Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sibling Revelry

revelry [ˈrɛvəlrɪ]
n pl -ries
noisy or unrestrained merrymaking

I'm pretty sure that all those times when Lukas thought of having a sibling to play and share experiences with, and when he asked Mrs. LIAYF and I when he was finally going to have one, he wasn't exactly thinking of a baby sister who was 5 years younger than him.  Rather, I know for a fact that when his mother and I talked to him about our initial plans for adoption a couple of years ago, he was pretty darn excited at the possibility of getting a little brother who was closer to his age (We considered adopting up to age 3).  

He really wanted someone he could share all of his cool toys with, and teach all the important things in life to, like Lego's and Star Wars and Rockets and, well Lego's. Read: a brother.

There was even a moment, shortly after he had been introduced to his tiny little sister Annabelle, when he mentioned quietly that he was..."Hoping for a brother".  

As a parent that was a little tough to swallow at the time.  Especially since one of the big reasons we wanted #2 was for his benefit.  To enrich his life.  But honestly, and to our relief, that was the last negative comment we have heard from Lukas about his sister.  And that was in the first day or two.  6 months have passed since.  6 months of Annabelle being a newborn - with all the typical newborn struggles and family adjustments.

I'll reiterate that point.  There hasn't been one negative peep about his sister since that day!

In fact, since that initial comment Lukas has been nothing short of an amazing big brother to Annabelle.  AMAZING!  He absolutely adores her.  When she cries, he is always the first person to run to her aid, offering a bottle or pacifier, or just to distract her with his goofy antics, often dancing around and singing to her.  And all this while he is smiling broadly and bursting forth with unconstrained laughter.  

In short, he really loves his little sister.  And the feeling is mutual too.  His is the first face she will lock onto when we all enter a room where she is, and a tiny smile is often sure to follow.  Their interactions are seriously fun, and heartwarming to watch and I can easily envision that as they grow up together, with the 5 year age gap, that she will follow him around like a little groupie, wide eyed and absorbing all that he can teach her - including the finer points about Star Wars and Lego's and Rockets.

I can also envision that Lukas will act as her protector, shielding her from much unnecessary pain.  He is so good even now, at 5 years, of helping out smaller kids, both those he knows as well as strangers who are having a difficult time be they hurt or scared or lost, or just getting knocked down on the playground.  

Annabelle is a very lucky girl to have a brother who is so loving and empathetic.  

Of course, he will benefit greatly from having her around too.  He already has.  Every day it is so terrific to watch as his face lights up when they play together, and to see him rushing down the stairs in the mornings, jumping out of bed when he realizes I am leaving with her for daycare, so he can kiss her goodbye.

I know it's still early with the two of them, and that there will surely be strife in their relationship as they grow up together.  But for now, Mrs. LIAYF and I couldn't be happier at how our kids, a boy and a girl with a 5 year age gap, have lovingly bonded with each other.

It seems silly now that we were ever even concerned about such matters.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mountain Biking at 5 101

Well, hello there readers.  I know, I's been a while since I posted anything here.  I'll just say in my defense that it's been busy.  Real busy.  Thanks for all the emails though - asking how I was doing, and if everything was okay.  I'm touched that you care.

Alright, scratch that - since no one has actually asked.  But I know you were wondering, somewhere back in the far reaches of your mind, and that is enough for me.

As I mentioned, it has been busy, but thankfully I did have a couple of days off with Lukas this past week for Spring break.  And with Annabelle now in daycare and doing quite well there, and Mrs. LIAYF back at work,  it was a perfect opportunity for Lukas and I to spend some quality time together.

Those few days we spent hanging out were something different for us too, as we have had precious few days previously where it was just he and I doing something alone together. Before Annabelle we always did things as a threesome.

But now things are different, and I have to say that those days this week meant a lot to me. Lukas and I have always been very close, but the time we spent hanging out together this past week allowed us to bond in a seemingly whole new way.  And I loved it.

What did we do?  Lots of different things really, including hiking and beach combing, a trip to the arcade, and zip-lining at a local park.  But I also took him to do something he has been wanting to do for quite some time: Mountain, or off road, biking.  Here is a short clip I took on a mostly flat portion of the trail we rode.  It did get a bit more difficult.

We chose Pioneer Park nearby for our inaugural ride.   He was a real trooper, even though it really wore him out riding over and through non paved surfaces, up and down hills most of which were small.  We did get a chance, however, to go down some long downhill runs which he absolutely loved. And so did I.  

This was a lot of fun.   I can't wait until Lukas is a bit older and we can try some more challenging rides where we wont have to walk our bikes up the steeper hills. Luckily, there are an abundance of great biking trails in the Seattle area for all skill levels.

But for now,  this outing was just perfect.