Friday, October 31, 2008

My Tantri Two

Luke & Dad’s Second Year and A Quarter

Feeding chocolate cake to a herd of terrible twos is igniting a batch of bottle rockets inside your home. Sugar in these monsters is as dizzying as a college keg party on acid. Nonetheless, the occasion of your second birthday demanded that we cast down the chains of routine infant rearing and, damn the torpedoes, throw your birthday party, cake and all!!

We knew you liked parties because we took you to a German Oktoberfest celebration and nearly every evening afterwards you inquired: “Oktoberfest?!” So, Rachel and I now have the distinction of throwing your first party, birthday or otherwise. No matter how crazy the parties of your future, it all started with a bunch of shrimps and their parents on August 2nd, 2008 at the MacArthur house. Jack, Emily & Tom Grossi; Matts, Jessica & Thomas Kramer; Jamie, Melissa & Mark Bildner; Grady, Annie & Eric Burnquist; Rowan, Charis & Ryan Drant; Ryan, Ronda & Tom Williams; joined Rachel, Cashy, Keara, Churchill and me at your first fiesta.

You loved the Birthday festivities but your main takeaway was the power of “presents.” These mysterious boxes contained treats of all kinds. However, you quickly figured out that presents could transformed into something far more useful: negotiating tools for the unpleasant tasks in your life. Here is a typical case study. After sniffing soiled air I say, “Luke, you did a poop. Time to change your dipes!” You make a break for it and I make the inevitable capture dodging kicks, screams and fake tears when, suddenly, sweetly, you say, “Can I have a present?”

Admittedly, your dad also liked parties at two years old:

If Birthdays number the early chapters of your life, memories of school will fill those chapters. Rachel and I dropped you off at your first day of school on September 17th, 2008 at Aiden Montessori in Washington, DC. I’ll never forget watching as you as the teacher’s assistant, Ms. Allen, grabbed your hand and turned you away from us, guiding you into your very first class room. I stared at the back of your blond head wondering if you could possibly feel more lost than me.

I doubt it. You love school. Your teacher’s name is Ms. Smith, “Miss Smiff” in Lukanese. She is the perfect teacher for you; a twenty-something redheaded “Annie” who looks at any moment about to break into song. Under her guidance, you love painting, drawing, and playing with water (apparently this is a common interest for two year olds). She says you are incredibly focused and very nimble with your hands, a potential surgeon! Ms. Smith says you have empathy, that you try and comfort the other children when they are upset. You are like your mom.

Like me you are psyched about Halloween! We did our first trick-or-treating excursion this year with Rowan the Fireman and Jack the Builder. You were supposed to be a Pirate, but you refused to wear your pirate hate until I showed you a mirror. One glance and you transformed into a fierce, hat wearing Pirate stabbing your sword at the Builder at every opportunity.

You guys were hilarious swaggering up to houses, squeezing past one another to reach up to door bells, needing to be reminded to say “trick-or-treat!” before grabbing candy. As Rachel put you to sleep that night, you asked if you could go trick-or-treating again. Rachel said you could next year. Then you said, “Can Cashy come?”

You and Cashy have become quite a pair. You've adopted a new language for Cash taking some of his baby sounds and creating words: "Iga!" "Shaaa!" "Ca Ca!" Peering into the back seat of the Toyota cruiser I often glimpse you and Cashy sitting side by side in baby seats staring at one another. You test your mimicry words on Cash. Cash will smile, you will smile; Cash will giggle, you will giggle; Cash will laugh out loud and so will you. Brothers.

Halloween summons other creepy and crawly things and this season the Weller brood has been exorcising a nasty species of Wooobop from our household: a Tantri. As a refresher, Wooobops are fat, friendly, colorful, gently mischievous monsters that reside in less populated areas like closets, attics, basements and exercise rooms. However, the Tantri is a vicious Wooobop that victimizes young children all over the world by taking possession of their minds. These vaporous, ghostly creatures hunger for form and a child’s budding mind has few barriers. Once there, the Tantri wants everything, refuses anything, and will throw wild, head banging, screaming, fits. These fits are known as Tantrums and the disease is the Terrible Twos.

A Tantri, above all, needs attention to feed it. If you have a tantrum lying on the floor of the kitchen kicking and yelling, I will often ignore you and move to the living room. Your tantri will pick you up sniffling, walk you into the living room, lay you down, and reinitiate kicking and screaming all over again. Sometimes a little Luke will pop out during a tantrum like the time Rachel was trying to read “I Stink” to calm a loud tantrum. Suddenly, you abruptly stopped, finished a sentence exactly on queue, “You'd be on Mount Trash-O-Rama Baby!” and then thundered on.

This month we did our quarterly interview and it pretty much melted down. You thought hiding from the camera was the height of comedy!

A couple days after that video, I caught you playing with my computer camera. Needless to say, you loved yourself!

I'd also like to show you some of your recent art work. Though I haven't gotten hold of your school paintings yet, I do capture some of your art at home. Here is a nice piece:

të dua,


Top three household events this quarter:

1) Your first day of school!
2) Rachel ran a half marathon in Moab, UT and you and I had a boys’ weekend with Grangie.
3) We went to Hilton Head Island, SC for vacation.

Luke's most requested song:

Girl, Beck, Guero (released 2005)

Three Songs I’ve been listening to:

1) Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie, Plans (released 2005)
2) New Slang, Oh, Inverted World, The Shins (released 2001)
3) Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer, Sixpence None the Richer (released 1997)

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