Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Pam, the kids and I had a “staycation” last week, and it was a roller coaster ride that started off bumpy but ended peacefully.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “staycation” is basically taking a week off from work, not traveling anywhere and having some family time in your own hometown area.

All our planning for the week was foiled somewhat by that nasty storm that crushed Berlin two Saturdays ago. While others sustained more significant damage, and we consider ourselves lucky, the 14-hour power outage helped contribute to five feet of water ending up in our basement, destroying our hot water heater and boiler as well as several other items of lesser importance but greater sentimental significance.

One week later, all the homeowner’s insurance matters had been resolved, but it was another week before we had hot water in our home, leaving Pam and I all kinds out of sort. No hot water with two kids ages 4 and 2 years old was more than just an inconvenience. It was a nightmare.

Throughout it all, and fielding calls from contractors and insurance agents all the while, we stuck to our plan of having a “staycation” and doing things we normally would not get the chance to do on busy summer weekends.

Our week included water parks, boat rides, pools, the Boardwalk, arcades, the beach, way too much food and lots of amusement rides.

Beckett, 4, and Carson, 2, enjoyed themselves throughout. That’s what matters most and nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids having fun and laughing.

With that disclaimer presented, this week was also a bouncing ball of emotions. From the highs to the lows, it was the best of times and the worst of times. There were memorable moments that were amazing and hilarious at the same time and frustrating situations that were ill-timed and nauseating.

The ride on the Duckaneer Pirate Ship, based out of the Talbot Street Marina and a must-do with kids, summed up life with the little ones well.

Although I don’t want to give away what happens on the pirate ship to those unfamiliar, there was a point where the squirting of water guns was involved. Leaving out the details that spoil the adventure for some, Beckett ended up getting squirted directly in the eyes.

It was certainly not a serious wound by any means, but it did rattle him and resulted in him being removed from the line of fire and lots of hysterics.

All the while our rambunctious Carson was running all around the boat with reckless abandon and climbing here, there and everywhere as if it was a play set. Consequently, he took some nasty slips and falls that led to him finding a safe place atop my shoulders for most of the remainder of the pirate adventure.

Beckett eventually recovered and turned his attention to dozens of different ways to ask why the pirate would squirt him in the eyes. Beckett is quite adept at asking the same question in a variety of fashions. We gave lots of different responses, none of which seemed to truly pacify him.

Later, while riding the OC Rocket, the pirate questions continued. As we were making our way back to the marina, however, the funniest thing occurred. The pirate who had squired Beckett was driving his boat through the channel and pointed over at us, motioning in a slit-the-throat fashion. I felt for sure that was going to send Beckett into further hysterics but he handled it with ease and even laughed a little.

Carson laughed at that all the way back to the dock. While I think he liked the pirate boat, the OC Rocket was more Carson’s thing. He sat and stood on my lap in delight with his face pointed up into the air as a dog would out the back window of a Jeep.

Along with those boats, the visits to the local water parks also created some memorable moments.

We tried out Thunder Lagoon in Fenwick one day. Since our kids didn’t meet the height minimum to go on all the slides by themselves, we had a busy day, including dozens of trips up flights of stairs with kids and many of which involved carrying the kids.

What I will recall most about that visit was taking Carson on the park’s version of the lazy river. We only made it around once because he wanted no part of relaxing in the least bit. Later, Pam tried it with him and was able to get him settled and she said he was close to nodding off actually for her. With me, he was like trying to contain a wet swine.

Later in the week came the Jolly Roger Splash Mountain adventure. Since Carson is not quite ready for slides and the like and requires lots of observation, we decided to make it a special treat for Beckett, who was to start pre-kindergarten the next week (that’s another story for another day).

For the first few hours, Beckett seemed troubled by what I thought he would enjoy the most — the Rainforest, an aqua jungle gym adventure of sorts featuring slides, nets, ropes, buckets and, of course, the pirate head that dumps water all over everyone. That pirate head scared him and was probably a result of the pirate adventure earlier in the week.

We spent half the day trying to encourage him to get in the rainforest with no avail. Eventually, with an hour left before the park closed, he went in with Pam and I, and he had a true ball and of course never wanted to leave.

It’s been a few days since our “staycation” ended, but the questions and stories from the kids regarding the water parks, amusement rides and boat rides are still going strong.

That’s a great thing.

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