Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pattern Recognition

Can you find the pattern?

"I found the pattern", Lukas told us mere moments into his math homework tonight.  In a blink he had completed this 'work' and was then distracted by another subject.  His bouncy and energetic sister this time.

This boy.  Finding patterns has always come naturally to him.  A small window into just how his mind works.  And a wonderful, loving mind it is too.

He will find them often.  Look for them in numbers, and in nature, these patterns.  Finding them in places, and pictures that are not immediately obvious to his mother and I.  It takes an inherent gift to see these alignments through the fog of noise that permeates our perception.

He has this gift.  We've know his mind gravitated towards certain affinities since he was very young.

It's pretty cool.

I have no doubt that one day patterns, or numbers of some sort will be a part of his trade, perhaps even his source of enjoyment.  Sabremetrics anyone?  Maybe that's just a dream of his father's, mine, a guy who loves the smell, the taste, the feel of baseball despite his team disappointing him without fail seemingly with each cycle of the earth round the sun.

But if they aren't, I'm fairly certain he will find another endeavor which will bring a heartwarming smile, which is another thing that comes natural with this one.  And his little sister as well, come to think of it.

Hmmm, seems like a pattern there.

How lucky Mrs. LIAYF and I are.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Yeesh! Teach a Kid to Read

Fueled by Pudding

Lukas, who's 8, not surprisingly has been reading for some time now.   In fact, just this past week his teacher informed us that he was reading well past his grade level now.  It was pretty fantastic for a kid so highly math inclined his early reading had suffered by comparison. 

But, that being said, when kids learn to read it can have certain drawbacks. Let me proffer an example.

It was sometime after 10:00PM the other night when Lukas came down from his room.

His approach was announced rather clearly by the thumping of the stairs as he trod down them.  Mrs. LIAYF and I were in the kitchen, having just recently finished making lunches for he and Annabelle for the next school day.

"What's up Buddy? Why aren't you asleep?  I asked him.

"I'm hungry" he let us know.

"Okay, tell us what you want? But it'll have to be quick" Mrs. LIAYF interjected.

"Some warm milk with cinnamon. That always puts me right to sleep." he replied.  It seemed reasonable.

Then he opened the refrigerator to grab the milk, and after a brief scan of the contents added "And some chocolate pudding!" He had obviously seen a plastic cup of it sitting there on the shelf above the milk carton.

"Pudding? Not the best idea right now."  I then let him know. "Yeah, too much sugar right at bedtime."  Mrs. LIAFY chimed in, backing me up.

"Uh, No" was all Lukas said in reply.  I looked over then and saw him pointing up to the chocolate pudding, laying on it's side with it's top seal showing.

I then glanced in there,  and Lukas read the words aloud as I was reading them off the packaging to myself.  "Sugar Free Snack Pack Chocolate Pudding".

I looked down at him to see a huge smile on his face. He was pretty amused, and proud of that zinger. Then I glanced over to Mrs. LIAYF who was also trying to hold back her laugh.  It didn't work, as we all immediately burst out into amused laughter.

What could we say? Our boy had undoubtedly had exposed the glaring flaw in our argument.  No, we couldn't say much, especially with the laughter.

So, I placed a cup of pudding, along with a spoon on the counter top as his just reward. What would it hurt this one time.

And, after enjoying his sugar free chocolate pudding and a little warm milk with cinnamon, our satisfied and sated son was off to bed.

Where he fell asleep pretty darn fast.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Stuff Happens. Remember it Fondly.

It happened once again the other day.  With little fanfare.  And why should it have any, I thought to myself afterwards.  It was just stuff.

Stuff that served a very important purpose, yes.  But just stuff.

What happened was that while Mrs. LIAYF was loading up our backpack - the one we take along when we travel outside the home with our kids - she had a small epiphany and pulled out several items that had been crammed down there for months, and had not been used for some weeks now.

This stuff just happened to be diapers and cream, wipes, and extra clothes.  All the necessities of going outside the home with a child who hasn't yet learned the art of holding it in.  But we were (are) now there with Annabelle.  Once she made her transition it was seamless, and she has not looked back.

It seems a fairly regular occurrence that we grow out of one thing or another that facilitated our kids nurturing.

To reiterate, I had absolutely no problem with dispensing of these items, so didn't object.  As I mentioned, it had  no fanfare at the time, save for a sigh of relief at not having to pack the extra bulk around on my back.

But the idea of this moment, the significance of it, has stuck with me for several days now.

This transition, albeit small, told a story about the development of our daughter and the stage she has now reached at the ripe old age of this many (three fingers).  She is certainly not a baby anymore. Heck, she is not even a toddler anymore.

This was another sign that she is a little girl.   A sweet, sassy, funny, loving little girl.  But certainly not too little..

And, oddly, at this stage of my own life, this seems to have happened in an instant.

Although no, I won't soon forget all those messy diapers, late night feedings, bottles prepared, and transitions (from sitting to crawling, then standing and walking, now climbing), it has all still become somewhat blurred into an instant for me as I look back.

Like *poof* I have a lovely little girl.  It's amazing.

But I don't want to forget. So, I want to hold onto those memories.  Not only the memories of those true milestone events, but also the seemingly insignificant passing of stuff. Such as what we rid ourselves of by emptying out a simple backpack.

Those items,  the insignificant necessities of raising a little person, seem to flow by me in time as if I were a polished boulder, forged eons ago, and sitting in the middle of the rambling stream that represents their childhood.

Why should I want to hold onto these pictures in my head?  Aren't they just ancillary to the more important events that implant themselves into my long term happy memories?

I guess it's because of the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids ( for lack of better terminology) that accompanied each of these.  They are all a part of the experience of raising our children.

Touch and hold any one of these items before it goes.  Think about how you used it, and for what.  As if a brush, It will trigger images of the real art you put onto the canvas that is raising your children.  Your masterpieces.

Perhaps I am being too melodramatic here.  After all it's just stuff.  But, as I pondered moving on from those items that afternoon, I did flash back, if only for a moment, to remember the reasons they were there.  The times I changed our daughter in a restaurant, or on a blanket outside at a park.  There were certainly some less than ideal outcomes.

And remembered in those instances happy times.  Happy, not because I was doing something unpleasant, but because I was there for her, doing my job.

Being a parent.

Her Dad.