Adventures In Fatherhood

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Frustrations are inevitable when it comes to parenting, but currently the 2 �-year-old in the house is responsible for far more than the 1-year-old.

Beckett, the eldest, continues to be a mystifying contradiction.

There are some moments that just leave me speechless. He can be a sweet and darling boy one minute and then an evil and rude kid the next. For instance, on a recent night, a scene played out that still baffles me.

I had been home from work for a while and was rough housing with Beckett on the floor. Out of the blue, he came up to me, put his head on my shoulder and hugged me. How incredibly nice, I thought, until he pulled away and slapped me on the shoulder with his right hand, where his head was resting just a few seconds before, and then countered with a left cross slap to the face.

Startled by the turn of events, I turned to my wife in a "what gives" frame of mind and she responded in a "welcome to my day" manner.

These types of situations seem to explain the entire "terrible two’s" terminology.

I can honestly say I would not call this time of my kid’s life �terrible.� It�s just a period of occasional aggravation because it�s difficult to know what to expect from him.

One day, we go out to eat and he behaves wonderfully, eats his food on his own, quietly talks to us and is extremely pleasant.

Unfortunately, the next day it could be a different story � he could throw his chicken fingers at me, scream at the top of his lungs and be an overall menace. It�s a roll of the dice.

One day, on a road trip to New York City, we sat in traffic without moving an inch for an hour. The typical road trip of five hours took seven, but Beckett was great, showing us a patient side we didn�t think existed. We were pleasantly surprised.

A few weeks later on a routine ride to the store that takes about three minutes, his ugly side was on display, kicking the back of my seat with all his might, throwing a classic kid meltdown because I would not turn the video on for him as requested.

Aside from being sure to teach this kid that these outbursts of misbehavior are inexcusable, a major concern for Pam and me is how it will impact his younger brother.

Naturally, Carson seems to idolize Beckett and watches his every move with keen interest. He is fascinated by him and follows him intently. Surely, it�s inevitable he�s going to pick up some of his habits, and that�s going to make for some interesting times ahead.

It�s not so bad that Carson pays careful attention to his older brother. That seems like a natural admiration for two kids separated by only 17 months. What concerns me is my little guy finds Beckett to be absolutely hilarious, particularly when he�s misbehaving.

In the bathtub the other night, Beckett lost his cool, and Carson was there to observe it all.

For weeks, a battle of wills between Beckett and I has been unfolding nightly. It�s to the point I find myself strategizing during the day about how I am going to handle this ongoing dispute.

I have tried everything I can think of to keep him in a somewhat settled state in the tub. He is just a crazy man when it comes to the water. It�s the same way at the ocean and in a pool. He just loves it so much he gets a bit manic, and it�s to the point he�s a danger to himself.

His favorite thing is to dump water over his head in the tub. In the ocean and pool, he just wants to be in over his head. He gets a kick out of feeling the water over his head.

In the tub, after a few modifications and compromises, I have allowed him to use some buckets to dump water on himself, so long as he�s on his bottom. He, of course, tests the limits every night and tries to sneak to his feet or hits a knee and does it. He knows there�s limits but is always trying to push them. That, coupled with the fact he is terrible at keeping the water in the tub, is where we have our battles, and Carson seems to enjoy the situation.

Carson is always first to get his bath, while Beckett cruises around the bathroom, leading me to keep my head on a swivel. This is our little male bonding time every night.

Carson is a breeze when it comes to bathing. He loves it, and, so long as he has something in his hands to keep his attention. he has no problem letting me to do what I wish to him.

Once he�s clean, Carson hangs out nearby while Beckett gets his turn. If the roles were reversed, the oldest would show his green monster side, and previous experience has confirmed that�s a bad option.

During one particularly rough bath night, Beckett refused to sit down in the tub and was incredibly difficult. It was more frustrating than usual because it was his way or no way, and I was feeling the same way.

Eventually, I wrestled him to his bottom and managed to get the job done. When I turned to grab the towels, he saw his chance to get even with me for making him stay seated (or at least that�s how I interpret it) and dumped a huge bucket of water on the floor, sending me scrambling to keep it contained and away from Carson.

Meanwhile, as I am rushing around frantically, there�s my little Carson, sitting nearby nestled in his towel, having the biggest of belly laughs.

The adventures indeed continue.

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