Adventures Of Fatherhood

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As I wander through this parenting journey, I have gained an entirely new appreciation for my parents.

There are so many random moments in life that bring me back to that realization, but a current situation reminds me of my parents’ kitchen table when I was growing up.

When I was younger, I remember fielding what seemed like a constant barrage of questions at the dinner table about what was going on at school and how this and that was with a certain class or assignment. My lack of detailed answers, coupled with my obvious annoyance at the same questions each night, surely perturbed my parents, who were simply curious what was going on in their kid’s life and especially how school was going. They had good reason to be bothered by the disdain that met their questions.

I am now getting a heaping dose of what I gave my parents when they asked about school — a whole lot of nothing. You know what they say about payback.

This specifically pertains to Beckett, who began his official school career last fall as a pre-kindergartner.

Both Pam and I are always anxious to hear how his day went, what the highlight was and if anything special happened throughout the course of the school day.

Here’s how a recent conversation went between Beckett and me after I picked him up from school.

Me: How was your day today?Beckett: Good. Do you have any gum?
Me: In a minute, first tell me what was the most fun you had today.
Beckett: Recess [a frequent answer].
Me: Today’s Tuesday so you had computer as your special class. How did that go?
Beckett: Good.
Me: What did you do in computer class?
Beckett: Worked on the computer.
Me: What did you do on the computer?
Beckett: We drew a heart and colored it in.
Me: Oh that’s great. Can I see it?
Beckett:  Yeah, but I went outside the lines some. I was going too fast.
Me: Why were you going so fast?
Beckett: I don’t know. Do you have the iPad? Can I have some gum now?
Me: Anything else happen today?

Beckett: Tonight when we get home I want to skip baths. I don’t need a bath every day, you know.

Me: I want to know more about school. How was circle time?Beckett: I really think baths should be every other night.
Me: What is the letter of the week?
Beckett: W.
Me: Oh, as in Willy Wonka, right?
Beckett: Oh yeah, do you have any chocolate?
The conversation continued going around in those sorts of circles until I finally gave in.

A few minutes after picking up Beckett, Pam called me to check in and inquire about our kid’s day.

I gave her a recap. It was quite brief. There was little to say, and that’s how it goes most days.

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There are many differences between my 3-year-old and 4-year-old sons, but it’s most obvious these days during our indoor soccer games.

Our team consists of about eight players, the majority of which are 4 years old and the rest 3 year olds.

The 3 year olds provide a lot of entertainment, but they do not generally show much interest in the way of playing soccer.

Carson, my youngest, is one such 3-year-old who falls into that category. Beckett, now among the veteran 4-year-olds, had a similar disinterest.

As a matter of fact, during one of his games last year, rather than kick a ball, Beckett actually did a somersault over it. That goes to show how much interest he had in the game at 3 years of age.

For our indoor soccer team, several of the 3 year olds are simply terrified of being separated from their parents out on the field, or court in this case. Carson is one of those, and that’s why most weeks if I want him to play at all in the games I have to hold his hand and lead him to the ball. If I let go, he cries. If I pull him toward the ball, he cries. If the ball rolls past him, he cries. If he kicks the ball, he smiles and then cries. What makes that so unique is Carson is not one to cry much. Apparently, soccer games do the trick, however.

It’s remarkable to watch the difference in interest between the 3- and 4-year-old players, and the changes that take place between the two ages.

Beckett is now an active participant in the game and seems to be starting to enjoy it. So much so he often comes to me completely winded and wants to lie down because he’s tired. When I ask him to take a break so we can substitute a teammate for him, he wants no part of it. He just does not understand that he cannot get horizontal on the court and rest. He’s too tired to run anymore but doesn’t want to come out of the game either. Almost all of the 4 year olds are the same way.

It’s the opposite situation with the 3-year-olds who have to be coerced to step out on the court during games. That’s why there are oftentimes several parents holding their kid’s hand and most of the time the kid is miserable or completely disinterested.

Beckett has a unique take on his little brother’s game apprehension.

“This is the deal Coach Daddy — he should practice with us, but during the games he should just go sit in the car and watch videos,” he said last week. “Is it a deal?”

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