Tuesday, August 25, 2015
"I pee pee in the POTTY!" Annabelle emphatically declared earlier this evening.
I turned my head toward the bathroom just in time to see my sweet little thing doing what can only be described as a Frankenwalk in my direction while holding her little green potty above her head with both hands. "Don't spill" I warned.
I knew what was coming next.
"Treat?" she asked, as she reached me in time to hold out said potty in front of me as verification that she had, indeed, clocked in this particular evening and thus she was entitled to her just compensation.
"Treat Daddy?" she again inquired, giving me a sweet look that, of course, I was no match for. "Yes Sweetie" I responded. "How about a Smartie?"
She liked that well enough. "But now you have to eat some more of your dinner Sweetie" I tried to sound firm but loving at the same time. It worked.....for a bit. However, a few moments later, Annabelle was once again down from her dinner chair and headed to the potty.
And once again, she walked out the the bathroom declaring that she was owed a treat. She even gave herself a mumbling, but pretty darn cute "Hup hup huvay" as she threw her hands in the air. After proper verification I once again rewarded her with a smartie candy. A pink one this time.
Now, while two pees in the potty in one evening is a pretty good output for a 2.5 year old, I was unprepared for what was next. (No, it wasn't that. We are still working on that one.) Annabelle, the prudent business woman that she is, apparently realizing that this whole getting a treat thing was pretty cool (especially since she has a very pronounced sweet tooth) decided that she was going to cut down on quality while increasing output.
No less than 3 more times, our tiny entrepreneur ran off to the loo and came out declaring that there was something treat worthy for me to see in there.
Not much, mind you, but each time there was indeed something in the bottom of that potty. After one of the last visits I joked to Mrs. LIAYF "I think we should start calling her Squirt." as I focused trying to see if there was actually anything in there.
Then, after her last trip, and I again verified the contents I was amazed that she wasn't dry. "Where is all this pee pee coming from Annabelle?" I asked, in all seriousness.
"MY BUTT!" came her emphatic reply. Mrs. LIAYF and I just laughed.
Well, I did ask.
"Not quite Sweetie, but good job none the less! Have another Smartie."
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 10:04 PM
Friday, August 14, 2015
As has happened countless times in the past few weeks, Lukas and I passed several groups of people at the Zoo today while in his wheelchair - only to hear them whispering behind us. Most of the time it was obviously about him, not matter how quiet they were trying to be. But we didn't mind. Especially Lukas.
In fact he welcomed it.
Other times, we were actually approached by friendly folks who wanted to chat about our 8 year old's predicament. But it wasn't always that way.
As I mentioned recently in a post here, our son is spending the summer in the aforementioned wheelchair because he suffered a spiral fracture of his femur and had a plate and eight screws surgically installed in a 4 hour procedure. It was a freak skateboard accident, and we all have come to terms with what that means for our summer plans as well as our daily routine.
But Lukas is not one to mope about being confined to a chair with wheels as his primary propulsion device outside the home. In fact, he has gone out of his way to wheel himself over to a pack of friends, or kids who were strangers for that matter and interjected himself into their conversations. He so wants to be a part of all that is going on.
Now, they will most often include him in the conversation, save for a few instances which didn't deter him, but at first it was different.
In the first couple of weeks after his surgery, the reactions of people we passed out in public was very different. It was Lukas who noticed it early on. "Mom, why do all the grown ups look away when we pass?" he asked Mrs. LIAYF. "And the kids stare at me, but don't say anything."
After his Mother had explained to him that people can be a bit uncomfortable seeing someone in a wheelchair and not knowing the reason (he has no cast on his leg, therefore it wasn't obvious what was wrong) that they are often afraid to say anything for fear of saying the wrong thing, it was decided that something needed done to rectify this situation. Maybe people would react differently if they knew what had happened.
And since we were all set for him to wheel through our local 4th of July Kids Parade the next day, Mrs. LIAYF made Lukas a pretty cool sign to hang on back. It says "I broke my leg skateboarding" along with a drawing of a skateboard.
This has made a world of difference in how he is interacted with out in public. As I mentioned, as we pass people we are constantly hearing them whisper to each other. "It say he broke his leg skateboarding." someone will invariably whisper to a companion. They will then chuckle.
As I mentioned, many will now approach us and want to chat about the injury, commiserate by relaying their own broken limb story, or simply compliment him on his sign. "Awesome sign dude. That explains a lot" is a common response his will get.
Interestingly enough, another common statement we will get goes something along the lines of "Is that sign to deflect having to answer all the questions about it?" To which they are often very surprised when we tell them it's for the opposite reason.
I can completely understand where these folks are coming from too. Before this, I would have a similar reaction to someone else's child in a wheelchair. I would feel really terrible for them and probably not know exactly what to say, especially if I didn't know the reason behind the confinement.
Still, I don't know what a person permanently confined to a wheelchair might think of such a sign. Would they think that we are trying to make sure everyone knew that this was a temporary thing, rather than permanent? Would they view that as a slight? I'm not sure, although I hope not.
I think, if anything, this experience has opened our eyes quite a bit to the great experiences that can be had, despite not being able to walk. Lukas has even commented a couple of times that he doesn't mind being in the chair very much. That he can actually still have a lot of fun while in it. In large part, that is likely a product of his well adjusted outlook on life, but it is also a result of realizing that happiness is a combination of many, many factors.
Of course, don't get me wrong, we will all be thrilled once the wheelchair is no longer needed.
But until then, we will all be happy to field questions from anyone reading his sign. After all, it's not just an explanation, it's an invitation to interact. Something we all thrive on.
Especially our very social boy.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 10:27 PM
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
|Cleared for taking off....|
A super cute force of nature, but definitely a force of nature. She always likes to do things her way, and without help. That will serve her well someday. Now, at 2, it makes things 'interesting'. And, even though she can be 'strong willed' at times, I love every ounce of her.
In addition to being strong willed, she also laughs, hugs, and does tons of silly things. But most of all she is very loving towards Mrs. LIAFY and I, and her brother too.
....Yeah, she loves her brootheeeer, and America too....
Sorry, I just had a Tom Petty moment. But back to the post at hand, another thing Annabelle really loves right now is airplanes. All kinds of airplanes.
Yep, she gets super excited anytime she sees an airplane, calling out loudly and pointing to it to make sure we see it too.
"DA PLANE, DA PLANE!!" she will call out, as if she were channelling Herve Villechaize aka Tatoo from the 70's/80's television classic 'Fantasy Island'. I guess that would make me her Host, Mr. Rorke.
Although, reality check, if this were really an episode of Fantasy Island and I ran the place, you'd think I wouldn't have to change any diapers, would you?
Okay, although I am definitely not living an episode of Fantasy Island, I am enjoying that Annabelle is making leaps and bounds with her vocabulary recently. It's fun that she can now verbalize clearly many things that she enjoys.
We had family movie night this past weekend, and since it has been difficult to get our sweet little thing to actually sit for some screen time (I know, rough problem to have) we decided to rent a movie that might pique her interest. Like 'Planes', the Disney movie that is basically 'Cars' with wings.
Unfortunately, as much as she likes airplanes, her reaction to sitting still and watching them on a screen for an hour and a half was pretty much "Meh"(even when Dusty Crophopper was Free, Free Fallin!), except, of course, when there was a PINK! plane (supporting cast) - which I guess is all right, even if the result is that I don't get to sit through the whole movie either.
Once, during a moment of distraction from Planes, I noticed that she had gotten some stamps from daycare earlier. "Those are pretty stamps Annabelle" I let her know. It was at that point that she corrected me.
"Dadoo, Daddy. Dadoo"
Apparently, she thought this was some permanent ink.
Or else she was once again channeling her inner Herve.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 10:06 PM
Thursday, August 6, 2015
|Lukas, with 'Dan' one of only 7 Lego|
Master Builders in the USA!
I know, I know. Let's just dispense with the obligatory "It's been so long since my last post....blah, blah, blah" garbage and get right into the meat, or should I say 'meat and bone' of this mini blog-resurrection post. Nope, this blog is not dead.
Lukas, who is now 8 years old, is smack in the middle of spending his entire summer break in a wheelchair. Okay, to be perfectly accurate, he is not spending the ENTIRE summer in a wheelchair. There are times when he sleeps, and we are not lifting the pediatric sized chair onto his bed and covering him up with a blanket. That would just be odd, right? He is also now using a walker and also crab walking around with one leg propped in the air.
All this is because just three days after school got out back in June, Lukas had a freak accident with his skateboard and ended up with a spiral fracture of his right femur. Yes, it was traumatic. Very much so. He was wearing his protective gear and being safe, but alas it still happened. (Something, something....bubble wrap.)
He was actually taken by ambulance to Seattle Harborview hospital, our regional trauma center for a not so fun filled evening in the ER (lots of 'colorful' people there on a Saturday night!), before being admitted and scheduled for to have metal plate and 8 screws installed in his leg the next morning. That was Father's Day.
As fun as all this sounds, I would recommend (and Lukas would surely agree) never having this done on yourself, or any of your children. Especially not your first born.
We are now 6 weeks into the process, and I have to say I am extremely impressed with my son. You can imagine how you would feel about spending the summer of your 8th year confined to a wheelchair. Well, Lukas has been extremely positive throughout the process. continuing to be a happy and loving brother to his 2 year old sister. Once he even, in all earnestness said "It could have been worse, Dad. I could have lost my legs for good."
That one blew me away. I really love this boy.
For our part, Mrs. LIAYF and I have done our best to not only keep him from bearing weight on his leg until he is cleared (we certainly don't want him to re-injure it after all he has been through), but we have also done our very best to give him as normal a Summer as we can. That includes arranging for friends to come visit, keeping him involved in projects and reading (a LOT), visits to local attractions when possible, and once he was cleared a visit to a local water splash park where he was more than thrilled to roll his chair through the spray on a very hot day, and get thoroughly soaked.
Those smiles were incredibly heartwarming after all the trauma.
We also took him to an MLS game last week to see our Seattle Sounders in action. He was signed up for a Sounders soccer camp - we cancelled that but kept the game tickets. Just a note: ADA seating provides amazing views in Century Link field, also home to the Seahawks!
All in all, the Summer has been good, considering Lukas' plight. Mrs. LIAYF and I have spent a lot of time with him, using FMLA, since we have no other options for his care, and we have all enjoyed our extra time with those we love the most.
We are far from done yet though. Once school does start, and he is cleared to bear weight, it will be incrementally more each week. That means more time in the chair, at school. Plus Lukas will not be able to partake in recess activities for at least 3 months, and will have the plate removed in another surgery around Christmas time.
Wish us all luck. Although luck would be nice, we will most likely be getting by on determination, lots of love, and enjoying life for the wonderful moments it gives us.
Even in adversity.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 1:25 PM
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Annabelle doesn't have a ton of words yet. But that certainly doesn't stop her from wanting to participate in family discussions.
Case in point. A couple of nights ago, as we do every night, the family sat down for dinner together, sans media, to fortify ourselves and talk about our respective days. Mrs. LIAYF went first, telling us about what she had learned that day at her work. For all that she already knows, it's pretty cool that she never fails to think of something new that she picked up during the course of her day.
Next, we asked Lukas about his day at school, and what types of things he had learned in his 2nd grade classroom. Usually this is difficult, because, as any of you who've had elementary age kids already know, they are pretty wiped out and often unresponsive by the time 6PM rolls around.
However, we can usually prime the pump with Lukas, and once he gets rolling, details will just sort of spill out. Priming often takes both Mrs. LIAYF and I to talk about our day first.
It's usually difficult for me to find something interesting about what happened during my day. Probably because I have a relatively boring job. It's a good job and I have no complaints. It's just boring. So, I was once again having trouble thinkning of what to say after Mrs. LIAYF prompted me by asking to descibe something 'Interesting' that happened to me that day.
Thankfully though, I was saved by the Belle. Annabelle. That's because she was apparently tired of all her family chatting at the dinner table, and holding conversations without giving her a proper turn.
So she let out a healthy scream. One that would shut us up and draw our attention. It worked, as we quieted down and turned our attention to her. She said "My tin. My tin"
"Do you want to talk about your day too?" Mrs. LIAYF asked, after we had all turned to gaze at our 2yo fireball. "Yeah!" She nodded. Then she began to chatter to us animatedly. She was obviously decribing, in detail, the events of her day at daycare. "Did you see Elliot today?" I asked her. "Bye, Bye" she responded. "You said goodbye when he left? " her mother asked "Yeah!" she smiled, obviously thrilled to have her own chance to detox.
Lukas laughed. So did Mrs. LIAY and I. We were having a true family discussion, one where EVERYONE had their say. It was nice to have the whole family participate.
It was also a good excercise in family bonding. One we plan on continuing for the duation of their childhood.
Hopefully they won't be turned off of it by my rather mundane contributions.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 9:32 PM
Sunday, February 22, 2015
I mentioned in a previous post, that since the kids were into scootering so much I was thinking about getting a scooter of my own just to keep up. You thought I was kidding about that, didn't you? Not to worry, so did I at the time.
However (and surprisingly), where I would normally just talk about something of the sort, and then be distracted by many other of lifes important things, I actually did something about it this time. I got myself a scooter too. It's pretty cool.
After a quick bit of reseach on adult scooters, I found that Razor made an adult version, called the A5 which would be ideal for a guy of my physical dimensions. Another quick search, this time on Craigslist, found 1, count em, 1 A5 scooter available for sale used in all the Seattle Metropolitan area.
But, it was at a steal! $25 and a quick side trip on the way to Lukas' skateboard lesson later, and I had myself what proved to be a nearly brand new adult sized Razor that I could use to ride around with the kids. Of course, it took me a few days before the opportunity presented itself, life's 'important things' not having gone away in the interim.
Lukas and I had only had an initial break in ride through our local business district, which was fun but pretty short, when an school mandated off day gave us the opportunity to go for a real scootering adventure together. We decided on a newer park in another part of the city. One with a kids playground, zip lines, and a few miles of paved paths (including a few higher hills that provided a good downhill cruise).
The park also had a brand new skate park, complete with deep bowl.
Lukas and I had a blast scootering around at top speed along the paved paths, and cruising down the weaving downhill sections. It was the perfect place to go and enjoy some father/son wheeled bonding time.
Then, after riding around the paths for a while, we came upon the skate park. It only had a few skate boaders in one section, with the deep bowl empty and inviting. "Follow me Dad!" Lukas called as he immediately rode his smaller Razor over the steep edge of the upper bowl. Yes this was a multi-tiered deep bowl.
I hesitated for a couple of moments, then thought "What the heck, I have my helmet on." and rolled my A5 over the edge. The result? Well, it was so steep that I instinctively leaned backwards which caused my scooter to jump out in front of me and it sent me flying onto my water bottle. Yeah, I had a water bottle in my back pocket. In retrospect, it probably saved my tailbone from a good buising.
But, I was okay, and I popped up and followed Lukas over the next steep decent into the lower bowl where we had enough speed built up to ride the edges a few times before rolling back up into the upper bowl. It was a lot of fun!
We continued to ride around the skate bowl for a few minutes before getting out and breaking for lunch in the car. It was all worth it when Lukas turned to me while eating his sandwhich and let me know "I'm really happy right now Dad".
I responded with an "I am too buddy. I am too!"
After lunch we scootered around a bunch more, Lukas hit the playground, and we finally decided to call it a day after one final trip to the skate bowl.
The only drawback? It's been days now, and my legs are still pretty sore. Especially my left shin.
Being in your late 40's and riding around on two wheels with your 7 year old: Priceless.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 4:32 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Lukas has always had incredible balance for his age.
This was never more evident than when he picked up riding a 12" bike without training wheels at the tender age of 3. It took him all of 5 minutes, and he was riding a pedal bike. We never tried with the stabilizers, since he started riding a balance bike at 2 1/2.
He also has been riding a razor scooter the past couple of years, and is so comfortable with it he has been taking it to skate parks to ride amongst the older kids on boards. If fact, he has rode the Razor so much that Annabelle watched and followed behind him on her tiny legs all the time. So much so that we had the idea of getting her a scooter of her own when she turned 2, which her Grandparents happy provided as her gift.
Lukas' comfort on wheels has been so natural that it is surprising even to us that we waited until now to get him on a Skateboard. It seemed like the perfect time. That happened earlier today at All Together Skate Park, a local indoor skate park here in Seattle which specialized in lessons for kids.
The lesson was only an hour, but Lukas was excited about trying out a brand new skill. Which he did with flying colors. For the $20 lesson, All Together provided a personal instructor, all the gear needed - including the board and pads - and a kids 'Z-Bar' snack after the lesson as well!
Lukas started out learning the basics of how to stand and ride on the board, and amazingly by the end of the hour he was going down the 2nd stage ramp on his own. I had no idea kids could pick up riding so fast, but other kids we also doing so which was pretty impressive.
The hardest part of the whole experience was probably having to tell Annabelle (who was watching intently the whole time) that as much as she turned to us, pointed out to the skating park, and said "My tin? (turn)" that she wasn't going to be able to have a lesson as well. We were informed that All Together has given lessons to 2 year olds before, but we were not quite prepared for that yet.
Maybe when she is 3.
Lukas really enjoyed his first skateboard lesson. So much in fact, that we are planning on going back again next week and continuing from there. We are also thinking hard about a new board for his birthday, and even checked into prices of a birthday party and lessons for his buddies at the park in a few months.
Wish us luck. It sounds like, after an hour of fun, we are already ALL IN.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 4:40 PM
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Happy 2015 readers!
It's been a while since I last posted here, but there is a very good reason. You see, I was sucked into
In the corner of the galaxy I occupied (approaching the singularity of a black hole) only hours had passed, while back here on earth it has strangely been a couple of months. Wierd I know. And, since then many important things have happened here including Annabelle's 2nd birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas too. Believe me, If it weren't for this whole space/time differential thing I would have written about all of those things. But, hey when you soar with the eagles, sometimes you travel too close to Saturn.
Or something like that.
Anyway, I hope to be back to posting a bit more regularly now that the new year is upon us. I kinda owe it to you all after all. Many of you took the time to vote for me in the recent Best of Western Washington contest for best Parenting Blog. Amazingly, I came in in 4th place in that contest and am extremely thankful for all the support.
As you can imagine. there is a LOT keeping us busy here. Having 2 small children while leaving my mid 40's in the rearview is surprisingly taxing. Who'd a thought that?
One thing that has keep us occupied over the past couple of weeks, besides the holiday's has been Scootering. Yes, scootering. Annabelle, who was determined to ride Lukas' razor scooter for the longest time, recieived her own three wheeled version( a Tri-Fly) for her birthday from her grandparents, and has literally taken off on it.
It is pretty amazing to watch her ride around sidewalks, underground building tunnels, and empty parking lots on her new mode of transport. And she has turned more than a few heads along the way too, drawing many smiles and shakes of the head with how adept she is at such a young age.
Pretty soon, she may even join Lukas at the local skate park, going up and down ramps and over jumps. Okay, maybe the jumps are a couple of years off, but I wouldn't put anything past her at this point.
Soon, I may have to get my own adult sized scooter just to keep up.
Wish me luck!
* Any similarity to ther to the plot of the cool new sci fi blockbuster Intersellar is purely coincidence.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 3:42 PM
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Before you call him a Dad?
It was a stormy night last night here in Seattle, readers. With winds gusts up to 60 miles and hour in our neighborhood, Lukas was having trouble sleeping. He even described looking out his window once to see what he thought was lightening. But since there was no lightning in Seattle last night, we think he actually saw some transformers blow. Either way, it was an impressive show to him.
There were a lot of power outages as a result. But not ours thankfully.
I sat with him in his bed for a while, reassured him that the windows weren't going to shatter, then left him to go to sleep, which he eventually did.
For Annabelle, on the other hand, the effects of the big blow seem to have had a more lasting effect. Because she was actually blowing stuff herself when she woke up today.
She slept through all the wind but who knows, maybe something cosmic took place.
I could say "Mind Blown!" (Making an explosion sound while also making that obnoxious gesture where I open my fists which were previously closed at either of my temples)
But to be more accurate I would say "Nose Blown!" (Now making that nose blowing sound while opening one fist that was previously closed at the base of my nose.)
Yes, Annabelle has finally successfully blown her own nose! The importance of this early childhood development, is mainly that it signifies to weary parents that there is hope left in the world, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That the Snot Gods are finally smiling on you for a change.
And the fact that this development is coming right as the cold season is upon us, makes it all the more special. No more will we have to wipe at a runny nose every few seconds lest a stream of gooey goo roll over the top of her lip and make it's way quickly towards her chin.
Instead, I can just stick a Kleenex up there and ask her to "Blow Sweetie", which will at least give me a few extra moments where I don't have to deal with seeing my child lick a stream off her upper lip in the middle of a public place, while I try to make it look convincingly enough like I tried to get there in time.
As a bonus, I just looked up when a child should be able to blow their own nose and Master Google says 'by about age two'. Annabelle doesn't turn 2 until next week, so she is obviously developmentally right on track , or ahead even, in the nose blowing spectrum.
And it that weren't enough of a boon to start my day, Annabelle also successfully blew something else for the first time today. It had nothing to do with her temperament, either, like blowing her top. Yes, she does get frustrated on occasion these days. Like nearly every other 2 year old.
No, think Blues on this one.
If you guessed 'a harmonica' - ding, ding, ding. You win the internet for the day(use it wisely).
That's right. as we were getting ready to leave the house this morning for a Halloween party, Lukas blew on a harmonica then stuck it in Annabelle's face. She smiled, gave it a blow, then shrieked in delight when music came out the other end.
She proceeded to blow on it a few more times, and for some reason many of the resulting notes came out sounding like a Dylan song. Maybe all of them.
It was pretty awesome to watch.
Yes, how many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a Dad? The answer my friends, is blowin' in wind.
No, the answer my friends, is blowing in the tissue.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 4:30 PM
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
|At the bottom of this hole lies the true meaning of life.|
Here at LIAYF, we are now fully in the potty awareness stage with Annabelle.
Every night she pulls out her new favorite book 'Go Girl, Go Potty', slides the potty across the bathroom floor, and looks at me with a very serious face while saying 'Pooop, Pooop' and pointing towards her bum.
And with that I go through the motions getting all those toddler clothes off, and allowing her to sit on her new potty, where she will dutifully grit her teeth, close her hands into fists, and make a pretty convincing pushing motion (one in which her arms and elbows are even noticeably moved inwards towards her stomach.)
It's so convincing, it actually gets me every time.
After a few seconds of this show, she stands up and proclaims that she is "ahhh dun", after which I excitedly peer into the mini loo only to find it once again devoid of any excrement.
Worse yet, it has so far also been as dry as the Mohave desert. No, I've never been to the Mohave, but I'm guessing it's a pretty dry place....kind of like the bottom of said potty. Tell me I'm not right.
After going through this exercise once again last night, I was admittedly exhausted. It was after working a long day, getting dinner together, and doing various other unnamed household chores (dishes, laundry...) and I had just enough energy to get through the potty routine before collapsing on the bathroom floor next to a bare bummed 1 year old.
She obviously took that as her cue that it was time for a side show. That's because she carefully picked up her potty and placed in onto my back and climbed aboard, as if I were some kind of poo poo choo choo train or something. Okay, I admit that I found this somewhat humorous. That is, until she started laughing and hopping up and down on, while sitting on her potty - on top of her Pop.
Lukas then came into the bathroom ready for his bath, and decided it was the perfect opportunity to pile on top of me as well, and soon they were both nekked and hopping on top of their collapsed, tired, and laugh drooling (this is a hybrid of laughing while kind of half asleep and drooling on the floor) old man.
In the midst of all this hopping action I had a faint hope that something might even shake out, but alas when I was finally free of the two little hopping stinkers I pulled the potty off my back and checked it. But there was still no poop.
No worries though, as I actually think we are ahead of schedule. If she is still shy of 2 years old and giving it this much effort, we should be seeing results in no time, right?
Right? Okay, I won't hold my breath, so to speak, just yet.
Not unless I am being jumped on by a pack of wild kiddos.
Posted by James (SeattleDad) at 10:37 PM