Fatherhood Adventures

As I see it, the life of a parent is all about adjustments.

Every day there’s something new, both for the parents and the child. It’s as if whenever he learns something, we have to become skilled at dealing with it. With each significant change in his life, we are forced to adapt. It all happens so fast. As he grows and seeks to examine more of the world, there’s no other choice but to get on board and roll with the changes as soon as possible.

Yeah, this parenthood thing is on-site training to be sure. First came that initial transition of having a newborn in the home, discovering quickly the notion of “me time” is no longer and learning to cope with uninterrupted sleep. From that point on, everything has snowballed, from adding food to the mix, the first successful roll over on his own and the initial utterances of sounds to sitting up by his own means, crawling, pulling himself up and the incessant babbling. The big next step will be walking, and that’s a scary thought.

My wife and I are now in a crazy phase, one that revolves around how active our little boy has become. He is surprisingly quick these days and moves without a care in the world, often using his head to move things out of his way. We are continuously amazed at how adept he is at getting from one point to another in such a short amount of time.

For instance, while in the kitchen the other night, my wife was working on dinner and I was cleaning his bottles. Somehow, Beckett was able to break out of his playzone enclosure in the living room and crawl the 10 feet or so to the kitchen. There he was on the floor on all fours, peeking around a cabinet, looking up at us smiling and squealing like he knew he had just accomplished something extraordinary. I quickly placed him back in his playzone, only to find myself repeating this over and over.

A day or two later, he did the same thing, and it’s at the point now we just let him hang out on the floor in the kitchen if he wants. As long as he does not have his tongue on the floor, we are fine with it. He seems content as can be and seems to get a kick out of it. However, on this particular day, he positioned himself in front of the refrigerator and tried with all his might to open the doors. When I picked him up, all he wanted to do was get back on the ground, as evidenced by numerous attempts to reach straight toward the ground and fussing when he did not get his way.

This will come as no surprise to you fellow parents – our house is all about the baby now. He has taken over our entire home, particularly the living room. Among the items dominating the space is the three feet wide by 10 feet long by two feet high enclosure (perhaps our best purchase); a bouncey seat that hangs from a doorway (perhaps his favorite place to be in the world besides the bath tub); a walker shaped like a car with all the bells and whistles (a great way for him to get around without hurting himself and not doing too much damage to our furniture); a swing (where he has logged many hours over his nine months); a high chair (where he is all business for feeding time); and, of course, an unnecessary amount of toys.

On any given day, its one thing to note how feisty he is. But, with this newfound ability to move has come a whole new appreciation for just how active he has become. The dictionary definition of “active” is “constantly engaged in action.” That’s certainly a fitting description, and maybe even an understatement, for our son at 9 months.

I affectionately call Beckett my little bruiser. He can be rough, and my wife knows this firsthand as the other morning he greeted her first thing with a high-pitch yell, a pinch to the back of the arm and a rough slap at the nose. Of course, it goes without saying he means no harm. He gets excited and is simply overly physical at times.

I have taken my share of lumps along the way as well. My favorite part of any day is going in his room early in the morning after he has been awake for a few minutes. He usually is content rolling around and doing his thing for a while. By the time I get in there, he’s a bundle of energy and ready to get out of his crib. It’s quite the sight to walk in and be greeted by an excitable smile, kicking legs, flailing arms and some sort of high-pitched yelp. Thanks to a scratch below the eye, I have learned this is when he can do some damage because this is when he’s the most high energy.

It’s perfectly normal to pick him up and get slapped in the face by a small, clammy hand followed by a giggle and shriek of joy. It sounds silly but at about 25 pounds he does not know his own strength. He has no problem yanking, twisting, grabbing, pulling or scratching you. He doesn’t mean any of it, but it’s part of life. We have been told 9-month-olds understand the word ‘no’ and we have begun putting that to the test. Thus far, he just gets more excitable when we say that word now. All the while, my dogs are hiding in the corner of different rooms because they assume they did something wrong.

Although getting your nose squeezed and yanked may not feel great at all times, it’s difficult not to laugh because we remember what was not too long ago. I presume parents do this their entire lives, flashing back to the day he was born and all the major milestones along the way. Somehow a reflective mood every once and while makes you proud to get smacked or yanked on. The adventures continue.

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.