Fatherhood Adventures

All has
returned to normal on the sleeping front around my house, although not without
me having a few sizable adult meltdowns.

Last
week, my 2-year-old suddenly began despising his crib and fighting sleep with
huge crying fits, screams and sounds like nothing I have ever heard. It was the
type of outright squealing that left me shaking on occasion.
After trying all sorts of creative tactics to settle him down, the only thing
that seemed to work was staying in the room with him until he fell asleep. We
were desperate to bring him some sort of peace as well as give our youngest son
across the hall a chance at some rest.

A week
of rampant self-diagnosis by Pam and I resulted in two possible conclusions –
my little guy either had a nightmare and couldn’t shake it or his two-year
molars were bothering him to such a degree he went a tad manic for a spell.

Amazingly
enough, this craziness lasted exactly one week. It started before a Sunday
afternoon nap and ended exactly seven days later. All of a sudden, he was okay
with going to bed and the huge crying fits subsided. I felt like I hit the
lottery and felt spiritually rich.

I was
so excited by this development I immediately picked up the phone and called my
wife, who was grocery shopping at the time. While thrilled, we both were a
little hesitant to toast our little guy, as we feared the crying fit before bed
could return later in the night. Fortunately, he cried for a couple minutes
that night but eventually fell asleep without us in the room.

Usually,
naptime and nighttime are exciting times for us. When the kids are asleep,
there’s a collective sigh of relief that envelops the house. That’s truly the
only time we can relax, as caring for a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old leaves us
quite occupied most of the time.

It took
him a little longer than most, but the baby of the house is now rolling over.

Carson,
8 months old, has been trying and trying for what seems like months but he
finally seems to have mastered the proper technique.

The
major obstacle has been his arm. He just could not seem to grasp that he needed
to pull both arms out from underneath him once he rolled over. Otherwise, he’s
just stuck and that’s no good. At times, and we have pictures to prove it, he
resembled a seal. There he was with one arm stuck underneath him, his head and
neck arched up with his other arm steadying him.

With
more practice and a decent amount of determination, he has become quite adept
at rolling from his back to his stomach and vice versa. It’s so much fun to
watch him maneuver himself around at this point because for so long he, like
all babies, was sedentary. He’s now able to get around a little, and that’s a
big change for us.

One day
last week, I put him on a chair and went to get his breakfast ready and
returned to find him rolled over on his stomach, looking up at me with a huge
smile. That was huge because it now means he can never be put on a piece of
furniture by himself, or at least without props to keep him in one place.

My
favorite part of this newfound rolling skill is the look on his face when he
completes it. It’s a mixture of shock and fear followed by laughter. No matter
the look, it’s priceless.

Every
kid is different and that’s fascinating to me.

Although
it’s dangerous territory to compare your kids, it’s inevitable when they are
close in age like my sons.

Although
they are both still extremely young, at this point, Beckett is, naturally, the
alpha male. He’s aggressive, rambunctious and playful. He wears his heart on
his sleeve and he’s easy to understand. He’s always quick to laugh at nothing
and will make sure everyone knows what’s going on at any given time. He likes
constant attention and at times can be quite demanding. If you are not
attentive enough, he will shove a slimy finger in your ear or up your nose just
to remind you he’s around.

Quite
to the contrary, Carson is the introvert. He’s not much for being the center of
attention and seems to prefer staying out of the limelight. He’s a
mild-mannered observer and seems to prefer the role as the quiet thinker type.
However, he has his limits and will clearly let us know when he’s upset.

I told
my wife the other day in passing that when Carson cries I feel guilty because
it’s probably my fault. I question whether it’s something I did. That’s how
rare he throws a fit. When he does get upset and has a meltdown, it’s probably
because of poor parenting. It’s usually due to not being put down for a nap at
the right time, a feeding being a little off, a diaper needing changing or
simply needing a change of scenery or a new position.

I
realize it’s ridiculous for me to slap adjectives describing the personalities
of my kids at such young ages, but this is what parents do. What can I say? Our
kids are the focal points of our private lives, and it’s natural to obsess over
all aspects that involve our top priorities.

The
funny thing here is they could grow up to be completely different people, and
that’s going to be interesting, as I can faintly see myself starting stories
with, “When you were a baby …”

The
cold reality here is I am one of those parents and there’s nothing I can do
about it.

 

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