Monday, July 30, 2007

Birthday Boy

Luke & Dad’s First Year

Happy First Birthday Luke! All great adventures transform their participants and our journey with you is no different. We started as two individuals, a turkey-dog hybrid, and a screaming plasma bag. Somehow, slowly, we evolved into a family. Good God, I have a family! College is over.

Parents seem to announce similar milestones during the development of their children. “Jack is crawling.” “Rowan said ‘book!’” “Jacqueline is eating hard foods!” I trumpet a more primordial accomplishment, one your mother does not relish: “LukeStar loves hot women!”

Rachel and I first noticed this behavior when we hired a young, pretty, petite, dark-haired Lithuanian named Victoria to babysit. When she first walked into view, you froze and cut fussing, your eyes bulged and jaw slackened -- the picture of awe. Then you smiled your devil cute smile. And giggled. I wasn’t sure whether to be ashamed or proud.

We’ve now experienced this scene a number of times in the presence of a beautiful woman. So I’ve got an answer to one of Man’s greatest mysteries: Is the perception of beauty learned or programmed? Well Luke, we are hard-coded! (Though I think, like wine, age refines taste.)

Speaking of wine, I’ve instituted a tradition for your birthday. I bought you a vintage 2001 bottle of Bordeaux as a birthday gift. I am going to do this for every birthday until you are 21 ending in a vintage 2021 matching your official legal drinking age. My friend Thomas Kramer, father of Mats, scoffed at the idea. His criticism is that at 21 years of age you won’t appreciate nice wine as you might at 35 years old (or later, I am still figuring out Bordeaux). He said the idea is a bit stodgy or even encourages a bad habit. I think it’s brilliant.

You are now crawling with a style all your own. Rachel calls your approach the “peg-leg crawl” where, instead of crawling on both knees, you leave one knee on the ground and utilize your opposing foot, knee off the ground, to push off. The result is a tougher, grittier, old sailor like crawl that has a lopping cadence. We now have the challenge of keeping track of you as your new favorite hobby is climbing the stairs. In fact you like climbing at lot of things; I wouldn’t be surprised if you become a mountain climber.

Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are a talented athlete in general. At a couple of months old you could aggressively toss a ball astonishing uninitiated onlookers. (Only recently have other children your age accomplished that; yes, I’m a proud dad.) A couple weeks ago at a park and you watched some kids playing basketball. Next thing we knew, you were trying to put a ball through a toy hoop at home! At a soccer game at Palisades park, I could barely contain you from running onto the field!

Thanks to a great birthday present from your mom called the Mailcart Walker, you are very nearly on your own two feet. You can think of the device as a miniature version of a grandma’s walker. It is a riot being chased down by a baby that is gleefully trying to run you over. Churchill hates it.

In the last few weeks, I’ve realized how much of your environment you perceive and understand. You are a big time pointer. Actually, you don’t point, you present with a grand sweep of your arm and open palm! You love introducing fans, light fixtures, cars and trees. When you wake up, you have a routine where you point out several items, then you clap, then wave, then repeat. That routine is also applied when you want to entertain, say … a pretty woman.

I am also very happy to report that you have said your first word, “Daddy.” Unfortunately, the word “daddy” or “Daaa—Deeee” has many meanings, nouns and verbs, none referring to me. The only person object you consistently call “daddy” is a rather mangy golden retriever.

Ek het jou lief,


No comments: