Fatherhood Adventures

Like most kids his age, my son speaks his own language, most of which is still a bunch of gibberish.

At this point, that’s just fine by me because it cracks me up when he strings a few so-called words together and jabbers about something or other. However, I must admit that nonsense at 4:45 the other morning was not exactly greeted with acclaim by anyone in the house.

‘No’ seems to be his favorite word these days. Also high on the list are ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, which still gives us the warm and fuzzies. However, what’s strange about the ‘no’ thing is he says it for everything. That’s a clear sign he has no idea what it means or what he’s saying. My wife seems to think it’s because we are constantly saying, ‘no’ to him around the house. She’s probably right, but it’s the only way to get the point across. What else do you say when he has the dog’s tail in his mouth, is sprinting toward the ocean without a care in the world, is trying to eat a candle, is working on a headstand on a hardwood floor or is intent on sticking a chubby, little finger all the way up your nose?

Besides all of these things, one of my kid’s favorite activities these days is his flashcards, and it’s hilarious what he’s picked up along the way. Some cards he identifies correctly, but there are others, while not particularly wrong, are not exactly on the money. Nonetheless, it’s become a funny little sideshow because he can rattle them off as fast as we can turn them.

Some examples of the flash cards and what he says include:

– A monkey holding a banana: Nana, nana, nana (referring to his favorite food as of this writing)

– A car: vroom, vroom

– A dog: dododododo … bawwbaww (barking)

– A boat: a doot

– An ant: Eeeeekk (a high-pitched shriek, meaning it’s scary)

– A ladybug: Eeeeekk (same as above)

– A frog: wrrrr (supposed to be the familiar sound a frog makes)

– A cat: meeeeooww (puts head on shoulder)

A fish: (puckers up for a kiss, extends arms and pulls you close – my favorite, of course)

A duck: whack, whack (an attempt at quack, quack)

A cow: Moooo

A ball: babababa

A horse: ssssss

A book: ckckckck

A shoe: shshsh

If there’s one that comes up that he does not know, such as an apple or cup, he takes a hold of it, flips it all around, throws it on the floor and then hands it back. That’s maybe his way of learning. It’s hilarious.

Getting a baby to nap on the beach is a challenging task.

Pam and I know this well, but we still try to get him to take his afternoon nap every time we go to the beach. Over the course of the summer, I think we are something like 2-for-10 on the beach nap thing. It’s a tricky thing, but it’s the worth the effort, despite that lousy success rate.

We spent last Sunday on the beach in Ocean City. We knew out of the gate it was going to be a roll of the dice on this day because Beckett was not 100 percent. He had a leaky faucet, also known as a runny nose, and he was not well rested (his usual two-hour morning nap was just 45 minutes). Subsequently, he had the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing going on. Fits of laughter were followed closely by spells of crying and vice versa. A sweet kiss then a rough and confusing jab at the face.

Despite all these warning signs, we gave it a shot. We set up our camp on the beach so as not to be too close to anyone. We figured no need to infect any strangers’ relaxation with some kid meltdowns and random outbursts. After a couple of hours of beaching it, including some fun toddler beach walking, a group set up shop uncomfortably close. It was to the point our umbrellas were almost touching. That’s inevitable when it’s extremely crowded, but it was quiet on the beach last weekend. There was a vast amount of space on this particular beach. Yet, they decided to get up close and personal with us.

They were so close we were able to hear every word of their conversation. I have to admit I typically enjoy overhearing strangers talk, particularly if they are visitors and they have a copy of this paper in their hands. It’s interesting to me to observe what story they read and which ads get their attention. In this case, it was interesting to overhear them debate how early they should go to the Bonfire for its all-you-can-eat buffet to avoid the crowds and which night they wanted to set aside for the Embers and its buffet.

A woman in the group at one point said to us, “oh boy, he sure looks tired …” My wife responded something along the lines of “yeah it’s nap time.” That hint went over like a lead balloon because that’s when the husband launched into a loud play-by-play of a big school of dolphin passing offshore. It was a beautiful sight, to be certain, but his account of each revelation grew old quick. I stopped counting the various versions of “there they are” after five.

Eventually, the couple became entrenched in this paper, and Pam and I both laid down next to the pack-n-play to try and bait Beckett into a nap.

Eventually, he did fall asleep, as did I. About five minutes later, according to my wife, a youngster sprinted by after a seagull, screaming in excitement. Beckett jumped up, started to cry and then laughed and then cried and then laughed. That was that for that nap.

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