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Scientific Explanations, to a Toddler.

Dealing with a sick baby is tough, there’s no doubt about that. Anyone who has had to do it can tell you it’s heart breaking, soul sucking and generally bloody hell.  I’ve gotten past that though, I’ll keep doing everything in my power to improve the quality of life for our baby girl Gwen (she has a very rare form of infantile epilepsy).

My challenge now is how to explain it to my very smart & intuitive son (almost 3.5).   He KNOWS something is going on, he can feel it, yet we’ve not fully explained it to him.  I need to make sure he comprehends it so he doesn’t feel left out, angry or any number of emotions to him indecipherable.  As you can imagine, our daughters care and struggles are not rare topic’s in our house,  my intent is to make him truly understand.  I am hoping by writing this maybe I’ll gain some insight as to how better move forward with explanations while simultaneously,  maybe help to others who are struggling with a similar situation.

Below is a synopsis of our most recent conversation.  If anything strikes you as funny, please remember, even life’s most difficult of situations demand a sense of humour.

Son, you know how your Sis’s not doing the same stuff as other kids right? He replies yes.

It’s because she has epilepsy.  Pause, wait.  He asks “What’s epilepsy”

My explanation: It’s kind of like when you want to do something but your brain isn’t co-operating, you know what your brain is? (he points to his head)  I say; Yes, your brain is in your head, it’s kind of like a computer that controls your body & let’s you think about idea’s, like fire breathing dragons that don’t eat flowers (a story he told me yesterday) it also contains your mind which is less easily explained.  Her brain is making illogical connections and randomly firing neurons.  So it’s basically making her confused and once and awhile making her body do strange movements.  Daddy is looking for a better medicinal solution to help her, we will all help her in any way we can, we love her and we love you.

His response, he looked sad and said “Daddy, I don’t like epilepsy” to which I replied “me neither”

I barely escaped breaking down and freaking out, sure as hell I tell you that! I wanted to explain more but figured that was enough for now.  I know this:  I am glad I broached the subject with my boy and I will revisit it soon. For now, I will continue stomping towards a future that holds therapy’s not yet discovered and or understood.  I hope my son has questions tomorrow, I will be ready to answer them.  We will then build a robotic gorilla hand.

Inanimate love

Children learn to speak, they learn to love, they love to learn.

Children love to express their love, confusion and all other emotions.

Children love to let you know what they know and ask you what they don’t.

Children say ‘hello’ & ‘goodbye’ to trucks, rocks, motorcycles, and many other inanimate objects. I asked my son ‘why do you say goodbye to the cars’ he told me because he loves them. Then he told me he loved me.

I love cars too, for very different & learned reasons, but it all boils down to this: listen to a kid, learn what they love, let them tell you what they want to learn and you’ll love the world around you a lot more.

Childhood memories, remember the goodness.

Childhood memories. More difficult then remembered.

It’s a natural instinct to want your children to enjoy the activities you did as a kid right? Sure some people take it too far and force the pursuit of their lost dreams upon their offspring. Not so cool, our failures are ours, leave them alone or correct them. That being said; I see no problem in pushing our children toward goals & activities we remember being good or hold dear. As a rational adult, if you think it’s a good idea it must be.

Some things that I remember being easy as a child are in fact more difficult for an adult to master or accomplish, I suppose we could attribute it to failing mental plasticity, or the tendency of adult paradigms to complicate things. It begs the question though : how can encasing someone in carbonite be so difficult? Sure, Jabba had a giant room full of equipment and a cavernous chamber but we had a huge sandbox and plenty of H2O.

I spent hours and days perfecting this art as a child, it’s a fairly simple process: Make a sand and water slushie – dribble it all over any Star Wars figure (no need to limit it to Solo) resulting in a mummified – in fact: carbonized in sand, carbonite figure.

The problem is that achieving the perfect consistency IS HARD, you need it to be thick to completely encase the figure while remain thin enough to adhere tenaciously to the contours. I spent a few hours teaching my son this last weekend and getting that perfect viscosity of muck proved more difficult then I imagined. I finally got a very good system engineered involving a small funnel, of course water, sand and some sticks to help push the slurry through the spout.

Needless to say, my son loved it, we had a morning of fun in the sun, there were a few lessons learned about states of matter along the way. Did I over complicate the process? Quite possibly. I did however learn a thing or two about patience and diligence from a toddler.

Thanks kid.

Do yourself a favour

Our kids are growing up in the digital age, this is fact. They are at very real risk of losing sight of physical realities, this is fact.

The opportunities to expand our knowledge of the universe and physical reality is accelerated by the power of computing technology and no doubt within our lives we’ll witness incarnations of those physical realities previously thought impossible. It may be warp drive spaceships or bringing extinct species back to life. It IS google glass, mosquito drones and immersive online experiences, not quite ‘total recall’ but pretty damn close.

We better step up and come to terms with allowing our children to surpass us in knowledge, revel in the fact that they will be smarter then us. We must also be careful to let them remain rooted in reality. Hugs, bruises, gravity and torque are not going away.

So, let’s get these kids outside, splash in a puddle, jump in the mud. Get them an r/c vehicle and let them break it, teach them how to fix it.

Acceleration happens according to Moore’s law in the digital arena but it happens in real life to time and space everywhere else.

Costa Rican travelling

Keeping a blog up to date in the jungle was challenging, between connectivity dropouts and an extremely busy schedule there was little time on computers left after transferring dozens of Gb of photo files each day.  What a great place, amazing people, unbelievable activities & exquisit vistas.

In an effort to maximize coverage & minimize confusion I’ll be transcribing my notes over the next few days to publish articles about the exciting adventure to Costa Rica @ Villas Santerras I’ve just returned from.  So this post’s purpose is to begin at the end while rebooting the beginning, a secondary benefit is this allows me to relive the experience.  So, in an attempt to leave this first instalment on a parant-ish flavour: what an amazing feeling it is to be home and in the presence of my wife and children!

Happy to be home? I’d really like to be back at Santerras with all the access to the gems and experiences southern pacific Costa Rica has to offer. That being said, I am happy to be with my family and hopefully next time I return to the paradise that I have just left I might be fortunate enough to experience it with my kids and wifey.

More to come starting on day 1: Into the mountains we drive to the oasis of Ojachal.

Pura Vida.

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Lust after curves. love engineering.

Much like women who are often first admired for their beauty, a car is most often first noticed & lusted after for its swooping sheet metal.

On a personal level: I certainly first noticed my wife as an attractive female.  It was only after getting to know her I fell in love with her engineering & subsequently married her.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think she’s hot, but It’s the supportive, strong and capable aspects of my wife I appreciate when knee deep in a baby induced shit storm or after a really hard day in the salt mines.

Like a woman, Audi made me lust after her during my youth with the muscular fenders and venerable speed of the Quattro coupe, but it was the engineering that drove me to ownership (currently I drive an audi allroad). For me it was the most appropriate & coolest machine within my means that made sense to own (living with a couple kids in a place where weather is volatile like Toronto) A beautiful avant with twin turbos and air suspension, whats not to love.

On a sunny afternoon day the clean lines, purposeful proportions and muscular fenders Urge me to open a cold one, air out the bags, sit back and admire, but it’s behind the wheel I appreciate it for all the beauty that lies beneath. During winter storms I am more gregariously in love with Audi then ever.

The quattro and overall engineering of this machine leaves me firmly planted no matter the weather, four wheel drive commanding authority when traversing snow covered highways, the twin turbos letting me outpace the morons about to slide into me. But its not all german staunchness: when on a side road off comes the ESP stability control and with a quick shift and prodding of the go pedal, on come the turbos & free break the tires, pushing me through icy corners with massive four wheel drift. It really is amazing the control you can maintain while maniacally sliding through snowy streets in an Audi.

So like my wife, I love my car dearly, unlike my wife, I may sadly need another one. If I do need another machine with which to buy diapers, cruise happily, feel good in and enjoy washing it’ll likely be another Audi.

The truth about children

Children:

They are cute. They are cuddly. They are intelligent. They are miracles. They are pure love.

The above is all true and mostly, it’s what you hear when you ask someone to describe children, their own or otherwise. Countless mentions have been made about children being the light of lives, wind beneath wings, bright star of direction and straight up reason for being. As a father of two I can attest it is all true, although not always and specifically accurate.

Undoubtedly children can also be described as: messy, stubborn & a general pain in the ass. These are less romantic and warm but also true. That being said, there are other ways we can more specifically describe kids. This article is meant to expose the truth so here it is:

Children are basically just like an adult who is an alcoholic, schizophrenic, sociopathic all around jerk.

Harsh you say? Not at all. Face it, your kids behave just like a person with all these mental diseases, addictions & personality traits combined almost all the time.

Here’s a case study:

Daddy asks son: do you want to go for a ride in daddy’s car, drive fast, and go run in a BIG store? I know its a loaded question as he loves all of these things immensely.

He answers yes. Time to get ready – INSANITY ensues: His mother attempts to put her boots on. He wants to wear them Because HE is Santa. He throws an insanely intense fit. Father explains that mommy needs her boots, its snowing and he has his own, which are even his size! He finally & begrudgingly accepts it and dons his own galoshes. Then there is a battle royale over every other point of getting into the car. Soo much in fact that the mission is totally aborted, everyone goes back in the house. Lesson learned: do NOT let the boy peer inside the garage when trying to leave, it contains sleds, bikes, trucks and other treasures. Obviously he needs to use, ride, and drive ALL of them NOW.

Back in the house there is a major meltdown because the evil parents have destroyed his life by not allowing him to go in the car, drive fast while wearing his boots, sit in his seat and go running in the BIG store.

This is totally insane on soo many levels its too difficult to describe, so I wont bother. Bottom line:

If its logic you seek & empathy or understanding you’re after, your likely not going to seek it from an insane, alcoholic, schizophrenic, drug addicted sociopath right?

So don’t expect them from a 2 yr old.