Fatherhood Adventures

Some new “firsts” have taken place recently in our world. Here’s a recap of some exciting developments over the last couple weeks.

— Our 1-year-old is up and walking. The strange thing is he resembles an orangutan when he’s doing it.

Yes, it’s the orangutan walk and it’s in full effect, and it’s hilarious to watch. Once he pushes himself up to his feet, he extends his arms out a bit with his hands at or around shoulder length to achieve the balance he needs. He will take a couple big steps, then a few little ones and maybe even mix in a couple of backward swaggers. All the while he is the picture of concentration, maintaining his balance with his chubby arms, hands and fingers pointed north.

With his newfound abilities, he is becoming increasingly brave, and that’s a little scary for his parents.

I have always admired and been in awe of the fact he has no fear, but it’s simply another reason why we can’t let him out of our sight if he’s not constrained. Up until recently, he has been content being constrained to his playzone, a 10-foot by 6-foot enclosure that dominates our living room space.

These days it does not appear to be enough to satisfy him. It’s as if his curiosity and will to explore have become too much. His favorite place to be this week is the kitchen. A particular passion of his is the microwave. He walks straight for it, bangs his hands on it and looks at himself in the reflection. After that, he typically moves over to the oven and does the same thing.

Later on, if we have not corralled him yet, he moves to the trash can and tries to push up the lid to see what’s inside. If he doesn’t respond to a few ‘no’s’, he usually gets picked up and relocated, touching off a scream or two before being distracted by something else.

It’s interesting at this point he can walk all over the house without any help, but he does not have much luck when he tries to take his game outside. He has grown into a solid walker on his home turf and just about any hard surface, but he has no idea how to deal with the grass and any sort of bumpy surface. That will only be a matter of time.

— In the car, Beckett is now looking at where we are going, instead of where we have been.

Shortly after his first birthday, we flipped his car seat around from facing backwards to front. Considering I am by no means a handyman, I am pleased to report it only took me about 20 minutes to get Beckett’s throne turned around and anchored in place.

As is the case with most things, he’s adapted quite well and seems to enjoy seeing what’s happening in the front of the car rather than staring at the back of a seat cushion.

What’s weird for me is looking in the rearview mirror and being able to see him clearly. Over the last year, we have been using the rearview mirror to look into another mirror, affixed to the backseat, to keep an eye on him if it’s just one of us driving him around.

When both of us were in the car and he was still facing backwards, my wife would typically sit in the backseat with him to keep him company. With him now moving up in the world and facing forward, that’s no longer the case.

The best part of it all is I no longer feel like a chauffer because she has now joined me in the front seat, and that’s a good thing.

— He is now on his own in the bathtub.

Okay, that’s a little misleading. It’s not like we plop the little guy in the tub, give him a bar of soap and washcloth, close the door and tell him to whistle when he’s done. Quite the contrary, of course, but he has graduated from the baby bathtub to the real thing.

For whatever reason, we never got into using the sink as the tub, though it may have saved some back pain along the way. Instead, we used a baby bathtub that sat inside the large tub. Later, for a month or so, we transitioned to a baby bath seat.

Those did the trick, but he has outgrown them and he subsequently now has the entire tub to himself, and he loves it.

He has always enjoyed bathtime, but he now parties in there with all his toys and he adores the bubbles, which he constantly tries to eat. I am heavily biased, but it’s one extremely cute sight to see this little 30-inch boy in this huge clawfoot tub with bubbles all around him trying to chew the beak off a purple rubber duck. That’s definitely a shot for the baby book.

— He’s just about normal, according to the pediatrician.

Never have I thought I would be so happy to hear that my son is average, but that’s exactly what we heard on Wednesday at our one-year well check with the doctor.

He now weighs a little more than 24 pounds, which falls into the 50th percentile as far as his fellow 1-year-olds, and measures 30 inches, which is in the 60th percentile for toddlers his age.

This was interesting to see, considering three months ago he was in the 70th percentile for weight and 80th percentile for length. It seems he is coming back to the pack a bit, as he becomes more active, and I have to admit it’s cool with me.

I take the result of this weigh-in to mean he’s on track from a physical standpoint with where he should be at this time in his life, and I see no reason to read anything further into it. He’s just about average physically and that works for me.

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.