Fatherhood Adventures

The newsroom around our office on Fridays is usually pretty quiet since the paper is distributed that morning, but not last Friday afternoon because Beckett was in the building.

After being passed around the office for a spell, there he was by my side sitting in one of my favorite new things, a seat that can attach to a table for use in restaurants or when a highchair is not available. I learned last week that it also works on my desk in the newsroom. (That’s good to know, my wife told me later.) So there he was kicking his dangling legs, steadily drooling all over himself, playing with his toy keys, making some strange and confusing sounds and throwing his pacifier a couple feet. On this day he also has a Nerf-style football at his disposal that I received as a promotional item years ago. That’s steadily in and out of his mouth.

Every once in a while, he lets out one of those shrieks to ensure his presence is known throughout the office. I am used to those sounds around the house and hear them in my head while I work. You see he has discovered he is now capable of making a lot of noise and there are times when it’s difficult to figure out what’s going on in that head of his. It’s basically just a lot of gibberish being hollered at a loud decibel level, but it’s doesn’t bother me because I know it’s a sure sign he’s having a good time and is content. Mix in a few messy raspberries in between screams and life is good with him.

I have always had fun with my son, even during those early customer service days when most of the interaction was basic and consisted of simple maintenance like changing diapers, preparing bottles, giving baths, retrieving pacifiers, wiping drool off his chin, cleaning up spit up off his clothes and the list goes on.

There are still those types of things to take care of, but now he’s actually a blast to be around. He’s got some personality and his many facial expressions entertain me to no end. He clearly wears his emotions on his sleeve and I adore that innocence. A fit of laughter at something as simple as a rubber duck can easily change to a stern look at the quickest moment when the dog barks. He typically morphs back and forth between a giggly baby and a contemplator. That’s the range of his emotions at this point.

In the office, on this day, he’s kicking furiously while looking around at the new sights and taking in the new sounds of the office. He has an interest in the fluorescent bulbs overhead and the clutter of folders on the desk in front of him. He seems particularly intrigued by the keyboard’s sounds and the computer screen in front of him, especially the desktop background of him lying on our bed in nothing but a diaper and a Santa hat. (That’s a result of my wife’s creativity, and he is a good sport and not camera shy.)

After a couple hours at the office, we are off to do some shopping. I like to get all my shopping done in one day, and last Friday was it, and Beckett came along to help. All in all, I am happy to report neither of us had a meltdown, even as the receipts piling up in my pockets led me to some strange thoughts, including a potential editorial about how cool it would be if another round of economic stimulus checks were approved the day after Obama’s inauguration.

Any extended time away from the house requires a certain amount of planning, particularly if you are in the man-to-man scheme. In the truck was a bag full of toys and diapers, the car seat and stroller, the baby Bjorn and a couple pacifiers to ensure contentment in the less stimulated moments. (My wife threw in some other odds and ends because moms know best.)

I thought everything was under control. He had his lunch before we left. I had a bottle, which I gave to him in between stores, warm clothes and a hat and a stocked diaper bag. However, I became a little concern when I realized there were only two diapers in the bag, but I figured that was okay for a few hours or so of shopping.

Well, as luck would have it, my son surprised me. Simply put, both diapers were used pretty quickly, as it appears that this particular jar of beef did not agree entirely or maybe it was the apple sweet potatoes that missed the mark. Whatever the case, there I was diaper-less with a couple more stores to hit before I was home free.

I found myself constantly sniffing throughout those final stops. Those were some hopeful sniffs. As I was checking out at the final store, I looked down to see that familiar face all parents of little ones know. We can all tell by looking at our child’s face whether he or she is in the act of dirtying the diaper, and Beckett’s flush, grimacing face certainly let me know what was going on. A few minutes later, he seemed fine, but I found myself thinking back to a saying a high school teacher had displayed in her classroom.  It went something like, “poor planning on your part does not constitute a crisis for me.” I looked down at my son in his stinky stroller and wondered if he was thinking something along those lines.

The shopping trip was cut short on that day and it was probably a blessing. I could have run into a store and loaded up on diapers, but I decided against it because the receipts in my pocket showed enough damage had been done for one day. So, we headed home after some solid male bonding time. All was well so long as a couple windows were cracked for ventilation.

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.