Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Boys are prone to roughhousing, but it’s difficult to accept the brutality I witness between my sons as just normal brother behavior.

It’s amazing to me how violently they play together at times and how rough they are with each other on a routine basis. Most of the time there is equal culpability, but what disturbs me the most is they seem to enjoy tormenting and inflicting pain on each other. In fact, even the one that gets hurt seems to be enjoying himself.

It’s a normal occurrence for Carson, 4, to walk over to his big brother and randomly slap him in the head with his hand or stand a few feet from him and throw a toy directly at his head. In return, Beckett, 6, usually takes it too far with several instances where I have seen him shove his little brother to the floor, sit on his back, give him the business with closed fists before stomping on his back a couple times while getting off him.

It’s even worse outside, as I have observed Carson kick his big brother intentionally while they are playing soccer together. Beckett, of course, kicks him back and then they proceed to exchange shin kicks until eventually both are bending over in pain and tattling on the other (as if I didn’t see the entire thing transpire).

Rather than get involved and separate them, there are times when I choose to not “micro-parent” and see if they can resolve their battle on their own. Unfortunately, that usually results in Carson getting worked over physically in dramatic fashion. Clearly, they are not at the age where they can work out their issues on their own, and it’s not quite an even enough matchup yet for it to resolve itself without one getting hurt more than the other.

That means parent intervention is often required to separate the two during times of heightened tensions, which is every day in varying severities. That’s usually when I get my most aggravated on this parenting roller coaster.

While the violence shown to each other is disturbing, what’s equally appalling is the lengths to which my sons go to get the other in trouble.

While Pam was working, I was making dinner the other night and I thought I had the boys settled for a spell. Carson was doing a puzzle, while Beckett was practicing for a spelling test the next day. Before I could even relish the few quiet moments, I heard Beckett rat out Carson for bending the puzzles pieces. There Beckett was across the room seemingly waiting for his little brother to do something that would get him in trouble.

A similar scenario played out the same night but with the roles flipped. Carson came running into the kitchen with his hand over his mouth making some sounds. That’s his non-verbal way of shouting for us. He grabbed my hand and led me to Beckett, who was playing on the iPad when he was supposed to be putting clothes away in his room.

The good news is there are moments of sweetness that quell the frustrations from certain situations. Fortunately, things always have a way of balancing out.

Over the last week or so, with the sun rising later in the morning, the boys have been sleeping in past their usual 6 a.m. In fact, during most school mornings of late, I have had to wake them up to allow enough time for breakfast and the like. On the weekends, of course, they are up at their usual 6 in the morning.

During these morning sessions, Carson has been jumping in bed with Beckett, who pretends he is still asleep, and it’s fun for me to watch as Carson taps on his shoulder and rubs his hair to gentle wake him up. Eventually, Carson elevates his wake-up means and starts pushing Beckett, who the other morning rolled over and said, “okay, Carson, I’m awake, just wake me up with a hug next time.” Carson then gives him a huge bear hug.

These are the moments I prefer to focus on rather than the blind takedowns and random sidekicks to the ribs that routinely spike my blood pressure.


A cousin’s birthday party took us last Sunday afternoon to the trampoline park in Delmar.

What an outstanding place to work off some energy for the little ones. I knew Beckett would love it. He’s a dare devil who loves nothing more than jumping and acting like a crazy person while interacting with others of similar desires, and this was heaven for him. For about an hour, he was nothing but a blur in different directions.

Both my kids had a ball, but it was so much fun to play with Carson on the trampolines. He smiled and laughed the entire time.

While Beckett is independent and prefers to play with others his age, Carson wants a parent with him at his age. That was fine for Pam and me because we enjoy a huge place full of nothing but trampolines as much as the little ones.

The most fun I had was jumping into the foam pit with Carson. The rules prohibited us from jumping at the same time, so I went first and then he jumped to me. The only problem was it’s tough to get out, particularly if a big guy like me. Adding to that was the fact Carson was mush in there and couldn’t move by himself. Check that, he would not move because he liked it too much. However, with a line of crazy kids waiting impatiently, he and I made our way to the edge finally.

As soon as we got to our feet, he was signing “more” in frenetic fashion. So back we went to do it all over again and again.