Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Beckett started his school career last week, and he seems to have handled the transition with little trouble.

As I assume to be the case with most parents, our child’s first day of school was something special and not to mention a bit emotional.

It was particularly memorable for me, as he started pre-kindergarten at Worcester Preparatory School, where I graduated recently (yeah, right), and the significance of that was and is not lost on me.

It was a day of mixed emotions for Pam and I, as there’s no greater confirmation that your kid is growing up than when you leave him behind at school for the first time.

On one hand, I felt a little sad at first because our first-born was obviously growing up, perhaps faster than we would like, but there was also a tremendous feeling of pride as well as I watched him interact with his teachers, meet his new classmates and walk around his new classroom as if he owned it.

In the weeks leading up to school, I found myself wondering how this transition would go over for our 4-year-old. I figured all would go well as he seems to adjust fairly well to new situations, but questions lingered over how he would behave, if he would use his manners at all times and how he would do listening to strangers.

Those preoccupations seemed to take away from the inevitable — the emotions that came along with it.

Perhaps that’s why as Pam and I left him with his wonderful teachers and walked down the hall to leave him on that first day, I quickly put on my sunglasses. For some reason, the hallway seemed particularly bright to me on that day.

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The goal around the house has always been to keep the kids out of the kitchen.

Since so many things can hurt them in there, we figured it best to make it a point to put a child gate in front of the kitchen.

Beckett has long passed the age that it matters, as he comes and goes with ease throughout the house. He has gained our trust. He knows what he can and cannot do and seems to be getting better at listening on good days.

Of late, the gate was more for his younger brother Carson, who can be a menace and has been known to pull items out of the microwave, remove everything from the freezer before climbing in, yanking papers off the counter and throwing them in the trash without us knowing and pulling over full cups to the floor. He basically just wrecks the kitchen if allowed in.

Unfortunately, the gate can no longer keep him out, and we have accepted that it’s now his domain as well.

In fact, each time Carson, 2, barrels through the gate he laughs proudly in a tone that makes it clear to me he’s saying, “nah nah nah nah, you can’t keep me out anymore.”

While home alone with the kids the other night, Carson and I were in the midst of a major battle of wills. He would not listen and continued opening cupboards, drawers and other space despite my protesting, which at one point turned to pathetic begging.

The frustrations grew to such an extent I gave in and let him explore a certain section of the kitchen where some pots and pans were kept.

In short order, he had more than a dozen of different shapes and sizes spread out in some sort of strategic fashion that seemed to make sense to him. Later, I would learn he was creating an obstacle course where he would step on the pots and pans and he had to start over if he was unable to get from one end of the course to the other without stepping on the floor.

It was quite ingenious of him and kept him occupied. It actually kept him so busy I didn’t even let him know when his dinner was ready. I’m not one for interrupting a content child at play.

When he grew tired of his little game, he even put all the pots and pans back where they belonged. They were not necessarily stacked as neatly as before, but they did end up getting back into the proper place. I was impressed.

The kitchen gate is still there, for some reason, and I’m thinking it’s more for his enjoyment than anything else at this point.

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I’m thinking a valuable lesson was learned last Sunday as a result of an emergency room visit.

While Beckett, 4, has been wearing his “listening ears” more of late, there are moments of temporary insanity, though, that continue to surface.

Last Sunday around the pool was one of those times.

Our neighbors had just come down to join us. I was on Carson duty in the pool, Pam was on the pool deck and Beckett was jumping and sliding and doing what normal 4-year-olds do in and around a pool

Running around the pool was one of those things, of course. He was also jumping in backwards, something we frown on for obvious reasons.

Fortunately, I did not see it, but, apparently directly after his mom said to only jump forward, he leaped backwards and the inevitable happened. He clipped his chin on the side of the pool, resulting in an ER visit and a sizable gash and lots of blood.

We have been citing that incident a lot of late as an example of what happens when he doesn’t listen to his parents. Here’s to hoping it sticks.

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