Adventures In Fatherhood

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Introducing my kids to something new tops my list of fun things to do, and last weekend provided a few unique opportunities to do just that. Here’s a little recap:

One of the great aspects of living in Berlin is being within walking distance to just about everything, including the annual Christmas and Little League parades.

Last Saturday was the parade marking the opening of the new Little League season. The parade starts at the firehouse and runs south to the ball fields off Route 113 and features players of all ages, parents, relatives, coaches and other supporters.

My wife, two sons, Beckett and Carson, and me had a front-row seat to the parade, and it’s nothing short of hilarious, particularly the tee ball group. I have seen this parade numerous times over the years, but it was a first for Pam and the boys.

If you have ever been to this parade, you know that you don’t want to blink, as it moves briskly, thanks largely to some excited kids walking (some running) along Main Street. It moves so fast the town doesn’t even bother closing the streets.

With the ominous weather looming last Saturday, the pace seemed even quicker than usual.

At times, we heard coaches and parents gently (not really) reminding the players to slow down, as parents scrambled to get a hold of their kids and either keep them from running ahead of the group or simply containing their excitement.

While I get a kick out of the kids’ obvious anxiousness, the most fun to me is seeing them in their spanking new uniforms and gloves. They were ready indeed, whether the weather cooperated or not, and they liked looked the part.

It was such a hit to Beckett that we promised him we would later drive by the ball fields so he could see the boys and girls in action. We watched as they warmed up, leaving him to say repeatedly, “I want to play baseball.”

Consequently, later in the day we took a soft baseball and bat out to the backyard and gave it a whirl. He took a couple pretty decent whacks at the ball I placed on a makeshift tee. It was fun for a few minutes until Fletch, our 11-year-old Lab, got a hold of the ball and within seconds destroyed it.

Beckett obsessed on that for a few minutes, wondering ultimately if Fletch’s stomach was going to get upset because he ate a chunk of the ball.

To ease his mind, I told him the story of how Fletch once ate a plate full of raw scrapple and had no trouble.

“I like scrapple, too. Carson does, too,” Beckett said simply.

Getting the yard in spring shape has been looming over our heads for weeks, and last Sunday allowed us some weather (and time, most importantly) to get out and get some of it done.

While Carson napped, I tried to introduce the joys of yard work to Beckett.

Not surprisingly, he was not that into it, no matter how much fun I tried to make it, although he did find it hilarious when a rake I was using snapped in my hands.

When I joked it was my immense strength that caused it to break, he simply responded, “no, no, that’s silly, Daddy.”

Typical for his age, he was interested in everything at first, such as using clippers to cut back a bush and raking the leaves, only to lose interest within a minute or two.

Eventually. the first excursion into yard work basically morphed into a good old fashioned game of chase around the backyard.

Personally, I don’t blame him, as yard work isn’t something I would say I enjoy either.

However, later after he woke up from his afternoon nap (we still adore those), I took him outside to where we were working to show him the finished product after a couple hours of work by Pam and me.

He was not that interested actually, but at one point he must have had a scratch on his belly, as I caught him looking around, while pulling up his shirt for a quick belly scratch.

It was a funny sight, like a farmer looking over his land.

After all that yard work, I was literally itching for a shower and decided to give this another try with Beckett.

Months ago, I gave this a whirl while we were on vacation, but it went over like the proverbial lead balloon. He didn’t like it one bit and I figured he just preferred the joys of a bath.

The mere mention of a shower elicited the same reaction at home on Sunday, but I enforced my will on my son (for once), and he generally liked it this time.

However, it wasn’t all giggles because he could not seem to grasp the whole soap aspect and the fact it burns the eyes. At least four times he grabbed the soap and then rubbed his eyes, leading to screams because it stung him.

All in all, it was some quality Daddy-son bonding time, as I showed him how a shower works and how to get clean in the shower as opposed to a bath.

He was fascinated with the shaving aspect, watching me intently and asking to help.

I did let him hold the razor briefly, but when he motioned toward my face to mimic what I was doing, I thought better of it, for my own safety. That was an easy decision.

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