Fatherhood Adventures

Sanity,
although a relative term anyway, means something unique to parents,
particularly those with little ones.

My kids
have a way of keeping me on my toes. In many ways, they are extremely
unpredictable, while in other matters they are routine.

Beckett,
the toddler, rules the house for the most part, but it’s interesting that my
younger son, Carson, can take charge when he puts his mind to it. This is a new
phenomenon in my world.

Since
we have become accustomed to his laidback approach, when he actually acts like
a normal 7-month-old baby it surprises us and throws us (by that I mean me)
into a tizzy.

At one
point last weekend, and it conveniently enough just happened to be when my wife
was out running an errand, something got to Carson and he had one of the worst
meltdowns I can remember for him. There were huge tears, a runny nose and a
tomato face. While I had seen that from him on rare occasions previously, he
added a new wrinkle to his repertoire. He started kicking his chubby little
legs and flailing his arms with all his might. It was clear nothing was hurting
him. He was just royally annoyed and irked.

What
made matters worse was Beckett took note of his little brother losing his cool
and followed suit. A little competitive streak seemed to surface because he
pitched a tremendous fit of his own. What made this a hairy situation was I
essentially had to pick one child to comfort at the time, and I had to go with
my youngest since I knew I could quickly bring the 7-month-old a little peace
by simply picking him up. It’s a little more complicated with my 2-year-old.

It
seems Carson was just terribly overtired, as I did not put him down for his
normal afternoon nap as he has grown accustomed. He let me know in no uncertain
terms that’s unacceptable with some more leg kicks to the stomach and huge
tears before finding his groove, falling asleep in my arms before I even got to
his crib.

Once
Carson was down, Beckett gathered his composure, but not before I had some time
to marvel over the differences between a toddler and baby meltdown.

Toddlers
lose their cool often, but there are clear lines of demarcation between a true
fit of annoyance and a cry of significance.

For
example, when Beckett fell off our slide a couple weeks ago, it goes without
saying that was a justified ball session. That’s a cry of fear and pain, and
these can be as tough on the parents as on the child. However, when my toddler
gets upset over not being allowed to have his 19th and 20th
cracker of the day, that’s not a real cry. That’s more like a screaming session
intended to sound like he’s crying. That can be deemed fake almost every time.

As far
as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with a little crying, but I do start to
get a little frenzied when they both go at it at the same time. That’s a little
tough on my nerves, but maybe it’s just because I’m a dad and I surmise my
toddler joins the crying game because he realizes it rattles me.

Introducing new things
to my kids is a lot of fun for me.

Last weekend, we made
the best of a beautiful day and took the truck out on Assateague. For my kids,
which at their age require a load of toys, food, baby bottles, chairs, diapers,
lunch and so on, this seems to be the best course to take when it comes to
spending a day on the beach.

Although Carson did not
seem to be overly fascinated with driving on the beach, Beckett was enthralled
by it. He was squealing and clapping his hands, likely a result of confusion
over what we were doing and happiness over returning to what seems to be his
favorite place these days – the beach.

He was creating such a
ruckus in the back that he was distracting me from the task at hand of keeping
up my speed when I really just wanted to get a look at his smiling face. That
was not in the cards, as anyone who has ever driven in soft sand realizes
stopping is not exactly the best move.

A few days later,
Beckett and Carson were introduced to something else foreign to them – a bath
at the same time. To keep social services away, I should point out Carson was
inside a baby bath inside the tub.
While I do not think Carson blinked the entire time, surely overwhelmed by the
situation, particularly his big brother standing over him naked and laughing
and pointing out his nose and belly button, Beckett loved it and actually helped
with the job at hand.

Normally, my eldest is a
terror in the bathtub, splashing about and tossing his rubber toys all over the
bathroom. Considering these tendencies, I was particularly proud of how he
adjusted his antics with his little brother in the tub. He mellowed out and
basically just stood there and watched, handing me things every now and again
while muttering “Car- Car clean” the entire time.

It was
remarkable how once I removed Carson from the tub Beckett returned to his wild
ways, quickly casting aside all the toys that were in the tub and splashing
water all over the place. That seems to me to be a sure sign of a little bit of
maturity from my 2-year-old.

In the
interest of fairness and balance, it’s worth pointing out five minutes after
leaving the bathroom he yanked Carson’s towel away from me and threw it down
the stairs. The fact it sent me running down the stairs, like a game of fetch,
he found hilarious.

 

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