What I Learned From Tarzan’s Dad

Dear Lewis,

This morning, you took a giant step toward becoming a man: you watched the 1999 Disney movie Tarzan. As the movie played, we played. We wrestled, rode your tiger Wheely Bug, built towering edifices of letter-embossed blocks, and, when our stomachs growled, we ate chicken and beef while not wearing shirts.

In short, we behaved like men.

By the time the credits began to roll, and Phil Collins sang his final song, you were exhausted. You, my fierce jungle man, laid your head across my lap, and sucked on your pacifier. As I stroked your hair I replayed the movie in my head. The storyteller in me identified the movie’s theme, the story beats and plot points.

However, the dad in me zeroed in on the lesson learned by Tarzan’s father figure, Kerchak the gorilla.

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It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

Dear Lewis,

Yesterday you embarked on an epic adventure. You left the apartment around 9:30am and walked 8 blocks to the train stop. As you rode along, you watched the world around you with wide-eyed wonder. Your first time on the train you rode the rails like a pro. Two trains, one transfer, and forty minutes later you arrived at the airport.

But your adventure had only just begun.

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When We Recognize God’s Voice

Dear Lewis,

It finally happened. There’s not a doubt in my mind. It took 5 months and 11 days, but it happened.

Your mom called this afternoon to talk about buying a basket she’d found to hold your toys. When I responded, she couldn’t hear me because you were making loud cooing noises and excited squeals. It took her a minute, but she got you to be quiet, and we finished our conversation.

A few hours later she called again. And, again, she couldn’t hear what I was saying because of the noises you were making.

Right before I left work your mom called to ask if I’d stop off to get a pizza for dinner. As I tried to ask what toppings she wanted you started in with your high-pitched squeals and Gollum-like cackles.

Your Uncle Josh called while I was waiting at the pizza place. We had a good chat that ended right as I was opening the door to our apartment. I stood in the entryway, arrested by your bright eyes and broad smile. That’s when your mom said it:

“He recognizes your voice.”

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Raising A Dangerous Kid

Dear Lewis,

While we were on vacation you rolled over from your back to your stomach. Usually, babies first roll from their stomach to their back because it’s easier. But you did it the hard way first. You get that from your mom.

Today, though, you finally rolled over from your stomach onto your back. Your mom and I were both there to witness the event.

To be honest, it was terrifying.

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It’s All My Fault

Dear Lewis,

Today we took you to the hospital. You haven’t been feeding well, and it’s causing your mom a lot of pain. It frustrates her, even angers her because it hurts so badly.

The doctor diagnosed you as being tongue-tied. This means your frenulum (the little piece of skin connecting the bottom of your mouth to the underside of your tongue) extends too far forward. This prevents you from moving your tongue through its full range of motion. Right now it makes breastfeeding difficult, but later in life it could affect your speech and cause you other problems. So we decided to let the doctor cut that little piece of skin.

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The 100 Year Prayer

Dear Lewis,

The past few days have been exhausting. All I wanted to do tonight was sit on the couch with you and your mom and watch television. But your mom was far more exhausted than I’ll ever be. So when you didn’t fall asleep after feeding tonight she told me to take you so she could get some sleep. I tried to console you, but you wouldn’t stop crying and you definitely wouldn’t go to sleep. Luckily, I have a trick that, so far, always works.

The walking path from the street to our building is made of old clay bricks. Not one brick is level or flush with another. It makes for a rough ride in your stroller, and you love it. You’ve even been known to stop crying the moment we get on the bumpy path. Tonight it took forty-five minutes of walking back and forth along the same twenty-five-foot path for you to fall asleep.

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