Adventures In Fatherhood

Now that my youngest son is crawling at ease, life around the house has changed once again.

My “aha” moment with this latest development was last Sunday. While my wife was out running errands during the Ravens game, I was a man with a plan, every detail of which was geared toward watching some football in peace.

After he played hard all morning, I put our 2-year-old, Beckett, down for a nap just prior to kickoff and was now looking to tire out Carson, the 11-month-old, with some time on the floor before he went down for his afternoon slumber.

With Beckett down and out, my hope was to have Carson napping no later than the end of the first quarter.

All was going well. Carson was rolling and crawling all over the place. At one point, I went to the kitchen to check on something (food, of course), leaving Carson behind in a heap of toys.

While in the kitchen, I noticed him trying to crawl over and I could hear the grunts of hard work. I figured there was no way he was going to make it to the kitchen before I returned to him. Once again, I learned to never underestimate a kid because when I turned around there was my little guy at my feet.

He had crawled about 20 feet in about 60 seconds, and he knew this was a big accomplishment before I even reacted. There he was pushing himself off the floor with his hands letting out a big belly laugh. I was so proud, but not as pleased as he was.

However, a few minutes after I put him down for his nap, it dawned on me the house was going to need another overhaul, thanks to my youngest now being semi-mobile.

The layout of the house was about to change in a big way. Having a crawling baby and a rambunctious toddler who has no care for his own well-being, let along anyone else’s, was going to be interesting.

After some brainstorming, we decided it was time to give Carson his own play area and it had to be safe from his big brother.

By the end of the day on Sunday, we had laid out a play zone for Carson that would be only his area. That, of course, set off Beckett into all sorts of fits.

For the first couple days, all we heard was, “I want to get in there,” alluding to the play zone set off by indoor fencing. He tried all his charm, saying, “please” in many different sweet tones before we finally gave in. In what seemed to be a state of confused pleasantries, he even threw in a few “thank you’s” and “your welcome’s” to curry favor with us.

Eventually, and I hate to admit it, he wore us down and we gave him what he wanted. His perseverance won out and we decided to see how he did in there with his little brother.

Well, let’s just say his time in that baby area was short lived, as within a few minutes he picked up one of Carson’s toys and threw it a few feet, nearly hitting him.

It was a valuable lesson in trust for Beckett, although it was not without some meltdowns along the way.

As the week went on, he seemed to accept this was Carson’s domain. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal in reality, considering he basically rules all the other space in the house while Carson gets an eight-foot by three-foot enclosure.

The best thing about it is Carson seems thrilled and likes the independence.
Conversations with my 2-year-old constantly amaze me.

While Pam and I have made our share of parenting mistakes along the way, one thing I think we have done well is we never talk “baby” to our kids.

Sure, there are moments of typical mommy and daddy ogling that comes with some goofy parent talk, but for the most part we talk to our kids, particularly Beckett, as we would anyone else.

What’s great now is we are having real conversations, and they are quite hilarious at times. Many of these talks should be put on tape so years from now we can listen to them and truly relive the memories.

I have found some of the best times to talk with my son are after he wakes up. I think it’s because he’s not as distracted and is more aware of what’s being said. There’s a heightened level of concentration.

Here’s a little transcription of what our conversation was like the other day when he woke up in the fourth quarter of the football game (gasp) I was talking about earlier:

Me: Ok, Beckett, want a snack and some juice while daddy watches the end of his football game?

Beckett: Yeah, I want peanut butter crackers, a banana, some milk, some juice, some peanut butter banana bread …

Me: Can you pick one thing?
Beckett: Peanut butter banana bread with crackers and milk.
Me: That’s not one thing.
Beckett: I know, daddy’s funny.
Later during the football game, he seemed particularly chatty and it went something like this.
Beckett: Daddy, let’s play tickle bug like them [pointing to the television].
Me: Okay, but let’s wait a few minutes.

Beckett: [Hearing Carson’s monitor] Let’s go get Car-Car, daddy, he’s awake. Car-Car awake, yeah.

Me: Okay, one minute.
Beckett: No, purple off [referring to my Ravens jersey], let’s go get Car-Car.

It amazed me that he was basically telling me what I already knew. Daddy business trumps all. Football does not matter. I realized that as I took off my jersey, gave it to him and he tossed it aside as we went up the stairs to get his younger brother.

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