Me, now.

Every Monday, I update this /now page with a few things that have the majority of my time and attention right now.

(You can learn more about /now pages here.)

2020, Week 44

Today, our daughter has been alive and with us for three months. They have been tumultuous months, and they have been marked with their challenges. But they have also been months filled with learning and persevering and discovering our own strength, amidst a few moments of joy. I’m hoping the next three months are less tumultuous, less challenging, less dispiriting than the past three; I’m also hoping that I continue to learn and grow as my daughter grows as well.

  • Spending most of my time caring for our high-needs daughter.
  • Preparing the course package for my class next semester.
  • Celebrating my mom’s birthday.

2020, Previously

Week 1: Officially, 2020 only begins a couple of days into this week, but it’s already starting to feel like a new year. We are back home now, after a wonderful trip to the west coast to visit family, and ushering in the new decade with a rush of errands and organizing and getting everything sorted out for an inevitable mad rush in the week ahead.

  • Jumping into my new (temporary) role at work with gusto and on the active job hunt for what’s next after this temporary stint is over.
  • Completing all the lecture notes and supplementary material for my first class of the semester next week.
  • Celebrating my grandmother’s 86th birthday.
  • Taking a trip to Toronto to attend a friend’s baby shower, celebrate another friend’s birthday, and check out the Early Rubens exhibition at the AGO.

Week 2: The week has begun with a fresh layer of snow falling overnight, and the city is quiet, still, pretty. It has not felt like winter yet, this season; the snow has been sporadic, and the temperatures have been unseasonably warm. I am glad that my drive to Waterloo for class this week will most likely be snow-free and clear, but overall, I am worried what this strange weather reflects about the state of our planet.

  • Finishing all my preparations for, and teaching my first class of the semester and getting to know my new students.
  • Meeting with friends, colleagues, and people I haven’t connected with in a very long time.
  • Updating my CV, getting all my documents in order.

Week 3: I spent last week battling a cold that took away much of my voice; remnants of that cold—the scratchy throat, the occasional cough—remain as I enter the week to come. I will spend my time in four different cities this week, all within a 250km drive from each other, which means I will be tired—of driving, of being on the road, of being away from my routine—by the time the weekend comes.

  • Going to Nosh Monday at the Red Rabbit, one of my favorite restaurants in all of Southwestern Ontario.
  • Heading to Toronto for work meetings and to reconnect with a former colleague whom I miss working with very much.
  • Teaching the second module of my class at UWaterloo.
  • Attending the London Food & Wine Show.
  • Starting a (soft) job search to try to figure out what’s next for me, professionally.

Week 4: Over the past few days, winter finally truly arrived. Snow fell continuously over the weekend, and this morning, temperatures have dropped down to -15°C. After so many months of milder weather, I feel almost unprepared for this cold and snowy spell; my winter parka is still in the closet upstairs, waiting to be brought down. Today may be the day it finally sees some action.

  • Heading to Toronto to run my first full digital assessment at work.
  • Teaching the second part of the second module of my class at UWaterloo.
  • Hosting a chili party open house” at our home to bring many of our friends together for food and conversation.

Week 5: Something is wrong with my sleep. Over the past week, no matter how much I slept—too little, too much, just enough—I have woken up feeling exhausted and struggle to keep my eyes open through the day. I wonder if I have sleep apnea? I have scheduled an appointment with my doctor in a few weeks to find out. In the meantime, I am keeping myself awake by filling my days with entirely too much to do.

  • Facilitating a workshop on ethics and equity in public service as part of the Code for Canada onboarding for the new cohort of fellows.
  • Heading to Toronto to run my second full digital assessment at work.
  • Teaching the third module of my class at UWaterloo.
  • Going for my first massage of 2020—much needed as my muscles have been feeling incredibly tight recently.

Week 6: The first week of February has brought with it a calmness that January did not embrace; my calendar looks less full than it has over the past month, by inbox is less crowded, my to-do list is less overwhelming. It is a week for resetting, for re-settling. I relish the relative quiet.

  • Attending a yoga class, my second one ever, to hopefully start exploring a yoga practice in the weeks to come.
  • Meeting with an insurance expert to hopefully get our insurance situation sorted out and under control.
  • Teaching the third module of my class at UWaterloo.
  • Seeing my therapist for the first time in 2020, and for the first time in her new office.
  • Enjoying a Supper Club meal hosted by Yaya’s Kitchen in honor of Black History Month.

Week 7: The coffee shops around the city have been, for the past few years, my de facto office. In an effort to do more of my work at home instead of in coffee shops, I’m working on making my home office more cozy, comfortable, and enticing—and really discovering what I need to be productive and effective when I work from home.

Week 8: By this time next week, I will be thirty-eight years old—firmly ensconced in my late thirties.” I used to be afraid of aging, but now I relish it; every year that passes is a reminder of just how lucky I am to have the life that I have, a temporal marker of gratitude and grace for what I’m lucky to have, and who I’m privileged to be.

Week 9: There’s a feeling of renewal that comes after a birthday that is quite delightful. Even though nothing really substantively changes from one day to another, waking up on the day after your birthday often feels like waking up to a world where anything is possible, everything is exciting, and the world is ready to accept whatever greatness you decide to manifest its way. This is a week of renewal; this is a week of excitement.

  • Transitioning back to the Talent Team at work after a short sojourn on the Assessments team, including a short trip to Toronto for a Talent Team retreat and some mini golf.
  • Teaching the fifth module of my class at UWaterloo.
  • Going to Drag Brunch.
  • Lots of dinners and lunches and celebrations with friends.

Week 10: The first week of March is a funny time of year. Some years, like this one, it ushers in warmth and rain and grey skies and the arrival of the spring. Others, it is cold and sunny and snow-covered and an extension of the winter gone by. The first week of March is a transition to a transition; similarly, for me, this will be a week of preparing for what’s next, making decisions to set the stage for bigger changes ahead. Transitions are often unpredictable; I am excited to see where this one takes me.

  • Preparing my talk for the Code for Canada Summit next week.
  • Teaching the fifth module of my class at UWaterloo.
  • Attending the Empty Bowls charity fundraiser.
  • Getting a much-needed massage to soothe my aching back.
  • Flying out to Boston to enjoy some delicious seafood meals.
  • Getting our car door fixed while we are away.

Week 11: We had to cancel our trip to Boston this past weekend because the conference we were supposed to attend got canceled; instead of eating seafood in Massachusetts this week ahead, we are navigating the ordinariness of everyday life again. I am unfazed: sometimes, there is solace in the ordinary, and respite in the routine. The world is telling me to slow down a little, and I’m more than happy to listen and take its advice.

  • Attending (and speaking at) the first Code for Canada Summit.
  • Getting all our tax documents in order and sending them over to our accountant.
  • Trying to figure out where to begin when it comes to designing, building, and decorating a nursery.
  • Making a list of names for baby girls.
  • Updating my CV, and starting a (soft) job search to try to figure out what’s next for me, professionally.

Week 12: This is the week of tumult. This is the week when nothing is certain, and everything is changing by the minute. This is the week when it will be important to remind ourselves of our own resilience, and of the interconnectedness of our communities. This is the week to be patient and kind to others, and to ourselves. This is the week of tumult, but it is also the week of hope.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing.
  • Supporting my students and pivoting my course curriculums to be all online.
  • Doing what I can to support people at work and in my community as they navigate these pandemic times.
  • Accompanying L to ultrasounds and OB visits.
  • Taking the opportunity to get all my financial and tax paperwork done.

Week 13: There has been a proliferation of how to pass the time while at home during a pandemic” articles and lists online, assuming that everyone seems to have much more time on their hands nowadays. I find the opposite is true; between regularly and actively reaching out to people to check in on them and support them, working hard to ease the massive transition at work and in my class, and just getting all the home stuff (cooking, cleaning, etc.) done, I feel as though I have less down time than I ever did before. Everything is going too quickly, and I’m waiting for the slower times to begin.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing.
  • Having my year-end performance evaluation and conversation at work.
  • Jumping into the massive pile of grading to do for my course.
  • Hosting two ask me anything” sessions for public servants on remote work.
  • Getting all my financial and tax paperwork done.

Week 14: What have we re-discovered, in these few weeks where the world has been turned upside down? I have re-discovered my love of cooking, re-discovered the gorgeousness of the park not far from home, re-discovered how much the silence invigorates me, re-discovered ways I can reach out and help others without being in physical proximity. These are days of re-discovery.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing.
  • Continuing to update my #ldnont takeout map.
  • Donating blood plasma to do my part to help where there is need.
  • Working on creating remote work support documents and resources for the public service as they all move to working from home.
  • Jumping into the massive pile of grading to do for my course.
  • Attending (virtually) the City Symposium.

Week 15: What I miss most about this new world is being able to sit in a coffee shop, a library, some kind of third place where I can be surrounded by people and activity but not engaging directly with any of it; I miss being encapsulated in the busy-ness of the world, being an observer of life as it flies by in front of me.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Working on creating remote work support documents and resources for the public service as they all move to working from home.
  • Starting the grading for my final assignment for my course.
  • Seeing my therapist virtually (instead of in-person) for the first time.
  • Celebrating Easter by baking fun baked goods and cooking delicious meals.

Week 16: We are a month into the COVID lockdowns, and people have begun talking about this being a new normal, at least for a little while. I have to keep reminding myself that there is nothing normal about this; it may be starting to feel more routine, but it’s okay to still feel out of sorts, feel grief, feel discomfort, feel distant and isolated. I feel better now than I have these last few weeks, but normal this is not.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Having a bunch of virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Setting up our analytics reporting for the remote work support documents and resources for the public service we’ve created.
  • Finishing the grading for my final assignment for my course and submitting the grades.

Week 17: April is already starting to come to a close, and in the past few days, the temperatures have been below zero and we’ve had some snowfall. When everything in the world feels topsy turvy, I guess it makes sense for the weather to be discombobulated, too. The magnolia tree in our front yard is waiting for some warmth and sunshine to bloom; I’m hoping we’ll get some of that, and we’ll see it erupt in color, this week.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Having a bunch of virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Finishing filing our taxes and getting all of 2019’s finances closed and in the books.
  • Starting to make the master list of everything we need to buy for the arrival of the baby, and putting together a registry, too.
  • Checking in with my psychiatrist and psychotherapist.

Week 18: Nobody told me there was so much to do, so much to buy, when you’re expecting a baby to come into your life in a few months. With just fourteen weeks left, I’ve decided to approach this the way I approach all major life events: by creating a copious amount of spreadsheets to guide me through all the things I need to do.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Having a bunch of virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Starting to check things off the master list of everything we need to buy for the arrival of the baby.
  • Starting our childbirth education classes, virtually.

Week 19: Last week, the daffodils and hyacinths in the garden started to bloom. This morning, I came downstairs to find the magnolia tree and the tulips in the front yard erupting with color, in full bloom. The spring has finally arrived, and the view outside my office window couldn’t be better. I’m taking this vibrancy and cheer with me, through the week.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Having a bunch of virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Attending a virtual baby shower for some friends.
  • Checking in with my therapist and my accountant.
  • Opening up our backyard pool for the season.
  • Starting to check things off the master list of everything we need to buy for the arrival of the baby.

Week 20: It is the middle of May and the snow is falling heavily. Not flurries, but heavy, accumulating snow; I can go outside and make snow angels or throw snowballs. Everything in the world is topsy-turvy and upside down this year. What a strange year to be bringing a child into the world.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Hosting my first Wednesday afternoon coffee break as part of my little experiment.
  • Having a bunch of virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Starting to check things off the master list of everything we need to buy for the arrival of the baby.

Week 21: Ten weeks to go and I have read two books, participated in multiple hours of classes, and have received advice from everyone we know that has ever had a child—and some who haven’t—and still I feel woefully underprepared and terribly overwhelmed. Starting to think that caring for a newborn might actually be easier than preparing to care for a newborn.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Reading every single parenting book I can get my hands on.
  • Having our pre-admit session with the nurses at the hospital so we know what to expect when delivery time arrives in just a few more weeks.
  • Hosting my second Wednesday afternoon coffee break as part of my little experiment.
  • Having a bunch of virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Revising our baby essentials” list in light of all the stuff we ordered that has been arriving on our doorstep, and making sure we have what we need for those first few weeks.

Week 22: We turned on the AC last night because falling asleep in the overbearing heat was getting difficult. Usually, we spend weeks with the windows open in the spring before turning on the climate control, but this year was the fastest we’ve ever switched from heating to cooling: we had sub-zero nights less than a week ago, and 20°+ nights these past few days. Despite us wanting to wait, it was time for the AC to be put to use.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Reading every single parenting book I can get my hands on.
  • Attending a webinar on anti-Asian discrimination.
  • Meeting (virtually) with our prospective post-partum doula.
  • Hosting my third and final Wednesday afternoon coffee break as part of my little experiment.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Buying more baby stuff; finding places to put all the baby stuff.

Week 23: When people call them riots, I try to correct them and tell them this is rebellion. Rioting is done when sports teams lose; rebellion is done when society and the systems of the world have been standing on your neck for hundreds of years and all you’re trying to do is breathe. And so, from my small corner of the world, I do what I can to support the rebellion. This is a battle worth fighting.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Reading every single parenting book I can get my hands on.
  • Meeting (virtually) with our prospective post-partum doula.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Buying more baby stuff; finding places to put all the baby stuff.

Week 24: I was on my way to the BLM protest this past weekend when, stopped at a red light, another car rear-ended me and sandwiched me into the car in front of me. Needless to say, I missed the protest. Reporting a collision, especially one with significant damage to the vehicles, is a time-consuming practice, but it is also one that forces you to be very observant, take good notes, and be diligent in your memory—good traits to practice, no matter what the situation.

  • Getting our car fixed after we got rear-ended this past weekend.
  • Attending virtual push prep and breastfeeding classes in preparation for the baby’s arrival.
  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Reading every single parenting book I can get my hands on.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Buying more baby stuff; finding places to put all the baby stuff.

Week 25: Technically, our province is entering phase two of the reopening plan post-COVID, but I like to remind people that the virus is still around, and potent, and that thinking about life post-coronavirus is premature. Sure, stores and restaurants may be opening back up, but with a baby on the way, we’re doubling down on precautions and staying distant from the crowds; there is too much at stake to be cavalier about this disease.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Planning and attending our virtual baby shower.
  • Reading every single parenting book I can get my hands on.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Buying more baby stuff; finding places to put all the baby stuff.

Week 26: The goal is to have a quiet week ahead after a busy weekend gone by. The goal is to stop stressing about the fact that the crib hasn’t been delivered yet, or that we haven’t assembled the changing table, or that our car is still in the shop after the collision so we can’t install the car seat, or the fact that we are five weeks away from the big day and I feel like I have ten weeks worth of work to get done. The goal is to remember to breathe, to know that everything is going to come together, one way or another.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Reading every single parenting book I can get my hands on.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Buying more baby stuff; finding places to put all the baby stuff.

Week 27: We’ve hit the point in the pregnancy where we have been told to keep a bag ready for the hospital; that our baby could be arriving (early) any day. Our bags aren’t quite yet packed, but we’re working on that. I’m hoping this child doesn’t take after me—someone who is early to everything—and instead holds off for a while and comes when she’s expected.

  • Staying at home as much as possible and practicing physical distancing.
  • Taking a few (virtual) pre-natal classes and workshops to prepare for the baby’s arrival.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Setting up the nursery, installing the car seat, finding places to put all the baby stuff.

Week 28: The air is hot and sticky: we are in the middle of a heat wave, and we feel the intensity of the sun every time we step outdoors. We are lucky to have a pool in the backyard, and we have been using it a lot during these extra-hot days. What a decadence it is to be able to submerge ourselves in cool water when the warmth is overwhelming—it is a decadence that we have been indulging in multiple times a day.

  • Having an interview for a job I applied for a few weeks ago.
  • Taking a quick weekend getaway—our last one before the baby arrives.
  • Taking a few (virtual) pre-natal classes—including an infant CPR class—and workshops to prepare for the baby’s arrival.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Last minute baby prep, and packing our go-bags for the hospital.

Week 29: Our go-bags for the hospital, as well as the stroller and car seat, are now sitting firmly in the trunk and back seats of the car, ready for any eventuality. With only two weeks left until L is due, we know that our daughter can arrive any time now, and that we have to consecrate all our time to preparing for her arrival. As a planner”—someone who like to be in control of every situation—this is a fraught time for me: timelines are vague and unpredictable, and the list of things to do to prepare never ends. I’m doing my best to take deep breaths and remind myself that from this period of uncertainty will come a most beautiful joy.

  • Attending a virtual townhall meeting with our new Minister after our division at work changed ministries.
  • Attending a few sessions on racial justice in public service and building equitable organizational cultures.
  • Meeting with our postpartum doula to ensure we’re prepared for everything that comes after the baby’s birth and our return home.
  • Taking a few more (virtual) pre-natal classes and workshops to prepare for the baby’s arrival.
  • Having some virtual hangouts with friends and family.
  • Last minute baby prep—still feels like there’s so much to do!

Week 30: Our baby arrives this week—she will either decide to arrive on her own, or will arrive via induction on Saturday—and I can’t help but think that the next time I write an update on this page, I will be a father. There is, of course, still so much to do to prepare, but the potential preparations are endless; nobody is fully ready for the arrival of their child. I am excited and terrified all at the same time. Wish me luck.

  • Wrapping up a few projects at work before I take three weeks off.
  • Welcoming our baby to this world and starting the grand adventure that is parenthood.
  • Picking up my mother-in-law who is coming to stay with us and help out during the first few weeks with a newborn.

Week 31: I’m a dad! The first day has been harder than I expected, but more rewarding and full of love than I expected, too. Here’s to many more love-filled days. For now, I’m just slowly figuring all this out.

Week 32: These have been the hardest eight days of my life. We’ve had a few complications after the birth of our daughter, and that has meant a little more work and a little less sleep than expected (and I already expected a lot of work and very little sleep), but it’s all worth it in the end. Our daughter is wonderful. Fatherhood may be hard (harder than anything I’ve ever done) so far, but knowing that I’m taking care of an amazing baby girl makes it all worth the effort.

Week 33: Fatherhood is teaching me a lot so far. I’m learning about how to adapt to things not quite going to plan (especially when things go very wrong) and learning a lot about how I react to adversity and struggle. I’m learning how to be more patient in the face of complications and how to be more graceful in the face of problems. Mostly, I’m learning how to survive on very little sleep.

Week 34: The days are blurring into each other. Time is a vague concept, and our days and nights are marked by feeding times (every two hours), and attempts to find some sleep in the middle of it all. My calendar tells me when the day begins, the week begins, the dates pass by; otherwise, I am unbound and untethered by time.

Week 35: Learning to care for a newborn—especially one with feeding complications—has been the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I won’t pretend it has all been rosy; I’ve struggled, a lot, and still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. In the end, however, I know it’ll be worth it. The things I’m learning now, the patience and perseverance I’m building, will all make me a better father, and a better person.

Week 36: Here’s the thing they don’t tell you about postpartum depression: that men can get it too, and that it can be incredibly crippling. The world feels like it is crumbling around me; the meds are doing what they can, and my support network is strong, but I’m still struggling. Here’s hoping for a better week ahead.

Week 37: It looks like I won’t be returning to work for some time, as the care needs for our daughter have amplified and we need both of us at home for a few months at least until things stabilize. It feels strange to not be working, not be doing any of my community engagement or volunteer work, and not having much of a social life either; all my time is devoted to the care of this child. It has made me wonder: who am I without the doing?” If the doing becomes so insular and so focused on one task, have I become a different person? Who am I now that I spend all my time doing nothing but trying to keep our heads above water when it come to caring for a newborn?

Week 38: Every day is the same these days: spend an hour feeding the little one, play with her for half an hour, spend an hour trying to put her to sleep, and if we are lucky, have her sleep for thirty minutes (during which we can shower, prepare meals, do the laundry, finish paperwork—or at night, get some sleep) until we have to wake her up for her next meal. We don’t sleep, we don’t eat well, we struggle through the days. These have been the hardest seven weeks of my life.

Week 39: Postpartum depression—yes, it can affect men too—is a debilitating illness and one I have been fighting and battling for eight weeks now. The days feel bleak; the hours feel endless. The things that are supposed to bring me joy instead bring me sadness or anger—or worse, I feel numb. On top of caring for a high-needs child, I am caring for myself so I don’t succumb to the will not to live. This is the hardest work of my life.

Weeks 40, 41, 42, 43: I can not, for the life of me, find the time, energy, wherewithal, or will to write an update this week.

(Feel free to visit my Me, now’ archives: 2018, 2019.)