Adventures In Fatherhood

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Over the last month or so, a famous quote from Charles Dickens has been running through my head.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …” Dickens wrote in “A Tale of Two Cities.”

Now, I understand completely that my reasoning for thinking of his quote runs contrary to what Dickens was remarking on in his novel, but the line truly sums up my life currently, despite the contextual differences.

Pam and I often find ourselves shaking our heads at the madness that consumes our life with our sons, Beckett, 3, and Carson, 18 months.

To refer to life as hectic as well as combustible is an understatement of tremendous proportions.

The root of most of these overwhelming moments is Beckett, a 3-year-old who consistently stuns us with his random fits of defiance toward his parents and deliberate acts of meanness to his little brother.

There are times when he can be the sweetest little boy, making us proud of the job we have done raising him thus far, and other moments when he shocks me with his behavior, leaving us wondering where we have gone wrong. The problem is confirmation of this contradiction often occurs within minutes.

Let me paint a few visuals to illustrate the point.

Carson is now a walker. He still crawls some, particularly when he wants to get somewhere quickly, but he’s become quite adept at walking over the last couple weeks, and we are thrilled about it.

I like to call it the orangutan walk because he holds up both arms (high enough that his hands are up by his head) and he’s kind of wobbly and deliberate as he shifts his weight from one foot to the other. It’s hilarious to watch, and Beckett has enjoyed playing a role in this new transition.

He particularly enjoys getting Carson to walk to him, often saying, “come to me Car-Car.”

Carson is still at the point when he gets close enough to a person or an object that he sort of launches himself while giggling. Beckett knows this and we have often told him to be careful with Carson and be prepared when he gets close. That’s why we are always nearby to make sure he’s going to behave.

Most of the time Beckett is fine with this, but he showed an evil side in the kitchen the other night when he let Carson get really close to him and then walked out of the way, causing his brother to tumble to the floor. It was no big deal actually as Carson caught himself, but it was Beckett’s intention behind the act that upset me. He knew his brother would fall if he didn’t catch him and he did it nonetheless and laughed hysterically.

A day or two later, another unfortunate memory was made. This time, he didn’t move out of the way as his little brother was making his way to him slowly but surely. He simply caught Carson, gave him a hug and a kiss and told him how proud he was of him. It was a great moment.

However, before I could even applaud Beckett for being a good big brother, he had maneuvered Carson into a pseudo-head lock and appeared to be backing him toward a wall. Worried over what he had in store for Carson, who at this point was being practically dragged, I intervened because I knew it was not going to have a happy ending.

When I removed him from Beckett’s ridiculous head lock, Carson laughed, which actually aggravated me even more because that gave Beckett an opportunity to say, “see Daddy he likes it.”

At that moment, all I could muster was something along the lines of but I don’t like it, realizing at the time I was being equally ludicrous with that comment.

To that, he said, “Daddy, no doo-doo” (a favorite phrase of late) and ran away, knocking a pile of papers off the counter intentionally along the way and kicking over a toy truck.

It’s moments like this that lead me back to the Dickens quote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”

It just rings so true at so many times.

When Beckett is not making me gray at a faster clip than normal, his little brother seems to have something to say about it.

One afternoon, while Beckett was taking his afternoon nap, I was opening the mail and letting Carson get free roam throughout the kitchen. He was doing his orangutan walk thing and mixing in some crawling and climbing, and the goal was to let him tire himself out for 15 minutes or so. After all, an ideal afternoon around our house is at least a couple hours of peace during dual kid naps.

While reading a bill (does good news ever come in the mail anymore?), I happened to notice Carson had managed to scale a little table we have set in the kitchen for the kids, adeptly sticking his little toes in crevices along the cabinets that seemed altogether impossible to use as a mount.

I actually let him do his climbing thing for a few seconds until he tried to stand up on the table. That surely would not have had a safe outcome.

That’s when I decided it was his nap time, too. He wasn’t thrilled about the move, but he typically just fusses for a minute in his crib and crashes in short order.

Unfortunately, that was not the case on this particular day. He decided there would be no nap, and there would be no downtime for his parents consequently.

Again, I found myself recalling that Dickens quote.

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