The Circle of Life

Welcome to everyone who found this blog through the Chronicle Herald. For those who don’t know, the Lucas Adventures has gone mainstream… I started a weekly parenting column today in our provincial newspaper. You can read the first one here.

It’s an exceptionally vibrant week here in the Lucas house. Most of my wife’s family is in town, so there are 12 people hanging around, including six kids aged seven and under. Doing the full-on family thing always boosts our already high level of functional chaos: there are places to go and things to do and birthdays to celebrate, while all the kids are walking the razor’s edge of too much sugar and not enough sleep.

And oh, the amount of energy it takes to get 12 people moving in the same direction. Someone always has to go to the bathroom and someone else can’t find their favourite stuffed animal and someone’s always asking “Do you think we need to bring this?” (The answer is almost always no, but whatever it is usually ends up coming anyway.)

We went to the beach on Sunday and started packing the day before. For the amount of preparation that went into one afternoon outing, you’d have thought we were a caravan of pioneers venturing out to settle the prairies—only we packed more stuff.

All that said, it’s been a great time. We live in three different provinces, so my kids only get to hang out with their cousins and their grandparents on my wife’s side at the same time about once a year. It’s so much fun watching the kids all chase each other through the house playing hide-and-seek. The oldest four, who are between 4-7, have hit a stage where they just click right away. They’ve been having a blast together… when Oscar isn’t accidentally flattening his cousin, anyway. (Seems to happen about once a day.)

It’s making me feel all nostalgic about my own childhood. I come from a large extended family—my father has eight siblings—so I was practically always hanging out with my cousins growing up.

As if that’s not enough excitement, we’ve also had a miniature ecosystem exploding on our back deck. In the late spring my wife went hunting for frog’s eggs so the boys could watch them develop, and they finally matured from tadpoles into full-grown frogs this week. Plus a robin built a nest just beneath the deck, so we got to watch her eggs hatch and the baby birds grow.

It’s been Gideon’s favourite new pastime. He lies facedown on the deck, peering through the boards, saying “Oooh! Beebee buhds!” We suspect he’s also been feeding them. We keep finding Honeycombs in the nest.

But the last of the robins learned to fly this morning. The kids got to watch them spread their wings and take off, which was very exciting. And Shawna carted the mini-frogs off to the river this evening to swim free. So the nature exhibit has ended.

Sadly, one little frog didn’t make it; we found him floating belly-up today. But I gave him a solemn burial at sea, speeding him along on his final journey with one heartfelt flush. It’s all part of the circle of life.


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