Luke cake

Luke enjoys the last bits of a piece of birthday cake that he absolutely demolished at his first birthday party Saturday.

On Saturday, we celebrated Luke’s first birthday. My dad was in from Utah and came over, as well as my aunt, uncle and cousins from Chicago. Ashley’s family came by too for the little guy’s first.

A year ago, we went to a hospital on Wednesday night and had to wait until 6:36 a.m. on Friday for the little guy to get out into the world.

I quickly realized how unprepared we were for the rigors of parenthood. Just the first couple days in the hospital and at home working with a little guy who kept no schedule and spent most of his waking time crying were a big change.

Over time, we settled in, though, and found some routines. Luke got more and more used to being alive and how things operate. At 8 weeks old, he headed off to daycare where he spends most of his time during the week hanging out with other babies and teachers who have a patience for children I’ll never understand.

We’ve blown past milestones.

Luke learned how to smile. He could roll from his back to his tummy and, eventually, back to his back again. He figured out how to sit up. After months of flopping around on his stomach, he figured out crawling in early September. Like a day later, he was pulling himself up and standing against anything he could get his hands on.

He giggles and babbles and says “Mama” (more like “Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma” when he really gets going). He feeds himself, shoveling bite-sized food into his face with both hands like his overweight old man. He can climb stairs, wave good-bye and throw a tantrum like a pro.

And, to the chagrin of many other parents with young babies, Luke sleeps through the night almost every night and has, for months.

Yet, there’s still more work to do. Despite being a crawler and stander for four month, he hasn’t figured out the whole walking thing. He walks great along the furniture, with his four-wheeled puppy walker or holding onto Mommy, but just won’t try it out on his own.

He still hasn’t learned — or perhaps willfully ignores — that there are some things he’s not supposed to do, like crawl behind the recliner into the dog’s fort. No matter how many times we grab him before going back and relocate him and no matter how many times he presses his forehead into the carpet and cries and then rolls around like he’s dying after he’s been foiled, he can’t figure out the cause-effect relationship of his actions.

And, despite my efforts to get him to say “Dada” every now and then, he still likes his M-sounds too much to move onto other stuff.

Yes, he still drives us crazy from time to time. There are some weekends when it comes Monday and I’m more than happy to take him back to day care. There are nights when from the second he gets home until the second he goes to bed he just chooses to act like a huge butt.

But there are plenty of other times that balance those out — when he’s playing with his toys or crawling on my face or pointing at the small Christmas tree we still haven’t taken down and going “Gah?” questioningly like he’s trying to figure it all out.

He rides in the shopping cart at the grocery store in his little letterman’s jacket and charms all the girls from age 0-80. He climbs up two stairs and then looks through the railing to make sure you’re paying attention that he’s going up before he keeps climbing. And, on his birthday, when he gets his slice of birthday cake, he doesn’t just take a little piece — he picks up the whole cube of cake and shoves it in his face, apparently.

As I remind my wife on the nights where he’s not being particularly good and trying our patience — he’s a pretty good boy most of the time and he could be a lot worse from stories I’ve heard of other people’s kids.

Back at an old job, I used to laugh because my one coworker who wrote columns basically wrote the same column every week. “Here was something my son did this past week. Blah blah blah. Close with ‘my little boy is growing up so fast.’”

And now, here I am, looking back and trying to figure out what happened to 2019. Time has already accelerated from being a kid to being an adult, but now apparently having a kid has made it whip by even faster.

I still can’t really comprehend it. Luke is 1.

He’s growing, changing and evolving what literally seems like every day. I know all it’s going to take is for me to blink and we’ll be hosting his second birthday party.

Where has a year gone?

Steve Garbacz is executive editor for KPC Media Group and editor of The News Sun. His house is now completely overrun by toys, which he knows will get worse before it gets better. Email him at sgarbacz@kpcmedia.com.

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