Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Fireworks are not for my kids, at least at this age.

That’s fine by me because the thought of keeping my kids, 5 and 3 years old, respectively, up on the Fourth of July till the fireworks and beyond does not excite me all that much.

Beckett, 5, usually starts his day each morning by telling me the date and then taking a guess at what the weather will be like. It’s always sunny and warm enough for the pool in his mind, by the way.

One morning this week, he alerted me that it was Tuesday and that it was July 2, two days before the Fourth of July. He reminded me I don’t have to work on that day and then followed that up with, “and I do not want to see any fireworks.”

When I asked why, he said, “because it hurts my ears and I am only 2 years old.”
Interesting reasoning I thought.
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Before I had kids, it amazed me how parents could lose their children on the beach. That’s no longer the case because I know now it’s actually quite easy.

The Ocean City Beach Patrol recently reported that on a busy summer weekend lifeguards can handle as many as 100 lost kid cases in a day. In a typical summer, about 2,000 kids are lost and each one, thankfully, gets reunited with his or her panicked parents.

To date, we have never lost either of or boys on the beach, but there have been a few seconds of panic here and there, especially when a game of hide and seek breaks out unbeknownst to us. That’s a growling to myself moment for me.

What we have on the beach is two contrasting kid experiences.

Beckett will not run off by himself normally, but he has been known to venture away in sly fashion. He prefers to be down near the water, jumping waves and chatting up strangers.

He routinely walks up to other kids his age and starts conversations, which usually revolve around an age and hometown comparison and whether he or she wants to have jump waves together. If distracted, he will wander over to other people’s camps and start digging and playing. The good news is it’s not usually that far away.

Carson usually stays much closer to us, but last weekend he decided he wanted to be a stubborn boy and simply took off with the wind away from us. As I followed him, he simply pointed down the beach, as if to show me there was something worth going to see.

Fortunately, I was right there and saw him take off in a hurry. I followed along for a bit before I had to turn him around and point him against the wind because whatever it was that had his attention no longer existed. He seemed to enjoy going downwind much better, but he eventually gave in and headed back toward our group.

With kids on the beach, at least at this age, there is no reading or napping for Pam and me. However, we have found it’s still relaxing. It’s just different than it used to be, and we have come to accept there is little time for the beach chair besides lunch and snack sessions.

Either way, there still is no better place to be with the kids than the beach, even if it means keeping the closest of eyes on the little ones, particularly during those devilish surprise hide-and-seek moments.

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There are so many “be careful what you wish for” moments in parenting, and the latest for us involves Carson and the pool.

For the last couple summers, we have desperately wanted Carson to want to be in the pool. For some reason, he was just not into it at all and it made for trying times for his parents.

We had one kid, Beckett, who wants to be in the pool from the moment he opened his eyes in the morning to bedtime, and the other who despised it and made life miserable for whichever parent was trying to coax him into the pool and keeping him content while in it.

All that has changed this summer as Carson now shares his big brother’s love of the pool. He also seems to have adopted Beckett’s reckless ways around the pool.

Rather than having to be dragged against his might into the pool, as was the case last summer, Carson now routinely jumps in on his own with reckless abandon and tremendous joy, opening up a whole new set of issues that we were hoping to have to address some day. Now that these issues are before us, I am wondering whether last summer when he seemed to fear the water was so bad after all.

We now have two crazy pool kids, one who is an adept swimmer in Beckett and another who is still learning that he has to keep his mouth closed in the water in Carson.

It appears Carson is quite envious of Beckett’s swimming abilities and is intent on doing what his big brother does at all times even if he’s not ready.

If Beckett jumps in the deep end, he wants to follow suit, no matter if he has his swimmies on or not. If Beckett runs on the deck, Carson wants to do the same. If Beckett goes down the slide, Carson wants his turn. If his older brother gets thrown across the pool, he wants to be tossed as well.

It’s going to be a different summer, but it should be a great one full of craziness.

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