Adventures Of Fatherhood

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For about 45 minutes the other night, we sat on our couch as a family.

That’s pretty big news in our house, as our little boys are not much for sitting still for prolonged periods of time.

This has not been for lack of trying, as we have repeatedly tried to convince the kids to relax and watch a movie with us, particularly over the last two long weekends. Pam has purchased any number of kids’ flicks, most recently “Surf’s Up” and “Cars”, in hopes of scoring the boys’ interest.

None of them were able to keep the kids entertained enough to sit on the couch for more than 10 minutes at a time. Instead, the boys are more interested in anything and everything else around the house.

While Beckett’s attention span does seem to be expanding quite a bit, Carson rarely if ever is sitting still if he’s awake. As far as television goes, he has not cared one bit about what’s on for the first two years of his life.

However, prior to bedtime the other night, something happened that had never occurred before.

Their attentions were retained for the longest period ever and the four of us were able to enjoy some couch time cuddled together.

I call it cuddled but it really wasn’t that. Beckett, 3, had an elbow placed on Pam’s ribcage the entire time and his feet on my lap, while Carson, 2, sat on my stomach. That’s the closest thing to cuddling we get.

As we sat there, Pam and I were silent the entire time amid fears any sort of talking would distract them and send them flying off the couch to their new train set or whatever else.

Unfortunately all of this took place during an annoying show called, “Alphabet Al Goes To The Circus”, but I will take it.

Until now, my dogs have never been given much table food.
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Thanks to Carson finding a tremendous amount of joy in throwing his food to the floor, that’s all changed, as my labs, Fletch and Bailey, have been getting some extra snacks these days.

Beckett went through a similar phase and the dogs were consequently the lucky recipients of plenty of noodles, grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chicken nuggets.

The big difference here is Carson prefers to swipe the entire plate to the floor rather than simply drop a few pieces here and there like Beckett did when he was his age.

Actually, in Beckett’s case, most of the time it was a result of food dropping out of his mouth, as he liked to stuff as much food in as possible and invariably some items would trickle to the floor.

Carson’s newfound penchant for tossing aside his plate, sending food scattering across the floor, is almost always followed by a mischievous giggle, leading me invariably to some sort of frustrated attempt at letting him know that’s it for his dinner.

Rather than pick up all the food, I simply call over the dogs and they make quick work of it.

When I first started resorting to the dogs for clean-up duties, I thought maybe there would be some sort of teaching value in it for Carson to see that his dinner truly was “all gone” and that the dogs were eating it instead. Of course, I have no problem admitting it was also a bit of laziness.

I don’t think the dogs eating his dinner had much of an impact on Carson, as he just laughed and laughed as the dogs licked the floor clean of all the remnants of his dinner and occasionally hit him with their wagging tails.

Now it’s an unfortunate game that can be quite aggravating.

Beckett doesn’t help matters, cheering with his mouth full of food for Carson to throw his plate. Like most little brothers, Carson does whatever his big brother says, so he usually follows suit.

Now whenever Carson eats, Pam or I need to be nearby and that usually includes holding on to his plate.

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Thinking before speaking around the kids has never been more important than it is now.

They are sponges and they retain everything, and Beckett, particularly, is fond of repeating things he hears from others.

For example, the other morning I received an early-morning work call that apparently included me saying at one point, “Are you kidding me?”

I didn’t even remember saying it until afterwards when Beckett picked up on the comment and had a field day with it.

He was running around the house all morning mixing in the phrase in normal conversation.

“Carson, drop my ball, are you kidding me?” or “oh daddy, it’s raining outside, are you kidding me?” Or my personal favorite — “Elmo, please stop playing the drums, are you kidding me? Thanks.”

Even after a couple days, he still brings the comment out every once in a while. Here’s another example of a recent conversation.

Beckett; Daddy, I have to use the potty.
Me; Okay, go right ahead, let me know if you need help.
Beckett: Okay
Me: [Couple minutes go by] Everything okay in there?
Beckett: Daddy, are you kidding me?

This serves as yet another reminder that whatever comes out of my mouth will invariably be repeated by one of the kids and repeated and repeated.

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