Sunday, August 24, 2008

Siblings and best friends.....well, sometimes

Aspiring photographer.......

Sophia is very interested in photograpy. More specifically, she is interested in taking over the camera and taking the photos herself. Here are a few such examples of her attempts and they were quite decent. I did help steady her hand but she did the rest.

Sweet Sunshine

Some summer time silliness......

Book Worm

One of the things I have tried to instill in our kids is a love a reading. Colin and I read to them nearly every day and I have to admit I find it almost impossible to stop buying new books for them. Finding Keenan happily flipping the pages of a book warms my heart and makes me hopeful that reading will be an integral part of his life.

Sunny's Arrival

Approximately two weeks ago, we all trekked to Chicago to pick up Sunny, our foreign exchange student. It has been a period of adjustment but the kids really like her and she is excited to be starting school in a week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Neigh fell down!

No photos to accompany this story, in my opinion, the retelling is a stand alone tale.

Keenan is obsessed with horses. He loves looking at the many photos of me jumping my horses that proliferate our walls. His pony ride last Halloween is still a source of pride for him and he loves looking at the pictures of him clinging to the saddle. So when the cross country phase for Olympic 3 Day Eventing was featured on the Oxygen channel a few days ago, I asked him if he wanted to watch it on Mommy's lap. His enthusiasm for the idea broke his face into a wide grin as he flew into my arms.

Now I have to preface this by saying that earlier in the day, I had previewed 40 minutes of the cross country event online. As many of you know, I am well aware of the inherent physical risks involved in this phase of the sport and I wanted to see if the course seemed to be a horrific replay of the Barcelona games, or a course that caused few, if any, casualties. In the 40 minutes, I only saw one rider fall and made the mistake of not taking into account the fact that the mercury would surely be rising as the day progressed and could well play a crucial role as the remaining riders rode the course.

Fast forward to 6pm where Keenan climbed into my lap ready to watch 'neighs go jump.' For the first hour, Keenan was transfixed, his gaze never wandered from the T.V. screen. When the network broke for commercials, he became agitated and would repeatedly ask me "where's neigh?"

Of course, the inevitable happened, as the cross country phase progressed, the temperatures in Hong Kong soared and the horses (and riders I imagine) started to show signs of heat induced exhaustion. Mistakes, on the part of both horses and riders, started to pile up and the falls began. Keenan would shout "Neigh fell down" which did not seem to bother him at first. Then the falls got worse and Keenan started to pick up on my instinctive reactions. He suddenly curled into me and tucked his little head into my chest and started to sob. I quickly decided to turn off the event, but not before yet another hideous fall.

It literally took me 15 minutes to calm him down. I tried to reassure him the horses were OK (although, in truth, one of the falls left me uncertain). I took him to our bathroom to get some Kleenex to wipe his tears and he looked up at the medicine chest and pointed, shouting "neighs need Bactine!" His big brown eyes turned to me for reassurance and I quickly took his idea and ran with it. I said "Oh, the horseys all got Bactine, and they also got Bandaids, really big Bandaids!" He quickly calmed down but for the next two days, he would ask me "did neighs get Bactine?" His concern carried over into the photos of me jumping. As we descended the stairs to his room, he would look at the photos and say "neigh gonna fall down." I had to reassure him many times that none of my neighs fell down (at least not in these photos).

Yesterday, I sought out the one event I was certain no horses would fall, Olympic Dressage. As Keenan sat in my lap, he looked a little apprehensive at first, but then he gradually began to smile and cheer as the horses danced graceful half passes and flying lead changes. He seemed soothed and even told me he wanted to go ride a pony, I was relieved, because I thought I might have traumatized him for life.

The entire incident fortified a feeling of Keenan that has developed over time. I am frequently in awe of our son's sensitivity and kindness. If Sophia finishes her strawberries first (one of Keenan's favorite foods, mind you) he pushes over his half full bowl to her and says "here Phia," he calmly watches her scoop out most of the berries into her bowl and isn't the least bothered that he is only left with a mere smattering when she returns it. I'm not saying that he doesn't ever get mad. He is quick to bop her on the head if she has taken one of his toys, but there is something so sweet and endearing about his demeanor. Our foreign exchange student, Sunny, arrived a few days ago and as he sat next to her at the dinner table, he was very vigilant that she got enough to eat, honoring her with dubious gifts of half eaten pizza. I'm not sure if disposition at 23 months is much reflection on who they will become as an adult, but I sense that Keenan may be a prince among men. One thing is for certain, he won my heart long ago.