Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Carson, unlike his older brother, is one of few words.

Consequently, when his eyes or facial expressions provide a little insight into what he’s feeling or experiencing, the moments are precious.

In his case, the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings particularly true.

Carson turned 2 years old last weekend, and, thanks to his grandfather pulling some strings, his birthday party was held at the new Parsonsburg Volunteer Fire Department, featuring, among some other things, rides on a fire truck.

It was a special day for the little guy and a host of his family and friends.

The lasting memory for me will be the smile and wide-eyed amazement on his face while he was on the truck and the moments afterwards, as well as when he was digging into his very own cake (made by Pam particularly for him because it’s dairy free).

Additionally, later on, the look of astonishment on his face when he was riding his new battery-powered four-wheeler was priceless.

While he was not much into steering it in any fashion, his obvious amazement was something to behold, and the video I shot of him confirms he didn’t blink the entire time he rode up and down our street.

Since he doesn’t talk constantly like his big brother, who seems to prefer to give a running play-by-play account of his daily activities, emotions and thoughts, it’s sometimes difficult to determine what the little fella has on his mind.

However, not on his birthday when he clearly was having a wonderful time and relishing the attention, which is in stark contrast to his first birthday when he cried as his family sang “happy birthday” to him. At that time, he seemed hesitant to be in the spotlight and wanted little part of being the focal point.

Since he’s not much into verbal communication, there’s no greater delight in life for me than when the expressions on his face confirm pure joy.

The everyday occurrences of this are special, but the special occasions, such as his birthdays, are incredibly cherished.

When Beckett turned 3, I was warned that the 3s could be full of challenges.

I didn’t think much of at the time, but the last few months have confirmed what I was warned about.

Everyone knows the expressions the terrible 2s, which are aptly coined at times. However, so far, I would call the current period of life the “traumatizing 3s.”

The problem is he knows better and I can’t believe I let him get under my skin the way he does. He rattles both Pam and me often with his outright defiance and intentional disregard for listening.

As an intentional disclaimer here, I should point out that I also marvel over Beckett’s intelligence and quick wit, and most of the time he’s wonderful and a blast to be around.

Unfortunately, there are challenging and unpleasant times, and that’s me putting it in the nicest way possible.

Of late, I have found myself taking part in a disturbing series of conversations with him and later wondering how I can let him get inside my head like he does.

The other morning while getting him dressed to leave the house I somehow managed to get into an argument with him about his shoes. When he refused to put them on, I grabbed them and went to pick him up to do it myself, telling him he had to wear shoes outside.

He responded, “No I don’t.” I said, “yes, you do”. He said, “no, I don’t” and we went back and forth a few times before I realized how ridiculous I was being taking part in this back-and-forth exchange.

Later, a similar conversation unfolded over his bath, which he has for reason decided he is going to make a miserable experience for me on a nightly basis.

When I told him it’s time for he and his brother’s bath, he shouted, “no it’s not.” Of course, not remembering the earlier chat, I said, “yes it’s is, it’s time to go upstairs.” He responded, “no it’s not, no it’s not.” When I would not continue this, he just shouted even more loudly, “no it’s not”, and this time grabbing my hand while he said it to ensure he had my attention.

A day or so later, a similar exchange developed when he woke up one morning to announce, “he was the boss.” Oddly enough, the roles were reversed, as he kept saying, “I’m the boss,” and I was responded repeatedly with, “no you’re not.” That continued too many times than I care to share before I realized he was pressing my buttons intentionally again.

After a few days of these sorts of challenging talks, I resolved to not get into them again, and I think that threw Beckett off. It was to the point he was trying to pick a disagreement with me I think.

When he repeatedly said, “no I’m not”, to my request for him to pick up his toys, I just walked away, thinking to myself I am not going to let him get in my head and get into that ridiculous dialogue.

He didn’t like that, following me around incessantly saying, “no I’m not,” or “hey Daddy, no I’m not.”

I never thought my 3 ½-year-old son would try so hard to pick a fight with me, but he does it, and he’s pretty good at it.

At 3 ½, it’s not something that makes me incredibly proud at the moment.

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