Category Archives: parenting

2022-23 New Year review

This is an annual post reviewing the last year and setting goals for next year. Overall, this was a reasonably good year with some challenges (the invasion of Ukraine and being sick a lot). Some highlights in this review are improving digital habits, reviewing sleep data from the Oura ring since 2019 and calibration of predictions since 2014, an updated set of Lights habits, the unreasonable effectiveness of nasal spray against colds, and of course baby pictures.

2022 review

Life updates

I am very grateful that my immediate family is in the West, and my relatives both in Ukraine and Russia managed to stay safe and avoid being drawn into the war on either side. In retrospect, it was probably good that my dad died in late 2021 and not a few months later when Kyiv was under attack, so we didn’t have to figure out how to get a bedridden cancer patient out of a war zone. It was quite surreal that the city that I had visited just a few months back was now under fire, and the people I had met there were now in danger. The whole thing was pretty disorienting and made it hard to focus on work for a while. I eventually mostly stopped checking the news and got back to normal life with some background guilt about not keeping up with what’s going on in the homeland.

AI alignment

My work focused on threat models and inner alignment this year:

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2021-22 New Year review

This was a rough year that sometimes felt like a trial by fire – sick relatives, caring for a baby, and the pandemic making these things more difficult to deal with. My father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away later in the year, and my sister had a sudden serious health issue but is thankfully recovering. One theme for the year was that work is a break from parenting, parenting is a break from work, and both of those things are a break from loved ones being unwell. I found it hard to cope with all the uncertainty and stress, and this was probably my worst year in terms of mental health. There were some bright spots as well – watching my son learn many new skills, and lots of time with family and in nature. Overall, I look forward to a better year ahead purely based on regression to the mean. 

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Reflections on the first year of parenting

The first year after having a baby went by really fast – happy birthday Daniel! This post is a reflection on our experience and what we learned in the first year.

Grandparents. We were very fortunate to get a lot of help from Daniel’s grandparents. My mom stayed with us when he was 1 week – 3 months old, and Janos’s dad was around when he was 4-6 months old (they made it to the UK from Canada despite the pandemic). We also spent the summer in Canada with the grandparents taking care of the baby while we worked remotely.

We learned a lot about baby care from them, including nursery rhymes in our respective languages and a cool trick for dealing with the baby spitting up on himself without changing his outfit (you can put a dry cloth under the wet part of the outfit). I think our first year as parents would have been much harder without them.

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2020-21 New Year review

This is an annual post reviewing the last year and making resolutions and predictions for next year. 2020 brought a combination of challenges from living in a pandemic and becoming a parent. Other highlights include not getting sick, getting a broader perspective on my life through decluttering, and going back to Ukraine for the first time. (This post was written in bits and pieces over the past two months.)

2020 review

Life updates:

Janos and I had a son, Daniel, on Nov 11. He arrived almost 3 weeks later than expected (apparently he was waiting to be born on my late grandfather’s birthday), and has been a great source of cuddles, sound effects and fragmented sleep ever since.

1 week old
6 weeks old

Some work things also went well this year – I had a paper accepted at NeurIPS, and was promoted to senior research scientist. Also, I did not get covid, and survived half a year of working from home (much credit goes to the great company of my housemates). Overall, a lot of things to be grateful for.

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