Fatherhood Adventures

With
the baby of the house, no two feedings are the same.

It
oftentimes depends on what he’s eating at any given time, but some feedings are
more challenging than others and some take much longer than others.

Carson
can become quite stingy when it comes to fruits and certain vegetables. He
loves them and rarely needs a bib when it comes to the foods he truly likes –
apple sauce, pears and peaches seem to top his list these days.

However,
it’s a different story altogether when it comes to meat. He’s been slow to
welcome the turkey, chicken and beef, and I can’t say I blame him for that.

Back
when our firstborn, Beckett, was transitioning to solids, I tried everything he
ate out of curiosity. Everything tasted pretty good, save for those disgusting
watered-down meats and the terrible peas.

Beckett
ate everything and didn’t care what it was at any given time. Carson might be a
little wiser, or more sophisticated at his age, than his older brother because
he knows the meats are the pits compared to the vegetables and fruits.

Carson
will eventually take to the meats, but not without it being combined with a
vegetable that he likes. Otherwise, he just makes an ugly face and pushes it
out of his mouth and down his chin. He may even spit it out altogether or
simply pretend he’s pre-occupied with something else (like the blond-haired
blur running around the house that’s otherwise known as his brother).

Feeding
a baby requires some concentration, and I think Beckett realizes this and
subsequently turns into the Green Monster.

It can
be challenging to pull off a Carson feeding when the kids have a parent
double-teamed. I prefer feeding them both at the same time than having Beckett
roam the house while Carson is being fed. It’s not that he strays too far away.
It’s more that he becomes terribly jealous of Carson getting all the attention
and will pull and yank on arms to get some recognition.

That
can make an already messy endeavor even more of a chaotic scene.

In the
words of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes, the local school system lost
an “unsung hero” last weekend when Joan Condyles, a physical therapist with the
Worcester County Board of Education, died in a tragic accident on Route 113.

Over
the last two years, I have gotten to know Joan on a personal level, as she
conducted monthly reviews in our home of Beckett till he was one and now
Carson. Atypical circumstances surrounding my sons’ births led them to be
placed in a program called Infants and Toddlers, and Joan was the physical
therapist for the initiative.

When he
turned 1 year old, Beckett was discharged from the program because there were
no developmental delays evident. Monthly visits from Joan stopped at that point
until our second son was born, and she returned to our life and had been
working with Carson since he was 2 weeks old. More than likely, it seemed we
were on a parallel course with Carson as we were with Beckett. If all went as
we hoped, four months from now, he would be released from the program with all
signs looking positive, and Joan would again depart our lives.

Unfortunately,
that all changed last weekend when she was killed in a horrendous accident
while she and her family were reportedly heading to the beach.

When we
got the call Monday morning that Joan had died, it was a stunner, to say the
least. Anyone that has a private role with your kids is special. Whether it be
the pediatrician overseeing their growth, the nurse who gives them shots or the
babysitter who spends time with them, there’s a bond there as far as the
parents are concerned. Surely, we felt that with Joan.

People
who work with the most vulnerable among us, the children, and particularly
those whose goal it is to improve their lives are the treasures among us. They
are the best and brightest in my eyes, and Joan surely falls into that
category.

In
working with our kids to overcome some minor developmental obstacles in their
early days and teaching us certain tricks of the trade to further advance their
progressions, Joan meant more to us than she would ever know. We always
expressed our gratitude to Joan for affecting change amongst our kids, but it
wasn’t the words of appreciation that seemed to matter most to her. What she
took pride in was observing the improvements our kids made with each visit. She
was effusively positive and that’s what we needed. Parents always worry about
their kids. She understood that and did a marvelous job of keeping things in
perspective for us.

Fortunately,
I know we were not the only ones whose lives she touched. She worked routinely
with children with extensive disabilities in this county, and I can only
imagine how deep her involvement ran with those families. Along with her
family, friends and close co-workers, they are perhaps the most to be impacted
by this loss because she truly cared.

In our
20 or so meetings with Joan, usually consisting of her, my wife and me lying on
the floor with our kids the entire time, she often spoke of her family and
church life.

Privately,
we embraced the idea of Joan not coming to our house anymore. We knew when her
visits stopped that both kids were on track and prospering. It surely was
nothing personal. It was just the desire to know my kids were well and hitting
those standardized goals. Joan knew this and understood it, but she was not
going to go anywhere until she was not needed any longer.

We
respected that and will fondly remember her and her caring way.

 

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