Adventures Of Fatherhood

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When your kids are young, you never know how they will react to new situations.

That’s why I had an attack of the nerves when the lights went off last Friday at Beckett’s school for the annual Candlelight Christmas service. All of a sudden, I had that anxious, nauseous feeling that comes with nerves and anxiety and inability to control a situation.

For me, it was the unknown and wondering how our 4-year-old would handle being on the stage and the hundreds of people in front of it.

It only took a few minutes to learn it had no effect whatsoever. It turns out he is not weary of the spotlight and appears to actually crave it. An argument could even be made he demanded it in this case.

Given his extroverted nature, it was not a huge surprise to see him adapt to the stage so well, but we didn’t know how he would react to the crowds.

At first, he did seem a bit taken aback, as his hands were dug deep in his pockets as he and his classmates took to the stage to perform two songs that included some choreography. However, as soon as the music began, he came out of his shell.

There were lots of laughs from the audience as we all watched the group of 20, 4-year-olds sing and perform. Each of them appeared to be singing with various levels of zeal. Some were more energetic than others and a few were more excited by the choreography than others. Beckett fell into the latter group.

It would certainly be a stretch to say he pulled off all the choreographed moves. Instead, he and a few of his classmates put their own unique spin on what he has been practicing for the last couple weeks.

For instance, when he was apparently supposed to put his arms up in the air palms up, he decided to put his hands atop the heads of his friends to the right and left of him. In another example, when he was to put his hands over his heart during a song, he did just that, but quickly added some interesting moves that to me resembled some Elvis made headlines with decades ago.

Beckett was not alone with his creativity as a few of his classmates joined in and pulled off some exciting and hilarious moves of their own.

When those deviations from the script were met with laughs from the audience, more vigor was added to some of the kids’ theatrics, which served as some of the lighter moments of the beautiful and tasteful production put on by the entire lower school student body.

As parents of one of the kids getting a little carried away with demonstrating his creativity, Pam and I watched and laughed cautiously. It was like, “oh my, Beckett”, “oh no,” “oh boy”, “oh okay, that’s good”, “that’s enough buddy, take it easy”, “ok that’s good” and “wow, whoa”.

Later, when we talked to Beckett about what it felt like to be on stage in front of all those people, he remarked how those people were laughing and laughing at him and his friends. He liked that a lot because he loves nothing more than getting a laugh out of people.

Since he is only 4, it’s hilarious now, but what this exhibitionist mentality means in the future I don’t know, but I’m not worrying about it. There are plenty of other aspects of life to worry about.

I am proud that he was not nervous and apprehensive about being on stage for the first time in front of a crowd that size. I know I would have been.

For now, it’s all about the wonderful and cherished memories made that day and of course scoring a video of it to preserve them.

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Board games have become quite popular at the house.

Presently, and not that anyone is keeping track privately without anyone else knowing, Beckett’s win count is up to 31, while I am at 22 and Pam is up to 15. Carson never completes a game so he has not registered a tally yet. The same goes for the dogs.

However, Carson does get credit for disrupting countless games, and he seems to truly enjoy that. Once, he simply walked up to the table, pulled the entire board off and ran off with it. That sent Beckett into a meltdown. Carson only got away with that once.

Other times Carson can be clever by simply moseying up to the table seemingly interested in how the game is going. When he feels we are distracted enough, he will run off with a game piece or two. He’s sneaky enough about the actual pilfering, but he reveals what he’s up to when we hear him giggling loudly as he runs off.

Currently, the most popular board game in the house is Candyland, followed closely by Zingo and Chutes and Ladders.  

Beckett has to be watched carefully, as he likes to stack the deck. What he tries to do is put the cards in a strategic order that benefits him. It always involves the Chocolate Mountain card. At this point, it seems his desire to win is ruling over his moral compass that should remind him cheating is unacceptable.

If I need to leave the table, I now take all the cards with me. That, of course, makes him unhappy.

It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode that involved Kramer and Newman playing the game Risk, and Kramer having to carry the game away with him whenever he needed to go somewhere because Newman could not be trusted.

When I told Beckett how he reminded me of Newman, he asked predictably, “Who’s Newman?”