Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the Father of the King - What Would Have Been

As the year drew toward Yuletime, the King's thoughts always turned toward his own father who had passed away around those same holidays over 10 years before. The King always missed his father but the pain was usually sharpest around Yuletime.

Since the birth of the Lightning Kid, the King had wondered how his father might have reacted to the young prince. It went beyond wishing that the man could have gotten to know his grandchildren; the King figured that his father had very little experience with special people like the Lightning Kid and he was afraid that their bond would not have been as strong...

While the King knew this kind of speculation was the province of the madman, he couldn't help himself, and in quieter moments of the year gone by the doubts preyed on his mind. Would the King's father have held the prince at arms length? Pitied him perhaps?

Now that the Lightning Kid was over a year old, one could see many dimensions to his personality.  He was energetic and dynamic.  He had a mischievous sense of humour.  He liked to be LOUD.  He was persistent (this would have been one his grandfather's favourite qualities).  And so the King realised that even if his father wouldn't have known what to make of a boy like the Lightning Kid, he would have fallen in love with the boy that the Lightning Kid was becoming.  In fact, the King suspected that somewhere up there, he was.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the Tiny Titans

The one thing that scared the King and Queen the most about the Lightning Kid was the idea that he couldn't hear.  Over the course of his very young life he had been tested many times by various healers in the Kingdom; sometimes even in other kingdoms.  The results were never wholly positive but they also varied in terms of how much hearing loss the Prince had.

The King and Queen knew not only that the Prince needed to hear for listening, but also that it was important for learning how to talk.  They had reason to expect that he would experience delays in verbal communication due to his condition anyway, and knowing that in most kingdoms, making yourself understood was very important: in short, if one didn’t understand what you had to say, one would assume you don’t have anything to say.  And so the King and Queen were vigilant about finding ways to help the Lightning Kid earn the gift of language.

Things had been worse in the earlier days - when the Prince was only a few months old, the idea that he couldn’t hear was heartbreaking to the King and Queen.  They would speak to him, sing him to sleep - how were they supposed to bond with him if not through such means?  The notion of him being stone deaf was debunked quickly, and as he got older, they noticed him hearing various things, and especially having trouble getting to sleep when Shark Boy JUST... WOULDN’T...BE...QUIET.

So many of the healers they pursued wanted to adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to the Lightning Kid’s progress; the inconsistent results to tests made them think that maybe the problem would lessen as he grew - a reasonable assumption, however, they probably also thought that accepting delays in the Lightning Kid’s speech development were ‘reasonable’ too... the King and Queen were less willing to toe that line and strove to get the Prince the care he deserved.

Finally, after much effort, the Lightning Kid was scheduled by a healer to have magic embedded in his ears; magic that was intended to remove what was blocking the sound.  The King and Queen took him to a place for Sick Children, and found everyone there to be very cheerful and helpful.  To put in the magic, the Lightning Kid would need to be put into a magical sleep, and that meant not feeding him for hours before the operation, so in the preceding time, the Prince became quite cranky and whiny.  The King was able to rock him to sleep briefly, but he woke shortly before his parents had to hand him off to the healers to be enchanted to sleep.  They knew he was in good hands, and yet still they worried, unused to being separated from him under such circumstances.They soon heard from the healer who was to put the magic in to remove the blockage.  She was smiling, as she had been successful and everything had gone well.  Though, apparently it had been a little difficult to fit magic into his tiny ears.  It had taken the smallest magic they had... a pair of 'Tiny Titans'!

After that, it was simply a matter of testing the hearing - normal on the right ear, and very minor hearing loss on the right!  The Titans were working their magic.  The Lightning Kid bounced back very quickly from the ordeal, and the King and Queen were overjoyed.

Over the next few days, they noticed that the Prince was a little more responsive, and he seemed to look around his environments with wider eyes than usual.  The biggest difference though, was making sure that during bath times and swimming lessons, the Tiny Titans wouldn't get drowned...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time In A Bottle

The King and the Lightning Kid had been out for a Chariot ride.  This had become a tradition of a good two weeks, and the King enjoyed it heartily.  For his part, the Lightning Kid... fell asleep.  On this particular day, the King was grateful for it since it had been getting harder to get him to take naps.  Still, once the ride was complete, the King did not want to leave the prince in the Chariot; knowing his nap had lasted nearly an hour and a half, the King opted to remove the Prince from the Chariot, and in so doing, woke him up.

The King brought the Prince into the castle, and noticed that he was still a little groggy, so he took the time to snuggle him to his chest, and get cheek to cheek with him.  The Prince giggled and kissed back as good as he got.  The Lightning Kid had been learning to crawl, to cruise and to climb and take on the world for himself.  The King knew that times like these would become ever the more scarce.

He took the moment and sealed it in a bottle, which he kept in the cellar with many others.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Word and the Witch

There was a word that was sometimes used within the kingdom, that was feared and hated by the King and Queen. People used it to describe things they hated, things they found ridiculous or lacking in common sense. It could be used to describe someone who was acting stupidly. And the King and Queen knew that someday, somewhere, someone would use it to hurt the Lightning Kid.

Luckily, there were movements afoot, where people pledged not to use the word, and the King and Queen were not confronted with its use as often as they feared. Still, one day, a witch called the leader of a great land the dreaded word, and many were up in arms over the statement.

The King knew the witch to be what she was, meaning it was in her nature to say things that were cruel, mean, evil or false. She would continue to say such things as she always had, and never apologize, so there was no sense making such demands. The King envied the Queen, who had never heard of this creature; but he felt drawing more attention to the witch would only give her more power.

Still the furore continued, and the King began to change his mind. While he remained steadfast in his belief that the witch could not be redeemed, he figured that by calling out her transgression, others who did not wish to be identified with the witch's evil ways would realize their use of the dreaded word was inappropriate. So he made her use of the word known, and he made it known that the word offended the royal family, and it was an offence against the young prince.

Knowing how awful the witch was, people took the pledge in droves...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the Boobless Wonder

One day the Lightning Kid woke up from a nap, and he was hungry. He cried, and found a shape moving toward him. The shape looked, sounded, and smelled like his father the King, but he was too desperate for milk to be bothered to find out.

He cried some more as the shape tried to pull him out of his sleep-sack. Since this did not involve nipples or milk, the Lightning Kid twisted, turned and fought with all the electrical energy within his little body.

The shape tried to stand him up on his change table. This gave the little prince the chance to search for precious boobs by pulling down the neckline of the shirt he found. There were no boobs, but there were a few hairs that only his little fingers would be able to grab. Once he had almost a fistful, he was able to give them a good pull. The shape yelped but still did not give him the milk he wanted.

The Lightning Kid had noticed that the shape's chest was not shaped like boobs, but he must have figured that nipples might still be under that shirt, so with a marksman's precision, he reached out, grabbed at the shirt at precisely the right spot, then squeezed with his freakish, lightning powered strength. The shape screamed, and the next thing the Lightning Kid knew, he was being handed over to the Queen, where he could feed to his heart's content.

It would not be the last time the young prince would face the Boobless Wonder, but his brave tactics always resulted in victory and milk.
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Standing On the Shoulders of Giants

While there are many Down Syndrome Superstars nowadays, and a great community of DS Advocates and parents on social media and the blogosphere, it's important to remember those who have blazed the trail for us.  Before blogs, before the internet even, there were families striving to give their children, brothers and sisters the best opportunities and the best lives possible, in a world that probably seemed like it was bent on denying them those same chances.

The Lightning Kid turned one year old, and the King and Queen could hardly believe that much time had passed, nor how much different their world seemed.  The Princes' birthdays were cause for wild, festive celebration, and much was done to mark the occasion.   For the King and Queen, though, it was also a time to reflect.

The King took more walks alone, and though he had chastised himself for doing it too much all too recently, he found himself trying to stare into the future.  He climbed to the top of a hill and stared ahead at the horizon.  As usual, much was cloudy, and unknowable.  Still, he found that if he really concentrated, he could pierce the fog with his vision, and see quite far indeed.

The world of the Lightning Kid's future was one where he could ride as a knight, as any other prince might expect to.  He could serve his kingdom, as any other prince might expect to.  He could marry a princess, as any other prince might expect to.  The King marveled, and asked himself not only how such a future might be possible, but how he could even bring it into focus, when such things would have been unimaginable in his youth.  He turned his eyes from the horizon to his feet, and that was when he noticed that he was not standing on a hill, but on the shoulders of a Giant.  He looked around some more, and the Giant was one of many, all gathered in a cluster, all facing the same direction.

The King turned to the Giants and said: "Thank-you for what you have done; for the strides you have taken, and the ground you have broken for families like mine.  It couldn't have been easy, nor will our path be an easy one, but I hope that we will one day grow to your stature, and that those that follow us might one day see further still by standing on our shoulders too."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shark Boy`s Day in the Sun (and Shadow)

As the autumn deepened, the Prince’s birthdays approached.  When Shark Boy turned three years of age, the King and Queen had time to reflect.  They thought warmly of the ways their lives had changed, and the ways they themselves had been transformed as people by becoming parents.

I am so proud of our rambunctious, fun-loving, goofy, sporty, adventurous, energetic, generous, loving and charismatic little guy! “ announced the Queen.  He possessed all these qualities and more, thought the King.  He was also clearly bright, strong in body and will and would have made any father proud.  What the King had said made him the proudest, however, was his good heart.  Shark Boy knew how to show kindness to many, but none more so than the Lightning Kid, who he regularly smothered with hugs and affection.

Shark Boy’s birthday came and was a grand day indeed.  The sun seemed to shine upon him, and he took full advantage; in that light, the King felt like he could see into his future.  A child like the Lightning Kid would be blessed to have a brother like Shark Boy, and the King and Queen could be proud of how they were raising him so far.  Still, as the King thought ahead (as he was wont to do), he knew the Lightning Kid would need the care of an older brother when he and the Queen would be long gone.  And then he felt guilty for saddling Shark Boy with that responsibility.  He worried further, since he knew it would likely be impossible for the Lightning Kid to have children of his own, it would fall to Shark Boy have heirs to the throne and transform the King and Queen into grandparents.

It was too far away to worry about, and the King had learned not to have expectations, as nothing in life was written or promised, and still he worried about putting undue pressure on Shark Boy.  Yet as he thought about the joy that parenthood had brought the Queen and him, he could hope that he would be able to show that joy over the course of Shark Boy`s life, and he knew that whatever choices he would make for his own life, he would understand that having family, caring for and loving family was both a gift and a privilege.   The King realized that Shark Boy`s  good heart would always be his greatest strength and that he would always cherish family.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The King's Well Runs Dry

Every morning the King would refresh himself by drinking from a well within the castle courtyard.  He would take a good long drink, and start his day being King, and being a father.  After a while he noticed he was pulling less and less out with each morning's bucketful.

Then one day the well ran dry.  There was nothing left to pull up and the King went thirsty.  He went through with his fatherly duties, but couldn’t remember why.  He felt like he had sung every lullaby, played every game, cajoled Shark Boy into behaving, cleaned food off the Lightning Kid’s face a thousand times or more, and his only reward would be yelling, crying or even screaming.  He hadn’t always felt like he knew what he was doing as a father, but suddenly the work seemed not just challenging and demanding but rather like pointless drudgery.  Even when exhausted, he’d been able to find some spark within himself to do whatever was needed by his family at any given moment, at least, until that day.

He tried talking to the Queen.  She was sympathetic, and equally tired.  She spoke of the times that she had lost patience with the experience of parenthood.  The King felt stupid; every parent experienced fatigue and all found the behaviour of their children taxing at times.  He read his own words back to himself in his mind, and surmised that they sounded like pointless whining.  He worried that if he tried to discuss it further with the Queen, if he tried to elaborate how empty he felt, she would worry about him, and fear that she’d be caring for the children without his full support.

Despairing, he left the castle for a walk in the woods.  Once he was in deep enough and he thought no-one would hear him, he cried out:

“Can one simply lose the magic that is within?  The magic that makes us do what is necessary as parents... can it simply disappear?!?!”

“Yes...” came the answer from the tree canopy above.  He looked up and saw a red-haired pixie.  “And it doesn’t last.  Honest.  Your heart won’t let it.”  The King thanked the pixie, and returned to the castle, determined to at least try and get one good night’s rest.  When he woke up the next morning, he was able to pull a quarter-bucket’s worth from the well.  The day was still difficult, but he found himself smiling more at the antics of the children, and there were more hugs and less crying and screaming.  He also managed to take enough time for himself to get some exercise; more than the usual amount in fact.  The day after, the bucket came back full, and the King drank deeply, refreshing his soul.  He’d known that he’d have to be patient with his children, but know he knew that he had to be patient with himself.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the New Healers

The Lightning Kid had gone from being able to sit when placed to being able to raise himself into sitting from his belly.  He’d become so proficient in the latter that the King had even seen him prop himself into a sit while technically asleep - much to the King’s over-fatigued, under-slept chagrin.  

Still the young prince’s progress was pleasing to everyone and was very much in keeping with his previous track record as a ‘superstar’.   Yet his 10 month birthday came, and he was still unable to crawl.  While this was by no means a great delay for any child, even a typical one, the King and Queen could not help but worry a little.

He had been developing fantastically, and had a personality that was dynamic, active and inquisitive.  The Lightning coursing through his system was not only powering his hair, but all his movements - he had a wild dance where he’d swing his head from side to side to greet or entertain people he liked, to his ability shoot out a hand like a snake and snatch things that seemed out of reach, to his freakish strength when grabbing things or trying to squirm out arms that were trying to rock him to sleep.  These were remarkable even in a land of Shark Boys, Two-Headed Monsters and Magical Bubbles.

Crawling was something he would need, but in his case, the sooner the better.  The King and Queen hoped to curtail any of the delays that were anticipated with his condition; whether this was an actual delay or not.  They had the means and resources to pursue the assistance of an extra healer, and resolved to tread lightly and carefully - a subtle touch is sometimes the most powerful.

They took the Lightning Kid to a House of Butterflies and met with a healer.  The healer couldn’t help but be impressed with the prince’s attitude and energy, which surprised the King and Queen since they’d had the bad luck of picking a day where he hadn’t napped well and was bound to be tired.  The healer mentioned that her own children had hair like his and went about assessing him.  The Lightning Kid went on to demonstrate all of his collected skills, and the King and Queen were pleased to find out that the healer agreed to a schedule of a half-hour every two weeks.  They’d heard that more work was common in other lands, but they found this schedule was more in keeping with their beliefs to integrate new exercises into their existing lifestyle, rather than burden a baby with chores and drills.  They were given tips to get the Lightning Kid to use his legs more, including not only to propel himself forward, but also to bring himself into a supported stand.

A week later the prince would be assessed for signs that his speech was progressing well by a different healer. They noted how he was aware of his own name, and who his parents were, and how he expected action from those in the room. They catalogued his sound "Baba", "Eh!" "Bada" and of course blown raspberries. The healers suggested playing with sounds in front of a large mirror which they lent the King and Queen (it was made of a material that the two princes would be less likely to break...). The next morning the King tried it out and the Lightning Kid had fun doing his head swinging dance and generally having fun with his own reflection. Within days his sounds had expanded to "Uh!" and "Mada". The King and Queen knew it would be onward and upward with the new exercises for the next little while.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the Chariot Race

The King and Queen had long been enthusiasts for running and racing.  Of late, it had been harder to participate in these sorts of things, but their enthusiasm remained.   If they got to race at all, one would remain with the children, while the other would race.  Still they were overjoyed to be invited to a race being organized by a dear friend to raise money for a good cause.  The race would be small enough that both could participate, and the King and Queen did a practice run with Shark Boy riding a small steed, and the Lightning Kid in a special Chariot that the King or Queen could push.  Their practice run was short, and Shark Boy needed to join his brother in the Chariot for the return trip.  Furthermore, the Lightning Kid got a little sick of it and cried most of the way home.  Still the King and Queen considered that they had proven the concept, and looked forward to joining their friends' race, and helping their cause.

The Ride of the Lightning Kid
Come the day of the race, the King and Queen were lucky to have the Queen's mother there to help with minding Shark Boy... there was a good chance he would lose the plot and not be willing to keep doing laps of the race course, and that's exactly how things turned out, though he did a fair distance on his steed.  That left the royal parents to concentrate on the Lightning Kid himself, who seemed to be teething, and thus a little fussy.  The race was about to start, and it was around the time he usually would have a nap, so he was very prone to crying and fussing.  The King and Queen discovered that the Lightning Kid's soother was not handy; the King ended up having to run an extra half-mile or so to go fetch it in time for the race start!

He got back with the soother almost out of breath, and off they went.  Soon enough the Lightning Kid was asleep, and the King and Queen were able to progress through laps of the race course, slowly but surely, with occasional checks on how Shark Boy was making out.  They were three quarters done, when the Lightning Kid woke up again.  Still he didn't complain, and only made a few coos to show his pleasure at the changing scenery.  The King and Queen finished the race, not having completed the longest distance, and certainly not the fastest, but proud of themselves, and of their son who seemed to have the spirit of an athlete indeed.

Please check out

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the New Sign

The young prince's main form of babbling had been to say "Baba" which sounded close enough to "Papa" for the King's liking, and it was suggested by no less than the Queen herself that he did it more in the King's presence than he did otherwise.  They felt it was the beginning of directed speech.  To help him learn to communicate, sign language was encouraged as it was for many children in the kingdom, and the King had learned quite a few signs like 'Cat', 'Sun', 'Moon', 'Bath', 'Excited', 'Mother' and 'Father', while the Queen focussed on teaching the Lightning Kid a single word as a starting point, the ever-important 'more', so that he could always ask for more food if he was hungry.  The 'More' sign had been seen somewhat sporadically at first, and the motion was sloppy enough that the King and Queen had to wonder if the movement was coincidental.  It went away again as quickly as it had come.  The latest news had been that the prince picked up a mild fever which made him a little sluggish and less likely to learn dynamically.

The King returned home from a day of ruling and managing the Kingdom.  He was happy to see his mother who had been spending time with Shark Boy, his lovely wife the Queen, and of course the Lightning Kid himself.  The young prince had been too busy nursing for a proper greeting, so the King kissed the others, and began walking away.  The Queen chided him for not properly acknowledging the Lighting Kid, and the latter popped his head up, looked over, and made the following sign:

You must note that the King did not cry at the sight of this.  There were no misty eyes, jumping up and down for joy, no gleeful shouting - nothing to betray his regal countenance.  It is important that you understand  this, in fact, it is a royal decree that you believe it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Edge of the Knife

The King found his nights troubled by distressing dreams. He found himself high above a deep chasm, and he had to stay balanced, standing on the edge of a long blade which traversed the chasm. Staying balanced took extreme effort and concentration; should he lean too far to either side, left or right, he would plunge to his doom. Yet he had to cross, walking on the edge of the knife.

After many nights of lost sleep, he took his concerns to the Queen.

"Do you think these dreams concern our youngest prince?"

"Yes, I do."

"Think back... Visualize the chasm, what do you see?"

The King closed his eyes and concentrated.

"On my left... Deep down at the bottom... I see all the work we've done. Every treatment, every therapy, every exercise..." He paused, then concentrated some more.

"On my right, is everything we haven't done... Other families in our situation seem to do more, and maybe they need to. So far the Lightning Kid is doing excellently... Is it because of the work we've done, or the times we've just relaxed and been a family? Is it the Lightning Kid's own innate strength that is keeping him on the straight and narrow? Is it just luck? If we don't know and can't tell the difference, how do we keep this up?"

The King slumped his shoulders under the weight of it all. The Queen reminded him:

"Everything in life is like that; too much of just about anything is bad... All parents have to strike a balance between lenient fun and structured discipline, between spending time with family and putting food on the table. Not just families walk the edge of the knife, but perhaps they worry more about it for their children's sake... the stakes are so much higher."

"That is true... All we can do is continue as we have been, follow our instincts and most importantly love our children. It's just..."

"I know... the edge of the knife hurts my feet too."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Lightning Kid, The Throne, and The Food

The months flew by, and the Lightning Kid continued to grow.  He had gotten a strong back which he could arch when lying on his belly, to better see the world and whoever was visiting.  The King and Queen brought in advisers to help him with learning more... and the next big step was to sit.

Sitting is very important when you're a monarch!  You can't exactly lie down on the throne (though the King and Queen sometimes found themselves wishing they could try, as both children had given them more than a few sleepless nights).  At first the Lightning Kid needed a lot of safeguarding so that he wouldn't throw himself backwards.  As he progressed, he was able to sit on the throne, as long as there were many pillows surrounding him and propping him up.  They were rather regal pillows, so no-one at court was too bothered or offended.

Through hard and diligent work the Queen was able to get the little prince to sit indefinitely, as long as she kept singing, signing and generally keeping his gaze and attention off the floor.  All were impressed, and the next steps would be to work on transitioning from sitting back into lying on the belly and ultimately crawling.

Until then, the Prince's newfound ability to sit would come in handy for his next trick: eating solid food.  The Queen started him off on sweet potatoes, which he ate eagerly and readily.   This was in sharp contrast to Shark Boy, who had always been a very picky eater and refused a lot of food.  "A Shark that doesn't like to eat... the castle must be under some kind of irony curse..." the King used to grumble.

The Lightning Kid continued meals while the King had many affairs of the kingdom to attend to.  Days later he wanted to check up on how feedings had been going.

"He eats everything!" beamed the Queen.
"Really?! He likes everything you serve?" asked the King.  The King, being only a man, was not the greatest listener, but the Queen was used to being patient.  She patiently explained:
"I said he eats everything, not that he likes everything."
"So wait, what happens when you feed him something he doesn't like?"
"He makes a face, then eats it anyway"

And so the Lightning Kid grew bigger and stronger, ready to take on other adventures.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Lightning Kid, The Fairy Godmother and the Handsome Devil Godfather

The Lightning Kid grew a little every day.  People who went for more than a week between visits wouldn’t recognize him when they’d see him.  Before they knew it, the King and Queen had to plan the official Reception of the Coronet that the Prince would wear upon his head (when he felt like it; Shark Boy rarely wore his). 

This ceremony was generally regarded as officially the official announcement of a Royal heir, and would be the confirmation of the Lightning Kid’s status as a Prince.  The King and Queen fulfilled their usual tasks: she organized the food and all the details of the ceremony, and the King tried not to think about it too much so that he wouldn’t become a nervous, insufferable control freak.

The difficulty arose when choosing the Lightning Kid’s Godparents.  It didn’t take them too long to figure the Godmother should be a Fairy friend of the King’s, who had not only been like a sister to the King, but also very helpful in the early days of navigating the portents of doom that so many of the sages had predicted.  She had even stood at the King’s side during the Royal Wedding.  So it was only a logical next step to consider the Fairy’s counterpart on the Queen’s side of the wedding party... a fiend known as the Handsome Devil.

“Don’t you think it just makes sense?” asked the Queen.
“Sure... it’ s just...” stammered the King.
“I think he’d make a great Godfather.” continued the Queen.
“I just wonder if...”
“What? You don’t think he’ll be a good Godfather?”
“Of course I do! I just wonder how people will react to a Godfather who is also... 
you know, a fiend!”
“That doesn’t mean anything - we’ll be inviting Elves and Trolls to this ceremony
“You’re right.  The Handsome Devil is getting married this year, and I know he’ll be
a great father to his own children someday.  He’s the perfect choice; I never 
should have hesitated.”

And so the Lightning Kid was anointed while being held by his Fairy Godmother and Handsome Devil Godfather.  Shark Boy was well behaved and sat still as befitted the solemnity of the occasion, much to the surprise of everyone.  Later, with tears in their eyes, the King and Queen reflected that the day had contained a level of joy that had been absent on the day of the Lightning Kid’s birth.  That alone, had made organizing the day worth it.  And the Lightning Kid, did nothing but stare in wonderment at the Fairy Godmother, her daughters, the Handsome Devil and his fiancee, and wonder how he got so lucky to have made his family that much bigger and better.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the Two-Headed Monster

By the time the Royal Family had managed to burst the bubble, they began to hear reports of a monster terrorizing nearby villages.  The King felt bad having left his subjects unprotected so he rode out to investigate.

He interviewed villagers to find out more about the monster and how he might track it down.  Some reported that the monster was actually quite beautiful, others seemed to find it horrid.  All agreed that it was huge.  As the King rode from village to village, and the sightings seemed to get more frequent and clustered closer together, he knew he was close.

Just outside one of the smaller villages, he entered a forest, and as he reached the first clearing, he saw it.  It was a gigantic ogre... with two heads.  While each head seemed to shift and change from moment to moment, he got an overwhelming sense of goodness from the left head, and nothing but fear and loathing from the right.

The King bravely stood firm and looked both heads in the eyes (one at a time of course!).  The eyes of the left head shone through with all the joy, hope and pride that parents feel for their children.  The eyes of the right head burned with despair, worry and fear of the future.  The hope and joy were the ones he felt when the Lightning Kid was born, and the fear and despair were for all the doors that might be closed to him growing up.

Suddenly, the King wheeled his horse around, and rode back to the castle as fast as he could.  Some thought he had run away as a coward, others mused he would fetch a magic sword or a spell.  All were surprised to see him ride back out carrying the Lightning Kid in his lap and a scroll under his arm.

He didn't have to ride far out, as the monster had followed him towards the castle, and now stood in the central square of the nearest town.  The King pulled the parchment scroll from under his arm, unrolled it and read aloud:

With this proclamation, the head on the right began to shrink.  He King repeated the words until there was nothing more than a wart-like mound on the ogre's neck.  What had been the left head now seemed very handsome and appealing indeed.  In the days that followed the town-folk began to take kindly to the ogre and he found a place within their community, especially when heavy lifting needed to be done.

The King and the Lightning Kid returned to the castle.  The King had to be vigilant for the rest of his days; when fear or despair began to rise, he knew the monster would rear its evil head; left unchecked, it could even eat the good head.  And on days when he felt those feelings creeping up, he knew to pull out the scroll and read the Affirmation Proclamation and all would be well again.  The Lightning Kid, for his part, made the words true with his actions...  Every Day.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Lightning Kid and the Bubble

After the initial announcement of the Lightning Kid's birth, the royal family cleared the court of visiting lords and ladies, visiting dignitaries, sages, healers and wizards; everyone left the castle.

The initial sadness and shock of the Lightning Kid's condition began to fade. The royal family was able to take joy in simply being a family. The King and Queen loved each other just as much as they loved Shark Boy and the Lightning Kid, who were both healthy, beautiful and strong. Shark Boy welcomed the Lightning Kid with hugs and kisses, and the Lightning Kid slept well, and improved his ability to nurse. The world of the Royal Family seemed good and happy.

The days passed, and nobody was bothered to look outside. When they finally looked out the window, the King and Queen noticed something strange. A big bubble had formed around the palace and nothing would be able to travel in or out.  The King and Queen were confused; obviously the bubble was a bad thing - goods would need to be brought into the castle and communication was impossible, and yet they'd been happy within this bubble.

The Queen said: "I'd dearly like to correspond with the other kingdoms... yet I'm afraid of what they'll say when they hear the news of the Lightning Kid."

The King said: "As am I.  Being free of advisers, be they sage, healer, wizard, crone, oracle or troll has been a blessing hasn't it? We could simply stay in the bubble..."

"Yet ultimately we'll need some of those advisers.  We have friends outside as well, can we really hide from them?  Also, I don't think Shark Boy will enjoy simply swimming laps around the moat for much longer." answered the Queen.  "I don't think I've seen anything like this..."

"I have..." answered the King.  "When my father died, I found myself in a similar bubble... they come in handy to shield us from the initial pain, but ultimately we're not healing while we're inside.  The only way to heal is to burst the bubble and learn to live with the outside world again..."

The King and Queen looked at each other in silent agreement.  It took but a single bolt of lightning from the Prince to burst the bubble.  The Royal Family went on excursions, corresponded with foreign lands and yes, had to visit sages, wizard and healers - some of which delivered bad news, some good.  When they spoke with others including members of the court, some comments bothered the King and Queen; they found them insensitive, but they knew they weren't driven by malice, but perhaps by ignorance.  When they took stock of it all, they noticed that people had been very wonderful and supportive overall.  Still, they resolved 
to fight ignorance in the kingdom by living their lives as the wonderful family they had always intended to be, and the Lightning Kid would lead by example.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Lightning Kid is Born

Once upon a time, there were a King and Queen who were wise and kind. They had a son who was magic, and he became known through the land as the Shark Boy, for he had many teeth, loved the water, and was always on the move.

When it became known that a second prince would be born to the Queen, it was widely held that this one would be as magical as the first. When the Prince was born, he seemed healthy at first, but when the sages, wizards and sorceresses said there was something wrong with him. The portents and prophecies said that he'd look different, and that there were things he wouldn't learn. The wet-nurses abandoned all hope of him nursing.

The King and Queen were heartbroken. They had thought the new prince might rule a kingdom of his own one day, and this dream seemed to have evaporated like a cloud-puff; and where was his magic?

The Queen took charge of the most immediate matters, she would get the prince nursing to be as healthy, hale and strong as possible no matter how many mountains needed to be moved. While she undertook this struggle, the King looked to the future with fear in his heart. He had known how he wanted to run the kingdom, but the prince's condition raised questions, and the answers given by the sages and their ilk were always about limits and doors that would remain closed.

The King was no sage, nor a healer, but he had seen much in his life and was famed and respected for the breadth of his knowledge; it was said he knew a lot of nothing, and a little of everything - and that this was his magic. He promised the little prince to give him the best life and future he could. 

It was then that he noticed the little prince's hair.  For a baby, the hair was fairly long, and yet it stood up no matter what kind of comb or brush attempted to tame it. It was then and there that the King and Queen found the new prince's magic; he had been born with too much lightning.  They dubbed him the Lightning Kid, and proudly announced his title to the kingdom.

The Royal Family would occasionally struggle with the Lightning Kid's condition, but they continued to live and rule the kingdom as they were destined to, and the Lightning Kid's adventures would become legendary indeed.