Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Being a parent of toddlers, there’s a big difference between the experiences of low tide and high tide on the beach.

Low tide means easy street for most parents, while high tide usually requires constant monitoring and handholding.

As far as I am concerned, nothing beats low tide on the beach with my kids. Typically, the waves are smaller and weaker and ideal for little ones learning the ins and outs of the ocean. Plus, the beach is larger at low tide, obviously, and provides ample shallow water areas for my boys to safely play in together.

Additionally, and most important, it’s much easier on my wife’s heart and therefore makes for a much more enjoyable time for everyone.

Like many moms, my wife is a worrier and my kids’ reckless approach to most aspects of life often gives her heartburn. Nowhere is that more present than on the beach. Add high tide and strong waves and it’s a tough day for all of us.

Even if it’s just me and Beckett playing in the waves, I know she is watching and worrying with our every step. I don’t even have to look back at her and usually don’t because I know eye darts are being shot at me when she thinks I have gone too far out or am not holding his hand enough.

Therefore, on a perfect beach day, the tide has reached its lowest point soon after we arrive and both kids can enjoy a wonderful wading pool area away from the breaking waves. On days like this, I get to actually sit down nearby and relax some because the kids can entertain themselves and are not in any sort of danger of being knocked over by the waves or run into by body surfers or body boarders.

When we went out to the beach last Sunday, high tide was at 9 a.m. and the tide was going out. By 2 p.m., the waves had retreated and the wading area was showing signs of forming, resulting in kids of all ages having a huge area to play in ankle-deep water.

Up and down the beach, as far as I could see, kids were playing in the shallow water and digging in the sand searching for shells and sand crabs.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature brought some thunder and rain our way so we had to pack up early on that day, but the kids did get a couple hours of low tide fun in before we left.

Since the tides have a big impact on our day, I now check the tables before we head out to the beach. It will not deter us from going one way or the other, but it does help prepare the psyche a bit.

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Whenever alone with the kids for an extended time, it seems natural for Pam and I to always ask each other upon returning, “how were they?”

In recent months, the question has turned to a simple, “how was Carson?”
That’s because he has become a maniac.

I don’t know if it’s “terrible 2s” showing up a little late or the “traumatic 3s” coming early, but Carson, who turns 3 years old in November, has become quite the handful for us of late.

He is simply “into everything”, an apt phrase I stole from a recent set of pajamas he was sporting.

I remember these trying days with Beckett, but they seem to be a bit more stressful with our youngest. That’s mainly because he’s more destructive and rougher in general than his big brother.

However, my guess is he watched and observed Beckett, who was a rambunctious young toddler as well, and took notes.

Carson simply doesn’t listen too often and gets a bizarre kick out of the word “no”. He even giggles quietly when he’s put in “time out”.

Of course, he hears us, he just chooses not to follow any sort of orders in the least bit. There’s a big difference between hearing and listening.

My wife is prone to say she doesn’t own anything nice anymore because so much of it has been broken, damaged or stored out of fear a kid will manhandle it.

In Carson’s case, he’s a climber and a banger, and I often wonder how long our windows are going to be able to sustain the daily barrage of toys that are banged into it with tremendous aggression.

Above all, his favorite thing is throwing items, specifically remote controls. He has broken several and currently the one to our DVD player is missing. My guess is one day it will appear piece by piece, as he likely threw it across the room and the pieces are probably scattered under furniture.

Nowadays, in the rare occasion he gets his hand on a remote, a phone or anything of value, there’s no point in trying to convince him to put it down. That’s not happening in this stage, but what he will do is fling it across the floor and laugh hysterically as I chase it down.

These are, of course, some of his worst moments, and there are times when he’s calm and settled. At this point, however, they are only when he’s asleep, taking care of some personal business, eating and first thing in the morning.

Carson likes to cuddle when he first wakes up, greeting me or Pam with a huge bear hug and a lazy head on the shoulder. It’s a sweet way to start the day, which sometimes comes prior to 6 in the morning. That is until he’s let down on the floor to resume his destructive and rambunctious ways.

What I keep telling myself is “this too shall pass”.

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