Adventures Of Fatherhood

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This month marks the four-year anniversary of this column.

As I recently looked back through the hard-copy album of these ramblings that I plan to one day give to my boys, I could not help but laugh at some of the incredibly stupid things I have written in the course of this column.

Here’s a look at some excerpts that caused me to get sick to my stomach while also making me scratch my head bewildered over my thinking at that time.

— In one of the first columns, I wrote about sleep deprivation and how I got through middle-of-the-night feedings by watching re-runs of the then-NBA playoff finals series with the Celtics and Lakers. For some reason, I thought it appropriate to let everyone know I routinely fell asleep on the couch and woke up with my newborn awake in my arms watching television. At the time, apparently I didn’t see a problem with falling asleep holding my 8-pound newborn.

– A few months later, I devoted 800 words to how emotionally tough it was to go see a concert with my wife and leave behind our baby boy. Now, if an opportunity for a concert, game or just a night away presents itself, my wife and I do anything and everything we can to line up the sitters so we can get some husband-and-wife time.

For example, we are going to the Ravens-Eagles game in mid-September and I discussed the babysitting opportunity with my mom a few weeks ago to make sure we had everything all lined up.

Four years later, those initial emotional challenges seem so silly.
– In November of 2009, when Carson was born, I made a prediction that appears ridiculous to me now.

I wrote, “It’s early on in this two-child world for me, but I do not expect the arrival of our second child to be as earth-shattering and life altering as when Beckett was born 16 months ago. That was when my entire perspective and outlook on life changed. … I don’t think having another baby in the house is going to pose as many challenges as we faced when initially Beckett was born.”

I laughed out loud when I read this again this week. The difference between one child and two can never be understated. With all due apologies to the single-kid moms and dads out there, raising two kids is much tougher than raising one for a number of obvious reasons, not the least of which is humans only have two hands.

Every child is unique and presents their own challenges (and joys, of course) and it’s much easier to handle one child when the parents have the man-up advantage. When the playing field is leveled at two parents and two kids, the daily challenges become at times daunting, particularly when the youngest child starts walking.

That’s truly when they start teaming up against the parents, and I am not ashamed to admit they win sometimes.

– Along the same lines, a few months after Carson was born, I wrote, “Of all the changes between the first and second child, I am most amazed at how I have now begun hearing voices, which I blame on a loss of sleep. Once Carson begins to sleep through the night, I rest assured all of these voices will be silenced, thanks to a return to the wonderful world of uninterrupted nights of sleep.”

Well, little did I know at that time that “uninterrupted sleep” would continue to be a rarity in my life even with my kids currently at the ages of 4 and 2 years old.  

It’s just different now, and there’s no other way around it. It’s not feedings that demand attention at 2 a.m. It’s the occasional bad dreams, potty training accidents, taps on the shoulder with a request to join us in bed (or get a bite to eat), night talking and bizarre sounds that may have been the wind but require a walk toward the kids’ rooms to be certain.

The fact is I will probably never sleep the way I did before kids.

All I can hope is one day I look back on that statement, laugh and mock myself at the absurdity. Let’s see how that goes over time.

– Thinking I was an expert or something, I said recently, “the most challenging part of being a parent is getting my kids to listen to me, and the only peace I get currently from that is knowing that will eventually change.”

While the kids have grown and it has improved somewhat, the listening is still an issue, and many parents with kids in their late-teens tell me it continues forever.

That’s not extremely settling.

These are some of the silly things I have noticed over the last four years in my keepsake album, which also includes the numerous cards and notes I have received from readers. I think my kids will get a kick of these as well. Some notes are complimentary, while others seek to give me some constructive criticism on parenting and a few actually called me out for specific lapses in judgment.

Tilting toward the glass half-full mentality, I am hopeful my kids will read these someday and enjoy their dad’s thoughts on parenting as well as his reflections on them as they grow up and change over time.

Like me, Beckett and Carson will surely conclude there were moments when their dad struggled mightily through this fatherhood adventure but they will know he loved them every step of the way. At least, that’s what I hope they take away from this weekly rambling.

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