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Monthly review: August 2018

Posted: - Modified: | monthly, review

  • Field trip
    • We went to the Horse Palace and caught the show.
  • Gross motor
    • A- got the hang of doing forward rolls, wheelbarrow exercises, and ladder exercises.
    • Lots of balance bike practice. Still taking short strides, but starting to be okay with slopes.
  • Fine motor
    • Interested in drawing letters, and can sometimes make pretty good approximations.
  • Sensory
    • Lots of wading in wading pools and enjoying summer in the playground.
  • Language
    • A- bruised her toe the day before. Right after she woke up, she said, "I don't want to go to the hospital. I will try not to go to the hospital."
    • "We can do kids' yoga later." "I want to do it now." "You're impatient." "I wait patiently."
    • "I don't like Mama's friends. I like my own friends. I like E-."
    • "I don't know that word. The water word," A- said, referring to the word "gulp" from a book we had read earlier that afternoon.
    • Talking about thoughts: "I thought about the cart."
    • I said, "I got you." A- said, "We both got each other."
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- practised separation by going up and down the stairs several times, saying "I will come right back downstairs just like I promised to." She also pretended to go to school and come back, and to go to work and come back.
    • A- went upstairs to get her own clothes all by herself. She came down with a shirt and two pairs of pants. Turned out she wanted to wear one pair of pants as a hat.
    • At A-'s 30-month checkup, she measured 88 cm and 10.3 kg.
    • A- was crawling around when she stumbled and cut her lip. She didn't ask to nurse, although she was happy to do so when I offered.
    • A- mostly sat still for the ultrasound exam. The cardiologist said that the VSD is pretty insignificant now, although there's a slight leak in her aortic valve and the muscle bundle continues to grow slowly. We'll follow up next year.
  • Emotion
    • A- is definitely not a big fan of weaning.
    • A- stomped down the hallway, hangry tantrum in full swing. She stopped at the end of the tape on the floor and did a few squats just like the ladder exercise that W- taught her, and then resumed her tantrum.
  • Household
    • A- was very interested in mending, and wanted to put tape over the holes I made in a piece of paper.
    • I was feeding Neko some wet cat food. I noticed I had reached the end of the can, so I said to myself, "I'm going to need another one of these." As I scraped the last of the cat food into a bowl, A- fetched another can of cat food and gave it to me, all without being asked.
  • Social
    • A- had fun hiding something behind her back and showing one empty hand, then holding it with the other hand and showing the first hand empty.
    • We went to Sunnyside Beach with Jen and E-.
    • We had dimsum with W-'s family.
    • I was exhausted. While I cat-napped, A- read me a story, and then she wiped my face with a damp washcloth.
    • A- had fun playing a shushing game. She asked me to make a loud noise, and then put a finger to her lips and hushed me.
  • Pretend
    • Multiple levels of indirection! A- pretended to be S- pretending to be a cat, labeling herself as "S- cat" while eating pretend wet food.
    • A- wanted to copy the way the Cat in the Hat held his hands.
    • A- pretended to play a tug-of-war with an imaginary carrot, roleplaying the scene from "Warning! Do Not Touch!".
    • A- reenacted scenes from the Curious George book. She liked pretending to be caught in a hat or blown away with balloons. She also liked pretending to go to the zoo and distribute balloons.
    • A- did the motions and sounds that she remembered from watching the video of her sticking her tongue out when she was an infant. It's fun watching her reenact things with surprising attention to detail.
    • We're slowly moving away from plastic toys, so we made a cardboard kitchen for A-. She had fun cooking an egg on the stovetop and baking a pizza in the oven.
    • A- asked for a pretend microwave. I glued white paper on a cereal box, drew the microwave interface, and cut the door open.
    • I made a cardboard point-of-sale terminal with a coin drawer, a scale, and a slot for pulling out a receipt. A- liked it very much.
    • A- played pretend ultrasound quite a few times, raiding the sticker bin after each exam. She also kept revisiting dental surgery in our drawings and stories.
    • A- liked pushing books through a slot in the coffee table legs, pretending to return them to the library. She also pretended to request one of her favourite books from a librarian.
  • Cognition
    • "I want to nurse." "Remember, we may need to stop nursing soon." "I want Mama to buy me a pacifier."
    • We played the Opposites game.
  • Kaizen
    • W- fixed his glasses and I started patching my carrier.
    • We were able to go on a family bike trip, yay! W- and I biked up to Walmart, and I brought A- in the trailer.
    • W- got our land line converted to a dry loop for DSL. I should probably memorize my other number for messages.
    • I updated my ledger to reflect my conversion of many of my TD e-series fund units to ETFs.
  • Us
    • We met up with Linda Ristevski for a library tour.
    • I met up with Curtis and his family at Sick Kids.
    • David Ing dropped by since he was biking through our neighbourhood.
    • I realized I was all done with nursing.

Blog posts



Category Previous month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work 4.4 7.3 2.9 12.3 4.9
Personal 5.9 8.3 2.4 13.9 4.0
Discretionary – Social 1.6 2.3 0.7 3.9 1.2
Discretionary – Productive 2.8 3.4 0.7 5.8 1.1
Discretionary – Family 0.9 1.6 0.7 2.6 1.1
Discretionary – Play 0.2 0.3 0.0 0.5 0.1
Business 1.7 0.7 -1.0 1.2 -1.7
Sleep 35.1 33.0 -2.1 55.5 -3.5
A- 47.1 43.0 -4.1 72.2 -6.9

A- switched over to strongly preferring W- because I'm weaning her, so he handled more childcare. I worked less because I needed more sleep and patience to help with the disruption to A-'s routines. Next month: Music classes, other plans

Monthly review: July 2018

Posted: - Modified: | monthly, review

  • Field trips: It was a busy month with lots of going out. We went to Maker Festival and friends' parties, took the bike trailer to Vermont Square park, and went to nature classes.
  • Motor skills: A- figured out how to climb up the twisty slide barefoot, and she enjoyed imitating yoga poses from a storybook we read together. She practised riding her balance bike and buckling and unbuckling her helmet.
  • Sensory: She discovered the joys of splash pads and wading pools, and ranged further and further afield. She made handprints with tempera paint.
  • Self-care: She practised picking out her clothes and occasionally dressing herself. She dealt with big emotions ("I hate everything!") and we patiently helped her figure out what she really wanted. She skinned her knees and got them patched up.
  • Household: She helped with laundry, mopping, and groceries.
  • Social: She learned how to ask librarians to request books, and I made a book about the process. She showed her grandparents lots of things she could do, and started preferring to spend time alone with W-.
  • World: She enjoyed eating grape tomatoes and strawberries from the garden. She played with her shadow and her reflection.
  • Language:
    • On reading My World: "He's looking at his watch to see if it's bedtime for the kid in the crib."
    • New protocol for reading: she signals when to turn the page. This gives her room for lots of observations when she feels like it. It would probably be better for her to turn the pages herself, but she'll get there someday.
    • A- asked for something and said, "I would be happy."
    • "I'm not awesome. I'm brave."
    • Planning for tomorrow: "The park with the big swings. Tomorrow, let's go there." (4.6 Temporal)
    • Making a request and providing a reason: "Nanay, take your glasses off so I can brush easily." (3.2.2 Sentences)
    • "I think I will have some blueberries."
    • I took A-'s dry diaper off as soon as we woke up. A- said, "I am practising toilet training."
    • "Ow." "What happened?" "I want kneepads."
    • W- was trying to teach A- knock-knock jokes. "Knock knock. Now you say, 'Who's there?'" "Who's there?" "Interrupting cow." "Moo cow!" … I guess that works too.
    • W- told A-, "After we dry my glasses, I'll brush your teeth." A- replied, "Savvy."
    • A- was laughing. Then she said, "Hahaha, I'm laughing so loud, hahaha." This cracked us up, of course. Then she said, "Hahaha, we're laughing together, hahaha."
    • A- experimented with describing people, identifying herself as "someone in a yellow dress" and me as "someone in a blue shirt."
    • A- now makes up songs and stories while waiting. She sang, "Avocado, avocado, what do you see?" and a few other stanzas, and then said, "Once upon a time, there was a little girl named A- who wanted to eat an avocado but Mama said it was not yet ripe."
  • Pretend
    • W- made a Duplo flower shop and roleplayed that with A-.
    • A- wanted to ride her balance bike with a pretend bike trailer.
    • A- pretended to be a dead bird, so I brushed her beak while she lay on the floor.
    • A- picked a Duplo figure to represent W- – the one with a cap. She pretended all three of us were on an airplane, and she also pretended he was pushing her on a swing in the playground. (4.7.2 Representation)
    • Someone had dug a small pit near the edge of the sandbox, so A- had fun pretending to be a dinosaur trapped in the pit. Also, we picked up a bunch of free IKEA kid's cups on the way to the playground, and they made good sandcastle molds.
    • A- wanted to pretend that W- was the ocularist. The post-appointment toy chest was definitely her focus.
    • A- started pretending to be S-.
    • A- pretended to be a cat. She wanted to lick pretend wet food (yogurt) off a saucer on the floor.
  • Kaizen
    • I drew and printed visual routines for walking up, daily chores, and weekend chores on index cards. I covered the cards with contact paper to protect them.
    • I made lots of red bean buns, and I experimented with making red bean rolls. The rolls were easier to make, but the buns were prettier.
    • I shifted to drawing more while waiting for A-. It's a good way to use time.
  • Us
    • I returned my old work laptop after setting up the new one.
    • I made a book about asking for books from the library.
    • Somehow I managed to find time to write and draw. It's hard to imagine that now, since we're in a bit of a time crunch because of changing routines, but maybe we'll figure it out again.

Blog posts



Category Previous month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 29.8 35.1 5.3 61.0 9.0
A- 42.9 47.1 4.2 81.8 7.1
Discretionary – Social 0.9 1.6 0.7 2.8 1.2
Business – Build 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.1
Discretionary – Family 1.1 0.9 -0.2 1.5 -0.4
Business – Earn 2.3 1.7 -0.5 3.0 -0.9
Discretionary – Play 1.2 0.2 -0.9 0.4 -1.5
Unpaid work 6.5 4.4 -2.1 7.7 -3.5
Discretionary – Productive 5.0 2.8 -2.3 4.8 -3.8
Personal 10.2 5.9 -4.4 10.2 -7.3

Hmm. This says I got an average of 8.7 hours of sleep a night, and that childcare still managed to go up. Interesting. I think some of it can be explained by leaving the tracker on Childcare instead of switching it to track that I'm walking when I'm out on a walk with A-. Less discretionary time, but it feels like better use of it. I should try prioritizing sleep again and see what happens.

August: A couple of medical appointments, the end of nature class, and general summery things.

June 2018

Posted: - Modified: | monthly, review
  • Field trip
    • Jen and E- took us to the Lynde conservation area, where we saw deer, geese, ducks, red winged blackbirds, grackles, wild turkeys, and lots of curious chipmunks.
    • I went for a bike ride with A- in the trailer. Good thing I picked a nearby destination, though, since she insisted on walking on the way back. Even when she got tired, she still didn't want to get in the trailer, so I put her in the carrier and walked the bike and trailer back.
    • A- wanted to go to the Ontario Science Centre. The field trip kids were a bit rowdy, so we hung out in the toddler play area instead. We read all their books and played with the rising toys. Outside, we played with bubbles.
    • We checked out the spider exhibition at the museum. It was pretty cool! A- pointed at the big spiders and asked what they were doing. I learned about lots of different types of spiders. The bowl-and-doily spider is neat!
    • We took the bike trailer to Vermont Square Park. One of the toys she was looking forward to riding was broken, but there were plenty of other things to play with.
    • We visited Ewan and E-. I took ingredients for one of the giant bubble solution recipes I found, and we experimented with that for a bit. Then we went to the park for lunch and playtime. Lots of fun!
  • Gross motor
    • A- wanted to practice with her balance bike, and to ride her tricycle with her backpack on.
    • A- practised going up the twisty slide with my help.
    • A- loved putting her feet on the wheel-mounted pedals of a tricycle while I pushed her around.
    • At the playground, A- was interested in climbing up and across the nets.
    • A- slid down the shed ramp backwards on her riding toy.
  • Fine motor
    • A-‘s gotten even better at playing with the bead maze at the library. She walked around it while pushing beads along the track, wove her arms around loops, and coordinated passing beads from one hand to another.
    • A- wanted to build a Duplo city. We pretended the blocks were houses. First we started with one line, then another, and then a few towers. Then A- focused on filling the space with blocks, butting them right up against each other. She was momentarily stymied by a small gap that she couldn't fit a block into, but figured out after I asked a few guide questions.
    • A- insisted on locking the bicycle. She threaded the lock through the wheel, the frame, and the post, and I helped her close it.
    • A- started getting interested in fringing. She can also cut within an inch around a figure.
    • A- spent a few minutes methodically popping bubble wrap.
    • A- practised threading a few large beads. I should find or make a few more that would be easier to thread.
  • Sensory
    • A-, the babysitter, and I got drenched in a sudden downpour. A- was upset when she was in the rain, but we were able to reframe it as an adventure. Since the power was out in our neighbourhood, I took A- to a restaurant a little further away for dinner.
    • The sandbox had a faucet and a few toys for water play. A- filled the bucket with water and poured it down the ramp.
  • Language
    • A- postponed bedtime by cheerily insisting, “I want to talk.” She rehashed her hospital visit and other things that were on her mind.
    • A- quickly adapted to some wordplay: “I'm dizzy!” “Hello, Dizzy, I'm Mama.” “Dizzy has a pocket.”
    • A- talked about the letters on the babysitter's shirt. I gave her a few magnetic letters, and she matched them up. I gave her a cookie tray so that she could play with the letters closer to the babysitter's shirt instead of turning around to the fridge.
    • “Yes, ma'am.” “Yes, Ma'am? Where did that come from?” “From my mouth.”
    • “I want to eat a cookie outside. This is a good plan.”
    • A- successfully negotiated for a cookie by saying, “I want to brush my teeth after having a cookie.” Between that and using “I want to go outside” as a way to ask for an energy bar, I think she's pretty good at figuring out how to work with our rules.
    • The alphabet molds and press-in letters arrived. They were larger than I expected – great! A- was interested in using them to cut out and stamp playdough.
    • A- took my phone and told it, “Please ask OurGroceries to add chicharon to the list.” She also wanted to add carrots.
    • “I want ice cream. The frozen one.” A- asked to buy ice cream and cones at the supermarket.
    • A- played with the -able suffix. She asked for something squishable, and she pronounced something doable.
  • Music
    • A- wanted to play the piano. She said, “Mama, listen to my song.” Then she banged on the keys a number of times. Then she said, “All done,” slid off the piano bench, and turned off the piano. Also, when the babysitter was there, she played faster or slower depending on the prompt.
    • A- sang and did the gestures for “Lost my partner, what'll I do?” and “I'll find another as pretty as you.”
    • A- played the piano while singing the cleanup song and the tiptoe song. She asked me to clean up, and then asked me to dance with a scarf.
    • A- participated in music class, running and jumping and tiptoeing along as we sang. She also shook the tambourine rhythmically.
  • Art
    • A- drew circles on paper and added lines. I cut it out and said it looked like the letter Q. She rotated it and said it looked like a tree. She asked me to draw and cut out apples. She pasted them onto the paper with the drawing side up, saying, “Just like Science Centre.”
  • Self-care and independence
    • We've been practising new bedtime routines, and they seem to be helping a bit. No food after evening snack. Bedtime activities: read books, nurse in the dark, or brush her teeth. Tapping into her desire to postpone bedtime seems to usually be a good way to get her to brush her teeth at least once a day.
    • She really took to the stroller. She likes singing to herself without us peeking in.
    • A- and E- played in the sandbox while Jen and I chatted on a bench a short distance away. It felt like a big milestone. We eventually moved closer to help them with social interaction, but still, this is a start.
    • We went to the ocularist. He polished A-‘s conformer. A- was upset, but she calmed down right away when the ocularist asked if she wanted a toy from the treasure chest.
  • Eating
    • We had a Father's Day dinner at Ka Chi. A- liked the dumplings and the bibimbap.
    • A- enjoyed her first ice cream cone. She experimented with eating it with a spoon.
  • Household
    • We got a new spray bottle. A- happily sprayed kitchen surfaces and wiped them with a towel.
    • A- helped cook a lot this week: banana bread, shake and bake chicken, sweet potato fries, and even wontons.
    • We helped W- clean the carpet.
    • A- wanted to fold laundry. She also liked answering questions such as: “Mama's or A-‘s?”
    • A- picked out the house key from my key ring.
    • A- enjoyed harvesting basil for pesto. “Ooooh! So many basil!”
  • Social
    • A- is more aware of portions, and will defend hers by saying “That's my moira. That's your moira.” and making the appropriate hand gestures. Time to read Beyond Fate or revisit that Ideas episode…
    • A- asked me to transfer her to a swing closer to another kid.
    • I was looking for my keys, and A- helpfully piped up that they were on the floor. Yay! Later, I was looking for my headlamp, and A- got them for me. It was tucked into a corner, which was a little odd. Hmm…
    • We ate at a restaurant because power was out at home. We talked through the process, and A- practised what to say and do. I asked her to say, “Excuse me, check please,” and she tried that at our table a few times before we talked to the easier.
    • At the JFRC, I shared a large bunch of grapes at snack-time, and they were well-received. At circle time, A- brought over a stool and sat on it. She imitated the family support worker's gestures and softly sang words too. She waved the scarf around, and she flapped the parachute up and down. Best circle time engagement so far!
    • A- and E- played in the sandbox…
    • We hung out with Quinn, Richard, and Linda at Vermont Square Park. We blew bubbles, ate snacks, and enjoyed chatting.
    • A- shared toys with a few daycare kids who were also playing in the sandbox. When it was time for them to go, A- helped put their toys in the bag. She even wanted to join them as they practised lining up, but we didn't wander over in time.
    • I talked to A- about babysitting. She said, “Stop babysitting experiment. Mama play with A-.”
    • We ate at Swiss Chalet to celebrate W-‘s progress at work. A- wanted sweet potato fries. She also drank a lot of water. When we finished eating, we prompted A- to ask for the check. She raised her hand, and then when the server came over, she said, “Check, please.”
    • Martin kept A- happily occupied while I worked on some code for his project.
    • We went to a neighbourhood party. A- had fun with the neighbours' playset.
    • We had Ewan and E- over. A- had a hard time waiting for a turn with her high chair and shopping cart, but she was okay eventually. Lots of fun blowing bubbles and feeding each other prawn crackers.
  • Pretend
    • We had a long pretend conversation with the electric fan. A- asked me to ask it questions, and A- told me what it answered.
    • We played pretend ice cream shop. I described the flavors. She asked for the brown one. I handed her some playdough and told her it would be $3. She fished a scrap of paper out of her handbag and said, “I pay with money.” I thanked her. She kept looking at me expectantly, then said, “Receipt.” I gave her a piece of paper. Then she said, “Napkins.” More paper. Then she said, “Money.” That cracked me up – she made sure I gave her change.
  • Cognition
    • We built two towers of Duplo, and then A- wanted to put a block across the top. We built a couple of other tower pairs. I started counting the blocks I added: sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes three. When we got near the top of the second tower, I asked A- how many more blocks we needed to add. She said a number that happened to be the right answer. She was probably just lucky, but hey, why not incorporate more math into our activities..
    • A- wanted to carry my bag. She tried dragging it. Then she sat down and started emptying it. She said, “Take it all out to make it lighter.”
    • A- covered her ears in anticipation of the arrival of the subway train.
  • World
    • The giant bubble maker was a big hit.
    • A- liked stepping in puddles and leaving footprints on the dry part of the sidewalk.
  • Kaizen
    • We bought a bike trailer: Thule Chariot Cheetah XT.
    • I took the bike and trailer on a test ride around the block. After I built up confidence, I took A- around too. We survived!
    • I made Tasker scripts for adding descriptions to my pictures, logging them in my journal, and linking from my journal to the pictures. I learned how to call Java functions from Tasker and how to work with images in scenes. I want to use this to create more pedagogical documentation.
    • I wrote some code to watch a directory and add Org links to new files, managing them with Org attachments. I also experimented with org-download and dragging and dropping images into Emacs, and I wrote a command to read the caption from an image's metadata and insert it into the buffer.
    • I installed Resilio and used it to synchronize my pictures with the NAS.
    • I added pictures and printed out last week's review. I also replaced # with Unicode stars and labels in the image filenames.
    • I wrote a shell script to add photo captions for printing.
    • I migrated my blog database to utf8mb4.
    • I resized my Linode server, taking advantage of a cheaper plan.
    • I explored the YouTube Live / Hangouts on Air interface so that I could pass along tips.
    • I stayed up late to try the guar gum giant bubble recipe from . Very promising! It made a couple of big bubbles in the cool, still air of our kitchen. Next, I want to experiment with different frames and work on technique.
  • Us
    • W- and I actually managed to sit down and play Borderlands 2.
    • I helped Popo with her Android phone while she played with A-.

May 2018

| monthly, review
  • Field trips: We made it out to Riverdale Farm, the Science Centre, and High Park Zoo. We also made it all the way out to Hamilton while hanging out with Jen and E-.
  • Gross motor
    • We've been practising going for walks in the neighbourhood. A- can walk to the supermarket or the playground now, although I usually need to carry her on the way home.
    • She enjoyed building sandcastles and swinging across the monkey bars with help.
    • A- has been practising rhythmically swinging her feet back and forth on the swing.
  • Fine motor
    • So much scissors practice!
    • A- wanted me to trace her feet, her hands, and her arms.
    • A- was interested in pushing and stacking large pegs at the OEYC.
    • A- had fun wrapping tape all around a column of Duplo blocks. She passed the tape from hand to hand and around all by herself.
  • Language
    • A- asked for and made up stories about everyday objects.
    • She referred to herself by a nickname and corrected me a few times.
    • A- is learning how to ask questions instead of just declaring that she wants something. “Can I have this?” She's getting better at thoughtfully asking about other people, too.
    • A- and I took turns telling a story that ended up like this: “Once upon a time there was a little girl named A- who wanted to nurse. So her Mama set a timer.”
    • A- talked about something she wished we bought a few months ago: “I have no stars. I have a star at IKEA.”
    • A- lined up random magnetic letters along their baseline.
    • “I did not caught the ball.”
    • “Oh no, hair. That is from you.”
    • “I don't know what that is.”
    • I made a quick book about going to the hospital, and one about babysitters.
  • Self-care
    • We've been trying lots of playful tactics to get A- to let us brush her teeth. Improvising silly songs, involving her toys, and playing dentist seem to work.
    • We went to Sick Kids for A-‘s dental surgery to repair cavities in her top four teeth.
    • Afterwards, we hung out with Popo and R-.
    • A- was okay with drinking 1.5ml infant Tylenol diluted in two small glasses of smoothie.
  • Emotion
    • A- got a little anxious about Mr. Potato Head and a monkey puppet.
    • A- wanted to play with dolls, and she wanted me to put on a hand puppet.
    • A- didn't want to go to sleep. After trying to insist for ten minutes, I decided to give her suggestions a shot. We went downstairs, played a bit, and even practised a lot with scissors. Surprisingly focused time. Maybe I should trust her a little more when it comes to sleep.
  • Household
    • A- dropped a lot of breadcrumbs on the kitchen floor. Unprompted, she got her broom and tried to sweep it up.
    • A- and I made muffins, blueberry scones, and red bean buns, which we've been sharing with the neighbours.
    • A- wanted to water the lawn with the hose.
  • Social
    • We've been experimenting with having a babysitter over one afternoon a week so that A- can interact with people who are not me. =) A- handles the transition well, and I can usually get around two hours of focused consulting time. We've picked up a few new games to play, too. I've been working with a babysitter agency so that I don't have to worry about scheduling or screening, and I might experiment with having an independent babysitter once we have more experience.
    • A- has started getting curious about other kids' toys in the sandbox and wanting to borrow stuff. She often asks me to ask, and I also nudge her to try asking.
    • J- stepped in for emergency child care during my dentist appointment, since the independent babysitter cancelled the day before.
    • A- was okay with going to the JFRC, and even stayed there all afternoon one time.
  • Pretend
    • I stuck a twig in a sandcastle and pretended it was a flag, and then A- repurposed it to be a candle on a birthday sandcake.
    • A- liked helping her toy dinosaur have a bath, brush teeth, wear its conformer, and read a book. She happily took her turn, too.
    • A- loved pretending to order food from a restaurant.
  • Cognition
    • We stayed at the JFRC all afternoon. She played with cars and paint, a matching puzzle with three sets of 18 photos, and a playdough press. She even played with a facilitator while I interviewed a babysitter.
    • A- had fun spotting the cat in the Plume book. I think she's starting to appreciate incomplete images.
    • A- paid lots of attention to stop signs and stop lights, and even insisted on following them while on the sidewalk.
  • Kaizen
    • We set up the sprinkler and the timer to help us grow grass in the backyard, and the grass has been doing quite well.
    • I worked on automatically filtering, categorizing, and formatting my journal entries.
    • We got a shopping trolley from Ikea so that we can easily carry more supplies.
    • I tweaked my Memento Database workflow to make it easier to edit the CSVs on my computer in case I have time.
    • I stayed up late to compare the numbers for hiring an experienced babysitter directly or through an agency. Along the way, I developed an appreciation for using Calc's fsolve with org-babel. Nice way to quickly solve an equation.
    • I set up Google Pay and tried it out at the supermarket. It's pretty handy.
  • Us
    • J- made chickpea masala. It was yummy!
    • I checked out Persona 5.
    • Lots of gardening: basil in the boxes, peas, tomatoes, and chives in the ground, more seeds started, and thyme and tarragon out back. W- has been putting a lot of work into the backyard. He built a ramp for the shed, a platform for the sprinkler, and three planter boxes.
    • Slowly getting back into consulting.

Thoughts for June:

  • Music classes start up again, so we'll see about waking up early.
  • I might experiment with requesting the same babysitter again so that we can see what that's like.
  • More neighbourhood walks, too, I think.
  • Maybe potty training?

Monthly review: April 2018

Posted: - Modified: | monthly, review

Experimenting with more structure to help with tracking progress over time.

  • Gross motor
    • A- learned how to ride a scooter.
    • She had fun running around and around.
    • She walked most of the way to the library.
    • She walked all the way to the playground.
  • Fine motor
    • We got a lot of entertainment value from a sheet of embossed number stickers and a few sheets of colored paper.
    • She was interested in 12-piece jigsaw puzzles and helped me fit the pieces together.
    • She can peel diecut foam stickers.
    • A- completed the shape sorter easily, naming shapes as she pushed them in.
    • A- was interested in using scissors to cut along lines.
  • Sensory
    • I made some bath paint. A- likes using it to paint the bathtub wall and her body.
  • Language
    • Asking herself questions: “How can I figure this out?”
    • Identity: She referred to herself by a nickname while drawing.
    • Anticipation: I asked, “Do you want to go to Mind Museum or somewhere different?” She said: “I want to go to Mind Museum. See big dinosaur. I need a wrist band. Mama need wrist band too.”
    • Asking questions: “Why Mama say excuse me?” “What's Mama doing?”
    • Asking for attention: “I want Nanay to focus on me. Put down phone.” (Or pen, if I'm writing.) “Look, Lola, I made it.” She also started learning how to gently touch someone's arm to get their attention.
    • Describing: She said “A-‘s home has Daddy in it.”
    • Talking about missing things: She asked for a marker by saying “Where's the red one goes in here?” and pointing.
    • Coining phrases: She wanted to specifically ask for a baguette, but didn't know the word for it, so she called it finger bread.
    • Rephrasing: When I was trying to get her to change “I want Nanay to carry you” to “I want Nanay to carry me,” she rephrased it as “I want to be carried by Nanay.”
    • We've been talking about babies, kids, big kids, and grown-ups. She said, “Mama is a grown up.” Then she said, “I am a growing up.”
    • She said, “I am two years old.” She repeated it a few times. She doesn't answer the question “How old are you?”, though.
    • She still mostly demands things (“I want a orange!”), but one time, she requested it: “Can I have an orange, Mommy?”
  • Music
    • A- can fill in the name of an animal when singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
    • W- came up with a new song: “Vegetables make the poo go down.”
    • So much singing! A- sings spontaneously and when prompted. She sings many nursery rhymes, and she also makes up her own.
  • Art
    • A- drew lines up and down while naming them. She also drew wavy lines while saying “W.”
  • Self-care
    • We got a helmet and pads for when A- rides her balance bike, and I got a new hat for myself.
    • We went to the ocularist to adjust A-‘s conformer. She liked the ball that she got from the treasure box.
    • A- has a dry cough.
  • Household
    • She wanted to trim Leia's nails together, and insisted on holding the clipper with me.
    • She spread the bath mat out carefully while narrating what she was doing.
  • Social
    • Photos: She crept under her high chair, smiled up, and repeated the process in order to get a good shot.
    • Cousins: She sat on G*'s lap and asked her to read Go Dog Go.
    • Playing games: She explicitly plays, invents, and modifies games. “I push mama. It's a game.” “I like to play balloon game with Lola.”
    • Modulation: I told A-, “Daddy's room is only for quiet people.” She calmed down and used her quiet voice.
    • Empathy: She gave me a hug and said sorry after I spilled my drink because of Luke.
    • She wanted to sit close to Lola, and she enjoyed reading and playing with Lola.
  • Pretend
    • A- mimed releasing the coin lock for a pretend shopping cart.
    • A- had an extended pretend telephone conversation with her tower. Not just hello and goodbye, but quite a few other turns in between.
  • Kaizen
    • We took some Duplo to the playground and had lots of fun.
    • I learned that I like honey water much more than an endless stream of cough lozenges.
  • Us
    • We sorted out my dad's niche at Heritage Park.
    • We went to Mind Museum several times, usually with Diane's family.
    • I enjoyed getting together with my barkada. We ordered pizza. A- alternated between hanging out and going upstairs for quiet time, so I was in and out of conversations too.
    • We had a nice stay at Hotel Queen. We ate bibimbap at a nearby restaurant, and they gave us plenty of rice cakes.
    • We went to the EarlyON centre. A- had fun playing with stickers, puzzles, and the tunnel. I picked the facilitator's brain about ECE and childcare.
    • W- laid patio stones next to the raised bed.

March 2018

Posted: - Modified: | monthly, review

We managed to get a referral to Sick Kids, so A-‘s dental surgery under anesthesia is scheduled for the end of May. I squeezed in a three-week trip to the Philippines before the next set of medical appointments, overlapping with Kathy's move to the Netherlands. Now that we're back, I can resume working on the night weaning that the dentists strongly recommended. She also got a new conformer, but she isn't too keen on wearing it.

We made it to the farmer Q&A session at Riverdale Farm, had lots of fun with the sandboxes and slides at various playgrounds, and checked out High Park Zoo. A- ran/walked all the way to the subway once – I didn't have to pick her up at all. She also wanted to ride her balance bike outside. She often goose-stepped around the house, too. We went to Ward's Island with Jen and E-, and she had lots of fun at the playground there.

We practiced blowing feathers, and I stocked up on crafting supplies. A- liked the shapes that I cut out of felt.

A- ate some of W-‘s pasta and found it too spicy, so she frequently asks if food is plain or spicy before eating it. She prefers plain food, although she tries spicy food from time to time. She liked the spinach pancakes and breadsticks we made together. I'm looking forward to exploring more recipes with her.

Lots of fun language moments:

  • “Nurse more, nurse more, no more monkeys:” after W- saved her from falling off the bed head-first
  • “Phone said it's okay to nurse beep beep”
  • “I want to nurse in carrier because I tired”
  • “Airport sleep in bassinet a long time, because is tired”
  • “Flight attendant!”
  • a nicely interactive video chat with Lola

My big thing this month was figuring out how to make small books for A-. I traced photos on my phone, laid them out with Org Mode and LaTeX, printed them on a duplex colour printer, and taped the pages together. A- picked up the phrases and ideas so quickly. I made three books last month, and I want to make more!

Lots of other little kaizen projects, too. We kitted out the play room with more storage, and I printed labels for the bins. We got network-attached storage and have been organizing our photos. I set up lots of voice shortcuts on my phone. Lots of tidying up in the basement, too. I gave the iPad Pro and Pencil to Kathy, since she can make better use of it then I can at this time. I prepared our personal taxes and helped J- sign up for NETFILE.

We've been working on being more playful and silly, and that seems to be paying off. A- usually lets us brush her teeth and put her conformer back in if we play pretend or sing silly songs. Looking forward to learning even more.

April is nearly done. The trip, taxes, catching up, and preparing for all those medical things in May… Much to do!

February 2018

| monthly, review

In addition to our usual field trips to the Science Centre and the ROM, we went to Riverdale Farm. A- named the animals and enjoyed talking about them, although she found the sheep a little loud. We also started visiting family more often, for both big things like Chinese New Year and A-‘s birthday as well as small things like an afternoon of hanging out.

A- wanted to build a Duplo tower so tall that she had to stand on a chair to add blocks to it. She got pretty good at inserting shapes into her sorter and screwing together the nuts and bolts in her toolkit.

She walked astride her balance bike all the way to the kitchen by herself. She carried empty containers on a tray. She danced a lot and imitated other aspects of music class. She enjoyed bouldering. She wanted to try out a life jacket while swimming, and she kicked her legs too. She picked up diving rings with her foot.

She sang Humpty Dumpty, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Hey Diddle Diddle practically in full. I could prompt her to show me a sleepy face, a sad face, and so on. She talked about recent events and how she felt, often revisiting moments that were particularly significant to her. She echoed many of the things we often say, such as “Give it a try.” She asked for specific things using “I need…” and often thanked us.

She played more independently, often amusing herself for a number of minutes or toddling off to a different room while telling us to stop. She confidently touched different textures in books. She asked to be pushed faster while in the playground swing, and she wanted to go down the twisty slide.

Her eye exam went well. The pediatrician is working on referrals to Sick Kids for dentistry and endocrinology.

We replaced our printer with an HP M277dw, and I learned how to use it to make short books for A-. I figured out an Emacs News workflow that I can do entirely from my phone, and I set up Syncthing for my files too. We organized A-‘s toys and clothes into IKEA Trofast drawers. I uploaded old photos to Google Photos. Progress!

March: A new conformer, a consultation with the anesthesia dentist, more children's books, and lots of time with A-. We'll figure this out!