Fatherhood Adventures

He’s just not that into us anymore.

There was a time when Beckett was fascinated by our face, expressions, voice and every move. Now it’s all about what else is going on around him. All of you parents reading this understand this progression all too well.

I was thinking about this the other morning when I went in to pick him up out of his crib after he had just capped off 10 hours of straight sleep (so proud!). There he was playing his little pacifier game, consisting of putting it in his mouth, biting down, pulling it out quickly, staring at it, putting it back in and so on. I snuck up on him and he gave me one of those wonderful looks that melts the heart. His feet start kicking, he shrieks with excitement, smiles with delight and extends his arms in the hopes of being picked up.

Snatching him up as soon as I could, thinking we were going to have some great morning quality time before heading off to work, he gave me a quick glance and then looked around the room as if to say, “okay, I know all about you, what next?” It was as if at eight months he is already taking dear old dad for granted and would rather fascinate over a clip on the changing table, the humidifier in the corner and a lamp across the way.

It has been fun to watch his attentiveness and curiosity develop. We are at the stage now that he will grab anything and everything and he’s awfully quick for a little guy. The other day I made the mistake of leaving my cell phone on the floor with him for a couple minutes. By the time I came back, it was in his mouth and slobbered all over. Fortunately, it’s still working, but there may or may not be some bite marks from those two sharp choppers on the bottom row.

He’s basically interested in everything, including this very paper, which he likes to grab with one hand, bundle it up and stick in his mouth every chance he gets. As charming as it is for this newspaperman to see his 8-month-old son with ink on his chubby little fingers, that will have to wait because if left alone it will turn into ink on the tongue, and that’s no good.

It’s embarrassing to disclose this, but the first thing we seem to have taught our little boy was how to blow raspberries. He has become quite proficient at it over the last few months. With those two teeth entrenched on the bottom row, it’s been interesting to watch him adapt.

It seems those little baby teeth are posing an inconvenience as far as the raspberries go. Rather than stick his tongue straight out and blow as he did for month, he now sticks his tongue out the side of his mouth and blows raspberries. It’s hilarious to see even if he has no idea of what he’s doing.

On more than one occasion, in the mornings, we have been woken up by the sound and sight of him blowing raspberries. On Sunday morning, he started making some noise around 5:30, not completely unusual. Oftentimes, he will put himself back to sleep, so we just let him hang out for a while. It was made clear there was no going back to sleep on this morning. Instead, he just laid on his back, playing with his toes and incessantly blowing raspberries out the side of his mouth. I could not help but just watch him and laugh for a few minutes before going in and starting the day.

Is he crying or is he really crying?

It’s funny how you adjust to being a parent with time. The mere semblance of a cry used to cause us to drop whatever we were doing and send us racing to the baby. No matter if we were asleep or cooking or in the middle of a conversation, we would drop everything and tend to him.

Now, when we hear a cry, the question asked often: is that a real cry?

It’s funny that he’s actually becoming a unique individual and developing what appears to be a personality. Consequently, we are figuring him out, understanding his moods and able to decipher what’s going on in his mind. That’s why we recognize the tone of his cries and realize when he’s truly unhappy or just fussing for the sake of fussing or maybe just fussing to give him something to do.

Like most parents, there are times when we ignore a cry. Fortunately, Beckett does not fuss much, but he certainly has his moments. Sometimes the fits come out of nowhere and for no good reason, while there are other times it’s understandable that a good cry is in order, such as when he rolls over and hits his head on a toy, when he is sick or just exhausted and doesn’t realize it or has some kind of a nightmare.

Routinely, we can usually count on a meltdown in the moments before a feeding. If he happens to catch sight of a bottle being prepared for him, a good cry usually follows. He’s just an impatient little fella. That’s why we hide it and try to mix the bottle without him seeing it, but we have to get creative to pull that off.

While we were out to dinner at a restaurant a couple weeks ago in Annapolis, Beckett mistook a bottle of ketchup, thinking I was shaking it up for him. When it was not immediately given to him, he pitched a fit but was calmed by a pacifier pretty quickly.

This parenting thing is a fascinating experience and my feeling is the only way to really do it is trial and error. Figure it out as you go and trust your instincts, and along the way you learn, among many other things, a real cry from one that does not deserve immediate attention.

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.