Adventures Of Fatherhood

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A new bedtime record was set for Beckett and Carson last weekend.
With friends visiting and lots of fun being had, we just let the kids stay up and play outside while the adults enjoyed a bonfire.
The kids dug the bonfire, but once the Smores were consumed they were on to other things. Watching a burning fire apparently is not entertaining to kids. It also turns out sitting around the bonfire laughing with adults about silly stories of yesteryear is not fun for the kids either.
What is enjoyable for the kids is playing chase, hitting the trampoline, dips in the pool, playing all sorts of weird make believe games and hitting the playground slides. Since everyone was playing so well independently and enjoying themselves, everyone agreed to let the kids stay up till 10.
Carson had to be yanked a little early, around 9, after I spotted him leaning against the slide dozing off. He played himself out to the point he was passing out while standing up.
On the other hand, Beckett was reluctant to even call it a night at 10 but was fast asleep within minutes of getting in bed.
What was cruel was the next morning the kids were up by 6 and a little cranky. When asked why he didn’t sleep in more, Beckett said, “because I didn’t want to miss anything.” Carson’s response involved a shrug of his shoulders and then knocking his plate of pancakes to the floor.
Both kids went to sleep at the usual time the next night, needless to say.

A lot of adjectives can be used to describe our oldest son, but shy would not be one of them.
Beckett is an extrovert in all aspects of life and his social ways often lead to interesting conversations with strangers on the beach.
Although it can be frustrating at the time if he ignores repeated requests to stick near us, Beckett is always chatting up strangers on the beach and has no problem invading a family’s space to start a conversation. The chats almost always involve a string of questions. Here’s a brief transcript I took note of while standing by him the other day.
Beckett: What’s your name?
Stranger kid: Ashley
Beckett: How old are you?
Stranger kid: Eight
Beckett: I’m 5 and my name is Beckett and my dad is 37 (he then moves around the group asking age and name to each).
Beckett: [to stranger man] Do you like the Ravens?
Stranger man: No, I’m a Redskins fan.
Beckett: How about the Orioles?
Stranger man: No, I like the Nationals.
Beckett: Ok, who would you root for if the Ravens played the Eagles?
Stranger man: I would root for the Ravens.
Beckett: Ok, who would you root for if the Orioles played the White Sox?
Stranger man: I wouldn’t really care.
Beckett: Ok, who would you root for if the Orioles played the Blue Sox [he didn’t realize he misspoke, of course]?
Stranger man: I would root for the Orioles then.
The conversation continued for a few minutes until I dragged him away to show him a nearby jellyfish to give the family a break.
To date, he has never met a stranger. It seems to me it’s a good thing on some levels that he is sociable, but we have to work on boundaries, as he often walks up to random people with the same questions. He grabs a hand and starts with inquiries about name and age and then whether they like the Ravens and Orioles.
You know, he likes to cover all the important stuff.

The Boardwalk is no place for a runner.
Unfortunately for us, Carson, 3 ½, will take off and sprint away from us at any chance he gets. Where he wants to go is unknown and usually only known on a case-by-case basis, but if he wiggles free he is gone and that’s that. As anyone familiar with the Boardwalk knows, this is not the place for that.
Last Sunday, a group of us went to the Boardwalk after a day on the beach for the traditional Boardwalk dinner fare. Mixed in were some rides and arcades, and I drew Carson duty because he overpowers Pam.
By the end of the evening, my hand was sore from holding on to Carson’s hand so tight for so long. When I didn’t have a clamp on his hand, preventing him from running, his 40-pound-plus frame was on my shoulders.
While in the arcade trying to accumulate enough tickets to get him a stuffed animal, a teenage girl came up to us and offered us all her tickets. A wonderfully kind gesture I figured. As I tried to sort them and stick them in my pockets, I let go of Carson and there he went.
He ran straight for the Boardwalk and nearly ran into the Inlet parking lot. For a rotund little fella, he has elusive quickness and I observed he has a decent lateral moves as well.
When I caught up to him and placed him back on my shoulders for safe keeping, he grabbed my sunglasses off my head and chucked them (impressively far, actually). There were some heavy breathing moments from that point on.
Hopefully, this is just a behavior thing and a passing phase. I don’t want to wish any of his life away, but I am ready for this phase to end.

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