Adventures Of Fatherhood

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The 5-year-old of the house loves grocery shopping because he enjoys the role of being a helper.

When he thinks he is pitching in and providing assistance, he is happy and pleased with himself. In fact, we often randomly assign duties to Carson because he likes to help so much. Additionally, it’s helpful to dole out tasks because his idle mind often gets him in trouble.

For instance, whenever I walk into the house with a case of bottled water, he immediately stops whatever he is doing and rushes over to help. That usually means placing a hand over mine and walking by my side as I haul it toward the kitchen. He then one by one puts every bottle in the fridge. This helpful nature is why he usually makes for a great grocery shopping buddy.

On the flip side, Beckett can be a big help in the store as well, but he is more of a grab-and-go type who likes throwing in foods and drinks in the shopping cart in fast fashion. That usually requires me removing most of what he puts in later — usually candy — resulting in him not being much help at all.

On Tuesday night, Carson and I made a run to the store for some essentials. He was his usual helper bee. While we were in the cash register line, I noticed all of a sudden he stopped what he was doing and started leaning on the cart. I was suspicious. When I asked if he was okay, he shook his head “no.”

Within a minute, he was vomiting. Since I was leery and carefully watching him, only a small amount got on the floor. Instead, I was able to catch most of it in my hands. I asked a friend in line behind me to hand me a plastic bag and the rest went in there. The grocery store was much cleaner than he and I.

All I could do was apologize to those nearby with looks of disgust as I rushed my poor son out of there. I was so haggard over the whole thing that I didn’t even realize I sat him down on top of a gallon of milk in the shopping cart that popped and went all over the parking lot.

Carson was almost immediately fine afterwards and laughed over the milk flowing all over the cart and parking lot. He then proceeded to help me unload the milk-doused groceries, which of course then needed to be thoroughly sterilized.

The same went for the both of us. It’s not a pleasant memory, but it’s a situation I will never forget.

 

I cherish the fact kids generally wear their hearts on their proverbial sleeves.

With my two boys, it’s indeed obvious what’s on their minds at any given time. I enjoy that because all too often in professional life people are dishonest and some even intentionally mislead for whatever reason.

Young kids seem immune to this seemingly inevitable sophistication of human nature, and I adore that innocence, particularly because it’s not permanent.

These honest and real emotions can have a downside at times because children don’t realize how their actions and comments can hurt others.

Although a certain filter would be nice at times, it’s difficult to come down too hard on your child for having an honest reaction, even if it’s not how you wish it to be.

An example would be how Beckett handled a recent situation at karate when he was not chosen as student of the month. Rather than being happy or at least feigning it for the nearby student selected, he reacted in a way that showed his extreme disappointment. He took it personally and the green monster reared its ugly head.

As I was sitting nearby, I knew there was a potential for him to poorly handle his dissatisfaction. I merely hoped for the best.

When the other student was announced, his head shot to me and the look ripped my heart out. He then threw his belt on the floor. It was simply a raw emotion that he would later regret and learn from. He took it overly personal and his feelings were hurt. It was probably the most upset I have seen him in the last year or so and that made it difficult to digest for his mom and me as well.

His reaction to this emotional letdown was uncut and real. It was a learning moment for him and a lesson that life doesn’t always go our way. We have to make the best of it and learn from it. We later spoke with an instructor to find out what he had to do to become student of the month. It was constructive in the end, but heartbreaking as a parent to see his grief.

I later reflected how these days of raw emotions could be numbered as a parent. I like the fact I know what he is thinking at any given time. That will not always be the case. He will not for too much longer be this forthcoming about his feelings and emotions. Eventually, he will become more independent and introverted. It’s difficult to believe at this point because he’s so extroverted and says just about everything that’s on his mind, but it will change in the future.

I am occasionally seeing glimpses of this change taking place now with Beckett, who I find every now and again thinking and not so willing to share what’s on his mind. I get the “oh nothing” in response, but I can easily crack him at this point with some laughter. I’m going to enjoy that while I can.