Adventures Of Fatherhood

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When the weather prevents the kids from getting outside on the weekends, things can get a little testy at my house.
It’s a raw deal for all of us, and there are only so many games that can be played to keep the boys occupied. Although not embraced, one rainy day can be dealt with, but add another to the mix and things tend to get a little dramatic.
As anyone knows with young kids, they need to burn off energy or they go stir crazy. When they can’t, they drive their parents to the verge of mental and emotional breakdowns.
In my kids’ case, cabin fever hit hard over the weekend. It was to the point a proverbial chip developed squarely on their shoulders.
Apparently, after the lack of exercise caused by the ridiculous rain and wind the previous days, both boys came down with a terrible bout of ear blockage that prevented them from listening to us at all. Oh, they could hear us alright, but something was preventing our words from registering in their brain.
After a long Saturday without any outside time, the early part of Sunday was looking like more of the same, and my nerves were shot.
After I cooked a big breakfast that Beckett apparently wanted no part of because of a new disdain for all breakfast foods, Pam could see my nerves were growing thin and floated the idea of a chore that we had been waiting to do for some time — putting together Beckett’s big-boy bed. Actually, it had been on my “honey do” list since summer, but beach and pools days proved distracting.
Because I was a little hot under collar already, I didn’t really like the idea at first. However, after Carson knocked his breakfast on the floor intentionally and laughed hilariously, I marched upstairs, closed the bedroom door, turned on the radio and got to work.
At one point, Beckett knocked on the door and whined he wanted to help, muttering something about needing to jump on his new bed. I growled something at him from behind the closed door and I never heard from him again.
For some reason, that little project ended up taking a lot longer than it should have.

On Monday, I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me. I was sick to my stomach all morning.
I eventually realized I had butterflies, resulting from an afternoon parent-teacher conference for our oldest son, Beckett, 5.
As most parents surely know well, getting information from little ones about school and what takes place throughout the day can be difficult. I often feel like a frustrated police investigator trying to wring little details out of my son about how his day went.
What I have discovered is the worst time to try and score information from him is as soon as he leaves school. Therefore, after a couple weeks of school, I decided to not ask him about it immediately, preferring to discuss it later with casual questions here and there.
Through that approach, I have been able to get a pretty good idea about what occurs at school, including what so and so had for lunch, what color shirt his teacher’s daughter was sporting, if he liked what was packed for lunch for him and how he blows through his lunch money because he never waits for change from the lunch lady when he buys a popsicle.
The good news is the school and his teachers do a great job with communicating and sending home lots of examples of what he’s been working on at school. That allows us parents to at least see what kind of work is being done and how well our kids are doing in the classroom.
What’s unknown is how the kid is behaving and treating others and in many ways that’s just as important as the academics in my book.
As far as school work, I imagine we are fortunate at this age to know as much as we do about what’s happening at school. Once he gets older, it will probably not be as clear, and I’m sure the details become even less communicated in the teenage years. Teens, from my experience, are not usually the best communicators, particularly when they begin to be annoyed by anything and everything their parents do.
I can certainly remember sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner as a teen being peppered with school questions, which I found annoying at the time, too.
Most of the questions almost always got the same response, “it was fine, yeah it was fine.”
With Beckett, the most common response is, “that was good, it was good.”
Most interesting the night of the parent-teacher conferences was the roles were reversed. Beckett was the one asking us what happened at school today, and I decided I was going to play coy with him for a change.
I enjoyed tormenting him a little bit with a few dodges of his specific questions, including one along the lines of, “did she say I’m doing excellent?”
Eventually, again with an eye on perturbing him a little bit and raising his curiosity, I reported, “let’s just wait to talk about it when Mommy gets home.”
The not knowing ate him alive over the next couple hours, and his behavior was never better as a result. Interestingly enough, over the last few days, he has been much more forthcoming with school information than previously.

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