What did I do with my time before kids?
It’s a question that crosses my mind quite a bit while navigating through the new reality that has come about from the start of school and the onslaught of numerous other activities that my children are involved with in some capacity.
The answer is I have no idea, but I know I watched a lot more sports on television, worked many more hours, was in much better physical shape, enjoyed more sleep and actually read for pleasure outside of what is required of my day job.
This hectic schedule is largely our own doing. We have to keep our kids busy. Otherwise, we would go crazier than we already are. We choose to go nutty running them around to karate, swim lessons, soccer games and other appointments, rather than let them hold us hostage in the house.
Every child is unique, but we have two boys only 17 months apart that more often than not share the same thoughts. Now at the ages of 6 and 4, they know right from wrong, but unfortunately there are times when the dark side prevails over both of them. It’s all about proper decision making and oftentimes poor choices are made. As they get older, more and more they are making the right decisions, thankfully. That gives us hope.
No matter the case, we learned pretty early on that our boys must get out of the house early in the day and burn off energy. I like to (lovingly) refer to it as knocking the chips off their respective shoulders. That’s why even on non-school mornings we are out of the house by 9 because at that point they have been up for at least two hours.
After that window of time, they usually start whispering to each other. Beckett has not found his whispering voice yet, so he can be heard from across the room. Carson, the non-verbal child of the house, cups his hands to whisper, and Beckett usually plays along.
For example, last Sunday morning, I was packing a cooler for the beach, and I noticed the bewitching hour had arrived in full force. It was like the flip of a switch. The kids decided they were going to aggravate their father.
They are not quite at the age where we can just send them outside on their own together and feel comfortable in trusting them to not get into something they shouldn’t. On his own, Beckett is fine, but together they egg each other on, and they have not earned our complete trust yet playing together.
It was about 9:30 and the natives were indeed restless. I could see and hear them whispering back and forth and knew nothing good would come from that. At one point, Carson whispered something (which, of course, was nothing due to the fact he doesn’t speak yet). In typical fashion, Beckett used his imagination and played along, saying, “Oh, you want me to run upstairs and slide down the steps on my stomach, do you? Ok let’s do it.”
I was right there and put a quick stop to Beckett’s sprint, but Carson managed to wiggle by me in slick fashion. For a stout guy, he’s remarkably quick and shows impressive agility on steps. As I was talking to Beckett, he pointed up the staircase with a smirk. There was his little brother doing his best crocodile imitation down the steps.
After retrieving him and giving him a piece of my mind, I hooked them up with their favorite electronic devices and asked (maybe it was begged) for a few minutes to pack stuff for the beach while Pam gathered together swimsuits.
As he played on the iPad, Beckett rattled off what food and drinks he and Carson wanted, saying, “and don’t forget to pack you and Mommy some lunch and beers.” Pointing back and forth between me and Beckett, Carson shook his head in agreement. Being in a compliant mood and looking to keep everything on a harmonious level, I did as they asked because my nerves were stretched thin by this point.
A few hours later on the beach, I was thankful I had followed their specific instructions.
Having a kid reader in the house has been a wonderful change of late.
It’s been an amazing transition to observe over the last few months dating back to his last weeks of kindergarten last spring. There is no question he is now a reader and that means he can read menus, street signs, the mail, notes on the counter and plenty of other things so long as they are not in cursive. It’s been awesome.
Beckett reads a bit every night in bed, but understandably so he’s usually exhausted from the day and prefers we read to him. I get that.
On a recent night, I was having trouble not falling asleep as I read to him. He didn’t like that too much. Each time I dozed off he gave me a not-so-friendly crack on the head to remind me about the task at hand.
I assume he eventually just gave up and took the book from me and read himself to sleep. I only came to this conclusion because I woke up about a half hour later and he was asleep with the book next to him.
My watch read 8:30 p.m.