Adventures Of Fatherhood

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There were lots of memorable and forgettable times during the inside imprisonment that was Hurricane Sandy.

The idea of basically being holed up in the house for two straight days because of the weather is never enjoyable to me, but add two kids, ages 4 and 2, to the picture and it can enter the realm of parental torture at times.

Understandably, the boys want to get outside and play, and that’s where we want them to be. When that’s not an option, things can get a little tricky at the house, which includes me, Pam, Beckett, 4, Carson, 2, and two dogs, Fletch, 13, and Bailey, 7. That’s a lot of bodies to be stuck inside, particularly when it includes time of no power.

Here’s a synopsis of sorts:
The “Aww” Moments

Like most old homes in Berlin, we have a basement and it gets wet in big storms. Sometimes, it floods and once it starts it’s intense. When that fact combines with a power outage, a generator is needed to keep the water out of the basement and prevent HVAC equipment damage.

Before going to bed on Monday, Beckett wanted to see what I had been doing in the basement and outside much of the afternoon. So I took him down and he was incredibly excited as we walked down the steps. He actually snorted a little bit. When we got down and I showed him the basement, the puddles of water and the sump pump and how it worked, he was not incredibly impressed. After a couple minutes, he wanted to get out of there because it was too loud. I figured that was that.

However, at bedtime, he surprised me saying something along the lines of “when I get big like you, I want to have a house and a hump pump.”

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Technology can always be counted on to lend a helping hand with our boys. Both are already adept at using our phones to their fullest capacity and each get time on the iPad for the kid apps.

Beckett is a master at the iPad and I think he may know the General Settings tab better than I do. He has to be monitored on it due to a tendency to wander on to “Safari”, which can be dangerous.

Up until recently, the iPad has been off limits for Carson, who has been known to pick it up and inadvertently, but sometimes intentionally, dropping it. With some supervision, he has now started to earn our trust with it. Now, when he walks around with it, I can actually see white on his knuckles, confirming he’s heeding our warnings to hold on tight to it.

In a couple short weeks, Carson has become a master at matching objects as well as a fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It tickles me when he does a whole-body giggle when he successful matches a pair of something as well as when he sees Pluto, Mickey Mouse’s trusty sidekick.

The “Ugh” Moments

On Sunday morning, we got the kids out of the house early because we knew conditions were going to deteriorate as the day went on and outside time was going to be impossible.

Like many, we went and checked out the ocean. To my surprise, neither kid was too impressed with how rough it was, the early erosion and all the debris on the Boardwalk.

All Carson cared about was keeping his jacket hood on his head. When it blew off, he pitched a major fit. When it was on, he smiled. Unfortunately, due to the wind, it was off most of the time and he didn’t like that.

Beckett was interested at first in the scene, but a few gusty winds sent sand and rain into his face and he had seen enough.

As we were driving around, the kids’ boredom was obvious and Beckett was making demands to go home, and Carson was crying because he couldn’t get out of his car seat. Going back home was the last thing we wanted to do, but they wore us down and we were running out of options anyway.

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What sums up the long weekend best was an instance during the height of the storm.

Our basement was flooding, the power was out, one of the dogs urinated on the floor because he doesn’t like storms and the kids had morphed into a “no-listening” mode.

I was tending to the basement and the sump pump but I could hear some major stomping from the kids in the house. I could tell they were from both of them running crazily around the house, followed occasionally by some bangs.

When I came inside for a break after needing a neighbor to help me get the generator started (thanks, Tom), I could immediately see the kids were acting up in a major way.

While soaked and cold, I said jokingly to Pam, “do you want to switch?”“I think so,” she said, and I was not sure if she was serious or not.

Meanwhile, she was trying to convince Carson not to eat the Play-doh and Beckett to stop egging him to do it and to stop whining if the two colors mixed.

From across the room, I could see Carson staring at Pam and slowly inching the Play-doh closer to his mouth as Beckett was encouraging him without making a sound.

Pam was in the midst of a deep breath when I suddenly realized I needed to take care of something else outside in what was one hell of a cold hurricane. I didn’t know exactly what needed my attention, but I knew it was outside.

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