Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Embarrassing your kids is a joy of being a parent.
During last Saturday’s basketball practice, I did just that to Beckett, 5.
It’s a new sport for him and he has enjoyed learning all the different skills, but one thing that has been getting under his skin is the fact he has not made a basket yet on the lowered rims. It has not been from lack of effort. He just hasn’t been able to routinely get the ball up high enough, or, when he does get it up there, it hasn’t been on target.
From my rough guess, I would say he was probably 0-for-50 or so in his first couple practices. Last Saturday he finally hit his first shot, and I was so happy for him because I know he was getting discouraged and I feared it might squelch his desire to play again. I even spotted an eye roll in the rearview mirror when we were talking about how he has to keep on trying on the way to practice last weekend.
That first basket was made during a layup drill and it provided me with an opportunity to embarrass him. It was not intentional, but I couldn’t help it. I jumped up like he just hit a buzzer beater. He looked around and couldn’t find me at first in the crowd, but when he eventually did he gave me an excited thumb up while shaking his head up and down and smiling. He then got a little embarrassed and covered his face a bit.
I may have over-reacted, but he learned a big lesson about never giving up that day, and I will never apologize for being excited for him.

Besides what is involved in my work, there’s not much time for recreational reading these days.
Exhaustion from a high-octane life currently is the reason, pure and simple.
I miss having the time to read books, as does Pam, but reading to my kids each night fills the void somewhat, especially now that Beckett is getting into longer stories and books. That’s exciting because I have been looking forward to moving past the toddler board books for some time.
With Carson, 4, it’s a lot of the same books we read to Beckett. Some of our favorites are “Cookie’s Week”, the “Llama Llama” series and Eric Carle books, among others. I can recite most of those from memory.
With Beckett, I am starting to enjoy his books, particularly his current affinity for the Magic Tree House series.
The other night Beckett had a special event night out at karate so he didn’t get home until nearly 10 p.m. Of course, he still wanted to read some before bed, although he was obviously exhausted.
The only problem is at that hour I am not much good anymore, and I actually fell asleep while reading to him. I woke up to him tapping me on the shoulder, saying, “okay, go ahead and get Mommy to come in now.”

For the last several months, Carson has been begging to go on a school bus.
Any day that I do the school pick-up he points and tries to coax me to the buses. Since they are on a tight schedule, as am I, I usually don’t let him, but one day recently I acquiesced.
I learned my lesson. As he often does, he wiggled free from me and then a festive game of keep away ensued. You can imagine how much fun that was on a long school bus with all those rows of seats.
Aggravating sums it up well as I chased and he ran and I chased some more. Eventually, the school bus driver recognized that I had a non-listener type on my hands and blocked him in a corner. It still took us a couple minutes to corral the little fella.
Throughout the rest of that week, he pointed at the school bus, of course, and tried to pull me over again. I didn’t give those requests the time of the day and forced him to go the different direction. He seemed to accept that reality, realizing he blew it.
Now when I pick him up, he points over at the buses and just smiles at me. In my mind, he’s saying, “remember that time you let me get on the bus, that was fun, right?”

Just because he’s non-verbal at this point in his life doesn’t mean that Carson is not a good communicator. He just does it differently.
In some ways, I think Carson is easier to understand at times than his big brother Beckett, who is a big-time talker and often says so much it can be difficult at times to figure out the point he’s trying to get across.
Although he doesn’t talk, yet, Carson always lets us know what’s on his mind.
When he’s excited, such as when he throws and catches a ball, he jumps up and down in place and laughs.
When he’s proud of himself, such as when he uses the potty properly, he runs into the kitchen and points at the bananas. He views those as a special treat and we go right along with it, of course.
When he’s angry, such as if his brother tries to look at a toy he is playing with, he throws a temper tantrum that leaves us covering our ears. It’s ironic for a non-verbal boy that when he is upset he makes a lot of noise. It’s just not words. That gives us hope on many fronts, actually.
When he’s sad, such as when bath time is cut short because of misbehavior, he pushes out his bottom lip and repeatedly signs, “sorry” and “please”.
Yes, he may not be talking, but he has mastered the way of expressing what he wants. He just goes about it a different way.

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