Hesitant was my first reaction when Pam broached the idea of taking the boys paddle boarding last Sunday.
I actually thought she was crazy for even recommending it at that time, and I wish that was not my initial response.
However, I blame it on the fact both kids gave us a hard time the entire day before on the beach. They were whiny and demanding off and on throughout the day and put a major damper on a beautiful October beach day. Although neither was enjoyable to be around, for the most part, Carson took top billing on this particular day, continuing his recent hitting fascination and successfully landing a few haymakers on his mom.
That’s why I worried what an hour or so on a body of water on a paddle board would be like with either of my kids, especially with Carson, 3, and his unpredictable tendencies of late. Fortunately, Pam immediately concurred there was no way Carson would cooperate on a paddle board, recommending instead I take him in a kayak and she would take Beckett on a paddle board.
That was a relief, as visions of Carson launching himself into the water or slapping my kneecaps, and other more sensitive areas, as I stood on the board danced through my head.
As usual, advance worries did not play out for the most part, and Carson enjoyed the laidback kayak ride tremendously.
Pam had more of a trying time with Beckett, 5, who gave her all sorts of challenges by not listening to her instructions and repeatedly using his miniature oar to create quite a drag as she paddled.
On the kayak, Carson behaved for the most part and only twice tried to stand up in the kayak and dunk his head in the water. Instead, we compromised. I let him put his hand in the water the entire time.
When he got a little antsy, he helped me paddle the kayak for a while. At one time, he stopped paddling altogether and I couldn’t immediately figure out what distracted Carson, who was staring and pointing up into the sky. I then noticed an osprey flying overhead with something in his mouth. That was one of those awesome parenting moments that I felt fortunate to share with my little guy.
I looked back to check on Pam and Beckett, and that was another great moment. She was on her knees and Beckett was standing and paddling them to shore.
Later, Pam reported that Beckett was constantly asking when he could jump in the creek. Therefore, about 20 yards from shore, she let him jump in and swim the rest of the way. That was the highlight for him.
As we left our little adventure, we told the kids we were now headed to the beach, thinking they would be excited.
To that, Beckett said, “oh no, not the beach again.”
Along with his little brother, he, of course, had a great day even if he didn’t want to initially go to the beach for the second straight day and actually complained the entire way there.
Within two minutes of being on the beach, both kids were playing in the ocean, putting an end to the complaints from my little doubters.
It’s always amazing to me what impresses my kids and what does not.
Some recent examples involving both kids illustrate the point.
While keeping an eye on Beckett riding his scooter in the street the other night, I pointed out the amazing sunset that was visible through the nearby trees. He refused to even look at first, and I didn’t push the point. He was too busy trying to perfect his scooter moves and I thought it best to not distract him.
However, when the sunset scene continued to get better and better, I made him stop and look to the sky to take it all in. He stopped, looked and gave me the most obvious fake “wow” I have ever heard. It still didn’t fascinate him.
Rather than let him on his way, I made him take another look and asked him what colors he saw. He said purple, orange, red, white, black and some yellow.
I asked him, “Isn’t that awesome, all those in the sky at once?” He responded, “aren’t all sunsets like this?”
I told him no and explained some days you don’t see the sunset at all. As I continued talking about it, he quickly interjected, saying I should take a picture with my phone. While I was busy doing just that, he rode off on his scooter and went back to jumping curbs. I give him credit for manipulating the distraction, I guess.
The next day a similar situation played out with Carson. We were walking out of his school at the end of his day and there were fire trucks lined up for Fire Prevention Week activities. Assuming he would want to get a close look, I walked him by a couple pieces of equipment.
I figured he would be excited by this, as he always smiles and points at fire trucks passing by on the road. He did show a little enthusiasm at first, but that was quickly redirected to all the leaves blowing around nearby.
He wiggled free and began chasing some of them. He was able to capture a few in his hand and he showed them off to me like it was a prize and started jumping up and down.
He held on to those leaves the entire ride home, but I was able to grab a photo of him standing by a fire truck. Of course, he was holding those leaves as well.