Fatherhood Adventures

There’s nothing quite like an infant’s smile to brighten a day.

With Carson, now 10 weeks young, the smiles are fairly random, although becoming increasingly more frequent as he gets older. It’s impossible to really know what brings on these funny little grins, but my money is on gas.

No matter the circumstances, a baby’s no-teeth smile is a special thing. Whether it’s a little stomach relief or a well-placed tickle or scratch, it doesn’t matter to me. All I know is I love it and feel blessed that I get to see at least one of those silly little smirks every day.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit a smile does not touch the heart as much when it’s accompanied by a horrendous odor, one that seems more appropriate originating in a port-o-potty on a construction site than from a little, innocent baby.

It can be quite shocking at times and can partially be blamed on the fact he has reflux, which is not a pretty thing on any front. Once it was realized he was battling reflux, I was relieved in a way. The stench just did not seem normal. In a way, I was thankful there was something to attribute the stench to, rather than just having to accept this was what I had to look forward to for the next 18 years.

Dealing with reflux has been an interesting chapter in this parenting adventure. After a rough few weeks and a lot of dirty laundry, Carson is now on a prescription that seems to be helping him out. We are relieved the many painful cries have subsided and the projectile vomiting is not as frequent as it had been, thank goodness.

Additionally, thanks largely to the new medication and constantly keeping Carson elevated, the frequency of the gas has decreased and is a lot less “pee uuu”, as my older son Beckett is inclined to say while he runs away shaking his head with his pointer finger up his nose.

Cabin fever is in full effect, thanks to this ridiculous cold streak of late.

Fortunately, some warmer weather (mid-40s during the day) is expected to be here by today, but it could not arrive soon enough for me.

One of the unfortunate consequences of this unusual cold snap has been a little stir craziness. Although we have a nice-sized house, there’s nothing quite like getting out for walks, runs and park visits. These little jaunts outdoors are particularly helpful with a toddler, who quickly becomes dissatisfied running around the house all day.

While we wait for the weather to warm and keep an anxious eye out for spring, there have been quite a few fun games developed to keep Beckett as active as possible while confined to the house.

He’s become a master at identifying objects on flash cards, enjoys messing around with Play-Doh and is such an amazing stacker of boxes and cups that Pam thinks he’s destined to be an architect. He also continues to be a fan of Diego and Dora (some new Christmas videos were left under the tree) and is quite adept at picking out colors (thanks to a few timely educational videos around the holidays).

Of all the activities we do around the house, the classic game of “hide and seek” seems to be his favorite at this point. He gets extremely excited and loves every minute of it.

It’s funny how obsessed he becomes with it and how at 20 months we have to play the game under his rules and rarely can we deviate to mix things up. He determines everything.

He’s all about the seeking and could care less about the hiding. He always wants to start his search in the same place (the kitchen, presumably just in case there’s some food in there that’s suddenly become available). Under no terms will he come looking for you unless you say something along the lines of, “where’s Beckett?”

Over the months we have been playing this game, he’s become skilled and usually has no problem locating me in short order. However, I do my best to make it a little challenging for him by coming up with new places to hide.

I am happy to report I stumped him the other night. He had easily snuffed me out throughout the afternoon, but I finally was able to fool him by hiding behind his high chair and under a blanket. I listened attentively to his little stomping footsteps as he searched around the living room. He looked around in all the familiar places he knew and was starting to get a little frustrated I sensed from the tone of his voice. His “dadas” descended from excitable shouts and shrieks to some whimpers and pouts.

To stave off a meltdown, I started making some sounds to give him a hint. Eventually, he tracked me down, and that’s usually the best part of the game. Whenever he finds me, he lets out a huge belly laugh and runs away, saying, “mo, dees” or “more, please” in adult terms.

Although he’s a big fan of “hide and seek”, there are times when he just needs to get out of the house for a change of scenery. When I get desperate, I just pack him up and head to my office in Berlin and let him run loose for a while. The office’s long hallways are ideal for a game of chase, which is always entertaining.

Even that gets old for the little guy and that’s why Pam enrolled him in a “Little Kickers” program for 18 to 24-month-olds on Saturdays for the next two months. That gets underway this weekend, and I’m sure it’s going to be an interesting and funny adventure for all of us.

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