Fatherhood Adventures

The louder the noise the better for my kid.

I have no way to compare, but I do have family and friends with multiple kids and they tell me most children are scared easily by loud, unexpected noises. At 15 months, that’s not the case with Beckett, but I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing.

Looking back, there were signs early on that loud sounds were not a concern to him. On a visit to Frontier Town when he was a few months old, my wife and I worried that the shooting may cause a meltdown for the little guy. That never happened. For most of it, he simply slept through it. When he was awake and a gun was fired, he smiled. That was an early indicator that seems to be holding true today.

Every morning I make a smoothie and the blender is ridiculously loud. It used to be I would try and get his attention to prep him for a loud noise. I soon learned it didn’t matter. In fact, over time, he seemed to like the surprise.

Now, every morning when I turn the blender on, I simply look over into the living room and wait for the squeals of excitement. When he’s most wound up and pleased with something, Beckett unleashes a series of little sprints around the room. He bounces around, throwing his fists straight to the floor and moving them up and down. It looks as if he’s sprinting around and operating a pile driver.

There’s no question he likes being startled by the loud noises, and I like to egg him on with my own pile driver impersonation. That’s when his excitement is taken to another level.

Along the same lines, with him now walking and running all over the place, one of my favorite games to play with him is a mild version of hide-and-seek. He will come stomping down the hall, as only toddlers can, and I will quickly duck behind a wall and then jump out and surprise him as he gets closer. He absolutely loves that.

Pam and I have also found that startling him can also help to stave off a meltdown when times are a little hairy. On more than a couple occasions, a good, loud (fake) sneeze has turned a sour face into a fit of laughter. It’s a little desperate, no question, but I see no problem with resorting to whatever means necessary to keep the peace.

My son will never remember his first pediatrician, but his mother and I will.

Dr. Jose Alvarado, who passed away last Saturday after being a horrifying accident on Route 50 three days earlier, was one of those guys you could not help but admire and respect.

The Salisbury-based pediatrician, who lived in Ocean City, had a uniquely pleasant way about him, in and out of the office. He just made you feel comfortable and important at the same time. Clearly, there were thousands of local families who feel that way about him because his practice was extremely popular.

Dr. Alvarado deserved the respect he received, both while he was living and afterwards. He was a leader in his field, serving at his death as chief of pediatrics for Peninsula Regional Medical Center. In the days before and following his death, heartfelt messages, ranging from honest shock to robust appreciation, have been placed at various social network sites. In the week since the crash, a Facebook tribute page has garnered about 4,000 members.

The genuine outpouring of sincere emotions expressed after Dr. Alvarado’s death has surpassed anything I have ever seen around here. Certainly, the tragic circumstances surrounding the popular man’s death have much to do with that. However, in my case, and many others I communicated with this week, it’s because he played a trusted role in the life of my son, and that’s the closest matter to my heart and the most emotional aspect of my life. That’s why the loss is so significant.

I viewed Dr. Alvarado as a throwback. He had a charm about him not commonly seen today in the medical field or any other for that matter. He had this warm demeanor that made you feel like he truly cared about you and your kid. As a first-time parent, I found that to be extremely settling and charming.

Whenever we were in the room at his office with Dr. A, I always felt my son, as well as his mother and I, was getting his entire attention. Never mind the fact a kid could be screaming in a neighboring room and the waiting room filled with sneezing kids. We felt special, and that’s a wonderful compliment to Dr. Alvarado.

As a first-time father, it was a comfort to know he had no problems answering silly questions, most of which he had likely heard thousands of times before. No matter how much time he spent with us in his practice, he would not leave the room until all our questions were answered. He understood parents and their concerns and respected that.

My wife knew Dr. Alvarado before Beckett was born. He was a common face in her Saturday morning spin exercise class at Gold’s Gym. I often saw him as well whenever I wanted to subject myself to that tortuous class. During that time, we never realized he was a doctor. He was quiet, but always quick with a smile in his friendly, peaceful way. He was happy to blend in and be a part of the class. It was probably a nice departure for someone with his day job. My wife saw him in the gym just a couple weeks before his death. Of course, he asked how Beckett was. That was his way.

Dr. Alvarado is going to be missed. I am sorry my son will not grow up with him as his pediatrician. It’s a shame and such a loss for this community. Over time, I hope his family can find some peace in knowing he will never be forgotten by many.

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