Adventures In Fatherhood

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Carson is never in a rush to do anything, and I find it charming.

Yes, our 16-month-old likes to take his time. He does everything at his own pace, never seems to be in a hurry or overly excited and I admire him for it.

This laidback attitude is perhaps most on display while he eats. It’s not uncommon for him to take a half hour or more to eat what’s in front of him.

What I like to do is put a bunch of food in front of him, such as chicken or peas, and just watch as he methodically picks up each pea one at a time and each piece of chicken. It’s as if he has an aversion to putting more than one item in his mouth at a time.

It’s particularly funny to sit back and observe when his older brother, Beckett, is at the table at the same time.

At one end of the table is Carson slowly but surely putting little bits of food in his mouth, seemingly savoring each bite like it could be his last, while Beckett is at the other end, trying to stick an entire grilled cheese in his mouth with one hand as he simultaneously licks ketchup off the fingers of his other hand (he asks for ketchup with just about everything, even pizza).

It’s a study in extreme contrasts, and that’s just one example with my sons, who have radically different approaches to life.

While I admit to a tendency to be overly analytical with my kids and their personalities, Carson seems to view his activities as a marathon, enjoying anything and everything that comes his way with a nonchalant attitude, and Beckett thinks of everything as a sprint, bouncing from one thing to the next as quick as possible and in a reckless, exuberant fashion.

It’s fascinating to watch these complete opposites grow up, and confirmations of their personality differences are constant.

One night this week I was trying to work with Carson on walking, while Beckett was in the same room buzzing around like a crazy kid, saying to his little brother, “see Carson, I’m fast, faster than you.”

Meanwhile, Carson is just standing there, leaning against an ottoman, giggling as Beckett sprints by in one direction and then back in the other, speaking so fast I can’t even understand what he’s saying.

All I could manage to figure out was a couple words here and there like, “squirrel”, “eggs”, “bacon”, “bubbles” and “mommy.”

Anyway, as Carson was preparing to take a step away from the ottoman, Beckett grabbed his hand and said, “come on Carson, let’s go,” yanking him away. Amazingly, Carson actually took a few steps and kept up until Beckett let go, leaving me to catch him before he fell.

Seemingly proud, Beckett returned to throw a little taunt at his little brother, saying, “I won Carson, I’m faster.”

Carson just laughed, crawling after him as fast as he could.

Nighttime has become unpredictable at our house.

Fortunately, Carson is an excellent sleeper and always has been. Beckett is a great sleeper, too, he’s just been a little inconsistent since he moved into the toddler bed.

For about a week, Beckett has been getting out of his bed at night and wandering around his room. We have no problem with that, so long as he stays in his room. We figure he must just need to unwind a little bit more before he’s ready to call it a night. Either way, we have become sticklers for that 8 p.m. bedtime.

There are nights when it takes him a good hour to fall asleep. That can be an entertaining hour, as all sorts of funny comments can be heard and a few acrobatic moves can also be observed.

What was unusual one night this week was that Carson woke up around 9 in a crying fit. He will occasionally wake up in the middle of the night and need a visit from Pam or me, but I can’t recall him waking up so soon after falling asleep initially like that.

Consequently, I went upstairs, hoping there would be a quick fix to the situation, such as a pacifier retrieval. When I went into his room, I was shocked to find Beckett, standing in the middle of the room. So surprised that I shrieked like a “little girl,” according to Beckett.

Apparently, he had somehow managed to open his bedroom door, climbed over the gate we have outside the door as a safety measure because of previous escapes, opened Carson’s door and did something to make him cry hysterically.

My guess is it was stealing his pacifier because Carson didn’t have his any longer and was just standing there with his arm extended out. I never did find the pacifier he went to bed with that night, and it will be interesting to see where that surfaces.

After settling Carson, I put Beckett back to bed amid plenty of stammering of nonsense about breakfast, getting a bath, monkeys, bananas and jumping on the trampoline. He was asleep within minutes.

Over breakfast the next morning, I asked him if he recalled the events of the night before.

Apparently he did, as he offered up in response a quick, “Daddy screamed like a little girl, that was silly.”

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