Fatherhood Adventures

Long gone is the sweet, little boy who used to coo, goo and ooh at everything. In its place is a baby who makes sounds that are more strange and funny these days than cuddly and cute. He’s become a tough little guy with a bruiser mentality.

He now barrel rolls into a toy at a pretty good clip and is unfazed. He now throws items on the floor from his highchair with surprising force while humming at the same time. He can often be found growling incessantly while steadily jumping in his hallway bouncey seat. He grunts while he eats and tries to grab the spoon before it gets into his mouth. He splashes water all over the place in the tub. He pulled the drawstring entirely out of my sweatshirt the other day. During a bath the other night, he became dog-like, biting down on the beak of his favorite blue rubber duck and swinging his head from side to side.

Yes that son of ours is all boy, and we are currently in a hilarious stage. He’s basically a mess, and it’s a blast. He’s grabbing at everything, tossing and turning vigorously as his diaper is being changed, kicking off his shoes soon after they are put on, pulling off socks, ripping out his father’s chest hair by the handfuls (shirts required around this little boy), sticking his fingers in his mouth as he eats, laughing and babbling at an unknown distant object, insisting on holding his own bottle with one hand and cap in the other, reaching out for light switches, grabbing my cheeks with all his might and attempting to chew on everything, including the prized remote control.

These are just some of the reasons why I love driving home on Friday after work because I know I have lots of Beckett time to enjoy over the next 48 hours. Of course, you do not have to be a parent to look forward to the weekends, but I have a new appreciation for the non-work days now than I ever did in the past. Sure, the weekends were always fun before, but for different reasons years ago that do not need to be rehashed in this space.

Most of my weekend is now spent getting a kick out of my son. One of my favorite things to do is watch him roll around in his PlayZone on the floor of the living room. It’s basically a large enclosure that keeps him in a kid-safe place, away from the furniture and shelters him from the dogs’ wet licks and their fondness for some of his toys. Of course, inside it are lots of toys that illuminate and play music when touched.

Every toy in there has spent a considerable amount of time in his mouth and the fascination with each seems to ebb and flow with his interest at any given time. In there this morning when I left for work were some colored blocks, a set of stacking rings, a couple teething rings and a collection of Baby Einstein odds and ends. You can see why he might like it in there.

When he’s content in this baby-proof area, life is good. It’s no coincidence this is when the house is usually at its loudest. Whether it’s him growling, grunting, babbling or humming or the toys making the noise, plenty of sounds fill the room when he’s in there. It took some getting used to but it’s interesting to have all the sounds going off simultaneously.

There’s one particular stuffed bear that must have a motion sensor in it because it goes off constantly, whether he’s playing with it or not, saying and singing things like, “would you like to sing your ABCs with me?” or “that’s my tummy, so full” or “squeeze me, hold me, love me”. As luck would have it, he likes the bear a lot, but it may have to lose a battery out of the blue soon because there’s only so many “can I have a hug?” comments a man can take in one day.

After a particularly long spell in the PlayZone the other night (the talking bear was retired for the night), I laughed harder than I have in years and the mere thought of it keeps me giggling as I reflect back on the image today. There was our 8-month-old in his onesie pajamas rolling along and starting to show all the obvious signs of having enough for the day and being ready to call it a night.

When I picked him up to take him upstairs, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Every single blonde hair on his little head was sticking straight up or out, whatever the case may be. He had become a victim of static electricity. It was like nothing I had ever seen and whatever bit of fussiness was replaced with pure awe at the laughter in the room.

I turned him to face his mother across the room, “can you see that from there?” She just shook her head in laughter in an “of course” kind of way, and I turned him back to me, realizing immediately he was befuddled over what was so funny.  As I giggled away, he just stared with wide, curious eyes back at me. His look just made it all the more hilarious.

He was too tired to laugh along this time, instead shooting a look at his mother to see if she was still laughing hysterically too (she was) and just stared intently, trying presumably to get the joke, or just wishing the goofball holding him would put him in his crib. Instead, I reached for a camera. A few minutes later, when all of his hairs had returned to rest on his head, I acquiesced and laid him down to bed.

We laughed just as hard a few minutes later when my wife and I joked about the fact it was a Saturday night and we were perfectly content at home with our little one. Life sure has changed.

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.