Fatherhood Adventures

It’s all going by too fast for me.

When I first became a dad, the most common piece of advice I received was something along the lines of, ‘enjoy it while it lasts because they grow up so fast.’ I heard it so many times I admit to growing a bit weary of the expression.

At the time, when sleepless nights dominated life with a newborn, the problem was I did not understand it. Now, with one son 22 months old and another 4 months old, I get what those wise folks were talking about.

Life is flying by and there are moments when I am amazed at how much my sons are changing and growing with each passing day. They are changing right before my eyes, and it overwhelms me at times.

Most of the awe comes about with my oldest son, Beckett, thanks largely to the fact he’s an inquisitive toddler and essentially a sponge these days. He is now repeating in his own way just about anything said to him, and it’s quite hilarious.

This is not to say Carson, the youngest, is not changing as well. However, instead of him coming up, pulling on my pants and saying, “I love you dada”, Carson’s most intriguing aspect these days is he smiles repeatedly and is nearly rolling over. While that’s equally amazing to me on one level, the older child has a way of capturing and retaining my attention more than the infant.

With the toddler of the house, any day now Pam and I expect him to walk up to us and utter a complete sentence. If I know my son, it will probably have something to do with a truck and a snack. He’s already stringing plenty of words together, but most of it remains indistinguishable to most. However, that does not mean we are not communicating with each other.

For instance, in keeping with his current color fascination, the little man will often approach and point, uttering, “nick geeen caaa.” What he means is “another green car,” pointing to the neighbor’s house where two green vehicles are parked. At another moment, he may stroll over with an Eric Carle book in his hand and begin matching shapes to objects, astonishing me with his knowledge of circles and triangles.

Oddly enough, while these feats impress, it’s at some of his most relaxed moments that I marvel over how fast he’s growing up.

It’s when he’s reading a book by himself, enthralled with his favorite video of the week or simply playing trucks alone on the floor, mumbling to himself, that it sinks in. He’s growing and changing faster than I could ever imagine and it puts a lump in my throat at times. While I am soaking up each experience, it’s unbelievable to realize his age will soon be counted in years rather than months.

What’s so amazing to me with a second child is how much you appreciate the little things that maybe did not get the attention the first time around.

With the first child, everything is magical and wonderful. It’s all so glorious because it’s so new and foreign. Everything from a yawn to a bath is special and memorable.

With the second child, there are so many distractions, namely the other kid in the picture, preventing you from basking in the glory of an infant, as you may have done the first time around. Nonetheless, you appreciate the finer things with the second child that maybe you didn’t take note of with the firstborn, as a result of the inevitable tendency to compare them throughout the journey.

The most immediate difference between my two kids is sleep habits. Carson is a much better sleeper at 4 months than his older brother Beckett was at that age. Carson has been sleeping through the night since he was a 2 ½ months old and I know that’s a tremendous blessing because Beckett was not routinely making it through the night till he was about 6 months old, which I thought was wonderful at the time compared to some horror stories I heard from friends.

Also, Carson is as mellow as they come, while Beckett was giving us signs of what he might be like when he got older. He was a little less laidback and tended to need more attention and entertaining than Carson does presently.

At 4 months, it’s impossible to know his demeanor at all times, but I like to think Carson has adopted an “I’m just happy to be here” mentality and rolls with the punches for the most part.

It’s at the point now that we joke about him because he rarely makes a sound, unless hungry, tired or wet. Consequently, Beckett typically pays no mind to his little brother. He’s presumably too boring for him at this point.

If the big brother does acknowledge him, it usually goes something like this: Beckett walks up, pats him on the head in a not so gentle way, pulls off both socks, laughs, tosses them aside, yanks out his pacifier and either throws it on the floor or runs away with it in his mouth. As we try and teach Beckett that’s not okay, Carson just giggles. He could care less.

On the rare occasion, the littlest one does throw a fit, it catches our attention because it’s so unusual. “Tell him to quiet down back there,” I joked to Pam the other day while driving to Salisbury because he whimpered out of the blue. All the while his brother sits in his car seat nearby pointing out every car’s color as it drove by. Through echoes of “nick booo caaa” (another blue car) and “nick yeah caa” (another yellow car), we heard a slight yelp from Carson. How dare him.

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