Adventures Of Fatherhood

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I don’t always eat dinner alone, but when I do it’s standing up in the kitchen.

The boys have the man-up advantage on me on Monday nights. I typically do not have a sit-down dinner with them. I usually let them eat early on and then go about the nightly rituals of baths and showers. It’s the path of least resistance at this point in time with them being 6 and 5 years of age, although probably not the best parenting decision.

After the nightly routine is finished, I usually go about making dinner for Pam and me. I typically eat before her because I will otherwise start exploring the kitchen for snacks.

On the rare occasions I do sit down to eat, I usually attract an audience. They both like to see and sample what I’m eating, and I prefer not to have Beckett’s little hands reaching on my plate for a bite and Carson climbing on my lap playing with something while I eat.

As a result, I usually stand in the middle of the kitchen and eat so as not to upset the calm and pleasant mojo in the house. Plus, I can keep an eye on everyone without having food stolen from my plate by my growing boys.

 

Typically, I’m more comfortable writing about the crazy and bizarre antics of my children than being a braggart, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Beckett, 6, has become quite the high-achieving student, and I hope I am not putting the proverbial kiss of death on him.

Throughout his first grade school year, he has impressed us. It’s not just the grades, which have been excellent, but it’s the self-motivation that excites me the most.

We have high expectations of him, but I think he might have loftier goals on the academic front than we do. He’s certainly harder on himself than we are about test results. Although we want him to do well, he gets extremely upset with himself when he misses a question. An ‘A’ is not good enough for him. It has to be perfect.

I’m quite certain I never felt that way when I was his age or actually anytime during my school career, but I think it’s a good thing.

Of late, however, it’s been nearly impossible to get him to study at home the night before a test. The conversations usually bounce back and forth about how it’s important to study and how he will not get a good grade if he doesn’t put in the independent time at home studying. He hears me, but assures me he knows the material. He likes to say, “Don’t worry, Daddy, I’m good. I’m ready.”

That usually is greeted with doubt from me and I find myself lecturing about the importance of good study habits and work ethic. Meanwhile, as I’m saying the words, I can’t help but reflect on how adult-like I sound.

Of course, time and time again this school year, he has come home with an excellent grade with little to no studying on his own at home. When I ask him how he does it, he says he listens and works hard in school and doesn’t need to study. He, too, sounds quite adult-like at these times. At least he never says, “I told you so,” but I know he’s thinking it.

I know one of these days he will take one on the chin and bring home a bad grade, which in kid mind will be a “B.” I am not sure I will be as mature as him and not throw a, “I told you so” at him. Until then, we will continue preaching about the importance of studying, smiling when we get the “I’m good, I’m good” comment in return and laughing hard when he brings home another good grade.

 

The brutality I witness each day between my boys never ceases to amaze, but it doesn’t disturb me as much now as it did.

I have come to accept boys will be boys and roughhousing is fun for them. I also realize that both my kids are extremely tough. The issue for me is what constitutes typical brother-brother behavior and what crosses the line to when criminal charges could be filed.

My general rule is it’s too rough when someone cries, but I’m beginning to think that’s not the best plan because they both seem to have a high tolerance for pain.

Since he’s younger, Carson usually is on the receiving end of much of the brutality. It’s nothing for Beckett to slide tackle his brother in the back yard, cause him to fall down and then jump on his back and pull his hair. I don’t let that slide, but Carson doesn’t help himself. He just laughs and signs for “more.”

While Beckett is usually the aggressor, there is no question things are changing on that front. Carson is giving it back in a big way and his preferred course of action is the sneak attack.

While Beckett was jumping on the trampoline last weekend, Carson came out of nowhere with a lacrosse stick over his head. I was able to give Beckett the heads up and he evaded his little brother.

After wrestling the stick away, he went a different route a little later with an old-fashioned blindside tackle. I didn’t see it because I was chasing down a soccer ball, but I did get a simple recap from my chatty son.

“He came out of nowhere and decked me. For someone so chubby, he’s really quick and super strong,” Beckett said.

Carson just ran away laughing.