy enough to slide on, although some stretches were dry. It was easy to carry the sled with us.
    • I might need to fasten A-‘s pigtails tighter, as she lost another band today. Anyway, I ordered a pack of 1000, which should get here in a couple of months.
  • Oops
    • We accidentally left A-‘s gloves in the bus because W- was carrying A- and I was preoccupied with the sled.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Business 0.2 2.9 2.6 4.8 4.4
Unpaid work 6.0 8.4 2.4 14.1 4.1
Sleep 30.3 31.8 1.6 53.5 2.6
Personal 5.4 5.5 0.1 9.3 0.2
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Family 0.6 0.6 -0.0 1.0 -0.0
Discretionary – Play 0.6 0.0 -0.6 0.0 -1.0
Discretionary – Productive 7.0 4.7 -2.3 7.9 -3.9
A- 50.0 46.1 -3.8 77.5 -6.5

Weekly review: Week ending January 31, 2020

  • Kaizen
    • I experimented with correcting my pictures in Darktable. Pretty nifty.
    • After some annoyance trying to find a layout library or collage tool that would make it easy to create labeled collages, I made a quick layout tool in JS that exported tikz code for LaTeX. Cropping is mildly annoying, though. I’m tempted to make a little React thing to help me search for, select, and arrange pictures. It has come to this.
    • I tried out an old stylus with the tablet. I’m not too keen on it, which might mean that I should consider either streamlining my workflow for my tablet PC or trying out an iPad. I wonder if the tablet PC plus a Bluetooth keyboard might actually be an interesting combination, at least when I’m near a power outlet.
    • I wonder if it might be interesting to learn how to use LuaLaTeX. If I can port my layout code to Lua, then I can update it with less copying and pasting. Alternatively, maybe I can pull the dimensions out of the aux file.
    • I sketched a reflection on sick days at home while A- slept beside me. I’ll try focusing on my own sleep and self-care, lowering expectations and self-judgment, and helping A- feel cozy and comfortable. Drawing reflections with a gel pen on 8.5×11 paper felt good even in the dim light. It was easier than drawing or writing on my phone or my laptop. That might be a good way to put more thinking and drawing time into my day.
    • I practised drawing a floppy A- using my phone.
    • I reflected on separation anxiety. My plan is to stay in the background instead of trying to push A- away. She’ll explore more if she feels safe. I can work on giving her more reasons to wander and reinforcing our confidence in her. I’ll also consider dropping babysitting until she wants to pick it up again, or scaling back to 4 hour shifts and ramping it up if she wants more. Looking back, the yearly plan might not have been the best decision, but I can treat it as a sunk cost and focus on what’s good for us right now. I can work on making parenting happier and more fulfilling. Coding and consulting have waited this long, and they can wait a little more. I don’t have to worry too much about kindergarten yet. The teachers are going to be pretty experienced and we’ll figure things out when we get there.
  • Us
    • I went to the dentist for a filling in one of my lower left molars. The dentist was able to do it without freezing.
    • I finished monthly summaries for 2019.
    • I tried copying the metadata from my thumbnails, but I messed up a little. Also struggling with making a labeled collage using straight LaTeX or Android apps. Hmm…
    • I cooked falafel and Japanese curry. Scooping the falafel and squishing them down was much faster than forming patties.
    • The tablet didn’t turn on. W- disassembled it and used a multimeter to check the battery status. It still seemed okay. When he reassembled it, it started working again. Mysterious.
    • I think my taxes are going to be a bit more complicated this year, so I asked for help with the Philippine side of things.
    • J- and K- picked up Tylenol and cat food for us, which was very helpful because A- and I didn’t make it outside today.
    • I penciled circles and turned them into figures. Then I painted two of them with watercolour. That was actually pretty nice.
    • I finished reading Drop the Ball while A- snoozed on me. It’s quite similar to Fair Play. I thought Fair Play was a bit more relatable, since that book offered more specific help in enumerating and thinking about household responsibilities. Drop the Ball had more references to books, and I might check out a few of those.
    • I started writing the text for A-‘s book about being three years old.
    • I started reflecting on things I’m postponing.
    • I sketched A- pretending to be different animals.
    • I sketched hands pulling taffy.
  • Gross motor
    • A- didn’t want to be on her feet, so she precariously balanced on her tower with her feet up in order to wash her hands.
    • I taught A- the chicken dance because of the book The Chickens are Coming.
  • Fine motor
    • A-‘s getting better at hot-gluing cardboard. She can squeeze a nice thick bead on the edge now, and she can usually do it quickly enough to have it stick where she wants.
  • Sensory
    • A- relished messing around with the yogurt using her hands.
  • Language
    • “What happened? Everything is chaos.”
    • A- is getting better at asking indirectly instead of demanding something she wants. She said, “Is the grapes for everyone?(sic) Let’s put it in the middle.”
    • “Do you have very light black hair?” said A- to W-. “Thank you for saying gray so nicely,” said W-. “You are very old,” A- said.
    • “It floated. I did some science.”
    • “You have the right kind of baby.” “Oh, what kind is that?” “A science baby.”
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- had a cough, a cold, and a low-grade fever. I’m starting to sniffle too. It looks like it might be a low-key stay-at-home sort of week. Sickness protocol engaged.
    • I gave A- fever meds in the middle of the night. I said she could go to sleep after rinsing her mouth. She asked, “How do I take the sugar bugs away?” and insisted that I brush her teeth.
  • Eating
    • Pulled pork pitas: A- didn’t try it. J- liked it, though.
    • Popcorn by the window might be a reasonable way to get A- to look outside at least part of the day.
    • A- wanted another snack after bedtime routine, which made us a bit grumpy. I was leaning towards being firm, but relented when W- suggested yogurt. We got through a trimmed-down bedtime routine and told A- we want to stick to just one dinner tomorrow.
  • Sleep
    • A- was tired because of her cold and slight fever. She asked to nap in the carrier, so I rocked her back and forth. When she slept, I sat down and coded a bit more.
    • A- finished one jigsaw puzzle. She started to drift off in the middle of the second one, so I helped her nap in the carrier.
    • I was mildly grumpy with A- for delaying bedtime, but I cooled down while she looked at the pictures in a book. We read and cuddled a bit, then she got a bit rough. When I asked her if she wanted to cool down together or apart, she picked together, so we eventually settled down.
  • Emotion
    • A- was pretty grumpy at 5pm, tipping chairs over, throwing things, and hitting people. I think she was hangry (turns out a canker sore has been getting in the way of eating), tired, and sick. W- ended up cooking the hash browns I started. No worries. We got her settled into bed by 6pm.
  • Household
    • A- has been interested in candy-making videos lately, so we made taffy. She helped me mix it, and she waited patiently while I cooked it (the scary part!). Then we stretched and stretched and stretched the taffy. That was fun!
  • Pretend
    • A- wanted germ face paint.
  • Thoughts
    • It occurred to me that I spend a large part of the day being an OCR and text-to-speech engine.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Productive 4.7 11.5 6.8 19.3 11.4
Sleep 31.8 37.4 5.6 62.8 9.3
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.7 0.7 1.2 1.2
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Family 0.6 0.0 -0.6 0.0 -1.0
Personal 5.5 3.5 -2.0 5.9 -3.4
Business 2.9 0.0 -2.9 0.0 -4.8
Unpaid work 8.4 5.5 -2.9 9.3 -4.9
A- 46.1 41.4 -4.8 69.5 -8.0

Weekly review: Week ending January 17, 2020

  • Kaizen
    • I updated my Tasker task for creating journal entries.
    • I updated my library script to write an Org file with the due dates so that it’s easier for me to check.
    • I ordered a balloon pump and twistable balloons. It might be interesting to do balloon animals with A-.
    • I played around with Google Sheets to try out one of W-‘s tips, and ended up just updating my shell script to add to my price file.
    • My new workflow for rating, filtering, and syncing photos seems to be working well. Linking is all right, but could be even smoother.
    • My Bluetooth speaker arrived. W- was unimpressed by the sound, but it might be a portable, inexpensive option for me to have background music.
    • I tinkered with my LaTeX template for the journal entries.
    • I rated the photos from 2019.
    • I figured out how to add text to the table of contents in LaTeX. I can use that for monthly summaries in my journal.
    • I researched print-on-demand options. I’m strongly tempted to print my journal entries and even my photo book at home. I want to typeset everything in LaTeX so that it’s easy to keep around, since I don’t like being dependent on photobook sites. It’s hard to find printing options in Canada that will let me upload a PDF, and I’m a little leery of how import duties will skew the pricing of US-based printers. I’m curious about DIY bookbinding anyway. Anyway, I’m having fun learning more about LaTeX in the process of compiling my text journal entries, and maybe I’ll even figure out how to use it for the photo collection. Wouldn’t that be neat?
    • I used exiftool to extract the rating and tags I set in F-Stop.
  • Us
    • We watched John Wick 3: Parabellum.
    • I renewed my business mailbox.
    • I linked all the photos for 2019 with journal entries, adding quite a few entries along the way.
    • I’m still not sure what I want in terms of a journal layout.
    • I used ffmpeg to combine burst shots into a video. I reversed the video as well, since A- had been having fun running backward in order to make the playback look like she ran forward.
    • I felt sleepy because I stayed up late tweaking LaTeX, reviewing journal entries, and writing monthly summaries.
    • I was somewhat burned out by a rough day, but W- got the evening back on track with A- with lots of playfulness. He’s awesome.
    • I learned how to make balloon turtles, and I practised making balloon dogs too.
  • Field trip
    • Joy, J1, J2, A- and I went to the Royal Ontario Museum. A- had been curious about armour because of “Digby Dog Saves the Day,” so we visited the European gallery first. The docent shared interesting stories and facts about armour, adding his personal experience with historical reenactment. We followed up on another of A-‘s interests by checking out the bows in a nearby gallery. Then it was off to see the dinosaurs, play in the play area, and have lunch. We went to the biodiversity section, and then we went home.
  • Gross motor
    • A- did a good job remembering to stretch up before forward rolls. She had a harder time taking turns towards the end, maybe because she was hungry.
    • A- did well in gymnastics class, although she still wanted me to wait in the gym. It was great watching her bear-walk quickly across the mat. She remembered to stretch up before starting a forward roll, and she enjoyed doing the circuit.
    • A- wanted to go to the castle playground in High Park, so we did. After a good nap, she swung on the swing, climbed stairs, slid down slides, swung across bars (with help), and explored the playground. There were very few other kids there, so it was easy to explore at our own pace.
    • A- had so much fun running up and down the hallway in Melissa and H-‘s condo. I took burst photos to increase the chance of getting a nice picture. When I showed the kids the pictures by scrolling backwards, they had even more fun running backwards so that it would look like they were running the other way.
  • Fine motor
    • We folded origami: shrimp, swan, and pig.
    • We practised with training chopsticks and playdough.
  • Sensory
    • A- made another mystery experiment recipe.
    • I looked up a bunch of playdate/sensory activities as part of my resolution to get better at playing. We ended up going through a whole bunch of ideas all in one day: watching dish soap interact with food colouring; bubbling that up and making prints; doing a rainbow with baking soda and vinegar; wicking water up paper towels to spread ink; spearfishing crackers with cream cheese and carrot sticks; painting with cars (and washing them); and painting with string. A- liked the different activities I suggested, although she told me that she prefers just playing.
    • A- had fun catching bubbles.
    • A- really enjoyed squishing her hands through shaving foam. She liked swirling food colouring through it and piping it through a bag with different tips.
    • A- spent a while cutting the playdough.
  • Language
    • A- enjoyed doing Anki flashcards. She was a little less keen on phonics practice (ma, me, mi, mo, mu). She read through the Mat book slowly, with just a few hiccups.
    • A- wanted to play with H-, but H- wanted to take a break from playing. After some frustration, A- settled down listening to (of all things) Song School Latin.
  • Music
    • A- was curious about the ukulele.
  • Art
    • We did some bubble painting with tempera paint, dish soap, and water.
    • A- used a straight edge to draw lines on a white J that a babysitter had painted before. She said it was a candy cane.
    • We tried out marbling paper with shaving foam and food colouring. A- made a couple of prints, but she was more interested in playing with the foam.
    • The balloon pump and twistable balloons arrived. A- and I had lots of fun pumping balloons, twisting them into shapes, making balloon rockets, and sharing balloons with our friends.
    • A- suggested tempera painting with plastic bags and cling wrap. I let her take the lead. Process-oriented art for the win!
    • A- went to the living room to inflate and play with balloons. She played independently for a while. After I cleaned up, I took the opportunity to pick up tips on making balloon dogs, and I also learned how to make balloon monkeys and swords.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- got pretty good at using the valve to inflate and deflate the beach ball.
    • A- found it a little hard to separate for music class, so I hung out near the wall. I stepped out a few times, and she immediately cried.
    • I took A- to the doctor because she’s been complaining of cough and cold, although she seems okay. The doctor said she might have a cold related to her allergies, but is otherwise fine.
    • A- wanted to be J1’s classmate in gymnastics more strongly than she wanted to wear a dress, so she agreed to wear a shirt.
    • I took A- to the dentist. She was able to sit still for scaling, but she started crying when the hygienist started the vacuum. A- didn’t want polishing or fluoride varnish. She did keep still long enough for an X-ray to check on the work done on her front teeth. The dentist said that the pain might be due to sensitive nerves, and that she’s continuing to keep an eye on the tooth decay we noticed on several of her teeth. I’m getting better at not panicking and at keeping the long game in mind.
  • Eating
    • Steamed buns: A- had a few buns at dinner.
    • Shamrock Spinach Crepes • Curious Cuisiniere: A- had some.
    • Spring rolls: W- liked the banana rolls. A- liked the cheese in the cheese rolls. I also mixed soy beef and chickpeas for a third type of spring roll.
    • Homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties – Easy Recipe | The Worktop: Okay. Easy to make.
    • Shrimp risotto: Yum! W- isn’t sure about the cheese, though. A- skipped it in favour of cheese and yogurt
    • Falafel: Finished frying it. A- had a small bite.
    • For A-‘s lunch, I packed carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, cheese, egg, and apple chunks. W- said, “There’s nothing green!” So I put in a bit of falafel too.
    • We were hungry and hadn’t made proper plans for dinner, so W- decided to get pizza and wings. W-, A-, and I picked up the order and tucked the boxes into the stroller, under a blanket. When we got home, we all devoured the pizza. A- had one and a half slices.
    • W- had the brilliant idea of making a chart of his and A-‘s thoughts on the food he brought home. A- tried all the vegetables and the chicken, and she liked them.
    • A- liked eating pasta off her fingers.
  • Sleep
    • A- went to bed pretty smoothly after I reminded her that she wanted to wake up in time to have breakfast with W-.
  • Emotion
    • H- wanted to take a break from playing together. A- was a little frustrated, but she came and snuggled with me. A- asked for the Hokey Pokey song, so we had a quick dance break. Yay, she’s slowly getting the hang of emotional regulation when it comes to playdates!
    • We started the morning with lots and lots of snuggling.
  • Household
    • A- wanted to garden, so W- bought seeds, starter pots, and potting soil. They planted a bunch of herbs and vegetables, and A- played with mud.
    • A- experimented with standing on her tower while sweeping the floor.
    • A- helped clean the bathroom mirrors.
  • Social
    • A- wanted to feed W-. She insisted on giving him carrots with ketchup.
    • We invited Melissa and H- over for a playdate. I experimented with having a planned activity. I picked up shaving foam and set up trays. The kids had lots of fun adding food colouring and swirling or piping the foam. They also enjoyed blowing and catching bubbles, playing with the cats, pretending to be cats, and other fun things they came up with.
    • A- complained that other people called her a boy. It turned out she was complaining that other kids used “he” instead of “she.” I explained little kids are still learning how to speak English. After more complaining from her about how it’s not fair, I gave her a quick lesson on making conversation about the weather or things we like instead of things we don’t like.
    • A- invited H- over for a playdate after the drop-in centre closed. We swung by the organic grocery store and the supermarket to pick up some food. I set up carrot stick and cream cheese spearfishing for A- as an afternoon snack. H- skipped it because she had already had quite a few Goldfish crackers, but she was keen on the salami that Melissa bought. After the snack, we did some painting. The balloon kit arrived, so we played with it too. We had lots of fun. For dinner, I threw together octopus hotdog pasta. The kids pretended for a while. Cats seem to be a recurring theme. They also played with bubbles. A- wanted to teach H- sungka, but H- was more interested in just playing with the shells, so both of them got pretty frustrated. They were probably quite tired at that point, so we wrapped up.
    • A- practised taking turns at the drop-in centre. There were about five kids who were interested in going over a series of pads on the floor. The kids had a hard time managing turns, so I sat close by and nudged them into the right order. It was a little hectic, but worthwhile.
    • Towards the end of gymnastics class, I think A- got a little hungry, so she wasn’t as good at waiting for her turn. She cried a few times and had to come in for cuddles.
    • A- sat with a few other kids and pretended to eat and drink. There were occasional tussles over pretend food or plates, but things went smoothly when I nudged them. I haven’t quite decided how much I want to intervene when it comes to these things. I can see how helping them play together smoothly (especially when younger kids are around) gets them used to what needs to be done for smooth play. On the other hand, there’s some value to letting them solve their own problems.
    • H- invited us to a playdate after the drop-in centre closed. After some calming-down time (during which A- got better at waiting patiently), they had lots of fun. They dressed up, ran up and down the corridor, checked out the lounge, tried out the machine in the Mousetrap game, and did circle time. A- ate some of the chili that H-‘s dad prepared. She also did a good job at listening to H- and giving things back when prompted.
    • At the drop-in centre, A- and the other kids practised taking turns. I stayed close by to nudge them towards proper turn-taking, which was a lot smoother than waiting for them to erupt and then trying to calm them down. They were interested in keys, so the parent worker brought out a basket of coloured keys to play with.
    • A- enjoyed dancing with H-.
  • Pretend
    • “Can you please offer me a tray? Can you please put many things on it?”
    • A- and H- pretended to push babies around in strollers.
    • We wrapped up our playdate with circle time, just like in school.
    • We chatted about balloon animals over dinner. A- pretended to be on a Youtube video, saying, “Hi, I’m A-. I’m a teacher and an entertainer.”
  • Cognition
    • A- matched up felt mittens. She also grouped magnets by colour.
  • World
    • A- joined the Duplo trains in a circle. She found that she needed a large number of trains in order to get them to all hitch up.
    • A- made a stand for her spray bottle, and she sprayed the playdough so that I could knead the water in.
    • A- shone the flashlight right next to her hand. I explained why it made her hand look red. She was very proud of her flashlight. “This is the flashlight I got from my grandfather,” she announced a few times.
    • A- was amazed by how tall the cat grass was.
  • Other
    • The cat grass has started sprouting.
    • I decided to return the Bluetooth speaker because the lights are too bright. W- helped repack it properly.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 44.3 50.0 5.7 84.0 9.6
Discretionary – Productive 5.8 7.0 1.2 11.8 2.0
Personal 4.6 5.4 0.8 9.0 1.4
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.6 0.6 1.0 1.0
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Unpaid work 6.7 6.0 -0.7 10.0 -1.2
Discretionary – Family 1.9 0.6 -1.3 1.0 -2.2
Sleep 31.6 30.3 -1.3 50.8 -2.2
Business 5.2 0.2 -4.9 0.4 -8.3

Weekly review: Week ending December 27, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • We talked about declining, surviving, and thriving when it comes to our household.
    • I re-hemmed the curtains. They’re a little better now, although still not perfectly straight.
  • Us
    • I updated my investment records and did some analysis. I’m starting to feel more comfortable with using Pandas than with firing up Calc for pivot tables. :)
    • I sewed reusable produce bags from 17×20″ gauze pieces.
    • I added elastic to the waist of the peasant dress I made for A-, so now it doesn’t feel too big.
    • I felt so sleepy because of a bad cold and interrupted sleep. “Now it’s time for our traditional Christmas nap,” I declared. And wonder of wonders, A- actually joined in, even though it took her a little while to settle down. It felt great getting a bit more sleep.
  • Sensory
    • A- enjoyed catching medium-sized bubbles that W- blew. After I finished cleaning up the kitchen, we went outside to play with giant bubbles. A- was very amused by how W- kicked some of the bubbles.
    • We had fun figuring out how to blow bubbles within bubbles.
  • Art
    • We painted a small Christmas tree. I painted the outline, and A- and I filled it in. We also glued paper ornaments on.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- was very proud of how she figured out how to deflate and inflate a beach ball.
    • We’re slowly practising having me step away and check in on A- from time to time. She was okay for the first few rounds of 5-10 minutes being away, cried the next two rounds of 10-15 minutes, and now seems to be patiently playing with Duplo. I’m getting sleepy, but I’ll check in with her a few times more.
    • A- asked to practise me going away and coming back.
    • I checked on A- because she had a hard time going to sleep. After I settled her down with hugs at 1-minute, 2-minute, and 5-minute intervals, I sat beside her to say goodnight. She patted me and said, “Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep.”
  • Eating
    • A- was curious about the cheese samples at the grocery store. She also proudly bought her own chocolate with her allowance.
    • W- made lamb korma. A- liked it.
  • Sleep
    • We had a rough night in terms of sleep, since A- got a bit handsy. I think it might be time for me to stop co-sleeping.
    • More work on sleeping on her own. We’ve been experimenting with my going to sleep early while W- deals with her tantrums. The first night, she tired herself out crying, accepted some comfort from W-, and slept until 7. It was glorious! The second night, she was inconsolable at 3 AM. W- tried to settle her down, but reached his limit. I tagged in and worked on helping her wait quietly in bed (and also have the sense to be under a blanket).
  • Emotion
    • I got so tired and cranky that I had to ask W- to take over while I slept. He helped A- settle down. He thinks part of this might be boundary-testing, since she’s also a bit pushy with him.
    • A- was upset about sleeping on her own. “The room is so empty,” she cried.
    • A- woke up in the middle of the night and cried. When I checked on her, she said, “I just want company.”
    • One of A-‘s aunts gave A- a Blume doll. She was curious about it and wanted to open it right away, but needed a cuddle when she found out it could only “bloom” once. We spent a lot of time reading and rereading the books they gave her, though.
    • The day was a little tough due to some grumpiness about W- throwing things away because he had been grumpy about things on the floor, but W- helped make things right.
  • Household
    • Busy cooking day! I made lentil puree, falafel, and lumpiang shanghai. A- tried wrapping lumpia too.
    • Another cooking day! A- and I made bao following the recipe in Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, and W- made molasses sugar cookies since A- liked them. A- made her own experimental dough.
    • On her own initiative, A- collected the discarded wrapping paper and put them into a large plastic bag as people opened gifts.
  • Social
    • “I will send you home with some lumpia.”
    • A- was a bit tired, but she still enjoyed playing with Ana, the babysitter. After Ana left, A- asked why Ana had to go.
    • A- had been talking to me about how she didn’t get along with Gung-gung because he kept asking her for snuggles. It was amazing to see her make an effort at the Christmas party, though. A- and I were playing with the kit of origami paper that we’d brought along. She decided to offer him something that she made, which he received with the appropriate gratitude. She asked him to make something for her. He was initially reluctant (probably trying to get her to teach him instead, but that wasn’t the game she wanted to play), so we coached him to just make something and give it to her. After a few exchanges, they were now on good enough terms to play patty cake. They did that for a bit, and then A- gave him a hug when I pointed out he was in hugging range. A- continued playing with him throughout the day, and even pulled him over by hand to sit beside her at dinner.
  • Pretend
    • A- had fun pretending she had different dials: silly/serious, awake/asleep, roly-poly/floppy, loud/quiet, and so on.
    • A- has been pretending to be A*, to the extended family’s amusement. When they asked when she would be A- again, she said, “Maybe when I go through puberty.” She gave the same answer when asked again towards the end of the day.
    • A- wanted to push a button, so I hung a measuring cup from a hook. She pushed it and said, “I requested Mama.”
  • Cognition
    • A- completed a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle with some help. Neither W- nor I had been sure about opening the puzzle, but A- was determined to try it, and she was proud of being able to finish it. I helped her figure out where most of the pieces went, and she put the pieces together and figured out a few pieces on her own.
  • Other
    • We bought some more red robot fabric. A- wants me to make a dress this time.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 31.9 40.2 8.3 67.5 14.0
Discretionary – Family 0.6 4.8 4.2 8.1 7.1
Unpaid work 3.7 6.0 2.2 10.0 3.7
Personal 5.0 4.8 -0.2 8.0 -0.3
Discretionary – Productive 6.1 5.2 -0.9 8.7 -1.4
Business 2.7 1.6 -1.1 2.7 -1.9
Discretionary – Play 1.8 0.0 -1.8 0.0 -3.0
Discretionary – Social 3.2 0.0 -3.2 0.0 -5.4
A- 44.9 37.4 -7.5 62.9 -12.7

Weekly review: Week ending January 3, 2020

  • Kaizen
    • W- got an undercabinet light from IKEA for the kitchen. Nice upgrade. We experimented with adding lights over the sink, but we didn’t find a setup we liked.
    • We talked about learning more about photography and making good use of the lenses we have. It makes sense to focus on doing that this year.
      • It was so cold at the playground. I was glad to have brought a camera with physical controls, since I could use it even with my gloves on.
      • I experimented with focus bracketing. It doesn’t work so well with moving animals, but it’s handy for relatively still things.
    • Journal app
      • I updated my React app to use the Material UI toolkit and use functions instead of components.
      • I switched to using docker-compose. I also mounted folders instead of files, since the file contents weren’t getting updated due to changed inodes.
      • I added a navigation bar and an edit form to my React journal app.
      • I added picture linking to my journal. I learned the React way of keeping the state in a parent component and passing the props downwards.
      • I exported my journal entries for easy reading on my phone.
      • I learned how to use MongoDB to save and retrieve entries.
      • I added an “Other” field to my journal.
      • I added the ability to delete journal entries.
    • I read “Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live)”. It echoed some of the things I’ve heard other parents talk about. I’m pretty okay (W- does so much!), but I want to make sure W- doesn’t feel overloaded. I like its four rules: all time is created equal; reclaim your right to be interesting; start where you are now; and establish your values and standards. I also like the point it makes about keeping concept, planning, and execution together as one person’s responsibility for each task. At the moment, my Unicorn Space is coding, and I’m getting better at giving myself permission to spend time on that.
  • Us
    • Cooking day! I made sticky rice, which turned out all right (even the dried shrimp). I tried a new ice cream recipe, and decided that the ratio of 1 cup cream to 200ml condensed was too sweet. I made fudge with leftover condensed milk. The baked ham was a bit overcooked but not burnt. Decent cooking day.
    • I sewed a dress for A- out of red robot flannel. I guessed the length of elastic for the casings at the neckline and waist, and I left myself a bit of extra in case she wants it widened.
  • Field trip
    • We met up with Melissa and H- at Riverdale Farm. A- liked watching the horse get groomed. She also enjoyed watching the pigs play, and she was very curious about why one pig licked the other pig’s behind. She liked watching the sheep, too.
  • Gross motor
    • A- pretended to be a can of milk being dispensed down a chute. She rolled and rolled down the crib mattress.
    • Luke threw up on the platform, so we needed a ladder to get up there to clean it. Naturally, A- wanted to climb the ladder too.
    • A- swung herself on the big kid swing.
    • A- dropped a stuffed toy from the tower. We declined to pick it up for her, so she figured out how to pick it up with her feet.
  • Fine motor
    • A- wanted to play the Boo and Aaa ticket game again.
  • Sensory
    • A- fidgeted a lot. I wonder if her hair is bothering her… She doesn’t want us to ask about it, though.
  • Language
    • “Speaking of…”
    • “I escaped pants. Now I’m over into the summer wear.”
    • “‘Vale’ to you, Mama, ‘vale.'” A- said goodbye in Latin.
    • “Merry Christmas. Good night. Thanks for visiting.”
    • “Did you capture my mo(tion)?”
    • “Why doesn’t J- see her little sister more often?”
    • A- was very interested in spelling A*’s name. She noticed that the letter E was missing, and spent some time puzzling over where it would go. She eventually figured it out when I pointed out that there was another label with A*’s name on it. She looked at that and promptly put E in the correct place.
    • I tried showing A- Anki flash cards based on a Reddit post I came across lately. She got some words very quickly (cat, A*), while other words took a while. I ordered a bunch of reading resources, and I’ll probably change the deck to be mostly based on those books and her other interests.
  • Music
    • We played with the sounds that rubber bands made.
  • Art
    • A- wanted me to rebuild the Santa LEGO thing.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- cut her own breakfast sausage with a fork.
    • A- kicked me out of her room so that she could sleep.
  • Eating
    • I cooked salmon and yu choy today. A- liked it.
    • A- liked biting the heads off the anchovies. W- took pictures, and A- mostly followed his posing instructions.
  • Sleep
    • Woohoo, A- slept from 10pm to 8:30am without waking up! She had needed a second settling down.
    • A- was a bit clingy at bedtime. Eventually I got grumpy too. I stayed in the room with her and she cried to sleep (not intense crying, though). Might need to work on it some more.
    • I set a timer for 15 minutes of focused time. After that, I hugged A- good night. After I left, she cried for about 5-10 minutes, then fell asleep. I think it’s hard for her to sleep while I’m there, so we just have to get used to this.
    • A- had a hard time settling down to sleep. After my first goodbye, she cried and cried. I checked back in with her, read her a book, and left again. Eventually, I refused to read her another book and told her that it was okay for her to be bored. After I stepped out of the room, she cried for about five minutes. I think it will be easier if she just gets used to my being okay with her crying.
  • Emotion
    • A- played with H-. Every so often, A- took a break by asking W- to read to her. It’s interesting to see her go between being social and being more focused.
    • It’s surprising how powerful the fear of missing out is. It got A- to finish the vegetables, get into the bath, and so on.
  • Household
    • We went to IKEA to check out beds. We couldn’t decide on a bed frame, but A- liked the duvet cover and canopy on one of the display beds, so we got a twin duvet, the cover, and the canopy.
    • I was getting a little tense about A-‘s cooking experiments. W- reminded me that an egg is just an egg. I calmed down and remembered that buying lots of groceries is just like tuition for raising a cook, so it’s all good.
  • Social
    • We found out that A-s current favourite babysitter will be scaling back her availability. Need to try a few more people again!
    • Lola felt lonely. She said, “The house is too quiet.” A- said, “Our house is noisy. You should transfer to our house.”
    • We emailed thank you notes for the gifts that A- received.
    • We met up with Melissa and H- at the playground. H- and A- sometimes had trouble taking turns, but for the most part, they got along very well and were able to manage playing together and playing apart as needed. A- had so much fun, she invited them over afterwards.
    • We visited Joy and J1 even though we hadn’t coordinated before dropping by. The kids all had fun. J1 was fascinated by the camera and wanted to use it everywhere.
    • Although A- got a little jealous around H- at the farm, she still wanted to invite them over to our house afterwards. We had an impromptu dinner party with a good spread (lumpia, scrambled eggs, bitter melon, stirfried veg, carrot sticks). Melissa and I even got to read a little.
  • Pretend
    • A- waited patiently for her turn with the photo cut-outs at IKEA. She wanted to play in the indoor play area there too, but it was full.
    • A- pretended to take a spam phone call and had a long conversation.
  • Other
    • A- decided against trying the play area at IKEA. Instead, she ate a pizza slice while W- shopped for lights for the kitchen.
    • A- was proud of her camera. She took a few pictures with it, enjoyed feeling it dangle from her wrist, and mentioned it several times to Melissa.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Productive 5.2 14.6 9.4 24.5 15.7
Discretionary – Social 0.0 1.8 1.8 3.0 3.0
A- 37.4 38.9 1.5 65.4 2.5
Personal 4.8 5.7 0.9 9.6 1.5
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.6 0.6 1.0 1.0
Unpaid work 6.0 5.0 -0.9 8.4 -1.6
Business 1.6 0.0 -1.6 0.0 -2.7
Discretionary – Family 4.8 1.3 -3.5 2.2 -5.9
Sleep 40.2 32.1 -8.1 53.9 -13.6