Meet my kids - Nicole and Joel

The apple and the grapefruit of my eye respectively.

Nicole at 11 is the older and apparently wiser sister to her extroverted younger brother Joel. Joel himself alternates between the adored 6 year old brother who exists solely to be mothered and that most dreaded of evils, the immature pain...the younger brother. Truth is, that although she would never admit it, Joel only falls into the latter category about 5 percent of the time.

Being a parent can be a very trying experience at times; but I am fortunate enough to have a couple of really great kids. Of course they can be challenging once in awhile, but without a doubt, they are a couple of wonderful little human beings that any parent would be proud of. Both are enrolled in the French Immersion program at John Stubbs Memorial School and are well on their way to becoming fluent in the primary language of both grandfathers.

The extremely rare products, in this day and age, of two households that watch little or no TV, they are only just beginning to bear witness to the incredible difference that growing up without it makes in a child's life. It is not that they aren't allowed to watch it, we just sort of unofficially don't see much value. Do we hate TV? Not at all, but lately it is becoming increasingly hard to not notice how it has affected the kids in the most positive of manners. I do however, get tired of having my pool room converted into the latest incarnation of the pillow and blanket fort. Small price to pay for creativity I say.
So anyway, let me tell you a little bit about them.

How wonderful it has been to start seeing a rational side of her begin to blossom, a legacy from her computer geek dad of course. She is a skeptic in the making and not easily fooled by any modern day huckster. She also possesses a compassionate and loving nature that surely came from her mother. Her love of animals is becoming legendary as well. Harm one of this planets creatures and she will certainly give you an earful. She doesn't do too shabby in the classroom either. Will this last into high school? Hopefully, but if she follows her dad's footsteps, it won't last.. She plays piano and gets better every year. Despite being given the option to quit anytime she wants, she has declined so far. This year was the first attempt to play soccer and it looks as though coed will be out for next year. One of the soccer legends she will never be, but it is good to see her face a little humility on the field once in awhile and the exercise can only do her good. An avid reader, I have a hell of time getting her to pull her nose out of the current book and turn off the light. "Just let me finish this chapter" is her favourite nighttime phrase. I am constantly torn between the obvious benefits of reading and her need for a decent night's sleep. I'm also pretty certain that her aspirations as a biologist have a good start because she's got the absent mindedness of a scientist down pat. Her current long-term goal in life is to purchase some acreage on Cowichan Lake, designate it as a cougar sanctuary and dedicate her life to studying the large cats. I haven't yet informed her that at her current savings rate of 5 bucks per week, it will be sometime during the next millennium when she can finally afford a place on the lake. Most normal human beings would gladly avoid encounters with known carnivores, but not my Nicole. She can never mask that crestfallen look when she hears of someone catching a glimpse of the elusive animal. For her sake, I really hope one wanders onto our property one day. Nicole's artwork, while certainly not about to grace the walls of the Louvre, has found semi-permanent residence on more that a few fridges and local walls. A beautiful, warm and kind little woman in the making, she is all that a father could ever hope for.

The complete social opposite of his sister he seems destined for a career in public speaking, or at the very least, informing the known world of any and all embarrassing moments ever experienced by his parents. My current challenge appears to be teaching this young lad the meaning of the word humility. Typical I suppose of many boys his age, but certainly not the most endearing of traits. There is no denying his uncanny sense of the physical and mechanical world however. I am continually amazed by his mastery of things that just don't seem normal for a little boy. His seemingly intuitive leaps of understanding of objects and concepts years beyond his age, never fail to leave me dumbfounded and open mouthed. Also, unlike his sister, he sails through this world on a very even emotional keel. It would seem as though life is one big happy journey for him, with laughter and fun to be had at every turn. So far, his creative side is either nonexistent or very well hidden, but I do harbour a very real hope that he will demonstrate real talent in the digital world just like his father. Joel too is a soccer player and is admittedly already better than his sister. Although I doubt if his team and his family want him to score any more goals until he gets that ego of his under control. A season of losses might just do the trick. He is learning French at a much quicker pace than Nicole but that is undoubtedly due to her fluency as the older sister. His parents couldn't talk their way out of a bag de papier if their life depended on it and were no help during Nicole's early years. I make fun of his ego, but the truth is that like his sister, Joel has a wonderfully soft and caring side, often exhibiting itself as sensitivity to the point of tears at slightest hint of discipline when he misbehaves. Secretly, I have a hell of a time giving him heck, you'd think you just banished him to Nunavut or something.
Just like his sister, Joel has exceeded all of the hopes I ever had for him..

They're both incredible kids.....