Embarrassing my kids is a lot of fun to me.
Life is too stressful and busy not to enjoy the little things in life, and one of those recent delights has been bringing a little bit of mortification to my son Beckett, who is now a whopping 7 years old.
A few examples to illustrate the point while probably revealing a little bit too much about myself (although that ship has sailed in this space I believe).
• It’s been amazing to see the transformation over the last few years with the morning school drop-offs. We are at the point now that Beckett simply wants to be dropped off and head on his way. It used to be he liked when we walked him in each morning and his parents enjoyed that very much as well.
The signs were evident along the way, particularly in kindergarten, that he wanted to be more independent and was even embarrassed by his mommy and daddy walking him into school. While I have accepted that reality and don’t fight ushering him anymore, I am not okay with simply dropping and rolling. That’s what he seems to want these days. I at least need a high five or a fist bump and usually seek a hug. If he had his way, I would just come to a slow roll, and he would jump out and be on his way.
With that happening, every once in a while just to keep him in check I will hit a knee and bring him in close for the real thing before he runs off for school. The other day I did it and he muttered, “Okay, okay daddy, I have to go.”
Knowing he was already embarrassed enough, I called out to him as he was walking in with his friends and blew him a kiss. The look on his face was priceless. He was mortified, and I laughed all the way to work over it.
• Like many others, I feel like I’m always in the car chauffeuring a kid from here or there for something.
A new favorite station of the boys on XM is called KidsPlace, which plays as you would expect songs that young children either know or would like.
If it’s just me and Beckett in the car, every once in a while I will crank it up loud and put all the windows down. I do this all the time whenever I’m alone but it’s not to kid music (most of the time).
While at a stoplight on Route 50 this week, I decided to mortify Beckett once again by belting out the words to a catchy song that was playing. When he ordered me to stop in a not so nice kid way, I simply turned it up louder and turned a couple heads at the stoplight.
He got all red faced and was so embarrassed he got a little angry. That cracked me up as well.
• Another example came last weekend when Beckett had a friend over. His buddy wanted to play video games inside, despite the fact I said multiple times vegging out on a gorgeous day was not an option.
As frustrating as it was to me, I felt the need to keep them entertained in the backyard, despite the fact there are plenty of things that should have done the trick.
We were in the middle of a two-on-two soccer game (if you can call it that) in the back yard. It was me and Carson against Beckett and his little friend. Carson and I were letting them win in an effort to keep the whining about going inside to play video games to a minimum.
Eventually, the whining returned and I decided to shake things up a little bit and go hard on them. After a couple goals by Carson, I decided to put one in from outside over their heads and celebrated like the professional players do in dramatic fashion. Carson and I ran around the entire backyard screaming and holding our arms out straight pretending we were airplanes pulling off aerial maneuvers. Carson got carried away and took his shirt off so I did as well.
At some point during the extended celebration, Beckett and his buddy snuck off and went inside. I asked Carson where they went and he just hunched his shoulders and continued to run around bare chested in grand jiggling fashion. I just jiggled right along with him. At this point, there’s no embarrassing Beckett’s little brother.
Carson, our non-verbal 5-year-old, shocked us last weekend when he out of the blue started saying “mama.”
We consider this a major development for him and we are so proud of him. We can only hope it’s the start of more speech breakthroughs in what we expect to be a long journey for all of us.
Now, when Pam pulls into the driveway at home, he will look out the window and point and bring her to my attention by telling me with his words.
That’s incredibly special to us and worthy of a celebration. It’s the first of what we hope is more steps in the right direction.