Fatherhood Adventures

There are moments when you just have to laugh when it comes to raising a child. It’s one of the blessings of being a parent, and I have learned early on in this adventure that a sense of humor can go a long way in dealing with some of the strange events that take place with a little one in the house.

Here’s a few examples to illustrate the point:

— A good plan is a must with a baby. However, my wife and I have learned all good plans need a little tweaking along the way. That’s why a willingness to think and adapt on the fly are a must. For instance, we were planning to head to a dinner at Stevenson United Methodist Church last Sunday around 3 p.m. The plan was for Beckett to go down for a nap and eat before we left. That’s usually when he’s at his finest, completely rested and with a full stomach. We were right on schedule. He woke up a half hour before it was time to leave. I changed him, put the cute, little outfit on that his mommy picked out and fed him his bottle. As luck would have it, when we were all packed up and ready to walk out the door, a few things stopped us in our tracks – a distinctive sound, the flushed face we have come to know so well and an unmistakable scent. My wife and I shook our heads at each other and she offered to change him. “Well, at least it wasn’t five minutes from now,” said my wife, referring to the fact we were walking to church. She was right because it’s always better to take care of a messy situation like that on the home turf. After all, it’s better to know the situation requires a wardrobe change for him or us (happens fairly often) at home than out and about.

— Just when we thought we were in a solid routine, the baby reminded us recently things are not always as they seem. After weeks of sleeping through the night for nine or 10 hours, Beckett has started a new routine of his own the last week or so. To our dismay, he has begun waking up around 3 a.m. ready for the day. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. We have not changed anything. He’s just awake. He’s not hungry. He’s not in need of a change. He’s just wide-awake, looking to have some fun, and that’s not exactly what his parents have in mind at 3 a.m. We usually wait it out, given him a pat or two to calm him down and hope for the best. It’s just another example of how unpredictable little ones can be. When we tell this to other parents, they usually laugh and say something like, “oh just get used to it because they will be doing what you don’t want them to do the rest of their lives.” I think they have teen-agers.

— Our boy loves to jump these days and he has the thunder thighs, featuring three lovable rolls, to prove it. His favorite device to show off his skills is his jumper, an adjustable height device that attaches directly to a doorframe. It’s pure comedy and we often eat dinner while he hangs and bounces and screams. That’s our entertainment. All we have to do is place him in there securely and he goes to town, bouncing around in circles, laughing and smiling and drooling all over everything, most notably himself. He will usually stop every couple minutes or so, on straight legs, look our way to make sure we are paying attention and then proceed passionately to hop around without a care in the world. So far his record has been about 45 minutes, enough time for his mom and dad to eat and clean up.

— With him now chomping down on vegetables, fruits, cereal and formula, not to mention his fingers, toes, toys, etc., the little boy is starting to realize how great eating has become. It’s at the point these days when we have to prepare the bottle where he cannot see or hear us because he immediately ventures to the “dark side” once he realizes a bottle is coming. The patience level is not quite where we want it. Up until recently, the feedings have been fairly tame. Of late, since he is now in a high chair, they are starting to get a little messy. He’s a big eater and it can’t come fast enough for him. His new trick is to take a spoonful in his mouthful, turn his head, stick a few fingers in his mouth and swallow simultaneously. If it’s not the fingers, he will put the entire bib in there, resulting inevitably in some of the partially swallowed mess coming back out. It’s attractive.

— Along those lines, it’s now to the point his curiosity for food has taken over. While he is being held, a simple drink of water is worthy of a no-blink stare up at me for a minute. It’s one of those uncomfortable moments when you wonder what he’s really thinking and become a little concerned as to what’s coming next. It’s become a major feat to hold him and eat any longer. For one thing, he’s too big and feisty for one arm and hand nowadays. Additionally, his fascination with food is too much. He has no problem reaching out and trying to intercept a fork or simply reaching out to the plate. As much as we would like to give him a piece of steak or salad, that will have to wait. He doesn’t get that he needs teeth before any of that becomes a remote possibility.

— I don’t know if it’s the massive amount of calcium he’s consuming these days or what, but Beckett’s fingernails need cut at least once a week or scratches start appearing on his face and others (he drew blood on my wife the other night). The toenails are not as challenging as the hands but it’s all tricky business. Whichever hand I am working on, the other is in the mouth and the same goes for the hand. At least it’s not a wrestling match quite yet, but we may have to tie him down soon enough to get the job done.

All in all, our approach with our little baby is laugh right along with him. It makes things a lot more enjoyable and keeps the gray hairs from accumulating as fast.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.