Dad’s Third Three Months
Luke, you have a cadre of friends in your life to whom you lavish a huge two toothed smile. Your regular favorites include your aunt Keara and your buddies Rowan Drant and Jack Grossi. However, other than your mommy and me, you have two friends that are the true pillars of your day.
Your best furry friend is Churchill, our imperfect but loving golden retriever. He is a less than courageous creature with a snowstorm in his long red coat (excessive dandruff). We got him as a puppy and he was our “baby with training wheels,” our first experience taking responsibility for another living being (other than an infamous Macaw … ask your mom).
Churchy didn’t know what to think of you at first. He just saw an object stealing attention. But soon a mutual dawning of perception occurred: “wait a minute; this furry/pink thing is kind of fun!” Today he allows you to crawl all over him as he paints a demeanor of tolerance though he loves it. You bite him, pull his fur, yank his collar, tug his ears and pound him like a drum. He just smiles and licks you. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you look for after your bottle is Churchy and you don’t have to look long -- he often steals into your room to sleep. The perennial chicken, Churchill even growled at a dog that got too close to you!
Your second best friend is your nanny, your 9 am goddess of the morning, Icelan Nation. She is a devote Christian, Jamaican, and she is perfectly sized for you … a soft place to land. She is a tad bossy frequently injecting her principles into our lives. When I cook my signature breakfast dish, “Eggs in Hell,” she tolerates it with pointed jokes. She doesn’t approve my favorite nickname for you: “Pooper.” She has an estranged husband and seems to have a love interest in Florida; I haven’t normalized that moral equation.
I’ve learned a lot from watching Icelan interact with you. Luke, you have mastered the power of your voice to get what you want: an object, removal from your car seat, food, or most frequently a hand in standing, your new favorite pastime. Icelan does not bend to your demands but rather watches you wallow disgruntled until you figure things out for yourself. She is breeding independence by killing the need and expectation of dependence. And by definition she has a high tolerance for your wails!
That tough love has led you to the very brink of crawling. You now can get on your hands and knees and raise that anchor belly off the ground. You haven’t learned to use your legs to propel you forward but you do push yourself backwards, a strange thing to watch! I once looked forward to your impending mobility because, in theory, you could entertain yourself. I now fear such freedom of movement because you have an eye for the dangerous and valuable like your dad. I suspect I’ll have the same misconceptions when you are driving age.
With the right leverage, you can pull yourself to a standing position, strike a funny pose of accomplishment, before teetering and plopping back onto your pampers. The best leverage is any arrangement of vertical bars, think bars in a jail. It’s simply hilarious to see you peer through the bars of our stairwell banister like a small prisoner.
Your other new pastime is eating real food. Feeding time is an explosion of slop accompanied by whoops and wails. Luckily, Incline has limited the damage somewhat by teaching you to keep your hands out of the spoon flight path. What I never expected is your extreme preference in taste. You like all fruits but if I dare put meat, chicken or pasta in your mouth your body will violently shudder, face contorting. When your mom isn’t around I sometimes feed you a lemon wedge just to watch the show.
This quarter, we took our first vacation as a family in Moab, Utah. We have some family history at Moab: Rachel and I fell in love at a camp sight in the Manti-La Sal Mountains overlooking Moab, I asked your mom to marry me at the very same camp site, and we were later married at the Red Canyons Inn four miles outside of Moab. So it only makes sense that you had your first vacation there.
We treated you to your very first hike on the Black Hill Canyon trail in the Canyonlands. Hiking with a nine month old requires strapping you facing outwards in a contraption known as a Baby Bjorn. You have always loved being outdoors on walks in the Bjorn this was no exception. You arms were constantly outstretched, hands grasping for branches as they brushed by. You want to interact with your environment and we had to make sure you were not interacting with poison oak!
Ngo oi nei,